Skip to comments.Time Magazine Rethinks Scripture on Divorce, Separation and Remarriage
Posted on 11/07/2007 9:51:15 AM PST by NYer
Last month, the cover story of the monthly Christianity Today was titled "When to Separate What God has Joined: A Closer Reading on the Bible on Divorce." The heated controversy provoked by the story showed how Biblically flexible some Evangelicals can be especially when God's word seems at odds not just with modern American behavior, but also with simple human kindness.Catch that? Jesus' teaching on marriage doesn't seem to square even with "simple human kindness." Jesus' historical teaching that husbands cannot put away their wives and thereby marginalize their subsistence was actually contrary not only to "modern American behavior" (the new normative guide to morality?), but also to "simple human kindness." You know, the stuff that's just darn evident to everyone. Cruel Jesus, making husbands keep their wives.
Finally, Instone-Brewer tallies four grounds for divorce he finds affirmed in both Old and New Testaments: adultery, emotional and sexual neglect, abandonment (by anyone) and abuse.What is in fact allowed in these cases is separation (which no one would argue, if the grounds for separation are legitimate). Remarriage is an entirely different question, but don't expect Van Biema to present that consideration.
... the Instone-Brewer essay appeared to be its editors' attempt to offer Evangelicals an escape from a classic dilemma. The "plain sense" of Jesus's words without quotes seems clear enough, but also inhumane: how could a loving God forbid divorce, even by omission, in cases of wife-beating, or of abandonment by a Christian spouse?See above. Jesus isn't teaching that women should stay in an abusive marriage. Perhaps the "plain sense" of scripture mentioned here isn't enough. That's no surprise. But it's wrong to conclude that a holistic reading of the biblical accounts contradicts the "plain sense" teaching of Jesus against divorce, when accurately understood.
Each branch of Christianity deals with divorce in its own way: Catholicism bans it entirely, but many divorced and remarried couples nonetheless find that their conscience permits them to take Communion.Error count rising. "Catholicism bans [divorce] entirely." False. Legal divorce which results in the de facto separation of spouses is allowed, and even suggested to spouses in an abusive relationship. Van Biema happily constructs a straw-man of the Church's teaching. And it's easy to destroy a straw-man. And it's rare to find anything but straw-men in this treatment.
If a split itself is inescapable, notes Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch, "remarriage is where the rubber meets the road," and many remarried couples find themselves denied church membership.It remains inextricable to me why Van Biema didn't claim something along the lines of "nonetheless, many Evangelicals find that their conscience permits them to remain part of their church." Such flawed ecclesiology evidently applies to Catholics - why don't Evangelicals get the same (false) primacy of conscience option?
Asked if he does [believe that an abused woman should leave the marriage], Moore demurred: "Let me think about that for a little bit. I could answer in a way that would be very easily misunderstood."I don't think the interviewee was demurring because he thought his answer was incorrect, I think it is more likely the case that he didn't want his words twisted. Well, they were anyway.
Still, the controversy suggests that even the country's most rule-bound Christians will search for a fresh understanding of scripture when it seems unjust to them. The implications? Flexibility on divorce may mean that evangelicals could also rethink their position on such things as gay marriage, as a generation of Christians far more accepting of homosexuality begins to move into power....It could also give heart to a certain twice-divorced former New York mayor who is running for President and seeking the conservative vote. But that may be pushing things a bit.The message: when scripture doesn't square with a) your pre-conceived categories of justice, or b) the practice of individuals or c) could get in the way of your presidential-hopefuls candidacy then...
The day I look to Time magazine for spiritual advice, just put a bullet through my head.
Ok, so my stance on the divorce issue is not as solid (or bone-headed, as the case may be) as it once was, but I’m still not wont to throw out the words of Jesus. My main question about the end of that article is: How in the crap do they compare the scriptural teachings on divorce to the scriptural teachings on homosexuality??
To have the Bible as the only and sole authority of Christianity is to invite chaos into Christ's Church. There are at least 5 Protestant denominations created every year based on a different interpretation of the Bible. Theoretically, anyone who owns a Bible can create their own denomination based on their own interpretation of Scripture. Taken to its logical conclusion, chaos is what happens when the doctrine of "Sola Scriptura" is applied. Here is what results: Lesbian Christian
“The day I look to Time magazine for spiritual advice, just put a bullet through my head.”
Heck, you can do it yourself now - according to a recent poll regarding euthanasia in TIME Magazine.
You kick nutters out of your church & wash your hands of them. We kick them out or ours & you try to hang them around our necks.
That’s one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard said about holding the Bible as the authority in the church. Do you have ANY reasoning that leads you to believe that, or is it just the cop-out you use to toss out the Bible any chance you get?
Yes, it is a good thing that Catholics don't have dissention or division. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/1922354/posts
We kicked them out, too. But who kicked out the Episcopalians, the Presbyterian Church USA, etc.
Sorry, but most of the time, it’s the good guys who get kicked out.
>> Yes, it is a good thing that Catholics don’t have dissention or division. <<
Womynpriests are just the latest Protestant schism.
You kick anyone out & then claim they are ours.
Let me ask you a simple question. Can there be more than one interpretation of the Bible?
But seriously... their answer is the Protestant answer: “Where in the bible does it say women shouldn’t be priests.” They reject tradition and the apostolic authority of the Church, and fashion a new church as they see fit.
Show me where they claim to be rejecting tradition and the apostolic authority of the Church. Instead I see them using some Catholic teachings to counter others. Their use of the bible to prove their position is explained as being the same way the church does it. Nowhere, do they lean on any of the reformers.
But the Catholic Church also teaches solemnly that people are obliged to form their conscience carefully and responsibly and to follow it as the bottom line in every moral decision.
>> But the Catholic Church also teaches solemnly that people are obliged to form their conscience carefully and responsibly and to follow it as the bottom line in every moral decision. <<
Uh, yes and no.
I think you’re referring to freedom of conscience, which is not freedom to invent your own moral doctrine.
As explained by Cardinal Pell: “A Catholic conscience cannot accept a settled position against the Church, at least on a central moral teaching. Any difficulty with Church teaching should be not the end of the matter but the beginning of a process of conversion, education, and quite possibly repentance. Where a Catholic disagrees with the Church on some serious matter, the response should not be thats that I cant follow the Church here. Instead we should kneel and pray that God will lead our weak steps and enlighten our fragile minds, .”
>> Their use of the bible to prove their position is explained as being the same way the church does it. Nowhere, do they lean on any of the reformers. <<
Actually, no. Because nothing they can point to says that women SHOULD be made priests. What these women have done is asserted that because something isn’t explicitly prohibited in the bible, it must be permitted. And this is where Catholics come to their understanding of Sola Scriptura that so infuriates the Calvinists of Free Republic: The inverse of any Catholic doctrine is held to be presumptively true, so long as any Protestant finds an excuse to reject the biblical origin of the doctrine.