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Charles Stanley Situation
4/4/02 | Dryman

Posted on 04/03/2002 1:25:33 PM PST by Dryman

This is a simple inquiry into Reverend Stanley's position in his Church. A year and 6 months ago a stink was raised about him staying on as pastor after he and his wife split. What became of this situation? As you might know I have been out of touch with this forum for some time and am now only able to log back in.

Please accept my post for the vanity it is and accept my apologies in advance. Spam on (If that is necessary.)


TOPICS: General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: chalesstanley
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1 posted on 04/03/2002 1:25:33 PM PST by Dryman
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To: Dryman
I believe that he has remained as pastor. I think that his son resigned on principle. I wish he had resigned from the leadership of the church, he could have assumed the role of a lay-evangelist. I believe that the Scripture passage against divorced leaders applies to those who hold positions of leadership, not those in ministry. Because we are all called to some form of ministry.
2 posted on 04/03/2002 2:10:07 PM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: Dryman
Is this pastor an author? I think I recall seeing or perhaps reading a book by a man with this name.
3 posted on 04/03/2002 2:40:28 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: goldenstategirl
Dr. Charles Stanley has written many books and has both a nationally syndicated TV program and radio show.

http://www.intouch.org/

4 posted on 04/03/2002 3:58:48 PM PST by ChuteTheMall GawdSortaMount
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To: Dryman
Stanley promised to resign if his marriage failed. After his wife finally left, he reconsidered and asked to stay. The church allowed him to stay, even though his son, a minister on his staff, resigned over the issue. But his was probably a year ago. I don't know what has happened since.
5 posted on 04/03/2002 6:24:19 PM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: Sci Fi Guy
There is some question though as to whether or not the passage in Timothy is really about divorce. "Husband of one wife" is problematic. Alternative theories are 1)Polygamy (which was practiced but not widely) 2)a faithful spouse. There was a word Paul could have used that specifically meant "divorce." He did not use that phrase. If you take the passage too literally, a widower who has has remained single or remarried and a single man can not pastor either.
6 posted on 04/03/2002 6:34:11 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: Dryman
'In Touch' Teacher Charles Stanley Divorced, Stays On As Senior Pastor

TV and radio Bible teacher Charles Stanley, a former president of the Southern Baptist Conference (SBC), is divorced. His 44-year marriage ended in a Georgia court earlier this month. Anna Stanley had filed for divorce on the grounds that the marriage was "irretrievably broken," reported "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution."

The 67-year-old "In Touch" broadcaster will remain as senior pastor at First Baptist Church, Atlanta--a position he has held since 1972. The congregation stood and applauded when this was announced, the newspaper reported. "We hate it that things like this happen, but our church is moving right along," said Jerry Beal, vice chairman of the church's board of deacons.

The Stanleys had first separated in the early 1990s, but she later halted divorce proceedings. Stanley's son, Andy, left his post as senior associate at the time, citing concerns about his father's leadership, the "Journal-Constitution" said. Stanley told a church meeting in 1995: "If my wife divorces me, I would resign immediately."

SBC president Paige Patterson said that the divorce "ought to be a wake-up call for America that if something like this can happen to the Stanley family, it shows how much society has lost its bearings."

In a current article at his "In Touch" Web site commenting on a recent pastors conference he spoke at, Stanley says: "I think one of the things people in the church mistakenly think is that pastors don't go through different trials and tests. Pastors, like anybody else, need to be encouraged."


7 posted on 04/03/2002 6:34:12 PM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: DittoJed2
Stanley should leave his position. If a man can not keep his home in order,he should not be leading a church.
8 posted on 04/03/2002 6:38:55 PM PST by sitonit
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To: Dryman
[both articles from CharismaNews ]

Charles Stanley Learns Compassion From His Failed Marriage


Facing the end of his 44-year marriage, Charles Stanley believes he is a better pastor for the personal pain he has experienced. The 67-year-old pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, whose messages are broadcast nationwide on television and radio, says that compassion is the primary lesson he has learned from his divorce.

"I've had lots of people who said: 'I couldn't listen to you because you couldn't understand. Now you understand,'" Stanley told the "Charlotte (N.C.) Observer." "When I talked about pain before, I didn't know what I was talking about." Stanley declined to talk in detail about the breakup of his marriage, saying he is barred from doing so by the court, but told the "Observer" that if his wife were to ask him, he'd gladly resume their life together.

Stanley's divorce spawned a national debate about whether or not he should retain his pulpit. When he decided to stay on as pastor, he was criticized openly, including by Charles Colson on the apologist's national radio program. Stanley told the "Observer" that branding men and women whose marriages end without sin is wrong. "Things happen in people's lives," he said. "Things they can't control."


9 posted on 04/03/2002 6:40:50 PM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: 11th Earl of Mar
"I've had lots of people who said: 'I couldn't listen to you because you couldn't understand. Now you understand,'" Stanley told the "Charlotte (N.C.) Observer." "When I talked about pain before, I didn't know what I was talking about."

Boy, what a cop-out. Why then, don't we encourage the clergy to have affairs and divorce so that they can better relate to the issues of the masses? Total Barbara Streisand.

10 posted on 04/03/2002 6:52:11 PM PST by Iowegian
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To: sitonit
You don't know the whole story here. I think Anna had some emotional problems. Part of this was due to Stanley's being so involved in church work but part was due to death threats made against them. She saw a psychiatrist for a while who I have heard was not one inclined to lead her towards reconciliation. People make choices that others can not control. She chose to end their marriage though he wanted to save it. This doesn't say he was an innocent lamb in all of this, but when her mind was made up (for two years before their separation she didn't really attend church) it was made up. You can't lay the blame on him entirely for not holding his house together.
11 posted on 04/03/2002 7:11:12 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
I was baptized by Dr. Stanley 30 years ago. He wrote a reference for me to Dallas Seminary and provided wise counsel for key decisions I have faced.

During the process that led to his becoming pastor of First Baptist of Atlanta he was offered an envelope of cash if he would leave town and not take the position. He also had a deacon try to punch him out at a business meeting.

I have often wondered whether these events (shabby treatment by professing church leaders) had an enbittering impact on his wife regarding the church and perhaps was one of the wedges in their relationship.

I respect Andy for his willingness to hold to principle / convictions even if it meant separating from his dad's ministry.

12 posted on 04/03/2002 7:57:41 PM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
I think that Dr. Stanley's biggest error was in promising to step down. The Bible does not say a divorced man can not be a pastor. Even if you take "husband of one wife" to mean divorce, then he still has only had one wife. Andy did stand on principle, but he also hurt his dad I believe in doing so. The whole situation was very sad.
13 posted on 04/03/2002 8:03:13 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: Iowegian
Dr. Stanley didn't have an affair. That wasn't his wife's beef. I think he was too devoted to the ministry and there were other emotional problems involved.
14 posted on 04/03/2002 8:04:48 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: Iowegian
Also, I don't think it is a cop out. I heard a very prominent figure in Southern Baptist ranks once say that divorced people are no longer eligible to do pastoral counseling. I think it depends on the person. In one sense they may be more qualified if they have learned from their mistakes and can counsel others not to follow in their steps. Unfortunately, divorce is one of those issues that Christians like to club their wounded with. Sometimes, a person is divorced against their will. Yet, we castigate them just as if they are the guilty party. Dr. Stanley did not have an affair. I think their separation was like 5 years or something like that. He went through counseling I think and tried to work it out, but she still wanted to leave. This should not disqualify him from pastoring. He shouldn't have promised to step down and then go back on his word, but I'm glad he is in the pulpit.
15 posted on 04/03/2002 8:09:23 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
Dr. Stanley didn't have an affair.

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that he did. I was being absurd to prove a point, not to impune Dr. Stanley.

16 posted on 04/03/2002 8:11:02 PM PST by Iowegian
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To: Iowegian
Sorry for taking you wrong. Just want the record clear that the parties involved have stated that there was no other woman. I think the "other" involved was the church and Anna's difficulties with Charles's involvement therein. Of course, I'm not in the Stanley family so don't know the nitty gritty details. However, I have met Dr. Stanley and have spoken to others who know him and they say even through all of this he is still very much the gentleman. Still, very much Dr. Stanley.
17 posted on 04/03/2002 8:13:48 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
It is a very tragic situation, as is always the case in divorce. I would think he should be able to keep his TV and radio broadcasts at least. But I'm not sure about Pastoral duties and direct counseling, it just doesn't seem right to me.
18 posted on 04/03/2002 8:18:26 PM PST by Iowegian
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To: Iowegian
What do you think of the Southern Baptists churches today, are they going liberal, are they worth staying in?

BigMack

19 posted on 04/03/2002 8:20:31 PM PST by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: Iowegian
I think it depends on the situation. A habitual divorcer who learns nothing is not fit to counsel. But divorced people often have an insight that non-divorced don't. They understand failure in a way that non-divorced don't and if the Holy Spirit has been working in them they can point others to the One who can help them overcome failure and live in victory better than those who have never been there. As I said above, the "husband of one wife" passage is very problematic. It may not mean divorce at all. We tend to give it that meaning and then ignore the other injunctions for leadership in the rest of the passage. Deacons with disobedient children shouldn't deacon, for example. We don't harp on that much. Husband of one wife also means that widowers and singles can't pastor, if you take that to be the absolute standard. And if it is the absolute standard and a person who divorces and remarries has two wives, then the divorced person who doesn't remarry is still the husband of one wife though legally the marriage is severed.
20 posted on 04/03/2002 8:23:28 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
I am sure Andy's decision did hurt his dad, but apart from his own actions he was placed in the unenviable choice of violating his convictions and not hurting his dad or standing on principlee despite the hurt. It truly is sad.

I may be mistaken but I believe that the church had a rule against divorced or separated persons serving as senior pastor. Actions were taken to circumvent this rule and allow Charles to remain in the pulpit. This led to the breach with Andy. Charles initial rationale was that he would remain as pastor so long as he was separated and not divorced. This was later ammended upon his divorce. Charles Stanley is, I believe, a gifted and compassionate pastor. I respect him in many ways, however if it was his biblical conviction that separation or divorce does not disqualify a pastor from ministry he should have stated it initially. To keep redrawing the line as circumstances change is a problem regardless of whether he and I would have the same understanding of what the Bible says about the qualifications of an elder.

21 posted on 04/03/2002 8:23:33 PM PST by drstevej
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To: drstevej
I may be mistaken but I believe that the church had a rule against divorced or separated persons serving as senior pastor. Actions were taken to circumvent this rule and allow Charles to remain in the pulpit. This led to the breach with Andy. Charles initial rationale was that he would remain as pastor so long as he was separated and not divorced. This was later ammended upon his divorce. Charles Stanley is, I believe, a gifted and compassionate pastor. I respect him in many ways, however if it was his biblical conviction that separation or divorce does not disqualify a pastor from ministry he should have stated it initially. To keep redrawing the line as circumstances change is a problem regardless of whether he and I would have the same understanding of what the Bible says about the qualifications of an elder.
I heard the church gave a standing ovation when he decided to stay. I imagine if a church constitution issue were brought before the congregation, they would have ammended the constitution. This would be within Baptist polity. He isn't staying in spite of the church. They wanted him to stay. I think it would have been better if he would have laid out his reasons for changing his mind. Right now nobody knows that. He redrew the line once, and it would have caused less confusion if he would have stated why his conviction in that matter changed. He's not infallible, of course. So he could have seen in Scripture where he was wrong in that course and would be disobeying God by leaving (without God's express release). As it is now, we just are left guessing and that can look bad.
22 posted on 04/03/2002 8:30:17 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
I think it would have been better if he would have laid out his reasons for changing his mind. Right now nobody knows that. He redrew the line once, and it would have caused less confusion if he would have stated why his conviction in that matter changed.

I agree with you in the above. I also agree that his church was supportive of his remaining and would have approved any rule / constitutional change needed. A full explanation of his reasons for remaining would show whether he was acting upon revised biblical understanding or more subjective reasons(God's leading) and / or pragmatic reasons(the need for me to remain is so great). I am afraid that with the confusion many Christians will conclude "Whatever...," that is, that it doesn't matter what his reason is.

23 posted on 04/03/2002 8:46:30 PM PST by drstevej
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To: DittoJed2
I think that Dr. Stanley's biggest error was in promising to step down. The Bible does not say a divorced man can not be a pastor.

Agreed.

I believe there is a big difference between the minister victimized by divorce whose wife left him even though he was willing to work it out and the minister who is 'victimized' by divorce who leaves his wife and kids so he can carry on with his secretary.

24 posted on 04/04/2002 2:57:25 AM PST by 11th Earl of Mar
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To: DittoJed2
Your post points to one reason for the discipline of celibate clergy.

It is interesting to see that the meaning of the scripture passage is now in dispute, whereas those who criticize non-married Catholic leaders for violating the passage always claim they know exactly what the passage means (claiming that "must be the husband of but one wife" = a church leader must be married).

25 posted on 04/04/2002 6:41:23 AM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: 11th Earl of Mar
I believe there is a big difference between the minister victimized by divorce whose wife left him even though he was willing to work it out and the minister who is 'victimized' by divorce who leaves his wife and kids so he can carry on with his secretary.

Agreed. We have a similar situation in our church now with our minister of music. No affair, just a growing apart. She walked out on him and moved to another state. The kids, one just out of college the other a college junior, stayed with dad.

Several years ago we had almost the same thing happen to friends of ours. We attended an interdenominational church affiliated with the Mennonites (but we're not Mennonite). A (married) couple was studying and working together to be ministers. She decided she was a lesbian, walked out on him and filed for divorce. When he started dating another friend (also Mennonite), it was a major scandal in their church community. There was no hope that the first marriage could be saved, but they couldn't accept his getting married again. When they eventually did get married, her parents did not attend the wedding. They came around later as the grandkids came on the scene.

26 posted on 04/04/2002 6:48:33 AM PST by Ward Smythe
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To: DittoJed2
You don't know the whole story here. I think Anna had some emotional problems. Part of this was due to Stanley's being so involved in church work but part was due to death threats made against them.

In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part

That was a covenant agreement.He should have chosen his wife over his ministry. I believe God would have honored that

27 posted on 04/04/2002 6:55:55 AM PST by sitonit
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To: DittoJed2
You: The Bible does not say a divorced man can not be a pastor.

Me: I would be interested to know how you would answer these questions:

Can a never-married man be a pastor? Single widower? (me: yes)

A woman? (no) Is a divorced man single? (me: not if the marriage was valid, because a valid marriage ends only when one spouse dies)

Can a divorced man remarry? (me: no, same answer as above)

Reminder: Catholic annulmments are formal declarations that what looked like a marriage (a civil marriage is often not a valid biblical marriage) was never a valid biblical marriage (i.e. a porno addict who seemingly "marries" and whose addiction prevented him from ever having an ordered view of marital conjugal relations cannot consent to that which he does not understand (biblical matrimony) or alternatively his civil wife is not biblically bound to a civil husband who clearly never intended to keep his matrimonial vows).

28 posted on 04/04/2002 6:58:14 AM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: sitonit
Except it would seem that she was the one that chose to leave. It was stated in an earlier post that she was receiving questionable counsel. I can't tell you how many times I've been warned against seeking non-bibically based help. Reconciliation is not a popular concept in the secular world, and unfortunately not even in some so-called "Christian" counseling. We've become a throwaway society.

I do not know where Anna is spiritually right now, but the bible states that if an unbelieving spouse chooses to leave, they should be allowed to go.

29 posted on 04/04/2002 7:10:00 AM PST by pubmom
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To: Notwithstanding
Actually, my criticism of celibate clergy has nothing to do with that passage. Peter, who according to Roman Catholic tradition, was the first pope, was a married man. Passages relating to elders assume that they are married men (but I believe do not exclude those who are single, do not necessarily exclude those who are divorced, do not exclude widowed men, and do not exclude those who have been made eunuchs by God). Paul was not married and started many churches in a very pastoral role. One's marital status, therefore, according to Scripture, is less important in whether or not one will be a good pastor as is one's character. If they are using the Timothy passage as an injunction against celibate clergy, they are misusing the text. But on the flip side, you will not find in Scripture where clergy are to be celibate.
30 posted on 04/04/2002 8:00:47 AM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
Amen! We agree.

Celibacy is a discipline of the Church and can be (and has been) changed. It is a prudential matter for the leaders of the Church to determine.

The Catholic view is that there is no right to be a pastor. One can inform the Church that one feels called by God, but the Church determines if the call will benefit the Church. (Thus a reformed axe murderer may feel truly called by God to be a pastor, but the Church must discern if this "call" will truly be of service to God's people). I presume it is similar in that a protestant man cannot just demand that he be a pastor - he has to find people willing to give that honor or responsibility to him.

31 posted on 04/04/2002 8:07:58 AM PST by Notwithstanding
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To: Notwithstanding
Can a never-married man be a pastor? Single widower? (me: yes)

Yes.

A woman? (no)

I believe that there is a Scriptural case than a woman can not be a Senior Pastor. I do not have a problem however with women preachers as I see very little difference between a preacher and a prophetess and Philip's daughters and Huldah were prophetesses.

Is a divorced man single? (me: not if the marriage was valid, because a valid marriage ends only when one spouse dies)
Yes. Whatsoever is bound on earth is bound in heaven. Whatsoever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven. Same word loosed is found in 1 Corinthians 7, are you bound to a wife? seek not to be loosed. Are you loosed (valid translation of this in greek is divorced) from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if you do marry, you have not sinned. And if a virgin marry, she has not sinned.

Can a divorced man remarry? (me: no, same answer as above)
Yes. Moses allowed it (Moses would not make an allowance for sin. Jesus assumed remarriage would occur. Paul spelled out cases where it is permissable. And in light of God's grace, I do not believe God will cause us to perpetually pay for sins that Jesus already paid for on the cross. With this said, I believe any 2nd marriage needs to be entered into with the utmost of care. If one is the guilty party in the other marriage, true repentance should have occurred and a change of heart.)

Reminder: Catholic annulmments are formal declarations that what looked like a marriage (a civil marriage is often not a valid biblical marriage) was never a valid biblical marriage (i.e. a porno addict who seemingly "marries" and whose addiction prevented him from ever having an ordered view of marital conjugal relations cannot consent to that which he does not understand (biblical matrimony) or alternatively his civil wife is not biblically bound to a civil husband who clearly never intended to keep his matrimonial vows).

I think this is where you and I will disagree because as a protestant, we do not see marriage as a sacrament that pertains to salvation. I do believe that the church can release people from marriage, but a state divorce is still a divorce. While God hates divorce, the divorce in and of itself is not a sin otherwise Moses would not have allowed it, Ezra would not have commanded it in the case of foreign wives, and Jesus and Paul would not have made acceptions to it. The sin is in what leads up to the divorce. I believe that the spirit of the law is what rules rather than a legalistic letter of the law and I believe the spirit of the law is that if the marital union is so irretrievably broken that it can not be fixed (i.e., due to something as serious as marital unfaithfulness, abandonment, a spouse who puts another spouses life in danger, etc.,) then divorce is permissible. However, I also believe that if you have divorced for a less valid reason (I just didn't love him any more, or she burnt my food to use the ancient Hebrew reason) there is still forgiveness and restoration for the offending party as well as the offended. When God forgives us He casts our sins as far as the East is from the West. He does not remember them any more. To place a lifetime sentence of having to pay for past sin on the head of a Christian whom God has forgiven goes against God's grace.

In the Old Testament, the only commandment regarding divorce and remarriage was found where Moses told men who divorced their wives to give them a bill of divorcement (basically so she could remarry and wouldn't have to resort to prostitution to support herself as women in that society had to do due to the view of women without spouses). If the man she is remarried to dies or divorces her, Moses said that the first spouse was not to remarry her for it would be an abomination.

Jesus's comments need to be taken in the context they were said. The Jews at the time were split between those who believed in divorce for serious causes only such as adultery, and those who believed that one could divorce their wife for any old reason at all. Jesus sided with the first people. Paul didn't like remarriage because he thought it was better that one remain single. He reflected in Romans and 1 Corinthians the seriousness of the marriage relationship. Yet, because we live in a fallen world, humans do not always make the right choices (even in who to date), so if for example an unbelieving spouse leaves, Paul said let them leave. The brother or sister is not under bondage in such areas.

Please do not misunderstand me. I believe marriage is sacred and should be entered into for life. I do not see, however, an absolute commandment in Scripture where "Thou shalt not divorce" and in fact see places where it was commanded. God Himself used the analogy that he was divorcing Israel because she was an unfaithful spouse. What the church should do rather than beat up on those who have been divorced and enforcing rules on people that the Bible does not assume, is teach their people from the cradle the seriousness of marriage, the seriousness of choosing the right mate in the Lord, and the seriousness of being a faithful spouse. God hates divorce. It is ugly. It is painful. It is usually bathed in the sin of one or both partners. But God does not hate divorced people and does not make this one area the one sin for which payment still must be made by sinners. God is a God of forgiveness and restoration. He justifies us through the blood of His Son and calls us to peace. It is still not good for man to be alone, even if he has been divorced, and it is better to marry than to burn in lust for one another. Just be extremely cautious when you do, and do not enter into any union with the idea that if it doesn't go well you can always divorce. Divorce for trivialities is sin. We should marry for life.
32 posted on 04/04/2002 8:27:57 AM PST by DittoJed2
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To: Notwithstanding
Pastors, at least in Baptist ranks, are voted in by the church. In other denominations, I believe they are board appointed. You are right, there is no right to be a pastor.
33 posted on 04/04/2002 8:29:37 AM PST by DittoJed2
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To: DittoJed2
Brilliant post, many thanks. I've been wrestling with this issue for years, and whenever I seriously ask the Lord for guidence, I keep banging into the legalism of "no divorce, except desertion or adultary. Period."

But how is it that God is so legalistic, if a situation is so despairing that it's literally killing one of the parties? (Stress-induced illness)

Wish I knew where to find it, but about a year ago, I read that the divorce statistics for atheists were almost identical to that of evangelical Christians, which leads to the inevitable "WHY?"

The only logical thing I could come up with is that if, within the marraige, divorce is considered forbidden, the fallen nature of one or both spouses feels a much greater freedom to be a complete jacka**. "Look at all I can get away with! She can't divorce me, it's not allowed!"

If the couple is atheist though, with no "rules," and no God to be accountable to, a certain fear must exist, that automatic forgiveness by the other party cannot be assumed. Perhaps, therefore, they treat each other better to begin with, always with "that little fear" in the background, that is not present within a Christian marriage.

So if this is the case, a little fear is a good thing. Unfortunately, many legalistic Christians lack that "little fear."

34 posted on 04/04/2002 8:56:40 PM PST by oprahstheantichrist
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To: DittoJed2
As far as it relates to the Stanley situation. Prior to his divorce, his church(based on Stanley's teaching) held the view that it meant divorce. Now that it would apply to him, he's changed his view.

I am aware of the alternative views on those passages. To be extremely brief, I do think that it refers to divorce. I also think that it applies to the leader(senior pastor or bishop) of a church, not necessarily every minister in a church.

The problem is that as Americans we think that serving God is the job of a professional. So we regard it as all or nothing. Either a person can is qualified to do it all, or he cannot do anything. All Christians have some sort of ministry. If Stanley had resigned from the pulpit, he still has a duty to serve God. What if he started a Bible study. How long do you think it would be before he had a "Bible study" of several hundred people? Which I think would be fine(Biblically speaking), if he ministered under the guidence of a leader(bishop, or senior pastor of a home church.) I think that God's desire would be for Stanley to continue as a minister, but not as the senior leader of a church.

35 posted on 04/05/2002 9:19:06 AM PST by Sci Fi Guy
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To: DittoJed2
Dr. Stanley didn't have an affair. That wasn't his wife's beef. I think he was too devoted to the ministry and there were other emotional problems involved.

Consider that this disqualifies Stanley on two points. First, he's now longer the husband of one wife. He's divorced. The word for "one" has the meaning of first and only.

Second, if the marraige failed due to being too devoted to the ministry, then he failed to manage his household well.

It's amazing how hard the church tries to "dumb down" the requires of 1 Tim 3. These should not be considered to be high, almost unreachable standards, but the minimum requirements for the job. It's not a matter of being legalistic, but of being obediant

36 posted on 04/05/2002 11:21:18 AM PST by aimhigh
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To: Ward Smythe
Several years ago we had almost the same thing happen to friends of ours. We attended an interdenominational church affiliated with the Mennonites (but we're not Mennonite). A (married) couple was studying and working together to be ministers. She decided she was a lesbian, walked out on him and filed for divorce. When he started dating another friend (also Mennonite), it was a major scandal in their church community. There was no hope that the first marriage could be saved, but they couldn't accept his getting married again.

What an interesting case. It is the spiritual equivalent of a bar exam question.

We know that the one Biblical basis for divorce is adultery and absent that, remarraige is forbidden. Now, the question of the hour, can the wife's descent into lesbianism be considered within the scope of 'adultery'? In other words does the adulterous relationship require a heterosexual pairing or just a sexual partner not her husband?

37 posted on 04/05/2002 11:44:11 AM PST by winstonchurchill
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To: drstevej
"...he was offered an envelope of cash if he would leave town and not take the position. He also had a deacon try to punch him out at a business meeting....(shabby treatment by professing church leaders).."

I am a member of a Southern Baptist Church and I've heard of other incidents similar in nature to this. It's a shame.

38 posted on 04/05/2002 11:46:46 AM PST by Icthus
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To: aimhigh
Consider that this disqualifies Stanley on two points. First, he's now longer the husband of one wife. He's divorced. The word for "one" has the meaning of first and only.

Second, if the marraige failed due to being too devoted to the ministry, then he failed to manage his household well.

You make two serious arguments. One the construction of "husband of one wife" and the second his ability to meet the other, independent tests of 1 Timothy 3.

The first depends on whether the requirement is to be a "husband" of (at least) one wife or a husband of not more than "one wife". I don't know of a Biblical view that this prohibits single (never married) men and widowers from the pastorate. The text really offers no clue on this issue. I take it from your comment that you believe it does prohibit single (never married) men and widowers from the pastorate. Why should that be?

The second is a more interesting question -- and more difficult. The full passage says,

"The overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent, but gentle, not contentious, free from the love of money. He must manage his own household well and keep his children in control without losing his dignity. But if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for the church of God? He must not be a recent convert or he may become arrogant and fall into the punishment that the devil will exact. And he must be well thought of by those outside the faith, so that he may not fall into disgrace and be caught by the devil's trap."

You essentially argue that even if (and I don't know the facts) his wife divorces him because she is emotionally unstable and unbalanced, this reflects on his ability to "manage his household."

Perhaps, but a husband has precious few tools left in modern society for dealing with an emotionally unstable woman. [It could be argued that phrase is a redundancy.] Wouldn't that require that one demonstrate that there was something within his power to do to calm her instability which he hadn't done?

If those were the facts -- and they were shown -- I would definitely be with you. I think I would need to know more.

Others have argued that he should have left because he earlier said he would. Suppose he was merely trying to "manage" his unstable wife by making that 'promise'? Or that he was mistaken in his understanding?

The biggest indicia here that he should go -- to me --is his son's resignation. Why did the son think he should go? Nobody is talking about facts, but presumably the son knows some. And that is troubling. Is the son speaking out?

39 posted on 04/05/2002 12:02:20 PM PST by winstonchurchill
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To: winstonchurchill
The biggest indicia here that he should go -- to me --is his son's resignation. Why did the son think he should go? Nobody is talking about facts, but presumably the son knows some. And that is troubling. Is the son speaking out?
It is my understanding that his son resigned out of principle. He believed his dad should have stayed true to his word and resigned if he divorced. When Charles did not resign, Andy did.
40 posted on 04/05/2002 6:21:54 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: aimhigh
Consider that this disqualifies Stanley on two points. First, he's now longer the husband of one wife. He's divorced. The word for "one" has the meaning of first and only.

Your logic falls apart on this one because of the pastoral role that Paul took in various churches. Paul was a single man. Whether he was widowed or divorced or never married, Paul was single. Therefore, to give any sort of pastoral counseling, he would be breaking this rule which you are taking as an absolute case against divorce. Widowers couldn't be pastors. Singles couldn't be pastors. Divorced couldn't be pastors. Only married folks who Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians as being more devoted to their spouse sometimes than the Lord are qualified to be a Pastor? Sorry. This doesn't wash. I believe Paul's admonition here was one based upon character. He was to be a faithful individual. Not a polygamist. Not a man of bad character. But a faithful spouse of one wife (if he was married). I do not believe this rules out singles or divorced from pastoring necessarily. It depends upon the character and calling of the individual. Paul speaks a little later in the same chapter of deacons being husbands of one wife, yet a female, Phoebe, was a female deacon. Should she have taken a wife to meet this admonition? Of course not. Paul was not laying down an absolute law to be followed but general and contextual admonitions for running a church.
41 posted on 04/05/2002 6:28:44 PM PST by DittoJed2
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To: winstonchurchill;DittoJed2
1 Timm 3 says that an elder "must be .. the husband of one wife." "of one" describes what type of husband. Paul was not an elder, but was originally among the prophets and teachers. Being an apostle might overlap somewhat in duties, but that doesn't make the positions equivelant. Twice, the scriptures say , "husband of one wife", and twice mention having children. He said "must". Was God careless with His words?
42 posted on 04/07/2002 6:51:27 PM PDT by aimhigh
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To: aimhigh
1 Timm 3 says that an elder "must be .. the husband of one wife." "of one" describes what type of husband. Paul was not an elder, but was originally among the prophets and teachers. Being an apostle might overlap somewhat in duties, but that doesn't make the positions equivelant. Twice, the scriptures say , "husband of one wife", and twice mention having children. He said "must". Was God careless with His words?

No, God was not careless with His words, but you are insisting on a very specific definition of those words that a great deal of Biblical scholars (including conservatives) would disagree with. The phrase "husband of one wife" could mean divorce or single or widowed can not pastor but I don't think so. Paul could have used a specific word for divorce but did not. A little later, as I pointed out, Paul said that deacons should be husbands of one wife as well. Yet, we know from Scripture that Phoebe was a female deacon. You are making your interpretation of a very difficult and vague text an absolute command for practice for all churches everywhere. By your criteria even Jesus could not have been a Pastor.
43 posted on 04/08/2002 3:01:11 AM PDT by DittoJed2
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To: Iowegian; DittoJed2; sitonit; 11th Earl of Mar
"I've had lots of people who said: 'I couldn't listen to you because you couldn't understand. Now you understand,'" Stanley told the "Charlotte (N.C.) Observer." "When I talked about pain before, I didn't know what I was talking about."

Regardless of the correctness or the incorrectness of Stanleys desire to stay on, the above quote is very very true.

I personally know a pastor who had resigned his ordination due to personal anguish reasons related to the actualities of preforming his job. He left for 5 years and came back a far better pastor. The above quote could have come from his very lips!

Jean

44 posted on 05/02/2002 9:40:28 AM PDT by Jean Chauvin
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To: Jean Chauvin
I do not agree with you . The man should step down and give up his pastoral duties.

If he wants to share his pain he should join an encounter group!

45 posted on 05/02/2002 9:44:52 AM PDT by sitonit
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To: sitonit
I tend to agree with you, however, my comment to this old thread (I was checkin' your history out, sit!) was in response to the quote I posted. The responder to that quote thought it was a bunch of bull!

Jean

46 posted on 05/02/2002 9:48:51 AM PDT by Jean Chauvin
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To: drstevej;Jean Chauvin
***I respect Andy for his willingness to hold to principle / convictions even if it meant separating from his dad's ministry.****

I have heard that his son Andy is a powerful preacher .His willingness to separate himself from his father's ministry speaks to his character .

Could you please explain who offered Stanley cash to leave the area and the reason ? That sounds a little far fetched .But then I am not involved in church leadership.

47 posted on 05/02/2002 10:41:59 AM PDT by sitonit
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To: sitonit

If the Bible indeed means that “a man of one wife” cannot be divorced or widowed and remarried then of course he should resign. However, to assume every divorce is the fault of two people is naive and judgmental. You don’t ask a rape victim what she did to deserve it. You don’t go to the people whose house was robbed and tell them that they share the blame. I am not qualified to judge Charles Stanley’s homelife and I doubt most on this forum are not either. However, God is ultimately the just judge and Stanley’s church is close enough to have a handle on Stanley’s life. I would trust their decision and stand by it. Stanley has touched many lives for the Gospel...let him continue to preach it. “Whether for selfish reasons or no, let the Gospel of Christ be preached.”

If all preachers had perfect homes, who could preach to those who don’t?


48 posted on 06/03/2007 6:52:17 AM PDT by ingodsimage2
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To: ingodsimage2

Well...I’m going to put my two cents in here.

First of all, shame on all you christians in here who have anything to say against Charles Stanley.

He is your brother and I’m sure he has served the Lord with a lot more of his life than anyone else in this forum.

You say...”He said he would step down if he got a divorce.”...well what Charles stated he would do and what God wanted him to do...obviously were not the same.

I doubt there is a single person in this forum who has not done something or said something without inquiring and bringing it before God first. I do it more often than not.

He should step down???? Well you made a mistake at work....should you quit your job???? Give someone else a chance who won’t make the same mistake that you did???!!!

I’m tired of Christians judging other christians.......don’t judge your brothers and sisters.

I’m married and I have been married for almost 10 years now. Only because I and my wife are christians doesn’t mean our marriage is going to be a cake walk.

If Charles’ problems stemmed from the fact that he loved God more than his wife...then glory be to God. At least one christian has his priorities straight. And if this is not the case, then let it be between God and charles. No one...I mean absolutely no one in this forum has the right to criticize.

As Amy Carmichael wrote ...”unless you have suffered, how can you understand and comfort others who are suffering.” Give glory to God in all things. This is God’s will...if it wasn’t then Charles would not be where he is today.

In Christ,

Daniel


49 posted on 02/03/2009 11:44:25 PM PST by TorontoChristian
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To: TorontoChristian

1. No one knows all the details except those in the marriage and God.
2. We don’t know if he told his wife that in order to save the marriage he would leave the ministry. But if he had strong conviction of God not to, then going against God’s direction to him could have led the man to a bad place as well. Again, we really don’t know what transpired. It seems it is his wife that chose to leave the marriage and not him. How could he have forced her to stay? He sought to help the situation for seven years, and then ultimately, the wife left him anyway. She may have had her own issues—usually trouble in marriage is at least to one degree or another, a two-way street. She perhaps ended up in another relationship herself. Who knows? We really don’t know. Only she and God really know where she stands spiritually today. Is she serving God???? Shrugs??? At least Dr. Stanley is trying to consistently and faithfully serve God.

People don’t understand that sadly if a marriage waits too long to get help, the chances of survival become slimmer and slimmer. It’s kind of like what we in the medical field understand about something called ventricular fibrillation. If it is still a course electrical rhythm, there is a greater chance of shocking someone out of the rhythm. One is goes to a fine V-Fib, the chances of survival become almost nothing. The same thing is true when it comes to catching problems that lead up to a “death” EKG rhythm. This happens in marriages regularly, unfortunately. People wait too long to get the right intervention for proper healing and marital health. Every day that we wait to get into truly effective counseling or therapy for our marriage relationships—and yes, every day we wait to get God actively involved in making our marriages better or restoring our relationships, the harder it becomes to have a healthy one—the more sick our marriages become.

People wait WAY TOO long to get help soon enough in their marriages—BOTTOM LINE. That is perhaps one of the biggest reasons for the high divorce rate—that along with being faithful and obedient to trusting God with the matter of choosing His best choice of spouse for us in the first place. But for practical purposes, I will say that even then, people can run into trouble in their relationships—and so they need to know how to jump right in to get it health and keep it healthy!
We are often impatient and then we are lazy with doing the real work needed to have healthy relationships. And really that first starts with have a healthy, intimate relationship with God in the first place.

Many families in ministry suffer; b/c the demands of ministry are great. And Satan loves to destroy families—I am convinced of this. The demands in many fields are great.

But we don’t know that he didn’t propose to take time out with Anna to exclusely work on their marriage. In fact, it well may be that he did. And if in fact he did not dedicate himself to such a thing, that ultimately is between he and God and God will deal with him on that if, but I think the Lord would not give him rest about it, if that were the case. What’s more, if it were the case, it would severely and negatively affect his ministry and his ability to give authentic, wise,holy, and truly spiritual teaching and counseling. I am not really see that as the case with his ministry. He teaches with a balance of love, truth, wisdom, holiness, and authenticity. God doesn’t play with those He calls to His service.

By all accounts and public record, it was his wife that filed, not once, but twice. My unofficial, “gut” guess is that the marriage had problems that waited too long to get reviewed and dealt with at least from someone’s point of view. I have seen it many, many times. A lot of men sadly don’t get that women will hold on, but if they leave them holding the “hope” bag too long without enough intervention, eventually the feelings of love and connectedness die. Not every human is strong enough to hold on in the Lord—women often need a lot of nuturing and tenderness and connectedness. Can a relationship re-bloom??? Yes, but many folks get impatient again or they become so terribly discouraged that they give up and move on. I suspect that may be what happened with Anna. For whatever reason/s, she just gave up. Perhaps she found someone else, which would make sense out of pushing for divorce in the first place. Why get a divorce unless you either want to hook up with someone else, or unless you want to strike out at the spouse—if you know that such a thing could hurt the other person’s career? If she is living a celibate life, could she not have done so and not filed for divorce. Do you not think that this is not the case in a number of marriages? Do you not think that as folks grow older, they don’t need to have sexual relations or the same level of companionship? So unless she had someone else in mind, or the hope for someone else, or unless she wanted to perhaps strike out against the pastor, what was the point of not living as married but separate? Understand that I am not making a value judgement on this practice one way or another. I am simply trying to find out her need to absolutely persue with getting a legal divorce.

I have wondered about this particular situation over the years. I don’t know, and don’t presume to know what really happened. But I do think Dr. STanley appears to be gentleman enough to not allow his ex-wife to be exposed or dragged through the mud in such a way—believing perhaps that ultimately her choices are between she and God and not the rest of the world.

The specifics were probably settled from a legal perspective that detailed knowledge NOT be released. This happens in many high profile cases. I have seen how one ex-spouse will protect the other from exposure for something their ex-spouse or soon-to-be expouse is struggling with. I have also seen where in such cases, the Christian spouse still remarried. I don’t know how to comment on that from a Biblical perspective. At the least I can say in the cases to which I referring, one in particular, the Christian spouse was not a pastor; so perhaps in their minds, the same standards are not held to them. But the spouse didn’t want the outside world to know about the other ex-spouses drug or alcohol problem or whatever. So records and information was closed from public consumption. And that seems only fair and decent.

Biblically, if Anna Stanley left Dr. Stanley, and he is not married to another person, and if he is living faithfully before God, there was or is no reason for him to leave his position as pastor, unless God directs him elsewhere.

Sadly Christians can get so stuck in imbalance and a confused sense of legalism that they miss the forrest for the trees.

All those in Christ will all stand before the Beama Seat Judgment. We will all have to look at what we have, in this life, gained versus what we have caused to be suffered as loss. I am concerned enough about this for myself. I personally think Dr.CS is probably in a much better standing with that than I am. So who am I to stand in imbalanced, limited judgment over him?

Just as a genuine priest can live a consecrated, celibate life of service for Christ, so can a pastor that is divorced, widowed, etc. Many folks live in marriages where their partners have severe disabilities. For all intents and purposes, their lives with their spouses are celibate.
There are all kinds of scenarios really.

The man is not violating Scripture by staying as pastor at the church. He has, rather, faced something that he can now not control, and he is trying to live faithfully toward God in fulltime, celibate service. He probably stated what he orginally stated (”If my wife divorces me, I will resign.”) for two reasons. 1. He thought that the marriage situation still had hope of saving—apparently his wife decided that it did not. 2. He believed that which most fundamental Christianity had beaten into folks and assumed “one wife” = divorce = something that the husband can totally control. (Many a husband will sadly tell you that once their former spouses filed, that was that as far as the marriage was concerned—from the wives’ point of view.) So, if a spouse is determined to divorce a spouse, it can be entirely out of the other spouse’s control.

The issue as far as pastoring the church isn’t one of divorce though; for some say Scripture would teach (regardless of current legal views) that the person is still married to the spouse, and that, if she is involved in another such relationship or marriage, she then is the one living in adultery—that this is so until death of either spouse. So the law can do what it wants, but as far as God is concerned, the person is still married to their first mate of intimacy. (Some will find this position controversial, and I lean in agreement with it, but take some acception b/c of God’s grace, and b/c Scripture doesn not expound upon it enough to fully clarify it. Perhaps the clarification is as simple as all that, and people have problems with it, and God knew they would, so, it stands as it stands, but there is the ultimate position in Scripture to persue, and that is one of the Gospel itself. I will not say as if totally absolute on it. I do tend to lean in this direction—even to the point of perhaps physical intimacy with one that a person doesn’t marry. That seems strick and harsh to many. But I’ve taught it to my children; b/c it seems fitting in the whole of Scripture, and b/c God doesn’t seem to take sexual engagement as trivial play as most have and do. Scripturally He uses the virgin man and woman in marriage as a picture of Himself and the Church. So I personally feel it is important to stay faithful to that—though I don’t condemn others for falling short of it.)

But Dr. Stanley’s isue with regard to Scripture and the Timothy epistle in my view is really one of being faithful to one person in marriage for a lifetime. So long as Pastor Stanley is not engaged in such intimate relationships with others—male or female—he can still be effective in service and living a holy life in service to God in his appointed role, period—end of discussion.

If his wife is involved with another person, that is sad, but he has no power over that. He is himself seeking to be obedient, celibate, and faithful to God, so he then has become like Paul or like many a faithful priest. (I say this and I am Protestant and generally quite conservative. But some Protestants need to understand that there are very devout, dedicated, faithful, spiritual, and Biblically directed Catholic priests in the world. Yes, perhaps they may follow certain teachings of the RCC that can be questioned from a Scriptural perspective, but I have met some amazingly faithful, knowledgeable, spiritual and highly effective pastor-priests.)

We all will not agree on everything. That is the nature of reality. For example, I don’t personally think it is true that the water Jesus turned into wine was grape juice. Such a thought is imbalanced in my view and it negates the amazing glory of the miracle. It takes a long time for fermentation to occur. Especially a fermenting process that produced wine of the quality shared by one of the guests at the wedding at Canna. Generally the best wines take time. The guest stated that ‘BEST wine was saved for last.’ The nuances of flavor of wine are great and go much farther than saying Welches tastes better than Giant-brand grape juice. So, no. It doesn’t fit. It amazes me how Christians that are stuck into a particular mentality and totally miss the glory of the miracle. God caused instantaneous fermentation and natural expert wine cultivation!!! What glory! Wine isn’t bad. It is how it is used that can be bad.

So, too, the Bible and Scripture isn’t bad, but it is glorious, wonderful, and true; yet it can be used in a very negative way.

Charles Stanley’s situation seems to be yet another example of “Biblical misuse abuse.” And such abuse will be brought into accountability, I believe, one day.

(And BTW, I am sorry to another poster above, but I must say the Bible is amazingly clear about assurance of salvation—we need to be authentic in having a relationship with Him, but it is not what we do or have done, but all about what Christ has done and is doing that saves and keeps us. We don’t lose the Holy Spirit within us, we either genuinely received the HS in the first place or we did not. Christ didn’t die and resurrect so that He could be an “Indian Giver” so to speak. There is no “take backs” or losing of what Christ does in the spirit of those that truly receive Him.)

So long as Charles Stanley is genuine and faithful to Scripture, Christ, the whole of Scripture, and continues to teach the truth in love, God is certainly not condemning him. But those that condemn him will stand to face condemnation—at least to some degree—themselves.

I am convinced that both truth and grace simultaneously, that is, that truth in Godly love is what saves and helps any of us, period.


50 posted on 06/12/2009 8:49:33 PM PDT by Selahlin
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