No-Divorce-For-Abuse Positions are Self-Destructive
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.
As we continue to maintain our position in this blog that God does indeed permit abuse victims to divorce their abuser, we have already heard the accusations against us of “sloppy scholarship,” and demands for us to “engage” our opponents in debate over the nuances of this verse or that passage. For the most part, we do not believe we need to, nor that we should. Let me explain why.
Here is a person — a theologian, a pastor, a counselor — who teaches that God does not permit divorce for abuse. Others teach that God does not permit divorce for any reason at all. Ever. And they press these views upon their flocks. They cite this verse and that verse, they talk about the nuances of this Greek verb or that Hebrew noun. They loudly demand that we must prove them wrong. “Show us from the Word of God!” is their cry.
Now, sometimes that is the thing to do. At one point or another we turn to the Scriptures and study them closely ourselves — and we have done so. But many times, we simply refuse to do this with these opponents. Why? 1) Because it does no good. They won’t hear. 2) The Lord Jesus refused to do so many times when He was challenged by the Pharisees. I will give you some examples in a moment, but first –let me tell you what I believe is all we need to do with these people:
- Ask them to define and describe “abuse” for us. Almost none of them will get this right.
- Describe in detail a typical story of 20 or 30 years of abuse in a marriage. Let’s say, for instance, we conclude it with the account of Katherina Allen who, along with her two daughters, was shot by her “husband” recently in Ohio. Let’s say Katherina survived.
- Now, ask our opponents if Katherina has the right before God to divorce this devilish man.
- Ask them again, because most likely there will be some hemming and hawing. “Do you maintain that this woman has a right to divorce this man?”
- If the answer is “No, she does not” – then this discussion is over. “Neither will I answer you” is our response. Case closed.
And why is the debate over? Because the no-divorce-for-abuse position is, in the end, self-destructive. It implodes upon itself because it leads to ludicrous conclusions that even un-regenerate people with even a dose of common sense realize are insane.
Examples from Jesus:
Mark 7:5-9 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” (6) And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; (7) in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (8) You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.” (9) And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition!
See it? Jesus did not run to engagement with the specific issue they questioned him on. No, he took them right to the heart of the matter which was their real problem. They were hypocrites. They worshiped their own traditions above the Word of God. Is everyone who disagrees with us on this subject a hypocrite? No. Some are simply ignorant of the nature of abuse and they have embraced long-standing and erroneous positions that they were taught. Others, as they load heavy burdens onto the backs of their people and refuse to raise a finger to help them carry that load — loads they would never carry themselves — certainly do fall into the class of the hypocrite. Sorry — if the shoe fits….
And again, Jesus takes his questioners somewhere they had no idea He would lead them –
Matthew 22:24-29 saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies having no children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up children for his brother.’ (25) Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. (26) So too the second and third, down to the seventh. (27) After them all, the woman died. (28) In the resurrection, therefore, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her.” (29) But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.
You see, Jesus took them to the greater issues, which they ignored. Here is another prime example:
Matthew 12:2-7 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” (3) He said to them, “Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him: (4) how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? (5) Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? (6) I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. (7) And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.
Understand? This is what is required when we have people come to us, insist that we answer their question and prove their position wrong. We need to realize that we have the higher ground and that is where we need to stand. The greater thing. God desires mercy, and not sacrifice. Go and learn this because in your ignorance you are condemning the guiltless.