Blogtext: "The silencing of the Spirit"


    "Never use the word silence, until you have heard a heart stop beating."

    Wherever we look in the Bible we find predictions that speak of a Silence of God to come.

    We read of the awesome silence of our Lord when he would not respond to the taunts and calumnies of his accusers.

    We read that there would at some time be a distinct silence from the Word of God itself. A frantic search would ensue for that most needed of communications, it will occur said the prophet Amos.

    When would that silence come? There was a silence for 400 odd years between the end of Malachi and the beginning of Matthew.

    But the fearsome silence of God is also experienced by individuals. When the crown on king Saul has slipped down over his ears he found that : "When Saul inquired of the Lord, the LORD did not answer him either by dreams, or by Urim or by prophets."

    We read of the deafening of ears of God's people and Gods enemies alike.
    "Pharaoh's heart was hardened." "With hearing ears they hear not."(see my other posting on that theme)

    "There was silence in heaven for the space of half an hour."

    But we also are told that severe silencing of the Holy Spirit of God would eventually happen.
    And it would be done by the Church itself!

    Is the church of Christ on an upward evolutionary path?

    Do you find that question odd? If so I suggest it is because a large majority of the population have so thoroughly been brainwashed by a theory of
    'ever upward development of all things' that it is now by some sort of nebulous reasoning taken for granted that everything that is now must be better than that which was in the past, simply because it is newer. If I look without those blinkers I see a few things that speak of the absolute opposite of upward development.

    Already during the last teachings of the Lord Jesus there is an ominous warning:
    "The son of Man, when he comes, shall he find the faith on the earth?"

    Although it is part of the task of the Church to spread the gospel over the whole earth, a
    nd holding out a promise that the whole world may be 'evangelized', there is also the truth of parallel reality of only a Remnant, the Elect, the Chosen being saved. There is certainly the task of preaching the good news to all, but not a prognosis that any majority in any time will be saved and serving.

    Before the ultimate throne of God there all nations will stand under judgment but no whole nations will be among the redeemed. But only those of whom it was said: '
    and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;', surely a great throng, a multitude, but not ever the majority of mankind.

    Not only is the idea of 'the whole world saved' not very well attested but it is also true that quality of the same church would also not be on an upward movement but rather the contrary.

    As Paul is about to leave the Church at Ephesos for the last time he makes a prediction of bad things to come: '
    For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.'

    To Timothy Paul is even sharper in tone and to the extent of his warning: '
    For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.'

    Note that Paul in no way suffers from the delusion of an inevitable upward spiral of maturity. And when you add what he wrote to Timothy a short while before, you will be rallied to realize that it is the Holy Spirit himself who gives this futuristic scenario: ’Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

    And to complete the prognosis of what the end times will look like, even within the assembly of the saints; Read 2 Timothy 3. In view of how large parts of the Church have become more worldly than the world itself this is indeed eye-watering.

    'This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. for men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

    It is an illusion to believe that the church of today is an upward and onward development from the early Church. The Church of Christ is a remnant of what she was from the beginning. A remnant of what God gave her from the beginning is still there. The essentials have never been lost. The Word and the Spirit!

    Why reformation?
    Large parts of the now existing churches claim to be "Reformed Churches". But what was it they needed to be reformed by, for and why? The Church in the beginning was given the fullness of Christ. Over the centuries until the Reformation it lost virtually on every point
    ‘that which was in the beginning'.
    And when the reformation age came some of the original treasure of the Church was regained, but only in part. What was
    created from this mixture of clay and iron is what you see today.

    Tradition and Church sovereignty over the WORD by various means, such as a long list of theologies, did not disappear. The reformation created a new and equally solid prison for the Word of Truth in the Spirit as ever there was before the Reformation. The prisoner does not thank you much for being moved from a dungeon to an ivory tower, his imprisonment remains the same. And only freedom will satisfy him. The need for reformation today stems from one major source. The silencing of the Spirit of God in the Church.

    The unchanging Trinity

    An unholy thing has happened to the Holy Spirit over time. He has been separated from the Father and the Son in a most despicable manner. And He has also been separated from the Word of God in another unholy manner.

    One of the aspects of the Godhead is its
    immutability. God, says the scripture is unchanging from eternity to eternity. God is forever the same and does not accommodate Himself to our changing nature nor is there a shadow of changing with him."Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us by the word of truth forth , so that we might be as it were, the first fruits of his creatures."

    Equally the scriptures declare that the Son, the Saviour, the Christ is equally unchanging.
    " Jesus Christ, the same today, yesterday and forever."And naturally the Word also declares the unchanging nature of the Spirit. "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? "There is no room for an evolution of God, in God three in one itself. God is not an evolving entity, what ever the theologians say. Man's perceptions change and mankind’s morals change, but God changes not. It stretches across the ages to his people. "For the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable."

    But now the great (unholy) mystery.

    The third member of the Godhead does not change in Himself, in his true Personhood, in his power and ability to promote the holiness without which it is impossible to see God. Nor does he withdraw his gifts and calling, since he acts in total union with the Father and the Son and they have given tasks to the subservient Spirit. Gifts which neither Father or Son has ever changed. They were given in the past, not only for the past but for ever, as long as it is called today. Since only 'today' it is the day of full salvation. Without change until the end of the Ages. Any change in one and all must change. And an unreliable God is no God at all.

    And yet: The Church possesses the outrageous ability to render the Spirit of God inoperative and outcast from the very church! A stranger in his own home. A missing High Priest in the temple. A giver of perfect gifts whose treasures are roughly shunned by the very people for whom they are designed.

    Well may you ask: how is that done, and is it even possible?

    One basic assumption that we should agree on is that
    'all scripture is God breathed, or God aspired and hence Spirit driven. So the scriptures must never be given the status of independence from the Spirit itself. Scripture without the Spirit is mere words. To this there are several testimonies in the scriptures.

    "Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us to enter into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it. For the gospel was preached to us as well as to them. But to them it was of no profit, because they did not receive it and mix it with their own faith. "
    If the words alone were effective then no personal involvement would be necessary. Faith is the gift of the same Spirit who first made sure that the word was written down. ‘Without Faith it is impossible to please God.’ The words only follow through on the Spirit taking the words of Christ and teaching them to us. Spirit cannot operate without the word, nor can the word do anything at all without the Spirit. A solid and reliable truth.

    Claiming that it is enough to expound the word in semantic
    'acrobacy and telling people that: if you know the word you also have what it says' is untenable by the one standard of verity that is left us. The Word himself declares it in absolute terms. 'My words are spirit and truth', ''But an hour is coming, and has come, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is Spirit and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth.' '

    And most centrally Jesus explained the relationship between the written words and himself in unassailable clarity in John 5:39 'You search the scriptures, because you are of the opinion and think that knowing them is having the eternal life; and , yes they are true testimonies about me. And still, you will not come to me to receive that very life.' A few verses later in the same chapter: 'If you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote of Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?'

    The word must become flesh

    It is not enough to know the truth as a knowledge in the head. It is truth when it has worked out in my life what the Spirit worked into the meaning behind the words. What the written word can do is
    inform us as to the certainty of something' s existence. What the Spirit does with the information is to instruct us one a life changing scale, and when he has done so it becomes an intuitive knowledge, a constant walking in the Spirit.

    The principal difference between the former covenant and the new is the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer. Whereas the former covenant saw the words of God being like the bit and bridle of a horse, being kept in reins by outward means, the new covenant sees the horse as having accepted the master as part of his flock and therefore follows in the safety zone that is created by trust.

    That is the meaning of Jeremia
    h 31:33-34 as given again by Paul in 2 Cor 3.' You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifest that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.'

    The mere words about the matters of faith are information and that information can simply result in a life lived in a straight jacket of do's and don'ts. Much like the Highway code determines what you must do however you feel about it. You may have all the right information but never know the instruction that brings those words from the paper to the heart.
    Knowing the Highway code never prevents you from breaking it unless you firmly believe in it. It is the doer of the word that truly believes. And I claim to be on safe ground when I say that we only truly believe what we actually have learned to do. Or to put it in other words: ‘Orthodoxy’ in teaching must lead to ‘Orthopraxis’ in doing. Correct doctrine is in the scriptures always seen as correct living.

    If the word is separated from the Spirit and the direct teaching of the Spirit to the church is ignored then all that is left of preaching is the speaker’s use of the Word of God to preach his version of the Truth.
    The incarnation is something utterly other: We are to be transformed by the Word so that we become the message that we preach. Only the Spirit of the Incarnate God will accomplish that transformation.

    That is where the gifts of the Spirit come in. The Spirit is not needed in order to launch a one hour homily on say 'the doctrine concerning the immutability of God'. A fair acquaintance with a few textbooks of the preferred theology and a few hours of swotting over the wisdom of other men, is enough to create a homily or sermon on any topic. Add stamina and a good voice and the ability to master the speaker's arsenal and you may bring any matter for information to any body of believers or unbelievers.

    But when does it become the words of the Spirit in the hearts of the believers? The scriptures given by the Holy Spirit spell it out clearly.

    'But a natural (not spiritually born) man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are to be appraised in a spiritual manner. It takes a spiritual man to appraise all things spiritual, and the spiritual man is not appraised by the any (natural) man.'

    Only the Spirit knows how to make the mind of Christ known to those who have the mind of Christ by regeneration.

    If we attempt to better the unregenerate man by preaching then we are attempting the animation of a dead corpse, yea, we try to raise Lazarus by incantation and loud shouting. We saw how Jesus did it: 'Lazarus come out' and will emulate that for the next ten years, always hoping that the dead will rise by words alone.
    'The kingdom of God is not in eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the holy Spirit.'
    'For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power.'
    'My message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.'

    The power of God transforms lives, it does not
    merely pre- or conserve members of an organisation.

    Aborted mission?

    The total scope of the work and mission of Jesus Christ in the Church of Christ can not be understood apart from the Spirit. The Spirit has no agenda of His own at all. But He carries out the will of the Father and the Son and glorifies them both in a very self-effacing way. While being the operational agent behind all of the following, they all contribute to the creation of the new man in Christ.

    Here is his work as expressed in the very scriptures that He inspired the writing of.

    • He awakens the heart of the sinner who hears the gospel preached.

    • He convicts the heart of sin, judgment and righteousness

    • He paints Christ before the lost man or woman's eyes until hope awakens and that the sinner understands the need of giving him or herself unreservedly to the Saviour, who also gives himself to the sinner to be received by faith.

    • He brings the forlorn and lost to the turning round point of repentance

    • He shows him the need to allow the old man to die in the water of Baptism. No biblical baptism is done with out both elements and therefore :

    • He then baptizes him or her by the Holy Spirit so that the resurrection life of Christ can begin and that the purifying and cleansing work of clearing the dross and chaff of the past life can happen.

    • He will establish your understanding of God the Father and assure you of being his child.

    • His presence in your life is the token of your spiritual inheritance with all the saints.

    • He begins a lifelong process of training in righteousness and sanctification.

    • He is instrumental in frequent re-fillings by the Spirit as the need arises.

    • He establishes the walking in the Spirit guided by the Word of the perfect law of Love, a Love which He first has poured out in the heart of those baptized in the Spirit.

    • He equips every man for their work of upbuilding the entire body by the manifold gifts of the Spirit. He also qualifies that the gifts cannot be separated from the fruit of the Spirit.

    • He assists the believer in his relationship to the written word wherein the plan of salvation, and the purposes of God, are made clear by diligent personal feeding on the word. The Spirit interprets the things of the Spirit on the basis of his own words. The Spirit supports 'sound doctrine' and defines sound doctrine as that teaching which leads to the life of which it speaks.

    • He guides the believers by giving clear directions and sometimes rebuttals and clear 'no entry' signs. He does so by a multitude of means all of them furthering the growth of understanding by the word and the revelation to the body of believers by explaining the meaning of the word. This he does through all the members of the body.

    • He also carries out judgment and correction and punishment when needed.

    • He speaks to the Church as a whole, not merely to a handful of individuals.

    • He together with the Lamb of God invites to the marriage supper.

    These are a number of the works of the Spirit in the Church of Christ. The list can be extended.

    All these works are interlinked with one another, and they are the works of the Trinity. They are in total agreement and unity and what is done is approved by them all.

    The silencing of the Spirit?

    Telling the Church that the Spirit no longer does this and that and that is to curtail the work of the Spirit
    and bring the Church into confusion, since what is now no longer believed has not been removed from the very scriptures the same Spirit inspired. So there is no encouragement to read the scriptures except those parts that are 'safe' and away from the focus of the Church.

    Whereas the Father and Son are somewhat unaffected by what the Church does the Spirit is much more vulnerable and can in fact be horrendously maltreated by the children of God. Note these things can only happen in the CHURCH.

    • He can be lied to with lethal consequences. Acts 5:3

    • His gifts can become 'goods for sale' and will then be withdrawn from those who do such Acts. ch 8:18-21

    • He can be grieved by unedifying teaching or preaching; Eph 4:30

    • He can be quenched by the denial of some of his gifts, 1 Thess 5:18

    • He can be insulted by the way the cross and blood of Christ are treated, Heb 10:28

    The personality of the Holy Spirit

    The Holy Spirit is not a container of this or that commodity. He is the full person of the Godhead and you cannot have a little of him or see him as a sort of spiritual tank station where you go to top up. It is true that an occasional 'double portion' and 'infilling' can occur as a special equipping for a specific task,
    and that may be translated into a view that the Holy Spirit is something like a resource, but first and foremost the Spirit is an indivisible unity. He is either alive in you or he is not. You cannot have a partial tide of Spirit in and Spirit out as if it was a seashore. You cannot have more or less of the Spirit. It is you who allow him to rule over more or less of your life.

    Neither can you pick and chose which bits you like or don't like. His gifts are his sovereign belongings. They are given to us relative to the service to which we are called. But they remain the gifts of the Spirit. To divide the indivisible is quenching the Spirit. To deny prophesying is one such quenching.

    To deny a part of the work and ministry of the Spirit is to deny Him entirely. The Spirit is not given in instalments.

    The somersault of unbelief:

    I will conclude with a few observations from the word about the working of the Spirit and the word together. When someone stands up and denies part of the Spirit's work and operation by saying that this or that has ceased, then in effect what is claimed is this:

    "I, who am born again by the Spirit, have been made part of the body of Christ by the same Spirit, have learned to worship in the Spirit, endeavour to walk in daily communion with the Spirit, spend parts of my life in the words given by the Spirit, I have it from the Spirit and the Word that the Spirit no longer does what he is manifestly was doing right through the Bible. He has told me so, trust me."

    Is that not a rather tall order? Did the Spirit lie in the Bible, or is the lie spoken by those who, while claiming the Bible to be the true communication of God to all people in all ages, cross their fingers behind their backs and deny large parts of what is written? Because unless you outright deny that God and the Holy Spirit never change you cannot remove a third of the New Testament and still be considered an honest person. If God changes then nothing of the Bible is safe.

    In particular there is much folly spoken about the 'signs and wonders' of the early church. Have they ceased? They are significant in one respect. They have an outburst in the beginning of a breakthrough by the Gospel into a new area or new people. So what happened on the day of Pentecost did what it was designed for and it kept on for a while. But then the people needed to hear the life changing message which was preached by Peter and they were added to the Church with less need for the confirmation in signs and wonders.

    But when the gospel reached the Samarians another breakthrough was confirmed by signs and wonders and a fresh outpo
    uring of the Spirit. Acts 8:4-17 The next breakthrough came to the Romans. The household of Cornelius being the first fruits. Peter comes to them after beings moved there by a series of revelations none of which follow from any written word. In fact he tried to defend himself against the revelation by referring to scripture. God Himself overruled. Acts 10:44-48. But the real hammer is what he tells the Jerusalem contingent of apostles and believers. Acts 11:15-18. 'It happened in the household of Cornelius as it had happened on us in the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord how he used to say John baptized you with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

    Deny the deliberate and conscious baptism with the Spirit and you will also deny the works and gifts of the Spirit.

    The rest is salvation history. Right through Paul’s ministry and that of many others and then right through Romans and Corinthians and so on the signs and wonders are not routine but exceptions. It is easy to see how the fallacy arose. If you landed in one of the interim periods you would interpret the latent signs as absent signs. But to draw the conclusion that they therefore have ceased is plain folly.
    The gospel is even today breaching into new constellations of people and languages and where that happens the original signs and wonders occur.

    Yes it is true that the role of an Apostle included signs and wonders. So therefore the allegation is made that the signs and miracles ceased with them. 'The distinguishing marks of a true apostle were performed among you with all perseverance, by signs, wonders, and miracles.' 2 Cor 12:11-13
    But no such claim can be sustained for long. Because not only the apostles did signs and miracles but also those who heard that first generation.
    The gifts of Christ to the Church in all ages are ‘And he gave some as apostles, and some as prophets and some as evangelists and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.’
    Has not every generation of the Church been given all these? Those who deny the full work of the Spirit also deny these gifts. And the dead man’s grip of a theology of denial cannot create a Church akin to that which was in the beginning.

    'After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders, and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.' Hebrews 2:1-5

    When Jesus prayed for the church in John 14 to 17 he entirely omitted saying anything about different conditions for the next generations of believer. He in fact established that what was relevant for the twelve would be relevant for generations to come among those: '
    As you sent me into the world, so send I them.' 'Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;' Is there the slightest evidence that the coming generations would labour under different conditions?

    And by proxy we are told that in the end times there will be many false signs and wonders designed to lure the believers away from the simplicity of faith in Christ. If the signs and wonders had by then been gone for 2000 years there would not have been any believers that believed in them, so that they could be fooled by the counterfeit stuff. See Matthew 24:23-24 It is only in among the true things that a counterfeit stands a chance of success.

    And I have not even breathed a word of the 2000 years of church history during which signs and wonders and miracles intermittently have been manifested, and as soon as they appeared were suppressed by the likes of those who still deny them today.

    Hold fast to what you have.

    You however continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.’ And the continuity of the same teaching is safeguarded by Paul to Timothy in 2 Tim 2:2 ‘And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.’ Theologies seem to have a need to renew themselves, the Truth of the Word has no such need.

    Like a babe in a manger

    When Christ was born he was helpless and dependent on his parents. This child was soon threatened and singled out for destruction by those whose very position as King the babe questioned. The Holy Spirit may also receive such treatment. He may be silenced by the very people to whom he was sent. Coming to their own and being rejected is an experience shared by the Son and the Spirit.

    I have made the point that the Holy Spirit is vulnerable to what the Church does. And it follows from what the ministry of Jesus suffered while on earth. Frequently the scriptures tell us that Jesus could not do any great works in this place or that, and the reason is always the same:
    'And He could not do any miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He was amazed at their unbelief. And He was going around the villages, teaching.' Mark 6:5-7. Take good note: he could teach in the midst of unbelief, but accomplish nothing else. But teaching that is not testified to by the signs may lead nowhere. Even for Christ the same applied.

    It is no accident that Jesus in his farewell message to the disciples promised: 'And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues, they will pick up serpents and if they drink any deadly poison it shall not hurt them. They will lay hands on the sick and they will recover.'

    The rest of the NT confirms that the continued works of Christ through the Church did all of that. Jesus said it was an integral, if not essential, part of evangelizing. Churches adamant about the cessation of the gifts do not generally appear among the churches that grow.

    Unbelief and the elevation of ignorance about the gifts of the Spirit are dead certain ways to never experience them. The Holy Spirit may brood over the primeval waters. He may have all executive power in the universe.
    But he will be silenced by unbelief.

    As in the beginning.

    What is left is a form of godliness without power.

    Endless preaching without authority to produce what it proclaims.
    Eloquent repetitions of promises never fulfilled.
    Escape to heaven seen as the only real purpose of salvation.
    Evangelistic messages over and over to the already saved.

    Is it not a terrible silence?

    The text is a bit gloomy, right?
    You might react and say that you believe that you are saved while recognizing that some of what I wrote above is familiar to you from your own Church life. Comfort yourself. If you know the Lord and have the testimony of adoption, knowing yourself to be a child of God, then you shall be saved. But our individual salvation happens in order for us to become the Church together with others. The order must be right. Contrary to some teachings there is Salvation outside the Church because you are saved in order to become the Church. It is never the Church that saves you but the Lord Jesus by the work of the Spirit. Salvation is individual, Church is the collective of the saved. Salvation’s further purpose is what the rest of the Work of the Spirit is all about.

    I said in the beginning that you should never use the word silence until you have heard a heart stop beating. Lay your ear to the church and listen. You may hear the awesome silence of the quenched Holy Spirit. But even that will be drowned out by the voices of unbelief.

    There are numerous passages that declare the necessity of holding fast to that which once and for all was given the church. There are no passages that tell us that the future will be
    different than the beginning, or that you are entitled to ignore large parts of the Word in the future. ’Heaven and earth may pass, but my words shall not.’

    Separating the Word from the Spirit is one major 'silencer'. What is omitted in the teaching of the Church does not reach the heart of the church and cannot grow and make an impact. The command
    'to teach all that I have commanded them', 'to not withhold from the church any of the counsel of God' is much neglected in every shade and hue of Church round the globe. Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the words of Christ, how shall they have faith if not taught the fullness?

    There is a very ill boding correlation between certain styles of preaching and a firm denial of many of the above mentioned works of the Spirit. Many of the modes of operation and gifts to the church are today denied by large segments of the Church.

    It was predicted to happen, and the fulfilment of that prediction is here. Need it stay that way?

    Teddy Donobauer

    Doncaster Jan 26/ February 24 2021


Blogtext: "My marriage broke down, am I going to hell?"

"If you divorce and remarry you will surely go to hell."

"God hates you for divorcing your wife"

"If your marriage breaks down you no longer have a calling from God"

This list can be extended for a considerable length and I can vouchsafe that lots of stronger invectives have been levelled at me over the years. Yes I am a divorcee and not just once but thrice. My embers must be stoked hot waiting for me?

Nobody is in any doubt: marriage is under fire in the most heinous and final way. Some still weep over it, most seem to shut their eyes, and a rousing cheer of dismissal is volleyed around by a very vocal and growing minority with Major ambitions.

Nothing appears to get the gall boiling in the Devil than a biblical God-based marriage. Satan has devised a million temptations and and trials for what, lacking a better word, is called: a Christian marriage. Large parts of what calls itself 'the Church', also in want of a better word, has long forsaken the biblical model for marriage and is found accepting any travesty of marriage in the  name of 
inclusiveness and contemporary morals. Under the flag of Pride and Gender equality and in order to appease and divert some of the heavy flack from the LGBTHQ community, Church after Church, Denomination after Denomination has folded into the very camp of sinners that God has once and for all judged as a 'no go zone' for His people.

Incidentally, those who want to do away with Christian Marriage are also chronically weak in their theology of evil. Evil is only that which opposes the freedom under the "rainbow". To stand up for God's marriage model is the true sin according to these latter day prophets. 

Marriage breakdown begins at poor marriage making skills

What are the requirements for marriage? The answer depends on what you understand by marriage. In the modern framework nothing more is required by law than reaching the age of consent, having some sort of partner in sight, (even self marriages are now on offer) and seeing an official registrar of civil status change.
If they also have the gender specific body parts they are then legitimately allowed to produce either children or body parts of children for the pharmaceutical industry through the abortion clinics.
How they are set up financially, sociologically, and individually is their own business. But this independence only last as long as they make it. In the welfare state their failings will be the burden of the rest of society.  Society no longer protects the original marriage idea as the Judeo Christian pattern has been for over 2000 years. And we all pay for it. Someone ought to calculate the cost for the collapse of a structure that while it had lots of problems, still safeguarded some elementary social balance. 
(I may later make a summary of a book that was produced in the 1930 by Oxford Professor J D Unwin "Sex and Culture".)

In order to be allowed to drive a motorized or open road vehicle in any country you are by law required to have some proven knowledge of the vehicles and their functions, you need to know the Laws and regulations governing traffic and you have to show that you master the technology of driving. That is minimum.  You must even prove that you have some sort of ability to consider the other people on the roads, i e  basically to have some common sense.

None of that applies for entering marriage in the secular society! Rather modernity proclaims 'anything goes', and is expected to assume responsibility for when the 'anything goes' turns into 'everything goes wrong'.

What about the Church?
Here too now gradually the worldview of 'anything goes' is spreading its poison
But it was no so from the outset. There have always been conditions for marriage and 'if all else fails' read the instructions!  They are simple but not obvious. When we meet them we have mostly no prior experience of marriage. Therefore we must take them on trust and by faith in Him who gave the instructions. Looking at how our own parents have done would only be good if they had done it right. But it is impossible to know if they have since we as their children are 'the proof of the pudding'. We are holding the cards for success or failure too close to our chest to see where it is going. 

So we must have an objective external standard to build on. It is and has been there in plain sight since the world of mankind began. And it was written down for our instruction. Here it is: Genesis 2:18-26

'Then the Lord God said,"It is not good for man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him."'

I note: The idea of marriage is not the idea of man but of His Maker. That is where the normal mating modes differ between mankind and every other kind of being. The very mechanisms of attraction and dependence are produced by the intelligent designer and maker of man. Leave God out of the reckoning and what is left is mating for procreation. The animal world is left to instinct and natural urge built in to them, man is made to follow instruction in order to safeguard instincts.

‘But for Adam there was not a helper found for him.

Further I note that it is not merely for this or that specific shortcoming that man needs woman but for all of him. God never says: ‘Oh He can’t cook so he needs a kitchen servant.’ Or ‘Oh he can’t reproduce on his own so he better have a birthing partner.’ There is a world of difference between marrying someone for what use I have of them and marrying someone without whom I myself am incomplete. It is also the difference between: ‘I love you because’ and the ‘I love you regardless of secondary causes.’ The former is what we know best. The second is the ‘Agape’ of God. Without the Maker marriage is a dicey business. Trying to love without the Love from above can bring spectacular failure.

You see once the specific needs have been met that partner is no longer needed. And from ‘not needed’ to not wanted the step is very short. “
It is not good for man to be alone.” Is it any better to be alone for the woman? Well when God said those specific words, woman did not yet exist. In the next chapter of Genesis we see the effects of man leaving his woman alone. Without a murmur of interference he allows her to be set about by the serpent. Leaving her alone to contend for their lives, even while seemingly present in body but absent in every other way. How many wives can readily identify that situation? ‘His body is there in the room, but the rest is on old Trafford!

I also take notice that none of the animals was suitable to complement man however useful they are for a myriad other things in life. It is part of our resounding failure as men that women often have had lower status than any number of animals. You may recall Samson’s words about his woman when she had finally managed to get the clues of a riddle out of him and he has to acknowledge defeat: ‘If you had not plowed with my heifer you would not have found out my riddle.’ Women treated as of lesser value than animals are no news. ‘ That is where the very terminology of values leaves many with a shamed face. ‘You stupid cow.’

This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.’

We retain the phrase in our ‘marriage orders’ when we proudly proclaim: ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder’. And then we declare them to be one flesh because they are now formally married. As if the marriage ritual could create this oneness. As if the ritual could override the distance between them that was caused by the fall. It cannot. Only if they are joined in and by the Lord in a spiritual union as well as a physical one will some vestiges of the original be made possible. All hell is set against it!

What do I mean by that? In Genesis 1:26 we are told: ‘
Then God said,”Let us make man in Our image, according to our likeness.’ And again in Gen 5:1 ‘In the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female; and blessed them and called them Man in the day they were created.’ Man as male is not the image of God on his own. Woman as female is neither the image of God on her own. Male and female joined by God are the image of God since both beings come out of God, fashioned and formed in different ways for one common purpose: let the Earth be ruled by the Image of God! The events of chapter 3 in Genesis started a violent campaign against marriage in order to quench and crush the Image of God on earth and to bring the Maker and Sustainer of all life into disrepute among his subjects. That is why a broken marriage is more than the mishap of two individuals, it is an onslaught on the very image of God.

But you see the formality of a marriage ritual in no way guarantees that the union we celebrated was what God put together. That depends on a few other factors. Very vital ones at that.

Marriage as a Gift of Grace

The teaching of the Word of God regarding marriage is th
at it is a ‘charismata’, a gift of grace. It is for a believer not left up to his or her personal ‘I want’, but it is a seeking the face and will of God and the receiving of the gift for either a life in marriage, which has severe limitations as to what you can do, or a life in celibate service where you have one aim only and that is to serve Christ in whatever service. Matthew 19 and 1 Cor 7 give you all the pieces of that puzzle. And that Gift of grace needs all of grace to be upheld.

“What God has put together” and ‘Be not unequally yoked’ belong together.

Does God then put together individuals because they or their relatives or their teachers or ministers want it for them, regardless of their individual relationship to God? The one hour pre-marital pep-talk rarely does more than make a most cursory survey of their faith in God. Often enough they are simply saying ‘yes we believe in God and the Lord Jesus’. But are the two agreed on what that means? Men who want women will ‘shadow convert’ for the gain of a woman and vice versa. If I want this young and beautiful virgin and the only way to get her is to say yes at an altar call, then many a young man, unfounded in his own existing faith, may readily ‘pray the salvation prayer’. I know it first hand.

So speaking clearly: the two must both be independent Children of Light before they should be drawn towards marriage at all. Because to be unequally yoked means attempting to join darkness and light. ‘What fellowship can there be in such a union?’ Christ and Belial in union? Out of the question.

But that is not the only unequal yoke. The Donkey and the Oxen are forbidden as yoke partners for a very good reason. Strength, temperament and a lot of other parameters make such a union unbearable for either or both of them, and incidentally for God too, since he prohibits such unequal yokes.

Most of the matters that creep up during the marriage years after the wedding, were never up for discussion while they were starry-eyed romantics. It is when the children are born that you begin to think about things like ‘our views on childrearing‘. Disagreement there and children become a battle ground between the parents, read adults.

Or what about how they view money, work ethics, entertainment preferences, gender equality and a host of other issues that will intrude in their lives? It is very hard to tune the piano while playing the Moonlight Serenade. What you had never considered before will cause considerable strain afterwards. Caught unawares?
‘We didn’t have the slightest Idea this could become a problem.’ Of course not! You thought that you didn’t need driving lessons for this gigantically more important part of life! Your parents and your Church had no idea either. So you were left to run in a minefield barefooted hoping you would never tread on one. But oh my how wrong you were.

And when you hobbled home on one leg bleeding from the disaster of a broken marriage you were not met by sympathetic paramedics but by a stern fellowship lambasting you for divorcing your husband. Just before being ostracised in various ways.

I state it unequivocally: What the Church has not pre-empted and prepared for by consistent teaching and example, she has no right to chastise, judge or condemn in them who tried it on their own and failed. The Church first failed them. Never is it more appropriate than here to point out that he who points one accusing finger on the failing and fallen also points three fingers on himself.

For this cause a man shall leave his Father and his mother, and shall cleave to His wife and they shall become one flesh.”

From this very condensed statement several things follow. The very verse is stated twice more in the New Testament by Jesus himself in Matthew 19/ Mark 10, and by His chosen spokesman Paul in Ephesians 5:31. Take note that Jesus insists on referring to ‘from the beginning’ which means that what was at the beginning has never changed. He had over 2000 years of history to look back on and nothing in God’s plan and purpose and plan had changed over that time. Bringing the obvious corollary: why should another two thousand years further along make any difference?

Note: “C
leaving cannot be done before the leaving is done.”
The image used is similar to the gluing together of two materials. If you have repaired a bicycle tyre you know what you had to do. Find the hole first. Clean up and rough up the surface around it with sand paper and then apply a coat of glue on the now clean surface as well as some on the patch. Then when both surfaces thus were ready you applied the patch and pressed down evening out any possible air bubbles.

Unless the one wanting to marry has left, grown out of, finished by growth the relationship of Child to Parents, and become an adult equal to the tasks of being that, then they should not marry.
Leaving is not ‘making a desperate dash for it to get out’, but a ‘having grown along the parental trellis until strong enough to continue growth beyond that support structure.’ Let me elaborate from my own experience over fifty years.

a. If you have not grown out of being a child you will find adult responsibility hard to bear, and will always be looking for some other ‘parent’ to help you because you are no adult yourself. And when you then cannot take the responsibility which you took upon yourself, for instance by having children, that would put a considerable strain on the marriage. I have met a few women who tearfully told me that when they had their child they suddenly found that they also had their spouse regressing to childhood.
Having one child is tough enough.

b. If you have not grown out of your childhood and become an independent adult you will look for substitutions for parents in your marriage partner. When for decades the wife finds herself being compared to his mother and even maybe accused of ‘not being as good as my Mother’ then that man has looked for a mother substitute in the woman he married.
Likewise many a girl whose Father failed her will unwittingly be looking for a father image of her own making in her possible partner. Only a rather immature man will want to be married to someone who mentally is his daughter. The issue of incest is dealt with in no uncertain terms in the law. It also is true that such a man maybe acting as a father as the result of never having had one. Compensating for a personal lack by adopting the role of what you never had is not uncommon.

Side note and issue: The partnerships sought by people that have been sexually abused as children tell some gruesome stories. Prisons have lots of child abusers who were abused as children. Support groups for abused women regularly have to face horrendous abuse carried out in ‘Christian homes’.

c. If you married to get away from your parents then your adhesive surface to your partner is dirty and the join will come unstuck if the slightest trace of what you ran away from shows up in your marriage. A ripped surface cannot be successfully glued on to another of the same kind and hope for a good bonding. Leaving is not ‘I hate you I am leaving’. It is: ‘Thank you for all you have done for me these 20 years, I am ready to stand on my own two feet now.’
I also note that a man must be able to be independent of his parents before he can take responsibility for someone else. Likewise the woman needs to be standing on her own as a woman before becoming someone’s spouse.

Put differently: It is a father’s role to lift the male child out of mother’s arms and train him to be a man before he attempts to become a father. It is equally the Father’s role to lift the female child out of the arms of the mother and assist her in growing into a woman before she becomes a wife and mother.

Missing the independence bridge between childhood and parenthood has serious warning flags and bodes unwell for the future. If Children in adult sized clothes marry they will become children who have children. Their children will remain children because they lack true role models. Take note of the consistent infantilisation across the entire culture during the last decades since the WW2.

And note this: Apart from the Orcas mankind is the only being that has about one third of life left after the end of fertility. All other animals die when they no longer are fertile, or they have no life outside their fertile years. Our parenting years are from about 20 to 45. If you never cultivate being adults before becoming parents then you will also find that once the children have left home your marriage may be under serious strain. If your major role for 20 plus years was being a parent, then you have allowed life to shrink. The years between 40 and 45 see the majority of divorces. Well, if you thought that the parenting years were the only important ones then you would have done nothing in preparation for the last third of your life except being good grandparents and feeding the birds.

Divorce does not happen out of the blue. And divorce is never only the fault of one partner in that marriage. The fault may rest in generations before.
“The sins of the Father’s run through to the third and fourth generations.” The Church is sadly very much lacking in any such insights.

I was given a folder at my grandmother’s death containing a number of Birth Certificates for the four generations before my own birth. Not one of them, for four generations, had been born in wedlock. I myself escaped being what was then and there known as being a ‘bastard’ by three weeks. Tell me more about generational sins…

The Teaching of Ephesians chapter five

You will have noticed by now that I am showing you lots of contributing factors to why marriage is such a very challenged way of life. And Satan hates it because of it being the one way in which the image of God is seen in the world. And that image is ultimately Christ. Which is clearly stated in Ephesians chapter five.

First Paul describes the order in the Church with Christ as the head, men in Christ being the heads of their households and women being their ‘suitable helpers’, because the husbands
‘love the wives as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her.’ And their love for their wives is a love for themselves as no man hates his own flesh. And here again the foundational statement is made as it was in the beginning. ‘For this cause a man shall leave his Father and Mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become flesh.’ And here he tumbles our minds by declaring: ‘This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the Church. Nevertheless let each individual among you also love his wife even as himself and let the wife see to it that she respects her husband.’

By the time you come to any kind of divorce, neither love nor respect nor submission to the Lord is any longer a going concern. In varying degrees both have long since stopped living a Christian Testimony. The Divorce is the sad end of a long series of processes that were never nipped in the bud. And when a Christian marriage fails it is a failing of the ‘Church in my house to preach Christ.’ Marriage is seen as a Prophecy of Christ and the Bride of Christ. No wonder Satan hates it. A Christian marriage in the Spirit is a constant sermon of Christ. Not very likely to be supported by the Evil one.

Root causes
The bitter streak of failure runs through many a love story gone wrong. And why did they?
‘They made me caretakers of vineyards, but I have not taken care of my own vineyard.’ And again: ‘Catch the foxes for us, the little foxes that ruin the vineyard.’
What may some of these processes that break down marriage be?

See 1 Corinthians 7 for some very important ones.
Not giving each other that for which one did marry. Depriving one another. Not fulfilling duties to each other. Using spiritual excuses for neglecting one another. Not praying together, not worshipping together, not playing together.

See 1 Peter 3 for some others. Not treating wives with due respect and concern is a hindrance to prayer. No man is a saint in the assembly whose wife stays home and weeps in despair over being treated as a lesser inheritor of the Grace of life.

See Hebrews 13:4 about the undefiled marriage bed. Who was it that famously said ‘there are three people in this marriage’? When the heart is captured by other possible partners in order to cope with the present one then the bed is defiled.

All may fall
Famous preachers have fallen for the temptations that readily are available wherever you turn. Satan targets the married because they are the visible image of God and of Christ and the Church. In fact men of authority and powerful speech and commanding appearance are especially targeted. Women frequently fall in love with such men. Not for their individual attractiveness but because of the power and charisma they exude. These powerful men who have such a wide ministry reaching so many people are an eyesore to Satan and he will do whatever he can to get them out of the pulpit. It is all about silencing the voice of God through them.

Trap them in adultery and fornication and their marriage soon collapses and their own Church will speedily complete the process of silencing that voice. Is that how God evaluates it? If you don’t catch them in the wrong bed then you may catch them red-faced with the hand in the cookie tin. Or snitching a few uncounted notes from the wrong till. Or see how the adulation of the mega churches blow up the status of mere men aiding a growth of their importance in public exposure, and pride will soon puff them up beyond the bursting point. The means are only important in the ‘scandalon’ they create. (Stumbling block)

Irrespective of how many have been blessed for decades, one such sin cancels out the entire work of that man. After having sown good seed in a thousand fields the man makes the mistake of sowing in one wrong field and he is done in permanently, by his own church, which not uncommonly became what it is because of his ministry.

Who was allowed to rob Job of all? And he had not even sinned!

Thus not infrequently the voices most needed at the time have been silenced because they fell into the honey traps of Satan. And the Church has no interest in rescuing them as burning brands out of the fire they get in. On the contrary. They are happy to pour petrol on the flames.
When I left my wife in 1985 I received a letter from one minister in whose Church I had been teaching. His message to me was curt and coarse:
‘Judas went and hanged himself, do thou likewise.’

The Church gives them up and forthwith ignores them. At the time they needed the support of the church they were left alone like Uriah the Hittite in the storming of Rabbah. (2 Samuel 11) They may live for years as shadows in some Church or other in ignominy and the gifts once so needed and desired are buried. ‘If one member suffers the whole body suffers.’

Does God recall his gifts and calling? No not according to His word and grace. But the Church has taken on her that task of silencing and gagging. By what reasoning is a man’s understanding of the word and the efficacy of Grace diminished or perverted by his sin of divorce and adultery? The ten years after I was defrocked and dismissed from the Church were silent years. Of the 750 members that I had served for 7 years three contacted me. One because I owed him money. One because he pressed the wrong button on his mobile phone and one, 1, to wish me a good Christmas, by text message. My wife, who was considered the victim of our divorce went Sunday by Sunday to the same Church and for one year nobody spoke to her. She later helped the Church with a personal loan in a time of financial Crisis. She received no thanks.

I hate divorce says the Lord”, and him who covers his garment with wrong. So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously.’ Malachi 2:16

Judging from the way divorcees have frequently been treated in the Church the hatred of God against divorce is also spread over the divorcees by the Church. And the roll-back effect is that the sin of divorce is given a status next to the un-forgivable sin. Those who have failed in Love are barred from the Love of God because of sin. But it was their sins that set the Love of God in motion. He who divorces and remarries commits adultery and must therefore be kept out of the fellowship of the saints. He or she may have repented, but their deed is not forgotten. And it may also never be forgiven in any real sense. Forgiving without forgetting is a worm gnawing at grace. If they have re-married then their repentance demands that they leave that marriage and return to their former partner. Somehow this second divorce is justified as a means to rectify the former wrong. How another wrong corrects a first I have never been shown.

There is no foundation in scripture for attributing higher or lower levels of damnation to different sins. On the absolute contrary: he who has broken the law in one point has broken it in every point. And to make matters worse, Jesus clearly said that even the thought of lusting for another woman or man is as good as the actual act. Judging a brother or sister in whose shoes you have not stood in silence for even one moment is also a sin. Calling your brother a fool sets you up for hell fire. Many have said to me:
‘I am as guilty as you are, but I have never been caught actually doing it.’

‘Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one of you looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens and thus fulfil the law of Christ.’
Restoration in biblical terminology is clearly set out in many places. It always means a giving back to the nation or to an individual what he has lost because of sin and misconduct, either his own or that of the world around. It means bringing back to full health. Restoring in full measure, well packed, shaken down and overflowing. Where the Church fails most dramatically is in this area.

But when those who have been through the mill and therefore have learnt a grace beyond grace, and have been forgiven so much still stay in the Church then they are gifts to the Church, gifts that would put feet under grace and be the best equipped to serve in grace.

But commonly a divorced minister is not again allowed in the pulpit. The reason? Well the Scripture is adamant that a bishop or overseer must be the husband of one woman.
So it is interpreted as meaning, a man who was married only to one woman in his life. What there is in scripture to support that interpretation I have yet to see.

Is it likely that a divorced man will justify his sin?
Is his teaching somehow contaminated, like leprosy contaminates?
Will his sin have spread to his theology so that nothing he says can be received without damage to your soul?

The original prohibition is written against the back drop of a polygamous society where having several wives was common place. A widower who had remarried would also be a man of several wives, would he not. A bigamous man should not be leading the Church. But a remarried man is not in Bigamy. Although he may be said to be a serial monogamous person. Horror of horrors. It was such a person albeit imagined that the Sadducees used in a famous question to Jesus.

Master, a woman was married to a man who died, so she married his brother, and that repeated itself until she had married all seven brothers. Which one will have her in the resurrection?’
The answer is very illuminating. ‘You know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. In heaven we shall be as the angles, they neither marry nor are given in marriage.’
Note: marriage is not eternal
Note: marriage does not carry over into the resurrection
Note: marriage is for the here and now

A church for the broken

The world in which we live is full of broken people. Unless we meet them with the experience of grace over sin we can never become a haven for them. We may preach that the judgment of God will soon strike down the nations that rage against the Lord and His anointed. But the Lord says that judgment begins at the House of God. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Our God is a consuming fire, He sits as a refiner of silver and a bleacher of wool with the fullers soap.
Malachi 3

When a divorcee returns to the fold, he is often received the way the Older brother received his prodigal brother. The Father embraces and welcomes, the brother frowns and can’t understand what the fuzz is about.

In every church there are several divorcees, several almost broken marriages, some just about holding to the social habit of suffering in silence in cold and love-less marriages but keeping up appearances is vital. Partly it is our culture and partly it is our pride that keeps us in such deadlocks.

Our bible is the record of sinners forgiven, seven thousands times seven. We relish the psalms of that arch adulterer David, we relish in the king Solomon with a thousand wives, we know our Lord comes from a line of the incestuous, the tempestuous and the outcasts, the socially ousted and the alien in the land. He sat with the prostitutes and the tax-collectors and wine bibbers and made them into his Church.

This is supposedly to be the same Church which today is almost only for the successful in marriage and business, snug and safe in the cocoon of social acceptability. If you have never been brought low, sympathy for the lowest is often missing. Only those eyes light up in real joy and laughter which have been cleared by their own tears of contrition and shame.

Am I going to hell because I have left my wives?
Has God forsaken me because of my failed marriages?
Is grace now not for me because I have sinned against God and fellow man?

‘Father forgive them for my sake.’

Teddy Donobauer Jan 22 2021

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