Index by Subject

Running Ahead of God

“Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).

Most people are aware of the fact that Jonah tried to run away from God. He could not do so, and neither can we. We are also aware of Saul of Tarsus resisting God, or kicking “against the goads” (Acts 9:5). In this article, I want to consider some lessons we need to learn from those who made mistakes in the “opposite direction” – those who tried to run ahead of God. To put it another way, we will consider the accounts of those who presumed to know what God wanted and acted on their own to carry it out. Continue reading » Running Ahead of God

Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman

And the brethren say, Amen! Not so fast, fellas, the ladies are listening.

Perhaps to the fairer sex, the proverb will sound rather sexist and one-sided. Surely it would not be among the proverbs that King Lemuel’s mother taught him. Indeed, it is no more pleasant for a woman to dwell in a house with a contentious man, but the proverb is what it is. There are two sides to it, of course, that might just redeem it in feminine minds.

Continue reading » Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, Than in a house shared with a contentious woman


The statistics are overwhelming. Sexual addiction is such a subtle epidemic that some writers are comparing it to the more prominent and palatable obesity problem among Americans, just to attract some satisfactory level of attention.

Pornography, nothing new in itself, is fueling this randy epidemic, driving the “Triple-A engine” on the Information Superhighway. Internet delivery of sexual titillation and amusement is affordable, anonymous and accessible at the speed of light. It is ubiquitous, gender-neutral, age-defying, and ugly. It is exploitative and lucrative for its purveyors, and it is only getting worse as technology continues to develop. “The Internet is an essentially gnostic, disembodied medium: You can dispense ideas through it, but not sacraments, community, or embodiment” (Byassee 2008, 15).

Continue reading » Cyberporn

The Ten Commandments of Marriage: Introduction

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2).

This is a very familiar passage to most of us, as it is the statement the Lord made immediately before giving Moses the Ten Commandments.  These statutes and judgments were given to the children of Israel so they could “learn them and be careful to observe them” (Deut. 5:1).

Why was it so important for Israel to understand these commandments?  First of all, they were God’s special people. “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deut. 14:2).  It was also important for them to keep these commandments because God promised them prolonged days in the land that He had given them (Deut. 4:40).  And as Solomon concluded the book of Ecclesiastes, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all” (Eccl. 12:13).

Continue reading » The Ten Commandments of Marriage: Introduction

An Addendum

The assertion of this series of articles has been that the Lord’s teaching regarding marriage and divorce is straightforward, and easily understood.  Simply stated, it is:  One man, One woman, for a lifetime.

Further, it is asserted that the one exception to this rule regarding the lifetime nature of the marriage commitment is found when a spouse is guilty of the treachery of fornication.  In this case, Jesus declared the innocent’s right to remarry.  Note again the passage from Matthew 19, “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (vs. 9).

The right to remarry is extended only to the innocent party, and only in the one case of fornication.  Otherwise, Paul indicated that the marriage bond is a lifetime commitment. (cf. Romans 7:2).

Continue reading » An Addendum

Fellowship and Controversy

When error is taught religiously, history shows people to be divided into one of three groups.  First, there are those who advocate the error.  Second, there are those who combat the error.  And, finally, there are those who seek to minimize the differences, thus compromising with the error.  Issues in the past 150 years have shown this to be true with the battles over the instrument in worship, and with the institutional issues that troubled brethren in the middle of the last century.

The same circumstance can be seen in the division of brethren over what the Bible teaches concerning marriage and divorce.   There are the false teachers who advocate the error, the faithful brethren who combat the error, and a sizable number of brethren who seek to maintain fellowship with those who teach the error.  As is commonly the case, the compromisers have turned to the 14th chapter of Romans, abusing that text in an attempt to justify their compromise with the false teacher.

Continue reading » Fellowship and Controversy

A Race to the Courthouse

In the January 2001 issue of Watchman Magazine, Terence Sheridan and Harry Osborne debated the following proposition under the heading, “Biblical Putting Away.”

The scriptures teach that biblical putting away is synonymous with the civil procedure for divorce in one’s respective society and that the innocent one must secure that civil divorce in order to have a right to remarry.

Sheridan affirmed the proposition, while Osborne denied it.  In defense of his proposition, Sheridan used an example of a woman who was innocent of fornication, and divorced by her adulterous mate.  In order for said woman to have complied with God’s law as per Matthew 19:9, Sheridan stated:

“She needed to (1) renounce her bond with Bob; (2) comply with civil law; and (3) obtain civil recognition that the marriage is no longer functioning. She needed to do this before Bob did. She needed to do it for the cause of Bob’s fornication if she wanted to remarry.” (First affirmative).

While we do not deny that the woman is required by God’s law to renounce her bond to the man, and comply with civil law, the claim that she had to initiate the procedure and obtain the civil judgment is a position which cannot be sustained by the scriptures.  Osborne did a good job of answering Sheridan’s contentions, and those interested are encouraged to visit the Watchman site, and read the entire debate.  Note the following scriptural and logical fallacies to the position:

Continue reading » A Race to the Courthouse

Mental Divorce

To define the “mental divorce” position, we refer to both formal propositions, and a common scenario.  First, the proposition, which some who advocate the position have signed:

The scriptures teach that the innocent person (free of fornication) who has been put away without God’s or his/her approval and against whom adultery has been committed may remarry.

Next, the scenario, which establishes the contention in plain language:

When Jack puts away Jill for a reason other than fornication, though he obtains a civil divorce, they are not really divorced.  It is called divorce only “accomodatively”.  If Jack then remarries another woman, he is guilty of adultery.  So, he can now be mentally put away by Jill.  This is the real divorce.  Now, Jill is free to remarry.

Both the above proposition and the scenario is used by Donnie Rader in his book, Divorce and Remarriage:  What Does the Text Say, page 74.  Rader states, “Actually this is an effort by some to justify remarriage following an unlawful divorce.”

Continue reading » Mental Divorce

Defining and Redefining Adultery

Sophistry is defined by Webster as “deceptively subtle reasoning or argumentation”.  That which is sophistic is “plausible but fallacious”.  Another term used for fallacious reasoning or argumentation is specious.  Webster defines specious as, “having a false look of truth or genuineness”.

The arguments that false teachers forward in their attempts to skirt the teaching of God on the subject of Divorce and Remarriage can rightfully be described as sophistic or specious.  They have a deceptive allure and a surface plausibility, but are not legitimate treatments of God’s word.  One of the most obvious examples of such argumentation is the attempt to redefine the term “adultery” as it is used in Matthew 19:9.

Continue reading » Defining and Redefining Adultery

Are Non-Christian’s Amenable?

Are Non-Christians Amenable to Jesus’ Teaching
on Divorce and Remarriage?

There are myriad positions taken regarding who has the right to divorce and remarry. Most of these positions do violence to the rule established in this series, one man, one woman, for a lifetime. It may be an attempt to bring in more “exceptions” in addition to the one specified by Jesus in Matthew 19:9, fornication. It may be speculation regarding what happens after the bond is broken. It may be a blatant denial of plain teaching. One of these positions contends that while the rule is valid, it applies only to those who are Christians.

Precisely stated, the contention is that non-Christians are not amenable to the law of Christ. The word amenable simply means “responsible to.” That is, that Jesus teaching on divorce and remarriage simply does not apply to those who are not Christians.

Continue reading » Are Non-Christian’s Amenable?

Paul’s Instructions Regarding Marriage: (1 Corinthians 7)

In establishing the Lord’s law regarding marriage, (one man, one woman, for a lifetime), and noting the one exception to that law (fornication), the question is sometimes asked, “What about what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 7:15?”

The verse reads, “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.” Some have taken this to be a privilege granted by Paul to the Christian to remarry if she (or he) is deserted by her/his unbelieving mate.  The “Pauline Privilege” has been added to the Lord’s “exception” of Matthew 19:9 as another just reason for divorce and remarriage.

Further, some have gone so far as to say that verses 27-28 of the passage, “But even if you do marry, you have not sinned”, allow for anyone who has had a divorce to remarry without guilt.  It should be recognized that such manipulations of the text are motivated by a desire to set aside the restrictive teaching of our Lord in his ministry on earth, and are the byproducts of ungodly influences in our day and culture.  The text does not justify these conclusions.  In fact, not only would these contradict Jesus’ teaching, but they make other statements by Paul in the same context nonsensical.

Continue reading » Paul’s Instructions Regarding Marriage: (1 Corinthians 7)

The Exception to the Rule: Fornication

The Bible clearly states that marriage is a lifetime commitment. When a man marries a woman, they “become one flesh”, and Jesus said, “Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6). Further, Paul wrote, “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband” (Romans 7:2). Obviously, God considers marriage to be a lifetime commitment, the contract of marriage ending only at the death of a spouse.

Just as clearly as God revealed his law concerning marriage (one man, one woman, for a lifetime), he also revealed an exception to that law. In other words, there is one scriptural reason for an individual to divorce his or her mate. The rule and exception are clearly stated by Jesus in Matthew 19:9, “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (KJV). (exception in bold face). God clearly states that the sole grounds for divorce that will allow for a new marriage is fornication. There are many false doctrines that have been advocated in opposition to this truth. There are some difficult questions that arise due to individual circumstances that arise from time to time in marriages. However, the teaching of Jesus is so clear as to be self-evident. Individuals who divorce for any cause other than fornication have no right to remarry. To so do results in adultery.

Continue reading » The Exception to the Rule: Fornication

The Rule: One Man, One Woman, For A Lifetime

Article Series:  Let None Deal Treacherously

(An Examination of God’s Law, and the error of men, on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage)

Even a casual observer can see that the society in which we live has a cavalier attitude toward the marriage bond.  Marriages are entered into, and dissolved, with alarming frequency.  Recently, the National Center for Health released a report which found that 43% of first marriages end in separation or divorce within 15 years. (“First marriage  dissolution, divorce, and remarriage: United States,” Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics; No. 323. Hyattsville MD: National Center for Health Statistics: 2 1).  The study was based upon a nationally representative sample of women between the ages of 15 and 44.  The Census Bureau has a higher number, 50%, based upon numbers from the 2000 census.

At present, every state in the union has some form of “no-fault” divorce.  In other words, there is no need for any party to prove fault in the breakdown of the marriage relationship.  All that is needed is a willingness to cite irreconcilable differences, and the divorce is granted.

Continue reading » The Rule: One Man, One Woman, For A Lifetime

Divorce: An Abomination to God

“‘For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,’ Says the LORD of hosts. ‘Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously'” (Malachi 2:16).

Popular culture, left unchecked, can have an insidious influence upon the local church. This has always been so. The Corinthians, jaded by a culture of immorality and ungodliness, allowed a sexually immoral person to remain undisciplined. They rightly were admonished by Paul. “Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6). Paul instructed Titus to sharply rebuke the Christians on the isle of Crete, lest they be influenced to sin by their culture. “One of them, a prophet of their own, said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.’ This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:12-13).

Continue reading » Divorce: An Abomination to God

Love and Submission: Ephesians 5

Southern Baptists, at their 1998 convention in Salt Lake City, adopted an addition to their statement of faith, which states:

“…A husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He has the God-given responsibility to provide for, to protect and to lead his family. A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ.”

Those who are familiar with the fifth chapter of Ephesians recognize this statement as a simple paraphrase of the Apostle’s words. Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (vs. 24-25). What is amazing is the response of many to the adoption of the phrase. It indicates how distorted a view our world has to the concept of submission, and to the marriage relationship as designed by God. Note the following:

Continue reading » Love and Submission: Ephesians 5

The Design and Purpose of Marriage

In Genesis chapter two, history records God’s words regarding the partnership of men and women. “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him'” (vs. 18). In commenting on that partnership, the inspired writer records, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (vs. 24). Jesus, commenting on this passage of scripture, said, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6).

These passages describe the divine origin of the marriage relationship, and express its sensible design. Despite man’s attempts over the years to modify the parameters of the marriage relationship, the principle established by scripture of one man for one woman for a lifetime will remain the foundation of humankind’s existence. Assaults upon the foundation of the home invariably have a deleterious effect upon societies, and have even contributed to the decline and fall of nations.

Continue reading » The Design and Purpose of Marriage

The Establishment & Duration of Marriage

The home was established by God at the dawn of time. It is the most ancient of all God ordained institutions. In his conversation with the Pharisees in Matthew 19, Jesus said:

“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (verses 4-6).

Jesus’ reference to the Genesis account of God’s creative work, and his subsequent divine commentary on that event, establish two very important points for our consideration. First, the institution of marriage has a divine mandate. Second, the parameters of the institution, as ordained by God, include a lifetime commitment to the arrangement.

Continue reading » The Establishment & Duration of Marriage

In the Steps of the Savior: Is The Alien Sinner Amenable to the Gospel?

For almost two centuries, Baptist preachers debating baptism with brethren have raised the case of a man on the way to be baptized who was killed by a falling tree limb. Their attempt was to blunt the clarity of Bible teaching on baptism by an appeal to emotion. They asked, "Do you Campbellites want to send this good man to hell just because he hasn’t been dipped in water yet?" Many people have fallen for the emotional appeal and have remained in error.

For 50 years, institutional brethren have focused on the support of "orphans’ homes" as the our sole difference. Why? The emotional issue of "caring for children" keeps focus off their unauthorized practice and rational consideration of scriptural principles involved. In debates, they placed a sack of fertilizer and a baby bottle on the stage, then asked, "Why will you antis take money out of the treasury to buy this fertilizer for the church lawn, but won’t take a dollar out of the treasury to feed a poor, starving baby?" Many brethren acted on emotion and left the truth. In the end, there was division in countless churches.

Continue reading » In the Steps of the Savior: Is The Alien Sinner Amenable to the Gospel?

Sermon Transcript (Harry Pickup, Sr., 1958)


(Transcribed by Stan Cox)

…And at the same time to be able to fully realize and comprehend our own individual obligations in this matter. This is a subject, or course, which is somewhat controversial. And it should not be because the teachings on the question are very simple. And I assure you my friends, that I know nothing about any situation in the lives of any of you or any other people in this area, that would in any manner mitigate my thinking or my presentation of this material. Of course, as you know, the subject for our consideration this night is Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage. And I want to try and present this material in such a way that everyone will know what I am talking about. Now frequently in discussing matters with individuals I find myself in a position of trying to be clear, and at the same time be as brief as possible. I’m sure that you understand that this subject is such that in answering all of the various parts of the subject that I have assigned to me this evening, that it will be necessary for me to be as comprehensive as I can in including all of the things that we feel will be helpful to our understanding of this matter. Continue reading » Sermon Transcript (Harry Pickup, Sr., 1958)

Sermon Transcript (Harry Payne, Sr., 1958)

MDR(Transcribed by Stan Cox)

…Don’t be alarmed by this formidable array of books, I just wanted to make reference to one or two of them in connection with one word, and not to every word that I speak. Brother Dennis Reed’s introduction might have indicated that I was going to speak to you in Greek, but that will not be the case. I don’t do that, we don’t teach it from that viewpoint. Certainly we want to… the young men who study that language, or study the Bible from any viewpoint at Florida Christian College, to be interested in going out and preaching that simply as it is written. To emphasize the language above the speaking of it in our own language, and the teaching of it as we can read it in our English bible, would certainly be amiss. But we do believe that it helps greatly to understand, at least particular words, or particular difficult constructions, which may or may not be, in a given version in the English language, translated correctly. Continue reading » Sermon Transcript (Harry Payne, Sr., 1958)