“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”― C.S. Lewis link
Karen's marriage covenant was never valid due to Jordan's deliberate lies.
I have been following the comments on Twitter this week. Several people have said that Karen was breaking her *marriage covenant* with Jordan. I argue that she never had a valid covenant when they got married because Jordan was involved in illegal activity (kiddie porn) before, during and after the marriage vows.
What is a biblical covenant?
Carm.org defines it here.
A covenant (Hebrew berith, Greek diatheke) is a legal agreement between two or more parties. The word "covenant(s)" occurs 284 times in the Old Testament (as found in the New American Standard Bible). "Covenant(s)" occurs 37 times in the New Testament, which gives a total of 321 occurrences.
Using covenants is how God communicates to us, redeems us, and guarantees us eternal life in Jesus. He does this because a covenant is a promise, and God's promises cannot be broken since they rest in his infinite, pure character. The Bible is a covenant document. The Old and New Testaments are really Old and New Covenants. The word "testament" is Latin for Covenant.
There is a pattern to the covenants found in the Bible. Basically, it is as follows. The initiating party describes himself and what he has done, then there is a list of obligations between the two (or more) parties. What follows is the section dealing with rewards and punishments that govern the keeping and breaking of the covenant.
There can be two types of covenants: conditional and unconditional. Unconditional means that even if one party breaks their vows, the covenant is still in effect.
What is a biblical marriage covenant?
The meaning of the Old Testament word is bond; a covenant refers to two or more parties bound together. The New Testament term has usually been translated as covenant, but testimony and testament have also been used. The generally accepted idea of binding or establishing a bond between two parties carries with it the concept of “cleaving,” or sticking together like Super Glue!
However, the following caveat is key. From the same source:
…The vows we exchange at our wedding reflect a relationship already bound by steadfast love and faithfulness. The degree in which these words have meaning comes in direct proportion to the unconditional love that dwells within our heart for the one to whom we are repeating them.
…Covenants are based on freedom of choice. Covenant marriages are not built on coercion, deceit, and manipulation.
Covenants are based on telling the truth.
When a couple enters a covenant, they are testifying to the truth of their commitment. That doesn't mean they won't fail. It simply means that at this time and place, they will knowingly forsake all others and cleave to one another, becoming one flesh. They are telling the truth.
There was no covenant since one party knowingly lied.
Simply put, Jordan deliberately lied. He had not forsaken all others and he could not become one flesh with Karen. He was actively involved in enjoying the flesh of others and would continue to do so. He had established a relationship based on deceit and unfaithfulness. Therefore,t he covenant was null and void.
Let me say this clearly. Of course people enter marriages and things happen afterwards that are not foreseen. However, when one makes a covenant, one is averring to the truth of where things stand at that place and time. Jordan was a liar and unfaithful and knew he would continue to participate in enjoying on line child sex abuse. That covenant is void.
A number of people have brought up Hosea as to why Karen had to stay in the marriage. This is an example of poor application of the Biblical text. Hosea was specifically commanded by God to marry a prostitute.This was not meant to be a template for the rest of us.
It was meant to serve as a living example of God's faithfulness in spite of Israel's unfaithfulness. God did not mean that we should all marry and live with prostitutes just like the story of Abraham and Isaac was not meant for all of us to be ready to murder our children.
Sexual faithfulness is stressed in both the Old Testament and New Testament. We are urged to be sexually faithful before and after marriage. To use Hosea as proof that God wants us put up with a pedophile in a marriage is a gross misrepresentation of the text. (What is going on in Bible studies these days???)
Pedophilia, Child Pornography Internet Child Sex Abuse and the Church
In this section we are looking at various aspects of pedophilia and child pornography. Karen has said that Jordan has confessed to both.
Misunderstanding pedophilia and child sex abuse
I always shake my head when evangelicals claim that the Roman Catholic child sex abuse scandal was due to the fact that priests could not marry. Besides showing a profound ignorance of pedophilia, it is intended to show that evangelicals are superior and do not have much of a problem. However, Boz Tchividjian of G.R.A.C.E. caused quite a stir when he said the the evangelical record of child sex abuse eclipses that of the Catholic church.
Now, how could that be since evangelical pastors can marry? The answer is quite simple. Pedophiles are not interested in sex with their spouses the want to have sex with children. It can be, as Dr Drew Pinsky said last night on HLNTV, a fixed sexual preference. In other words, although a few might be able change their preferences, many cannot.
Declaring that one is now a Christian does not guarantee his truthfulness. (Possible graphic/triggering material from this point forward.)
Pedophiles, and those who access images of child sex abuse on the internet, are manipulators and charmers. They find places in which people are trusting. No one is more trusting of professions of faith and fidelity than evangelicals. It stands to reason that such individuals would find their way to the church. And, if our experience from the stories on this blog are any indicator, pedophiles are finding their way to churches in droves.
I wrote Pathological Naiveté: A Child Porn Addict is “Cured” Through Bible Study in 2012. Here is an excerpt about a true story from Raleigh, NC.
Imagine… A little girl, let’s call her Sarah, is held down by a man and forcibly raped. The horrendous scene is recorded on camera. You can hear her little voice sobbing and calling out for her mommy. Yet, there is no mommy, and this heinous act is completed. The repulsive video is available on the Internet. A man in Raleigh, North Carolina gets his kicks out of watching child pornography like this. In fact, he has been getting sexually aroused this way just about every night for TWELVE years. He is finally brought to justice and will soon be sentenced for this felony. This crime carries a minimum of FIVE years in a federal prison.
This criminal is upset and does not want to go to jail while he awaits his sentencing because he has important things to do. What is the response of one Southern Baptist pastor? The pastor takes the stand in order to ask a judge to give him extra time to be on the streets reportedly because this man has become a Christian. Huh?
Now, pay close attention to this next part. He was practicing what would happen when he was caught. Do you think that Jordan might not have been doing the same in his 10 years of accessing this stuff?
Christian can be played. This guy had a 12 year habit. Jordan had 10 years. Why do you think that Jordan, after pseudoconfessing twice, is now telling t"he whole truth and nothing but the truth?" Is it just because he says so and a church counselor believes him after a month or so? He is "walking in repentance?" Really? Could he be playing games? His history indicates that it is quite possible.
David Chatham, a 43 year old public relations executive, began viewing adult pornography at the age of 9 when he found his dad's Penthouse magazine, tucked away in a briefcase in a closet. Approximately 12 years ago Chatham began viewing child pornography. He is married and has no children. In December 2008 he was arrested and was found to have over 3,400 images of naked, molested boys and girls, toddlers and teens on his computer. Chatham was tried in federal court, pled guilty, and will soon be sentenced to serve a prison term of at least five years.
Knowledge of Wrongdoing
There will be no insanity plea here. Prior to his arrest, Chatham claimed that he knew he would eventually be apprehended. There are investigators who spend their working hours on the web tracking down these perverts. Incredibly, Chatham admitted to the newspaper reporter that he rehearsed what he would say and do when the inevitable arrest occurred.
Here is an excerpt from my analysis.
Conversion after apprehension
There is no question that David Chatham knew his activities were illegal and immoral. What is troublesome is that his “new life” didn’t begin until after his arrest. He claims he rehearsed what he would say when he was arrested. Why did he wait until his arrest? Child molesters are highly manipulative individuals. “Wait”, you might say, “He was not a molester”. We contend that he contributed time, and, most likely, money, to this illegal business. In effect, his financial support contributed to this heinous industry. By his actions, he was condoning and implicitly agreeing to the rape of toddlers – that’s right – toddlers!!!!
This man was a public relations expert who rubbed elbows with the rich and powerful. He must have thought out how he would tip the scales in his favor when arrested.
His porn acquisitions went on for 12 years! Such a habitual activity is not cured overnight. We are sure that there are Christians out there who probably claim that a miracle occurred. To that we say, “Can you prove it?” Is it worth the risk to our children? Don’t committed Christians also commit heinous acts?
Child pornography is not just pornography.
Here is what the Department of Justice has to say about this.
It is important to distinguish child pornography from the more conventional understanding of the term pornography. Child pornography is a form of child sexual exploitation, and each image graphically memorializes the sexual abuse of that child. Each child involved in the production of an image is a victim of sexual abuse.
While some child sexual abuse images depict children in great distress and the sexual abuse is self-evident, other images may depict children that appear complacent. However, just because a child appears complacent does not mean that sexual abuse did not occur. In most child pornography cases, the abuse is not a one-time event, but rather ongoing victimization that progresses over months or years. It is common for producers of child pornography to groom victims, or cultivate a relationship with a child and gradually sexualize the contact over time. The grooming process fosters a false sense of trust and authority over a child in order to desensitize or break down a child´s resistance to sexual abuse. Therefore, even if a child appears complacent in a particular image, it is important to remember that the abuse may have started years before that image was created.
Unfortunately, emerging trends reveal an increase in the number of images depicting sadistic and violent child sexual abuse, and an increase in the number of images depicting very young children, including toddlers and infants.
What are offenders actually viewing on the Internet and what do they expect while viewing? (Very Graphic)
Here is a PDF developed by the Federal government following congressional testimonies.
Sexual interest in children and corresponding sexual gratification are significant motivators for most child pornography offenders.24 Offenders often use the images to masturbate and to validate their sexual interest in children.25 Some offenders also use images to “groom” or lower the inhibitions of potential victims.26
Child pornography offenders also may develop or increase deviant sexual interests and distorted attitudes about children as appropriate sexual partners.32 Such symptoms may serve to further socially isolate the child pornography offender and escalate his use of child pornography.33
Child pornography offenders’ collections often contain a variety of images including legal but sexually suggestive child images,48 sexually explicit poses, explicit sex acts, and images depicting violence,humiliation, bondage, and bestiality.
Images depicted victims suffering a variety of sexual abuse. NCMEC reported that 84 percent of the victims had at least one image depicting oral penetration; 76 percent of the victims had at least one image depicting anal and/or vaginal penetration; 52 percent of the victims had at least one image depicting the use of foreign objects or sexual devices; 44 percent of the victims had at least one image depicting bondage or sadistic behavior; 20 percent of the victims had at least one image depicting urination or defecation; and four percent of the victims had at least one image depicting bestiality.102
Most child pornography offenders have some degree of sexual interest in children, but some offenders are partially or completely motivated by other sexual and non- sexual reasons
And for those of you who are still inclined to believe that child sex abuse online is a teen girl sending sexts to her boyfriend, digest this. In that above quoted PDF, 28% of confiscated child pornography collections had at least one image of children under the age of 3!
Pedophiles molest more than you imagine
Jordan confessed to Karen that he had offended as a child. I think it is highly likely, given his involvement with children that he has offended on more occasions.
In order to understand how serious this situation could be, here is a well known statistic which comes out of the National Institute of Mental Health and researched by Dr Gene Abel who is well known in this area.
The typical offender molests an average of 117 children by the time he is apprehended.
The typical offender is male, begins molesting by age 15, engages in a variety of deviant behavior, and molests an average of 117 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense.
-Dr. Gene Abel in a National Institute of Mental Health Study.
The law and child pornography
The Department of Justice's Citizens Guide to Child Pornography lists some of the relevant laws.
Images of child pornography are not protected under First Amendment rights, and are illegal contraband under federal law. Section 2256 of Title 18, United States Code, defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (someone under 18 years of age). Visual depictions include photographs, videos, digital or computer generated images indistinguishable from an actual minor, and images created, adapted, or modified, but appear to depict an identifiable, actual minor. Undeveloped film, undeveloped videotape, and electronically stored data that can be converted into a visual image of child pornography are also deemed illegal visual depictions under federal law.
Notably, the legal definition of sexually explicit conduct does not require that an image depict a child engaging in sexual activity. A picture of a naked child may constitute illegal child pornography if it is sufficiently sexually suggestive. Additionally, the age of consent for sexual activity in a given state is irrelevant; any depiction of a minor under 18 years of age engaging in sexually explicit conduct is illegal.
A Profile of a Pedophile
This is from a post we wrote when we started this blog in 2009. Even then we were focusing on this problem within the church. (Please forgive the formatting in 2009. We switched to a different format a year later and it didn't transfer well.) See if any of this rings a bell.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the characteristics and behavioral indicators of a pedophile, also referred to as a serial child sex abuser include the following:
- Usually an adult male but some women also sexually abuse children
- Often a child molestation victim themselves
- Seeks out children of the age group they were when victimized
- Usually married and hard-working
- Employed within a wide range of occupations
- Usually well-liked and respected community members
- Often well-educated and regular church-goers
- Relates better with children than adults
- Some prefer boys, some prefer girls
- Usually prefers a specific age group of children
- Takes and collects photographs of victims while dressed, nude or in sexual poses
- Collects child-adult pornography
- Seeks to lower inhibitions of potential victims
- Regularly attends children’s events in the community
- Volunteers in youth organizations
- Coaches children’s sports
- Chaperones camping or overnight trips
- Frequents video arcades, playgrounds or shopping malls
- Offers babysitting services
- Seeks jobs where children are easily accessible
- Befriends parents, especially single mothers, to gain access to children
- Participates in internet gaming with children
- Joins social networking websites such as MySpace, Facebook, and other social media
- Become foster parents
- Seeks job opportunities where children are easily-accessible”
Did you know that Matt Redman was abused as a child?
We wrote about this here.
At a recent conference, Luis Palau told us that Matt Redman had been terribly abused as a child. In his middle school years, he discovered a heavenly Father who never abused him and loved him. That gave him the strength to carry on even though he was still being abused. Much of the hope in his music is born out of the abuse he endured as a child. May this song give those of you who have been hurt the courage to hold on because you know "the end of the story."