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Voddie Baucham: The Permanence View of Marriage

Posted by Job on November 20, 2009

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14 Responses to “Voddie Baucham: The Permanence View of Marriage”

  1. Rob said

    An excellent message, but not always an easy principle to follow.

  2. Cindy said

    I am very confused as to what this pastor believes “permanence” means? To me, if a marriage is PERMANENT, it means it endures LIFELONG. That means any relationship entered into prior to that time(the death of one of the spouses) is not sanctioned nor honored by God. Such relationships are ADULTERY–they are NOT blessed as this pastor says. In actuality, we may HOPE this to be the case, but nowhere in NT scripture will we find where the relationship GOD calls adultery is EVER blessed. By definition adultery means: having UNLAWFUL relations with someone who is not your spouse or with someone who belongs to another. True repentance then would mean to STOP COMMITTING adultery with the unlawful person—the one God did not join you to.

    He keeps saying Jesus is referring to “case law” in Mt. 5:32. Not true. The reality is that in Deut. 24:1-4 we NEVER find a divorced woman charged with ADULTERY for marrying a different man, nor do we see the 2nd husband charged with adultery for marrying a divorced woman. The practice of divorce was TOLERATED, Jesus said, it was not EVER given by God to man. As a matter of fact, when we go on to Mt. 19, Mk. 10, we find Jesus bringing us back NOT to Mosaic laws, but to CREATION marriage—1 man+1woman=1 flesh—-for life.

    Just as two homosexuals marrying is not a “marriage” in the sight of God despite man’s laws saying it IS a marriage, so it is with adultery. Just because man has legalized it’s practice, now calling it, “marriage”, if God did not join the two as One flesh, but instead calls the participants ADULTERERS, they are not “married” in His sight.

    • Cindy
      It might be helpful to you to know that these Permanence Teachers are not advocating indissoluble marriage (as others do) but rather indissoluble one-flesh union. These Pastors acknowledge that scripture affirms the dissolution of marriage. For example, Paul instructs those DIVORCED to reconcile or remain UNMARRIED (1 Cor. 7:11). They don’t try to alter biblical precedents so therefore they reject both indissoluble marriage and the divorce to repent supposition.

      Secondly, comparing homosexual marriage to heterosexual marriage isn’t comparing apples to apples. We both agree I think that God would never acknowledge homosexual marriage. But I believe you can see that God did see second marriages as binding. Because Jesus said nothing about changing the binding that occurred in a second marriage they refuse to suppose He did.

  3. J said

    I tend to Agree with Cindy. I think Voddie Baucham delivers his message with a lot of care and compassion for those in the situation. I appreciate that. But in my blog about him

    I explain where I have a hard time with the way he handles this whole problem I believe he creates. Near the end of his sermon, he describes why he thinks a remarriage should stay in tact, though it was entered wrongly. His logic seems to break down, and I give my reasons for it in the above post, if anyone is interested.

    The difficulty seems to be that the greek (especially in Luke) seems to be quite clearly saying, ““Whoever puts away his wife, and enters into a continuous and ongoing state of marriage with another, commits adultery continuously: and whoever enters into a continuous and ongoing state of marriage with her that is put away from her husband commits adultery continuously.” (Check it out yourself.)

    So if this is the case, how do you reconcile staying in it? Is the greater sin making the new vow I never should have made, or continuously violating the first one.

    Just my two cents, here and on my page about it…

    God bless

  4. J said

    Sorry. That last part should have read…

    “Is the greater sin BREAKING (not ‘making’)…”

    That is, “is the greater sin breaking the new vow I never should have made, or continuously violating the first one I should have always been keeping?


  5. Neal Doster said

    The New Testament text in which Jesus addresses divorce does not address a solution after the fact of remarriage. It doesn’t even prohibit remarriage but rather exposes it’s consequence. It revealed to the Pharisees and the nation of Israel that their obstinacy had always been sinful. That was Jesus’ point, for hundreds of years God’s people had been adulterating the covenant of marriage. The only solution He gives is, to stay married. He doesn’t compel those divorced to remain single, those remarried to divorce. It is imperative that the Church and for Christians in general not to offer solutions that add to God’s Word. We mustn’t impress upon the conscience of those who come to realizes their sin that they are to follow a new formula for forgiveness.

  6. Neal;

    While I would agree with your position, which would be to stay in the current marriage, I would caution you against postulating that the reason those on the “return to the original spouse” are saying to do so is following “a new formula for forgiveness.” I think your intention is good in suggesting the new marriage be honored. But to say that those of the persuasion that the new marriage be resolved and the first on be reinstated are proposing this idea to obtain forgiveness is a misrepresentation of the reason for advocating this action.

    Those who hold to the idea that the second adulterous marriage needs to be terminated are not saying this needs to be done to get forgiveness; they are saying it needs to be done as an act of repentance from a sinful lifestyle. There is a difference. You are taking your understanding of the obligations of the new covenant abrogating the obligations of the first, and suggesting that those who do not see it this way are trying to earn their salvation by works or something. That is unfair.

    Their view is more along the line that if I stole a car from someone, I can’t simply ask Jesus to forgive me for stealing the car and then not deal with the reality that I am still holding onto a car that belongs to its original owner. Surely you can see that in the case of the car theft, it needs to be returned; confession without repentance in that case means nothing. Those on the other side of this debate see this issue the same way – in their eyes, they see that for a guy to marry a divorced woman is to take a woman who is STILL (in God’s eyes) another man’s wife. To them, it is not a matter of earning salvation, but of acting truly saved by repenting of their sin, no matter the cost.

    To accuse them of “following a new formula for forgiveness” is very unfair; in their minds, they are simply following the original formula – faith without works is a dead faith. Be careful not to filter their motives through your grid of what is right and wrong.

    • Greetings in the name of the Lord
      I haven’t been to this web site in quite some time. I didn’t realize someone had responded to my commit. Me and Knowinghisways have corresponded on another site and know each others position well, so he don’t need me to respond to him. But I would like to respond for those who might read these comments.

      First of all I’m not questioning their motives, I can concede they are sincere. The truth remains that the positions contradict thus at lease one is deception. Secondly when scripture doesn’t advocate a certain remedy and someone says that the remarried should follow their solution then the formula has changed. In other words, if in the bible the opposite is true to the formula now being purposed for repentance/forgiveness then the formula has changed. Now about your analogy.

      Your analogy of ownership is a good one because that is what is at the heart of my disagreement with the indissoluble marriage theory. Is the woman who remarries still the wife of her former husband? Or is she the wife of her present husband? Using your analogy who’s the rightful owner AFTER remarriage? There are two ways to answer these question. 1) Look to scriptural precedence and follow what it teaches, or 2) disregard biblical precedence and imagine divorce and remarriage didn’t actually occur.

      The problem with your analogy and how it differs form what Jesus taught is, the car is not being stole. The original owner follows the legal procedure and transfers ownership to another. The second owner is now the rightful owner. The first owner was under moral duty to keep the car because of a transcending principle of one ownership. Having followed the proper procedure that allows for the resell of a car, the second owner now owns the car but shares in the violation of the principle.

      Before we ever make any application to the Church, we should understand the relevance of the Lord’s words to whom it was directed. What was Jesus revealing to the Pharisees about releasing their wives to marry another? Was His purpose to say (in opposition to Old Testament reality) that ownership was not transferable? Or was it much more simple than that, was Jesus teaching that something allotted for yields unfaithfulness to a higher principle?

      Analogously, Jesus never said to return the car to it’s original owner to set things right (in violation of His Father’s law, Deut. 24:1-4) but merely said stop selling your car to another.

  7. J

    I agree with you and disagree with the way Voddie Baucham handles this particular issue – the present vs aorist tense of the greek is something not handled well from what I heard him say in that sermon. Voddie suggests that it is not an ongoing condition of adultery, but is a single act of adultery. He seems to come to this conclusion logically, in spite of the greek of the text. The greek is pretty clear (with the exception of Matt 5:32) that Jesus is indicating it is entering a state of being in adultery, rather than describing it (aorist) as a single act of adultery.

    Perhaps if you read the passages in the synoptic gospels – especially Matthew 19 and Mark 10 (I see Luke as a separate issue altogether because its context seems to require it) speaking of adultery not primarily as the offence of sex outside of marriage, but as violation of a covenant, you can understand that the present tense may fit better – the covenant being violated is not something that can be unviolated. If I commit an act of murder, I am a murderer. If I commit an act of adultery (by divorcing, and thereby violating the covenant) I am an adulterer. I commit (aorist) and therefore I am (present).

    The hard question you need to ask before unwinding a second marriage to try to reinstate the first one is this: even if the second one was always “adulterous”, and the first one the one I should have made work, does putting the first one back together undo the fact that in divorcing and marrying another, I committed adultery in breaking the covenant (aorist) and am therefore a covenant breaker (present)?

    I know it’s a lot of “ifs.” If Jesus was saying the second one is adultery because of the “sex outside of marriage” then you have to ask yourself why Moses would have allowed it. If Jesus was saying the second one is adultery because a covenant has been violated, it’s easier to see that he wasn’t changing the law, but speaking to reality of what was (and had always been) occurring when the divorce and remarriage were taking place.

    Hope that helps (though I can see it might take a couple kicks at the can to communicate it well).

  8. Mona said

    I totally agree with Cindy. I really hope that we start to humble ourselves and repent. What the church has done with this gift of God which is so fundamental, portraying Christ’s unity with His bride, is just so awful. True repentance is turning away from sin no matter what the cost. As a homosexual couple cannot continue with their relationship after coming to Christ, those is a 2nd, 3rd etc marriage have to live theirs if their previous spouse is alive.

    It becomes so contradictory to state that marriage covenant is permanent until death, and at the same time tell people to continue in their other “marriage” if they have already remarried. Does he mean that the person is connected to 2 covenants now? or that the new “covenant” has broken the first one? It is just so contradictory.

    It is all about honouring God and having our conciseness clear with Him. One day we all have to answer Him.


    • Mona
      I’m grateful for your defense of marriage but at the same time you seem to suggest that others should end.

      The only solution Jesus admonishes for the adultery that occurs in remarriage is a “before the fact” solution, stop divorcing. Because Christians desire to correct the offense of adultery we have the propensity to add an “after the fact” solution. Our addition is “justified” because we cannot understand that remarriage was both binding and adulterous. We can see that is was binding in the Old Testament therefore we must change the textual fact of who Christ was speaking. This is because if He is revealing the consequence of divorce for them, then that fact would be retrospective. That would mean that divorce and remarriage has always caused adultery. If so, then remarriage is binding even though it causes adultery.
      If we come to the realization that divorce caused adultery for remarriage in the Old Testament (being the very point Jesus is making) then we have to concede that the binding that occurred then has not changed. There is nothing in scripture that teaches that there is a difference in adultery from Old Testament to New Testament. This would mean that everything Jesus said was consistent with Old Testament reality. Remarriage was a binding marriage but in process violated God’s design of keeping covenant until death.
      The ensuing adultery is not primarily caused by remarriage, remarriage is not inherently adulterous. Remarriage causes adultery because it is preceded by divorce. Divorce terminates a relationship that was to be exclusive until death. It is this moral responsibility of sole devotion that’s transgressed in remarriage. Jesus was not saying that “remarriage is no longer a binding marriage” as some suggest, but rather that it is a violation of God’s creative design for exclusive devotion until death. Remarriage (in this case) violates exclusive obligation specifically because divorce stages it to do so.

      If this is true it would mean that the case is lost for dissolving second marriages. It is a remedy for which we have no biblical precedents to justify. Jesus merely taught that if in ones lifetime an individual replaces their spouse with another, they violate the principle of being faithful to each the other until death. This is why He said that they commit adultery against the other (Mark 10:11). One spouse was successful in replacing the other but in process violated God’s will for marriage. No new remedy to correct the adultery is offered by Jesus. Everything He said is consistent with the Old Testament and by rule of interpretation we have no reason to believe anything morally or legally changed.
      Conversely, Indissoluble Marriage is a supposition forged by those who believe that Jesus abrogated the Old Testament divorce concession. This addendum allows them to read into Christ motive, thus they teach that divorce and remarriage is no longer possible. Voddie and the writer’s of the Permanence View (book) on the other hand should be commended for not altering facts. If we don’t make a difference between Old Testament and New Testament reality we are left with this conclusion: Remarriage is a binding marriage in which the obligation to it is not changed by the fact that divorce preceded it nor that adultery resulted from it.
      If this is true, then teaching that second marriages should end is another violation of God’s will and an additional sin.

      • Mona Strindberg said

        Thanks for your response Neil. I don’t know whether I understand your point. Do you mean than any second marriage shouldn’t be dissolved even the once that started with adultery? Is there a difference if someone’s husband commited adultery, the couple divorced & the wife later on remarried? Or does it apply to all remarriages for instance even then remarriage of the husband who cheated, with the other woman? blessings

        • Grace to you, Mona
          Mona it’s not a simple thing to answer your questions. That’s because they are several views on divorce and remarriage that answers those questions differently. Add to that individual opinion and you end up talking pass each other. All Christian views recognize the sacredness of marriage. They tend to disagree about what to instruct after a marriage has been desecrated by divorce and remarriage. For me I want a view that follows the information as it unfolded biblically/historically. That way I can reason with scripture and stay oriented about why and what’s being said later. The chronological flow will be from Moses to Jesus to Paul, being the main one’s who spoke to this issue. I want a view that interprets Old Testament passages on this issue in harmony with New Testament passages. Conversely I reject a view that teaches that Moses’ instruction was wrong and Jesus’ instruction was right. That’s not how I interpret scripture. For me I interpret all three men as in agreement with each other as they all were inspired by the Holy Spirit.
          The first main passage that speaks to the concession of divorce is found in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Keep in mind that Moses here is giving instruction in regard to remarriage and that He prohibits the reconciliation of the first marriage. This seems to be in contradiction to your opinion. That’s because Moses recognizes the second marriage as a binding marriage and forbids the first one from being reconstituted. Notice Mona that Moses does not instruct the woman to leave her husband or marriage in order to remedy the defilement caused by the second marriage.
          Secondly, not only did Moses respond to the concession of divorce, Jesus also spoke to that very concession (Matthew 19, Mark 10). If you retain the fact that Jesus is speaking about the concession of divorce and He says nothing to contradict Moses, you end up with a view that is congruous. Conversely many suppose Jesus had a different motive and opposed Moses. Therefore their suppositions are read into scripture and are a part of how they instruct individuals that are divorced and remarried.
          Because I see Moses, Jesus and Paul in agreement, I do not believe repentance requires the second marriage to be broken. The old expression “two wrongs want make a right” is appropriate here. Nowhere in scripture does it teach that a family should be broken in order to express repentance. There is no New Testament instruction that contradicts Moses’ instruction, but there are several supposition that do so. Supposition is the reason why Christians disagree on this issue and supposition is what alters the biblical response to divorce and remarriage.

          As I said earlier, marriage is a sacred institution. Moses, Jesus and Paul all saw that remarriage (exceptions excluded) caused the first to be desecrated. You should understand Deuteronomy 24:1-4 to be in harmony with the teachings of Christ. Jesus is affirming the same conclusion, being, adultery and defilement result in violating the sacred institution of marriage through divorce. God prohibited a man in the Patriarchal society of Israel from reclaiming a former wife when he was the cause of her defilement by releasing her to marry another man. To a degree this prohibition was punitive in nature. The legislation would cause a man to be more thoughtful and less hasty before pursuing a divorce as well as imposing restrictions on him for not honoring this sacred union. Reconciliation was not allowed after remarriage caused his former wife to be defiled. Desecrating that which is consecrated to be exclusive adulterates and defiles those involved.
          If you retain all the biblical facts and see the big picture, you will see the simultaneous truth that remarriage imposed moral obligation on those who entered it, while violating the exclusivity of the first. Violating the exclusivity of marriage is what causes the defilement of Deut. 24 and the adultery of Jesus’ teaching. What you want find anywhere in scripture is for those remarried to violate their responsibility to each other. Remarriage causes both a transgression and a transference of responsibility to one’s present spouse. God bless you with His perspective.

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