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 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).




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: