Somewhat off topic given the current trends, but haven’t posted in a while and wrote this a while back. Have maybe 1-2 more on this topic, before we head back into the current discussions.
One of the depressing things to me is how people can use crazy logic to get to the wrong conclusion. Take for example this back and forth divorce on RP Christians with this follow up. Refer back to the Divorce Part 8 Actual Final for more in depth arguments.
At the bottom line, it seems like your position results in the Mosaic Law permitting sin. Something to the effect of, “Yes, Moses allowed this sin. But Jesus, who raised the bar, doesn’t allow it.” This comes out clearly in your third point. I think the first and fourth points beg the question, so I’m only going to address the second and third points you listed.
Second point: I understand your point. If hardness of heart is sin, and divorce always involves hardness of heart, then isn’t divorce always sin? Of course, I would say that one or both of the premises is wrong, but I will admit that I need to study this more.
Third point: This appears to contain the critical assumptions of your position. This idea that Jesus was “raising the bar” has major theological problems. The Mosaic Law had already been declared perfect by OT prophets (Ps. 19:7), not to mention that obedience to it could produce life (Deut. 6:25). Jesus declared that he would perfectly fulfill the Mosaic Law (Matt. 5:17-20) . Your position seems to result in a new law: “Christ’s Version of the Mosaic Law”, which is superior to Mosaic Law. Even then, its unclear why the inferior Mosaic Law would permit sin.
This is the standard type of response I’ve come to expect from you. When I point out a contradiction or a problem, you wave your hands, beg the question, perform semantic gymnastics, and/or copy-and-paste another word bomb. Nevertheless, you write with such confidence that I’m sure it impresses the undiscerning mind. Notable examples would include your position on vows, Christ’s “ability” to contradict the Mosaic Law, marriage can be “annulled” but this isn’t a real divorce.
This position uses torturous logic to eventually get to the wrong conclusion. One can cherry pick examples of OT Scriptures to try to justify an OT stance on divorce, but when one looks at the whole picture the positions become even more stark as one is clearly wrong.
Your position: Jesus agrees with Shammai Pharisees in Matthew 19 that you can divorce for adultery with the exception clause. Not only that, according to Mike Winger’s position which you seem to accept has even more exceptions for divorce than even the Pharisees such as abandonment, abuse, etc.
My position: Jesus is right in showing that Mosaic law won’t pass away (for the Jews), but raises the standards in His “New Testament/Covenant” for Christians. For instance, Matthew 5-7 sermon on the mount… (“You have heard it said don’t commit adultery (10 commandments)… but I tell you… anyone who looks with covetous/lust on [another man’s wife] has committed adultery with her in his heart”). Clearly raising the bar here. Same with His statement on the beginning in Matthew 19 on divorce: “What God has put together let no man separate.”
My position is not even a contradiction unless you intend that Jesus wants to hold Christians to the standards of the Jewish law which Paul says is wrong. Moreover, what’s more likely? Jesus lowers the bar or raises the bar when establishing the New Covenant? The clear theme throughout the NT is Jesus raises the bar.
If you still think my position has all of those flaws that you say, I just can’t see how your think your position is more logically sound. Jesus agreeing with the Pharisees and lowering the bar for divorce for Christians? Really?
RE: marriage can be “annulled” but this isn’t a real divorce and vows
Literally examples of this in the Bible. Deut 22 – marriage is annuled because of no blood on the sheet means the wife is not a virgin. Matthew 1 – Joseph wants to put away Mary secretly because he is a righteous man and she is pregnant not by him. Her pregnancy annuls the betrothal marriage contract. Also referring to John 8 where the Pharisees quip that Jesus is a “son of porneia (fornication)” which ties back into Matthew 19 exception.
Same with examples of vows. Jesus cautions us because of the seriousness of them and to just let our yes be yes and no be no. You think your vows you said before God and man can be broken because of what someone else did? I don’t think mine can. There’s no Biblical support for the opposite either.
I don’t know how you think these Biblical instances are an example of “wave your hands, beg the question, perform semantic gymnastics, and/or copy-and-paste another word bomb” but ok.
The problem seems to be that people get so entrenched in their position of pro-divorce that everything turns into a justification for that. This particular man has an unrepentant narcissistic wife who is divorced, so I definitely understand how that turns into that. I would never wish that on anyone.
However, it’s very easy to reconcile the supposed problematic portions of my position with Scripture, but it’s impossible to do that with the opposite position. Yes, the Mosaic Law can be ‘perfect’ and ‘obedience to it can give life’ for the Jews. But clearly Jesus communicates to us in the NT that His New Covenant is fulfilling the Old and giving us a New Covenant that teaches us to “be perfect like our heavenly father is perfect.” Moses permitted divorce in the OT for hardness of heart. That doesn’t mean it was good. It was merely permitted as “not sin.” But hardness of heart to Jesus is clearly not a good thing and not something we should strive for as it’s always negatively talked about in the Bible.
Moreover, clinging to the Mosaic Law version of divorce leads someone in the exact wrong direction of “what God has put together let no man separate.” The said debater brings up Mike Winger’s video which my new post on divorce covered. Winger comes to the conclusion that Jesus agrees with the Shammai position on divorce for adultery, but when you watch further into the video he adds in more exceptions than even the Pharisees for abandonment, abuse, and so on.
Not only in this position does Jesus not raise the bar, but according to Winger clearly Jesus has a lower bar for divorce than even the Pharisees now. Torturous logic. Scripture now means the opposite of what it has previously said.
Now, obviously, I have stated that this is my conclusion based on studying the Scriptures in-depth. If you’re in a faith tradition that allows annulments or divorce with wise counsel then more power to you. No divorce seems to be the most accurate position, with possible exceptions for annulments given that a covenant marriage must be established. That’s why I think the Catholic position on marriage seems to be the most faithful to the Scripture.
However, at the end of the day you don’t have to justify your position to me, but you will answer to God.
To tie everything back to the title, this is the same type of logic that complementarians use to deny husbands headship authority.
Like the pro-divorce people they say no divorce is good. Look at what Jesus said! “What God has put together let no man separate.” Oh wait. But now if we read further we have an exception where divorce could be acceptable. How do we pick out Scriptures that fit this position? Also, let’s ignore the context of Mark 10, Luke 16, Romans 7, 1 Cor 7, and others not permitting any divorce and hone in on this exception. Let’s also ignore Joseph and Mary (Matt 1), Deut 22 (annulments), and the Pharisees calling Jesus a “son of fornication/porneia” (John 8) which provide strong context into the exception clause.
Likewise, complementarians pay lip service to headship. Headship is good they say. But then they use torturous feminist exceptions and passages taken out of context to deny that husbands should have authority over wives creating a neutered version that makes the husband into a sock puppet.
Headship is good. But clearly abuse is bad. Since abuse is bad, we can’t be having husbands have authoritative headship. Preaching that husbands should have authoritative headship would clearly create too many tyrant husbands (…when we see the exact opposite in real life. Too many husbands are wimpy cowards).
- That is why now that husband and wife agreement is the most godly — the husband gets the “final tie break vote”. A husband who makes unilateral decisions that does not have support of the wife is clearly operating in bad faith.
- Mutual submission. Husbands should be submitting to their wife’s decisions too while ignoring how authority works.
- Husbands and wives are of equal worth and value before God but different roles…. but oops now their roles are the same because we’re partners in marriage! We work as a team! We’re all in this together, equally. Women can do anything men can do!
- Husbands love your wives and if they aren’t feeling loved you need to do more to make her feel loved. Ignoring the fact that Christ’s love is for the purpose of sanctification which is to lead, teach, train, disciple, and correct a wife toward righteousness.
Now Scripture is reduced to something that is totally the opposite of what is written.
Eventually you get some twisted form of slavery where the husband has all the responsibility with no authority. Then they wonder why a wives have a hard time respecting their husbands or don’t want to have sex with him. It’s because YOU neutered the husband. What wife will get the hots for a neutered husband?
Yes, the husband is reduced to the status of a neutered dog who exists to make his “owner” feel happy.
Complementarians, like the egalitarians, twisted Scripture to fit the spirit of the age instead of standing on the hard truths of what God has said. At least the egalitarians were more honest about warping it and bowing to the culture.
Complementarians are the New Pharisees – blind guides leading the blind.