How do I rationalize divorce? How do I discourage cohabitation?

May I count the ways.

In terms of rationalizing divorce, the following scripture comes to mind. I hear and read women using various paraphrases of it as part of their divorce narrative. The thing about this scripture is that uniquely the church and the secular world align perfectly in supporting the poor dears as they finally discover this truth. How often can we say that some scriptural truth is so widely adopted? Not very.

As you read this, imagine the strength indwelling you that you didn’t know you had. Imagine the self-esteem issues you have manufactured in your own mind becoming distant memories. Hold your head high, breath a deep cleansing breath, and cling to these words:

“Sometimes walking away has nothing do with weakness, and everything to do with strength. We walk away not because we want others to realize our worth and value, but because we finally realize our own.”


You will find this in the book of Robert Tew. What? Not scripture? Your bible omits that book? Maybe its just a quote from some guy. What do I know? It ought to be there. in some book. 

Would it not be better to avoid divorce altogether? I know, that’s a tough question but try to weigh it objectively. How would you go about lowering the rate of divorce?

You could list off all the statistics about how bad it is for kids and adults alike, social pathologies, suicides, poverty, to mention a few things that increase with more frequent divorces. Not compelling? You are probably right.

Maybe take a look at some causes for divorce? Then advise against doing these things? Take for example cohabitation. Recently a study was released that claims to show how cohabitation is not linked to higher divorce likelihood. Evangelicals have invested lots of resources into the idea that cohabitation is a huge divorce predictor. Why would they do that? Because it gives them a way to seem to be against divorce and to even be taking a stand on something that they claim causes divorce, without really acknowledging the Jabba the Hut in the room.

Family Life didn’t wait long to react to the mainstream medias celebration of a study claiming that cohabitation is hunky dory. In todays email they get their own expert,Scott Stanley, a research professor at the University of Denver  to write a rebuttal which includes the following list:

  • Serial cohabitation is associated with greater risk for divorce. In this context, serial cohabitation means living with more than one partner before marrying. Cohabitating with more than just the person you end up marrying is associated with poorer outcomes in marriage.
  • Cohabitating unions are less likely to end in marriage.
  • Cohabitatingwith your eventual mate before marriage or before having clear, mutual plans for marriage is associated with lower marital satisfaction in marriage and higher risk for divorce.
  • Cohabitating before having a mutual and clear intention to marry is on the rise.
  • The rate of unplanned pregnancies is much greater among unmarried, cohabitating women than it is among married women.
  • The transition into living together is associated with sharply increasing constrains of the sort that make it harder to break up, yet the kind of commitment (dedication) that is most strongly associated with happy, strong relationships levels off.
  • Having sex earlier in a relationship is associated with lower marital quality, partly because moving quickly to sex is associated with moving quickly to cohabitating.That is, for some couples, sex too soon leads to cohabitating too soon, which can lead to a poorer foundation for a marriage.

It’s interesting that they do the same thing here that they will not even do on divorce in general. They list out some human consequences for the behavior, in this case cohabitation. The problem is twofold:

One, none of these things really refute the study that diminishes the the point about cohabitation being linked to divorce. These bullets talk all around the matter, but avoid challenging the core assertion.

Two. Why Empath are you trying to argue in favor of cohabitation? Glad you asked. I’m not. Thats your feminised reading that whiplashes you to the extreme when you read anything that challenges something you’ve heard from the pulpit since you were a toddler.  The argument is a distraction anyway. Im simply saying that the reason cohabitation is bad is not that it leads to or doesnt lead to divorce. Its bad because its wrong because it is a sin. Outta be sufficient.

Same with divorce. The mealy mouthed approach to these things is an abject failure. What drives mealy-mouth-ism? Simple fear of the church attending partcipants in the thing being addressed. Once the fear of divorced people kept “divorce is sin” from passing pastor’s lips. Fear of divorced parents precludes pastor saying that kids are statistically less likely to thrive after divorce. Now, add fear of cohabitating couples and the fear of saying cohabitation is wrong.

Its an over all reluctance to just call it as it is. With biblical authority, which seems to be an authority rarely tapped into these days. The way to get your favorite sin off the church radar is to get lots of members doing it!

In this case, its better get a professor to write a list of true statements that have no bearing on the core argument. Once you accept the invitation to dance the dance of competing experts, you should expect to always be the follower in that dance. The only alternative dance, and one where you can lead the dance unequivocally, is the appeal to the authority of scripture.

But that is risky these days. Besides it would rob precious time and resources from all the advocacy efforts and boycotts of things that have to do with abortion, homosexuality, and Ashley Madison. These, the church and its compliment of multi divorced cohabitators can unite upon! Nothing assuages sin guilt like repentence and foregiveness highlighting bigger sins that are less common in the church body.

 

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72 thoughts on “How do I rationalize divorce? How do I discourage cohabitation?

  1. Cohabitation used to be a huge predictor of divorce, when it was the near-renegade cultural pioneers who lived together before marrying. Nowadays cohabitation is the norm, and the ones that move on to marriage are the cultural Neanderthals.

  2. We cohabited which was totally wrong for all the reasons everyone knows and some they don’t. Of course, the rings were bought and the church was booked when we signed the lease, but we did cohabit. Knowing that our chances for divorce were greater would have done nothing to discourage us from moving in together.

    The only way that Christians are going to get anyone to do what’s right (before marriage or after) is with the gospel, prayer, and by being living examples of truth rather than just lip servers of it.

    God changes hearts, not statistics.

  3. I meant to highlight this part before my comment:

    The argument is a distraction anyway. Im simply saying that the reason cohabitation is bad is not that it leads to or doesnt lead to divorce. Its bad because its wrong because it is a sin. Outta be sufficient.

    Well said. Of course, there is the issue of fornication in general, which most Christian couples engage in whether they cohabit or not. Preachers avoid that one too.

    Our pastor went off on the gay marriage tangent a couple of weeks ago, and my daughter nudged me because apparently my face was no appropriately earnest in agreement.

    I told SAM later, “That we feel the need to jump on this bandwagon in a church where more than half the kids were born to single parents is laughable. I didn’t mean to seem disrespectful, but given the stats in our church (even though it seems to be less dire in our church than the average), you’d think we’d hear more about divorce and fornication. But we don’t.”

    The church has its pet issues, like everyone else.

    [now you have done it. I think i’ll ban you for bringing up something that made me uncomfortable]

  4. If the Church talked honestly about divorce it would have to honestly talk about the factors surrounding it honestly. Such as economic factors, financial, social, medical. The narrowed gap, from the19th century between men and women’s work finally felt by the middle classes in the 20th Century. And then they’d have to admit that like Civil War or WWI generals the tech has outpaced the tactics. They’d have to admit that they teach empty platitudes about marriage. They don’t want to admit its a crapshoot.

  5. If the Church talked honestly it might actually be the Church. The “church” in most instances has become the direct pipeline to the doctrines of demons. You’ll more frequently find better theology coming from a bar stool than a pulpit, at least those people know they are wretched, naked and blind. When you clear your eyes and realize that “church” is a business organization and not the organic body of Christ the sooner you see what motivates nearly every word proceeding from their mouths.

  6. But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
    (Isa 28:7-8)

  7. Re: “You’ll more frequently find better theology coming from a bar stool than a pulpit”. The typical armchair philosopher has nothing on the typical barstool philosopher, not to mention the barstool preacher. “Yep, I’m not living it right now, but at least I’ve still got the Spirit ‘cuz I KNOW I ought to be doing better. Belch.”

  8. [now you have done it. I think i’ll ban you for bringing up something that made me uncomfortable]

    It’s the hypocrisy that GIL mentioned above. People love to pick out the thing they didn’t do (cohabit) but leave out that they were fooling around in the back seat of a car or shacked up in a motel when they told their parents that they were at the movies or dinner (or even youth group!) with their girlfriend of boyfriend.

    You notice I almost never, ever write posts directed at single women on the issue of how to land a good husband? It’s not because I have no thoughts on the issue. I even have righteous thoughts, Biblically acceptable stuff. I talk to my girls about it, but I never write about it publicly. I think I may have once, and it was very general stuff like don’t be fat, bitchy, and useless when it comes to domesticity. The nuts and bolts, I avoid.

    The reason for that is because I have no idea from experience what it is to land a husband righteously, and I don’t pretend that I do.I was so reckless, shameful and rebellious on my way to the altar it would feel hypocritical to dare to school any young women besides my own on how to do it right.

    Now how to keep a husband reasonably happy and satisfied? That I can speak to, so I do.

    I suspect that’s what is going on in the churches. There are so many people in the pulpits with sketchy pasts, Biblically suspect divorces and remarriages, and high pre-Christian N’s that they think to preach sin forcefully on those matters would be judgmental and hypocritical, or to withhold grace. They feel unqualified.

    So they don’t address it except in passing, to the hurt of the entire Body..

  9. Empath,

    “[Cohabitation is] bad because its wrong because it is a sin. Outta be sufficient.”

    What is your scriptural basis for this statement? Or is this another case such as the book of Robert Tew?

    My reading of Matt 19:4-6 and Mark 10:5-9 in the light of 1 Cor 6:16 would indicate that these couples have been joined by God, and should not be put asunder by man. I see no sin in their living together, but rather in them separating. If there is a biblical argument behind your assertion, I would certainly like to hear it.

  10. Marriage is the dumbest legal thing a man can do. The point was driven home recently when a judge told me married men have no constitutional protection in the family court system. Why is cohabitation any more or less sinful then what pass as legal, Bibical marriage in the here and now? Being in church, saying the words and having a piece of paper from the state conveys no permanence, no obligations to the wife, no protection for the husband…. nor does the Bible say what a man an woman has to do to be married before God.

  11. @ sfcton:

    I agree. If I met the right lady, I would be open to the idea of a “marriage”. But this time I don’t think I would do the legal paper work. We would pray together for the ceremony and then be subject to the same biblical expectations as if we got married in the traditional fashion.

  12. MN

    My comment is aimed at the serial monogamists. I suppose its technically incorrect that I suggest merely, “cohabitation is sin” without qualification. But I’ll not get dragged into the technicals about it.

    I wrote the post to make a couple of basic points. Those points stand regardless of how I sieve the points you’ve brought to the fore.

    No, its not the book or Robert Tew, or Empath or MN. You know the scriptures that would be cited. And I know the objections you would raise to them if I chose to go there. I do not nor will i ever understand why people want to test the limits. To what end? To whose benefit? Most importantly, who is edified?

    Its not my business except to choose a more careful path. I have no need for widening the guardrails. Perhaps if I did, I’d go along. That means, I am not more righteous, nor am I legalistic for its own sake, I’m happily married and have no need to carve out a cohabitation waiver on yours or any other basis.

    I agree there is no more permanent marriage based on state sanction than not. There never will be. No matter where you come down on this issue, people will mess it up. No matter how far from the state you run, your marriage will not be safer. Your money may be. But you and your family will be no more or less permanent. “Enforcement” is not really done by some judicial branch. The Law is settled, and will be at once settled one day for once and for all. Thank goodness for that.

  13. @Empath

    Honestly, I don’t know what verses you would cite, even if you do know what I would cite. This is your blog, and certainly I am not trying to detract from your points regarding serial monogamy, which I see as a pattern of divorces even when no legal marriage occurs. If this is not a conversation you want to have here, perhaps you would be so kind as to email me moosenorsman[at]gmail[dot]com. My main concern is that adopting the government’s definition of marriage would loosen God’s requirements (or as you say, widen the guardrails) concerning divorce by telling couples that it is perfectly fine for them to separate if they have no certificate of marriage. It seems to me a way of condoning the sin of divorce by simply defining it as “not divorce.” As I said above, I would be genuinely interested in a biblical case that cohabitation is sin, and hope to see an email from you soon.

  14. Well V777 these things seem to come down to those who have been through the grinder and those who have not. I reckon that is the way of things

  15. Seems to me the more careful path is the one where you don’t owe $1800 a month in alimony especially since the theology isn’t as clear as folks like to pretend.

  16. Even If you don’t legally marry, set up a traditional household, and have 3mor 4 kids you could still end up paying $1800- $2000 a month. It’s just labeled child support.

    The idea that you can have a family in this climate without risk, is the fallacy that keeps popping up.

  17. MN, we have no disagreement. I agree with holding to the real actual requirements. My scriptural references would be for fornication, N count, that sort of thing, which if one cohabitates more than once is problematic. Maybe I was not clear. Hopefully now i am.

    I think one would need to better describe the cohabitation you refer to, more thoroughly describe what you mean, in order to make the case that it is biblical marriage. In other words, it is not sufiicient to simply say, no, cohabitation is not sinful. Its too simple by half. Lay out the scenario. Im neither agreeing nor disagreeing, but if i say two virgins move in, consumate a relationship, stay together, thats different than the gal moving in with her 4th live in BF.

  18. Child support has a termination point, alimony doesn’t necessarily have one. Then comes the asset division, her bills you can get stuck with….

    There is risk Elespth and then there is being foolish. Marriage with a state sponsored contract brings much more risk then cohabitation. For the now at least.

  19. @ Empath

    Thanks for the clarification. I would agree that the two scenarios you mentioned are different. Here is my current understanding:

    When those two virgins move in together and consummate the relationship, they are married.

    If the gal goes out and has sex with someone else, that is adultery.

    If she breaks up with the guy and moves out, that is divorce.

    If after moving out she moves in with a different guy, that is adultery because she is not free to re-marry. (Mark 10:12, 1 Cor 7:11)

    I see the sin as never being cohabitation per se, but always being either divorce or adultery. I am writing a post that touches on this, hence my interest in any scripture that might change my current understanding.

  20. sfcon & Empath:
    I think Sfcon has a valid point. Actually, if you’re cohabiting, the risk of divorce is 0%, since there are no legal grounds for a divorce.

    I’ve seen among Latinos this type of marriage, they call it what translates into English a ‘Common Law Marriage’. They live together as man and wife, but never legally marry. It’s very rare that they separate, though I don’t know how common adultery might be.

    I would suspect that—especially among feminized American women—cohabitation leads to later divorce because of their endemic phobia of commitment. But I wonder: if two Christians cohabited; called a marriage but rejected the legal marriage requirements of the State—would that necessarily be a sin?

  21. @MNM

    If sex alone makes a marriage, then why does God make the “mistake” of requiring the father’s approval needed for marriage even after sex?

    If sex alone makes a marriage, then why does God make the “mistake” of calling adultery fornication?

    If sex alone makes a marriage, why is there a betrothal period?

    If sex alone makes a marriage, why does Jesus make the “mistake” of aiding, abetting, and even celebrating weddings. i.e., a “mistaken” and “idolatrous” (as it must be) communal act of marriage?

    If sex alone makes a marriage, and cessation of sex alone makes a divorce, then why does God “countermand” Himself to require a divorce decree, ie., a legal document?

    If adultery alone makes divorce, then why are both God and Jesus so clearly “mistaken” to “allow” divorce in the case of adultery?

    These things are not the understanding of the Church; nor do they even pass a test of simple reason. Question, but don’t disregard Christian tradition as worthless, when our Bibles tell us that the Holy Spirit resides in the Christian community–not in individual Christians alone, but in the Christian community. Tradition and history are how we tell ourselves about ourselves, and how to know the movement of the Holy Spirit; specifically as prescribed in the Bible. Did you write the Bible yourself? Did you teach yourself Greek, Hebrew, or even English? You are too quick to dismiss what greater men than everyone on this blog, my blog, and your blog combined have said on the subject.

    Yes, we must be diligent to test the spirits. Yes, there are numerous churches today who do not have a spirit from God. Yes, churches can be wrong about things for a very long time. Part of what we should learn from that is that if so many Christians can get it wrong for so long, then what confidence should we have that our own interpretation are correct? Do we have different Bibles than they did/do?

    Or is it merely our feelings which so many have made into personal gods? Don’t fall for the foolishness that you have access to some insight or knowledge that you did not get from another. God speaks to individuals EXTRAORDINARILY rarely, and when He does it is audible (according to the reports we have been given in the Bible), and shortly after followed by visibly miraculous signs that other witness and can testify to their super-nature. It is the way of charlatans to say that “God spoke to them” with emotional nudgings. He speaks to us through the Bible; which He in His divine wisdom and mystery chose the words and voices of mere men; testified and acknowledged by other mere men. Amen.

    It’s beyond arrogant to say that over 2,000 years later you’ve figured out what the Apostles themselves did not teach. There is a world of difference between saying adultery is like divorce, or is a divorcing act, from saying it is divorce.

  22. @MNM

    One more thing: Government has replaced a role in marriage, but it is not God’s. They have replaced the community. Rather, communities chose to hand over their sovereignty and responsibility to government in this matter; as in so many others. Like church, marriages are matters personal, communal, and divine. There is no such thing as church alone or marriage alone.

    Just as when the Israelites demanded a king–and Samuel rebuked them–God let them have their king, and the king’s authority was real. While God has allowed our formation of marriage to change, government itself has no less authority. In New Testament times government presided over marriage, and there is not word spoken against it. In fact, we are called multiple times and in strict terms to obey the government in all things. It may be a shame that government presides over marriage in the place of community, but that does not make it un-Scriptural, or idolatrous.

  23. “The reason for that is because I have no idea from experience what it is to land a husband righteously, and I don’t pretend that I do.I was so reckless, shameful and rebellious on my way to the altar it would feel hypocritical to dare to school any young women besides my own on how to do it right.

    Now how to keep a husband reasonably happy and satisfied? That I can speak to, so I do.

    I suspect that’s what is going on in the churches……They feel unqualified.

    So they don’t address it except in passing, to the hurt of the entire Body..”

    When I was growing up, my father always said stay away from cigarettes. He said they cause cancer, are horrible in general to your health, cost a lot of money, and make you smell bad. My father also smoked almost every day of his life, (and to top it off, he seems to be in decent health!) So one could define him as a hypocrite. But does it change the value of his advice to me? No,it doesn’t, and even though I see that him smoking has ended up OK for him, I do not smoke myself because of what he has said to me.

    We can get too caught up in beating ourselves up (I don’t mean give ourselves a free pass to do what we want) and be afraid to give the advice in the Bible out of fear of being hypocrites. But if we go that far in condemning ourselves, we could say that every preacher is a hypocrite! Every Christian preaches the righteousness that is Jesus Christ, pure perfection, yet no Christian lives up to it! Yet his righteousness is imputed onto us, that is what makes it OK.

    Apostle Paul killed how many Christians, yet it was him (or rather as he says CHRIST IN HIM) who church planted, spread the gospel, taught how to be a “good” Christian, even gave rules on how the church should act, how authority should act, what should or shouldn’t be done. Repentance, and Christ in Him, allowed him to give advice like this. If you repented, and Christ is in you, (and I do not know you, but from your writings it seems like it) then you can even blog about how to land a husband righteously (as per the Bible of course). You have a voice through your blog, and if that voice proclaims the wisdom in the Bible, even if it is in the small area of how to treat husbands or how to find husbands righteously, then perhaps someone, somewhere will hear it. Perhaps there are women out there who could use the biblical advice that you give to your own daughters. Just my two cents.

  24. Eric, I saw the same kind of thing in Germany and a couple of European power-lifters I know are in 20+ year cohabitation relationships.

    We know how temporary marriage tends to be so I am unsure why it’s call good, right etc as a blanket statement.

  25. If I didn’t know any better I’d say MNM might be my brother-in-law. He sounds exactly like him. It’s uncanny.

    Did you write the Bible yourself? Did you teach yourself Greek, Hebrew, or even English? You are too quick to dismiss what greater men than everyone on this blog, my blog, and your blog combined have said on the subject.

    Yes, we must be diligent to test the spirits. Yes, there are numerous churches today who do not have a spirit from God. Yes, churches can be wrong about things for a very long time. Part of what we should learn from that is that if so many Christians can get it wrong for so long, then what confidence should we have that our own interpretation are correct? Do we have different Bibles than they did/do?

    And that sounds exactly like my husband in response to him.

    It’s heartening that the conversation is taking place. Far too many believers have accepted the cheapening and discarding of marriage without any concern at all.

  26. @sfcton

    We are called to obey the government in all things? So….. we need to support abortion and what not?

    I realize this sort of thing confuses a lot of women, but: No, obedience to civil authorities does not mean you have to “support” abortion.

  27. Re: cheapening of marriage. Should a Christian couple seeking government approval go to the same official that also approves gay marriages, and the woman marrying dog (whether joke or not)?

  28. If I didn’t know any better I’d say MNM might be my brother-in-law. He sounds exactly like him. It’s uncanny.

    Actually: he sounds like my father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.

    Dark Helmet: Before you die there is something you should know about us, Lone Star.

    Lone Starr: What?

    Dark Helmet: I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.

    Lone Starr: What’s that make us?

    Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing! Which is what you are about to become.

  29. I need to clear something up. I understand MN’s points, but I do not agree. I was unclear on that. I certainly would not consider my adult child married if he/she cohabitates. I cohabitated with my wife, then we married in a church. Nice…..no excuse except then I rejected scripture and believed in nothing. I don’t know what to call it, luck (specious) or divine intervention but our first child was born 9 mos. and 3 days after our wedding date.

    What I dislike is the inconsistency the women of the church are able to exploit when this distinction between state marriage and “spiritual marriage” is raised. They use it in frivorce….”the marriage was over long ago, the legal part is formality”. Then, if he reconcile, they go straight back to sexual relations with the husband never seeing the contradiction. Truly they operate under a -whatever-it-takes- set of rules.

    I agree with the comment above about not restraining ourselves from moral guidance even though we are sinners ourselves. That is an extension of the churchian use of the log and spec. Again, whatever it takes to carve out room to rule our flesh for ourselves and assuage guilt. Hypocrisy is an interesting word, misused and abused.

  30. Actually: he sounds like my father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.

    LOL. Are you making fun of me?

    [Never, Im making fun of your BIL since I dont know him]

    On a more serious note…

    I agree with the comment above about not restraining ourselves from moral guidance even though we are sinners ourselves. That is an extension of the churchian use of the log and spec. Again, whatever it takes to carve out room to rule our flesh for ourselves and assuage guilt. Hypocrisy is an interesting word, misused and abused.

    You’re right about the misuse and abuse of the word hypocrite. A hypocrite wears a costume, and quite deliberately if I recall the definition correctly. I didn’t say it would be hypocritical for some people. I said it would feel hypocritical. I have learned over the years to make the distinction between what something feels like and what it is. A lot of people restrain themselves from what they perceive as judging someone for the things they have done. It is a very flawed notion, and it’s crippling the church morally, but it’s quite real.

    In my real life interactions with younger women (daughters, nieces, close family friends, etc.) I have no qualms about offering all kinds of advice, but I also have no qualms about sharing things that I wouldn’t dare share on a blog. There was a lot that went wrong, and a lot of pain before the bliss I write about now. I respect my husband and my kids too much to go there on the Internet.

    As for the preachers and teachers, they are held to a higher standard and should have no qualms about preaching the truth on these matters with authority. But they don’t do it, and the only reason I can surmise is that they have their own demons they wrestle with or that they don’t want to anger the parishioners. I’m not as convinced as some that the latter is the case at all.

  31. Thanks to both Empath and Cane for their criticisms. Thanks especially to Empath for allowing me to take the discussion on a tangent to his original point (and, I imagine, what he would have preferred to discuss.) I will be answering the criticisms on my own blog, due to the probable length of my response, the fact that Cane has referenced things that I wrote there and not here in his criticism, and in order to allow discussion here to return to Empath’s original points.

  32. You said obey the government in all things Cane. Questioning you, calling you out is not womanish. Side stepping my questions with snide comments is.

  33. @MNM

    the fact that Cane has referenced things that I wrote there and not here in his criticism

    I did respond holistically to you; that is to the aggregate of your recent comments and post. They’re related.

    And I’m very earnest in my advice to you. I hope when you compose your reply that first you try to understand what I’m saying; imagine I’m right, and see where that leads you. Argue my case to yourself, and then you’ll know better if, how, and where I’m wrong.

    @sftcon

    You said obey the government in all things Cane. Questioning you, calling you out is not womanish. Side stepping my questions with snide comments is.

    If you don’t want me to treat you as a 14-year old girl, then don’t write like one. Passive-aggressive comments posed as snarky questions is the crap I expect from teenage girls who mistake “So…” as a form of ironic stutter instead of the valley-girl posing that it is.

    And indeed I did directly answer your question very plainly: “No, obedience to civil authorities does not mean you have to “support” abortion.”. Your accusation that I did not is yet another display of girlish emoting that runs counter to the facts. Cut it out.

    @Eric

    “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.”—Ben Franklin

    Ben Franklin was a deist and a traitor. King George III wasn’t half the tyrant of any president since Andrew Jackson. I don’t see the relevance of your comment…unless your point is to encourage wives to rebel against their husbands if wives find husbands tyrannical today or tomorrow.

  34. Our govt very much supports abortion and exports it’s. It a legit question. You do not like being called out becasue you have jack shit for answers. You are quite good at trying the shaming lauange stuff though. Doesn’t work on me.

    Then what does obey the govt in all things mean? turn in your Jewish neighbours?

    No where does the Bible tell us to obey the govt in all things.
    You have nothing but your womanish shaming attacks.

  35. Pingback: More on marriage | Moose Norseman

  36. Cane:
    I’m not sure I can agree with your opinion about either Franklin or Jackson; but the point of the quote was that Christians are not required to obey the State in all things; and is generally more of a Christian act to resist it.

  37. @ Cane

    “I did respond holistically to you; that is to the aggregate of your recent comments and post. They’re related.”

    I appreciate that. But to have placed my response here would have not been fair to Empath, whose blog this is.

  38. Moosenorseman:
    Both those verses you cite were specific to early Christian persecutions; Peter wrote about the persecution under Claudius and Paul under Nero. In both cases, the Christians were falsely accused and the advice given here relates to not rebelling against a government which was moving against them in error (i.e. prove that the Roman Government was breaking its own laws and that would win sympathy for the Christians: according to both Suetonius and Tacitus, that policy worked).

    However John wrote: “We know that we are of God and the whole world is in the power of the Evil One” (I Jno. iii:19). Here he was clearly referring to national governments, referencing the prophet Daniel who stated clearly that earthly nations are under the administration of demons. St. Jude alludes to the same thing; and it is noteworthy that when Christ was tempted by the Devil, he was offered ‘all the kingdoms of the world.’ Meaning that the kingdoms are under the authority of the Devil. That dovetails into the Old Testament when Israel sinned by asking for a king ‘to be like other nations’ and God replied to the prophet Samuel, ‘It is not you but Me they have rejected.’

  39. I’m still waiting for a direct answer to my question Cane. Or are going to just roll with your usual lame attempts at shaming or claiming your opinion of God’s will is the only way?

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  41. @sftcon

    I don’t believe you were ever waiting for an answer; else you would see the direct one I gave you.

    There are always people like you, sftcon, who pretend to want to engage man to man, yet lack the respect and abjure the tools to do so.

  42. Upon my return to this blog I find my fellow sandboxians seem to have lost their ability to play nicely. One even mightily offers the verbal castigation of his brother being a “woman” of all things. I’ll offer two points as my two cents worth:

    1. We definitely should not just do whatever any government employee says. We as individuals, and kinda adopted Children of God, have moral agency and first must follow Jesus. Fortunately, even in our declined culture we are not being forced to commit genocide as the German people did with their Nazi oppressors. But on the other hand, if a woman gets an abortion without the father’s consent, that is tantamount to a genocide (in my opinion).

    2. I used a four syllable word above: castigation.

  43. Well the Bible is to apply to all people at all times in all places. Yes we are as far down the path of evil as Nazi germany, but abortion is a govt directive in China. But Cane would rather dismiss an arugement then deal with swing called out and wrong

  44. Vasc & Sfcton:
    The problem with the argument that Christians are to be obedient to government because government is a divine institution lies in that no one can prove any government, currently existing is of divine origin. (Except possibly Catholics could argue for the Vatican, but even that is an ecclesiastical government).

    Cane Caldo above refers to Ben Franklin as a traitor—rebelling against the legitimate government of England. Supposing that is true: all it means that our own government is illegitimate, by that form of reasoning. And as Thomas Paine pointed out in ‘Common Sense’ the English Monarchy itself was the product of a rebellion and William the Conqueror called a traitor and usurper by his own contemporaries. IOW, there is not one government anywhere which can trace its legitimacy to God.

    It follows from this that a Christian’s only allegiance is to God, though he should follow the laws of the State (insofar as they don’t conflict with his conscience) for the sake of convenience only.

  45. @Vasc, Eric & sftcon

    1. We definitely should not just do whatever any government employee says.

    A government employee’s suggestion is not the same as a a command. There is no federal, state, or local mandate to abort in the Western world. Sftcon’s example is worse than a red herring.

    The Bible clearly says that civil authorities ARE divinely appointed for punishing the wicked, and rewarding the righteous. The Bible also says that we are to obey civil authorities–which follows because they are appointed by God.

    Some of you don’t seem to understand the powers of rebellion you are playing with. Just as the Bible instructs us to obey worldly authorities and to witness to them through our obedience and righteousness, so wives are to obey their husbands; and witness to them likewise. Whatever excuses you cook up to legitimize rebellion against civil authorities can not only be used by wives against husbands, but WILL be used by wives against husbands, and on the same grounds. “Because a husband might suggest abortion, then I only have to submit to him when it’s obedient.”

    @Eric

    Cane Caldo above refers to Ben Franklin as a traitor—rebelling against the legitimate government of England. Supposing that is true: all it means that our own government is illegitimate, by that form of reasoning. And as Thomas Paine pointed out in ‘Common Sense’ the English Monarchy itself was the product of a rebellion and William the Conqueror called a traitor and usurper by his own contemporaries.

    We owe obedience to whichever government is in power over us. For Franklin–regardless of the lineage of kings–George III was his legitimate king. Franklin knew that too. That’s how he knew who to rebel against.

    IOW, there is not one government anywhere which can trace its legitimacy to God.

    The Bible says that all civil authority is appointed by God.

    The argument you three have glommed upon is the very source of wives’ rebellion against their husbands. You are the problem.

  46. Was the Soviet union divinely appointed? Should the Russians have obeyed the govt in all things? Nazi Germany? Pol Pot? The usa govt when it waged war on Southern women and children? When it waged war on the plains Indians’ s women and children?

    Everything you preach Cane breaks down in the real world. My suggestion is you do not understand God’s word nearly as well as you think.

  47. Cane, what if country X and country Y both believe God favors each of them in an upcoming war. Each government is massing troops at their borders and preparing for war. Would you interpret this as God’s will being correctly fulfilled by each country?

    What if in our country abortion had once been illegal, then a few years later abortion was made legal; optional. Would the subsequent abortions be “ok” with God because our political leadership, and/or the courts legalized abortion?

    What if public opinion in our country reversed and our elected professional politicians legislated that citizens of this country are legally free to physically round up Mexicans, bus them to the border, and toss them over the fence? Would the subsequent rounding up behavior be “ok” with God?

    What about the Catholic Church? It had appeared for centuries that the Catholic Church was the God ordained monopoly for Christianity. Then Martin Luther and the printing press arrived. Was it God’s will that Martin Luther “expose” the Catholic Church for their indiscretions and the subsequent rise of the Protestant movement; with all of the Protestant imperfections????

    Cane, I don’t know with certainty the answer to the question, “Does all that occur in this world occur do to our Creator ordaining each and every occurrence? For me, I have reached a mental understanding of how He handles this stuff. To me it appears that He allows stuff to occur, both on an individual level in our lives, and on a macro level in cultures and societies and religions and such. He is sovereign, so He can put a stop to anything, or He can fully cause something. I suspect God’s will in this current age of grace does not include genocides such as the Nazi behavior, but He permitted it to occur with His purposed limitations. But I can be wrong with this; I just don’t know for sure as I do know for sure that Jesus Christ is God in His chosen humbled form when He walked this Earth.

    Of the many aspects of humanity I find interesting is our seeming inability to escape sin 100%. To me it seems that even when we get closer to abstaining from our usual sins, that is the point that the sin of pride is more apt to surface. I suspect we cannot become 100% sinless on our own accord, while we are in our current fallen form.

  48. I have to interject that I appreciate empathologism’s frequent squeamishness, his fearing to tread on angels. I think, not knowing his whole story, it comes from having been once burned hence twice shy of eternal burning.

  49. jf12:
    I don’t understand your comment at all, but I do not know Emp at all, other than what I have read here. My limited perspective of him does not include “squeamishness” as he takes on the reigning churchian aristocracy all the time. Also his humoristic style makes for many fun reads.

  50. @vascularity, there is a carefulness, a tenderness, a softness, especially about this particular topic of divorce.

  51. @sftcon

    That is a command in China Cane. If the Bible inapplicable in the orient?

    It’s true that Christians in China actually suffer oppression. You, however, just look for trouble and a reason to be disobedient.

    Of course, you might not be a Christian at all. This is the only thing that makes sense of your comments.

    @Vasc

    What if…? What if…? What if…?

    All each of us has to concern himself with is what is going on with whoever is next to you at this moment in time. “What if’s” are just worries, and they are not our concern. They really aren’t.

    As Voddie Baucham says: I don’t write the mail; I just deliver it.

  52. Cane:
    “The argument all three of you have glommed upon is the very source of wives’ rebellions against their husbands.”

    If that were true, there would be a direct correlation between the divorce rate and political revolutions. That’s decidedly NOT true: wives were extremely supportive of their husbands during the American Revolution, both Civil Wars and the various South American revolutions. Today, we live in an era where the population is slavishly obedient to the government; and the divorce rates are off the charts.

    “The Bible says all civil authority is appointed by God.”

    I would say ‘tolerated by God’ would be a better rendering of the sense. In the OT, Israel sinned by asking for a civil ruler. Samuel prophesied of the consequences; and every Jewish king was disaster, exactly how he predicted, including David and Solomon, who were probably the best Judah produced. Both of them even had rebellions against them.

    In the Book of Judges, the Israelites offered the kingship to Gideon, who replied “I shall not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you, but Jehovah shall rule over you.” That was the proper attitude, later echoed by Samuel.

  53. Vasc:
    The government is made of up of fallible human beings like the rest of society. The only basic function of any government is to maintain order and civilization (although traditionalist-type Liberals would add to advance it, rather than simply maintain it). It stands to reason then that the further a government moves from civilized values—and religion is one of these—that further it will move from civilized behavior and norms and collapse into barbarism. Obviously, then it devolves back on to the citizenry to maintain the values that the ‘legitimate’ government has forfeited.

  54. Don’t ever worry about replying to me Cane. Some folks contacted me and I know have the measure of the kind of man you are.

  55. To revert to the original purpose of the posting, there are two legitimately held Christian views on divorce, one laid out by John Piper in his personal Position Statement on Divorce and the other best described as a more liberal approach.

    How to prevent divorce has been dealt with by in great detail by Mike and Harriet McManus of marriagesavers.org in the book “Living Together:Myths Risks and Answers” and I must admit that one of their suggestions,although not feasible in the UK sounds good: compulsory thorough pre-marital counselling by the church where the couple wish to get married.

  56. I’m a huge fan of Mike McManus. I had a lengthy email exchange with him a couple of years back. He doesn’t wear it on his sleeve like some of us would like for him to, but trust me he is a red pill aware Christian man whose motive is marriage preservation.
    However, I have to disagree that counseling before marriage is what makes his program work. Sure its a good idea, but the problems are so deeply embedded that counseling will not be able to draw them out. there is no way a hypothetical situation in a counseling setting will evoke the emotions that need to be dealt with when those same emotions are screaming in the woman’s head that she is “re;eased” from her marriage.,

    “Counseling hamsters” ……. that replaces “herding cats” as the new indication of how difficult something is.

  57. Empath, it is worth having a serious look at what Mike McManus has to say about the pre-marital counselling. It starts with the completion of a recognised questionnaire and uses the results of the questionnaire to highlight areas of potential conflict in the marriage, I was also impressed by his comment that if 10% or more of the engaged couples do not decide to not get married, then the counselling is being done ineffectively.

    Oh and, Happy Easter from the East Side (of the Pond).

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  59. Hey Fred, yes i have looked at that. I am steeped in the successes of his efforts, even as you mention the discouraging of marriages time to time. I still say that, yes, those 10% were saved from pain. the others, not so much. And, id wager they decided not to marry not because of really realizing incompatibility, but because they got in a huge fight in the session.

    I just wrote a long post that Piper inspired.

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