WHAT IS PREMARITAL SEX?

By Dr. Stephen Kim

Nearly two-thirds of children born in the United States are born to mothers under the age of thirty. Which is why the following discovery in a 2012 New York Times article was so alarming: “It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage” (Jason DeParle and Sabrina Tavernise, For Women Under 30, Most Births Occur Outside Marriage, New York Times, February 17, 2012). Evidently, premarital sex is pervasive in this nation.

What is premarital sex?

At first, we might merely dismiss the question posed in this article as if it’s too rudimentary for us. Convention is to simply understand meaning through the confluence of the words “premarital” and “sex.” With regard to the confluence of words, I admit, the definition is very straightforward: Premarital sex is sexual intercourse that occurs before marriage. Yet, there is a more profound question circulating within the minds of many.

In June of this year, someone read my article on the adultery exception for divorce and remarriage and left the following comment.

Thanks for the article. Question:

What is your definition of marriage? Some say the Jewish context did not differentiate between sexual joining and marriage.

Suffice it to say, the question deserves an answer. There are some pastors who believe that having sex with someone means that (in God’s eyes) you’re now married to the person. The primary Scripture texts for this position are 1 Corinthians 6 and Matthew 19:

Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” (1 Cor 6:15-16)

“‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Mt 19:5-6)

Those who support the “sex is marriage” position may have the following logic which stems from those two verses:

  • Paul says that having sex with a prostitute is tantamount to “becoming one flesh with her.”
  • Jesus said that in marriage, “two shall become one flesh.”
  • Therefore, having premarital sex with someone means that you’re now married to the person before God.

Seems cogent, doesn’t it?

I think I even recall a young man (or woman) writing to me that he was convinced that he couldn’t get married because he had engaged in premarital sex with a female (who is now long gone) and therefore, he was still technically married to her. In his view, a marriage now would really be remarriage–making him an adulterer/bigamist (Romans 7:3) bound for hell. Talk about fear and anxiety!

WHY PREMARITAL SEX IS NOT MARRIAGE

Premarital sex is sexual sin that must cease and be repented of. However, it is not marriage. The two are not the same. Here are five reasons why.

1. In John 4:18, Jesus tells the woman at the well, “For you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” Prior to the banning of remarriage by Christ (Mt 5:32), divorce and remarriage was allowed by God and quite rampant within the Jewish community (Deut 24:1-4). Apparently, this woman (who was a Samaritan) was divorced five times and had remarried four times. According to Christ, the man that she was currently cohabitating with was not her husband. Meaning, she never married him–she was simply having sex with him. Hence, Jesus does not equate sex with marriage.

2. It is true that in the Old Testament, if you had sex with a virgin, you had to marry her (the principle is still advisable today). However, it is important to note that the premarital sex itself was never equated to marriage. In other words, the premarital sex meant that the man now had to get married to her–it did not mean that he was now married to her. This is especially evident in the fact that the woman’s father could actually refuse the wedding–even after premarital sex: “If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins” (Ex 22:16-17). Hence, in such cases, premarital sex occurred, a fine (the price of a dowry) occurred, but a marriage did not occur. The father refused and didn’t let it happen.

3. In Genesis 34:2, Shechem the Hivite prince, rapes Dinah the daughter of Jacob. Yet, the sex did was not equated to marriage because after the sexual intercourse, verse three states: “So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, ‘Get me this young girl for a wife'” (Gen 34:3). In other words, “Yes, I’ve had sex with her, but she’s not my wife right now. Arrange things so that she could become my wife.”

4. King David had adulterous sex with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba. Yet, the sex with King David did not mean that she was now married to him. In Jewish law, a woman is not allowed to have two husbands (Rom 7:3). Additionally, David’s sex with Bathsheba did not break the marital bond that she had with Uriah. This is particularly evident in 2 Samuel 11:26, where the biblical narrator still identifies Bathsheba as the “wife of Uriah” and refers to him as “her husband”: “When the wife of Uriah heard that Uriah her husband was dead, she mourned for her husband” (2 Sam 11:26). Finally, it is important to note that only after Uriah’s death, did David marry her and she therefore, “became” his wife: “And when her mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Sam 11:27, emphasis added).

5. Jesus did not have a human father, but was nevertheless, “The Son of David” because of Joseph. Prior to Christ’s birth, Joseph had consternation about marrying the pregnant Mary. Yet, after an angel instructed him to marry her, here’s what the text says: “And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus” (Mt 1:24-25, emphasis added). When Christ was born, Joseph was already truly married to Mary but he had never engaged in sexual intercourse with Mary. Of course, Joseph and Mary did eventually consummate the marriage after the birth of Christ; but nevertheless, Scripture is clear: For some time, Mary maintained her virginity while truly being the wife of Joseph. Again, sex (or the lack thereof) does not equate to marriage.

CONCLUSION

While I could bring up other biblical texts, I will instead close with one final appeal. The appeal to logical reasoning.

If sex is marriage, then the act of premarital sex weds a man and a woman. If sex is marriage, then sex with a prostitute weds a man to the prostitute. It also means that at the moment of adulterous sex, the cheating husband is now married to his mistress.

If premarital sex is marriage, then think about the three possibilities:

  1. It means that every woman who had premarital sex in high school or college, and then subsequently married another man, is now really married to two men and is guilty of polyandry.
  2. Or, if polyandry is not permissible, then the “second” marriage is merely adultery and the children of that marriage are to be considered mamzerim (bastards, illegitimate). In this case, the woman is still really “married” to the person she had premarital sex with.
  3. Or, if premarital sex is marriage, and subsequent sex breaks any prior marriages, then the woman’s current marriage (to a different sexual partner) would technically be a remarriage. If we then accept the unbiblical view that remarriages are indeed real marriages that must never be terminated (e.g., see John Piper’s view), then what we may have is a woman who is legitimately “married” to the father of her children. But this possibility is problematic for two reasons. First of all, the option that Hosea took with adulterous Gomer would go out the window. In this view, no one could ever forgive an adulterous spouse because the adulterous sex would automatically dissolve the marriage. In this view, at the moment of sex, the adulterer would cease from being the husband of his first wife and would immediately become the husband of his mistress or prostitute. This, of course, is simply not true. Even in cases of adultery, Christians advise the spouse to forgive and maintain the marriage. The marriage is not automatically dissolved by extramarital sex. Although adultery did hurt the marriage, nevertheless, the marriage is still in full force. Second, the view is problematic because Jesus identifies remarriage as adultery (Mt 5:32, Mt 19:9, Mk 10:11-12, and Lk 16:18). Hence, unlike what John Piper teaches, Jesus (and John the Baptist) expects remarriages to be terminated so that persons no longer remain as adulterers.

Therefore, in light of Scripture and logical reasoning, premarital sex is a heinous sin against God that is more grievous than most other sins which are committed outside the body (1 Cor 6:18). However, it is not the same as marriage and more importantly, it is a sin that could be repented of and thoroughly forgiven through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage certainly incorporates sex, but it is not the same as sex. In fact, it is marriage that validates the sex that occurs after the marriage. It is the marriage covenant that makes the union indissoluble (otherwise, union with a prostitute would also be indissoluble). In a marriage, the covenant precedes the carnal union, and indeed, it must: The woman becomes the man’s wife before he is joined to her physically. For the Christian, sex is to be enjoyed only within the bounds of holy matrimony: “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Heb 13:4).

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WORD OF GOD, SPEAK

“But go on speaking and do not be silent; for I am with you” (Acts 18:9-10).

“For whoever is ASHAMED of Me and MY WORDS in this ADULTEROUS and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).
“But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits ADULTERY” (Matthew 5:32).
“Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Luke 16:18).
“So then if, while her husband lives, SHE IS MARRIED to another man, she SHALL BE called an adulteress: but if her husband dies, she is free from that law; so that she IS NO adulteress, THOUGH she IS MARRIED to another man” (Romans 7:3).
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be DECEIVED: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor ADULTERERS, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
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6 KEYS TO RAISING GODLY MEN

By Dr. Stephen Kim

Every story has a worldview, and apparently, so does every toy aisle. The makers at Boy Story are now attempting to “do away with stereotypes” by creating dolls for boys. The push for “gender neutral” toys is now on. Boy Story writes on their website: “Boy Story Introduces boy Action Dolls to the market to teach boys and girls alike that anyone can play with dolls.”

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Cor 16:13).

There is a profound shortage of “real men” in our nation. When I read verses like the one above, I can’t help but feel the very high expectations that God specifically has for Christian boys.

1 Corinthians 6:13 couldn’t be addressed to women for it would be wrong for women to “act like men.” Surely, the Bible was written for both men and women, and the souls of men and women have equal salvific value in the sight of God (Gal 3:28). However, a person cannot deny the fact that in virtually every Pauline epistle, the apostle is specifically writing to and addressing the “brothers” of the church (e.g., Rom 1:13, 1 Cor 1:10, 2 Cor 1: 8, Gal 6:1, Eph 6:23, etc.). Furthermore, verses like the one above heavily testify to the fact that when Paul wrote the word brothers, he was specifically referring to the men of the church.

Why is this significant? It’s significant because despite what our egalitarian culture/society tries to tell us, there is an objective perspective to the gender narrative and it goes something like this:

“For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man” (1 Cor 11:7).

Satan is well aware of this truth and that is why he is working so hard to demote our men. Why? Because the glory of God is at stake. Apparently, nothing reminds him more of his archenemy than the human male–the one who bears the image and glory of God. Hence, the pervasive nature of emasculation within our society, within our churches, and within our family units. Don’t believe me?

“My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.” (Isaiah 3:12)

We, as a nation, stand at the precipice of the nation’s first female president. Hanna Rosin, in her 2010 book, The End of Men (and in subsequent articles), has argued for the obsolescence of men. She says that the minimization of men playing “major roles” within society is a good thing.

While I disagree, the data she cites is alarming. Consider these realities:

-In the U.S., 1/5th of able-bodied men are not working.
-In the West, including the U.S., roughly 60% of college graduates are women. Women also earn 60% of all master’s degrees.
-Educationally, boys lag behind girls essentially from the crib onward.
-In 2009, the U.S. workforce became majority women.
-Of the 15 job categories marked for growth in the decade ahead, men will dominate only two: janitorial work and computer engineering.

Wow. My goodness.

6 KEYS TO RAISING GODLY MEN

1. Pray. If you have sons, pray for them. Pray for them in the womb. Pray for them in the crib. Pray for them before you drop them off at school. Pray, pray, pray! You cannot ensure your son’s masculinity–but God can! Remember the prayer of Hannah in 1 Samuel 2? A praying parent makes a huge difference in the lives of boys!

2. Ensure Scripture Reading. “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Ps 119:11). The best way for a young man to become a man of character and integrity is by storing up God’s Word. God’s Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. God is the ultimate Father and His words are the best to follow if a young man is to become a “man.”

3. Expose Him to Powerful Preaching. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Powerful preaching creates powerful men. Weak preaching creates weak men. God spoke the universe into existence. There is power in the preached Word of God. And please, don’t even think about going to a church with a female pastor–it’s actually prohibited by God (1 Tim 2:12).

4. Surround Him With Godly Men. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). Kids naturally imitate (which is why boys usually want to grow up and do exactly the same jobs as their dads). Hence, it’s important that we surround them with good models. Dads, of course, are the best examples for boys. Fathers therefore, ought to strive to be godly men. If you don’t have a father at home, then encourage some of the godly men at church to be involved in your son’s life. Most men would love to mentor! Additionally give him biographies of Christian men who gave their all for Christ.

5. Stress the Importance of Education. “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (Prov 4:7). The first and greatest commandment informs us that God expects us to love Him with “all our minds.” If unbelievers have reasons to study, we have the ultimate! Encourage boys to study hard. Evolution, naturalism, and secular humanism are all atheistic “superstructures” that require engagement from the most potent Christian minds. Contrary to being “anti-intellectualism,” Christianity has always been the cause of intellectual progress. Oxford and Cambridge were started by Christians. In the United States, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton were all started by Christians. (In fact, Princeton’s crest still reads, “Dei sub numine viget,” which is Latin for “Under God she flourishes.”)

Without an education, boys will never lead. God gave them talents and a mind, and He expects a return on investment!

6. Teach Him to Respect Authority. “Give to everyone what you owe them: if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (Rom 13:7). There is one common theme among fatherless boys: the inability to respect authority. Sadly, though they see it as a mark of brash independence, it is nothing more than the means to their own destruction. Boys who grow up in settings where older males do not respect their parents, teachers, bosses, police officers, pastors, and other authority figures rarely do well in life. Teach your son to respect authority. Why? Because authority flows out of authority.

I have 2 girls and 2 boys of my own. No question, my girls are precious–both in my eyes and in God’s! But make no mistake about this: God has a very unique role for each of my boys–a role that my girls were never intended by God to fulfill. God knows this, but so does Satan.

But boys don’t simply “become” men. They need fathers, mentors, pastors, and guides. They need examples–someone to imitate. Ultimately, they need God–the quintessential Father; and Christ–the quintessential man. As Christian men, we must therefore, do all that is in our power to develop our boys into men. The “glory” of our country, our schools, our churches, and our families depend on it!

This post was originally posted on: http://www.raisinggodlychildren.org/2016/07/6-keys-to-raising-godly-men.html

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Remarriage is Adultery

By Dr. Stephen Kim

The aim of this paper is to biblically present, in a cogent manner, that:

  1. Remarriage, subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality, is adultery.
  2. Remarriage, subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality, continues to render the parties within the remarriage as adulterers for as long as the remarriage exists.
  3. Remarriage, subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality, must be dissolved.
  4. A return back to the person’s first marriage, after the dissolution of the remarriage, is not sin.

[Note: Remarriage after the death of the spouse is not adultery; and is instead, a legitimate marriage (cf. Rom 7:3, 1 Cor 7:39). The term “remarriage” henceforth will be used to describe those remarriages that are subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality.]

I plan to write this paper in a manner that is suitable for a lay person. It is not my goal to be exhaustive about the topic of divorce and remarriage for that would necessitate a fairly large book. Seeing that Jesus addressed this issue at least four times in three different Gospels, it is plain to me that he wanted all humans to understand and obey. It is this author’s understanding that both the institution of marriage and the laws governing it are divine gifts that are not amendable by mankind. Marriage, as a definition, is both universal in its scope and definitive in its allowances. Therefore, irrespective of a person’s personal religious background, marriage is only a marriage if it fits the parameters given by the Bible. There is only one true God. Hence, marriages officiated by civil government are only true marriages if they align to Holy Scripture. Gay marriages and adultery will never be true marriages for they contravene Holy Scripture. God’s law is higher than man’s law.

1. Remarriage, subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality, is adultery.

The title of this article actually comes directly from the mouth of Jesus Christ. In every single one of the Synoptic Gospels (Mt 5:32, Mt 19:9, Mk 10:11, and Lk 16:18) there is at least one account of Jesus directly instructing humanity that remarriage is adultery (note: Matthew’s Gospel has two accounts). The repetition of the commandment throughout New Testament writings, and the lucidity of the prohibition both serve as clear indications that the Lord expected people to never enter into remarriages after His declaration. Mark records Jesus saying, “And he said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (Gk. μοιχᾶται) against her'”(Mk 10:11).

Hence, a direct and concise abbreviation of Jesus’ teaching is simply my title: Remarriage is adultery.

1.1. The word “adultery,” by its very definition, is an invalid relationship that must be immediately terminated. “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20:14). Adultery is a term used to describe an unlawful union. Adultery is sin. Hence, when Jesus identified remarriage as adultery, it was His way of explicitly saying, “This union is invalid and abominable in my sight, therefore, terminate it immediately! This is not a marriage. She is another man’s wife and it is unlawful for you to have (i.e., remain married to) your neighbor’s wife.”

Popular Christian website, gotquestions.org, tries to legitimatize remarriages by stating: “In the Old Testament Law, the punishment for adultery was death (Leviticus 20:10). At the same time, Deuteronomy 24:1-4 mentions remarriage after a divorce, does not call it adultery, and does not demand the death penalty for the remarried spouse. The Bible explicitly says that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but nowhere explicitly states that God hates remarriage. The Bible nowhere commands a remarried couple to divorce.”

Of course, in that quote, they fail to mention that although divorce and remarriage were allowed by God in the Old Testament (cf. Deut 24:1-4; which is why, in John 4:18, Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well that she legitimately had five husbands in the past); they were subsequently banned by Jesus in the New Testament. There are three major problems with their argumentation: 1. Although the Old Testament does not identify remarriage as adultery; the New Testament, however, does identify it as adultery; 2. God never states that he hates remarriage, but he does state that he hates adultery (which is what a remarriage is in the New Testament era); and 3. A remarried couple is not told to divorce in the Old Testament; but in the New Testament, remarriage is identified as adultery, and adultery–as we all know–must end.

1.2. The word “adultery,” by its very definition, means: The sexual union of a married person with one who is not his or her spouse. Hence, when Jesus identifies remarriage as adultery, he is unequivocally declaring two things: 1. that the first marriage union is still valid (divorce did not terminate it), and 2. that the second marriage union is invalid. It is universally accepted that the word “adultery” encompasses both declarations.

1.3. All professing Christians agree that remarriage is adultery. Although they might disagree about whether or not to breakup the remarriage, yet all universally agree (because of the lucidity of Jesus’ words) that to remarry is to commit adultery. For example, although John Piper incorrectly instructs his congregation to stay in remarriages rather than dissolve them; he nevertheless, in his position paper, starts everything off in point 1.1 by correctly stating, “This verse [referring to Luke 16:18] shows that Jesus does not recognize divorce as terminating a marriage in God’s sight. The reason a second marriage is called adultery is because the first one is considered to still be valid.” Yes, Piper is correct there: Even after a court-ruled divorce, the first marriage is still valid in the eyes of God, and this is the reason why a remarriage is identified as adultery by Christ.

1.4. If the first marriage is still valid (by calling the remarriage “adultery,” Jesus taught that the first marriage was still valid: see 1.3 above), and if men like John Piper call for individuals to remain in remarriages because they are also valid, then there now exits two valid marriages. (The first marriage, because God bonded the couple together (Mt 19:6), will always remain valid–even after a divorce [except for divorces due to spousal sexual infidelity].) Therefore, those who instruct individuals to remain in remarriages are also proponents of polygamy.

Thankfully, Jesus invalidated remarriages by identifying them as “adultery” and by doing so, he also banned polygamy. The Christian who does not call for the dissolution of remarriages has no biblical ground for prohibiting polygamy. Prior to Christ’s prohibition of remarriages in the New Testament, God allowed both remarriage (Deut 24:1-4) and polygamy (Deut 21:15, 2 Sam 12:8, 2 Sam 12:24) in the Old Testament. In fact, some of the most godliest men in the Old Testament were polygamists. In the Christian era, polygamy is a sin because Jesus made remarriage a sin. The two are inextricable.

[Note: Earlier, I mentioned that Christian website, gotquestions.org, instructs individuals to remain in remarriages. Logically and consistently, they also believe that polygamy is still permissible in the New Testament era. On their website, they write: “How does God view polygamy today? Even while allowing polygamy, the Bible presents monogamy as the plan which conforms most closely to God’s ideal for marriage.”]

Let me be clear: Without calling for the dissolution of remarriages, Christians have no biblical basis for banning polygamy.

1.5. The main idea of Matthew’s text. The entire point of Matthew’s account in the 19th chapter of his gospel is this: “Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not [Gk. imperative/active/present tense] separate” (Mt 19:6). Jesus is teaching the earthly permanence of marriage. In other words, because God has joined the first marriage together, therefore no human court’s divorce decree is effective in breaking it up. As explained earlier, the reason why Jesus calls remarriage adultery is because the person is still effectively married to the first spouse.

Someone once tried to tell me that the main idea in Matthew 19 was that Jesus was trying to correct the incorrect belief held by Pharisees in Matthew 19:7 that divorce was a command from Moses. In this person’s view, the entire point of this passage was that Jesus  was trying to teach that Moses didn’t command divorce, but instead, Moses allowed it (Mt 19:8). This could not be any further from the truth! Such a view might have been derived from the work of A. Philip Brown II, who wrote:

Two considerations argue that this interpretation is incorrect. First, Jesus asserted that Moses permitted divorce, implicitly contradicting the Pharisees’ claim that Moses commanded divorce (Matt. 19:7‐8). Therefore, this clause should not be read as a command. Second, the syntax of the clause most naturally reads either as a statement of permission (“then he may write her a bill of divorcement) or as a continued description of the case as in the NASB (“and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her away …”).

For a purported student of the Bible, Brown’s work is immensely careless. First of all, the main idea of the Matthean text is clearly the insolubility of something God Almighty has put together. Secondly and importantly, in Mark’s Gospel, the words are actually from reverse sources! In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus calls it a Mosaic command (Mk 10:5), and the Pharisees call it a Mosaic allowance (Mk 10:4)! My point (and evidently, Mark’s point) is simple: An allowance by God is a command by God. Let us not strain at a gnat! Let’s not try to see what’s really not there! The main idea of the text is unquestionably this: “What God has joined together, stays together forever.”

[Interestingly and additionally, in Mark’s account, Jesus ends his discussion with the Pharisees at, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mk. 10:9). Christ later gives the insight into that command (i.e., his teaching on divorce and remarriage) only privately, to his disciples, in a house (Mk 10:10). This is all proof that Jesus’ main point was to teach the fact that the first marriage is permanently valid in God’s sight for God was the One who put it together.]

1.6. Conclusions: Remarriage is adultery. Jesus clearly said that it was. Hence, remarriages are not real marriages. By its very definition, the word “adultery” is a reference to an unlawful union. Adultery is a sin that must be broken. By stating that a remarriage is “adultery,” Jesus is stating that the first marriage is still valid, and that the second marriage is invalid. Therefore, just like cases of bigamy, there is no real second marriage in existence. The allowance for couples to stay in remarriages logically leads to the allowance of polygamy. The only way to rationally accept remarriages as legitimate marriages is by saying that Jesus was wrong in stating that remarriage is adultery. However, if Jesus was wrong about remarriages, then one would also have to permit polygamy.

2. Remarriage, subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality, continues to render the parties within the remarriage as adulterers for as long as the remarriage exists.

2.1. Romans 7:3 states, “So then if, while her husband lives, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband dies, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she is married to another man.” Therefore, no matter how “sorry” a person is for being in a remarriage, as long as she remains remarried, she also remains an adulteress. God’s Word is clear.

2.2. One source tried contradict Romans 7:3 by stating, “Rather the establishment of a second marriage covenant (not sexual union in the second marriage) breaks the first marriage covenant which is why Jesus calls it adultery. Thus sexual union within a second marriage is not adulterous.” Unsuspecting readers are fooled by this quick explanation and fail to pick up a key error made by A. Philip Brown II.

As opposed to Brown’s teaching however, the correct teaching is: The establishment of a second marriage covenant does not break the first marriage covenant which is why Jesus calls it adultery (see 1.3 above). Thus, any sexual union within a second marriage will always be adulterous.

Brown seems to have forgotten that adultery is a sin that always involves someone who is married. Jesus calls the remarriage “adultery” because in his eyes, the first marriage covenant is still valid. Otherwise, the usage of the word “adultery” would not make any sense! The forming of a new covenant is called adultery by Christ because the first covenant is unbroken and the second covenant is unlawful and invalid. As John Piper correctly observed above, the categorization of a remarriage as “adultery” can only take place if God still views the first marriage covenant as unbroken and in full effect. It is for this reason that any sexual union in a remarriage is always adulterous.

2.3. The apostle Paul certainly saw a divorced woman as still having a husband. In echoing Jesus’ command, the apostle Paul commands the Corinthians saying, “To the married I give this command–not I, but the Lord–a wife should not divorce a husband (but if she does, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband should not divorce his wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11). Question: “How could a woman simultaneously be ‘unmarried’ and yet, have a ‘husband’ to reconcile to?” Answer: Although she was divorced in the sight of man (i.e., legal divorce); yet in God’s eyes, the first marriage covenant is still valid and therefore, she still has a husband with whom she could reconcile with. Question: “Why does Paul command the woman not to marry anyone else after the divorce? Doesn’t divorce terminate a marriage covenant?” Answer: Because Jesus stated that remarriage is adultery; and thus, a remarriage would be adultery. Jesus declared that divorce does not break the first marriage covenant.

2.4. Many try to make a big deal about the tense of the verbs in Jesus’ command. Here is one such example by A. Philip Brown II:

Some have claimed that remarriage constitutes on‐going adultery. In support of this position, it may be noted that there are three present tense verbs/verbals in Matthew 5:32: “divorces” (ἀπολύων), “makes” in “makes her commit adultery” (ποιεῖ), and “commits adultery” (μοιχᾶται).   It is true that the Greek present tense often indicates on‐going action. It is not true, however, that the present tense always indicates on‐going action. Both lexical and contextual factors in Matthew 5:32 indicate that the present tense was used in order to make a statement that is timeless and universally true, and that it was not used to indicate that the actions involved were ongoing.

My rebuttal is quite simple: Verb tense does not matter. Rather, the key question ought to be, “Is it a valid marriage covenant?”

By identifying remarriage as adultery, Jesus was stating that the first marriage is still valid and that the second marriage is unlawful. Thus, any sexual union in the remarriage is always adulterous. The validity of the covenant is what determines the lawfulness of the sex within any union. Opponents usually argue that the remarriage covenant itself (i.e., the “act of remarriage”) is the “one time act of adultery.” If that is true, then they have conceded that the covenant itself is not valid; and as a result, any sexual intercourse that ensues within the remarriage is adulterous.

2.5. Conclusions: As long as a person remains remarried, the Bible identifies the person as an adulterer. According to Romans 7:3, one’s remarried status is what determines the subsequent adulterer status. Since Jesus identified the second marriage as adultery, the second covenant is an invalid one and thus, all sexual intercourse within the remarriage will always be adulterous. Because the act of “marrying another” is what is deemed as unlawful, the remarriage is essentially not a true marriage covenant. Therefore, every sexual encounter within a remarriage is adulterous. Instead of trying redefine the word “adultery,” Christians ought to simply obey the Word of God. Remarriage is adultery because Jesus said that it was.

3. Remarriage, subsequent to a divorce that was not due to spousal sexual immorality, must be dissolved.

3.1. By identifying remarriage as adultery, Jesus made his expectation clear: Terminate the remarriage. Stop the adultery.

3.2. Romans 7:3 states, “So then if, while her husband lives, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband dies, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she is married to another man.”

According to Scripture, a person is an adulteress if she marries another man while her first marital covenant is still valid. By identifying remarriages as adultery, Jesus was declaring that the first marital covenant is still valid. Hence, the remarried woman is married to another man while her husband lives–as per Romans 7:3. Evidently, according to Romans 7:3, the only way to no longer be identified as an adulteress is to no longer be married to the second husband. In other words, the remarriage must be dissolved. As the Word states, she is to be called an adulteress as long as she is married to another man while her husband is alive.

3.3. Herod was commanded by John the Baptist to break up his unlawful marriage to Herodias. The biblical text states that Herod was indeed married (in the eyes of the world) to Herodias (Mk 6:17), and yet because the marriage was unlawful, John kept telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have [notice the present tense] your brother’s wife.” (Mk 6:18). In other words, “Terminate the marriage!” At the very least, this biblical account informs us that such a thing as an invalid marriage does exist. You can be “married” and yet not really be. In other words, your “marriage” is nothing but a mirage in the sight of God. Divorce of the remarriage, in cases of repentance, is a necessary legal procedure; but in God’s eyes, there really wasn’t even a real “marriage” to terminate. An annulment would have been fine. Yet, proper repentance of adultery must involve the dissolution of the remarriage. If two gay men should not remain in a gay marriage after conversion, neither should two adulterers be told to remain in a remarriage.

Some try to claim that the reason why Herod’s marriage to Herodias was unlawful because she was his brother’s ex-wife. But where in the Bible is it forbidden to marry your brother’s ex-wife? These individuals claim that the marriage was unlawful because it was a violation of Leviticus 18:16. Leviticus 16:18 states, “You must not have sexual intercourse with your brother’s wife; she is your brother’s nakedness.” That’s literally what it states. Personally, I do not see marriage in the Leviticus text. All that is seen is the prohibition of a man committing adultery with his brother’s wife. In fact, in a similar set-up, the prior verse commands the reader: “You must not have sexual intercourse with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife. You must not have intercourse with her” (Lv 18:15). It is absurd to say that Leviticus 18:15 has marriage to a daughter-in-law in view. The Jews would have never allowed a person to marry his own daughter-in-law. Also, the text explicitly states that the woman is currently the wife of the man’s son. In other words, she was not free to be remarried to anyone. The woman was still married to the son (she was not married to the father-in-law).

Likewise, I do not believe that the very next verse, Leviticus 18:16, has anything to do with a prohibition against marrying a brother’s ex-wife. I believe that it is simply prohibiting having sexual intercourse with your brother’s wife. In other words, Leviticus 18:16 is the prohibition of adultery. Finally, one must remember that if a brother died (and thus, the marriage covenant was truly broken), the living brother was actually commanded by God to marry the widow of the deceased brother (Deut 25:5) in a levirate marriage. Hence, marriage to a brother’s ex-wife, in and of itself, was not a sin.

But even if Leviticus 18:16 is really prohibiting a man from marrying his brother’s ex-wife, that still doesn’t change the prescription within the Marcan text. If the Mosaic command really  prohibits one from marrying a brother’s ex-wife, and a person did it anyway; then John’s prescription was quite simple and straight-forward: “Break it up! Analogous to gay marriage, any marriage in line with a prohibition from Leviticus 18 is forbidden.” Therefore, since God also prohibits adultery (which is what remarriage is identified as by Christ), then John would tell you to break up your remarriage because having your neighbor’s wife is also not a lawful marriage.

I, however, stand by the belief that divorce and remarriage (and not consanguinity) was the issue with John the Baptist for a number of reasons. First, John the Baptist positively identifies the woman as “your brother’s wife” (Mk 6:18). The text indicates that in John’s mind, Herodias still actually belonged to Herod’s brother. The problem, the inspired narrator clearly tells us, is that Herod “had married her” (Mk 6:17). Second, in Jewish law, women were prohibited from initiating a divorce (Rom 7:3). Third, as a result, even though a marriage had occurred between Herod and Herodias, John the Baptist still calls the whole thing “unlawful” (Mk 6:18) and informs Herod that it is sin for him to remain married to her. Finally, we have the text of Josephus which actually informs us explicitly of what the sin was:

Antiquities 18.5.3 136, (bold emphasis added):

Herodias was married to Herod, the son of Herod the Great by Mariamme the daughter of Simon the high priest. They had a daughter Salome, after whose birth Herodias, taking it into her head to flout the way of our fathers, married Herod the Tetrarch, her husband’s brother by the same father, who was tetrarch of Galilee; to do this she parted from a living husband. 

[Notice that Josephus cites departure from a “living husband” (and not consanguinity) as the reason for the unlawful nature of Herodias’ second marriage. This, therefore, is a classic case study on divorce and remarriage.]

The text is at least clear on this point: John the Baptist’s prescription for a man who is in an unlawful marriage is to terminate it. Even if it is granted that consanguinity is the sin, the prescription is nevertheless, the same: if you cannot stay married to your brother’s ex-wife; then likewise, you cannot stay married to your neighbor’s wife. It is beyond preposterous to argue against consanguinity, but argue for adultery. Finally, it is also apparent that John had been continuously–for the duration of Herod’s remarriage–calling for a breakup of Herod’s remarriage. John did not say strange things like, “Remarriage is a one-time act of adultery, but it nevertheless, becomes a real and binding marriage after repentance.”  No. Instead, John kept saying that it was unlawful to remain in the marriage–over and over again: “For John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife'” (Mk 6:18). For John, repentance was shown through a break-up.

3.4. Jesus said that remarriage is adultery. Perhaps this is the most plain and obvious point, but it is worth reiterating. In stating that whoever “marries another commits adultery,” Jesus unambiguously informed us that the marriage covenant itself is null and void. Essentially, here’s the equation: Remarriage = Adultery. Therefore, as long as a remarriage exists, adultery exists. In mathematics, we can work backwards: Termination of adultery = Termination of remarriage.

3.5. Conclusions: By identifying remarriage as adultery, Jesus made his expectation clear: Terminate the remarriage. Stop the adultery. Romans 7:3 states that a person is an adulterer as long as a person is married to another person while the first spouse is alive. John the Baptist commanded Herod to break up his unlawful marriage. For the remarried person, in order to terminate adultery, he must terminate the remarriage.

4. A return back to the person’s first marriage, after the dissolution of the remarriage, is not sin.

4.1. Since remarriage is adultery, adultery can be repented of and the spouse can return back to his/her spouse after the termination of the remarriage. The apostle Paul states that the divorcee can reconcile to his/her first spouse after a divorce: “To the married I give this command–not I, but the Lord–a wife should not divorce a husband (but if she does, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband), and a husband should not divorce his wife” (1 Cor 7:10-11).

4.2. Opponents often use Deuteronomy 24:1-4 as a prohibition against returning to the first spouse after the dissolution of a remarriage. For example, in an article by John MacArthur’s Grace To You, author Phil Johnson argues:

As a matter of fact, in the same passage where Moses permitted husbands to issue a certificate of divorce, the law added this restriction: “When she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her as his wife, then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD” (Deuteronomy 24:2-4, emphasis added).

One verse takes down Johnson’s entire errant argument from Deuteronomy 24. Deuteronomy 24:2 is the verse that tears everything down because it plainly states: “And if she goes and becomes another man’s wife.” The Scripture text is clear: It is an abomination to return to your first spouse if you truly became the spouse of someone else. However, after Jesus declared remarriages to be adultery, the remarried woman never “becomes another man’s wife.” Because of Jesus’ declaration, the first marriage is still valid; and the second marriage is merely the sin of adultery. Therefore, the woman is really still the wife of her first husband. Hence, after terminating the remarriage, she can repent of her adultery (i.e., remarriage) and return to her husband (1 Cor 7:11). Again, according to Jesus, she never truly became another man’s wife and therefore, it is completely acceptable for her to return to her husband after the dissolution of her remarriage (i.e., adultery).

[Note: Jeremiah 3:1 corroborates the fact that the actual “becoming another man’s wife” is the reason for the Deuteronomic prohibition: “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? (Jer 3:1, emphasis added).]

4.3. God commanded Abimelech to give Abraham’s wife back to Abraham or else Abimelech was “a dead man” (Gen  20:3). In the Gospel of Luke, we are told that, “he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery” (Lk 16:18). Here is the reason why: Since God put a man and woman permanently together through marriage, a divorce does not break their marriage bond. Therefore, it is adultery to marry a divorced woman because the divorced woman is really still the wife of another man. Now, what is the biblical protocol for a man once he discovers that he has someone else’s wife? He must return her to her rightful husband!

But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night and said to him, “Behold, you are a dead man because of the woman whom you have taken, for she is a man’s wife….Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live. But if you do not return her, know that you shall surely die, you and all who are yours.” (Gen 20:3, 7; emphasis added)

4.4. God commanded Hosea to take an adulteress back: “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Go again, love a woman who is loved by her husband, yet an adulteress, even as the LORD loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes'” (Hos 3:1).

Opponents must remember that Jesus identified remarriage as adultery. Hence, they must stop looking for Old Testament examples of remarriages; and instead, they must look for biblical examples of what to do with a repentant adulteress.

My reasoning is simple: Hosea’s wife committed adultery. Yet, God commanded Hosea to forgive her and take her back. Therefore, it is not sin to remain married to a repentant adulterer. Now, continue following me: Remarriage is adultery. Therefore, upon termination of the remarriage the first spouse may forgive and take the repentant spouse back. Their marriage was never dissolved by divorce in the eyes of Almighty God.

4.5. Common sense. If we believe that remarriage is adultery (and all Christians do, lest they contravene Christ), then common sense ought to guide us to do the right thing: Stop the adultery and return the woman back to her husband. If my child admits to stealing a cookie from his brother, upon repentance and confession, I instruct the child to give the cookie back to his brother. Justice, in such cases, is quite rudimentary. I would say that it’s innate.

4.6. Conclusions: It is not a sin to dissolve a remarriage, repent of adultery, and subsequently return to one’s first spouse. The apostle Paul clearly gave the divorced woman the option of staying unwed (to any other man) or returning back to her husband. Deuteronomy 24:2 only proves that it is an abomination to return to your first spouse if you truly became someone else’s spouse. However, because of Christ’s declaration, remarriages no longer make a person the genuine spouse of another. In reality, according to Christ, the person still belongs to his/her first spouse and the remarriage is merely a sham. According to Jesus, remarriage is simply adultery. As Hosea shows, adultery can be stopped, repented of, and the offended spouse could choose to forgive and accept the adulterer back into the marriage. A return back to the spouse is not sin; rather, it is an act of reconciliation and forgiveness. God also told Abimelech that he was a dead man if he kept another man’s wife. Finally, common sense informs us that full restoration is the surest pathway to justice.

Closing

In closing, I wish to draw your attention to the words of an opponent:

“If divorce did not open the possibility of remarriage, we would expect Moses to prohibit it. If a remarriage to a third party does occur, the new marriage is not regarded as adulterous or the equivalent of adultery. From God’s point of view, it is a true marriage.” -A. Philip Brown II,  in his analysis of Deuteronomy 24:1-4, emphasis added 

Brown’s analysis of an Old Testament text, as written in the book of Deuteronomy, is correct: Moses did not prohibit remarriage, and the new marriage was not the equivalent of adultery. Therefore, from God’s point of view, the remarriage was a true marriage. However, in the New Testament, Jesus does make remarriage equivalent to adultery and thus, from God’s point of view, it is not a true marriage. Let us maintain consistent reasoning.

Perhaps nothing demonstrates the universal clarity of Jesus’ words than an admission by an opponent. Jeremy Pierre is the Dean of Students and Associate Professor of biblical counseling at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. When asked whether or not a person should divorce a spouse from an unbiblical marriage, his response was that the person ought to remain in the remarriage. However, as he closes out his response, it seems as if he realized that he was contradicting the words of Christ. Pierre probably knew that people would ask, “If Christ identified remarriage as adultery, then why is Jeremy Pierre instructing people to remain in adultery?” Unfortunately, instead of plainly admitting disobedience to Christ, Pierre decides to call the apparent contradiction a “mystery.” Pierre writes in his closing paragraph: “Returning to the present situation you asked about, I want to acknowledge the mystery of all this—-that one can live repentantly in an unbiblical second marriage” (Source: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/you-asked-should-i-divorce-my-spouse-from-an-unbiblical-remarriage, emphasis added). Thus, Pierre makes the illogical (and sinful) declaration that one could actually be repentant of the sin of remarriage and still intentionally continuing to live in the sin of remarriage. If Jesus identified remarriages as adultery, then how is it a real marriage? “It’s a mystery,” says Pierre. Instead of calling it a “mystery,” I would urge Pierre to simply obey the straight-forward teaching of Christ. Namely, since remarriage is adultery, repent by terminating the remarriage. There is no “mystery” to any of this if one is willing to obey Scripture.

Finally, I wish to implore all to simply study the Scriptures. Take the words at face value with a desire to obey. Jesus once said, “Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me” (Jn 5:39). Nothing that I say ultimately matters for I am simply a man. Rather, go directly to the words of Christ: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery” (Lk 16:18). Jesus has spoken perspicuously: Remarriage is adultery. Will we believe and obey our Lord?

Note: The Church’s historic understanding of divorce and remarriage is easily seen by the following statements:

“Likewise, women who have left their husbands for no prior cause and have joined themselves with others, may not even at death receive communion.” -Council of Elvira, Canon 8 (c. 300, Elvira was a Church council held at the end of the third century and the beginning of the fourth in southeast Spain)

“You must not have wives whose former husbands are living; nor may you, women, have husbands whose former wives are living. Such marriages are adulterous, not by the law of the courts, but by the law of Heaven. Nor may a woman who by divorce has withdrawn from her husband become your wife while her husband lives.” -Augustine (Sermon 392, c. 2, emphasis added)

“Anyone saying that one is free to marry a wife that has been put away is not a Christian; he is a Jew.” -Ambrose (Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, 8)

“Because it not being lawful for her in her husband’s lifetime to contract a new marriage, sinful desire may gradually prevail against her. Suppose her to marry. The blame of the constraint she lay under is upon you: and what you account to be marriage is adultery. For what does it matter whether one commits that crime with open avowal of it, or as one who is an adulterer under the mask of a husband. Only that it is more grievous to have contrived a law to warrant crime than a secret perpetration of it.” -Ambrose, commentary on Luke 16:18, emphasis added

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HEARD ON THE STREETS OF NYC

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

This video aptly shows the need for evangelism in New York City:

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Imprecatory Psalms

Fire

by Dr. Stephen Kim

As Christians, when we read of the atrocities committed by ISIS, there is a part of us that desires to pray imprecatory prayers. Imprecatory psalms are those psalms within the Bible that call God’s judgment, curses, and even death upon the enemies of psalmist. Take a look at this passage from Psalm 139:

19 Oh, that You would slay the wicked, O God!
Depart from me, therefore, you bloodthirsty men.
20 For they speak against You wickedly;
Your enemies take Your name in vain.
21 Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against You?
22 I hate them with perfect hatred;
I count them my enemies.

Modern sensibilities are often riled when such passages of Holy Scripture are read. First of all, we see that it is not a sin to have legitimate enemies. And of course, the great difficulty is reconciling such passages with passages such as Jesus’ words found in Matthew 5:44:

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

Questions begin to swirl: Do we love our enemies or do we hate them? Do we pray for them or do we pray for their destruction? Is God a vindictive Being? Can we pray imprecatory prayers?

POSSIBLE EXPLANATIONS

Modern Christians often try to employ one of three explanations when it comes to the imprecatory prayers of David:

  1. Progressive Revelation. Some Christians believe these passages reflect a lower standard of ethics than that espoused by Christ. They allege that this sub-Christian ethic was characteristic of Old Testament times, and that such texts are not meant to teach us anything except some historical context. Supposedly, they were included in the Bible because of “progressive revelation.” We’ve all outgrown that stuff now.
  2. God Disapproves. Lastly, another group of scholars believe that the imprecatory psalms are an accurate record of what the psalmists were emotionally experiencing, but there is no approval from God for the sentiments. In fact, God disapproves the hatred of the psalmist and instead, God would have us to love our enemies.
  3. Indicative Tense. Some Christians claim that the writers of these psalms speak in the indicative mood (the “explanatory” mood), and not in the “imperative mood” (the mood of command or firm request). In other words, they merely were stating what would happen to the wicked if they did not repent. In this view, the writers were not actually requesting God to destroy the wicked.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE EXPLANATIONS

Alexander McClaren once said, “Perhaps, it would do modern tenderheartedness no harm to have a little more iron infused into its gentleness, and to lay to heart that the King of Peace must first be King of Righteousness” (McClaren, Alexander. 1892. The Psalms. Vol. 3. New York, NY: George Doran Company, 375). If we put off our modern, politically-correct, sensitivities aside for a moment, we will find much truth in McClaren’s words–particularly as relating to the imprecatory psalms.

Option one clearly does not work for those of us who believe in the divine inspiration of the Holy Bible. The God of the New Testament is the God of the Old Testament. God does not change. In fact, immutability is a divine attribute that effectively differentiates us fickle humans from the divine. God instructed us to love our neighbors in the Old Testament (cf. Lev 19:18). Things have not changed much. Furthermore, although revelation is progressive, progressive revelation is not the belief that wrongdoing is later rectified into proper teaching. Rather, progressive revelation is simply the belief that theological truths that were once obscure are now more clear (e.g., the doctrine of the Trinity, or the Holy Spirit’s work).

Option two seems as if it might work–but there’s one major problem: the imprecatory psalms were written by men who were underneath the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Yes, sometimes the Bible merely records words as part of an account without giving theological support for the statements (cf. Jephthah’s words, Judas’ words, or even the denials of Simon Peter). However, these psalmists are clearly said to be “in the Spirit” when writing these Psalms. Hence, we can definitively and conclusively know that God, Himself, has the same perspective as the psalmist.

Option three works for some passages, but it doesn’t work for all. Some passages clearly have the psalmist actually calling for the deaths of his enemies (cf. verse 19 above).

CONCLUSION AND SOLUTION

So where do we go from here? Is the God of the Old Testament some sort of monster? Do we just throw out the entire Bible for its apparent contradictions?

Before we rush to judgment, let’s get one thing clear: Jesus said some harsh things Himself. Take for example, a scenario where due to a seemingly haphazard accident, eighteen people died. What was Jesus’ response? You’d be surprised: “Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:4-5).

Too often, we have a higher view of man’s morality than what is truly warranted. Hence, in our minds, no sin ever warrants the divine punishment meted out. In our minds, Sodom was bad–but it didn’t deserve fire and sulfur. In our minds, Korah was bad–but he didn’t deserve to be eaten alive by the earth. In our minds, all Uzzah did was touch the Ark of the Covenant to keep it from falling–he didn’t deserve to be struck dead on the spot. We have the same perspective of every catastrophe that occurs in our contemporary era. We are indeed an entitled bunch. A. F. Kirkpatrick admonishes us saying, “Men have need to beware lest in pity for the sinner they condone the sin, or relax the struggle against evil” (Kirkpatrick, A. F. 1906. The Book of Psalms. Cambridge, England: University Press, xciii).

So what of those imprecatory psalms?

They prove that our God is as righteous as He is loving. They prove that the sin and the sinner are inextricable. They prove that we all have an internal craving for divine justice. They prove that God is in control, that hell and heaven are real, and that God is burning bright with holiness. In a sense, they are theodicies.

The scholarly and benign, C. S. Lewis, once wrote: “[T]he ferocious parts of the Psalms serve as a reminder that there is in the world such a thing as wickedness and that . . . is hateful to God” (Lewis, C. S. 1958. Reflections on the Psalms. New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 33). That much is very true. Evil is objective and God objectively hates it.

And quite frankly, it should be hateful to us as well. Have such prayers ceased for the elect? Au contraire, Scripture reveals quite the opposite. It reveals a future where our brethren in glory will still pray that way–even after death:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:9-10)

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A CHRISTIAN RESPONSE TO THE ORLANDO SHOOTING

Lights of Police

by Dr. Stephen Kim

Today, I write out of consternation. Consternation about two developments regarding the Orlando shooting.

The first development that concerns me is the acrid response against “Abrahamic religions” by some within the gay community. While listening to the news on the radio yesterday, I heard one gay man in Orlando angrily say, “Shootings like these occur because of organized religion’s belief that homosexuality is evil.”

The second development is the response given by many within the Christian community. Pictures are now coming in of entire buildings lit up in rainbow colors as people (Christians and unbelievers) unite to hold prayer vigils and inter-faith services for the homosexuals killed on Sunday morning. I fear that the shootings are strangely causing many Christians to abdicate their biblical view that homosexual acts are sinful. In a strange twist of irony, the mass killing of homosexuals is leading to the embrace of homosexuality by the general population.

Early Sunday morning, a 29-year-old man entered a gay Orlando nightclub and killed 49 people. The nightclub was named “Pulse”–named after a woman’s gay brother who died of AIDS. (According to the club’s owner, she wanted her brother’s “heartbeat” to continue on through the nightclub.) On June 13th, President Obama addressed the nation. The following are 3 key excerpts from his speech:

  1. “The fact that it took place at a club frequented by the LGBT community I think is also relevant.”
  2. “This is an especially heartbreaking day for all our friends — our fellow Americans — who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
  3. “The place where they were attacked is more than a nightclub — it is a place of solidarity and empowerment where people have come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights.”

THE CHRISTIAN’S RESPONSE:

President Obama was right on the first excerpt: the fact that this shooting took place at a LGBT nightclub is relevant. (It is particularly relevant for Christians as they seek to respond biblically.) Obama was also right on the fact that the people who were shot were “fellow Americans” and that they were “lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.” However, President Obama was devastatingly wrong when he said that a gay nightclub is a place of “empowerment.” It is not. 

As Christians, we have to be very careful in our response to Orlando.

Angry gay activists are right about one thing: All three “Abrahamic religions” (i.e., Christianity, Islam, and Judaism) condemn homosexuality as evil.

  • “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things [primarily homosexual acts] deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (Christianity, Romans 1:32)
  • “Of all the creatures in the world, will ye approach males, and leave those whom Allah has created for you to be your mates? Nay, ye are a people transgressing.”  (Islam, Quran 26:165-166)
  • “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.” (Judaism, Leviticus 20:13)

Objectively speaking, the Christian faith is the only true pathway to God. Thus, as a firm believer in the divine inspiration, infallibility, and inerrancy of the Bible; I grieve because on Sunday night, fifty souls went straight to Hell. (Yes, 49 were shot dead, but the Muslim shooter is also in Hell.) President Obama was right about this one thing: the fact that the shootings occurred at a gay nightclub at 2 a.m. in the morning is very, very “relevant.” It means that–according to all appearances–the persons killed that night were all practicing homosexuals. 2,000 years ago, God–through the pen of the apostle Paul–made it crystal clear that a practicing homosexual does not enter into Heaven:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)

The Bible teaches that all people who have repented and have put their faith in Jesus Christ are washed of their sins and reconciled with God (including former homosexuals!). There is immense hope in the gospel! Conversely, however, we also believe that no matter how much one claims to be a Christian, there is no such thing as a “gay Christian.” Homosexual acts must cease for a true Christian.  This repentance from homosexuality is part of genuine gospel grace. Knowledge of this should guide us as we respond to Orlando.

CONCLUSION

As Christians, we will show love to the people of Orlando, but we will not embrace the sin of homosexuality. What is going on right now is the full-blown, national celebration of homosexuality and sodomy. Gay or straight, nothing good ever happens at a nightclub at 2 a.m. in the morning. Make no mistake about it: Those who died, died while committing a sin that the Bible calls “an abomination” (Lev 20:13).

Was what occurred in Orlando tragic? Yes, it is tragic when an adulterer is shot by a woman’s husband while caught in the midst of adultery. Yes, it is tragic when a thief is shot in the middle of the night while he was breaking into a home. Yes, it is tragic when a man dies due to an overdose of an illegal drug. It is always tragic someone dies in the midst of sin, but the way a person dies ought to temper the way we bury them. Sanity calls for some restraint at the funerals of those who die while sinning. Give honor to whom honor is due and woe to the one who calls evil, “good” (Is 5:20, Rom 13:7).

The soul is of utmost importance. It was Jesus who once said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt 10:28). This means that as Christians, we grieve today–not so much because people died (for we will all one day die)–but because fifty souls went straight to Hell without any further opportunity for repentance. They perished as suddenly as their predecessors in Sodom and Gomorrah perished. We grieve because young people were cut down in the prime of their lives while they were foolishly partaking in an abomination. They did not die as heroes. Instead, they died as depraved sinners. Maranatha!

How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! (Psalm 73:19)

The shootings in Orlando ought to remind Christians that life is short, love is a command, and evangelism is an absolute priority. As Christians, our job is to stand firm on God’s Word and call all adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, and other sinners to repentance and to God’s lavish grace.

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