UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
[February 24, 2023: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
I hope that by now our readers are fully aware that we are not anti-marriage, but quite the opposite. What we are “anti” (against) is perversions and distortions of marriage in which victims of abuse are held captive by the mantra that God hates anyone who divorces, that He never permits divorce, or that He certainly doesn’t permit it on the basis of abuse. That is what we are against. We are for a husband loving his wife as Christ loves the church, and we are for a wife submitting to that kind of man as Christ submits to the Father. Somehow I don’t think that model is one of “I’m the boss and you have to obey me.” I believe that one of the greatest sources of anti-marriage and anti-family teaching is coming from within the Christian church itself. Not because of what Scripture says, but because of what is parading as Scriptural teaching but is, in fact man-made tradition.
Yesterday one of my friends made this observation —
If marriage is a picture of Christ and His church, then does Christ stay with a church that is unfaithful to its vows?
Pretty good question, right? We know that God divorced faithless Israel (Jeremiah 3). And we also know that Christ will never divorce His true Bride, the true Church which is composed of genuine believers. The bond of union between Christ our Head and us is unbreakable. However, consider these words from Christ that will be spoken on that Day to people who entered into vows of marriage with Him, but did so falsely and who then broke those vows habitually —
(Matthew 7:21-23 ESV) (21) “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (22) On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (23) And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
Does Christ remain married to them? No. They put on a big show. They appeared outwardly as eminent saints. But they lied. He puts them out. He tells them to depart from Him. He….divorces them.
So — if marriage is to be a picture of Christ and His church, how is it that we are telling Christians, usually women, who are enslaved to an evil man that she must remain married to him because her marriage is a picture of Christ and His church?
Would not a more accurate representation of that picture be for her TO divorce him? I think so. I am, in fact, sure of it.
[February 24, 2023: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to February 24, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to February 24, 2023 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to February 24, 2023 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (February 24, 2023), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]
2 thoughts on “Christ’s Departure from an Unrepentant Bride”
SOME BIBLICAL NOTES I MADE FOLLOWING MY SITUATION. MY PASTOR LED ME TO MOST OF THESE!
This is pretty clear! If you are a Christian, your character, values and life are based on Biblical foundations. It is who you are. How can you successfully share life with a non-believer without compromising your beliefs and values in God?
Christ cherished and loved and nurtured the church (believers). He lovingly cared for them, never dishonored them or unjustly punished them. In fact, He gave His life for them, out of love. At no time did He beat them into honoring Him, or seek to derive selfish pleasure from their pain. The husband is to be submitted to God. The second part of this refers back to treating others as you would want to be treated. Does the husband want to be ridiculed, beaten and demeaned? Probably not, so therefore he is instructed to treat his wife as he would wish to be treated, with honor, love and tenderness.
Verse 18 is often taken out of context and used as an excuse and [as] justification for abusive and uncaring treatment of the wife. But, the very next verse is QUITE straight forward: “LOVE YOUR WIVES AND NEVER TREAT THEM HARSHLY.” IT DOESN’T GET MUCH CLEARER THAN THAT! A wife submits to her husband with love, honor and trust, as the husband submits to God in the same manner. Submission requires trust and love and belief, to the Lord and to each other. SUBMISSION IS NOT SUBJECTION. It is done willingly!
Verse 10 is often used to coerce couples into remaining married despite the situation. A marriage between two believers should be based on the same foundational truths and a shared value system. But what if one of the partners is in sin and obviously is not following God? Elsewhere in the Bible adultery is given as a reason for divorce. A spouse who beats their partner, is a drunk, curses, lies, swears and is violent shows that they does not have the Holy Spirit within them. Their Christianity is false, they are wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Christian partner is to do their best, by example, behavior and prayer to bring the other to God, BUT, as Paul stated, this was not a direct command from God. I do not believe that God meant for one spouse to remain in a dangerous situation when it was clear that the partner was not going to change their behavior or their beliefs.
Verse 15 further clarifies that if the unbeliever wishes to leave the marriage, the believer is no longer bound to them. That person left despite God’s direction and the partner’s best efforts….left of their own choice against God’s will. The Christian spouse will not be held accountable before God for the other’s wrong choices (free will). The statement “For God has called you to live in peace” pretty well sums it up! We are to live for God, in peace and love and we cannot do that in an abusive marriage, nor are we called upon to give up our lives in useless pursuits for evil people.
[Paragraph break added to enhance readability. Editors.]
Joey – that is a really wonderful use of the Scriptures and I can see why those verses helped you, and will help others. Your explanation of biblical headship and submission is right on — submission, not subjection. Yes! I particularly noticed your final sentence —
This is wisdom, hard-earned I bet. Over and over we are told to keep on keeping on chasing after, loving, being merciful….etc., evil, unrepentant people. Useless pursuits is exactly what this is.
I think we would all do well as Christians to go through even the 4 Gospels and take a close look at how many people Jesus Himself left to themselves. He didn’t run after them. THEY had to follow Him. Yes, He seeks His people and calls them, and if they are His sheep they hear His voice and follow Him. But those who will not hear and will not follow, He does not pursue. So, why do we? Why should the wife or husband of a wicked, evil, abusive spouse spend 30, 40 or more years pleading, praying, chasing after — when Christ Himself does not do that? And yet, I fear, that is exactly what abuse victims are being told by their fellow Christians. How things change when suddenly the shoe is on the other foot and one of them suddenly finds themselves the victim of abuse!