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.’

Restoration
‘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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