Contra Mundum: “Till Death do us Part” Christ’s Teachings on Abuse, Divorce and Remarriage


This was one very good article that was also published in the Investigate Magazine. I suggest that if you’d like some fresh insights on this for New Zealand so relevant subject: divorce and the Bible.

“Till Death Do Us Part”

Christ’s response, in this context, is a rejection of the liberal reading in favour of the conservative one. In fact, Brewer notes the very phraseology and wording Christ used was the same as that used by the Shammaites; however, his claim “whoever divorces his wife, except for adultery, and marries another woman commits adultery” took the conservative reading one step further. Not only are liberal “any reason” divorces wrong but they are invalid. People who have divorced on the “any reason” ground did not gain a legitimate divorce.

Brewer’s analysis is the best I have come across to date; it makes sense of the text without requiring the reader to turn a blind eye to the bits that don’t seem to sit right. His argument further explains the apparent differences between Mark, Matthew and Paul. Mark’s gospel is significantly more summarised than Matthew’s, hence his unqualified claim that divorce is forbidden is simply a summary without qualification. Similarly, Paul’s application in 1 Corinthians is not in any real conflict with Jesus’. Taken in its context, Jesus was not condemning a person who, after being abandoned, walked away from the marriage and remarried. Material and physical neglect as a ground of divorce was not in question. In Jesus’ teaching he was simply rejecting the “any reason” approach of the liberal school.

This background to Paul’s writing is strongly suggested by the fact that in the same passage he refers to sexual activity between spouses as a ‘debt’ mutually owed to each other. Brewer notes that Paul’s language and teaching here reflects rabbinical understandings of Exodus 21, which allowed divorce for failure to provide “conjugal rights”. Paul is therefore not adding to Christ’s teaching, he is simply applying it to a different situation.”

Read the complete article at Contra Mundum: “Till Death do us Part” Christ’s Teachings on Abuse, Divorce and Remarriage.

Revival and Thoughts on 2 Samuel 17:27-29


27 When David came to Mahanaim, Shobi son of Nahash from Rabbah of the Ammonites, and Makir son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim 28 brought bedding and bowls and articles of pottery. They also brought wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans and lentils, 29 honey and curds, sheep, and cheese from cows’ milk for David and his people to eat. For they said, “The people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert.”

It may well be because of the way things are going in Harmony Church and the books I am currently reading (Graham Truscott), but the bold highlighted verse somehow spoke to me. Here we have a King David, on the run because one of his sons has conspired against him and it is best to stay of the scene, to lay low and David and his men end up going into the rugged country side/desert, while Absolom his son is playing Kind in his father’s Jerusalem.

So, when David and his men are generously provided it is because “the people have become hungry and tired and thirsty in the desert”. But there seems to be a spiritual side to it. What seems to me significant is that David and his men are not just short of food, the are also away from the hard won Ark that had been returned to Jerusalem by David. In a sense David and his men were not just short of food in the physical sense but also in a spiritual sense where they were separated from the presence of God in between the cherubs of the Ark. And as we can read throughout the Old Testament that is what the Ark is all about, it is about God‘s presence with all the power and glory that comes with that. So in a sense David and his men were also cut off from the spiritual food and the living water that keeps us alive spiritually.  It does not take too much imagination to figure out what happens when we are deprived of food and water: without food we will weaken and without water we will surely die, we may last somewhat longer without the food if we have sufficient fluid but we will surely decay in power and ultimately we will still die.  It is not too hard to imagine that this process will speed up if it is (as in the case of David and his men) accompanied with substantial physical hardship such as traveling through the desert.

The hungry, tired and thirsty church

Is this not striking for what has happened with so many churches: as a result of deprivation of the presence of God: the word as the living bread but more importantly the spirit as the living water, they managed to survive but grew weaker in power. In effect the churches and their members grew hungry, tired and thirsty but in a spiritual sense and whether they realized it or not. There was the physical presence still but it lacked the power and given the absence of spiritual food and fluid (living water), resulting in declining numbers and ever decreasing lack of power.

Many have been around that have been longing for the spiritual food and the living water so as to see the rejuvenation of the church, of the congregation  and it’s individual members. The rejuvenation of a church that got tired and thirsty wandering around in a spiritual desert of religious legalism that required a lot of works without being provided the required spiritual bread of heaven and the living water to survive under these harsh circumstances. Yes we are talking about a church and a religion that became more of a “life-after death-insurance policy” where as long as you pay your premium, eternal life in heaven was “covered.”

But God is not a God just for the hereafter, He is the God of the here and now. I can no longer accept rationally and by now experientially a God that is being transformed into something or someone distant, abstract and in any event no longer present in our daily lives. And with me many individuals as well as churches. And I guess that is thew good news.

All around, very similar to other periods in history we see how people are seeking God’s presence, the (spiritual) Ark so as to be revived with the bread from heaven and the living water, churches, congregations and individual members actively seeking God’s face so they may be rejuvenated with His food and water. I can not understand how someone can say:

I know God should be present in my life but somehow I do not experience it as such.”  (See: http://www.jjabeenakker.info/)

I guess this is important for me and I am still working my way back through my own history which is filled with years of absolute skepticism against anything religious, but I guess it has a lot to do with placing man made religion before the divine relation. It is I am finding that it all starts with the relation, with the acute presence that the Law becomes the promise, the presence provides with peace and purpose and why would God get into a relationship and subsequent covenant with us? It is not because He is almighty and therefore He sets the rules: it is because He loves us and only wants the best for us.

I found an important clue on the ration of  any covenant in  1 Samuel 18:3:

3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.

See that: a covenant has nothing to do here with setting the rules because He can, and all with love. The covenant is all about loving the other party like we love ourselves. So, all of a sudden the Law becomes something we want to live up to, a promise.   And with that comes the seeking His presence or to be in His presence, which as can be read throughout the whole Bible, comes with power and glory, in David’s time as much as in our here and now. Ain’t it great to see that people around the world are hungry, thirsty for His presence and with that His food, His water, His power His glory, His peace, His love.

Al of this because (considering the ratio of a covenant) He loves us like He loves Himself and vice versa we love Him like we love ourselves: with all out hearts, minds and spirits.

Just to be clear here: I am not trivializing a relationship wit God here, or considering Him to be some great “buddy”; far from that. It is because of the marvel of even being in  a position to have something like a relation with the Creator  I write this. Like all of us, I am far from perfect and in desperate need of salvation, like some of us I have found that there is such a thing as His amazing Grace and it is in gratitude that I write this post.

If you think I lost the plot or am off the mark (biblically) by all means let me know.  I’m just going from the heart here.

To be continued.

John 1: 1-18 on pulling it all together


1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ ” 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only,who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

What shall I say? Perhaps it is best to be quiet an sit back in awe about this beautiful caption of the Old and the New Testament in a few sentences. For those that ever doubted whether or not the Old Testament was still valid or useful: here’s your answer from the Apostle John.

It is a clear indication of how the Old and New Testament are all part of the one story of the world and that we need both the Old and the New Testament to get a good grasp of the bigger picture of man and its place in creation.

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