Abuse and Marriage: Christ is Greater Than Matrimony
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.
(Col 1:15-20 ESV) 15 ¶ He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
I have launched a preaching series through the book of Colossians on Sunday mornings. The saints at Colossae were being subjected to some crazy stuff about angels and asceticism and weird philosophies that promised “deeper” knowledge. Paul, writing most likely from a Roman prison, wrote to them after Ephaphras came and told him what was going on back home. Time to put an end to that nonsense. So Paul wrote this letter and he told them about Christ. About the absolute supremacy of Christ. How Christ is God and pre-eminent over all things (that’s what “firstborn” means, not “first-created”). He said that Christ actually was the agent of creation and even more – that you just can’t find anything greater or deeper than Christ.
(Col 2:2-3 ESV) to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. So you don’t have to look anyplace else. If Christians would have listened to this one little four-chaptered epistle, Mormonism, Jehovahs Witnesses, Christian Science, Swedenborgianism, classical Adventism, and yes, Roman Catholicism – would never have gotten off the ground. They all began with someone having some “vision” and promising something “more” than Christ. It’s all drivel and nonsense.
(Col 2:8-9 ESV) 8 ¶ See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,
(Col 2:18-19 ESV) 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
Alright then, what does all of this have to do with abuse and marriage and divorce? Just this: that we must not permit anything to come between us and an increasing knowledge of and relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself told us so –
(Mat 10:34-39 ESV) 34 ¶ “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
(Mat 19:28-30 ESV) 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first.
Christ DOES call us to leave our most intimate relationships when doing so is required if we are to follow Him. Is it wrong for a mother to abandon her son or daughter? Under normal circumstances, yes. But if choosing them means not following Christ, then we must choose Christ every time. Jesus is not encouraging child abandonment, but is simply emphasizing how we must always put Him first.
Which brings us to marriage. Marriage has been wrongly exalted in the Christian church. But Christ is superior to marriage. We know this by deduction, but we also know it by His own words –
(Mat 22:29-30 ESV) 29 ¶ But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.
When we are with Christ in the New Heavens and New Earth, there will be no marriage. Why? Because we will no longer be alone. We, Christ’s bride, will be perfectly fulfilled because we will see Him face to face. And He will be so beautiful and glorious, we will find that He really is true food and true drink. Perfect satisfaction.
Today, marriage has been exalted to a position of pre-eminence. Abusive spouses are said to be more important than Christ. Christ is calling – “come and follow Me. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” But pastors and churches are telling these victims, “no! You must not! You have to stay here! Marriage and family, that’s what being a Christian is all about! That is what the church is all about. Marriage and family are the deeper things.”
And that is just plain idolatry.