August 21, 2016

Spouse Desertion For The Sake of the Kingdom – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Peter said, “Behold, we have left our own homes and followed You.” And He said to them, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children,   for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” (Luke 18:28-30)

It may be hard to believe, but it is true that some gospel preachers are teaching this passage proves that Jesus taught His disciples they could desert their husbands or their wives, in order to benefit to the kingdom.

Interestingly, Catholic theologians have utilized this passage in an attempt to justify “Pope Peter,” who they say, “left” his wife “for the sake of the kingdom.” They claim he provides precedent and establishes a requirement for celibacy of “the clergy.”

Celibacy – A Historical Perspective

by Father Thomas McGovern

In the current debate on celibacy, there is a considerable range of opinions about the origin and development of this charism in the Church. …

“We know that Peter was married and perhaps others of the Apostles. This seems to be implied in Peter’s question to Christ – ‘We have left our homes and followed you’. And Jesus replied, ‘Truly, I say to you, there is no man who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive manifold more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life’ (Lk 18:28-30; cf. Mt 19:27-30).”

“Here we see the first obligation of clerical celibacy,…”

Peter Weber, a senior editor at TheWeek.com and a writer for The New York Times Magazine observed…

“Christian orthodoxy doesn’t really consider Jesus to have been much of a family man — he told his disciples to leave their families and follow him, after all.” (The Week, November 10, 2014)

Before some of you husbands start thinking about dumping your wives, you need to know that this is “hogwash.” And, you don’t have to stand scripture on it’s head in order to demonstrate this. The argument from Luke 18 hinges on the assumed meaning of the word “left.” It is simply asserted that this passage justifies the breaking of marriage vows, deserting marriage responsibilities and living apart from the one to whom you have been “joined” by God. Of course, the assumption assumes the thing to be proved. The passage teaches no such thing.

The word translated “left” (aphiemi) is used 152 times and is translated many, many different ways. The New American Standard Version translates it: “allow” (5), “allowed” (2), “alone” (6), “forgave’ (2), “forgive” (23), “forgiven” (23), “forgives” (1), “gave permission” (1), “neglected” (1), “neglecting” (2), “permit” (6), “permitted” (1), “permitting” (1), (3), “tolerate” (1), “uttered” (1), “yielded” (1). Notice that “forgiveness” is the idea 48 times.

One circumstance (an emphatic prohibition) does appear to involve desertion of a marriage partner.

“But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave [same word] her husband… if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away [same word]. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away [same word]. (I Corinthians 7:10-13)

One example, out of well over a hundred, hardly makes this the primary, certainly not the necessary meaning. When you insist that a secondary meaning is the required meaning, you are involved in “cherry picking.”

This secondary meaning is certainly not demanded. Consider the fact that the Jesus commended the Good Shepard who “left” (aphiemi) almost all of his sheep.

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?” (Matt. 18:12)

Again, Jesus “left” (aphiemi) his disciples.

And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. (Matt. 26:44)

The same word is used in each of the following passages.

“Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,” (Heb. 6:1)

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (Matt. 19:14) [Both highlighted words are from the same word.]

“Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house,…’” (Matt. 13:36)

“He left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.” (John 4:3)

Most gospel preachers know the pain of “leaving” a beloved wife for the sake of the kingdom, several times a year, to preach in gospel meetings across the country. If they are the kind of husband they should be, they miss their wives. Peter likely understood this kind of pain. It is “leaving” but does not involve breaking a vow to love and honor till death. It does not involve violating Paul’s command.

Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” (I Corinthians 7:5)

The distortion of this argument should have already turned your stomach, but it gets worse. Another obvious problem with this appalling argument is seen in the fact that the “leaving” Luke describes involves more than wives. He speaks of those who have…

“left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom…”

If it is OK to desert spouses for the sake of the kingdom, how about children? How would you respond to the following? “My toddlers require so much of my time, so much of my money, so much of my attention, that I am neglecting the kingdom. I could get so much more accomplished without them, I’ll just leave them.”

We would certainly hear the objection that such an attitude contradicts Paul’s warning, “…if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (I Timothy 5:8)

But, imagine this reply, “Yes, my children have needs that I am supposed to provide, but the kingdom is more important and I am permitted to leave. Luke said so.”

No vows are directly involved in the parent child association and the authoritative aspect of relationship is not permanent (Matthew 19:5). But, we understand that the desertion of children is contemptible. However, when we desert the one “joined” to us by God, the one to whom we vowed love and honor till death, it is just fine??? This is not scriptural. It is demonic (I Corinthians 7:5).

From time to time, temporarily, Gospel preachers miss their wives and their children and the comforts of home for the sake of the kingdom. God bless them for this sacrifice. They will “receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” But an entirely different fate awaits them if they break their vows, violate their God given responsibilities to wives and children, and/or encourage others to do so, (James 3:1).

 

 

 

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August 7, 2016

“I Am”

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

Written By Don R. Patton

Jesus had been betrayed and arrested. The religious leaders of the Jews were determined to convict Him of blasphemy, a capital offence.

“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any. For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent.” (Mark 14:55-56).

Their proceedings had trampled multiple requirements of the law, but there were certain specifications that even this murderous mob could not ignore. The law demanded that accusations be proved. A plurality of consistent witnesses was required.

“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.” (Deuteronomy 19:15)

The determined efforts of the Counsel were not working. So, they began to grill Jesus Himself.

“But He kept silent and did not answer,” (Mark 14:61). He conducted Himself just as Isaiah had foreseen.

“And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7)

It was a brilliant defense. They were effectively stymied. He knew that. He knew they knew that. But, He intentionally sacrificed Himself. He surrendered to their bloodthirsty hatred.

“Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? And Jesus said, ‘I am’…” (Mark 14:61-62)

“…the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? “You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.” (Mark 14:63-64)

They no longer needed to seek witnesses. They all witnessed His confession. Now, they are all witnesses.

This was not the first time He had identified Himself as divine. On an earlier occasion in Jerusalem, He had told the Pharisees:

“I am from above:…I am not of this world… Therefore…unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” ( John 8:23-24)

The word “He” in the phrase translated, “I am He,” is not in the Greek original. The addition of “He” obscures the implication made clear just a few verses later. “Before Abraham was, I am,” (John 8:58). In verse 24 Jesus is saying, “I am eternal,” and He is saying you must believe I am eternal, (therefor divine) or you will be lost.

This is the truth He confessed in the presence of the Sanhedrin. Therefore, “they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.” (Mark 14:64). If He was not the divine Christ, then He had committed the capital crime of blasphemy and they were required by law to sentence Him to death (Leviticus 24:16). It necessarily follows, from the position of many “liberal Christians” who deny His divinity (as Bill O’Reilly), that under Jewish law, Jesus was “deserving of death.”

The “I AM” concept resonated with the Jewish leaders who knew the scriptures. Jesus acknowledged, “You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life…,” (John 5:39). They knew the story of Moses at the burning bush. He did not understand who was speaking to him. So, God explained.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM that I AM.’ And he said, ‘You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ 15 God also said to Moses, ‘You must say this to the Israelites, ‘The LORD–the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob–has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14-15)

Our Lord Jesus Christ is, always has been and always will be.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end!” (Revelation 22:13)