I spoke with Boz Tchividjian last evening. His group primarily deals with institutions as opposed to individuals. But, as you can well imagine, Boz cares about this situation. He offered a possible solution and is willing to help us proceed in this direction. He has been in touch with someone from the Jones camp as well. Discussions will now ensue about the feasibility of proceeding in this direction.
Let me reassure everyone. No one is going to be gaslighted in this scenario.
That is very good news! Will be praying.
This is wonderful! I read their statement on not wanting to step into this situation and was disappointed for Julie. Glad to know that he is going to help facilitate a possible solution outside of an official GRACE investigation.
Blessed are the peacemakers
Does this mean GRACE may be mediating the dispute before it gets any hairier?
And with Boz’s experience as a Federal Prosecutor (and his specialization), he’s going to be very familiar with NPDs and Sociopaths and other Axis 1s & 2s. “Familiar” as in knowing all the tricks and being very hard to deceive.
Boz will not be mediating this. Instead, he gave us an alternative which is promising. Discussions will be ongoing.
Boz is a great guy! He has deep empathy for this ongoing situation.
Hope it works out and I hope the sides agree to this mediation. Boz has a great reputation and acknowledges rightly that real abuse can and does occur so I don’t think the scales will automatically be tilted in Tony’s and McLaren’s favor.
Good for TWW for pushing for this possible solution now that McLaren has threatened to sue.
So glad to hear this. I will continue to pray that this brings a fair resolution to everyone invloved.
That is precisely the point. Everyone must be on an equal footing. We are working towards that.
Which means (unless Tony’s ego is really cranking) he might not agree to it.
“Everyone must be on an equal footing” doesn’t go together with “I. WIN. ALWAYS!”
I also just want to add how much I appreciate this response. Boz got a request that was outside the scope of his organization. He stated as much but still saw that this issue was important and causing a lot of hurt, so he stepped up and is taking proactive steps to help the parties involved, despite the fact that it is not in his “job description.”
I think that’s what a lot of us were wishing other leaders would do.
Boz is the real deal. Continually impressed by him.
Agreed, Boz, and Tullian for that matter, seem to be good guys who stand up and call wrong wrong even when it ticks off their celebrity pastor friends.
Jeff S wrote:
Now if we could get Stephan and CC Fort Lauderdale to be more transparent and clean up their act…
Even if it means he won’t be invited on the Celebrity Book Tour/Guest Sermon circuit?
Pingback: Suggested Readings on the Jones/McMahon Controversy | R.L. Stollar //// Overturning Tables
Fabulous news! I don’t believe that any of this would be happening without the diligent bloggers (freedom fighters) covering this story about church leadership abuse. This is proof that a single candle can bring light into a dark stadium. Well done! You not only gave Julie hope, you give every single oppressed or abused person with no voice, hope. This is great news for the Kingdom where truth should prevail over book sales.
I’m confused. This was posted on “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” Facebook page around the same time as this blog:
GRACE Response to Suggestion it Act as a Third Party Mediator:
“In recent days, GRACE has learned that there have been some who have been suggesting that we be retained to investigate and/or mediate the ongoing public dispute relating to Tony Jones and his former wife, Julie. There is little doubt that the claims made by both parties and their respective supporters involve extremely serious issues.
Though we deeply appreciate the confidence placed upon our work, GRACE is not in the position to provide assistance in bringing any type of resolution or closure to this situation. Our independent investigative work has been limited to abuse related matters involving institutions and organizations, not disputes between individuals. Furthermore, after recently completing a 23-month independent investigation process, GRACE is taking time to focus on completing some important projects that were put on hold during that investigation.
Finally, the civil court that handled the marriage dissolution is best equipped to help them address any unresolved issues related to the marriage. The intensifying public engagement by those who support these two individuals, coupled with the increasing threats of lawsuits, is undoubtedly creating a deteriorating environment that will make any type of resolution or closure that much more difficult to achieve. Additionally, those who are intending to demonstrate public support may actually end up contributing to deeper pain.
Taking a step back from the public discourse on the particularities of this situation, while providing much needed private support and assistance, may be the best way to help these two individuals to seek substantive find some degree of healthy closure. That is our prayer.
@rachelheldevans @wartwatch @jonestony @brianmclaren @DefendTheSheep @bozt “
I’m not familiar with the verb “gaslight” as used here. What does “to gaslight” mean?
What was posted on “Stuff Christian Culture Likes” had been posted by Boz Tchividjian for G.R.A.C.E. last night (Wednesday, 02-04-2015).
That was sort of Part 1 of his response, about investigation of the institution aspect, and about recommending keeping things in the civil court for Tony Jones and Julie McMahon.
Today’s thread is about Part 2, other potential solution routes.
So, hope that timeframe helps sort out any confusion.
It means to “redefine reality” to shift the blame from abuser to victim by literally driving the victim crazy. (Which is then used to discredit the victim and justify the abuser.) The usual way is “redefinition of reality” of denial and discrediting the victim’s experience in a steady constant drumbeat until the victim doesn’t know which way is up or if they even exist. Similar to the “breaking down the subject” step of forced indoctrination (“Brainwashing”).
“You do not exist.” That was doublethink.
— G.Orwell, 1984
The source of the word is a well-known older movie titled Gaslight.
New commenting rule:
In order to be guilty of libel in the US, 2 criteria need to be fulfilled. 1. The person making the comment must know that they are lying. Then, 2. They must be lying for the sake of causing harm to another person. Also, if someone is a public figure, the bar raises even higher.
From this point forward, if someone wishes to say that the Deebs can be sued for what they said or that one or more of our readers can be sued for what they said, the commenter must prove that the person who is making the comment is lying and that they know they are lying and that they are doing it to cause harm to the person who is thee object of their lies.
We have been blogging for almost 6 years. We are well aware of the meaning of these words. Unfortunately some of our readers are not. We consider accusing people of libelous threats to be out of line UNLESS there is some proof of that statement.
In keeping with this statement, one comment is not approved. Said person can submit documentation about which commenter has committed libel and we will consider releasing the comment. Idle threats are not welcome here.
Although GRACE will not get officially involved as an organization, Boz has recommended one course of action. We will discuss this if all parties agree to this. Boz is a kind man.
I have not heard about that situation. Could you give us a synopsis?
Which puts the ball in ToJo’s court. Problem is, an NPD always has to be in control, always has to have the fix in so he always WINS. So I doubt he will agree to this.
Thanks for clarifying, Brad and Dee. Also, appreciation for your efforts in working with Boz for an alternative solution.
Wonderful to see this (hopefully) coming together. Keep us posted!
I could imagine folks that are not ToJo but wanting resolution (ie- RHE, Brian McLaren, et al) being open to clearing the air, finding understanding, and making amends as appropriate.
Did you ever see the teleplay “A Case of Libel”? If anyone is interested in top actors (including Ed Asner and Daniel J. Travanti) dramatizing a libel action, that one is worth watching. It’s based on Reynolds v. Pegler, a 1955 Federal Court case.
The term stems from a 1944 movie Gaslight” starring Igrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.
Here’s the synopsis:
Years after her aunt was murdered in her home, a young woman moves back into the house with her new husband. However, he has a secret that he will do anything to protect, even if it means driving his wife insane.
Yes, and amen. No one can accuse him of trying to silence a victim, and I think those are very wise words.
I find it astonishing how many Christians out there have a problem with free speech. It scares me.
I find this problematic. This is what caused the problem in the first place. I can imagine RHE and McLaren are thrilled.
Oh, I see RHE has tweeted that line from his statement. I She blocked me but I saw it on another site. I figured she would like that as it seems to vindicate her support of Tony and response to the whole thing by deleting, blocking, sending out links to Tony’s statement and so on. The rewriting of history can begin.
Christian celebs are so predictable.
Even if you removed all the accusations and wiped them away, that Tony Jones left his wife and three kids for a much younger women disqualifies him, in my mind from any credibility as a Christian Leader. If his wife was, in fact, mentally ill, the Jesus following thing to do, the Hosea following God thing to do, the humble thing to do, would have been to stay with her and help her through it and be their for his kids. Anything less paints him as unqualified to be a Christian (Christ following) leader. My take on divorce is the ONLY reason a Christian gets divorced is due to the actions of the spouse a) leaving you, b) harming you if you remain. And, if it is abusive, you fight tooth and nail for the kids, to protect them. No evidence any of this occurred. Remarriage is verboten as long as your spouse lives (some would argue if they remarry that frees you up, but I don’t think Julie remarried before Tony did, so he technically committed adultery with her.
If that sits poorly with Christians, then perhaps they aren’t quite ready for Christianity? and certainly not fit for leadership. Writing a book on Spiritual Marriage (or whatever) trumping legal marriage doesn’t lend much support to his case (since The Apostle Paul insisted Christians take their worldly obligations, including marriage, seriously).
I love the double standard Tony falls into here – it is wrong to divorce (write a book to make that truth disappear), it is wrong to take a fellow Christian to court (suddenly Julie is a problem because she won’t reconcile the “Biblical Way”). Well, to avoid court one should first avoid Divorce. Duh.
Finally, a similar (although not the same) situation has been occurring in Canada. A famous radio host on CBC’s Q (who was formerly a Rock Star and before that a Student Union Leader at a large University) was fired from CBC. He jumped onto Facebook to inform his fans he had been maligned and unjustly accused of “kinky but consensual sex”. However, in the following weeks and months it became clear it was anything but consensual. He had been a champion of feminism. York University had a “women’s lounge” I guess so women could feel safe? and the only male allowed in was Jian Gomeshi – because he was an avid feminist who minored in Women’s Studies. He went on to Rock Star fame and later was hired to host an Arts and Entertainment program. All the while, using his fame to get dates with women, beat them up, then drop them like hot potatoes when the protested. He never got called out, had a toxic work environment, but nobody ever thought he could be a rapist/sadist. He was a male feminist, a star, a “great guy”. Now he is charged and more and more victims are adding their names to the charges. But when this first broke, the number of avid feminists in our country who jumped to his defence was staggering. Luckily, his sexual escapades reached to other famous actors and one of them spoke against him opening the floodgates and seriously undermining his credibility. But it took her 10 or so years to come forward (Canada has no time limit on abuse reporting).
The race to defend Tony Jones seems premature at least, he may be correct, but the optics are suspicious and his buddies aren’t offering up much proof, just gushing accolades or ducking the hard questions – like please compare court documents to statements made and provide links sort of proof. Since Canadians have all watched the Jian Gomeshi case unfold (he hasn’t yet gone to court, so it may go nowhere), like a train wreck over the past few months, it is no surprise Canadians have distanced themselves from declaring Tony Jones is innocent because he has large following. Jian Gomeshi had popular (secular) feminist ideals, and a idolized public persona, but a media figure is just that, a media figure, in real life people can look a lot different, and a husband (or wife) can be a very different person away from the public eye, behind closed doors.
“…so he stepped up and is taking proactive steps to help the parties involved, despite the fact that it is not in his “job description.”
reminds me of my mother-in-law in England’s tales of her dealings with all manner of service providers who can’t provide any service whatsoever because it’s never in their job description but in someone else’s (including telling her who that someone else might be).
i’m sure there’s a Far Side on this.
Oceania has always been at peace with Eurasia, Comrade.
Oh, they have no problem with free speech — FOR THEMSELVES AND THEMSELVES ONLY.
It’s everyone else Who Must Be Silenced.
Show me someone who’s carrying on about Anti-Censorship and I’ll show you someone who wants to be The Supreme Censor.
“said person” and anon mailer (Mr. Coward) would probably get along well.
@ Headless Unicorn Guy:
Exactly HUG. It is a rich as having Saudi Arabia and China on the UN Human Right’s councils.
Interesting that I just read a blog post that was shared on FB about the importance of telling our painful stories simply for the purpose of being heard because that can bring healing. The author has asked her readers to send her letters telling of their painful stories so they can be heard. In this same post, she mentions that she just spoke at the C21 conference.
It seems like Julie McMahon just wanted to be heard as well. Not to implicate the blog author because I don’t know anything about her, but many of the C21 crowd sure didn’t want Julie to be heard.
This may be off topic but I think it is at a key issue in church Ecclesiastical polity. I have read Triablogue for many years, posted a few times, usually to be rebuffed, usually in a polite way, one time it was very earned by my passive aggressiveness. I always try to put things in context and give my bias so what I say I can take in context. Personally I think most of the contributors there are crazy but are very good writers and are extremely intelligent, which really ticks me off. All that aside, my point. I was reading this and Mr. Hayes is discussing “common grace” and used this quote I am quoting the entire post for context.
“Thursday, February 05, 2015
Dogs and wolves
This post isn’t really about dogs and wolves. That’s just an illustration. But I need to develop the illustration a bit before I apply it.
Dogs are wildly popular pets. There are two reasons that dogs “bond” with humans (and vice versa):
i) Dogs are descended from social animals (wolves). So they have an innate capacity to form social bonds–unlike cats (except for lions).
ii) Dog breeders enhance that capacity by suppressing certain traits while cultivating other traits that make them friendlier around humans.
Of course, different dog breeds are bred for different physical and temperamental traits. You have guard dogs, hunting dogs, sled dogs, sheep dogs, &c. Not all dogs are bred for friendliness, and dogs used in dogfights are bred to be vicious.
But pet dogs are bred to have great rapport with humans. This is based on their innate capacity as social animals, enhanced by domestication and selective breeding.
To my knowledge, dogs are much better at reading human body language than wolves or chimpanzees. At a certain level, they understand us.
On the other hand, wolves are reputedly much smarter than dogs at problem-solving skills. That makes sense.
It might be that a dog breed like a sheep dog would be closer to a wolf in its problem-solving abilities. I don’t know what dog breeds have been tested against wolves in that respect.
Speaking for myself, looking into the eyes of a wolf is a unique experience compared to other wild animals.
For one thing, they instantly take us back to the experience for our Ice Age forebears. That’s the world in which our distant ancestors had to survive.
In addition, you do a double take. It’s kind of jarring.
On the one hand, wolves remind us of dogs. And some dog breeds retain a lupine appearance. So wolves remind us of dogs. There’s that family resemblance.
They trigger similar associations. We’re conditioned to subconsciously associate wolves with what we expect from dogs. If I make eye contact with a dog, what is the dog’s expression? When does a dog register when it sees a human? But wolves are another story.
i) One difference is automatic hostility. Wolves are not our friends. In the wild, they view humans as potential prey. When hunted, they learn to fear humans.
ii) But there’s something even deeper: the complete absent of rapport. Wolves are not simpatico with humans. When you look into the glinty amber eyes of a wolf, that animal doesn’t connect with you. It’s like an alien life-form. There’s no psychological affinity. The look of recognition is gone.
To my knowledge, even “tame” wolves are dangerous. They inhabit in a world of invisible lines. If you inadvertently step on the invisible line of a “tame” wolf, it will attack you.
A wolf is a reminder of what your lovable pet dog would be like without selective breeding.
And in that respect, wolves are like dogs without common grace or special grace. Wolves are the canine analogue to the damned.
Some unbelievers are already quite lupine in this life. Other unbelievers can be brave, decent, kind, loyal, and honest. They exhibit common grace virtues. But when they go to hell, the dog reverts to a wolf. Centuries of selective breeding undone. It flips back to its wild ancestors. Deevolves–in the microevolutionary sense.
Both like and unlike the person you knew. Recognizable, but something essential is now missing. Something crucial is lost. All that’s left is savage. Inhuman. Sociopathic. ”
Just read it, is it just me or does anyone else see the craziness in such a worldview of human beings. First of all Triablogue holds to a YEC world view and “selective” breeding is a very powerful evidence of evolution but that is another different post. My point outside of common grace we would all become Jeffrey Dahmer Jr or Auschwitz guard. Even the Jewish people in the holocaust outside of common grace would be a guard but also deserve to be a prisoner. I mean Paul Washer says if a 16 month old child had the strength of an 18 year old he would kill his father walk across his father’s body all for a shiny watch. I have known 18 year old people who had the cognitive ability of a child and to a one, no violence, except that perpetrated on them. Personally I can’t relate.
Now as to what was said a dog reverting to a wolf. Attacks on humans by wolves is extremely rare as is barbarity with in a pride, wolves are actually a noble creature if one measures it by some human attributes religions conservatives seem to hold dear. Example wolves are comparatively monogamous, protect their young and provide for them and their extended family etc. Of course there are examples the other way. I have never observed or read about in the literature where a wolf in the real world pretended to be a sheep, it always acted like a predator that hunts for its food for its family and itself. This is also held as a virtue, they are self reliant.
A dog is not self reliant, they need to be fed, cared for and they need to have an owner. I cant say how this seems to fly in the face of the modern conservative evangelical ethos of personal responsibility vs subjugation on government help programs. I mean since we are doing analogies. One does not deewolved in Micro Evolutionary biology, which is exactly the same as “macro” evolutionary biology, change over time in a species due to environmental factors, mutation, and natural selection as applied to population groups not individuals. Basically its this need for a bad guy and an us vs them proposition instead of a gradient and an agreement through consensus and compromise.
This idea of common vs special grace, um grace is always special, it is a gift from a loving Father who seems to shower said grace on people somewhat indiscriminate of theological belief. I would have responded on Triablogue but since they are correct on everything it seems it does not bode for a meaningful dialog. Like I say if this highjacks the thread feel free to not post. Thanks
My last post is in moderation, I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for a place to express myself. It has been very helpful.
Hope the Tony Jones, Julie McMahon, Jones children, Mclaren, Paggit, and Evans debacle is solved soon. Suits and counter suits have taken on a life of their own, and people at the center of this , Julie McMahon and children, have been forgotten or been described with the disparaging article “that.” This is all about ego or egos. There is a psychological/ sociological term for all this. I am uncertain what it is? This certainly is a mess .
They said “while providing much needed private support and assistance”- which no one was doing for Julie. If RHE and company had been, it wouldn’t have become a public issue. RHE can quote this all she wants, but if she only does the “not deal with it in public” part and not the “private support and assistance” part, then she isn’t doing what this statement suggests.
Tread very carefully here, please. I understand you are writing against Tony here, but you’ve caught more than just him with your net.
If I understand you correctly, you are stating that even those who have divorced because they were abandoned or abused ought not to remarry. And if we can’t handle it, we just might not be Christians. That’s the kind of thing John Piper says, and it is very hurtful to those of us who never wanted be divorced, but were put into that position by choices our ex-spouses made.
Paul Washer: Talk about wolves in sheep’s clothing. The man knows nothing about the subject, and is completely ignorant of the scriptures that plainly state that little children believe in God, and that their angels are always before their Father in heaven. They believe in Jesus, until people like Paul Washer and his ilk beat the belief out of them.
What you are seeing is a “tribe” that has bought a lie and perpetrates false teaching so that they can line their pocket$. Comparing humans to wolves is laughable. But that is their style. The Bible that these people claim to read compares people like them to wolves. False teachers who prey upon the sheep. Paul Washer is exhibit “A” in that category.
There is nothing more than an ignorance swap meet going on over at that site. But what do you expect from people who see believers as their mission field? Might make a good topic for the open discussion. But no, it’s not just you who sees something wrong with them.
About speaking publicly about one’s opinions on divorce.
Don’t do it.
I have been divorced for more than 30 years. I did not want the divorce but had no real choice under the circumstances, and I was the one who sought and obtained the divorce. The children remained with me. I did not remarry for my own reasons and purposes. You experience some things in more than 30 years of being a divorced christian. I am going to hand out some unasked for and unwanted advice.
The less said the better in public if one’s values include not injuring other people. I have not found one way to say anything about divorce that did not hurt somebody.
The less said the better in public if one does not want to hear backlash from those who hold strong opinions about divorce which differ from yours and may be hurtful.
Approval seeking behavior is not helpful. Needing the approval of other people can get the person suspended in some static position of not being able to find personal peace and strength within themselves and not being able to lay it all aside and move on.
There is more than one strongly held belief about divorce that can be defended by scripture alone, though not always with the best understanding of scripture as I see it. Quoting the bible as saying this or that only adds fuel to the fire and never–never–never is the best approach for those injured by divorce. The uninjured and the bystanders swing that sword more adeptly because they have nothing to lose. Refuse to fight.
There is life beyond divorce but some people will never forgive you. Nothing to do about that. It comes with the territory.
I will not be silent on this because I believe it is important. It’s not me I’m defending- it’s those who were in my position when I was weaker and needed people to stand up for me (and very few did). For me, when someone like John Piper implies that I am not a believer for having remarried, I can get over it. Who is he anyway? But when I was going through my divorce and my church told me that I wouldn’t do it if I loved Jesus, that hurt a great deal. Instead of feeling heard and understood, I felt pushed aside and ignored. That I didn’t matter to God. That my sole purpose in life was to be a broken toy for the amusement and use of my ex-wife.
I am not seeking approval- I am seeking protection for the weak and for the Gospel to not be slandered.
I 100% believe that any view on abusive marriage that does not include the allowance for the victim to divorce and remarry is ungodly and ineffective. Because whenever a Christian says an abused spouse has the right to divorce and remarry, the rest of the world looks on and says “Of course! Why is this even an issue?” Only those enslaved to a legalistic, oppressive view of God and his desire for humanity could think that he would punish a victim for being abused.
Also, this language is very close to the language people use to tell others to stay quiet and not bother with them talking about their pain. I’m much more afraid of people being stifled and dying inside because they feel unloved, than I am of them being in a “static position” and unable to find “personal peace” to be able to “move on”.
Community is built on transparency and telling our stories, not everyone keeping to themselves and finding a personal peace that doesn’t bother others.
Jeff S wrote:
Bingo! We are to hear and care about our neighbors problems, be discerning and do what we can. The absolute worst is when people are at our weakest and no one will stand up for them. I call it social spiritual Darminism and too many churches model it.
I think that the names of the children should not be discussed publically. It is not their debacle. They are truly innocents caught in a situation which is not of their making.
The names mentioned are not the children’s names. They are last names of other Emergent leaders. The Deebs would not let the children be named. I’d bet my life on that one 😉
Thank you for clarifying that! In all my years reading and commenting on TWW I have seen that commitment to protecting the innocent.
There are also predators among us who “live” to get into other people’s business and tear them apart. Hence, I think, the scriptural warning against gossip. For the hurting divorced there are qualified groups like divorce care which are not broadcasting people’s troubles to the public but which at best consist of people going through the same thing and with trained facilitators for the group. And there is actual psych counseling if necessary.
In my experience the more somebody tries to get in your business the more wary one should be of that individual. They have their own agenda.
This has nothing to do with gossip. We’re not even talking about the specific details of any individual. We are talking about a doctrine that is oppressive and life stealing.
Support groups are great, but they won’t help people who don’t go to them because their churches are teaching them not to go. No way would my church have been supportive of me going to a divorce group unless it was about finding a way to avoid divorce.
Jeff S wrote:
Your church is not under any requirement to support you in your divorce, and you are not under any requirement to let your church stop you from doing what you thought best. This is precisely my point. People must be free from the opinions of other people, and one way to achieve that is don’t tell them your business. I fail to see how you and I differ on this point.
“There is life beyond divorce but some people will never forgive you. Nothing to do about that. It comes with the territory.”
i’d say it depends on the ‘territory’. where I live people (religious & not) are simply not wound tight as you describe.
I am very sorry for the horrible way you were treated. I’m sure you could write deep poetry from pain.
as well as dark comedy inspired by ‘Christian’ morons.
I agree about keeping ones mouth shut at church about personal problems that are serious. But then, I am trying to figure out the point of “the Body of Christ” if that is the case. If we are not there to “see one another through”, as my late mother put it, then why are we there? At one time I bought into the answer it was to worshop God but I don’t buy that anymore. Worshiping God also entails “seeing one another through”. It is messy scary stuff but the real thing.
I am done with the social Darwinism that is church these days.
Church is about community, and community means we are vulnerable with one another and can go to each other with big issues like divorce. Saying everyone should just keep it to themselves means we aren’t a community, but a bunch of individualists doing out best on our own. This is not how the body is meant to operate.
And yes, when I hear the kind of theology that says it’s a sin to divorce an abuser, I’m going to be vocal about it, because that teaching keeps people in bondage and at risk.
Quite the opposite. I was not treated horribly at all, because I shut down the party before it got going. Had I not known to do that things would have been different. And, IMO, nobody is under any obligation to “forgive” me anything. Divorce is awful. People are right to consider it awful and deal with it with caution. I was not a victim because I did not permit my own victimization, and I drew lines in the sand before anything ever started. For the people who can do that it is an excellent approach.
People did resent my profession and my income and did tend to look for weaknesses to exploit, but they did not get very far at that either, for the same reasons. They never found anything to exploit. That is the heart of what I am recommending. There is no responsibility to hang ones linen out to dry regardless of the reasons one may be given to do so by the community linen inspectors.
Jeff S wrote:
John Piper and a few others espouse this theory. However, I believe they are trying to outJesus Jesus. Jesus gave some outs for those who are divorced. I have no trouble whatsoever adding to that list substance abuse and domestic violence, child abuse, etc.
And, for what it is worth, divorce and remarriage is not the unforgivable sin.
That is very true.
And, in this situation, said person is accusing people of deliberately lying whether she knows it or not. Ignorance of the law is no defense.
Jeff S wrote:
That is one idea of church. It is not the idea of church at the place were I am now attending. There are systems in place for handling all kinds of things but nothing like what you describe and that is intentional. We have all been warned by the priest/pastor to not stir up trouble over doctrine or anything else. There is much freedom of opinion but no freedom of contention. Live and let live, but think and believe what you will.
When I was in RCIA the priest told us (and I have no idea if he was correct) that one of the reasons that confession to a priest was set up as it is was because in the early church for a person to be re-admitted to fellowship in the church they had to go around and be reconciled to each individual person in the community. This cause a lot of trouble because then everybody knew the dirt on everybody else and it did nothing to contain the damage or heal persons. As I said, he said it was one reason, not the only reason, and I have no way of knowing if that is correct. But it certainly sounds plausible.
Like tithing units need a ManaGAWD ruling over them with an iron rod (insert appropriate Naked Pastor cartoon here).
During the late Cold War or immediately after, Gadhafi’s Libya and China (and maybe North Korea) actually were on the UN Human Rights Council. And there was much rejoicing, from both UN Member states and Concerned and Compassionate Progressives in the US sticking it to Fascist AmeriKKKa.
As I’ve said many times:
These guys are not Wolves, they’re feral junkyard dogs.
Wolves have more class than that.
I’m not sure what you think I’m describing, but I believe a church should:
-allow for people to be transparent about their struggles
-allow people go to one another when they need help
-empower the weak and vulnerable
-teach doctrines about divorce that do not shame those who left marriages ton protect themselves and/or their children
It took a whole community to help me heal from that experience. It’s sad that it wasn’t the community of my church.
@ Jeff S:
I was married, no kids, and the marriage failed b/c partner was sleeping around and refused to stop. After more than a year, and after discussing the situation with my family, all Christians, they began praying for me and I began praying. And I laid out a bit of fleece for the Lord to let me know his will in this matter. About six weeks later, a young lady showed up at church, we spent time together in groups, then one Sunday, while I was in the choir, singing the invitation hymn and praying, a word came to me “open your eyes to see your future”. She was shaking the pastor’s hand, joining the church. I shook it off!!! But managed to get a date with her for a singles class party and we hit it off. Six days later, she and I were talking after dinner and before going to a movie, and she proposed, which was a part of the fleece, the other parts being shared faith, similar commitments, etc. That was over 30 years ago and we have two wonderful children.
I do believe that God provides. If one studies the divorce issues of the day in the Middle East and the Roman Empire, one can come to the conclusion that divorce was abusive of women in the one instance and casual beyond belief in the other. So the NT admonition may have a somewhat different meaning than we put on it.
And in a twist of irony not without precedent, RHE and other emergents are becoming the very thing which they have fought against.
I don’t disagree with that and based on my experience in churches over the last 20 years I don’t trust anybody there.
Where I am coming from is that a person cannot even mention divorce in a lot of churches. if it were not a verbotten subject we might be able to direct them to someone like scholar David Instone Brewer for another view of scriptural interpretation on the subject.
The don’t tell rule of the RCC most certainly protected priest predators for years just as the no gossip rule at SGM protected predators.
@ An Attorney: more than a year after the divorce was final and I had changed where I lived twice.
That is a bizarre explanation of common grace. IMO it is a waste of time to respond there because they *know* everything already and have no need of input or correction. That’s their loss since I think they could learn a lot from you about God’s manifold grace and also about life and life’s difficulties which don’t fit into a soundbite.
They did tell, they went to the bishops. The system let them down. The system would have been okay if it had functioned, but it most certainly did not. That really does not carry over into telling everybody at church your side of the story about your divorce, I am thinking.
On a related note, the first time I visited my current church, the pastor introduced me to the guy who was dating his daughter (implying to me that an engagement was coming soon!)- said he was divorced too. It was little awkward (“Hey, you’re divorced! I’M divorced! Let’s be friends!!!”) but his heart was in the right place. He wanted to show me that this was a safe place for divorced people.
But he shouldn’t have had to.
“Quite the opposite. I was not treated horribly at all, because I shut down the party before it got going. Had I not known to do that things would have been different.”
well, I still want some comedy inspired by Christian morons. Do Christopher Guest & Eugene Levy even realize the plot goldmine? just hanging there all rosy & glistening in the sun, waiting to be picked? it would write itSELF! (sorry… if I weren’t already elastigirl i’d be mixedmetaphorigal)
IMO the problem is that churches and the people in them can take a very judgmental attitude toward anyone who is divorced and then remarries. Sometimes just the divorce will bring out the bad attitudes. ISTM this is legalism but on a sociological level, divorce is easy pickin’s if you aren’t divorced. It is a safe sin to condemn, so lots of people condemn it. Until it hits closer to home.
I think a member of a church has every right to believe their church will do whatever it takes to be redemptive. That is seldom the path of easy answers and quick solutions, however. Jesus’ death should have taught us at least that.
Whimsical but, please, NO – trying to type that out would be painful on fingers like attempting tongue twisters.
Headless Unicorn Guy wrote:
Not sure if that true statement should make me laugh or cry.
Actually, my experience is that re-marriage kind of gets you back into the “cool kids club”, even if people are theologically against it. Like Piper who is against it, but seems to take the attitude of “it’s a done deal, so no worries- let’s just move on”.
Whereas being divorced and single really is a stigma because it’s there in everyone’s face all the time (especially if you have a child) since you aren’t properly coupled up like you should be.
@ Jeff S:
It is good that you are at a place that is good for you. It would not be good for you or anybody to insist that your place is the only place, your way is the only way, or that all other voices should be silenced who think otherwise.
Val takes a more “conservative” approach to divorce and remarriage. She did not make that up, some people believe that. She has a right to do that. Meanwhile I think that containing the damage and holding off the predators is an excellent idea. I also did not make that up but carried over into a divorce situation what I had found effective in a professional situation. I have a right to do that. We do not have to agree. But not one of us will be able to shout the other down, so to speak, and I do hope we are not headed toward trying to do that.
And may I say, this kind of proves my point, at least for me. If you speak up you are asking for trouble and you hurt other people and frequently yourself. The choice to speak up is a choice and should be seriously considered and sometimes rejected.
I know that. And it’s a doctrine I oppose in the strongest terms because I think it causes very real damage to people.
At the local SBC mega the divorced people are segregated and limited as long as they are divorced. Once they re-marry, however, all is forgiven. My daughter’s friend, the divorced preacher’s kid, does not believe that remarriage is right for him until his children are grown, and he has run though a lot of girlfriends because of this. The church will not consider him fully restored until he remarries–it seems to be an unspoken rule. People’s attitudes are all over the place. My new episcopal church seems to totally operate under don’t ask/ don’t tell for everything. It is a place of refuge for us. It is good that there are choices.
This statement is too vague for me to counter- every situation is different so obviously there are times to speak up and times to say silent. However, in the present culture of the church, being feared into silence is responsible for far more unnecessary suffering than people who speak up more than they should. And divorce doctrine is linked very closely to the issue of abuse in the church.
Don’t forget Rank Hath Its Priviliges, and High-Ranking CELEBRITY Christians (like ToJo) outrank us Lowborn tithing units, so they can divorce and remarry, “spiritual wife” justification or not.
It’s like the Koranic taboo on homosexuality in Islamic countries — if you’re high-ranking enough (and doing the penetrating), it doesn’t apply to you. Only to your inferiors.
Salvation by Marriage Alone.
Like Ian McKellan’s portrayal of Magneto in the first couple X-Men movies.
Jeff S wrote:
Yeah, that doctrine would have me back in an unbearable situation. Lovely.
@ Jeff S:
I actually think that marriage in todays world is quite different (more than most Preacher’s do) in the Biblical times, so what Jesus taught has to be carried over a little differently, sure. That said, Jesus was far harsher on divorce (he talks to men because only they had the power to divorce their wives, wives could provoke it by committing adultery – running off with another man, for example – but couldn’t do the actual divorcing). There is one theme that comes through the centuries though, and that is that our commitments and vows to others are to be done “for Christ”. So, not dragging bad business deals to court, not divorcing (remembering it was %100 percent up to men in those times no wife could serve her husband papers), honouring an unbelieving slave master or husband/wife, etc. In other words, if a business deal or marriage goes sour don’t be the one initiating “I’ll get you for this” attitude. Allow the “bad partner” to be the one who files the court papers even if they are entirely unjust, seek an attitude of reconciliation (and I totally make exceptions for abuse, divorce/police are fine in those situations and the divorce/court teachings are not applicable to those, simply because that is NOT being addressed in a culture where the husband not only had all societal power, but the wife lived in his extended family’s home, so even if she was a bully, she wouldn’t have gotten away with it amongst his extended family on their estate, men just weren’t abused by their wives back then so that isn’t addressed at all).
What has changed, radically, is that men and woman can get divorced now. That changes things some, but the attitude remains: don’t fight against those you have been called to have made commitments with, in dishonest ways. That would apply to Tony (at least all the evidence is point that way, even if his wife were mentally ill, you don’t use that as an excuse to abandon your wife).
But, and this is not in “John Piper” way (because those guys don’t get that Jesus is actually upsetting power imbalances here by forbidding men power over their wives by the constant threat of divorce if she doesn’t behave – while Piper is advocating no divorce even in abuse situations as if marriage is some sort of idol that must be maintained for the sake of some rules he interprets (he’s a ‘rules will keep us all saved’ sort of Christian, despite his “no works will save you” theology: theology doesn’t match is application here). So I really want to clarify this. Marriage shouldn’t be an idol that allows criminals to get away with abuse because the church protects the institution at the price of justice.
But this Tony Jones issue, at least from all the accusations flying around, is not about him getting abused by Julie (previous to serving the divorced papers, he may argue it was “abusive” after the fact, but I see no comments of it previous to the fact, I could have missed it though, I am not very familiar with his teachings or followers/blogs). Yet, in the actual court documents filed (someone linked to them and they are on my browser) it clearly states he initiated the divorce. So, my take on divorce is, if you are in a non-abusive, but perhaps not happy marriage, you have to look at Jesus and work that out in a Christ-like manner. You made a commitment to that person through good and bad. If you were a Christian, you did that before God. I actually don’t care if you married at a court house or a church, because in Bible times, synagogs and the early church didn’t do marriages, they were done for inheritance reasons (for the rich) and not done formally at all for the poor. The vow to another person (business or marriage) is what is needing to be honoured here.
Now, if your spouse divorces you, of course you can’t make that stop happening. As equal citizens before the courts, no one can stop someone else from doing that. So my comment wasn’t about divorce. But I would expect someone in church leadership to realize that just because you have been maligned and rejected by your spouse, your commitment to them doesn’t end. You may no longer be legally married, but you have to treat that person as if you are still committed to them to the best of your ability.
For example, a co-worker of mine (not Christian) is living with (but hasn’t yet married, much more common in Canada, few people marry) a guy whose wife cheated on him. After the affair, she was mortified and wanted him back (silly women, yes, absolutely). I don’t know if he is Christian, but she is, and she didn’t want a divorce. When my colleague started dating him, he was only officially separated, not divorced. My colleague wouldn’t move in with him until he divorced his former wive legally. She then got all upset and got her daughter to side with her that “Divorce is wrong, God says so” and created all sorts of havoc for my colleague and her own daughter (who is the same age as her step-sister).
Now, I know my colleague isn’t Christian, and I don’t know if her common-law husband is or was, but the truth is, even if a spouse runs off on you, you just never know if they won’t regret it. What is the Christian thing to do? If Jesus hates divorce and this is the only time this has happened, what would be the right action? Of course, if she just serially had affairs that would be different, since there would be risks for her spouse health wise and what would that teach the kids about marriage and commitment?
I recognize every situation is very unique, and I know people that tried everything to save their marriage, but the spouse just slammed the door. But the thing about walking is who knows where they will wander? Think a Philemon, the run away slave. In Roman times, a run-away slave was killed. A family Patriarch, especially if he treated his household well, expected loyalty and submission. Running away was a sign of huge disrespect and in the Roman temples, it was feared lack of household order lead to things like earthquakes (it is funny, but true). So, in ancient Rome, Patriarchs (male citizens) were expected to either kill or severely punish run away slaves. Philemon runs, and runs into Christ. Paul doesn’t hide him from his master, he sends him back, with a call to his master to accept his repentance and forgive him. We can’t talk about Christ’s lavish forgiveness and our need for it, then refuse to wait and continually attempt to restore our own marriages. If marriages need forgiveness to survive, then so do run-away/rejecting spouses.
This is why I would say, waiting until it is really over – spouse remarries, for example or moves back to a home country, if they aren’t a citizen, or something where reconciliation really is impossible, is the Christian call. We can always justify giving up when we’ve been wronged, but as a powerful Christian leader one should be modelling Christ, waiting for his wife – or if she really had been mentally ill (this is why I doubt it) at least seeing her admitted to a psych ward and long-term care institution would be the minimal amount of time before even considering remarriage.
The problem I think that has happened is the church has intertwined remarriage with divorce. But, given that anyone can find themselves on the receiving end of a divorce notice, divorce is a separate category than remarriage. You can find yourself being divorced when you don’t deserve it, but you still have a commitment before God to that person (not talking about leaving due to abuse here, just wanted to clarify). I would, if I had to call it, but nothing is ever “right” when you place a rule on it, give a divorced spouse at least 3 years. I can think of at least 3 marriages where in that time period, the abandoner (the spouse who left) reconsidered. In two of those situations, they repented and returned, in the third, the spouse had moved on and broke their heart. I get it if you say “serves them right”, but remember, as Christians we are called to put Jesus first and his views on divorce and forgiveness, not our own or our societies. So, remarriage to me is a sticky point, because it is you closing the door on a commitment you made before God. The spouses commitment is their deal with God, but as far be it for you live at peace with one another. Also, it largely comes down to a forgiveness issue. Think of it like those motel rooms where adjoining rooms can be access by double doors with no door handle available to the adjoining room. You can leave your door open, so if they change their heart, all that is needed is for them to open their side of the double door. You can let them know you haven’t quit them, even if they have quit you. Then, if they wander away, you get to exercise Christ’s forgiveness.
I simply state, that in the Tony Jones case, even if Julie was certifiably insane (which I doubt because there would be medical involvement with custody issues), Tony, as a Christian leader has to follow Christ in it all, and wait the medical issues out. That he found a pack of faults with her (that few are clear on) is one thing, maybe he did need to divorce her for mental anguish or something. That he turned around and got remarried while she was supposedly sick was sinful. So, to me, it doesn’t matter if Julie was vindictive, crazy, or horrid. As a spouse who made a commitment to her in a way that she (and society) feels is a life-long exclusive commitment, he a) could protect himself with a divorce if things were indeed that bad but b) wait the storm out. In sickness and in health. If she has had sole custody for the last 6 years, clearly there is no major illness going on. She is fit to parent – a big job. He has no jurisdiction to remarry, because remarrying is closing the door on someone he publicly vowed to live life with.
I get that if an ex moves 10 states over and remarries then a door is closed, but from all accounts here, Julie didn’t want the divorce, so no matter his logic for leaving (self-protection or whatever) he was never free to remarry. The church needs to get these teachings right. Divorce is not equivalent to remarriage. We are bound and commitment to people as Christians.
I think we are massive hypocrites in the church when we make excuses for remarriage in almost any divorce case, yet we forbid homosexuality both are adultery but are treated very, very differently. Also, how can we show the massive love and forgiveness of Christ when we are so quick to abandon those we promised to love and forgive? Love isn’t conditional. I’d make a much larger case for churches to massively restrict who they marry and get a lot more picky about marrying couples than the current trend to marry everyone and then remarry them a few years later – churches, in my view, are aiding skyrocketing divorce rates with quick and easy marriages. The “for better or worse” should really be: so even if they abandon you, you will remain faithful and wait for them. I wonder how many would make that large a commitment, but, yeah, following Christ is a huge cost. I don’t think early Christians should have been held to a higher standard than us. Celibacy is not properly considered or taught in the west, but it is a lifestyle many, many Christians are called to and most Christian leaders have thrived as celibates – all the church fathers were celibate, mother teresa, etc. If Christians recoil at that, my question is blunt: what will you give up for Christ? for Tony Jones the answer is apparently “not much”.
There are some doctrines that separate people, and these doctrines may be different for different people. I suppose this comes out of experience, belief, values, or whatever, but it surely happens.
There are some people who will never be close to those on the opposite side of the Arminian/Calvinst/Other divide, others who see egalitarian/complementarian as a bridge too far. For me, the issue is divorce in abuse cases. The view of God that “You may not divorce/remarry if you are abused” paints such an ugly view of God and his view of ME, that I surely will distance myself from anyone who holds it. I’m not saying they aren’t Christians, but they aren’t Christians I want to have a close relationship with.
I believe this strongly because I think it is the result of a much deeper, flawed view: believing that God prohibits divorce in abuse cases means that God values marriage over a person like me. It means he would be happier to see me a tortured plaything for my ex than for a perverted use of marriage to be dissolved. It means God has a low view of what marriage is. It means that God hates me.
I’ve moved past that because I no longer struggle with this question. I know that God doesn’t hate me, and I know he doesn’t value marriage more than me. But I also know there are people who are where I was, and I will continue to be a voice for them, helping them understand that God loves them even when the church tells them God hates them. And so yes, this is an issue I will divide over- because it isn’t just a matter of checking off a theological box- it’s a matter of preaching a God who loves his children and wants good things for them.
Jeff S wrote:
I guess I see it differently. I think we don’t know that no one from the leadership was providing private support and assistance, or at least trying. McLaren says in his statement that he tried, but what he describes didn’t go very well. It sounds like he thought his continued interaction was making her feel worse and he decided to refer her to local help. Others have made brief statements that at least suggest that they tried as well.
Clearly Julie does not trust them and does not feel supported by them, either then or now. Clearly they do not trust her. But I don’t think we know what has gone on privately regarding attempts to provide assistance. Maybe they are lying when they say they tried. Maybe they tried but weren’t the right people to be providing it, given their continued association with Tony and the lack of trust that would bring up in Julie. Maybe they should have tried harder.
I just think there is much we don’t know and I can’t agree with the statement that no one tried privately. I can agree that if they tried, it didn’t work.
Val isn’t objecting to divorce in cases of adultery or abuse. She’s objecting to *remarriage* after divorce. Remarriage (at least in our society, perhaps not in others) is not a need – it’s a “want.”
And all that is just to say, to me, it doesn’t matter where Julie’s faults lie in this debacle. Tony a) divorced her (I highly doubt, but really don’t know, if it was for a self-protective cause) but b) his remarriage was the sin against her. He can’t make himself look good once he remarried. By remarrying, he slammed the door on any reconciliation or healing his spouse may have encountered. when you marry, it is a life-long commitment on your part. You must always be seeking a way to reconcile. Tony is right, that piece of paper means little (even if it is a divorce paper). He stood before God and vowed to marry Julie. I couldn’t care less if he did it common-law or legally, he did it. So no vindication can free him of what he did. If Julie fully abandoned him, by remarrying, for example, then he could have been free to remarry. But as long as there is still God in their lives who can say things wouldn’t have gotten better, but he killed that chance by remarriage and kids are only young once! He blew it not with the divorce (we just can’t know if he had self-protection reasons for that) but with the remarriage. That is why I caution the church getting too involved with remarriage (actually and marriages, but that is a whole other debate) because that slams portals of forgiveness and reconciliation shut forever, so it should only be done when it is clear the spouse has fully cut off any chance of further reconciliation.
This is my point, as a Christian leader, Tony needs to show he gets the full call of following Christ. In Roman times, the elders were older men who waited for the soldiers to arrive (or stood as buffers) while the rest of the church scurried off into the catacombs to hide from arrest and likely death. The fake leaders were the ones who ran with their church when the Romans raided, potentially exposing others to getting caught.
I do hold leaders to this high account. I do expect leaders of Christ to stick it out with bad spouses (divorced or not) and exhibit Christ like love, even to the unlovable. If they can’t, if they justify their unloving actions, I no longer consider them fit for leadership. The call of Christ is very high. I wish we were more aware of that, we would tolerate less weakling leaders out there.
RHE has prohibited conversation in support of Julie while continuing to support Tony, and she has admitted to not reaching out to Julie. So if she is quoting that statement to say that it backs up her behavior, it does not.
I know you have strong feelings toward McLaren, and I understand why. You are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. I’m willing to give him the benefit that he might be unwittingly helping an NPD because he doesn’t know what he’s up against. It’s not good, but it’s an easy trap.
However, truly aiding someone in Julie’s position means not just “reaching out” to them, but PROTECTING them and using their resources to keep the NPD at bay. Unfortunately, it seems clear that Tony’s supporters don’t realize how serious NPD is. I used to be more on the fence than I am now, but basically this is playing out exactly how an abusive NPD would play it. Tony’s making her life a living hell and snowing all the right people in the process. It’s hard not to believe Julie the way things are going.
But anyway, my point was more about RHE than anything else. She has definitely never reached out to Julie and she has supported Tony. She cannot use this statement as justification for silencing Julie and her supporters.
Yes it would. I do not agree with Val, but I may have thought about something pertinent here. When I divorced the culture at the time was very much like the current culture at the SBC mega. One must hurry and remarry apparently to prove that you were not to blame in your divorce just look at my new spouse. See, I am okay. Consider the divorced evangelical woman in such a culture who either cannot or does not want to remarry. How does she cope with this either in her own mind or in defending herself against the cultural pressures. I faced this. I had professional and financial and parental reasons why I did not no way no how want to remarry.
Here is what I have seen my fellow religionists at the time do, they quote everything in scripture that says that they ought not remarry. They become adamant about the correctness of their “biblical” opposition to remarriage. Thou shalt not remarry becomes their defense against people who would assign fault and defect to them for not marrying again. I do not agree with them from scripture, but I would not take that defense away from them if that is what they need to keep on keeping on. I am not saying that everybody who believes thusly is in fact using it defensively. But some do.
I found something else in scripture. I hit upon where Paul said concerning widows that they may marry (restrictions on whom they may marry) but in his opinion they would be happier if they did not. Happier, the man said. Now a divorced woman is not a widow, but perhaps something of Paul’s idea that the happiness of the woman was something to actually be taken into consideration would carry over into the divorce situation. I decided that indeed it would, and chose that scriptural justification for my choices.
So I tend to leave people at peace when “the bible says” seems tremendously important to them on some issue. Been there.
What we DO know and have seen first hand is their response to Julie for telling her side story….finally. And their response to bloggers who gave her a platform. Unless of course, you think they are lying too? That much is quite evident and their responses give us much insight into their character. You keep leaving out McLaren’s threat to get legal. I find that curious.
Divorce means the right to remarry. If you divest it of that, it effectively means nothing.
And again, if you are the victim of adultery or abuse, why would God punish the victim by denying remarriage? What sin has the victim of such a person committed to deny them the companionship of marriage that most people are designed to have?
In the SBC, marriage is part of the Gospel. I am not kidding. Being single is selfish and people are waiting to long to marry. Not having children is selfish. See Al Mohler. They have it all figured out for us all
No- this is dangerous, dangerous theology that sets up victims of abuse to be continuously enslaved. How many abused women return their abuses ex’s over and over again because they keep thinking they can be reconciled. And how many of those women pay the ultimate price (death) for doing so?
My ex pastor (who holds the view you are supporting here) once told me “If God wants you to remarry, he can take your ex-wife at any time”. What a sick theology that is to lead someone to say something so horrible 🙁
This whole notion that divorce can be justified but not remarriage (and the related view that separation is OK but not divorce) is legalistic gymnastics that is not supported by scripture. It might make people feel better about a system of divorce and remarriage that “fits”, but it fails on the human compassion meter.
Divorce is not an “unloving action”. Neither is remarriage. Divorce happens when one party has destroyed the marriage with unrepentant behavior. Only very disturbed thinking can see someone continually hurt another person over and over again and then label the victim as “unloving” for walking away.
Tony wasn’t wrong for his remarriage. He was wrong for mistreating his wife. It’s that simple and we don’t need complicated theology to explain it. If he abused Julie (and as an NPD it’s a certainty he did), then that’s the behavior that was wrong.
The problem is that this doctrine can destroy people when they follow it. And they do.
It’s not benign.
I AM glad that you were able to make the choice that was healthiest for you, though.
Jeff S wrote:
Those are some good thoughts. Those of us who have seen the practical results of rigid adherence to rigid ideologies are the ones in the best position to see that God is not in that. We are the ones to sound the alarm to others who are either unaware of the ideologies or unaware of the outworkings of those ideologies.
@ Jeff S:
To be clear, divorce CAN be an “unloving action”, but it’s not inherently so. If it were, God could not have used it as a metaphor for his actions against Israel.
@ Jeff S:
When I was on the board of the spouse abuse center, one of our biggest problems were pastors who came to persuade her to go back to her abuser because he “repented” or said sorry. We knew it was only a matter of time befire she was back at the center or worse.
I really do not understand that thinking. There are simply unsafe and unhealthy people out there and the last thing we do is reconcile. Forgiveness does not automatically mean reconcilliation. But some think it does.
Jeff S wrote:
I think they are willfully ignorant if they do not know what NPD behavior looks like. No excuses for adults in positions of responsibility and who have public platforms. I think they know perfectly well, but it is an inconvenient thing to know so they ignore or minimize it or deflect it. Similarly, Beth knows the dynamics of a NPD relationship. Or she should.
Paul did not indicate any willingness to reconcile with Alexander the Coppersmith, nor did John with Diotrephes. There are people who are damaging that we need to stay away from.
She does, but she seems more about defending McLaren than Tony (I haven’t read all of her posts). I assume she is probably more wary of Tony than McLaren.
Jeff S wrote:
Do I hear you saying that people are destroyed unless the remarry?
I’ve seen this (not in person, but a friend who DOES council with such women has shared details with me) and it is heartbreaking. It’s like watching the death of a person in real time. They are worn down and just give in. You can tell that they do not believe they have any value, to God or anyone else.
No. You hear me saying that doctrine that prohibits remarriage is destructive.
@ Jeff S:
Jeff S wrote:
To be endlessly repetitive, if an issue becomes about a particular person or party, then it is not about a principle. I don’t care if it is Brian McLaren or John Piper. Neither of them has an excuse for being willfully ignorant and propagating their willful ignorance such that it harms a lot of people.
Oh yes there are. The idea of reconciling with an abuser is way off base and my even be sadistic. I do think however that one should try to dial back on revenge and retribution and strive for some level of peace at a distance, peace being they stay away and keep their lawyer away.
I agree- but I was merely responding to the part about the dynamics of NPD. I’m not defending Beth, but I can see how she can try to see McLaren in the best light while knowing what Tony is capable of.
Who is going for “revenge and retribution”?
Except for Tony, of course, since apparently he has kept Julie in near-continuous litigation since the divorce if I understand correctly.
Jeff S wrote:
Sounds like the type of doctrine you’d hear from a wife-beater who wants to make sure his punching bag can’t leave him.
Jeff S wrote:
That’s different. He’s a CELEBRITY ManaGAWD, and Rank Hath Its Privileges.
@ Jeff S:
That comment has nothing to do with you or Tony or Julie. Unless you were an abused spouse in a center like Lydia was talking about.
OK, then I’m trying to figure out who you were talking about. Who do you see as going for “revenge and retribution” at a women’s shelter?
Jeff S wrote:
Jesus attributed the allowing of divorce by Moses to the hardness of people’s hearts. Note: he acknowledged that divorce was allowed, but he did not call it loving.
Jeff S wrote:
I can’t see that. If anyone should know NPD and the chaos it produces, she should.
@ Jeff S:
I never worked at a shelter. The ones I saw were the ones that came back into the ER, and the stories of how that happened sometimes seemed to me to be things that could have been avoided if people had left well enough (absence) alone. No need to get on the phone and get it all stirred up again if it can be avoided, for example. No need to try to get the ex fired off the job just for spite (seen that tried.) No need to send your new boyfriend over there to threaten anybody. (seen that too). There is a time to dial that back. That is all I am saying.
He did not call it unloving either. No one knows what the hardness of people’s hearts means for certain, but it seems natural for me to assume it’s the people who destroyed the marriage, not those who filed for it. Was God unloving toward Israel when he divorced Israel? Is this what the metaphor implies. Or was a longsuffering husband taking a legal form of relieve available to him based on the other parties evil behavior?
Again, if a husband is using his wife as a punching bag (just as one example) and she walks away, whey are her actions judged in any way (as loving or not)? He is the one who destroyed the marriage, not her.
I agree with you about any of those actions. Almost all of the abuse cases I’ve encountered the victim would have loved to have nothing to do with the abuser, but he would not leave her alone, often using relationships with the children to force interaction.
Jeff S wrote:
Exactly. There are different interpretations of the texts on divorce, remarriage, and qualifications for leadership. I think it’s important to keep the focus on the root issue: abuse of power. Life can be messy, and there are times when one spouse wants to leave and nothing can be done. If TJ had acted more in the line of “I want a divorce, I take responsibility for it, and I’ll make sure you have child support as well as a safe place to live and the support of our church and mutual friends,” I don’t think we would be having this conversation. I’m concerned about cruelty, not human weakness.
@ Jeff S:
Or did he give Israel what she really wanted anyhow? How do I know. But once we get to thinking we know God’s feeling and motivations then we have to look at things like the conquest of Canaan and it kind of all bogs down-at least for me. I thought God said that in our smartest day we would not understand him–that is my phrasing of the idea of my ways are not your ways or my thoughts your thoughts, etc.
God used this metaphor for a reason and he’s not hiding things from us. He gave us these things to understand. If God can divorce Israel metaphorical and not be tarnished for doing so, so can we.
Jeff S wrote:
As in an unavoidable consequence to someone’s severe actions?
Jeff S wrote:
So if God commanded the things that Israel did during the conquest of Canaan and not be tarnished for it, so can we? If God did what he did to Egypt in the plagues, so can we? I am not protesting divorce but rather this line of reasoning.
Then again I’ve seen both of the Prophet Isaiah’s venerable verses (the other one is the ‘filthy rags’ thing) used as a whip and a club to silence any dissent, critical thinking, or alternative views of various parts of Holy Writ.
Muff Potter wrote:
Is disagreeing with someone trying to silence them? I would think that engaging would be just the opposite.
@ Muff Potter:
And if that doesn’t work, the twelve-gauge-scatter-gun (in the form of Jeremiah 17:9) will come out to reinforce Paul’s irrefutable logic in the Book of Romans that no good thing can come out of your hopelessly depraved flesh.
So far on this blog, I have yet to see that kind of behavior from you or anybody else here for that matter. But it does exist in other venues, we’ve all seen it, some have no interest in dialogue, they just want to ‘win’.
Muff Potter wrote:
The Massachusetts Puritans would agree.
Just ask the pre-1620 tribes around Massachusetts Bay — if you can find any survivors.
Muff Potter wrote:
Does your mother know that you have been hanging out with the wrong crowd?
I have to shut it down for tonight. Got to feed the dog and young daughter and her kids should be back any minute with more take out wings that one can nutritionally justify. I do love the marriage of butter and hot sauce.
@ Jeff S,
Agreed: “The view of God that “You may not divorce/ remarry if you are abused” paints such an ugly view of God and his view of ME, that I surely will distance myself from anyone who holds it. I’m not saying they aren’t Christians, but they aren’t Christians I want to have a close relationship with.”
In a Linkedin discussion regarding Biblical Leadership with the topic: “Are women biblically permitted to be pastors/elders?”, I was put on the spot by a regular commenter, a pastor who had a soft complementarian view. He wanted to know what I thought about divorce.
From understanding many abuse issues, such as domestic violence, spiritual abuse, and the like, and hearing the stories from so many, it was not hard to put some thoughts together to address his question. From that enquiry, an article was composed and posted on my website. My article might be an echo of what you have been saying.
“Divorce: When does the Bible permit divorce?”
Agreed: “I think it’s important to keep the focus on the root issue: abuse of power.”
Jeff S wrote:
I understand. Yes, as far as I know, RHE never tried to directly provide support to Julie. She has had kind of an odd role in all of this, I think. Sort of involved, but not really. Maybe eventually we’ll learn what she was thinking and why.
I think the main issue about divorce is that, in general, the church should be much more “till death do us part” than “till attractive 20-something sacramental wife comes along do us part”.
In other words, if TJ didn’t have a d*mn good reason for walking out on Julie and the kids, then the church should have backed her up and held him to account. Instead, the church welcomes him as a spiritual leader. Gag. At a minimum he should be disqualified from leadership.
The church, in general, also seems to think that “Jesus would want me to be happy.” Where on earth do we get that idea? The NT picture I see is “it’s going to be rough, the time is short, it’s better not to marry – but if you want to marry, that’s fine, but you’d better be prepared to love and submit to each other in Christlike ways even if it’s not reciprocated.”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t advocate anyone staying with an abusive spouse. But let’s not be so leery of that tragic possibility that we step back from taking marriage seriously. We can affirm marriage and be wise enough to help those that need to escape abuse at the same time – it doesn’t need to be either/or.
No I wouldn’t be surprised if they are pressuring bloggers to not give Julie a platform. I just think it is possible that their reasons for doing so aren’t as diabolical as others seem to think. I don’t know, but I am not going to criticize them doing so in public until I know more.
I have several times stated that I don’t agree with the lawsuit threat. I’ll see what happens now that other options are being pursued. If McLaren continues to insist on a lawsuit when he has other viable options to address his concerns, I would consider that strong evidence that he is using power inappropriately and not behaving as an ethical leader should.
I appreciate everyone’s tolerance of me as I struggle with this. I know I am the outlier in having the questions that I do, but you have all been polite and respectful even as you push back. I’m going to take Boz’s advice and let things alone for awhile. I do sincerely hope that everyone involved can get both justice and peace.
Divorce used to be shameful. My grandmother had to divorce my grandfather because he was mentally ill. When she divorced she could never remarry. So she was a single mother with six children. This was in the 1920’s. I was raised to believe that remarriage after divorce is a sin. My oldest sibling wanted something more exciting when she turned 40, so she abandoned her family. She divorced her first husband and her two children. Two marriages later and after several more divorces her children won’t have anything to do with her, nor myself or my brother. My sister inherited the crazy gene and has been diagnosed as bipolar. I consider that she has created more division than her personal divorces. She turned my parents against their grandchildren, her children against their family, and family against family. Divorce is awful, but added to the trials created by a mentally ill person who appears on the exterior as sane. Sorry per being personal, but my family has been devastated by a divorce where the instigator is certifiably mad.
@ Jeff S:
Woah, woah! No, I am not talking of victims here. Remember, I clearly said except in cases of abuse. If you are leaving a marriage because of abuse then I don’t think it is up to you to reconcile with an abuser. I am saying if your spouse leaves you, but comes back contrite and remorseful (so not a serial adulterer) then you should be willing to forgive. Please note the huge difference between the two. I clarified IF Julie was abusive he could have divorced her, but going with he current assumption he ran off with Courtney and then wrote a book justifying divorce to cover his butt, he was wrong, regardless of Julie’s health. You are not equating all this to abusers (so IF Julie was abusive – but no record exists of this before the divorce – that is a different story).
Also, my “issues” I am being accused of in remarriage and the “why would God punish the victim by not letting them remarry” is because the early church supported celibacy and looked down on marriage as a contract that must be obeyed, but better to avoid. The early church, up until the 7th C. so long, long after it was a legal religion, only opened leadership to celibate people. So being divorced would have been a gift for some people back then. If we are going to use the Bible for the church to be involved in marriages (Churches don’t broker business contracts, but do broker marriage contracts), then we have to be honest about what it teaches. Celibate is the favoured position (not necessarily a required one, but favoured) so the “punish the victim” mentality is simply a western Christian obsession or idol with marriage, not something God is punishing anyone with. No one is punished if they can’t find someone to marry???
Beth, You have stated you are a therapist. But you seem to have little understanding how Tony’s admitted diagnosis of NPD colors everything. You either do not understand NPD or are trying to play it down on purpose by making it only about their divorce and playing down the progressive celebs unbelievable response to Julie finally being able to tell her side of things. They are not who we thought they were.
You have not explained how McLaren overlooked the spiritual wife situation, leaving his children with a “crazy” woman and so on. But insist there is some good reason to threaten to sue a single mom who has been through hell with that movement some even trying to commit her based upon an NPD’s word.
We all have a right to tell our stories. Julie has a right to tell her story as she has not had the celebrity platorm that Tony, McLaren and others have to spread the word she is crazy.
I am saddened you think there is some good reason out there, we cannot know about, for celebrities like McLaren to shut her down. REminds me of how the evangelical celeb followers handled things with their gurus. I don’t see you as an outlier but as a very slick apologist.
OK, what are some good reasons they would have for silencing her by pressuring bloggers and some good reasons they would have for spreading the guano-crazy disinformation and deflection campaign which looks so very much like what a NPDer would do.
You are very vague and appear to be very concerned about some things but not about others for some reason.
Dipteran, way better said than I could.
Along the lines of Why does God punish Iraqi Christians by not protecting them from ISIS if they stand up for their faith. It would be good for everyone to remember for every Shadrach, Meshack and Abednigo story of salvation from enemies, thousands upon thousands of others died for the faith.
I should add I lived in India and saw young women convert to Christianity who essentially took a vow of celibacy that day since they only marry within caste and if she dropped her caste, her family would not marry her into the Christian caste, so, she essentially converted to a life of celibacy the day she decided to convert. I worked at a school with an older woman who had converted and then forfeited her chance at marriage. She never considered a lifetime of celibacy a punishment, working with orphaned kids was a privilege to her. It is all perspective, really.
@ An Attorney:
I agree, it is really up to each of us to do our part in whatever commitment we agree to. If the other person makes it final, and won’t return after a time (and really, everyone needs to figure out what is final, there is no formula) then you have done your part, but a divorce doesn’t mean we are free somehow, since Jesus hates divorce. And divorcing someone else (your initiation) is causing them to commit adultery, so there is a huge difference between a wife who won’t have any part in a marriage (and your subsequent remarriage) and Tony’s case. In Tony’s case, his wife didn’t want the marriage to end at first, but Tony did. There was no way he could have looked good, so it looks like he began to accuse her of stuff so he could maintain an image.
The church should have surrounded her and called out him, but they didn’t. In your case, the church should have surrounded you and called out her (it seems that is mostly the way it went). The problem in the Tony/Juile case is the church had no business defending Tony because on a basic level he sinned fully a) by initiating the divorce (not acceptable except for abuse – yes I’d put serial adultery in the abuse category) b) then by quickly remarrying his “Spiritual Wife” shutting the door to any sort of reconciliation/ restoration/ support for his first wife whom he wronged EVEN IF HE FELT SHE DESERVED THE DIVORCE.
Ironically, most people want to get married in a church, and receive the community blessing but don’t want any input when the marriage turns into divorce from the church. Or any questioning of remarriage, but reading Christ’s view on divorce and remarriage, we either a) need to get out of the marriage business completely and not call it “Biblical” but cultural (then honour it as a cultural contract), or fix up a lot of expectations and demands put on Christian marriages, because Biblical marriages (snark font: Spiritual or not) are ‘tough rows to hoe’ in many cases. If you are not “satisfied” with a marriage, or “happy” is irrelevant according to the Bible, because commitments are commitments. Abuse is different, but I just don’t see an argument for abuse when a lover is in the wings in most divorce cases.
@ Jeff S:
Again, it is different. You or I could be divorced by our spouse with no input. They could come home one day and bam! Divorce papers on the table. Or walk out or whatever.
Now, say my husband and I had a huge fight over, I dunno, money (not an abusive fight), just a huge fight. He got mad and walked out. Later, he phoned and said “I’m done, we are through, I am sick of this”. My options at this point are a) think OK I’m getting my lawyer and fighting for every penny, b) attempt to reconcile with promises of money counselling or something. Do I act like we are no longer married and I am free? Of course not, the fight needs to be resolved in loving way, the fact we married and made a commitment to each other also needs to be resolved in a forgiving way. I still have a part to do here, I am not “free” or “off the hook”, not by a long shot when there is still unresolved conflict.
Again, nothing, nothing, nothing about abuse – did you even read why I am totally on the opposite side of Piper, in my former post? You have to offer proof I said “stay in abusive situations” before accusing me of this, I TOTALLY OK people leaving an abusive spouse.
But this Tony leaving Julie has nothing to do with him being abused, so it was wrong, plain and simple. There is simply no door a Christian can walk through that OKs leaving a marriage that isn’t abusive.
I just don’t see any justification, beyond abuse, for divorce. Now, my net for abuse is caste wide – financial abuse (my relative was a gambling man and so they divorced to protect her share of what they still owned), physical, emotional, sexual and even serial adultery, since STIs and stuff eventually harm the spouse (and Fatal Attractions, I guess). But without a reason that you fear for yourself and/or your kids Christians are called to be the lover, not the receiver of love. Your spouse doesn’t make you happy? Make them happy. Your spouse doesn’t love you? Love them anyways. We don’t live up to our commitments for our own personal benefit, it isn’t about us. We do it for Christ. Indian Christians taught me that well.
But here is a thought, and why people are so upset with Tony and likely why he turned on his wife (again, not in an abusive power/imbalance relationship, but in a life philosophy towards others):
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies.
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you.
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous.
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough.
Give the best you’ve got anyway.
in the final analysis it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.
Women – you can’t trust ’em. They don’t understand the double standard.
(Al, Character in the TV series “Qunatum Leap”)
Val, what a wonderful statement of how a Christian should live! I will print this and carry in my wallet. Is there an attribution?attribution
Neglect? That was considered breaking the vow in the OT.
Val, I’m at a loss as to how this is true. How can one person “cause” another to commit adultery? Maybe I’m misunderstanding this part of your comment.
Val, I would recommend you read David Instone-Brewers Divorce and Remarriage.
He is a Hebrew scholar and explains a lot of what has been horribly misunderstood in the Old Testament and what is talked about in the New Testament concerning divorce and remarriage.
people tend to forget that marriages, even in the New Testament were arranged. the entire extended family was involved from an economic standpoint and in a Patriarchal culture.
It is just not as simple as quoting a verse.
This is a hugely important point. As far as I can see neither Jesus nor Paul talked about abuse per se. Jesus made certain statements. Paul made statements in addition to that. When I divorced I was a member of a Free Will Baptist Church. I say this only to mention that they are not exactly a cutting edge “progressive” group. Within conservative baptist-dom, and within the limits of my experience, there are opinions less restrictive that some of Val’s opinions while still based on scripture and held by scriptural conservatives.
Paul discussed a believer vs and unbeliever, and he discussed wants to leave and he said let him go and that the believer was not bound in that circumstance. So what is a believer? It is most certainly not everyone who says Lord, Lord or so said Jesus. So what is it to leave a marriage? Is it only to walk out the door or is it also to exhibit behavior which clearly shows an abandonment of the marriage itself regardless of where one eats or sleeps? (For example abuse, but abuse is not the only example.) So what does not bound mean? If it means not bound to the marriage then it means free to remarry (or not remarry as I have defended before) but it does not mean still bound. Not bound and still bound are not the same thing.
Clearly, at least to me, Paul’s pastoral provision(s) given with the authority of an apostle, should not be dismissed or disparaged nor sacrificed to a more rigid requirement not clearly required by scripture.
Let me mention, that the idea that all the early leadership was celibate conflicts with Paul’s mention that the other apostles traveled with a wife/sister and he had the right to do so also. Certainly we know that Peter had a mother-in-law. Celibacy was held in high esteem, but celibacy as a discipline in the RCC for example was not required until much later.
I consider myself a healer, and I have a wall full of diplomas to show for it. Within that secular mindset and context I make this statement on my own–no scripture here–about some philosophy of healing. People need healing. Sometimes marriages need healing. Pitting people healing and marriage healing as competing realities does not facilitate healing for either one. Unhealed people do not result in a healed marriage. Holding the idea or ideal of marriage for it’s own sake as more important than the people involved will not produce a healed marriage or healed people. Jesus died for people.
I believe it was from Mother Teresa, well according to google. You can get some pretty ones if you google “mother teresa do it anyway” under images.
Bingo. And that is one of the hardest aspects to this. People who call themselves believers in these situations use faulty interpretations to control the other person.
There is another aspect to this that is rarely discussed because we tend to see divorce in a totally different way than was understood in OT/NT.
Breaking the vow/promise was a “divorce”. For example, neglect was seen as divorce. The person neglecting was actually “divorcing” by their behavior.
We also tend to not understand that the Pharisees had implemented something called “any cause” divorce that Jesus was referring to and went back to OT law where it was outlined for real neglect, etc. The Pharisees would consider something as ridiculous as burning dinner “neglect” and ergo divorce to get rid of a wife.
Neglect could also be a spouse who refuses to take care of the children or work keeping the family in poverty or something like that.
Yes, what I’ve been saying all along. Since marriage in most parts of the world today is still arranged (or parents give their kids few choices in whom to marry), any Christian views on marriage have to take in the majority of the world (whom are much poorer than we are – even if we aren’t rich).
Marriages are still arranged in the most populace countries on earth: India, Pakistan, Indonesia, parts of China, etc. The huge difference for us in the west is women can also easily initiate a divorce. But it isn’t the cultural technicalities, it is the attitude I am against. The slamming the door on a spouse you vowed/promised to remain committed to for life. Again, only from your own part – if they slam the door on you, then yeah, remarriage isn’t an issue. But I was mostly working off of Julie/Tony’s divorce as a reason why Tony is wrong in this situation no matter what Julie did, because a) he initiated the divorce (from accounts due to his affair) and b) never offered abuse as a reason for leaving her. That makes him wrong to remarry, he didn’t try hard enough to fix the mess, he didn’t repent of his affair etc. Now, had Julie divorced him for abuse, fine, I wouldn’t say she is an unfit leader (had she been a pastor), if her accounts are true, he would be a dangerous person to reconcile with, so, perhaps for Juile it is for the best he is gone.
However, my original point (like 20 posts back), is that maligning Julie does not clear his name and I suspect he knows this and that is why he is launching such an attack/silencing campaign against her. He looks bad divorcing her and running off with a 20 something. For many, many Christians he is unfit for Christian leadership. He is trying to rewrite the story by making her into the monster and him the victim, but even if she were nasty, he didn’t do his part and “love her anyways” as Christ loved him. He can’t claim to have superior knowledge of Christ and treat an ex this way, even if she was nasty, it isn’t the calling we have. That was my point.
OK neglect works in places like Nepal where men have all the money and all the power and means to acquire money and women don’t. If the husband goes off to work in India or Bahrain, never sends a penny home and his wife is ragged and starving, then she could divorce him, but in N. America we do have the ability to go get a job too, so I’d wonder about applying that to our modern marriages.
In my personal experience neglect can be abusive. My sometime-to-be-ex-husband considered me outrageously, inexcusably, verging on punishably high-maintenance for wanting to be spoken to (just acknowledged, not conversations or anything) every day.(Punished here by even less attention & by squashing any signs of confidence). Don’t even ask how that multiplies out into the normal emotional or physical needs of a spouse. Then there’s the financial irresponsibility & the drunken yelling….none of which he would discuss. He is the child of a narcissist & just turned out to have no knowledge of how to do relationships, to have any responsibility towards another’s emotional welfare terrified & enraged him.
I defy anyone to tell me I shouldn’t have asked him to leave. I managed a decade, but would not have survived much more.
He is also doing much better on his own.
Wasn’t the woman that Tony Jones had an affair with also married? So Tony Jones harmed two marriages: his own and that of another husband’s. Sad and bad.
His NPD meant “abuse/neglect” before he was even diagnosed…before even the spiritual wife or bat s**t crazy stuff. We have to be careful. The one who “initiates” divorce is the one who neglects or abuses. The neglected/abused spouse may simply go and make it legal in the civil sense. living with an NPD is abuse. It is actually better for children to get them out of that environment asap before it becomes their normal.
Val, this is why trying to apply these sorts of passages for a 1st Century audience to a 21st Century situation is often dangerous. Jesus talked about the “spirit of the law” and we should take note even though they are not “laws” so to speak. Some seem to make them laws.
Yes a neglected/abused wife can get a job here and live in poverty if she was a homemaker. She can expect some child support but many get very little settlement if they did not have a very good attorney. Most don’t. They do not have the resources.
If she is in a position to marry a good loving man to improve her children’s and her life, I think it is wonderful. Not easy but some have done it well. What I am opposed to are your strict rules for remarriage you are bringing from a very patriarchal 1st Century context to today.
What would you call 10 years of gaslighting for example? Neglect or abuse?
You know, Beakerj, I think what Christians do to marriage is exactly what the Pharisees tried to do to the Sabbath. They made the Sabbath rules so rigid that it no longer resembled the purpose and benefits for which it was designed.
Marriage imo should be viewed with the same principle that Jesus noted to the Pharisees: The Sabbath was made for man; not the man for Sabbath.
When the marriage of two people becomes more destructive than unifying and beneficial to both, we need to recognize it’s failure to achieve the purpose may be beyond repair. This can be the result of both, or one, or any one of a myriad of reasons outside of one’s control that make the chasm too wide to restore the love, trust, and mutual respect.
Great points. Since I am pretty much out of the evangelical ghetto these days, I tend to forget all the rigid rules about divorce and remarriage and what burdens have been placed on people to have to prove this or that in order to be accepted into what passes for the Kingdom. It is an exhausting world.
I have searched in vain for the printed instructions to christian marriage vows in scripture. Maybe they are wherever the Nicene creed is, but I just have not found it. Or for that matter the specific baptismal formula.
To promise until death do us part is at odds with the idea that there are biblical grounds for divorce. Jesus said there were grounds and Paul said so also. People should not promise something which is contrary to scripture. And if they have done so in ignorance then when the realize their error they should follow scripture. Perhaps something more rigorously scriptural would be we hope this will be unto death but we promise it will be until there are biblical grounds for divorce so far as it lies in us. Our so called wedding vows are lies–for example: in sickness and in health. So somebody turns out to be within the category of what used to be called criminally insane and is sentenced to life on a locked prison ward at the state hospital. Hey, they have one or more DSM diagnoses-sick, right? But you promised. For richer or for poorer and it turns out the money comes from organized crime (who knew) and you can’t prove that you were not a part of it because you actually did know but you stayed because you promised.
If we want some sort of covenant, and if we want to quote scripture to enforce it, then the covenant must conform to scripture in the first place, which our current wedding vows do not.
Something that I find ludicrous is this. There is much adherence to tradition (like the traditional wedding vows) as opposed to rigid adherence to scripture among the very people who deny the validity of tradition and think that they are radical followers of scripture.
We are radical followers of what we want to be true. What we want. Jesus was way too radical for us. Paul was way off the cliff radical-we don’t pretend to go there. So we say that we do not understand. Perhaps. Perhaps not.
Who came up with those marriage vows anyway? Maybe they are simply the traditions of man . . .
Let me clean something up that might be confusing here. there was a long long debate among Jews for centuries before Jesus even came about divorce. There are different schools of Jewish “law” that are all over the place concerning this issue.
When Jesus is talking to them, He is referring to “any cause” divorce which was quite popular at the time. Jesus is saying that if someone uses “any cause” as a reason to divorce and then remarries— they are committing adultery.
Divorce has always been allowed.
Good question about vows. According to Instone Brewer they actually come from the reasons for divorce!
the three grounds for divorce became the basis of Jewish marriage vows
– here are the vows from a marriage certificate of the time:
I will [feed you] and [clothe] you and I will bring you (into my house) by means of your ketubah, and I owe you 400 denarii …together with the due amount of your food and your clothes and your bed. [Papyrus Yadin 10, AD 126]
– this is based almost exactly on Ex.21.10f, but it doesn’t sound very grand
– in time, the wording became a little more formal and ceremonial, eg:
– “I undertake to esteem, honour, nourish, provide for, and clothe”.
– (10th C Geniza marriage certificate, Friedman #8, cf. #13,16,18,19)
– we can already find that kind of development in the NT, in Eph.5
– Christ is portrayed as the perfect bridegroom who promises to
“love…nourish and cherish” (Eph.5.28f) – ie love, feed and clothe
– (“nourish” is a word used for feeding a loved one, and “cherish” is literally “keep warm” ie to clothe warmly)
This cracked me up…from the same link:
What about remarriage? Read the small print. Read a divorce certificate
– a Jewish divorce certificate says: “You are now free to marry anyone you wish”
– there’s lots more in most divorce certificates, but these are the only necessary words
– let me show you the divorce certificate of Joseph and Mary, found at Masada
– I don’t think it is THE Joseph and Mary – it is from AD 72. They would be too old
– anyway, both Joseph and Mary are very common names
– this says: “you are free on your part to go and become the wife of any Jewish man that you wish. And this is to be for you from me a writ of divorce and a get of release.”
– notice that it adds the word “Jewish” to the legal phrase “you are free to marry…”
– do you recognise this phrase? You should – it is quoted in the NT, in 1Cor.7.39
Next concept in my current rant. If we are bond-slaves of Jesus (also called servant, friend, brother and joint-heir) then we have only one primary commitment. We belong to somebody-bought with a price. Owned. We have no right to enter into any competing agreement of commitment unless that agreement has qualifying clauses. We do not swear our lives primarily to anybody except Jesus. We may say I promise to (provided that) but we may not say I promise regardless of and without qualifiers. We have all read this: If anybody does not hate father or mother or children or wife or brothers or sisters.. . (Luke 14: 26). We may not elevate commitment to a spouse to a level above which Jesus cautioned us against.
And without a Certificate of Divorce they would be committing adultery. Always the Certificate of Divorce is allowed for the benefit of the one who was put away for any cause. Jesus never refutes the Certificate. In fact, God mentions it with regard to his divorcing Israel because of their spiritual adultery with other nations. It’s a necessary, legal proof of the dissolution of the marriage so one cannot be accused of adultery.
Yes, it is certainly punishing the victim to treat the victim different than a single person who was never married just because that person is a victim.
Your theology supports treating divorced people differently than single (never married) people and you may how destructive that is, but it is very hurtful.
You are treating victims as tainted by denying them the rights afforded to a person never victimized.
Not Mother Teresa. As usual.
I understood your context, but as I said, you cast a wide net. My former pastor told me “if God wants you to remarry, he can take your ex wife at any time”. Yes, I’m familiar with that belief, and I find it to be harmful to victims of abuse, unless I misunderstand you that you believe victims of true abuse can remarry. But it doesn’t sound like that.
As far as victims always being willing to reconcile, again there are graves filled with women who did that only to find out their abuser was still manipulating with murderous intent.
Tony did Julie wrong here, but casting a net wide enough to oppress genuine victims by treating them as second class Christians is not the answer.
I totally second Instone-Brewer for information about vows. His work is excellent and very thorough.
Neglect in the culture that Jesus was speaking to would include not having sex with your husband or wife. Emotional neglect was understood to be a divorcable offense, and that is certainly relevant in our culture.
@ Jeff S:
yes to everything you’ve been saying. very well-put!
Val, I do not understand this at all. Was Paul in leadership? was Timothy married? Mark?
I think the case can be made that remaining celibate,as in not marrying,was more about being “unequally yoked”which was a problem back then for people in this new “way”.
In a marriage culture,Paul was most likely giving encouragement to those who would remain celibate.
Jeff S wrote:
Seriously??? That is sicko!
Reference 1 Cor: 7:16. Paul was not as dogmatic about celibacy as you are, and he took into considerations one’s strong passions.
Are you saying he wouldn’t look bad (or not as bad) had he ran off with a much older woman?
Val, I think you are a bit off in your statements re. the early church and celibacy, although previous commenters have covered it pretty well.
Paul’s not being married was the exception, not the rule. Even with the rise of monasticism, most people were married and had kids. The monastics/ascetics were a handful of people, compared to the general population. But many of their stories have been handed down through the centuries, while those of average folks have, generally, not been recorded in any form.
Fact is, it is *very* hard to trace “ordinary people” if you’re writing history. Until the late 19th c., it’s almost impossible, unless the person did something exceptional, or was a criminal, or… Even with the kinds of records we keep now, there’s no real guarantee that we can *know* what a person did during their lifetime, let alone their views on anything, or their life experiences.
It is very important to try and keep these factors in balance when looking at history, and the further back in time, the more important this becomes. We don’t really know what life was like in the ancient world, let alone be able to come close to understanding how people thought and why they did many things. Some things about human nature will never change, but social/cultural norms, religious views and many other things effectively can put the past out of reach, though our tendency is to project backward and assume that people of X time thought and lived as we do. Not so much.
Ha! The usual suspects then. Thanks, Michaela.
I don’t know when the Sarum Rite vows (see Wiki article Michaela linked to) were codified, but it looks like they go way, way back. They only reference “medieval” there, but not when. The spelling looks to be a bit more modern than I’d have guessed, but still… looks like the typical vows go back well before 1500. (Or not; would like to see other sources on this.) At any rate, the Anglican church drew on much earlier sources for the vows in the 1st Book of Common Prayer.
I don’t have a dog in the hunt around divorce and scripture, but I do agree with Val, “that maligning Julie does not clear his name and I suspect he knows this and that is why he is launching such an attack/silencing campaign against her. He looks bad divorcing her and running off with a 20 something. For many, many Christians he is unfit for Christian leadership.”
Rev. Michael Hardin had an affair, and he writes personally and beautifully on this point:
Weighing in on the Tony Jones and Julie McMahon Story
So you seem to be saying that this definitely qualifies as tradition? That would be the dreaded tradition that the evangelical world vilifies? Would this be of the same sort of tradition that some brands of christianity hold to be equal with scripture perhaps? Because we are talking to evangelicals here and this is an important point.
Again I echo the Instone-Brewer suggestion. The vows are handed down through tradition, but their ultimate basis is in the Jewish understanding of what breaks a marriage, taken from the Old Testament.
Anyway, my pastor had my second wife and I write our own vows, so it’s not like we hold to them as codified in scripture.
The idea of marriage as a covenant (a contract, which can be broken and has consequences) is indeed found in scripture.
@ Jeff S:
I don’t know if you are evangelical, but from my prior slice of evangelicalism for something to be tradition would mean that it had to be denounced as catholic heresy. For something to be carried over from the OT would bring up a large discussion as to whether something carried forward from the OT would have any authority for gentile believers in Jesus. These are large issues for a lot of people. This is not of mere historical interest in the tradition in which I was born. That is what I am getting at.
All I’m saying is that the typical vows go back to at least the late medieval era. I’m not talking about theological implications, just the history of typical martiage vows used in England and here. I don’t have a dog in this hunt; part of my professional training is in history/historical research.
I’ll happily leave all the implications you mention to others. It’s not my cuppa. I was genuinely surprised to see how far back the standard form of vows actually goes,,and am always curious about things like that. As to exactly *when*!those vows became the accepted form is another question entirely, and one that’s piqued my curiosity. A lot of our language – common words, etc. – date back to before the Norman Conquest (1066), or shortly thereafter, and the Sarum Rite *might* date back prior to 1066 (or not).
Just to be clear, i am not talking about capital-T tradition, just common gorms and usage from a historical perspective. Sometimes those things coincide, but my interest is in history, not canon law! 😉
Since I’m Lutheran, the kinds of issues you’re raising re. evangelicals are just not on my radar. And when i was in the evangelical world, it wasn’t the segment you’re talking about. Afaik, nobody gave a hoot.
Nancy, the church wasn’t even involved in marriage until the 12th C. and only the Catholic church in any official way. Gah, this whole thing is getting so, I don’t know???
OK what the Bible does say is not: here is a concise set of rules to live your life by – if you want that, become a Muslim, because that is their view of the Koran but here is the way to deal with relationships in life. The teachings of Christ (and reiterated by Paul who applied them to the Roman Empire from the Jewish faction) are to be Christ-like in all your societal expectations and all your actions towards others. So, if you get in a business dealing and the other guy/woman is a jerk, still do well to them. Treat them in a Christ-like, Christian manners often go ABOVE and BEYOND what society or Jewish law expects. Live up to your commitments (this is where I am getting the view of a Biblical Marriage, not a formula or a law), be loving even if the other party is not. Honour your commitments. So, if you got married in a church, you made a LIFE-LONG commitment towards that person. Except in cases of abuse, be it on YOUR part, live up to that commitment (business, marriage, custody, child-support, whatever). It is not conditional on the other party. So, if you find a more attractive woman to marry (aka TJ), don’t then try to destroy your first wife in order to justify leaving her for a second. IF there is a divorce, honour the custody/support commitments, regardless is she “doesn’t deserve them” because she may be spending it on (???? clothing???) instead of the kids – after all TJ CHOSE to take a marriage vow with her. I really doubt the vows went something like this: “Promise to marry you until a prettier girl comes along”, so even if the vow/commitment isn’t in the Bible TJ made a vow, in a church, before God and Julie (and a group of others) that he would be her life-long husband. I really don’t care that that vow isn’t in the Bible, you are twisting the point of what I am saying, he made it, he needs to live up to it.
Lets also consider he is a PhD scholar (of some sort, I think Biblical). He is smart enough to know a) those vows aren’t written in the Bible and b) he made them, so he is expected to keep them (honour them) because that is what the Bible requires us to do with vows we make.
So this whole life long commitment isn’t in the Bible, Jews didn’t marry this way, etc. is completely undermining Jesus teachings, which are the opposite of all that. We are to honour our commitments. IF we go making a life-long commitment, then that is what we must do. That is the thing. He wasn’t ignorant of a) what he was doing and b) what it meant. It does cast him in an “unfit for leadership role” irregardless if Julie was crazy, vindictive, etc.
LOL, fine, he looks bad running of with * woman.
OK, weird computer glitch: he looks bad running off with *another* woman.
Evangelicals have no problem with tradition. They have a problem when tradition is elevated to the level of scripture.
@ Jeff S:
Don’t think anyone is arguing against vows. I was trying to figure out the “until death due us part” section. The vows are simply stating the commitment the two are making to each other.
I think the idea that marriage is intended to be a life long commitment is definitely scriptural. But the idea that it is a contract that can be broken is as well.
@ Jeff S:
I agree. The “till death do us part” just makes it sound as if the vow can never be broken. We both know this isn’t true. Abusers break their vows all the time.
@ Jeff S:
Some do, Jeff, though it depends on how they view Catholicism.
Jeff S wrote:
You do know that there is significant diversity within evangelicalism. I do not think you and I experienced the same variety, and I am sure what we did experience was from different generations.
A reaction against Catholic tradition may cause a reaction against tradition in general for some. The fact is, that can become its own tradition–novelty is our tradition! The question is differentiating between a starting point and a benchmark. The text is always the benchmark, though a given tradition may be our starting point.
Some reject all creeds, not necessarily because they disagree with the doctrine but because they disagree with the idea of creeds. One baptist church in our little are (not Walnut Street) had a pastor who wanted to use the doxology in morning worship. It almost cost him his job. A common attitude, though not stated as such, seemed to be that maybe we do not have all the answers but for sure we know that the catholic church is wrong about everything and the antichrist will actually be the last pope. Numo has said that the vows apparently go back prior to the 1500 book of common prayer. That would put them in the catholic era. Those who are rabidly anti-catholic cannot maintain that all things from that tradition/ that era are in error and still use the “traditional vows” if indeed they come from that era. Now no doubt the will continue to do so, but there is a name for this sort of behavior.
No wait, maybe that should be the religious leader who teams up with the antichrist, what is the word false prophet or something. I never got into this but I sure did hear it from others.
Actually, you are making an even better argument than I for Tony not getting remarried. I am saying that there was something fundamentally wrong in his actions to his first wife and those broken vows negate him from remarriage, but you are pointing out (if true) that his mental disorder (which was likely or possibly one of the reasons for him divorcing Julie in the first place) precludes him from marriage (any marriage, actually, and certainly one with kids). So, perhaps looking at why someone can’t manage to keep vows to their spouse could be pointing to larger issues and remarriage should still be given only with due consideration to who is not keeping vows vs. who is a victim?
Just a thought.
The point about the church “trying to do first century style marriages in today’s world” is likely a huge part of the problem. I think the church no longer (as in, since the Middle Ages) has the authority or power to properly know a person’s fitness to be married. It would be better if governments stopped handing out marriage cert. like candy and started screening people for things like mental health, pedophilia, spousal abuse/battery and so and disqualifying more people from the institution. If society is handing out tax breaks and benefits for marriage, perhaps the bar should be raised so that those benefits don’t cost every other taxpayer a fortune when it all lands in court a few years later and a parent ends up on social assistance with kid’s that are financially neglected by the richer parent. So, if Tony is too poor to meet his child support obligations, than Tony is too poor to remarry. End of discussion. No tax break for his new wife, no legal acknowledgement, nada. He is unfit.
But back to ancient Rome. They had no tax breaks for couples. No social benefits or welfare. At least not until the late 3rd Century. Legal marriage was strictly for upper class inheritance. Everyone else was likely in what Tony would call a “Spiritual Marriage”. For Jews, that would have been under the jurisdiction of the Jewish Rabbis/synagogues. For others, who had no inheritance or citizenship, it was all what we would call common-law. For slaves it was often an arranged common-law relationship.
So, when a group of mostly slaves and lower classes joined the church, marriage wasn’t really a thing for most of them. Paul knew this. Women rarely had a say in who they were married to (common law or legal) for their first marriage. Many were widowed/divorced too. Paul now has to take Jesus’ teachings (turning the Mosaic Law of permissible divorce into the new covenant teachings) and apply them to the non-Jewish Empire. We don’t need to follow all that to a Tee, but we do need to hear the Spirit of his commands. Divorce isn’t to be done due to things like unbelieving spouse (so much for Tony’s Spiritual Wife wiggle room there, if Julie didn’t buy his Spiritual wife textual revelation, so what? He was still to remain with his “unbelieving” wife), avoiding marriage if possible, not having affairs, only having sex within the marriage, a pretty radical view, actually, in ancient Rome, where upperclass and citizen holding men had ‘wives for sons, mistresses for comfort and prostitutes for pleasure’ as one secular writer commented and honouring any contracts made with a spouse (or her father) even if it wasn’t someone’s personal ideal. (again, nothing about abuse here, just about honouring contracts, so I am not adding abuse issues into this).
Anyways, that is why I am standing firm on this. We can take Jesus’ teachings on marriage and apply them to today’s world, not Apostle Paul’s, but the outcome is the same. Honour your commitments, Spiritual or otherwise.
Not necessarily. I have attended a couple weddings within the past 10-15 years where the couple wrote their own vows and did not use the “traditional” vows. Both were in a moderate, formerly SBC affiliated church here in town. I do not know how prevalent that is.
Yikes, a whole other topic trail, but here is a link:
Right, traditionally. Not sure if it is worth getting married if it isn’t for life (at least at the outset, though). I don’t know how different/similar US vs. Canadian marriage laws are, but in Canada, if you get married, buy a house together have a few kids, have a great job with retirement benefits then get divorced, it is 50:50 split no matter who is getting divorced, including your retirement savings, even if the union or employer managing your savings for later pay-out.
You actually can’t use pre-nups unless it is to protect a future inheritance (including a family estate or family shared cottage) or something that is unique to that spouse (First Nation’s Land Claim pay-outs for example). Otherwise, all assets and income are up for division.
Due to this, why would anyone agree to a marriage that could be broken whenever? Length of marriage doesn’t dissolve the 50/50 commitment, so there would be no purpose to getting into an arrangement like that if there is no life-long intention. Sure, people can write their own vows and agree “Until lack of attraction do us part”, but why is the church even involved in this? It is a bad idea from even a secular standpoint and Christians have a view that marriage and kids is about more than temporary satisfaction.
What a colossal waste to get into marriage only to leave a few years later. If that is the way marriages are treated, expect marriage to disappear in a few generations, I know many unmarried colleagues who resent the extra income DINKs make over their single salary and tax breaks rub them the wrong way already. If marriages are just relationship tax havens, forget it, there won’t be any marriages left and this will all be a mute point in a few decades.
And here is yet another topic for some time. The whole idea of vows, should christians make vows, if so what and when and such.
True story. At one of the weddings I mentioned where the couple wrote their own vows, the thing got really embarrassing because they promised (vowed) before God and man that they would be fruitful and multiply and she specifically vowed to bear his children. Some people found this offensive at the time. Anyhow about three years later they were trying to adopt because they had vowed what they could not fulfill.
So what happens when someone rashly vows a vow and cannot fulfill the vow? I have no idea of the theology of this because in the tradition I came from we did not do vows, with the exception of the traditional wedding thing, and we were taught that one ought not do that.
By the power invested in me as Tony’s neighbor, not BFF because sometimes he can be a know it all narcissist, but I am his equal as an Edina Resident, St. Olaf grad,marginal participant in religious….contemplative blather, I am proposing my own solution to this “problem.” We should let the court system and social workers do their thing. They have rules with respect to admisibility of evidence, testimony, privacy, etc.
However….every self proclaimed expert on this site or any other who has decided to reveal private information, exclusive insight into the will of God, and or made unsubstantiated claims, accusations, admitted psychological analysis without cross examination, or just blathered on endlessly about their own issues and then made assumptions about this PRIVATE situation…..should subject themselves to a background check of public information and then publish it on this very site. Lets cross examine your academic record, credit history, criminal record….we could go on. The depth of the investigation will correspond to the allegations and judgement you yourself have made.
Any takers amongst the sanctimonious twits on this forum?
There is a line of thinking among some baptists that the proto-church started deviating from the faith early on and that the thing to do is to go back and try to practice whatever it was that was being practiced in NT times. This of course results in a number of inconsistencies in practice, but it pretty much eliminates everything after about the second century, assuming the pastoral epistles were second century documents. So there is no emphasis even on most of the ante-nicene fathers, for example.
Once I pointed out as a comment to one of these guys that his emphasis on Spurgeon looked very much like tradition, and he practically came unglued denying the very idea. Really, tradition is a four letter word. The only word that is not four letter is “biblical.”
How come I ran into this and so many people apparently have not hear this before? I never was in a cult. This was preached from baptist pulpits.
@ John Brost:
You know, churches would server everyone better if they quit pretending they were so above society and do something much more profound than the wedding chapel guy down the street because: you are wrong, and that false notion of “marriage (or divorce) and “private” is a fantasy.
What happens when you legally marry is (beyond the vows to God and testimony before family, of which, in the future one could become an atheist and reject their family) you create a public record. That public record is available, now, on the internet (in the good ol’ days me here in Canada could not access that record unless I flew to Minnesota and read it) for EVERYONE to see.
See, we romanticize marriage, act like it is some personal private affair no one has any rights to, then turn around and ask the taxpayer to 1) give it special privileges such as tax breaks and hospital visitation rights and 2) ask the courts, which are publicly funded institutions, to settle disputes and facilitate divorces for us.
Here is a shocking truth everyone under 32 seems utterly oblivious to: Marriage is a Public Act, a legal contract. So is divorce btw.
So, no, Tony doesn’t get ANY privacy in this. His motives for divorce, maybe, except he legally married his second wife making that relationship public too, but his duty to Julie, his support payments or lack thereof In other words, his commitment to the contract he agreed to when he married Julie is PUBLIC record. It brings benefits when it is active (tax breaks, etc.) and obligations (custody payments) when it is dissolved.
So me, sitting here somewhere in Canada has the record of his lack of custody payments on a tab while you declare it “none of my business”. Sorry, your concept of marriage is completely naive.
John Brost wrote:
Please go right ahead and examine me. My full legal name is Darlene Nalesnik Parsons. I grew up in Salem Massachusetts.
Now, whenever any one jumps up and down and asks us to read his books and listen to him does not get to say he is a private figure. He has opened his life up to inspection and he doesn’t get to tell me or you what to see. You play in the public eye and sometimes you must pay for the privilege.
I forgot to welcome you to TWW. I would imagine that you are trying to change our perspectives on the situation. Sometime it is worthwhile to try to persuade with clever arguments as opposed tedious name calling.
If you must call us names, I recommend the use of thesaurus. Here are some suggestions.
(informal mainly British)= fool, idiot, jerk (slang, mainly US & Canadian), charlie (British, informal), dope (informal), clown, ass, plank (British, slang), berk (British, slang), prick (derogatory & slang), wally (slang), prat (slang), plonker (slang), geek (slang), chump (informal), oaf, simpleton, airhead (slang), dipstick (British, slang), dickhead (slang), gonzo (slang), schmuck (US, slang), dork (slang), nitwit (informal), blockhead, ninny, divvy (British, slang), pillock (British, slang), halfwit, silly-billy (informal), nincompoop, dweeb (US, slang), putz (US, slang), weenie (US, informal), eejit (Scottish & Irish), thicko (British, slang), dumb-ass (slang), gobshite (Irish, taboo & slang), numpty (Scottish, informal), doofus (slang, mainly US), fuckwit (taboo & slang), juggins (British, informal), dickwit (slang), nerd or nurd (slang), numbskull or numskull, twerp or twirp (informal), dorba or dorb (Australian, slang), bogan (Australian, slang) •
For those newcomers here to The Wartburg Watch who are saying this is ‘private’, let’s go over the First Amendment again. Tony Jones, Brian McLaren and the rest of them are nationally known pastors/authors/bloggers/speakers an they are public figures under the First Amendment, therefore anything about their lives is fair game to comment about.
P.S. By the way, if I find out the name an the State Bar Number of Brian McLaren’s attorney who told him that he’s not a public figure, I am personally turning that attorney in to their State Bar (a division of their state’s supreme court) for discipline. It is a violation of legal ethics for an attorney to make that claim.
Now THAT’S a response, Darlene Nalesnik Parsons! 🙂
There are several questions bundled together that probably should be considered separately or at least distinguished. I’m not a Landmarker by any means. So I don’t assume “traditionally” Baptist distinctives as being on par with the written words. Assuming sola scriptura one must still ask the question whether the words of the text are descriptive or prescriptive. So, for example, I don’t believe the Lord was prescribing that we literally wash one another’s feet, like some Baptists do and who have incorporated that “tradition.”
What is prescriptive, IMO, is not the act but the attitude that was in Christ Jesus described in Philppians 2. That’s also why I believe semper reformanda which is not the same thing as “no tradition at all.” It is rather a conscious subjection of any particular belief or practice to consistency with the Bible and also with the example of Christ. Obviously, the canon itself is a product of tradition, or so it would appear, so there’s that, too.
In other news, because this group of ‘Emergent Christians’ threatened Canadian blogger/cartoonist/writer/former pastor David Hayward for covering this story – telling him that he’s been warned – I had to tender an apology from America to Canada to him and I’ve done lots of other work on the Free Speech issues in both countries.
Do you have a daughter? If your daughter was married and your son-in-law had an affair with another woman what would you do? If your grandchildren were involved and hurting…would you do anything???
Wasn’t Tony’s second wife married at the time their affair started? If you had a son and your daughter-in-law had an affair what would you tell your son to do?
Two marriages were shattered and countless lives by these peoples’ selfishness, and all of the people around them who enabled them.
Why don’t you read the article that TC posted earlier by another pastor who had an affair and who comments about the Tony/Julie marriage/divorce. [Thanks, T.C. for that.]
“Rev. Michael Hardin had an affair, and he writes personally and beautifully on this point:
Weighing in on the Tony Jones and Julie McMahon Story
John Brost wrote:
That is an example of extraordinarily elegant argumentation. Thank you, sir.
Dee, I’m surprised your comment didn’t get stuck in moderation!
BTW ::::::wild applause:::::::
Oh. And our boys were never allowed to use “dickhead”. However, “Richard Cranium” was permissible. 🙂
Bill Kinnon wrote:
You always make me laugh.
Julie Anne wrote:
It did but I have an agreement with the editors…..
Yep- he sure caused me to rethink everything.
@ John Brost:
And here I thought Tony Jones made a living promoting his PUBLIC persona.
So he wants to be in the public eye and have them buy his books and such but ignore his personal behavior.
Tony blew that when he used his platform cred to convince folks that Julie was crazy.
Gonzo? Now you have gone too far.
I’m trying to decide if I like the sanctimonious part better or the twit part. At least he called me Graham on the other thread. That is my favorite pie crust. For Key Lime Pie! Which will put me on the way to becoming Gram4!
And then let the supposedly nuts wife raise the kids while he pursued his sacramental honey. How thoughtful.
You’re still simply wrong in your purported definitive statements of law. Pls read your own links. As with the examples of the sports star and the pastor outspoken on abortion, McLaren may be a limited public figure.
Also, not all state bar associations are divisions of their state’s Supreme Court.
Again, also, Bar Association disciplinary boards do not generally handle simple matters of alleged bad advice. That’s what court sanctions and malpractice claims are for.
Val – You said “So me, sitting here somewhere in Canada has the record of his lack of custody payments on a tab…” Would you identify the tab you think shows that? The trial court docket doesn’t show that at all.
try this link:
It should go to the PDF of the child custody arrangement, that I, of course, clicked off of before you asked so I went back by going to:
and scrolling to the very bottom where it says how to access all the court documents (other links, I think, I would have to type in a file code or something way too complicated for me while I am trying to get work done).
My only issue with that post you linked to is: we aren’t really debating this to try and solve a marital breakdown, we are involved in questioning a high profile leader’s fitness for leadership because a) a very popular pastor, it seems, is caught yet again in using his silencing powers and well known Christian leader buddies to try and cover up a case of abuse (this time towards his wife) and maligning his ex in an attempt to cover up his behaviour or excuse it.
Secondly, this isn’t an “issue freshly before the courts” It happened 6 years ago for pete’s sake! The Great Christian Leader, who should know and act better, is dragging his wife into court continuously to deny her child support payments and custody of her kids. There has only been a 6 month break from endless court proceedings since the divorce happened, all involving the kids and his lack of commitment to his own children via support payments.
Thirdly, the guy asks us to remember he is a Christian leader. Um a blog brought Bill Gothard down, the audience doesn’t necessarily think he should be a Christian Leader if he can’t seem to follow Christ and live honourably towards his ex wife. There is quite a bit of teachings Jesus and Paul had on how to treat others, even your sworn enemies, and if a Famous Christian Leader has public records stating he isn’t up to the task, then it isn’t a Private matter, but a concerning matter.
Victims need justice and trying to silence everyone by calling it “private” is about as good as CJ Mahaney of Sovereign Grace trying to deal with serial pedophiles “privately”. Sorry, but Divorces and custody battles and lack of support payments are all PUBLIC issues. These constant blogs insinuating it should all be private are covering something up.
To be a Christian Teacher, or leader, you must have your family life in order, that has been the case since the inception of the church for a very good reason. If you can’t deal honourably nor lovingly with your own family members (ex or not) you cannot teach about Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount ways. Leaders have to put into practice what they preach. Doesn’t mean they will never make a mistake, it means they must repent and make amends. Silencing the internet is an attempt to hide the issue, not repent of it. Given it has taken him 6 years and still no repentance, this is another Mark Driscoll Like situation. The internet is a place where we can discern if a leader is indeed qualified by investigating his public records and actions.
That that blog wants us to stop, no matter how flowery it sounds, is attempting to cover things up and telling us he is still a fit leader… but if Mark Driscoll isn’t a fit leader, nor is Tony Jones.
We won’t be silenced or intimidated, he has a record of unloving, uncaring and neglectful actions towards his ex and his own three children. This isn’t something a public leader can claim is private. His “business” is the church’s business, since he is living off the avails of the church and being touted a Great Leader. If it proves he isn’t a great leader, it is fine for him to go get a landscaping job and support his family, after all, who buys his books and has supported him all these years? Likely 20 something landscapers and baristas. So he shouldn’t feel any of that is beneath him, especially considering he claims his salary is about the same annual income in a year when discussing Child Support.
I don’t doubt your sincerity, but neither of those links, both of which I have already seen, provide any evidence at all that Tony is or was behind on child support.
The pdf document at the first link you gave is not actually a copy of the child custody arrangement. Rather, it is an appellate decision holding that Julie waived or forfeited her right to object to the lowering of Tony’s support payments in part because she told the trial court one set of facts yet claimed a different set of facts to the appellate court about how the amount of the payments had been set. The amount was lowered, not because Tony was playing games with his financial records, but rather, because of an inexplicable typo in the parties’ agreement that had incorrectly set the payments much higher than the applicable formula provided. Significantly, this appellate court decision makes no mention of Tony being in arrears on his payments.
The second link is to the trial court docket (the official listing of trial court filings and hearings). The actual trial court filings are not available on line. If you scroll down, you’ll see that it shows both Tony and Julie are current on whatever financial obligations are listed (which I think are only various court costs and filing fees rather than for support payments). Nothing on the trial court’s docket shows anything about Tony being behind or in arrears on support payments.
I can think of an old colleague of mine who would have said we were all going to “Hell in a hand basket”, not really, but, interesting vow (be fruitful and multiply) are you sure these weren’t quiverfull folks?
If people are getting married in an institution, like the church, shouldn’t the church have some say in what can/can’t be included in those vows?? Anyone could see making a vow to fulfill something like that needs a “God Willing” added to the end.
I so appreciate your lengthy reply. I have said the same thing in other posts! Brian McLaren had a Biblical obligation when he knew the Jones marriage was in trouble to tell Tony Jones to step down from Christian ministry and attend to his family problems, as the Scriptures plainly state. McLaren had a Biblical obligation to confront Tony Jones (and the other woman who I believe was also married at the time). Brian McLaren and the rest of the Emergent Group had a Biblical obligation to tell Tony Jones to step down entirely from Christian ministry when he left his wife and children.
I think that all of them have shown that they are unfit for Christian ministry.
They have their (hired?) guns who come on here and defend them. It’s a theological difference. No, it’s not. The Bible clearly says what to do when a Christian leader is failing and McLaren failed to take decisive action and to OBEY the Lord.
@ John Brost:
Tonthis admitted to an NPD diagnosis. So no guesswork here.
Sorry, let me say it a little differently. Yes, it is true that many evangelicals give lip service to abhorring tradition, but everyone uses tradition, it just may look differently.
But the Proetstant Reformation was built on two major points- salvation by grace alone and the Bible as the only inerrant source of truth. The latter is important because the Catholic Church viewed tradition as equal in authority to the scripture. The Protestants said “no”, not to say that tradition is not valuable, but that it is not an equal voice with scripture.
Now I realize this has been misconstrued by some, but any church with a strong Protestant identification should be comfortable with valuing tradition as long as it is not held equal to scripture. I realize there are tons of churches who don’t get such nuances, however.
@ John Brost:
And yes, you can examine me to the extent that I have spoken about this situation. My consitent message has been:
Don’t give narcissists power and authority in the church.
Don’t suppress the voice of the weak and powerless
Tony’s public statements have indeed followed a pattern consistent with his diagnosis.
I’m not sure how any of that would fall under a “background check” that invades my privacy, but if you want to apply the same principles to me, go ahead.
All these leaders sadden me, from Rachel Held Evan’s refusal to honestly acknowledge it isn’t a private issue, to Brian McLaren insisting Julie is such a problem he needs a lawyer? Not a pastoral response to another Christian. Presumably one goes into pastoring because one has a heart for broken people, not an abject fear and loathing of them. Especially since he never publicly called Tony out for his behaviour. To think Brian thought he could council Julie while denying that Tony was not even acting like a Christian shows just what poor state the Emergent side is in. They used to call out Driscoll and TGC for infractions such as Driscoll yelling at his wife because she got her hair cut (agreed that is pathetic, but not worse than ditching your wife for a 20 something, using your influence and fame to write a book trying to rewrite marriage around the time you ditch said wife, then trying to make a woman completely wronged by this look insane, did they take notes on The Gospel Coalition’s tactics? Private? Seriously, a divorce in the courts is NOT private, just who does this group think they are kidding?
Oh and “let the courts decide”? Um, there has been continuous litigation, mostly over child support, for the last 6 years. The courts granted two divorces (Tony’s and Courtney’s and a remarriage), so that is a strike against them. The court records show that no matter what amount the court decides, Tony just lawyers up and tries to get the amount of support reduced over and over again. I am seeing a man who can’t even let the courts decide telling everyone else to do what he can’t. Give me a break!
The hypocrisy of this group is enormous. They are acting so clueless as to why everyone is mad, Rachel is licking her wounds, Brian is getting a lawyer everyone is sniffling because their fans have blown up at this and won’t just do what they want people to and ignore it. Why on earth would anyone not question a leader’s ability if this is what happens on public record, imagine how much worse it must have been off record for Julie? At least with those who knew her back then? Rachel keeps arguing she didn’t even know them when this happened. OK, so how does she know if everyone else isn’t right and McLaren isn’t a liar? Any pastor dragging a wounded ex-wife to court would raise red flags all over the place for me. What sort of bewitcing power does Tony have over her and Nadia? Why was it so easy for that group to see the problems with Driscoll and power, but not Tony and power???
Here is the thing I am trying to say most and that is that there is more than one way to see things. We do not have to beat each other over the head over everything that comes along. The Free Will Baptists practicing washing of the saint’s fee as part of communion. I found it a profound experience. The pope washes feet on maundy thursday, I think. It is in scripture, it may or may not be prescriptive. But since it may or may not be, then either practice would be acceptable. This is not something we have to debate about. Some don’t do, some do, so what?
The idea of “god willing” is precisely what I am saying is missing in till death do us part. We do not control circumstances, we do not control the other person, we do not know the future, and imo we ought not vow in those circumstances as we do.
Jeff S wrote:
I am going to keep trying to talk to you until you “get it” meaning the information you lack. Among the baptists the current calvinists do claim to be protestant. And they are. However, there is an old and still present line of non-calvinist thinking among the baptists (hence the great and current baptist struggle for control) in which other baptists strongly deny that they are protestant, much less calvinist. They believe that their belief system is derived from beliefs that precede the reformation. They can be heard saying “I am not protesting anything” which to those who are familiar with this line of thinking has a much broader meaning than simple “protest.” And some of their beliefs indeed can be traced to ideas in what has been called the radical reformation or else the pre-reformation reformers and some of which I have not been to identify as to source. And some of which to my surprise I have found in some methodist thinking. There is not now nor will there ever be a meeting of the minds between these two ways of thinking. My baptist background, and this first within the SBC and then the FWB is not calvinist. And my subsequent “faith journey” first to the methodists and now to the episcopalians is not calvinist. The separation of the church of england from rome was not based on calvinist doctrine. The episcopal churches remain part of the greater anglican community (I don’t understand the details here) and methodist churches derive from that tradition. I found it to be a smooth transition from FWB to methodist despite some distinct differences in belief and practice. I do not see at this point a problem with this episcopal church in that they say here is the tradition, but we know that a lot of you do not agree; that is fine with us just so you don’t try to stir up trouble. I can live with that. And I hugely agree with one of their most outstanding current theologians that the church has basically let itself wander off from the main issue of what Jesus was saying and doing. Yes!
I am consistently talking about (and practicing) variations of a hugely different way of christian thinking than calvinism and/or classical protestantism (if there is such a thing) represents. I do not need for people to either comprehend or validate this strain of christian thinking, complicated and intertwined and apparently disparate within itself as it is. But I do expect that people do enough research to see that it actually exists and perhaps make fewer dogmatic statements to the contrary.
I thought the same as if he totally missed the important point
This is very close to my situation. As Baptists when I was growing up,
we always identified with the Radical Reformers who were always on the run from the Protestant Reformers.
Freedom of conscious, soul competency and the priesthood were major issues.
It is interesting what you said about Methodist and Episcopalian. I had not thought of it like that before.
I had not thought of it either, but the FWB asked me to leave that particular church at the time of the divorce and I used the opportunity to get a broader idea of and experience of the american religious scene. I eventually found the methodist quite by accident and immediately felt like it was a touch of home. In retrospect, my paternal grandfather whom I never knew was a methodist and perhaps some of that thinking was in the family. I would have been methodist right on except I got sick and could not go to church alone and all my younguns were episcopalians so I thought-can’t be too bad. And I am tremendously impressed at least with this church and we have much in common. Who knew.
What these faith traditions have in common is attitude toward some of the basic issues-not so much similarity in practice. And while they are non-catholic, protestant if you want to use that word, they are a vastly different kind of protestant from the calvinists–almost to the point where a different word might be needed to differentiate non-catholic A from non-catholic B.
One example and I have got to get out the door. The idea of prescriptive vs descriptive. Suppose there is something, like washing the saint’s feet, for which the attitude is required but the practice is optional. There are people who say if it is not required, then let’s not do it. There are other people who say, if it is optional let’s go for it. There are lots of things which can be looked at in those two different ways. But the let’s not do it people and the let’s go for it people differ in attitude. This is what one thing that I mean by attitude.
In the mega world the idea was to “go for it” on stage and then pretend they were like that in reality when they were not. AFter all, it looked great on stage.
I get it. I understand that it exists.
Precisely my point. Some see it as descriptive and some as prescriptive. Some may do it because “we’ve always done it that way.” Baptists don’t all see things the same way. That is, IMO, largely because we are Baptists without a unifying denominational creed or standard. And I do realize that the BFM has been made into a de facto creed.
I don’t know why you think that we beat each other up. That’s not how I see it. We have different perspectives and experiences, neither of which is exhaustive.
Perhaps it might be better to distinguish between “ideas or sets of ideas” and historical groups, however identified, that hold/held those ideas. Baptist ideas do pre-date the Reformation, but I think it is a real stretch to make the claim the Landmarkers make. Most current-day Baptists are a mix of what came from the Generals and Particulars in England, those evangelized in the South during the Great Awakenings who were ifluenced by Wesleyan thinking, and those churches planted by the Stearns and Marshall with a strong Congregational background. Then the assorted splits over various issues. That, IMO, is why it is difficult to pin down what a Baptist *is* though the current YRR are trying mightily to say that Baptists only come from the Particulars in England.
I think that while the Anabaptists and the English Baptists were exiled in the Netherlands that some ideas mixed and the English Baptists brought those ideas of the Anabaptists back to England. It is true, AFAIK, that the English Baptists came out of the CoE as did the Methodists. There is a lot of overlap, and Baptist history is untidy.
Extremely untidy. Pick who you identity with seems to be the gist. The trail is murkey and forks a lot.
Anabaptist groups also came here and kept some of the “separation” issues they had with the European church state culture that were no longer needed.
So all said, perhaps the split in the SBC may turn out for the best. These ideas have not resolved over the centuries and maybe there really does need to be a baptist divorce of sorts. Peace would be a good thing.
Not you and me, gram. The baptists as a whole. And I said debate, not beat each other up. At least I can’t find where I said that.
That’s the part I misunderstood. I thought the “we” referred to you and me rather than to Baptists. Apologies for my mistake.
It’s very obvious that you and Beth are ‘hired hands’/apologists for the Tony Jones/Brian McLaren camp. You always spin it their way.
By the way, if Brian McLaren had Constitutional grounds for a lawsuit against Julie, why hasn’t she been served with a Summons and Complaint?
The case law is against him and you and I know it. Game over.
Again, it’s a violation of legal ethics and grounds for State Bar discipline for a practicing attorney to tell Brian McLaren that he’s not a public figure.
Thank you again for your post to me today. Spot on! And I agree with all of your points.
“The hypocrisy of this group is enormous. They are acting so clueless as to why everyone is mad, Rachel is licking her wounds, Brian is getting a lawyer everyone is sniffling because their fans have blown up at this and won’t just do what they want people to and ignore it. Why on earth would anyone not question a leader’s ability if this is what happens on public record, imagine how much worse it must have been off record for Julie? At least with those who knew her back then? Rachel keeps arguing she didn’t even know them when this happened. OK, so how does she know if everyone else isn’t right and McLaren isn’t a liar? Any pastor dragging a wounded ex-wife to court would raise red flags all over the place for me. What sort of bewitcing power does Tony have over her and Nadia? Why was it so easy for that group to see the problems with Driscoll and power, but not Tony and power???”
Yes, the whole this is alarming and all of them are Biblically unqualified to serve in Christian ministry: Brian, Tony, Rachel, Doug Paggitt, all of them.
Every single person who signed that public letter in support of Tony Jones should step down.
Interesting article: http://www.challies.com/articles/the-false-teachers-brian-mclaren
You’re not an attorney. Playing one one the internet doesn’t count.
We have no idea what McLaren’s attorney told him. The attorney may have told him he’s a public figure but he still has enough evidence to prove defamation. Legitimate differences in legal judgment aren’t even grounds for court sanctions, let alone Bar discipline.
One thing Bar associations do go after, though, is paralegal who practice law without a license.
Nonsense. We’ve helped get two attorneys disbarred and a judge removed.
Here’s what the Bar in your own state of California says about Bar discipline. Note that it says nothing about giving bad advice:
“Each case is different. But most disbarred attorneys fall into one of two categories:
they committed a very serious violation, such as perjury or stealing client funds, or;
they have a history of misconduct.
Most disbarment cases involve more than one violation.” http://www.calbar.ca.gov/Attorneys/LawyerRegulation/FAQ.aspx
Apparently you missed the article that started this: Brian McLaren said he had spoken to an attorney and he would be suing Julie for harming his reputation.
Based on what that attorney did, that attorney violated legal ethics and that is grounds for State Bar discipline.
I am very familiar with the California State Bar and with legal ethics. You digress, though.
Brian McLaren stated that he had seen an attorney and he would be suing Julie for harming his reputation. The attorney that he saw should be subject to State Bar discipline for violating legal ethics. (The article was posted here on TWW.)
No, Michaela. I saw McLaren’s statement saying he was considering taking legal action against Julie. Neither you nor I know what his lawyer advised. Likewise, neither you nor I know what evidence he had. Finally, McLaren left open what type of claim he was considering bringing. In a suit for harassment or stalking, however, his purported status as a public or semi-public person may not matter. Your definitive pronouncement that the attorney “violated legal ethics” is baseless since you are without any actual facts.
When you proclaim that McLaren’s lawyer should be subject to state Bar discipline, it is no digression to demonstrate that the Bar discipline process doesn’t actually work the way you claim it works.
Certainly not for simply giving bad advice, or in the case of the judge, bad legal decisions.
Perhaps you don’t know how the State Bar disciplinary process works. An attorney who told Brian McLaren that he had grounds to sue Julie (the article about McLaren’s statement that he had seen an attorney was posted here), violated legal ethics and can be disciplined by their State Bar. In fact, it’s a very serious violation of legal ethics.
Does McLaren also plan to sue….Al Mohler, the head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who has criticized McLaren? John MacArthur has also criticized McLaren and so perhaps McLaren will sue him? Ditto for countless others. McLaren is a public figure and anything about his life is fair game for discussion under the First Amendment.
“By the way, if Brian McLaren had Constitutional grounds for a lawsuit against Julie, why hasn’t she been served with a Summons and Complaint?”
— Because sometimes “pursuing legal action” requires or rewards serving a pre-suit demand that the offending words be taken down or retracted. Again, you leap to legal conclusions and pronouncements without knowing the law.
Another reason might be that the behind-the-scenes efforts at a non-court approach may have encouraged him to hold off.
Actually, Michaela, I have represented both plaintiffs (the attorney’s former client) and defendants (the attorney) in attorney malpractice claims. I am quite familiar with the disciplinary process and with malpractice claims. I’ve read McLaren’s statement. Your pronouncement of the law is simply wrong no matter how many times you repeat it.
Nonsense. Brian McLaren doesn’t have a Constitutional leg to stand on and ALL of the case law is against him.
I think you have me confused with Brian McLaren. It was Brian McLaren’s pronouncements about having seen an attorney who gave him this kind of advice that gives rise to State Bar discipline against that attorney.
@Val and TWW Readers,
Does anybody know why Rachel Held Evans’ blog is completely shut down? When did that happen?
You claim: “Nonsense. Brian McLaren doesn’t have a Constitutional leg to stand on and ALL of the case law is against him.”
No. The law makes it difficult for public figures to prevail in defamation cases, but it doesn’t make it impossible.
No. I’m not confused at all. Yes, McLaren says he saw a lawyer and is considering taking legal action. No, you do not have enough information to determine whether his attorney has done anything wrong. You don’t even know what advice the attorney gave McLaren, nor do you have any idea what evidence McLaren may have.
The notice at her page states that an updated site is coming soon. Likewise, she tweeted today that they are doing some site maintenance.
Well, ok, but I’m Lutheran, so my view is a bit different.
I don’t think most people marry with the expectation that they’re going to end up divorcing. And yes, our legal sytem is very different to yours.
@ Jeff S:
I understood what you meant, but i was thinking of Nancy’s examples of anti-Catholicism when i wrote.
Also, i think the creeds are non-negotiable for a fair number of Protestsnts. (I am one of them.)
Different kind of Protestant: yes. Same is true of Lutherans. Although wr are often maligned by parts of the evangelical and fundy worlds. My guess is that, being liturgical, we appear “too Catholic” to a lot of people, but that’s partly because they really don’t have enough info. to go on.
I have tried many times here to explain that there’s a whole realm or three of Protestantism that has nothing to do with Calvin or Arminius, but it always seems to fall flat. That might well be pretty dimple to explain: it can be hard to imagine things that are totally outside the realm of our experience. I feel much the same re. the Reformed churches and Calvinism. My main points of contact with denominations have bern in Lutheran, Catholic and German anabaptism, not with the kinds of evangelicalism that many commenters here are familiar with. We all have limitations, and I’ve just stated some of mine. The SBC feels like an altetnate universe to me. 🙂
Please, both of you – this isn’t helping. I am just a commenter, and have nothingnto do with how the Deebs run their blog, but i hope you understand how this whole seties of comments might discourage others from getting into the discusdion here.
Just my 0.02, from the cheap seats at that!
Yes, possibly quite different, from what I see, though the endless returning to court to adjust custody payments seems to be a common thread *sigh*. I can’t figure out why they can’t just go by tax returns and then back pay any corrections as a matter of course so that it is adjusted and deducted by the state/province tax office each year. That would save divorcees millions of dollars and protect kids. As in, you will pay 40% of your income to your ex and children each year until the last is 19 years old.
Because, for better or worse, states have autonomy in this. I don’t know newrly enough to try and write any kind of explanation (which would, inevitably, be a book and not a blog comment), -but there it is. Your country and ours differ in many respects, and this appears to be one of them.
Oh, no, I meant this was common in both countries, I was just wishing they could do it that way. It is the same thing here, exes constantly asking for decreased payments, claiming they can’t make ends meet. I was just wishing states and provinces could tie it all to tax returns so the endless court dates weren’t necessary.
OK, gotcha – I misread. And I can’t imagine how this problem can be solved.
@ John Brost:
Glad you made it to this entry of TWW. I read you comment on the nearly 1000 comment entry. This is a least sanctimonious group. Most of us are evangelicals or people who have left evangelicalism because of past hurts and abuses. Many of us don’t have church homes. Even though you are neighbors to Tony Jones and his second wife, you can’t know everything about the problem of his first marriage. I have a very charming relative who turned most of the family against me and my brother when we were protecting a relative who had dementia. We were the awful people. Is it remotely possible you have been snoozed by charm and that Julie isn’t as crazy as you may think? What about Tony Jones admitted diagnosis of NPD. You might want to look this up.
Tax returns don’t always tell the whole story. Esp for ministers and public folks who have quite a few income streams….many consisting of perks instead of dollars. And to get a complete picture….when someone is self employed with many income streams quite often some of that income is funneled to the spouse. and of course he might have a corporation. there are all kinds of ways.
Amen, & Amen.
I am done trying to explain anything. I was sitting in church yesterday when something or other triggered the overwhelming realization that I have to cold turkey the whole shebazzle and find another hobby, so to speak. I do not see any requirement in my life for me to get caught up in trying to explain anything at all to anybody. I spent almost 15 years working for VA trying to do just that (explaining); I surely do not have to do it on my own time.
It depends on the state how assets are handled. Regardless, divorce is very costly and expensive. I don’t think very many people get into it thinking it isn’t a permanent arrangement. It took me years to even consider divorce because it was such an unthinkable idea to me. Really, it was the welfare of my son that woke me up that it was necessary in my case.
As far as support goes, at least in my state child support is determined by a worksheet- it’s not negotiated (although lawyers can be creative in how they fill out the worksheet, but whatever). You can’t just do 50/50 though, because the entire of a person’s income doesn’t go to the child. If you did what you said and 40% of a person’s income went to an ex, if that person was twice divorced he or she would only have 20% of his or her income to live on. I agree that being twice divorced is not the ideal; however, it will happen to some people. Heck, some people will get divorced 3 times and they’d be paying %120 of their income to child support.
Anyway, the way child support is calculated in my state is that they total up the needs of the child, then assign percentages to each parent to pay based on their income (this is a rough idea of how it works). So if a husband makes $75,000 and his wife $25,000, and the child has needs of $2,000 per month, if she has custody then he will pay $1,500 per month, and if he has custody she will pay $500 per month. Again, this isn’t exact, but that’s the idea and it makes sense to me.
Spousal Support (Alimony) is different, and (in my state at least) it’s negotiated, but a rule of thumb is 20-25% of the working spouses income to the non working spouse, 1 year for every 3 they were married. Spousal Support is tax detectable whereas child support is not.
It’s important to remember that spousal support and child support are different. In my case I pay spousal support because my ex wife didn’t work, and she pays me child support because I have custody.
As far as people going back to renegotiate the financials, yes it’s horrible. And you should blame evil people for doing that. But if people weren’t acting horribly, there wouldn’t be divorce to begin with. But again, it isn’t the victims fault they get dragged into this stuff.
Anyway, sitting in my shoes, I can say that that my son’s life is so much better and healthier now that I have remarried. It was better for him when I was a single parent than in my first marriage, but parenting really is a two person job and he blessed to have my wife and her children (and her children are the same). We both have more energy to pour into all of our children, and they are thriving. For anyone who would deny my son a family, or even worse hold that he must have been subject to the life he would have had in my first marriage, then I think they have a very low view of God. God may ask us to do hard things, but to sacrifice the well being of our children? I don’t think so.
I’m not saying a single parent can’t do as good a job for their children as someone remarried. I believe God will empower us to do whatever he as called us to. But I can say that in MY case (and the case of my wife), we are better together for our children then we were ever able to be apart.
FWIW, I *do* know this.
To be clear, when I said “any church with a strong Protestant identification” I said that specifically because I know there are churches out there that are neither Protestant nor Catholic. I didn’t realize originally that Nancy was talking about churches outside of Protestantism.
Of course, the Lutheran church is Protestant but not Calvinist, and would very much hold to the idea that the only infallible source of truth is the Bible, and not tradition.
As for creeds- they are binding yes, but they are not a source of truth. They are a summation of the truth found in scripture. So I’m on the same page with you regarding creeds being binding.
I have found many of your insights and experiences thought provoking and interesting.
Seems that way to a lot of us who were Cradle Roll Baptists, too! You make a good point about Calvin/Arminius. I or others may talk about that more because those are the contrasts that are drawn. Once I tried to tell the alternate story of the Anabaptists. The one where they weren’t all orange-eyed terrorists but rather pacifists who just wanted to be left alone to study their Bibles. Talk about falling flat!
I will freely admit I don’t talk about Lutheranism much at all. That’s not because I don’t respect and highly regard Lutheran theology, especially the vital distinction between Law and Grace. It’s just stupid, ISTM, to talk about something I don’t know much about. You are the perfect one to talk about the Lutheran perspective. Personally, I would like to hear from that POV.
And I have found many insights from you and from others thought provoking and interesting. That is what dialogue at its best can do. But I let myself get caught up with explaining as a function, and I am done with that. None of that is any of my business.
Aha experiences come in all kinds. Here was one. Yesterday in church the offertory anthem was the Mozart Laudate Dominum, in Latin with organ, violin, choir and soprano soloist. This on the rebuilt Hooks and Hastings organ which the church has done. Yesterday was the dedication of this organ. This particular church has become a “place” for professional musicians and very talented wannabes of which I am not.
So the violin grabbed a chunk of my heart (shades of my childhood) and I was amazed and caught up at the flawless delicacy with which the violinist melded with the organ and voices. And the Latin–dear goodness the Latin–shades of my childhood again. And I felt like somebody had reached into the trash can for chunks of myself which I had found necessary to personally discard in order to become who I am and grabbed up something, washed it off and there it was-and it had not been a total waste after all to me personally. Something had been restored to me at a level which I cannot put into words. At that point it was crystal clear to me an idea, a way of thinking, of one of my favorite people (Saul of Tarsus) who said something about laying aside what is behind and pressing forward. It is an idea which is applicable in many circumstances. And I knew that re-hashing stuff, or lamenting stuff (the demise of the SBC for example) is not laying aside anything, even if done under the compulsion? to explain.
It is going to have to be God’s problem, if indeed it is a problem. He has not let me choose his problems for him. But for me it is not who I am, and it is not my problem, and endlessly explaining is foolishness. The gov sends me a pension check for my time as an explainer. That is the end of it and that is all it ever was. For some people perhaps explaining is a divine commission, just not for me.
I love you guys, but I am done explaining.
Oh, I’ve tried to talk about German anabaptists here, too, since the area where i grew up (and now live, after many years away) is home to many of them, and I’ve always found the “peace church” perspective fascinating. That said, they are typically very rigid re. gender roles, and I’m glad i didn’t grow up in one.
There are more “liberal” Mennonites et. al., but not in this area. And i know someone (a man) who left the church he was raised in partly due to how they see/treat women – a pretty radical thing, back when he did it, and still.
Also, i am not a good resource for Lutheran theology, and did *not* grow up hearing about law vs. grace. I am ELCA (originally LCA, before several synods merged to form the ELCA), and i think other things were emphasized at the seminary that many in this part of the mid-Atlantic states attended.
We are not “confessional Lutherans,” unlike the WELS and LCMS. that said, the Book of Concord (which they hold to quite strictly) is important to us, but it all dates from the early days of the Reformation and i don’t think it is as central as some believe it is – society has changed so much since then. But if you’re interested, Google it, as a lot of older translations can be read online.
Also, i think I’m not as dogmatic about a lot of things because i was raised in this church, as opposed to being a convert, though Chaplain Mike at internetmonk.com is a convert with a great perspective. Might be a good place to start.
Nancy, i hear you, and appreciate what you’re saying. Music does that to us, and I’ve had similar experiences.
Also, kinda like Nancy, i don’t think I’m a good “explainer” re. Lutheran theology. It is not my forte.
Too weird! That has been my experience, too, over the last 10 years or so, too. Nancy wrote:
I am jealous. Sounds heavenly. Not many of those type churches left in my neck of the woods anymore. You can barely find a pipe organ. My mom played one for years and I miss them.
I don’t blame you a bit for not wanting to “explain”. Peace to you!
Ideas are what is important to me much more than classification or labels. I just find it fascinating that Calvinists rail on the Anabaptists with absolutely no recognition of the irony that they depend on one of the primary ideas in Anabaptist thinking. Every one of them, whether Baptist or Presbyterian or any other denomination would be Roman Catholic with no option to preach otherwise! Oh, and the other thing is their paycheck would come from the state, and it probably wouldn’t be nearly as big as their current one.
I don’t know what you and Nancy mean about explaining, but that is probably because we approach issues in different ways. I value your different perspectives, and I am done with bubbles. I hope you both will continue to comment or explain or whatever!
German anabaptist churches are a world unto tjemselves.
Just a few clarifications I thought I should add due to some earlier comments I didn’t read before. My views are not part of some evangelical church, I am entirely on my own here since I don’t think it is best for the church to be involved in the marriage business. If it is so important that marital vows be kept from worldly influences, then why not also add all business contracts? Employee contracts, etc. As I know from researching other topics (mostly women in the early church) that legal Roman marriages between the daughter of a citizen and a citizen of Rome were dealt with more along the lines of business contracts, not spiritual rites. Paul then tells everyone to honour even those gentile contracts. Few in any church would agree with me, so this isn’t some “evangelical influence” or legalism that I picked up somewhere, just through study and seeing how Jesus’ teachings were getting applied.
The other main issues coming up here is divorce and the Old Testament. I agree divorce was acceptable practice in the Old Testament. To this day Jews have no restrictions on divorce in their religion, that I know of. That being said, I am much more of Jesus’ teachings on the Sermon on the Mount view of what a Christian is’ than a “here are 4 reasons to believe Jesus is Lord” view that that is how one is a Christian. In other words, a simple declaration that Jesus is Lord is great, and a step in the right direction, but I lived in a country where almost a billion (yes that many) non-believers would have agreed with that statement! (India, and Hinduism’s ability to believe in just about any other religion’s deity claims, yet maintain their Hinduism). It showed me that, since those ancient fertility religions, of which Hinduism is the last one remaining, could absorb multiple deities yet not transform significantly, early Christians were not claiming one was “Saved” (I doubt they even used that word as we do now) by rattling off a belief or decision, but by living separately and distinctly from the world. Sure, right views on who Christ was were important, but not enough to consider one a believer. To be a believer, one had to change how they lived. Following is an action, not a thought.
The sermon on the Mount was pivotal to this. In the sermon on the mount, you find Jesus’ New Covenant with his followers. In that covenant is a view to treating others better than the world does. He even teaches divorce is wrong. Yes, there can be reasons that a divorce takes place (and no, it isn’t restricted to adultery), but the Old Testament is irrelevant here because we are now under a New Covenant with God and the parallels between the 5 OT books and the Gospels +Acts (basically the New Testament from Matthew to Acts) show the early readers Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is the New Covenant Christians are to follow, and the Torah is an old covenant.
Although everyone is on a different journey and everything in life doesn’t always go as planed, I have a huge problem allowing anyone any room to consider themselves a Bible scholar/Christian Leader who cannot take Jesus’ teaching seriously in regards to the sermon on the mount. That doesn’t mean divorce will automatically exclude someone from leadership, but it put the onus entirely on them to be open about why it was necessary (abuse, dangerous for the kids, etc.) and what steps the leader took to attempt to avoid it, if possible (provided abuse wasn’t a reason). I am not much for people saying “it takes two to divorce” IF one party wants the marriage to continue with support, Jesus never said anyone has to be a perfect spouse, but he does say not to divorce so I don’t follow the “it takes two to Tango” if only one is serving divorce papers and running off to remarry quickly. Nope, Jesus doesn’t say “well, I hate divorce but fully understand why Moses allowed you guys to do this because sometimes two people grow apart or don’t fully work on their marriage or attractiveness”, nope, the New Covenant views those attitudes as a hardened heart. Your wife is grumpy? Love her anyways. Your wife is argumentative? Love her anyways. Your husband no longer is attractive and has a beer belly? Love him anyways, etc. Love has 4 Greek words, not one. Agape is a love that expects nothing in return (again, not talking about allowing abuse), it is an action Christ calls his followers to do. Now, if all this is way too hard, it is likely best to choose carefully whom one marries (Al Mohler trying to get young people to rush into marriage is a disaster, IMO), but even if one does their best and things don’t go as dreamed, unless there are extenuating circumstances that make it impossible to live with that person (abuse, financial fraud or other issues that could leave a person in harm’s way, danger or dire financial straights) the onus one every single Christian is to remain married. Happiness isn’t a guarantee, attractiveness isn’t either. But if both people work at Agape love, it is enough. What if one doesn’t? So? love them anyways.
When I see a leader that can’t manage this, that can’t display their innocence in a divorce – if Julie had divorced him, if he had left her for undisclosed reasons but willingly paid custody and didn’t constantly go after her in court (no wonder she won’t “just go away”, he won’t leave her alone), unless it was for custody because he believed his children to be in grave danger and records show he petitioned the courts for this form of custody, the ball is entirely in his court. It isn’t “Private”, the very fact it has now gone back to litigation seems to be another silencing tactic “oops, can’t say anything, there is more litigation going on and on and on”. In 6 years there has been a grand total of 6 month’s rest from court for Julie and her kids. That is NOT what Christ taught. Even if Julie was the Wicked Witch of the West and cast spells on him, that is not the way to handle a divorce. Love your enemies. Where is the love? Where is the desire to live at peace even if others speak badly of you? An olive branch needs extending here.
Matthew Paul Turner (blogger) argued Tony’s abuse was only between Julie and him, it didn’t have wider implications. I disagree. Tony Jones is a teacher. He is influencing others. His public actions are inconsistent with a Christ follower. His life is not submitted to Christ in a very public way, his constant litigation and court proceedings display a poor example for others. His attempt to get as many public endorsements of support from famous people like Brian McLaren on one side of his mouth and then attempt to tell everyone it is private with the other side of his mouth does not show an attempt to either a) honestly keep it private – only have his side out or b) honestly convince others he is a wronged victim. There is nothing private about divorce, nothing, so he should tell his friends to speak out about everything they know, if he’s got nothing to hide. You can’t have your cake and eat it too and pretend this issue doesn’t matter in the Christian public sphere. It matters, and it’s handling matters more than most leaders are willing to admit.
I appreciate the clarification. With regards to Tony’s situation, I think you are correct. He did not treat Julie in the manner of Christ in any way, either through the divorce or after. At the very least, if all he was alleging about her was true (and we know it’s not), he would at least need some time to heal and get his head on straight before diving into a new marriage. And, of course, as Dee has pointed out, he left the children with her. There are so many problems with the way he has behaved, but of course none of it is surprising once you factor in the NPD.
Regarding the Old Testament, it’s important for two reasons: 1) God doesn’t change, and neither does right or wrong. Any view of divorce presented in the New Testament has to be consistent with the view of divorce in the Old Testament. 2) How the Jewish people of the first century understood divorce helps us understand how they would have heard what Jesus had to say (and thus, how he chose to speak).
On the face of it without first century Jewish context, Jesus seems teach that the only valid reason for divorce is adultery. He also seems to teach the remarriage causes adultery. These apparent teaching are at odds with what the Bible teaches elsewhere, including Paul who deals with abandonment as a valid form of divorce and Jesus himself recognizing the multiple marriages of the woman at the well.
However, once you understand how the Jewish leaders of the day understood the Old Testament teaching on divorce, all of the apparent contradiction makes a lot more sense. All leaders at that time recognized divorce for adultery, neglect, and childlessness. Where they disagreed was on a liberal interpretation of a passage in the OT that some said allowed for a divorce for “any cause” (by the man, of course), while the conservatives maintained that passage only had adultery in view (neglect and childlessness came from other passages). When they asked Jesus about divorce, they were specifically asking him about an “any cause” divorce, not adultery, neglect, and childlessness. Jesus affirms that the only valid reason in the OT passage they were citing was adultery. He did not address neglect (though Paul does when he talks about abandonment). However, Jesus takes it two steps further: he says that it is possible to serve God faithfully in singleness, which was very contrary to Jewish thought at the time that having children was part of our mandate (and by implication, if childlessness is OK it is not a valid reason for divorce), and he also addresses the issue of remarriage after an invalid divorce.
Since the whole point of divorce is to allow for remarriage (that’s the reason divorce existed- the OT Jewish mind would not have comprehended the idea of intentionally remaining single), Jesus couldn’t have meant that a person who divorces and remarries is committing adultery. Adultery only happens if you are married, which a divorced person is no, by definition. Instead, it seems likely he was rebuking the conservatives of the day who, though the did not allow for divorce for “any cause”, were granting remarriages after “any cause” divorces. In fact, I believe Instone-Brewer says that the conservative folks would tell men to go to the liberal leaders to get an “any cause” divorce if they couldn’t do a legit one, and then remarry them after. Jesus was calling out this hypocrisy. He was saying that anyone who remarries after an invalid divorce is committing adultery.
Having said all of this, I know there are lots of different takes on divorce teaching, and while the above makes the most sense to me (especially when you look at Instone-Brewer’s research on the topic, which makes other opinions on divorce appear to be hobbyists), I grant there are other views. But at the end of the day, what I do know about the God of the Bible is he wants good things for his people, desires mercy not sacrifice, and created the law for us, not us for the law. Punishing victims is not his style, and any interpretation which would cause victims, especially children, to suffer must be re-examined.
But again, Tony is none of the above. He is exactly the kind of man Jesus was talking about who commits adultery by divorcing and marrying another woman. He is the kind of man that Malachi is talking about who treacherously divorces his wife. The scripture does not speak well of men who do what Tony has done, and he is certainly not qualified to lead in the church.
Jeff S wrote:
Very good point.
@ Jeff S:
Excellent comment, Jeff! I wholeheartedly agree with your understanding!
Jeff S wrote:
So the Jewish leaders of the day would include the Pharisees who Jesus called whitewashed tombs!
I’m not getting your point. Could you explain your comment?
Yes- the point being made is that they asked Jesus about a specific type of divorce, and understanding their mindset is important to understanding his answer (and note how I pointed out that he identified the hypocrisy of the conservatives even though he agreed with their answer).
To drive the point home, there are examples of writings the “conservative” Jewish leaders who denied divorce for any cause but supported divorce for adultery, neglect, and childlessness- in their debates they said the same things Jesus did word for word. For him to mean all divorce is prohibited and for them to mean that only divorce for any cause is prohibited means that Jesus is using the same words, in the same culture, to the same audience, but mean something different. That just defies reasonableness.
The view of divorce in the New Testament does not have to be consistent with the first century Jewish context (as mentioned by Jeff S) because that view or understanding of divorce may have been taught, shaped, etc. by the Pharisees. Jesus did not have kind words about the Pharisees.
I think it might help if you looked into the history of the time, a bit. Paul was a Pharisee, and there is a big difference between the hypocrisy of some religious leaders vs. calling all of the Jewish people of the day hypocritical and even evil. Jesus was, after all, Jewish, and so were almost all of his early followers. It’s not as if he ever advocated that people cease being Jewish, or abandon all of their history and beliefs.
Also, it might be helpful if you checked out the sources Jeff S is citing. Context (hhistorical and otherwise) is crucial here.
But that doesn’t mean that everything they said was untrue. It seems the issue with “some” Pharisees was how they applied the divorce teaching, not the teaching itself.
Did you read the rest of what I wrote? I never implied that the Pharisees gave us the correct view. It’s the context into which Jesus spoke that’s important.