Reply To Honestly by Tom Copeland Part 3

What about interpretation? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this part of the book, Copeland starts with examining the biblical data. He admits upfront he’s not a biblical languages scholar. That’s fine. Neither am I. We’re not going to get into any fancy use of Greek or Hebrew here. So let’s see first off what Copeland says is the standpoint of the positions.

He says that conservatives point to Sodom and Gomorrah, Leviticus, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and 1 Timothy mainly to offer passages they say offer indisputable proof that the bible condemns same-sex sexual behavior. Liberals dispute these and sometimes say that some of these passages could be about pederasty instead. They say that the Bible gives no condemnation of loving and consensual same-sex relationships.

Okay. Both sides could have some nuance, but they are generally a fair assessment. This is certainly something that is written about back and forth. So how does Copeland respond to these?

So which side is right? I’m not really sure, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it doesn’t really matter that much.

Copeland, Tom. Honestly – A Book About Sex for Christians . Tom Copeland. Kindle Edition.

I’m sorry. What?

I mean, this is only Scripture which we say is our authority. This is only what we say could be about the fate of countless souls for all eternity. This is a question that doesn’t matter that much?

Last time, I wrote about how the liberal side is reluctant to deal with passages if they think they hurt them or someone they care about. We have already seen that take place. I would have preferred at least some reason for thinking that the conservative side is wrong rather than a dismissal of the issue altogether.

He instead goes with an approach from Tillich saying that we are all dealing with our own interpretations and all sides have claimed biblical sanctions on various issues. It is certainly true that all sides have, but one side has been wrong and the other has been right, at least if you hold to a conservative view of Scripture. If we go this route, then we could easily say anything is okay. Moral relativism wins out.

He also says Rich Mullins said God knows what it means. The rest of us are just guessing. To an extent, but some guesses are also better than others. God knows what the disease is someone has, but odds are if they go to a doctor, he has a better guess than they do.

He also quotes Donald Miller and says we are more interested often in a propositional claim than a relational one. Interesting to note that that itself is a propositional claim. They’re unavoidable. We should make sure ours are rooted in truth. He then asks what if we’re wrong?

This is followed by asking if Christians should be passing radical anti-abortion laws to protect unborn children like the one in Texas.

Okay. This book was published in 2013, so I’m guessing that law was HB2. I looked up the measures of this radical law. I did find something from the UK on it here.

So what is so radical?

– Abortions doctors were required to have admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.

– All abortions clinics were required to upgrade to become ambulatory surgical centres (ASCs).

– Abortions after 20-weeks were prohibited, except in the case of “severe fetal abnormalities” or to “avert the death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment … of the pregnant woman”.

– Women who take abortion-inducing pills, must do so under the supervision of a physician, requiring two trips to the clinic for each dosage.

– After the administration of the abortion-inducing pills, a woman must set a follow-up visit with the physician 14-days after the dosage.

In addition to the three visits required of those seeking abortions under HB2, Texas passed a law in 2011 requiring women to undergo an ultrasound procedure 24 hours prior to getting an abortion – resulting in a minimum of four visits to the clinic.

The article says that if this were upheld, 10 or fewer clinics would have served the state.

On that last part, might it not be best to say that if so many clinics can’t handle these requirements, maybe they shouldn’t be open? What is really so radical? Is it wanting an ultrasound so a woman can make an informed decision? Is it being near a hospital in case something goes wrong? Is it that except in cases like a fetal condition that could cause death to the woman abortions weren’t allowed after 20 weeks?

And this is radical?

Copeland asks if we should instead have healthy choices for women, particularly in cases of rape and incest.

The hugely overwhelming majority of cases of abortion are not for rape or incest.

Should Christians be in favor of the death penalty or opposed to it? He speaks no further on this, but I say, yes, we should be.

Should we be in favor of second amendment rights, even having people allowed to have concealed handguns at church? Well, considering how many bad guys with guns have shown up at churches, yes. I don’t live in fear of the majority of citizens having guns. Bad guys having guns without the majority having them? Yes. That’s fearful. Even more fearful, the government being armed while we’re not.

This goes on to questions of war and wealth. Copeland asks who we usually say is right. The answer is us. Of course, that’s not a major claim. If I did not think my position was right, why would I hold it? However, if I hold a position, I have reasons for it.

He goes on to say that he doesn’t know and he has this thing called faith which requires not knowing. I have written on faith more here. Based on this, you might as well say that we should strive to know less so that we can have more faith. This doesn’t fit anyway. “I don’t know which side is right, so I have faith?”

He then says he can’t make life-altering decisions for someone else based on passages that only show up in the Old Testament and Paul and are mentioned nowhere in the Gospels or any other New Testament writer. (Ignore for the point Jude could say something about it.) Unfortunately, Copeland has already done this. Saying he won’t condemn the behavior is itself making a life-altering judgment and if he is wrong, then his advice could condemn numerous souls for eternity.

Never mind that James 3:1 says teachers will be held to greater account. Will he stand before God and say “I decided it really didn’t matter what your Word said about the issue.”? As for Jesus, Jesus never said anything about the death penalty or abortion or guns either, but yet Copeland sure asks about those. Jesus talked about questions that were relevant debate topics in Israel. We have no reason to think same-sex relationships were one of them.

After this, Copeland says:

The stakes are real. The stakes are people. Depending on the research you read, between 25-40% of non-heterosexual teenagers have attempted suicide and as many as 75% report having had suicidal thoughts. The rate is as much as five times higher for teens who identify themselves as gay than for heterosexual teens. For the church to do anything that could possibly contribute to that is unacceptable.

Copeland, Tom. Honestly – A Book About Sex for Christians . Tom Copeland. Kindle Edition.

I agree that the stakes are real and are people and we need to do something, but notice this. If someone is having suicidal thoughts based on whatsoever issue, the first thing to deal with primarily is what in them is making them have suicidal thoughts. Having gone through divorce, I sometimes pondered the question of suicide and I understand that most people who go through divorce, particularly those wrongfully divorced, do. Now if I was at a point of acting, is the thing to do to change everyone else and force my ex to take me back, or is it to change my own thinking on how I see myself regardless? Wouldn’t it be best to deal with the underlying mental health issue?

In the end, Copeland might say he doesn’t want to really take a side, but the reality is he has. He can say he doesn’t want to make life-altering judgments, but he has. He can say he doesn’t want to make judgments on the holiness of certain actions, but in reality, he has. They are unavoidable.

I think he’s wrong entirely.

We’ll each have to stand before God and give reasons for our answers someday.

I hope we’re both prepared.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



Reply To Honestly By Tom Copeland Part 1

Are there dangers to conservative interpretations? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Tom Copeland is a minister and a teacher from what I gather who has written a book on issues involving sexuality for Christians. There is much in the book that is good and worthwhile. However, when I got to the chapter on sexual orientation, I was disappointed.

Keep in mind this is a book that does come from a Christian perspective so there’s no discussion here of “Well maybe the Bible got it wrong.” I also will not be speaking about the scientific issues involving studies on sexual orientation. I am interested in looking at his arguments from a biblical and somewhat political perspective.

Copeland does say that sometimes same-sex attracted people are compared to singles who don’t know if they will marry. Both have to remain celibate. He does say that for the straight singles, there is the possibility they can find someone in a marriage approved by the church. However, if you have same-sex attraction, this means that you have a situation with no hope and God will never approve of your relationship and there is no chance of life-long intimacy, companionship, or partnership.

The problem I see here is that first off, sex is being put on way too high a pedestal. I would be lying if I said as a divorced man I don’t miss having sex. Of course I do. I pray God will grant me that joy again. At the same time, if I have to go without, God has promised me so much more still in the afterdeath. I hope He will grant me this love again still as I do want to have a companion on the earthly journey as well as the possibility of children, but He owes me nothing.

Also, these ideas like companionship and partnership can be found with friends. They are not sexual relationships, but they are still true partners. I know plenty of same-sex attracted Christians who are beacons of joy in what they say and do. There are also some who have entered into opposite-sex marriages.

He also writes about the saying of “Hate the sin. Love the sinner.” He says you can’t say that to someone who has the sin as an integral part of their identity. How can this be though? If one is a Christian and holds something is sinful, it cannot be an integral part of your identity. It is instead a part of you that is not central. I can be a prideful man, but pride is not an integral part of my identity. We live in an age of identity politics where one would think the most important question of a job interview is “Who are you sleeping with?” Your identity is much more than who you find sexually attractive.

Copeland goes on to list some dangers that can come to a conservative approach to Scripture. The first he says is that we live as if our interpretations of Scripture are more important than relationships. I wonder at this because if one believes their interpretation is what God is really saying, shouldn’t that be the most important? One can still have good relationships with people who are same-sex attracted. However, I will not change my stance on the issue to please another person if I think the stance I hold is the one that God gives in the Scripture.

The second problem he sees is we discount knowledge of God and/or Christ gained through experience if it goes against our ideas. I have spoken about this before though saying that too often we let our experiences interpret the Scripture for us instead of letting Scripture interpret our experiences. He says we would discount St. Teresa of Avila and other mystics. I am not saying I would dispense with them entirely as I don’t know enough about her experiences to do so, but I am saying I would compare with Scripture first.

He says we can become so sure we are right in our interpretation without considering we could be wrong. This part, I do agree with. We should always be open to the fact that we could be wrong. I notice this in many people outside of Christianity, such as atheists and cultists, who don’t ever read anything that disagrees with them and treat their worldview as a given at the start. This is why I actively read material I disagree with.

The next danger is that we can be so sure about being right that we overlook grace and love. I don’t really have a problem with this. One should not tell a same-sex attracted person that they cannot act on their desires with glee and joy. One should recognize that this is a real struggle with them and walk through it with them.

Next time, we’ll look at dangers on the liberal side of interpretation.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)







Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views

What does Larry Richards have to say? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This was an odd chapter. Pastorally, this was the best chapter in the book. Not even a contest. Richards really takes the time to emphasize the love and concern needed for people walking the path of divorce.

Exegetically though, it’s the worst, easily. There are simply several assumptions thrown out and while they could be right, no reason is given for them. As one respondent says, Richards only has two footnotes. That’s far below anyone else.


I have yet to meet a Christian who, when he or she stood before pastor and family and church to say “I do,” planned on divorce. I have yet to meet anyone who enjoyed divorce. For each person involved there is pain: worry about the children, uncertainty, sudden loneliness, financial hardship, the lingering and agonizing death of hoped-for love and belonging.

For most Christians there is also a sense of guilt, the awful realization that somehow they have failed, falling dreadfully short of God’s ideal of a permanent, lifelong relationship. Even the “innocent party” feels guilt. What did he or she do wrong? What might he have done differently? What happened to destroy a relationship she entered with such joyous expectation?

It is true that in our society divorce is all too common. It is also tragically true that the Christian community has proven as susceptible as the general culture. Most churches have men and women attending who have been divorced and, in many cases, have remarried. I have no statistics on the Christian community, but the most recent study I’ve seen suggests that about 51% of Americans who many for the first time will divorce. Many of these divorces will be unnecessary. If both parties were willing to receive counseling, to work at the relationship, most marriages that end in divorce could probably be saved.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 215–216.

Amen and amen. Would that every contributor remembered this. This isn’t just an academic exercise in this case. One could say a debate on eschatology for instance might not have a lot of immediate significance for one’s life, but this one does. A lot of people who pick up this book could be going through the pain of divorce themselves or know someone who is. This isn’t just an academic interest for them. Richards brings that out.

First, we must guard against being so swayed by sympathy for hurting people that we ignore or reject Scripture. As Oswald Chambers once wrote, “It is possible to have such sympathy with our fellow man as to be guilty of red-handed rebellion against God.” Now I confess to a great sympathy for many struggling with the option of divorce. One of our neighbors, whom I’ll call Brenda, has an abusive husband. For some ten years he has belittled and sworn at her, constantly ridiculing her. What troubles Brenda now is that her husband treats their two girls the same way. How can she stay with him and see her daughters emotionally damaged for life by his verbal abuse? Is it right for her to stay in a relationship where not only she but her girls are victimized?

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 216–217.

Indeed. Not only this, but how many marriages could be saved if we called out bad behavior on the part of one spouse (Or both if need be) instead of trying to make sure feelings weren’t being spared. We have an idea that we should try to love people into the Kingdom. We often forget we can love them into Hell as well.

Looking more closely at Malachi, we note that something happening in our society today was also happening then: Men were deserting the “wives of their youth.” This phrase, repeated twice in Malachi 2:13–16, makes it clear that these were older couples and suggests that, then as now, older men were deserting their first wives to marry younger, more sexually attractive women.

Partnerships forged by years of shared struggle and joy were being broken up by men who “failed to guard themselves in their spirits.” This phrase, also repeated twice, reminds us that as men grow older they, like Solomon, become more susceptible to sexual temptation. So it is clear from the context of Malachi that when God said “I hate divorce,” he was speaking of divorces motivated by lust, divorces that involved abandonment of women who had been faithful, loving partners through years of married life. You and I also hate this kind of divorce. We recognize its source in selfishness and sin. We see the anguish it causes a partner who has lavished years of loving care on a person who now pushes her aside. No godly person treats another in this way. And nothing can justify such a divorce.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 218.

I too hate this kind of divorce as well. It’s one we should never encourage in the church. It is sad that some of the rabbis did say a man could divorce if someone prettier came along.

It seems to me that there is only one way to avoid the two dangers I have identified above. On the one hand, we must avoid arguing from human experience. It would be easy to list case after tragic case and to so play on emotions that any sensitive reader would cry out, “No! Let him or her go!”

It would be almost as easy to list case after case of selfish and unnecessary divorce and to trace their tragic consequences. But we Christians do not find moral guidance in human experience. We find moral guidance in Scripture, and we then apply Scripture to help us evaluate experience. Thus any valid discussion of divorce and remarriage must begin with a study of the Word of God, not with appeals to have compassion on hurting people.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 219.

And I agree again. Many of these stories can have appeal to emotions. I have made it a point to not often share my story and even when I do, I leave some details out, mainly out of a way of still not wanting to speak ill of my ex-wife.

So far, so good, but now we get into the argumentation.

Jesus then goes on to sketch three useless routes people sometimes take in a search for spiritual greatness. The Pharisees, who raise a legal question about divorce, represent the way of Law (19:1–15). A rich young man, who takes pride in his humanitarianism, represents those who seek greatness by doing good works (19:16–30). Workers in a vineyard represent those who seek greatness by working harder than others in God’s service (20:1–16). In each case Jesus shows why the route chosen is useless as a way to spiritual achievement.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 220–221.

This could be, but I’m skeptical. I found it intriguing, but I think a stronger case needs to be made. I don’t think the Pharisees were trying to use the law to find greatness. If they were, divorce seems like an odd place to start.

If God, sensitive to the fact that human hardness of heart would turn some marriages into destructive caricatures, announced through Moses that marriages could be ended, how can we deny divorce to those few whose suffering cries out that their marriages, too, should end? If Jesus recognized hardness of heart as the rationale for permitting divorce in Old Testament times, how can we insist that there is no rationale for divorce today, even when one spouse persistently sins against his or her partner?

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 223.

This point I do think is valid. What happens today if one spouse hardens their heart and refuses to honor the covenant? Tough luck for the other person?

Jesus’ words warn us that pastors and other Christian leaders have no more right to stand in judgment over the dissolution of a marriage than did the Pharisees. His words tells us that theologians have no right to decree, “People in this situation can divorce and remarry, but people in that situation cannot.” Jesus’ words to the Pharisees confront us if we, like those jealous men of long ago, take it upon ourselves to convene our ecclesiastical courts to make pronouncements on an issue which must in the last analysis be a personal decision—a personal decision that Christians will consider only as a last resort, and then prayerfully and purely, with a heartfelt desire to know and to do God’s will for them.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 226.

While Richards thinks this is a powerful argument, I really do not see this in the text. I see nothing about ecclesiastical courts or anything like that. I don’t see Jesus at all saying we have no place to judge someone else in the case of a divorce. This is especially so since Richards earlier in this chapter described one scenario and said we hate this kind of divorce.

On the other hand, the way to treat a wayward spouse, as illustrated by God’s treatment of adulterous Israel and Hosea’s treatment of his adulterous wife, Gomer, is to seek reconciliation and renewal (see Hos 1:11). Adultery may be grounds for forgiveness, but it is not grounds for divorce!

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 229.

This statement puzzles me since it looks like Jesus does explicitly say that, yes, this is grounds for divorce. I am all for trying to seek reconciliation and renewal first, but if that is resisted, what then? You can’t reconcile with someone who doesn’t want that.

First, he means that the Law, which says “give her a certificate of divorce,” does not express God’s highest standard or ideal. The Pharisees thought that it was righteous to divorce one’s spouse as long as the legalities were observed. Jesus makes it clear that, while it is permissible to divorce, it is not righteous. Divorce falls short of God’s will for us and reveals human failure. In view of God’s ultimate standard for us, divorce, while permissible, is still sin. And remarriage, while permissible, involves an act which measured against the ideal must be acknowledged as adultery.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 233.

This really strikes me as dangerous. Divorce is sin? It can be, but are we to say that a wife who divorces her husband who is a cheater and who beats her and the children is sinning? Also, if remarriage is adultery, is Richards seriously telling us then to go on and sin in divorce and go on and sin in remarriage committing adultery and God will forgive you? Dangerous indeed!

When Richards goes pastoral, it is much better, as he does here:

Too many pastors and teachers insist that there is no forgiveness for the divorced, no fresh start. In many Christian communities, if your marriage fails, you are marked forever and dismissed to a lifetime of loneliness—unless, of course, by some legalistic twist or turn you can be pronounced the “innocent party.”

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 236–237.

Thankfully, this is not my experience, but i know it is the experience of some men.

How strange! We would invite a converted murderer to give testimony from our pulpits. Yet we will not permit a person who has been divorced and has remarried to praise God in our choir.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 237.

This is indeed strange. I have had a Baptist minister tell me this same concern. I am not at all say a converted murderer should not give a testimony, but one can be redeemed of murder but not divorce?

We can draw a number of important principles concerning divorce and remarriage from Paul’s discussion of the issues that troubled the Corinthian church. First, a single, permanent marriage relationship is unquestionably God’s will for his people (7:10). There can be no debate over this question. Marriage is intended to be a lifetime commitment, in which couples share not only their bodies but all of life, and especially their spiritual life.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 239.

This is something we should all agree with. Yes. Marriage was meant to be forever.

As ministers of God’s good news, we will affirm the forgiveness that the divorced can claim. We will show by our own warmth and caring that Jesus values them, despite the worthlessness they now frequently feel.

In our churches we will try to provide social groupings where the divorced can feel they belong. We may sponsor seminars to help them deal with unexpected feelings and tasks for which they are not equipped. If we are uncertain how to minister to the needs of the divorced, we will take the initiative and purchase a helpful book, such as the 1987 Zondervan release Effective Divorce Ministry by Sue Richards and Stan Haggameyer.

Larry Richards, “Chapter 4: Divorce & Remarriage under a Variety of Circumstances,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 244.

Yes, churches. Please do this. A Babylon Bee article a couple of months ago said a new Christian dating app had come out that said “Just go to church,” Many, myself included, said in the comments that that does not work at all for a lot of us. If anything, it’s easy to feel lonely in the church. You go in and see married couples and couples talking about their children and there you sit by your lonesome. Churches. Please remember this!

I do think in looking at the responses, something Laney says definitely needs to be commented on.

While I would agree that divorce and remarriage should not disqualify one from all service in a church, the office of elder and deacon have a specific marital requirement, “husband of one wife” (1 Tim 3:2, 12; Tit 1:6). While divorce and remarriage is a forgivable sin, it would be disqualifying in terms of church office.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 253.

I really am stunned to see this kind of thing. If followed consistently, Jesus and Paul could not speak at a church. They are not the husband of one wife. Also, if we went this route, anyone to speak must have at least two children. After all, the man must see that his children obey him. Gotta have two. This kind of thinking has done a lot of harm to a good number of divorced men.

I think Edgar also has a powerful reply to Richards:

Richards claims that he originally held the no-divorce and no-remarriage view, but has changed due to a restudy of the passages. How can this be? It does not take a restudy of the passages to change from the view that the Bible teaches that divorce is always sin and remarriage is always adultery to his present view that the Bible teaches that divorce is always sin and remarriage is always adultery but go ahead since God will forgive it Did he need to restudy the Bible to be aware that God is merciful and gracious and will forgive sin? This is the only real difference in his position. All of the writers in this book would agree that God will forgive the sin of improper divorce; we would not all agree that this makes it a valid option.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 266–267.

In conclusion, overall, I side with Edgar’s view the most. Pastorally, I appreciate Richards the most, and the one I disagree with not only in his chapter but in several responses is Laney.

We’ll see what comes next time.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Book Plunge: Divorce and Remarriage — Four Christian Views Part 3

What do I think of Thomas R. Edgar’s chapter? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Edgar holds to a view of divorce and remarriage in the case of adultery and desertion. To clarify on this, I would include in my own view a couple of other possibilities as legitimate divorces such as a spouse who is being abusive to a member of the family. I don’t know if Edgar holds that position, though it wouldn’t surprise me, but I am stating it here.

So what do we have in Edgar’s chapter?

The opinion that marriage is indissoluble may be held dogmatically, as in the Roman Catholic tradition, or may be derived from an alleged teaching of Scripture regarding the nature of marriage. No verse in Scripture explicitly teaches that marriage is indissoluble. However, those who are convinced of this tend to interpret every passage on divorce and remarriage with this assumption rather than following normal procedures for interpretation and the most natural meaning of the biblical passages involved.

Thomas R. Edgar, “Chapter 3: Divorce & Remarriage for Adultery or Desertion,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 152.

This is certainly true. Nothing in Scripture does say that marriage cannot be undone in any way. If there is divorce in even the Old Testament and remarriage there, it would seem that the answer is indeed that marriage can be undone. Whether it should be undone is a different question.

The view which allows for no divorce, even because of adultery, may seem to be more ethical. However, it could also be considered quite the opposite—as a more tolerant view of adultery—in that it treats adultery no differently than numerous other marriage problems.

Thomas R. Edgar, “Chapter 3: Divorce & Remarriage for Adultery or Desertion,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 152.

This is an interesting point. As it stands, with someone who is an adulterer, or even in our day and age, a porn addict, such a stance could be enabling. I am sure Laney and Heth would agree that adultery is bigger than many other marriage problems, but does Laney’s view in particular lead to this conclusion? Heth at least does allow for divorce so he doesn’t have as much of a problem.

Edgar’s main exegesis in his chapter is on Matthew 19’s section on divorce. I am not at all condemning exegeting that, but as one responder points out, there are other passages. There is little if no interaction with the Old Testament on this matter. That should at least be consulted.

That being said, Edgar’s exegesis of the passage is intense, if not at times seemingly tedious. I do think he spent too much time on weaker objections. I also agree with one responder who said that he spends a lot of time telling us what the passage is not saying and too little saying what it is saying.

While I agree with Edgar’s position, I do get concerned when he says this, and one of his responders will as well.

Many conservatives, perhaps unaware, seem to hold a similar position. For example, those who insist that the exception is not “understood” in Mark 10:2–12 or that Mark 10:2–12 disallows any exception since it is determinative of Jesus’ teaching on divorce have implicitly surrendered the inerrancy of Scripture. It must be kept in mind that both Matthew 19:3–12 and Mark 10:2–12 are recording the same historical incident and the same statements of Jesus. Neither is attempting to give his own view, nor the church’s view on divorce; rather, both are reporting the very same conversation between Jesus and the Pharisees. Matthew explicitly states that, not only on a previous occasion (Mt 5:31–32), but in this very conversation, which is also described in Mark 10:2–12, Jesus specifically stated the exception. Unless Matthew 19:9 is inaccurate, in the conversation recorded in Mark 10:2–12 Jesus did state the exception. Therefore, it must be understood in Mark’s account even though he does not record it Mark, as often happens in other passages, merely omitted a detail which Matthew included.

Thomas R. Edgar, “Chapter 3: Divorce & Remarriage for Adultery or Desertion,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 166.

I would say instead that they are having an inconsistent hermeneutic. If Mark has no exceptions and Matthew does, and you don’t want to throw out inerrancy, then to be consistent, you have to say that Mark most likely took the adultery one as a given. This is what I find consistent with other writers on the topic. Saying that there is a denial of inerrancy leads to outcomes I have seen before, namely in the inerrancy wars starting in around 2010.

Overall, Edgar’s argument in Matthew 19 is highly complex and I don’t think I can summarize it here. I do think it is the way most Protestants do understand the passage, however. For now, let’s also look at 1 Cor. 7.

The crux of the issue is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 7:15. The arguments against interpreting this verse as referring to a divorce and allowing remarriage are few. It is argued that the verse only refers to allowing the partner to leave and says nothing about remarriage. If such an approach were followed elsewhere, many doctrines, including the doctrine of the Trinity, would be lost. The situation Paul refers to either allows remarriage or it does not This is what needs to be determined.

Thomas R. Edgar, “Chapter 3: Divorce & Remarriage for Adultery or Desertion,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 189.

I look at this claim repeatedly and while Edgar could be right, he doesn’t explain it at all which leaves me wondering just how it could be that this leads to a denial of a doctrine of the Trinity. This is a serious danger. Edgar needs to do more than just throw it out there.

Some argue that the deserted believer is not permitted to remarry, because the entire context of 1 Corinthians 7:17–24 urges the believer to remain as he or she is and not to change his or her status. This opinion ignores the details of the context The preference for remaining as is refers also to those never married and to widows and widowers. If this aspect of the context prohibits remarriage, it prohibits all marriage. The passage actually teaches the preference of staying single, but if you desire to marry it is not sin. Although this statement may not specifically allow remarriage of divorced persons, on the other hand, the context does not specifically deny it unless it denies all marriage. Paul implies in 1 Corinthians 7:10–12 that he has something to say that was not specifically covered by the Lord. Since Jesus’ statement in Matthew 19:9 is true for all, including believers and unbelievers, Paul must be doing more than repeating the same teaching for application to a mixed marriage. If he merely repeats in verse 15 what he said in verses 10–11, that divorce and remarriage are prohibited (except for adultery) and that separated people should remain unmarried, then he has stated nothing that the Lord did not already say. If verse 15 is mere repetition, why then would Paul state that the Lord did not speak regarding this matter?

Thomas R. Edgar, “Chapter 3: Divorce & Remarriage for Adultery or Desertion,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 191.

I do agree with this. If the argument is that this is why these people shouldn’t remarry, then it proves too much. It is an argument why no one should marry, even the man who is engaged to the virgin he wishes to marry. I also think it is concerning a famine that was going on in Corinth at the time and that needs to be considered in the context.

Many approach the subject of divorce and remarriage as a policeman would who is not primarily interested in stopping robberies, but more interested that the criminals not enjoy the benefits of their crime. They seem less interested in avoiding marriage failures and more interested in keeping the divorced from remarriage

Thomas R. Edgar, “Chapter 3: Divorce & Remarriage for Adultery or Desertion,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 192.

Thankfully, I have not encountered this in my path through divorce, but I do understand the legalism. The pastoral side must be remembered. In a book like this, there are real people and I would that every contributor had remembered this more. We’ll see that more in part 4.

Laney’s response comes first where he says this at the start:

Edgar writes, “The Bible specifically states that God intended for marriage to be maintained” (p. 191). He also states, “We should not sever that which God has joined” (p. 191). It is surprising that Edgar can make such strong statements regarding God’s design for marriage and then take the entirety of his article to argue the legitimacy of divorce and remarriage.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 197.

But what is surprising about this? I agree with this as a divorced man. Marriage should be maintained. We should not sever what God has joined. The problem is, if one person doesn’t want to maintain a marriage, they won’t. What God joins does get severed. I hold that divorce can be a necessity sometimes, but in all cases, it is a tragedy. Someone broke their promise on the wedding day, a tragedy.

A major difficulty with Edgar’s viewpoint is the absence of an exception in Mark 10:1–12 and Luke 16:18. According to Edgar, Mark “merely omitted a detail which Matthew included” (p. 166). I would have to say that Mark’s omission of an exception to the permanence of marriage is more than a detail! Eusebius records that Mark carefully recorded the teaching of Peter for the church at Rome after Peter’s death. The church at Rome was apparently not taught by Peter that there was an exception to the permanence of marriage. Peter’s preaching contained no exception. Neither did Mark’s Gospel. Neither were the gentile readers of the Gospel of Luke informed as to an exception. This is not a minor historical detail. This omission would have a significant impact on the lives and marriages of Mark’s readers.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 199.

Yet this assumes that everything Peter was teaching is found in Mark. If Edgar’s case is correct, the exception is understood. It is a problem to say Mark’s Jesus said no exceptions and Matthew says an exception and both are true. The most likely scenario is Mark’s is understood.

Laney also says that Edgar’s view seems to have no place for forgiveness or promise-keeping. In response, I can say I have always held the door open for the forgiveness of my ex-wife. It doesn’t mean I will trust her again, but I can forgive her.  You can forgive someone for doing something, but you don’t have to trust them again. If the babysitter you hire abuses your children, you can forgive them, but it doesn’t mean you let them sit your kids again.

As for promise-keeping, you can hold Edgar’s position and still believe in promise-keeping. I do. If she did not want to keep her promise, how is that being unfaithful to mine? People around me can tell you I still don’t speak ill of her.

I really had a problem when Laney said this:

Instead of presenting a thorough biblical study of the subject, Edgar continually appeals to logic and states that the arguments of the opposing viewpoint are illogical (compare, pp. 173, 179, 180, 186, 192). I would hasten to point out that many biblical doctrines—such as election and free will—do not fit our categories of logic. How is the doctrine of the Trinity—three equal persons in one godhead-logical? Frankly, I would rather be biblical than logical if a choice is demanded.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 201.

If the Trinity is illogical, then that means it is impossible and should not be believed. I do not for a moment think the Trinity contradicts logic. Does the doctrine go beyond our understanding? Absolutely, but to say it is illogical is a dangerous path. I suspect Laney doesn’t really understand what is meant by logical, but I wish he would for he has opened a dangerous door with this statement.

There is nothing in Heth that I didn’t find in Laney worth commenting on, but in Richard’s response we read:

It may be correct for us to advise the injured party that he or she “can” divorce. But it is not for us to advise that he or she should. Instead we need to work toward the healing first of the persons involved, and then of the marriage.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 211.

This is a great point. We often forget that when the bride and groom come together on a wedding day, it’s not just them making a promise. The congregation is also to promise to support and help the couple. We don’t spend enough time doing this. We should all be working to help marriages in our community. I have told couples where I am that if they have a marriage problem and want to talk, my door is open.

Next time, we will look at Larry Richards’s position.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Divorce and Remarriage Four Views — Part 2

What do I think of William Heth’s view? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In this volume, Heth defends the position that divorce is allowed, but not remarriage. This is an older work as since then, Heth has changed his position to allow for remarriage after adultery and desertion. Therefore, we can say that eventually he came to abandon his arguments here, but he still has his arguments and we need to address them.

To begin with, I do agree with parts where Heth speaks highly of marriage. I also think ideally that marriage should be permanent, but the problem is that it is too often not. This is even the case with God essentially sending a divorce certificate to Israel and Judah when He allows them to go into exile. There have been some who have said the same thing happens again in Revelation. Hosea 2 has God explicitly saying to Israel “I am not your husband.”

Heth says marriage happens when a man and a woman announce their covenant love for one another and consummate that love together. He says one is not sufficient in itself, pointing to 1 Cor. 6:16. The problem is, as was said yesterday, that 1 Cor. 6:16, quotes Genesis 2:24, which is said to be the foundational passage on marriage. Nothing in Genesis 2:24 speaks about announcing covenant love, for instance.

I do agree with Heth in that the purpose of marriage is not companionship. That is a purpose, but it is not the purpose. After all, men and women have plenty of sources for companionship. They’re called friends. We even consider our pets our companions. That being said, being divorced and single is quite lonely and so yes, that companionship is definitely missed.

I am unconvinced by his point on Deuteronomy 24 considering it does not allow for remarriage of the first husband. The purpose is that it still allows for remarriage. My thinking on this is that a back and forth exchange gives the impression that this is a case of men working together to have the same woman and claim to do so legally. It creates a love triangle scenario.

He speaks on Ezra with the marriages to other tribes at the end and says

As early as 1890, George Rawlinson observed:

It is quite clear that [Ezra] read the Law as absolutely prohibitive of mixed marriages (Ezra 9:10–14)—i.e., as not only forbidding their inception, but their continuance. Strictly speaking, he probably looked upon them as unreal marriages, and so as no better than ordinary illicit connections. For the evils which flow from such unions, those who make them, and not those who break them, are responsible.

William A Heth, “Chapter 2: Divorce, but No Remarriage,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 89.

I find this extremely flimsy. Are we to say that pagan nations had no “real marriages” since evils could flow from such unions? If all that is required for a real marriage is a public testimony and a consummation, then these were real marriages. If these were real marriages, then these were real divorces.

Heth goes on to say that

Yet the most serious cases of unlawful unions could be punished by the death of both parties, just like adulterers (Lev 20:10). Numbers 25:6–15 records the case of an Israelite who took a foreign wife and was summarily executed. It could be a significant act of kindness that Ezra only demanded the “divorce” of the foreigners, not their execution.

William A Heth, “Chapter 2: Divorce, but No Remarriage,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 90.

This also strikes me as problematic. In this case, we have no indication that the two were husband and wife. What is going on is a judgment has come to Israel and right after a public statement denouncing this, a man and a woman brazenly go in public so everyone can see them and then go into a tent and start doing the deed together. Phinehas says that that is enough and takes a spear and runs through both of them in one blow.

Thus, I hardly see this as a parallel. Add in also that Deuteronomy had standards for marrying a woman who was a captive and Rahab and Ruth were foreign women who we see in the genealogy of Jesus. Are we to think that those were illicit marriages?

As we move on, we see a quotation from Tony Lane, a lecturer on Christian doctrine at London Bible College.

If Jesus did allow remarriage, presumably it happened. How did it then cease to happen, despite the fact that his teaching was known, leaving no trace either of a period when it happened or of any controversy.

William A Heth, “Chapter 2: Divorce, but No Remarriage,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 97.

However, what I want to know is how is this known? For instance, let’s go with the early church having a problem with sex for pleasure. Are we to assume then that nowhere in the early church could we find couples having sex for pleasure? The reality is we just don’t have the marriage statistics on the early church so this is really an argument from silence.

Later when talking about Jesus and divorce, Heth says:

Divorce for marital unfaithfulness may be conceded in view of the prevailing social mores, but there must be no remarriage lest adultery be committed. The disciples then react in unbelief at the thought of a life of singleness apart from marital relations: if a man cannot get out of a marriage so as to marry another, it is probably better not to marry at all (v. 10). Jesus then responds by saying that his standards on divorce and remarriage are indeed difficult to understand and to live by. Nevertheless, God gives true disciples the ability to understand and live by Christ’s teaching. Furthermore, God will give faithful disciples the grace they need if they should face a divorce they cannot prevent (v. 11).

William A Heth, “Chapter 2: Divorce, but No Remarriage,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 106.

First, we don’t know why exactly the disciples reacted the way they did. We just know that they did. However, if someone was stunned at the prospect of a life of singleness without sex, there’s a sure way to get that. Never get married. At least if you get married, you could say you can have sex for some time.

I also don’t deny that God can give grace to those of us who have gone through divorce, but at the same time, He can also give us new spouses who will love us faithfully. There is no doubt God can provide for me regardless. My hope is still that that will be through another companion.

As for Paul, Heth says

Paul’s statement that the believer is “not bound” in such cases has the same function that the exception clause does in Matthew 19:9: it relieves the innocent party of the guilt of violating Christ’s command not to divorce. In the case of Matthew 19:9 the woman who commits adultery is held responsible for the breakup of the marriage, while in 1 Corinthians 7:15 Paul exempts the Christian from the responsibility for the divorce which an unbelieving mate brings about. Nothing is said one way or the other about the possibility of remarriage for the believer.

William A Heth, “Chapter 2: Divorce, but No Remarriage,” in Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 112.

This seems like a strange interpretation. Not bound means that the person is not guilty? That doesn’t seem to be the main issue at play here. No one seems to be asking “Who is guilty of the divorce?”

Finally, in looking at the responses, I want to only look at one comment from Thomas Edgar.

Heth’s argument that unless divorce is required it cannot be argued that the one-flesh relationship has been broken due to sexual sin, fails to take into account that although relationship with a prostitute is “one flesh” it is not marriage unless a certain legal ceremony is carried out. In the same way sexual sin breaks the marriage bond, but the marriage is not actually dissolved until a certain legal procedure (divorce) is carried out Does anyone argue that the marriage itself is actually dissolved the instant one enters into sexual unfaithfulness? I think that my discussion of the syntax shows that Heth’s view of Matthew 19:9 is incorrect. It is grammatically impossible to claim that Matthew 19:9 does not allow remarriage in the case of the exception.

J. Carl Laney et al., Divorce and Remarriage: Four Christian Views (ed. H. Wayne House; Spectrum Multiview Books; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, n.d.), 142.

This is an excellent case. Adultery does not ipso facto destroy the marriage as there can be repentance and it’s not as if the moment a spouse commits adultery, they are a divorced couple and then if the cheater comes home and resumes normal sex with the spouse, that the unaware party is having an affair? Just as the ceremony is part of the marriage, so it is part of the divorce. Adultery doesn’t necessitate divorce, but it is sufficient for it.

Next time, we will look at Thomas Edgar’s essay.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: Divorce and Remarriage Part 1

What do I think of J. Carl Laney’s approach? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In looking at the views in this book, I plan on addressing in each part the opinion of the writer as well as the rebuttals by the opposing sides. The first one is going to be Laney. His approach is that the Bible doesn’t allow at all for divorce or remarriage. I should point out that I had a hand copy that I was highlighting, but I seem to have accidentally left it somewhere so I will not be making as many quotations. I am instead using my version Logos. Also, for new readers, I am sadly divorced and seeking remarriage.

So for Laney’s view, I definitely agree with matters upfront that marriage is an institution created by God. We should be doing all that we can to uphold and help marriages. I also do agree that divorce is a great evil in our world. There are times I sadly think it can be necessary, but that is still a tragedy even then. It means somewhere along the way, someone violated the covenant to such a great extent it has to be abandoned. I realize Laney disagrees with me on that last point, but that is fine. I often say if you want to meet someone who hates divorce, look for someone who has been wrongfully divorced.

I also agree that the Bible tells a man to cleave to his new wife, something that can include love but in a sense goes beyond it for something new. A man can love many people in his life, but the only one he should cleave to is his wife. I definitely also agree that sexual faithfulness should be part of the marriage covenant.

I also liked that he said parents should give children roots and wings. Give them roots in the sense that they always have a home that they are welcome at, but also give them wings. They need to leave that home sometime.

I disagree when he says that the marriage bond is indissoluble. For one thing, he points to Genesis 2:24 as the one-flesh union, but just before this has quoted that same verse from 1 Cor. 6:16 where Paul says if a man unites himself with a prostitute he becomes one flesh with her, quoting Genesis 2:24. Are we to think Paul thought a man had entered an indissoluble union with a prostitute? There are plenty of teenagers who are having sex in high school. Are we to think that the moment that they do, that they are automatically married and thus any further marriage is adultery? If so, there are a lot of adulterous people out there, including people who did stay faithful and married someone who wasn’t a virgin on their wedding night.

Laney also says that Deuteronomy 24 doesn’t institute or approve divorce, which is true, but it does treat it as a reality. However, if divorce is a reality, then yes, divorce is possible. If divorce is possible, then it means that it is possible to break apart a marriage covenant.

I also do not see how his claim works when Jesus says that if anyone divorces his wife and marries another, except for porneia, they commit adultery. To me, that is quite clear that in the case of porneia, whatever it is, that divorce and remarriage is allowed. Laney falls back on saying marriage cannot be undone, but that has not been demonstrated and it looks more like saying “Jesus could not mean X because it disagrees with the prior position here.”

Laney says that if porneia just means adultery, then Jesus would just have been siding with the school of Shammai. And the problem? It’s not unthinkable that the Jews actually got some things right in interpreting the Old Testament, including marriage laws. While it is true there is another word that can mean explicit adultery, the word Jesus used is just fine still for conveying the ideas, much like today we can say terms like having sex, making love, intercourse, coitus, hooking up, doing it, etc.

I also think too much is made of Mark and Luke not mentioning the exception in Matthew. It’s more likely that as someone like Instone-Brewer would point out, everyone would know that divorce was allowable for adultery. Matthew made it explicit for his own reasons, but unless the synoptics contradict each other, then they must all agree that adultery is an acceptable reason for divorce.

I will pass over Paul for now and save that for Heth’s position in this book which I highlighted more of and is closely akin to Laney. I also want to say that he and Heth both appeal to the early church and say that the early church did not allow for divorce and remarriage. Not having seen all they said, I will grant that for the sake of argument.

However, many of them also said that sex should be used only for the purpose of procreation. Tertullian referred to it as that dreadful thing. Would Laney and Heth want to embrace that view? I daresay many of your most staunch Catholics and Orthodox would not even take such a position.

They would also likely if they want to be consistent then hold to many of the Marian doctrines. For someone in the RCC or the Orthodox camp, this would not be a problem. For those wanting to be Protestants, it could be. (There are Protestants who do hold to perpetual virginity.) Thus, it’s not sufficient to say the early church believed X. I want to know why they believed it.

I also think that Laney’s position could lead to license of sin. It could mean that if a spouse is committing adultery, well, you can’t divorce so what are you going to do? Well, a spouse is being abusive and/or putting children at risk. Can’t divorce. What are you going to do? I’m sure Laney would have solutions in each of these cases, but I also think that even separation alone would have little effect on someone like that.

Also, when I read cases like this, it seems as if Laney is unaware of those of us who are divorced against our desires. Many of us wanted to celebrate marriage the way that Laney does, and many of us do, but our own experiences of it fell short and it is devastating. I know this is not the intent, but when one reads this, you can come away with the position of “Sucks to be you. Your spouse wronged you and now you have to suffer.”

So in the end, I am not convinced of Laney’s position. Next time, we will explore Heth who allows for divorce, but not remarriage. I will also have more quotations from that one due to highlighting online so expect more interaction.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Love Among Men

Are men capable of sharing love? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let me tell you the story of this boy. He was a boy who really loved poetry and music. He could play a musical instrument well and he wrote a lot of songs. He also had a deep connection with a man. They were practically heart and soul together. When the other man died, the boy felt a deep sorrow and sang a song of depression over what had happened.

I suspect some of you know what’s going on already.

Some of you are thinking this boy sounds really girly and needs to get a woman in his life.

Well, this boy had plenty of women in his life. We know about them. We know about them because this boy is King David.

Am I suggesting that David and Jonathan had a same-sex love for one another? Absolutely not! However, am I saying that they had a love for one another? Yes. It was a deep friendship love. Jonathan by all standards should have been the next to take the throne, not a light deal, and he put it aside because he knew David really deserved it.

I’m reading through a book by John Boswell on Christianity and social tolerance with regards to same-sex relationships. One problem that keeps occurring to me is that often, relationships are shown between men in literature that I don’t doubt are deep, and then it seems to imply that it must have also been an erotic relationship. This is a problem.

We live in a culture where we think sex means love, and it doesn’t. Ideally, it should. It should be that whenever a couple has sex together, it is because they have a great love for one another, particularly in a covenant relationship where they are husband and wife. Sadly, we don’t live in the ideal world.

We live in a world where sex can be cheap. Are we to think that every actress who has found herself on the “casting couch” was there because of the love for the man she was with? I still remember a woman telling me years ago in her pre-Christian days that she had sex with men she hated. Many a girl will give sex to a boy thinking it will keep him in her life only to be dumped shortly after.

All of this leads us to a problem with relationships among men. If men have a deep relationship with one another, it seems we assume there must be something erotic going on there. I hate to say it, but even I assume this when I watch a TV show and two guys are seen having an extremely close relationship.

This is not good.

We should be able to say that men should be able to have deep love for other men and not have to fear it being something erotic. Men should be able to express love and concern for one another and help them with their struggles and burdens. That a man can do that for another man doesn’t show he has same-sex attraction. It could just show he has a heart.

I like to watch history videos from the Metatron on Youtube. In this one, he talks about ancient Greece and their view on same-sex relationships. He says that some think that Achilles and Patroclus had an erotic relationship because when Patroclus dies, Achilles was upset.

I can tell you I have several friends who are guys that if I received word they died, I would be very upset. My first real experience with death was with a Sunday School teacher who called me and every other guy in class during the week to see how we were doing. I remember being in school today and having people come around to take up donations because he had died suddenly. I was so upset I had to go home early. I couldn’t function. I was in denial for awhile half-expecting him to jump up during the ceremony and say it was all a joke. It had to be. Right?

I had another friend who I never met in person, but he was a younger kid who really looked up to me in apologetics and I saw him as a pupil of sorts. I was his mentor. He had a brain tumor and died as a teenager. To this day, I’m still friends with his parents. There were times in my marriage my ex-wife would notice a sadness in me and ask what was wrong and I would say that I was remembering him suddenly. I’m sad writing this out right now.

Men don’t really want to be effeminate and I don’t think we should, but we should also accept that we can have a deep love for another man and yet, that is not erotic. Part of the problem in our society is we don’t know what love is and if love is said to be sex and you love another man, well, figure it out.

This could be the case for young men growing up who think there must be something wrong because they equate love feelings with erotic feelings. You can have the former without the latter. I love my sister very much and she is a beautiful woman, but those feelings sure aren’t erotic.

Love is one of the most meaningless words in our society today because people really don’t stop to think about what it means. Part of that is one of language in that I can say I love pizza, Final Fantasy, my friends, my parents, and God, and the degree and way is different for each of those.

I wish I had a clear solution here to this problem. I don’t. I just know that this is a problem and I am convinced it will keep creating confusion, especially for young people growing up who are told to base their identity so much on how they feel about themselves and the world around them.

Especially the boys trying to become men.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)


Three Killers of Romantic Relationships

What are three things that can bring a romantic relationship to its knees? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A few days ago I was browsing Facebook and came across a post in a group I am in for Louisiana Singles. (Sadly, no luck for me so far.) The question was asked in the OP about why relationships fail. I thought of three things, one of which was said by most people so let’s go for that one first.

#1. Social Media.

Social media has done a killer job to so many relationships. It starts off innocent enough sometimes. You start looking up an old friend of the opposite sex you went to high school with. Then you’re privately catching up in messages. Then you’re talking about all the times you shared and you’re building up a connection. Then lo and behold, that person is in town and you decide to meet up and you wind up in a hotel room together.

I’m not saying it always happens that way, obviously not, but social media relationships can be destructive. One problem with it is the relationship is built on fantasy. The person you are with at the time, they are real, and you can see all their flaws all too clearly. When you meet someone new, you don’t see those flaws. In essence, you have a person who is for all intents and purposes perfect, and here you have a guy who snores loudly at night or a woman who regularly has bad hair days.

Guess which one wins.

Not only that, the other person isn’t really requiring anything of you. In a marriage, you have to give of yourself and sacrifice of yourself. You have to do things you don’t like. In the new relationship, all you do is have fun together. It sounds perfect and well, this person must obviously be your soulmate. Right?

So let’s move on to #2 with that one.

#2. Bad ideology of sex, marriage, and family.

A soulmate is one example of this. If you go through life thinking that there is just one person for you and it is your job to find this one person, you’ll likely be in for a hard time. It’s a shame so many in the church buy into this thinking. The truth is there are plenty of people you could probably be happy with and have a good and working marriage with.

It’s too easy to go into the marriage and think “What is this other person going to do to make me happy?” and then when they stop doing that, well it’s time to move on. Imagine what it would be like if both partners went in asking “What can I do to make this other person happy?” and both partners lived accordingly. If you go into it thinking it’s all about you, you will not last when that suffering comes, and all relationships have suffering.

If you view marriage as less than a lifetime covenant, it won’t be a shock when you treat it like it’s less than that. If you treat it as common instead of sacred, it won’t be a shock when you can discard it like it’s common. A cheap view of marriage will result and often times, this can include a cheap view of sex, which brings us to #3.

#3. Porn.

It’s so strange that in the thread, I didn’t see anyone else saying this is it? Well, no. It’s not. Most of us find it easy to talk about areas that aren’t a struggle for us. Most pastors wouldn’t do a sermon on gluttony because a lot of their congregation would want to oust them. Actually, some pastors won’t do that because they’re guilty themselves.

It used to be that if you wanted to see porn, you had to go to the magazine stand or you had to go to that room at the video store. In doing so, you would out yourself. No more. Shame has been removed. Now you just have to go to your internet. I realize that if I wanted to, I could type something in the search bar of my browser and before long, I would be looking at porn.

I find that disgusting, but unfortunately, a lot of people don’t share my moral sentiments.

It’s not just a man’s problem either. A lot of women are watching porn. Sometimes, the reasons differ. A lot of men watch porn because, hey, naked women. A lot of women want to see naked men sure, but they are also watching because they think this is what their boyfriends and others expect and so they think they need to know how to please them.

Porn is not reality though. It’s fantasy, and it’s a mistake to treat fantasy as reality. In a movie or a TV show, a love scene always comes out perfectly. No one passes gas at an awkward moment and no one has to put a towel on the bed first and there’s no strange positioning or anything.

Most married couples will tell you the reality can be very different.

Not only that, but if you go for more and more hardcore stuff, it will take more and more to turn you on. Generally, I’d say that the sight of a woman disrobing should always get some response out of a man, but what happens if you can just see that anytime with just a click of a mouse? It will lose its power. There are a number of men on medication for ED who are in their 20’s. Real women can’t arouse them anymore. Honestly men, do you want that to be you someday? Do you even want to risk it?

Get rid of all porn from your lives. Make no allowance for it. It is one of the most destructive evils out there.

I am sure there are more killers, but I see these as the big three. Be cautious with #1, refine #2, and avoid at all costs #3.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Book Plunge: The Bible and Science on Gender, Sex, and Marriage

What do I think of Lindsay Harold and Daniel Biddle’s book published by Genesis Apologetics? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I don’t know anything about Daniel Biddle aside from this book, but Lindsay is one of my favorite posters to read on Facebook as her insights on marriage and family are excellent. Thus, when I heard she had a book out on the topic of gender, sex, and marriage, I wanted to get in on helping out with it. I thank her for sending me a copy of it. As I normally do then, I am going to list the positives and then the things I would like to change.

First, a lot of the information in this book is excellent. The authors put in a lot of work to demonstrate that from the womb to the tomb, men and women are different. They point out the ways that men excel in areas women normally don’t and then vice-versa. They do point out that these are generalities. For example, while it is common that men are taller than women, that does not mean that every man is taller than every woman.

Second, they do put a lot of work into demonstrating a biblical foundation for sex and marriage and family. This is important especially for a lot of layman Christians today who are buying into the LGBTQ agenda and haven’t really thought about these issues much. Too many people buy into the idea of just saying “Love is love” as if every kind of love is automatically good.

Third, from a Christian viewpoint, the gospel is clearly here. The writers give the bad news about the wrongs done in our society too, but they also give the good news. They do talk about compassion for those who have made mistakes in their lives in these areas. For instance, when talking about abortion, they do list a number of pro-life ministries to help a woman who is pregnant and doesn’t know what to do.

So now the things I would like to change.

First, I do understand this is Genesis Apologetics and they are YEC, but I think this could be a distraction. For instance, at the start, a biblical worldview is talked about, which includes man created out of clay instantly thousands of years ago. I understand a lot of Christians believe this wholeheartedly, but a lot of them do not. I know plenty of people in all walks of creation beliefs that love Jesus. I also know that if you want to reach non-believers, that they will tend to discount this position quite quickly. People like myself can be told we have a secular worldview, even though I would just as ardently say my view is in line with Scripture.

Second, I am not against using Scripture, but I think the book could be more effective had it stuck to general revelation topics and then at the end perhaps had a postscript covering the gospel for all interested. If I was wanting to convince someone on a Christian worldview of sex and marriage who was an atheist, I would start with what we all know already in general revelation. I would be glad to ground that later on in theism if need be, but I want to go one step at a time.

Third, the authors at the end did list a lot of sexual practices and beliefs about marriage that have caused great harm in society, including divorce. The effects of everything else were covered, but I don’t remember divorce, which is a shame since this is also one of the most abundant and easy ones to cover. I am grateful that many of the others were covered.

Overall though, this is an excellent book and it’s a short one. I read it in a day and you can too and it’s not really a strain to do so. We need more information out there on the differences between men and women and the role sex and marriage should play in our society.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

How Feminism Has Been Bad For Women.

Is Modern feminism a good thing? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“Modern feminism has done more to harm women than the so-called patriarchy could ever dream of doing.”

This is what I put on my wall on Facebook Saturday night. Someone did post wanting to know more and it was late and I figured, “There’s a lot here. Why not write a post on it on Monday?” So having said that, let’s go through and see how I think this has been a bad thing.

Now what sparked this was the videos about women in gym talking about guys watching them while there. In some cases, a guy is treating a woman like a piece of meat when all he’s doing is just glancing her way from time to time. In one such video, we found out that one of the girls talked about how traumatizing it was and yet had an OnlyFans account. This is just one example and I will expound on it.

Let’s also be clear. What I mean by modern feminism is an attitude that is often anti-male or thinks that men and women are absolutely equal in everything, save perhaps biological differences. I am not saying anything about women having the right to vote or have a career outside the house or being able to have higher education.

First way is that modern feminism has helped women suffer under the transgender movement.

If you want to try to eliminate all differences between men and women, one idea that can easily come about is that men and women are practically interchangeable. Then what happens is that men undergo an operation, claim to be a woman, and then compete in women’s sports and lo and behold, they win. This is because generally, men are stronger and more capable than women in these areas due to how their bodies develop vs. how a woman’s body develops.

“Well that’s not true! I know a woman who is far better than most men in these areas!”

That’s why this is a general statement. It’s not saying all men are better than all women at XYZ. Generalities do allow for exceptions, but the fact that they are the exceptions demonstrates the point.

Not only are men winning women’s competitions, now they are even winning beauty pageants and other such titles. This is pushing women out of the rightful positions they should have here. I am also not saying that modern feminists intended for this to happen, but many of our actions do result in unintended consequences.

Let’s also be clear at something. When we say men and women are different, it does not follow from this that one is superior to the other. All that is said is that they are different. I like what Peter Kreeft has said about this. Men are superior at being men. Women are superior at being women. Unfortunately, the transgender movement now has it that men are going to be superior at being women also.

The second way is telling a woman that a career is most important.

Once again, this is not saying that a woman cannot have a career or should not pursue a career, but it is saying that women cannot put career first and still expect the rest of their lives to work out normally. Many women have even sadly been shamed because they didn’t do anything with themselves but be a stay-at-home Mom. A housewife is treated as a lower position. It’s also seen as servile. Staying home and cleaning and fixing meals and making sure your husband has a meal?

If you are a stay-at-home Mom because that is what you wanted to do, God bless you. You have not chosen a lesser path. What job could be greater in the world than raising the next generation of human beings and preparing them to be contributing members to society?

Now, women are told to put off marriage and children. Go and get a career and then you can think about those things later. Unfortunately, biology disagrees. The older a woman gets, the harder it will be for her to conceive. A man does not have this problem. A man can be a senior citizen and still father a child.

Because of this, women will often go out and work on their career and then realize their chances of being a mother are greatly lessened. Not only that, if they do not date to marry at this time, they will find that many of the good men they are wanting are gone. Who got them? Those women that chose that “lesser position” of being a housewife and stay-at-home Mom.

Now this gets us into the sexual marketplace. One of the biggest mistakes of feminism has been championing abortion. One of the biggest distinctions between men and women is that women can give birth. Abortion treats this fact as a hindrance and a problem to be dealt with. Let’s ask a simple question about this. Who benefits?

Well, feminists tell us also that men only want one thing and that’s sex. Last I checked, in abortion, man gets what he wants then, the sex. Not only that, he has no consequences. He doesn’t have to be involved in the life of a child. He doesn’t have to pay child support. He gets to have his fun, and then the woman removes the consequences for him. Guess what the man gets then overall? Sex without responsibility. He doesn’t have to owe anything to the woman or promise to be there. This only helps enable the negative attitude that women have toward men.

The increase in something like no-fault divorce also doesn’t help women for the most part. Now men who would normally marry and make a commitment do not do so because they can get with a woman, then she leaves him when he is the innocent part, and he ends up paying alimony and child support for the rest of his life and she takes half of his stuff. (This did not happen with me lest anyone thinks I am writing this out of personal vengeance.)

So what happens? They move in together instead and don’t get married and what happens? The man can leave at any time. A woman will often go for this thinking it’s a stepping stone to marriage. The man can go in easily thinking “Sex without commitment. Sounds good to me.” Again, I am not saying this is how it happens every time, but it is something that is expected. Once again also, the man is the real beneficiary.

Also, if a woman is willingly doing porn, she is doing what she has complained about men doing to her, objectifying her. Let’s go back to OnlyFans. What is a woman doing with this? Sure, she’s making money, but what she is saying to any complete stranger is “If you pay this bunch a month, you can see me naked.” How is the woman treating her self-worth? She’s worth whatever the charge is. In the past, if a man wanted to see a naked woman, he either had to go down to the magazine stand or video store which was public and people could see what he was doing, or else he had to do the work of winning a woman’s heart and making a lifelong commitment to her. Women have now made it easy.

Now let’s look at the situation of women at the gym. Newsflash everyone! Men notice beautiful women! A book I remember going through explaining the way men are to women said that picture a group of men watching the final moments of the Super Bowl or the World Series or something of that sort and then a woman comes in and starts taking her shirt off.

The men will lose complete interest in the game.

In my area, there was a challenge given to women and these were recorded on video. You never saw the woman aside from perhaps non-sexual body parts, at least normally from our culture’s perspective. The challenge was these women had just got out of the shower and had only a towel around them and they would go to their men who were either husbands or boyfriends and were playing video games. They would then do something like toss the towel at the man who would for the overwhelming most part stop whatever game they were playing and go for the girl immediately.

Not only this, but generally, men notice anything in the world normally, not as a whole first, but as several individual parts. This implies to women also, which is why men can easily notice what they see sexually desirable in women. I am not saying this is a good thing necessarily. I am saying it is just a reality.

So if a beautiful woman goes to a gym and is wearing something that really clings to her body or is wearing something exposing her midriff or anything that makes her attractive, men will notice. In the book “Through a Man’s Eyes” by Shaunti Feldhahn and Craig Gross, Feldhahn writes about talking to a couple at a church about a movie called Cold Mountain. She asks the wife how they handled the sex scene in that together. The wife asks “Was there a sex scene?” The man just looks up briefly and says “Yep.”

Men notice this.

The problem is feminism now punishes men for being men. In the video in question, which I am not finding on its own, but here is Candace Owens talking about it. (I would have gone with Joey Swoll, but there is language involved there.) This man is made into a villain when he simply looked over a couple of times, and then came over, offered help, and then left the woman alone.

First off, if a man notices a woman at the gym, that is not wrong. I am not talking about the man who stares and gawks at a woman with his tongue sticking out or something like that. Yes. A guy can be creepy in his attraction to a woman. However, suppose he is attracted to her. Is it necessarily creepy if he goes over and starts to talk to her and eventually asks her out? (One wonders if the woman would complain if the man looked like a Brad Pitt type to her.)

Second, a man could watch a woman for any number of reasons. Could she use some help? What if someone who is creepy does come up to her? Many men just like to be aware of their surroundings. That includes the women in the area.

What women do here is punishing men for being men and wishing they would think more like women. No. They will not. That desire that you think is creepy can also be what will drive them to be the best for you and care for you. Many men overall really want to protect and cherish women.

Yesterday, I saw a video from Just Pearly Things about how men only want one thing and they don’t expect much in return. No. The video is not about what you expect. Men ultimately want respect and will do anything to help out the women in their lives. Yes. There are exceptions, but we’re not talking about those. Any time I have been somewhere and seen a woman in need, I have wanted to do what I can to help her.

However, because of these videos coming out, what are men less likely to do? Ask out women. After all, you can get a sexual harassment lawsuit headed your way. If a woman has a phone at the gym, a man will stay away. He might stay away period just to avoid getting in any trouble.

By the way, that means also good guys will stay away. Those good guys that women ask about where they are? They’re the ones that don’t want to be ruined for the crime of being attracted to women. This isn’t just me saying this. I see plenty of women saying the same as well.

Women can often complain about what they call the patriarchy, but they are doing the worst damage to themselves. They don’t need the patriarchy to ruin women. They have met the enemy and it is them.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)



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