Friday, February 27, 2004
Divorce and Remarriage
A recent visitor to our church remarked that as a person who had been divorced and was remarried, he felt uncomfortable because of the comments I made in my sermon, "God's Divine Plan for Families and Why the Divorced Are Under a Curse." I, of course, made no apology for the Truth of God's word about this topic and advised the individual that the Bible's teaching is very clear on the subject and I can do no less than stand for what the Scriptures teach. As I expected, this couple did not return - proof once again that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. I'm sure they will find a comfortable spot in one of the burgeoning number of "Emergent" or "Postmodern" churches where sin of every sort is not only tolerated but glossed over as if it were no sin at all.
One of the clearest teachings in the entire Bible is that divorce, in most cases, is a sin and that remarriage in all cases is wrong. I am quite proud of the fact that there are only a few individuals attending our church who are divorced and there are no couples who are remarried. How do we manage this incredible feat? It is actually quite easy. We make things so uncomfortable for such people that only the most dedicated Pharisees are willing to stay in our church. We constantly make references to the sanctity of marriage, intact families, the evils of divorce, the blessings of married life and the need to stay together no matter how abusive the spouse or how intolerable the situation. Most people who want to excuse their sin and wish to be coddled in their corruption soon get the message that we are a church who stands for the Truth and uncompromising in our stand against wickedness.
Some are unclear as to why we are so adamant on this subject. The reasons are numerous but I will name a few. The main reason is that the only time divorce is acceptable in God's eyes is in cases where a spouse has committed the sin of adultery. We also recognize that there are sometimes extenuating circumstances when an unregenerate spouse will leave a believing spouse and, as Paul teaches in his letter to the Corinthians, the believing spouse is not bound in such cases to remain married. In this we are truly liberal in allowing divorced believers to remain in the congregation despite the fact that they have participated in breaking the bonds of holy matrimony. So, while divorce is a great evil in today's society, we recognize that it
happens and work hard to accept people in a loving way even though their lives are horribly ruined and they are rendered eternally unqualified for any full time Christian ministry positions.
However, we would never allow them or any other divorced person to remarry in our church. If people who have been divorced marry, then according to the Bible they are living in adultery. And anyone who is living with an adulterer is committing adultery by marrying the divorced person - so both individuals in such an arrangement are living in sin. While divorce and remarriage are not unpardonable sins, the fact that such a couple is living in a perpetual state of adultery as long as they are married, prevents them from participating in many of the activities of the church. A man who divorces and remarries is forever disqualified from ever being a pastor. This is one of the reasons I never listen to Charles Stanley because he is soft on personal sin as evidenced by his corrupt life. Remarried people are denied the right to hold any leadership positions, church offices and are prevented from serving on key committees. They are not really treated as second class Christians however, because we magnanimously provide them many areas of service like grounds keeping, church janitor, folding bulletins and
of course contributing to the work of the church with their tithes and offerings. We even allow them to partake of the Lord's Table as long as they confess their immoral relationship before the church prior to each communion service so that they don't partake unworthily with unconfessed sin in their lives.
Some would say that there are no Pharisees who are divorced and remarried and this is patently not true. There are a number of folks who were divorced and remarried before they were saved. In these cases their sin is covered under the blood of Christ's forgiveness and grace so they are no longer living in adultery. Those who divorce and remarry after salvation are not afforded this forgiveness and grace, which is why they will continue to live in adultery as long as they remain together. Indeed the best thing for such Christians to do is to divorce their adulterous spouses and dedicate themselves to a celibate life, content with serving God on the fringes of Christian ministry.
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord
assigned to him and to which God has called him.
I Corinthians 7:17 (NIV)
Saturday, February 21, 2004
The Woman's Place
Today I would like to deal with a topic that I have heard is quite controversial in some circles. I know that most non-Pharisee churches have difficulty with this issue but I have become increasingly alarmed by the number of Pharisee churches that are beginning to compromise with the spirit of this world on the very important topic of the Woman's Place in the church. This topic is only controversial to those who ignore the authority of God and his Holy Word and anyone who rejects the Bible teaching on the Woman's Place blasphemes the Word of God by despising Sound Doctrine.
Let me state first of all that I love women and believe that God has a divine order and economy under which we are to abide. The Bible that tells us Christ is to rule over the man and the man is to have dominion over the woman because "the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man" in I Corinthians 11:3 meaning that the woman's God-ordained place is to be in subjection to the man. This is not my decision or interpretation but this is straight from the Bible that it is the man's place to rule over the woman. I realize this is an awesome duty and weighty responsibility and women should be grateful for the fact that God has not placed this grievous burden on their delicate shoulders. I say this, not to be lord over God's heritage, but to humbly submit to the divine decrees of God and gravely accept this heavy weight of accountability before Him. After all, man bears some of the responsibility in the Fall but the primary blame is put on the woman for deceiving the man. It is true that had Eve listened to Adam in the first place, we would not be in the state we are in and none of this would be controversial at all.
But the Bible is very clear about the woman's role in the church. Just read the following:
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1 Timothy 2:8-12).<BR>
It is clear from this passage that all the leadership roles in the church belong to the man and all the "followship" roles belong to the woman. It is not the woman's place to pray in church but the man's. It is not the woman's role to lift up hands in church but the man's. Women should never dress up for church, wear make-up or jewelry but instead be clothed with good works and humility. They should also be silent and in subjection because they are not permitted to usurp authority over the man. Once again, these are not my words, these are straight from the Bible and to go against them is to go against the plain teaching of the Word.
This is not to say that women cannot contribute to the work of the Lord. They are only forbidden speaking and leadership roles. There is plenty for women to do in the church. They are naturally inclined toward children and it is only right and fitting that they teach the children during Sunday School. The older women are commanded to teach the younger women how to be good wives and keepers at home - an endeavor that meets with my enthusiastic approval.
One of the biggest problems in the church today is that women don't know their place in the home, let alone their place in the church and this instruction by the older women is desperately needed. Women are also well suited to cooking the food for the carry-in dinners, setting the tables, and cleaning the dishes afterward while the men discuss the weighty matters of theology and doctrine. The best church janitors are women and some even do well as groundskeepers by planting flowers and such around the church house. There are many areas of service for women, even though they are denied speaking and some teaching roles in church.
You can find more ideas for areas of service for women in the church at:
The following is taken from the site.
Some of the works which women may do include: write Bible class material, visit the sick--shut-ins — weak members — newcomers, see that recreation through the home is provided for the church’s youth, prepare the communion, assist women at baptism (and wash baptismal towels & garments), grade Bible correspondence courses, teach women’s and children’s classes, office work (bulletins, etc.), clean the church building, help evangelize, baby-sit for other church workers and arrange bulletin boards. Only one’s imagination limits the work which women may do in the church, yet within the bounds set forth by God in his Word.
Another good source of information on the woman's place can be found at:
which tells us:
Verse fifteen of this chapter call women to their proper place and task.
And that is childbearing! "She shall be saved in childbearing." This needs all the emphasis we can give it in our day! Childbearing includes the actual conception and bearing of children and all the rearing of them in God's fear. God gives the women of the church ample opportunity to teach and to rule. They must teach and rule their little ones in the fear of His Name. Some would accuse us Pharisees of wanting to keep women "barefoot and pregnant" in the service of the Lord. It should be abundantly clear that this is a blatant calumny of the worst sort. There is absolutely no mention in the above paragraph - as you can read for yourself - about keeping women barefoot.
In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church - for we are members of his body.
Ephesians 5:28-31 (NIV)<BR>
Saturday, February 14, 2004
Dissing the Passion
I feel that it is time for me to speak out against Mel Gibson's latest movie, The Passion of the Christ. I realize that his feature doesn't come out in movie theaters until February 25 and some might wonder how I can criticize a movie I have never seen but there is enough on the web to prove to me that this is the latest in a long line of Hellywood blasphemies against the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Besides, I have never allowed lack of thorough knowledge about any topic to be an impediment to sharing my opinion on it.
The first reason to oppose The Passion is because it is a movie. It is not possible for anything shown on the silver screen to bring honor and glory to the Lord even though some might think so. Movie houses are where sexually charged young people go to engage in heavy petting and other forms of carnal misconduct. It is an unholy abomination to think that Christ could be glorified in such a place. We need to keep Him in the church (Ephesians 3:21) where He belongs and not allow him to become tainted by contact with the world.
The second reason to oppose this movie is because it is being praised by the popular press such as Christianity Today and The Chicago Tribune and even Newsweek. Web sites like Jews for Jesus are discussing it and there is just no end to the good things people are saying about the movie. Except for a few radical fringe groups, no one seems opposed to the movie except for good sound Pharisees like myself. Such popularity with the world is proof that the movie cannot be pleasing to God. The World is not attracted to the things of God but is repelled by them so if the World likes The Passion, then it cannot be of God.
Another reason for standing against this movie is found in looking at who is standing for it. Godless carnal Christians involved in the "church growth" movement are among those most heavily promoting it. Rick Warren, one of the biggest culprits in the mega-church movement is recommending sources of materials for use in discussing the movie at http://www.passionmaterials.com/default.asp and http://resources.purposedriven.com/pd/item_M012804002.htm for example. He even has an article on his web site describing how it is being used at his super-sized church. He also lists what he calls good reasons to see the Passion on his web site . But then this is to be expected from someone who desecrated God's church by showing the movie there and having Mel Gibson share his thoughts with the crowd of pastors in attendance. But he is not the only one promoting it. Mission America is also suggesting that folks use it as a springboard for evangelism. This is the kind of thing we can expect from the New Evangelical movement.
Other reasons for avoiding the movie include the fact that everyone involved is Catholic and they know absolutely nothing about Jesus Christ. Mel Gibson is a Catholic of one of the most extreme sorts so clearly he is going to make scriptural errors and distort the word of God. Jim Caviezel, the actor committing the idolatrous blasphemy of portraying Jesus as a long-haired Renaissance-style sissy in the film, is also a staunch Roman Catholic. It is the highest sacrilege for us mere human beings to think that we could resemble Jesus Christ in any way, let alone feel qualified to play him in a movie. A true Christian has no business trying to create a representation of Jesus that attempts to be easily understood by the World.
But the most important reason for not going to the movie is because nothing good can come of it. It is a violent portrayal of the death of Jesus Christ that should never be shown to the public. We should never see Jesus Christ humiliated in such a gross distortion of the Bible account. Our task is to exalt Jesus Christ, not degrade him by showing him suffering and dying on the cross. We should lift him up and set him on God's right hand rather than focusing on his shameful death. Christ on the cross is certainly not the point of the Bible and dwelling on His Passion will only discourage people from relying on their God-ordained pastors for all of their information and guidance in understanding the truth about their Lord. It is not our business to focus on the death of Jesus Christ and what that means for us, but we should be focusing on leading lives that are as sinless and holy as possible. If it weren't for the holy life that I live, Jesus' death would have been for nothing. And after all, isn’t that what Jesus came to do - to suffer on behalf of people like me who would live a nearly perfect life in honor of Him?
Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love, just as Christ love us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
EPHESIANS 5:1-2 (NIV)
Friday, February 06, 2004
I had forwarded a link to a wimpy, soft-headed, pansy Christian on the need for maintaining the death penalty and he accused me of being a hypocrite on the right to life issue. After a heated exchange with this "brother" I got the impression that he seemed to think it inconsistent for a Christian to be opposed to abortion under the appellation of being "pro life" and at the same time favor the death penalty. He accused me of claiming to be pro life when in practice I am pro death. What utter and complete nonsense!
He first tried to convince me that the forerunners of our modern Pharisee churches were against the death penalty but what he failed to realize are some key facts:
• If these churches were in existence today, we would not allow them into our denomination because they would be failing to uphold the laws of our great country which is known world-wide as a Godly Country.
• The reason these churches opposed the death penalty was because the established church of the day would often persecute them to death, so this was nothing more than a position of self-interest, rather than enlightened godly principle.
• Our connection with these historic churches is much more tenuous than one is led to believe and he is merely looking at the writings of known "radical" offshoots of the True Pharisee tradition not the wider body of Pharisee thought at the time.
• Finally, if these forerunners of our modern-day Pharisees were to exist in our country in our day and age, they would likely favor the death penalty once they knew how justly it was enforced.
This namby-pamby bleeding-heart christian misses the fact that in this country the death penalty is legal. The death penalty cannot be immoral if it is legal. The laws of this country give the courts the right to execute judgment on convicted criminals. Arguments about innocent victims being put to death in miscarriages of justice or the disproportionate number of poor and minority victims are merely red herrings to mask the issue. Even if the victims were innocent of the particular crime they were being tried for, God would not allow an innocent person to die. If they are put to death, then it is done justly and for a crime we simply don’t know about. Anyone who has read the pro-death penalty book The Chamber by John Grisham will see the sense of this argument. And the reason more poor and minority victims are put to death is due to the simple fact that they commit most of the crimes. The O.J. Simpson trial is proof that a poor innocent person of color can get a fair trial in this country.
Abortion on the other hand is always immoral because it involves the taking of an innocent life. The fact that it is legal does nothing to make it right. Our country is in the business of passing laws, not morality. It is a well established fact that the government can’t legislate morality. Just because we are legally allowed to do something does not mean we ought to do it. Smoking, drinking, dancing and going to movies are all legal but they are certainly not things any self-respecting Christian would ever do.
Another argument he made is that we are not really pro life because we do not have any women who attend our church with their babies who were not aborted. While this may be true, he misses the whole point of it. First of all, no good Pharisee girl would ever bring an unwanted child into this world. In order to get pregnant, girls must fornicate, and Pharisees are never guilty of this sin. The average Pharisee may be guilty of a little lust here and there but true Pharisees would never fall into the trap of sexual sin. This transgression, like divorce and remarriage, is reserved for those who are only professing Christians rather than true possessors of the Spirit of Christ. So, by definition, any girl who gets pregnant out of wedlock probably isn’t a Christian and would immediately be dropped from the church roles and excommunicated from the assembly. So it is not that we are not pro life but it is the fact that we don’t have women in our Pharisee churches who would ever be in a place where they would consider getting an abortion because all of their children would be wanted. It’s simply not a sin we are susceptible to.
Aside from that, we would not want such women around our impressionable young girls. Any woman who would consider abortion as a viable alternative is not someone we want darkening the door of our church. But just because we do not want fallen women and their illegitimate offspring in our churches does not mean that we are not pro life. We would never condone their sexual permissiveness and we need to demonstrate our stance against sin so we separate ourselves as much as possible from the world. Being pro life doesn’t mean we are not anti sin.
Finally, what this dogmatic dilettante doesn’t realize is that support of the death penalty stems from our pro-life stance. It is precisely because we hold life in such high esteem that we demand the death penalty for murder. If we allow someone who has murdered to go on living, we show that we place a low value on the life of the victim. Killing the killer is how we show respect for the life of the one who was killed. The Bible is very clear that we need to practice "a life for a life" when it comes to capital crimes. If we don’t take the life of those who have no respect for it, then we show that we don’t respect life by allowing life to go on for these heinous criminals.
Say to the Israelites: If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.
If anyone takes the life of a human being, he must be put to death. Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution – life for life. If anyone injures his neighbor, whatever he has done must be done to him: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. As he has injured the other, so he is to be injured.
Exodus 24:15-19 (NIV)
Death penalty advocates often cite Leviticus 24:17 in defense of their position. They don’t cite the verse before it and support legislation making blasphemy a capital offence, nor do they cite the verses after it in support of administering personal injury in payment of personal injury claims. I wonder why that is?