The following lectures / sermons are given by Pastor David Dykstra, Pastor of Grace Covenant Baptist Church in Willis, Texas. David is a long time member of ARBCA, the association of Reformed Baptist Churches that Christ Reformation Church in Tillamook is a member of. I am beginning to be much encouraged by the response of our association churches to this whole issue of abuse, divorce, remarriage, and all the related issues. As Pastor Dykstra mentions in his lecture on the fallacy of the so-called permanence view of marriage, we know of no church in ARBCA that would discipline someone who divorced for reason of abuse (which is desertion).
UPDATE — written by Barbara Roberts, 22nd May 2019.
David Dykstra and ARBCA (the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America) is now known to have covered up the crimes of Tom Chantry. Tom Chantry is now in jail having been convicted on multiple counts of assaulting and molesting children. David Dykstra is one of the leaders of ARBCA who helped cover up Chantry’s crimes.
I do NOT recommend anyone trust David Dystra as a pastor or church leader. The same goes for any churches that are still associated with ARBCA.
However, I do think it is worth reading or listening to Dykstra’s research into the London Confession and how it did not contain a paragraph about divorce. I think his findings on that are a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of the doctrine of divorce.
If you want to find out more about ARBCA, Tom Chantry and David Dykstra, search at Todd Wilhelm’s blog Thou Art The Man and Brent Detwiler’s blog brentdetwiler.com
End of Update.
I should also make note here that Pastor Dykstra pointed out to me that in my book, A Cry for Justice [Affiliate link], I said that the London Confession of Faith allows for divorce for adultery and desertion. That is not correct. The London Confession actually has no section on divorce or remarriage. Ps Dykstra’s sermon The Puritan Confessions on Divorce and Remarriage explains why. If I ever am able to get revisions and corrections made in future printings of my book I will correct that point as well. Many thanks to Pastor Dykstra for pointing that out.
Here are Pastor Dykstra’s lectures / sermons on Divorce.
The Puritan Confessions on Divorce & Remarriage — discusses why the London Confession (the confession of Reformed Baptists) did not include the section on divorce and remarriage which the Westminster Confession included.
Divorce & Remarriage under the Sinai Covenant — Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Exodus 21:7-11
Divorce and Remarriage Under the Prophets — Jeremiah 3:1-10, Malachi 2:13-16
That Thorny Issue of Divorce — Luke 16:18, Matthew 5:31-32
Thoughts on the Permanence View of Marriage — Matthew 19 — this sermon strongly criticizes the permanence view
Divorce & Remarriage under Christ and The Apostles, part 1 — Matthew 19 continued, 1 Corinthians 7
Abuse IS Desertion — Paul’s directive to those in mixed marriages in 1 Corinthians 7[ on Sermon Audio this sermon is titled: Divorce & Remarriage under Christ and The Apostles, part 2]
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.
17 thoughts on “Pastor David Dykstra on Marriage and Divorce”
Thank you so much for referring us to Pastor Dykstra’s sermons. What a wonderful addition to your sermons and book. His explanation of these documents and historical background is very important for us to know in our quest for truth and discerning God’s leading. [Editors’ note added August, 2019: Dykstra is to be abhorred for defending convicted child abuser Tom Chantry.]
wow this is awesome! PTL!!
Thanks for this, Jeff.
I just listened to the one on the permanence view and I have a question. Does anyone know where that view came from since the Catholic teaching of marriage as a sacrament was rejected? How did this permanence idea find its way back into the churches?
I don’t know the history of the position, but I do know that it results from wooden literalism and the ignoring of context in biblical interpretation. It seems to find fertile soil in patriarchal churches. Perhaps all the emphasis on focus on the family over the past few decades caused an over-deification of marriage too?
Carl Laney’s book The Divorce Myth pretty much takes a Permanence View position. But that’s not to say he was the first one to argue it in the modern world.
I suspect that the Permanence View is a view that will perennially spring up just as weeds germinate easily and take over good arable land. All it takes is some wooden / Pharisaic thinking, with a good sprinkle of abuser-entitlement thinking thrown in because of the hidden desire (in some of the view’s proponents at least) to control their spouses and keep them in bondage.
Sadly, until Instone-Brewer explained what Jesus and his listeners meant by the phrase “the Any Matter divorce’ (Matthew 19 & Matthew 5) there was always going to be great difficulty in understanding and harmonizing all the texts on divorce. And with such difficulty, there are many possible ways that interpreters can and have fallen into the cracks in the road. Cracks that almost inevitably lead to black-hole-chasms for victims of abuse.
Some of the Puritan theologians arrived at a correct understanding of 1 Cor. 7 allowing divorce for domestic abuse, but their correct understanding did not gain unanimous acceptance. It’s easy to speculate about why they could not win everyone over to their view: when there are abusers in the ranks of the theologians and leaders, as there probably always are and have been, it is not possible to get them to agree with the truth because they will always fight against relinquishing their ‘rights’.
So my guess is that the Permanence View has sprung up and been lavishly fertilized over and over again in the history of Christendom, mostly due to the push-back of abusers and their (witting or unwitting) allies.
It is also good to remember that the love of money is at the root of every kind of evil, and the murky origin(s) of the Permanence View of marriage is probably no exception to that rule.
I have done quite a bit of reading of the puritans and it seems that this view may have been patted down hard with those men, and the churches today are accepting it and bringing it back to life, if it was ever dead to begin with. Not all of the puritans agreed on it, but there were some pretty staunch supporters of the permanence view and some of the words we hear today, are nothing more than the words of the prior staunch supporters.
Anon. what do you mean “patted down hard”? I am not familiar with that expression. Maybe that’s because I’m an Aussie.
It means the same as making it solid or firm, as if to make something strong. Imagine dirt being put down, one layer upon another, and then patting it down to make it firm. It becomes solid, but doesn’t mean it still cannot be broken up. I hope I am using the term rightly!
Thanks. That makes sense.
If that’s true then that would be an absolute shame because Dykstra points out a quote by John Owen where Owen says all the churches confess that Christ does allow divorce for porneo/adultery. Dykstra refers to this quote in his sermon on Matthew 19, in which he deals with Elliff and Baucham, and also in his sermon on the Puritans. In his sermon on the Puritans he talks about the original confessions and says there were sections in them affirming God does allow for divorce for both adultery and abandonment and it sounds like they included what we would call abuse in their definition of abandonment. I can’t quote them, but I think he did in his sermon. [Editors’ note added August, 2019: Dykstra is to be abhorred for defending convicted child abuser Tom Chantry.]
This is the Owen quote:
If the innocent party upon a divorce be not set at liberty then 1) he is deprived of his right by the sin of another, which is against the law of nature. And so every wicked woman hath it in her power to deprise her husband of his natural right, and 2) the divorce in case of adultery pointed by our Savior to the innocent person to make use of, as all confess, for his liberty, advantage, and relief. But on supposition that he may not marry, it would prove a snare and a yolk unto him. For if here on he hath not the gift of continency, he is exposed to sin and judgment. Emphasis Dykstra’s.
He says there wasn’t unanimous agreement about whether abuse constituted abandonment but there was agreement that the permanence view of no divorce, no remarriage for any reason was wrong.
Maybe later Puritans wanted to resurrect the permanence view for some reason? And then I wonder if that was before or after those sections were removed from the confessions.
Good points BIT.
As a compulsive re-teller and re-stater of other people’s good ideas, I’m going to have a go at re-writing Owen’s words in modern English and changing the gender of the innocent party.
If the innocent party in a divorce is not set at liberty then
1) she is deprived of her right by the sin of another, which is against the law of nature. And so every wicked man has it in his power to deprive his wife of her natural right, and
2) in cases of adultery, our Savior indicated that the innocent spouse may divorce the adulterous spouse, as all confess, for her liberty, advantage, and relief. But if we suppose that the innocent spouse may not marry again, divorce would prove a snare and a yolk to her, for if she does not possess the gift of continency (self-restraint or abstinence, especially in regard to sexual activity; temperance; moderation) she is exposed to sin and judgment.
BIT – now to be honest, I am confused as to which puritan group it was, but I think it may have been the earlier puritans who believed that, the later puritans stated a differing view, but today we have those who hold to the earlier puritan view and those who hold to the later puritan view. It also could be a mix within both groups, as I don’t think they all agreed on the reasons for divorce. I will look back at some info I have and see if I can figure it out. I am wondering if one of them isn’t Gouge. I have his book on domesticity, so I will look.
I’ll await witn interest the results of your research, Anon.
I just updated this post by adding another sermon to the bottom of the list:-
Abuse IS Desertion — Paul’s directive to those in mixed marriages in 1 Corinthians 7 [on Sermon Audio this sermon is titled: Divorce & Remarriage under Christ and The Apostles, part 2] which Ps Dykstra preached yesterday. [Editors’ note added August, 2019: Dykstra is to be abhorred for defending convicted child abuser Tom Chantry.]
Maybe this point has been brought up here before…but it seems to me that the Permanence View is just one heretical step away from the Celestial Marriage of the Mormons, a grossly anti-biblical practice.
A Mormon woman cannot obtain “salvation” unless she is in a permanent (even after death) marriage. I’m not an expert in that religion, but I believe that a Mormon husband acts as a type of savior to the wife, so it’s imperative to her soul that she remains in the marriage at all costs.
The Permanence View seems to echo this in a subtle way. If a woman chooses to escape from an abusive husband and dissolve the marriage, she often gets shunned and rejected by the church. It’s as if her marriage status (and submission) is THE sanctifying condition, not her individual faith.
absolutely! I have often been unnerved by the similarities between patriarchal Christianity and the Mormons. There is definitely an over-emphasis on the family and marriage, to the point where it eclipses Jesus. And marriage becomes a salvation issue !
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