FUNNY HOW FOLKS can read the same sentence in the Bible and come away with opposite ideas about what to make of it.
I got a taste of that last week when someone tripped over a couple of old blog articles I wrote back in 2013 and posted the links in a “discussion” group.
In normal usage today, the word discussion comes from a late Latin term that means “investigate.” But I’ve found that the word usage on the internet fits more as a derivative of the feuding Appalachian terms “diss” and “cuss.”
What started it all was a really odd question I got from a reader.
My husband (second husband) and I have been married 4 years and recently after a lot of prayer, discovered Jesus’s teachings on remarriage….
We have seen several pastors. All pretty much disclaim Jesus’ teachings on Luke 16:18, “Whosoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” …
We would like to get different views on the subject. It is very hard to discount Jesus’s own words. Whatever way this goes, we will continue to trust him in all this.
The lady was asking me if I thought Jesus was saying she should divorce the heck out of her second husband so she could remarry her first husband or just hang loose if he didn’t want to take her back.
She didn’t much like my answer of no, which I explained in the article Remarried, am I committing adultery?
When she gave me some push-back, I answered with a follow-up article, Dumping husband #2: remarriage is adultery?
As it turns out, there are a lot of people who say they agree with the lady…that the Bible requires her to divorce her second husband.
They tried to post comments to my blog. I allowed only a few to do it because only a few were polite.
Here are some excerpts from the discussion thread, along with answers I wanted to give but didn’t:
- “Mr. Miller, you don’t know what we know, you like only repeat what has been taught to you. Have you ever done deep research?”
“On occasion, yes mam.”
- “Stephen Miller, you are just like so many highly educated folks.”
“You do know that the opposite of highly educated would be abysmally ignorant.”
- “Why would he [God] tell someone who is in a damnable sin to keep on committing it, to then be sent to an eternity in hell…You are misleading people.”
“Are you really comfortable presuming to know that the remarried lady today is sinning based on something Jesus said in an exaggerated response to a group of Jews 2000 years ago?”
- “I would encourage you to do a deeper study of covenant and who God is rather than trying to fit your ‘new world philosophies and thoughts’ into forming who God is.”
“I don’t know where to start, sir. Give me a minute.”
One soul advised me to read a self-published book by a writer I had never heard of. When I asked for the writer’s credentials, I was reminded – justly – that the disciples of Jesus had no credentials. But I got a bit skeptical when I was told that the writer “has been qualified by the Holy Spirit.”
As a news journalist, I’d need to confirm that with a reliable source. Wikipedia, maybe.
Many people are terrible at explaining why they believe the way they do. And they seem to get frustrated when others don’t agree with them. So they get personal. Not in a good way.
One comment writer explained it this way to me:
“I have met many broken people who are extremely passionate about this subject for various reasons, including that they may have been abandoned by a spouse they are still waiting for, along with a whole host of other reasons. Not trying to justify the sinful actions of others at all, just trying to empathize and understand where at least some of these individuals may be coming from. May God grant them and us a spirit of love, meekness, and humility so others won’t be turned away from the gospel and it’s saving power and truth.”
On that much, we can agree.
But I’m not going with this group in lobbying for remarried divorcees to get another divorce and go back to the first spouse or to fly solo.
I could be wrong.
But I hope I know Jesus better than that.
For more on divorce
- Complete Bible Handbook, “Divorce,” pages 110-112
- Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible, “A virgin and a 50-shekel fine,” page 15; “Divorce your non-Jewish wives,” page 112
- Understanding Jesus, “Divorce among the Jews,” pages 122-123
Bible Gateway Blogger
You poor man — having to deal both with publishers and patrons — and ignorant patrons at that! If these people wanted everyone to go back to their original spouses — the church would be chaotic since a majority of Christians have been married more than once! The Apostle Paul actually had similar questions asked from the Corinthians — where he gives the answers in 1 Corinthians 7 – verse 24 “Remain in the situation you are in when called.”
Stephen M. Miller
Christians are incredibly diverse when it comes to interpreting the Bible. And pretty intolerant of competing opinions some of the time.