SanctiFusion

Life, the Universe, and Everything, from the Outside In

Archive for the ‘holiness’ Category

May the Divorced Remarry?

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divorce trauma3
This question has plagued people now for centuries. The consensus in many “Bible-believing churches (should this be redundant?)” is that Jesus said it was an absolute no-no because God has decreed that every marriage is forever, end of discussion. But is this the case?

Before going farther, there is no intent here to encourage anyone to take the marriage vows any less seriously. “Til death do us part” still means the same thing and, as many of us know, divorce can be even worse than death for those so-affected. If you are married, then unless your life is in real danger, that is, if at all possible, make it work, please! Many go running out that “back door” only to find themselves slammed through the brick wall on the other side of the doorway.

If Jesus said that divorce is a sin, and that those divorced must stay single, then we have an interpretation problem. In the Sermon on the Mount He had said that He would not be changing “one jot or one tittle” of the Law of Moses, but to fulfill it. As a body, it is “fulfilled” when every figure and prediction has come to pass. At present count, the 2/3 which covers the Second Coming and the Kingdom Age is yet to happen. The Law, then, including the parts in which God gave the statutes for divorce as well as the parts for honoring parents, respecting others’ property, and loving God with our all, are still in effect.

“Giving divorce?” Yes, before the Giving of the Law divorce did not exist. A man had all rights in the marriage, including to expect a deserted wife to wait for him indefinitely in case he wanted to come back in a few years and sell her and her children on the auction block. God, through Moses, changed this for His people. “For the hardness of your hearts it was given” Jesus said. To protect the injured party from continued neglect, abuse, or infidelity the Law allowed a clean break, with a certificate to show that person was free to remarry or, as Moses wrote it, “free to go where she will.” Marriage, even remarriage, was the norm because of God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” and the male-driven economy which made it nigh-to-impossible for a woman to strike out on her own. This would have been the exception, not the rule.

If we but recognise that Jesus is, Himself, the Word, the Logos, of God, then we see that for Him to change course with any detail of the Law would be for Him to contradict Himself as the Law-Giver. It was not His purpose to outlaw divorce, or any other detail of the Law. As much as it can hurt, and yes it can be about like an amputation, if the amputation takes years to complete and the anesthetic is in short supply. But like an amputation it is not done for cosmetic purposes unless one is either incredibly dense or psychotic, but to save a life. In like manner, for the Church to marginalise the divorced would be like a handicapped parking spot being open for all but amputees.

Is this the whole story? Not by a long shot. There is more- We have yet to touch on Jesus actual words on the subject, or the implications in the Church for leadership, or the charge given to modern pastors and leaders for dealing with the situation as it stands. But this is a good spot to stop for questions. What’s yours?

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Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 9 September, 2009 at 20:21

The Billy Generation

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The “Boomer Generation,” also known as the “Love Generation,” and the “Beemer Generation” among others, born between 1946 & ‘64, has done the most, good or bad, to shape the contours of America-as-we-know-it. This generation has written the schoolbooks, movies, sitcoms, and newscasts, and shaped current social trends and Government policy. According to recent polls, nearly 80% of Americans acknowledge a “born again” experience. By all rights, this should be the most authentically Christian nation anywhere, and any time, in history. Yet in the past thirty-five years over fifty million lives have been violently extinguished by abortion, more children nation-wide are growing up in single-parent homes, chronically neglected by absentee fathers (or sometimes mothers) as they learn to esteem the “thug life” as honorable, and homosexuality is being pushed as a new normality,

What has gone wrong? We can go into particular causes for a lot of that stuff, but the root to it all is Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Monday, 1 September, 2008 at 14:59

Aborting our Souls?

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The Wall Street Journal today, in a story about an upcoming report on the effects of the abortion trauma on the mothers involved, quotes one clinic director, Susan Hill, who runs clinics in five southern states, as saying that, “‘..women today need less counseling, less psychological care than they did in 1973,’ when abortion was legalized but still carried an enormous stigma.” We might speculate that this is in line with the overall loss of sensitivity for human life, generally. Over the last thirty or so years we seen a shift from a time when the film, Bonnie and Clyde

(From Warner Brothers, no less- What’s up, Doc?) stirred such controversy over its gory scenes. Now Hitchcock’s style of suspense stories has been replaced by “splatter films,” and pop music now features brutal rape and murder in place of undying love and devotion.

Ms. Hill, who has been in the business of “providing abortions” for thirty five years, said she, “has tried offering postprocedure counseling sessions — but very few women show up.” In her words, “They want to get past it and move on with their lives.” Overlooking the possibility of all kinds of motives for not returning to the “clinic” to walk through that trauma all over again, it might be good to consider the real effects on all the people in this picture. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Tuesday, 12 August, 2008 at 15:32

The Suicides of the Fathers

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Reading of a famous writer, whose young life had been marked by his own father’s suicide. How tragic! And yet, how real to so many. The father’s eyes had turned inward. Inward to his own weakness, his own inadequacy: His humanity. It was too much for him, and he withdrew. Withdrew from the company of others he saw as beyond helping: Unwilling, unable, or else unfit, at any rate he withdrew- from human company, from his family, his son, from life.

Is this unusual, or was it just that his method was more pronounced? What of fathers today who don’t swallow a pistol, or kiss a Freightliner? How many children today grow up with Daddy in the picture, but realise as they mature that he was only posing? That Daddy was already dead to them, dressed in his burial suit as he vanished into a grave of career, ambition, or drink? Escaped from human company, from his family, his son, from life, pursuing a dream, inheriting a nightmare. The greatest tragedy is that he is never alone, has never escaped, but the nightmare he inherits becomes the mother’s life, and a legacy for his children. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Saturday, 9 August, 2008 at 16:07

War on Terror, and Faith

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The “War on Terror.” The US has, in the past, declared war on poverty, and on drugs. In both cases little progress was made on those fronts. It’s really hard to wage a negative campaign against a negative concept. In this one we seem to have a war with a few more concrete objectives and photo-ops, but until the Western governments get what, and why, it is they’re fighting they stand to lose a lot more than their confusion lets them see. The war that has embroiled the “Western Powers” is far more far-reaching than a bush operation against a motley bunch of sand bandits, as the American Press would have us believe. What we are looking at is an ideological war- a campaign of values, ethics, and dogma that forges the rival Islamic sects and nations into a de facto coalition, and either joins Liberal Western leaders with them or at least keeps them out of the way. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Thursday, 7 August, 2008 at 20:42

What Gospel?

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Today we see a vast spread of what we call Christianity. Churches are springing up worldwide, largely influenced by the glut of “Good Christian Teaching” from the US. The problem, though, is seen in looking at the state of affairs in the US Church. Substance abuse, teen pregnancy, STDs and marriage breakdowns match if not outstrip the “sinners” who never darken a church door. The “Hardshell Baptist” has become a standard, and a bye-word, for American religion in general: Quick enough to state a position, but completely unable to give a reason for it which reflects in a godly life. The shell is there, and in good repair, but the yolk has been sucked out years ago, leaving what looks like a healthy egg, but neither food nor life inside.

Severe words? Yes indeed. Un-called-for? Then why do we have cities in the middle of the “Bible Belt” where churches outnumber filling stations, nearly 90% of the people report being “born again,” and the biggest two industries seem to be illegal drugs and prostitution? Why does the head of the Evangelical Alliance have to resign because of a queer sex scandal, the biggest “evangelists” on the media circle the wagons when asked about their finances, and one of their number pack a sports stadium while refusing to confess Christ as Savior on national television? Ranting? Yes. Called-for? What do you think? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Robert Easter

Sunday, 3 August, 2008 at 18:02

A Three-fold Cord ..Quickly Broken!

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In First John we read that the “world” that threatens the Christian life is composed of three elements: The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Also, we read that this triple threat to the Faith is part of another group of three. This three-part “world” is married to both the devil and with our own fleshly natures to resist God’s redeeming work in our lives. Rather like a three-stranded rope set as a trap to bind and ensnare s! Faced with opposition like this, we have to ask some questions:

1.

What was God thinking? He calls us to commit our lives to Him, to be converted away from all these evils, then here we are faced with resisting that kind of influence for the rest of our earthly lives?

2.

How can we resist an enemy that is not only all around us, but is even part of who we are?

3.

What is this “salvation,” anyway? Can we answer questions with a question? Is God unrighteous? We can easier ask if water is dry, or fire cold. We do see, though, that the enemy we face is not one to simply be resisted or tolerated “until we get to heaven,” because if we are resisting it as someone trying to stand against a stream of water, then we are soaked by the water, and involved in the stream, no matter how firmly we have planted our feet in its muddy bottom. No, God calls on the Church to overcome the world, not just to keep up a futile fight against it. Would God send His children into a battle expecting them to be defeated, or give them a task without giving them also the means to complete it?

Second, we see that we are fighting an enemy which involves itself in the very basis of who we are. Did God come in the flesh only to save our souls? Is the God Who created this Universe not able to redeem our bodies as well as our spirits? If we only trust Him to do those things which we cannot see, then how is our understanding of God any better than make-believe? No, He Who would redeem our souls from destruction would also redeem our souls from the corruption of sin, as He says,

Salvation means victory: Partaking in real life in Jesus’ real life victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. Overcoming means being free from their influence, and in full possession of all that our enemies had taken from us. Jesus said He had come “to destroy the works of the devil,” and that those who trust Him “would not lack any good thing,” but rather would “be made partakers in His divine nature.” This truth is woven even into the very fabric of the Word!

We read in Revelation that the holy martyrs had overcome in three ways: “by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Three, met with three. First, the Blood is applied to our lives by faith, which is activated by our confession. Romans tells us that if we do believe to salvation then we will confess Him as Lord. The Early Church believed, and spread the Faith across the Roman Empire in the first generation. But there remains one more part to these three: “They loved not their lives to the death.” What does this mean? The first eleven chapters of Romans go into some detail about the faith which we receive from the Lord, and then the twelfth tells us what is our “reasonable service,” or response, to such a gift. Our lives are not our own! Our abandoning the worldly, fleshly, devilish, life for the life of Christ is what Holy Baptism is all about. But is a little water, or the grace relating to Church membership all that is involved in that Revelation picture? If so, then there must be a lot more to it than meets the eye! Hebrews mentions, among the “first principles,” the “doctrine of baptisms.” Why plural, when Ephesians says, “one baptism?” So far in this discussion we have seen several examples of the triune image in scripture: the world, the flesh, and the devil; the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life; and now the three weapons used to defeat that devil: the power they found in blood of the Lamb, the word of their testimony, and the power they found in self-abandonment (that is, faith in Christ) which we see in Holy Baptism. So what is this first principle of baptisms? First, let us look at the water. The Bible tells us that in baptism we are buried and rise with Jesus, but that leaves us with a problem: We see millions of people who have been baptised at some point in their lives, but how many reflect the love of God in their lives? Romans tells us that those who are baptised into Christ live in the same power that raised Him from the grave! We also read that it is not baptism that saves, but “the answer of a good conscience before God.” So is there another part to this picture? We also read that Christians are baptised by the Holy Spirit into Christ. This is a separate point in our histories from water baptism. In the first, an elder in the Church visibly introduces us into the visible church through the use of water. In the second, the Spirit of the Living God invisibly brings us into Christ Himself by means only He can use. We call this conversion. Before He ascended, Jesus, “breathed on (His disciples) and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.'” From this point, even after having spent all that time learning at Jesus’ feet and having received the Spirit (..if any have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His!), they were not ready to be Christians! Jesus did not tell them to go out and be His witnesses, to heal the sick, cast out devils, or even to tell a soul about Him, but to return, and wait, in Jerusalem for “the Promise of the Father!” Even after having received the Spirit, in a short ten days the “over five hundred” there seem to have been on the mountain had dwindled to a hundred twenty. Minutes after the Promise was given, there were over three thousand souls added. What made the difference? The Third Baptism! John the Baptiser (No, he was not a Baptist, or any other denomination) said that he baptised with water, but the Christ would baptise with the Holy Spirit, and with fire. This Third Baptism, completes the trinity of the “one baptism” as promised, and as received. Why do so many Christians struggle with sin in their lives when the Bible speaks so much about freedom from sin’s control? Why are so many too timid about the whole salvation picture to speak about it, or even live it out, in their everyday lives? They may have some experience of the converting baptism by the Spirit into Christ, and they may have been through the confessing washing of water into the Church, but are they completely baptised? They have a position in Christ, and they have a place in the Church, but do they have the power of the Spirit? This is not some new doctrine from the charismanic corner, but a clear command to all the Church, “Be filled with the Spirit!

Written by Robert Easter

Wednesday, 28 May, 2008 at 9:14