Apr 282010
 

Matthew Paul Turner’s book Hear No Evil brought back memories of numerous things I’ve seen and experienced during my several-year foray into the evangelical Christian cultural bubble.

Hear No Evil is his recollections of a series of personal episodes from childhood through the present day that will resonate for many who grew up in the Christian subculture, or for those like me who were immersed in it after becoming Christians.

Here’s a sampler of what Turner, and I, experienced:

  • being told that contemporary Christian music is of the devil
  • accountability groups
  • encountering Christians who were convinced that the Holy Spirit told them everything to say and everything to do – including bizarre, nonsensical things (Turner’s example involved a man who stopped his sermon to squat down and waddle and cluck like a duck. Thankfully, neither the Holy Spirit nor the impressions I mistook for the Spirit ever told me to do this).
  • meeting some rather peculiar people (like Turner did when he managed a Christian coffeehouse).

Now I can’t relate to his love of Amy Grant, and my experience with the Christian music industry never went beyond helping set up for a Carman concert years ago here in town (as well as attending concerts, and buying hundreds of cassettes and CDs). But I think I share somewhat with Turner a love for good Christian music, and I enjoyed reading CCM Magazine (including when he was its editor several years back).

The most important chapter, in my mind, was an episode during Turner’s editorship of CCM. Turner was told by his publisher that Turner must go to Amy Grant and demand she apologize for her divorce three years earlier from Gary Chapman (that chapter was excerpted on Patrol Magazine’s website). The publisher is portrayed as quite arrogant and convinced of his utter correctness on what to him was a black and white issue, and rather willing to twist the facts to fit his agenda.

Turner of course asks the question in a more humble (and apologetic) way, but the article he submits with her answer turns out not to be the one that runs in the magazine.

It shows a snippet of the dark side of the Christian music industry and indeed of the church, of men who would rather twist the truth to accomplish moralistic aims than to address complex life situations in truth and with a lot of grace for people in the process of becoming like their Savior.

Thankfully, such outrageous behavior is rare in Hear No Evil, as Turner’s experiences with the various idiosyncracies of the Christian world are more likely to make one laugh, either at his experiences or how they compare to the readers’ own recollections.

Turner may be not quite as conservative as some would like, but he’s rooted in the Christian world, and sometimes it does a soul good to laugh at the quirkiness of it.

Hear No Evil is available through Amazon (paper and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paper and Nook) and christianbook.com.

  No Responses to “Book review: Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner”

  1. I’ll have to check this out.

    I had also been in the Xian “industry”, and honestly, some of the most shady characters reside there.

    I’m fighting with a very large distributor now, who I’ve been trying to collect on a hefty invoice for the past 6 months.

    All my secular accounts….pay! 🙁

  2. I read that story of Matthew Paul Turner’s interview with Amy Grant. It was a horrible position for the publisher to put Matthew into.

    I don’t know Amy personally, but have many friends who do. She is said to be a very godly, humble, loving and kind person.

  3. From http://www.patrolmag.com/arts/1976/matthew-paul-turner-hear-no-evil“

    There’s no apology! That’s what I’m talking about. I’m not printing this trash.”

    I would point out, even if Amy Grant did apologize, weep, wear sack cloth and ashes, there is no possibility she would ever be forgiven. The apology phase of the torture is just that, to get the upper hand, then the constant digging for more, the only way she would be forgiven was if it served the apologetic, then she could write a book and go on the circuit. The apology is that slight glimmer of hope one could be restored, forgiven etc. But the stick is waiting, and the light, well its the evangelical train heading right at you. Amy did the right thing. Now this is not every church, organization etc, not even most, just those in the corporation.

    I had this dream, I was in front of a group of Christians and I wanted to repent, I started to state my failings, a brother put his arm around my shoulder, another wept with me, another started to pray. The cleansing was flowing and the healing etc. Then I woke up, in my dream, the eyes were rolling, the deep sigh of there he goes again were audible. After the meeting the well meaning brother came up and rebuked me for being emotionalistic, the breaking of bread is not the place to repent.

  4. I agree with you Brian. What is this business of apologizing to man anyway? And you are correct in the fact that having Amy apologize wouldn’t have accomplish a thing.

    Did Amy owe anyone an apology for going through a heartbreaking divorce? People who judged her should be the ones to apologize to her and to God for being such hypocrites.

    The dream you had of being in the middle of brothers (and sisters) being prayed for, restored through the healing touch of love is so touching and they do happen all over the body of Christ. I have been witness to it. Pray that more souls become like our Lords.

  5. oden I have seen it to, but I think I am just so bitter at times that I cant “receive” it. Honestly demands I point that out. I hope you all have a nice day.

  6. I have always enjoyed Amy’s music. I have a question. What is the differences between Todd Bentley’s divorce and Amy Grants?

    Is it the package? Tattoos verse a pretty smile?

    As I remember it she left her husband for another man.
    Is there any difference?

    What do the scriptures say? Am I missing something?

  7. Brian and Oden…I honestly would just like a truthful apology…an honest recognition that what was done to us was heinous and wrong…followed by a change of behavior (in my situation).

    I don’t know Amy Grant’s situation…and what you both say may be true in her case…dunno.

    But…I’ll leave it at that and not get going again…gotta keep moving forward.

  8. “It seems to me that PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST ADAMANTLY AGAINST PREMARITAL SEX HAVE EXPERIENCED SOME KIND OF PAIN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. Like the people who say absolutely NO to rock & roll. Chances are it has something to do with a past sadness…” (Amy Grant, interview, Ladies Home Journal, December 1985, p. 210).
    “I’m a singer, not a preacher. I’M NOT LOOKING TO CONVERT ANYBODY. I feel people come to hear my music, not to hear me talk” (Amy Grant, St. Petersburg Times, Florida, April 7, 1984, p. 4).
    “I don’t feel like it’s my mission in life to preach to people. I feel like it’s just my gift to communicate life as I see it” (Amy Grant, Family Weekly, August 11, 1985).
    “I’ve become disillusioned, and that’s why my lyrics are less idealistic. I’m realizing that the world isn’t a perfect place, and GOD CAN’T SOLVE EVERYONE’S PROBLEMS” (Amy Grant, interview, Family Circle, September 9, 1986, p. 24).
    “If an audience feels I’ve walked away from God because I no longer talk about Him onstage, then that’s their loss” (Amy Grant, Ibid.).
    “I get tired of Christians trying to tell me what being a Christian is. I get tired of that kind of Christianity. … People asking, ‘Have you had your quiet time today?’ We have such a regimented idea of what Christianity is” (Amy Grant, 1980, cited by Bob Millard, Amy Grant, p. 107).
    “That’s one reason I started writing songs, because I DIDN’T WANT TO IMPOSE MY RELIGION ON ANYONE. This way the audience can sit back and draw its own conclusions. … My art and the feeling I am trying to communicate through the songs, it would be silly for me to say, this is who God is; I DON’T HAVE ANY ANSWERS” (Amy Grant, interview, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Oct. 21, 1984).
    “CHRISTIANS CAN BE SEXY. What I’m doing is a good thing” (Amy Grant, interview, People, July 15, 1991).
    [The following is Amy’s own description of her actions before a crowd of 30,000 young people in Kissimmee, Florida, in 1978.] “We’re sitting there, I do my sound check. All these girls are in halter tops, great figures, everybody’s wearing nothing, we’re in Floriday [her way of pronouncing Florida]. I’m eighteen, and I know what they’re thinking. I said, ‘I really want to know Jesus and I really want to love him except … my hormones are on ten, and I see you all … sitting out there getting chummy and praying together — and WE’RE HORNY. MY FEELING IS, WHY FAKE IT? I’m not trying to be gross, I’m saying let’s be honest about what’s coming down’” (Bob Millard, Amy Grant, 1986, p. 103).

  9. Jesus came for the sick…not the well (and we’re all sick).

    Amy Grant owes me nothing.

    But she, like me, owes God everything.

    I come up short on that debt everyday.

    The Word instructs us how to live.

    Until we are in heaven we will not completely heed his direction.

    Thank God gave His people the Holy Spirit.

    Conviction of the heart is ultimately His job.

    Yes we are to exhort one another

    But may we never forget the GREAT command to love one another.

  10. Rick…she sounds human and attached to the same flesh I’m attached to…to me.

    Musicians are not Pastor/Elders…unless they are in a leadership position at a church? I framed it as a question…because I’m not entirely sure.

    Sounds like she’s “in process” like all of us…and is pretty blunt about it.

    I’d rather have a person be like her and be honest with her “in process” struggling…then be a like some pastors I’ve been involved with in my life…who have their public discourse nice and tidy…while in private…they abuse physically in one case or want to have sex with me in another case.

  11. Amy’s statements don’t shake my Faith…like the other two examples I shared have.

  12. Rick, we’re fortunate to have men like you who rush back and recover all of our sins when God casts them into the sea of forgetfulness so we can be held accountable for all of our sins forevermore. 🙄

  13. Gotta say though…Rick’s quotes are fair…she is a public figure and has made her living as a “Christian Musician”…questioning her Salvation is one thing…pointing out areas of concern and challenging her as a public figure to reconsider some of her rhetoric…and get clarification on her beliefs…is another.

  14. Those quotes are 30-40 years old, and most of them are fine.

    Geez. give me a break.

  15. And just for clarification, there is no difference (that I know of) between Amy’s divorce and Todd’s divorce.

    Todd’ fals teaching, false prophecy, and false healings were the problem. The divorce was just a smokescreen.

  16. I find that being a public figure (on a tremendously much smaller scale) is a big burden. All the expectations, the fickleness, the never-ending microscope is a lot to bear. I sometimes would prefer to go to Costco in another town because I always bump into a church person there, and even if I feel like heck or am in a hurry, I’ve got to stop and meet all their pastor expectations.

    Sometimes when the pressure gets really strong, you finally say stuff that, taken on its own sounds really disturbing…but your just venting your frustration towards people who’ve just leaned into your life a bit too much.

    Not saying what finally comes out is right, and I’ve had to apologize, but c’mon folks…let’s get real. Enough of putting people on pedestals only to shooting BBs at them until they finally lose their cool.

  17. 1980. 1986. 1985. 1991.

    I disagree that God can’t solve everyone’s problems. I also disagree about dredging up old quotes and presenting them as if they reflect one’s current thinking.

  18. I wonder if what Amy meant was that God DOESN’T solve all our problems here on earth.

    Maybe early on she was saying that He would (which a lot of rah-rah Christian artists are prone to do), but reallized that wasn’t true.

  19. I’ll say it again, I like Amy’s music. I was posing a question. What is the difference between Todd’s divorce and Amy’s. What does the scripture say about divorce. Does she get a pass because she is becoming. I was of the understanding that we were to remain single or be reunited to our former spouse, should divorce occur.

    I am recalling how Todd Bentley was handled here and I was just asking, how is Amy any different when it comes to divorce.

    Fact : She left her husband. Fact: She married Vince Gill. Fact : As I understand scripture, she is living in adultery. I don’t see anywhere in scripture where we get to dump our spouce apart from them committing adultrey.

    BrianD: I am sure you were speaking in love as you made your snarky committ.

    I was using her own words to show her mind set on things. As for past sins, is it a past sin if you are committing it daily? Where does it point out in scripture that it is ok to continue in the same sin as long as you as God to forgive you, once? Did I misread what Jesus said to Mary after he forgave her or was He just suggesting she do better on that adultery thing?

    Just so you are clear on this, her husband Gary doesn’t get a free ride, either.

  20. Josh @16 –
    From what little I know of it, there was a big difference between Todd Bentley’s & Amy Grant’s divorce. First of all, Todd was in adultery. Secondly, there were other issues at stake with Amy Grant. See Pastor/Pastor’s comment above for clarification.

  21. Let’s be honest though: Does God solve everyone’s problems? Is He going to solve everyone’s problems?

    Who knows what she meant, or what she was even asked, or what she said in the next sentence. I probably said some dumb things in 1986 too. Considering I was in 5th grade.

  22. BrianD makes a good point.

    I’m in process…and statements about “things” is evolving…as the Holy Spirit works in me and corrects me.

    Rick makes some good points…and his question about Scriptural interpretation regarding divorce is an interesting one.

    I’m learning to stay out of Theology because I am not studied enough to comment responsibly…so, what do the Theologians and the Pastors on PP have to say about divorce? Is the Bible clear on this issue? Is there consensus or are there differing interpretations?

    My mom divorced my dad because of adultery…so she and my step-dad are not in sin…there is consensus on this…correct?

    What about spousal abuse? Are there any other issues where divorce is Biblical?

  23. Tim – Didn’t mean to trash Amy, I know nothing of her or her situation, nor would I pass judgement in that way. My point was that Todd’s divorce was the least of his problems…which leads me to …

    Rick – Were people on this blog upset abut Todd’s divorce, or his false teachings. Big difference.

  24. Rick I don’t hate you or dislike you. But why drudge up 30 year old comments unless they fit your agenda? Could you not find more recent quotes from this decade to make your case?

    Is it possible she’s changed over the course of 20, 30 years?

    And which sin is it she keeps on committing?

  25. Believe –
    I believe Scripture gives us 3 “allowances” for divorce. None of which are absolutely mandated – I’ve seen marriages ripped apart by adultery be healed & made stronger in the grace of God.

    (1) Adultery (Matt 19:9 & elsewhere)
    (2) Abandonment by a non-believer (1 Cor 7:15)
    (3) Abuse (also 1 Cor 7:15…honing in on “God has called us to peace.”)

    It’s the last case (abuse) in which it’s much harder to find an absolute specific verse that outlines the justification for divorce. But I believe the general principle that guides it is laid throughout the New Testament (loving one another as Christ loved us).

  26. Hmmm…my last comment is in moderation. I didn’t have any html links in there. Weird.

  27. Tim, I also think you can go the ‘if the unbeliever be PLEASED TO DWELL with the believer’ – such is not the case with abuse.

    If the guy claims to be a believer, then you can church discipline him, the end result (if no repentance) is to ‘let him be unto you as an unbeliever’ – and then you are back at point one above.

    Added to the general vibe of NT teaching as you state, I think we are on solid ground in allowing divorce in the case of true abuse.

  28. So if I lust, and repent, then lust again, I negate my own forgiveness?

    ….should have been posted here not on the Sweet thread.

    For the record I trust pastor, pastor on this matter.

  29. BrianD,

    She is living in adultery. Scripture is clear. At least in my mind. Others no doubt have a different view.

    As to the 30 year old quotes, I was showing her mind set before she got her divorce. I find it rather worldly. Which is probably how she came to the decision to put away her husband.

    I know their are many who jump on the band wagon of ” God has forgiven me and put my sins away as far as the east is from the west.”

    So who are you to judge me?

    I am not judging her. I am asking a question. Is the sin any different because the the wrapping is more pleasing to look upon?

    Tim,

    I don’t think 1 cor. 7:15 opens the door to remarriage. It says to remain in the condition God has assigned us to. {verse17}. The same applies to the abuse deal.

  30. Rick, are you certain there was no affair? Really? Were you there?

  31. Rick you seem very confident in yourself and your conclusions. Including ones mindset based on a collection of decades old quotations.

    Bentley’s divorce was wrong. So since you believe judging is proper, judge it against Scripture. Judge the Grant/Chapman divorce against Scripture not against Todd Bentley.

  32. Rick, the point in an allowable divorce is the allowance to remarry. I don’t know how Scripture could be used to ALLOW a divroce, but NOT allow a remarriage.

    Surely you aren’t saying that it is wrong for a wife to divorce a physically abusive huisband?

  33. Does it honestly matter? None of us know the situation, except what’s been revealed to us. Maybe Gary cheated. Maybe Amy did. Maybe they were never legally married. Maybe Gary is a woman. What went on years ago in their relationship is between them and God. I am sure both sinned in some way. The really cool thing is that all sin was paid for at the cross…even divorce, remarriage, or adultery.

  34. Rick –
    I didn’t address the issue of remarriage; I addressed divorce.

  35. It would seem, I guess from many of the committs that repentance is only saying I did wrong and forgive me. So if I say I am sorry I get to do the same thing over and over again. So if I am living in a homosexual relationship with no desire to end it, that’s ok as long as I say I’m sorry. Clean slate. I could be wrong but didn’t God say repent and turn from your sin? How do you turn from a condition of adultery if you are living in it daily?

    I am just asking? What is the difference between Todd dumping his wife and Amy dumping her husband.

    The point of scripture is to enlighten, is it not?

    Luke 16:18 The Lord’s words not mine. Mark 10:11,12 again.

  36. There’s only one sin that can’t be forgiven…blasphemy of the Holy Spirit…refusing to surrender to Christ by the Spirit’s call.

    Divorce sucks. Divorce destroys.

    Divorce happens.

    I do everything in my power to keep couples together.

    They don’t always make it.

    They are not outside the bounds of Christ’s love and forgiveness.

    The book I’ve found most helpful as a pastor is Jay Adams, “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible.”

    It holds to a extremely high view of marriage, while reminding the reader that the grace flood reaches even those who have failed in marriage.

  37. Rick –
    My understanding of the difference is that Amy didn’t want to be continually beat up. Hence Pastor/Pastor’s term “survival.”

    I don’t want to go beyond that because I don’t want to delve into gossip. However, I don’t want to let your unfounded assertion stand unchallenged, either.

  38. Tim and Piney have spoken well…as did BrianD before.

  39. If there is abuse, you don’t just automatically divorce, separate and try to work it out biblically. If they want to leave, the counseling, praying and reading of the word together will either make them leave quicker, or it’ll heal.

    We see marital problems as all ,”Either, Or things”, where the bible doesn’t say they are.

  40. Bob, not sure anyone was saying differently. I explained the Biblical steps and reasoning in my post. But the point is that abuse IS an allowable grounds for divorce.

  41. somebody back up the way on this thread referred to a divorce as ‘dumping’ – that might describe what Bentley did, but it is not a synonym for divorce IMO

    …as a matter of fact, tho, it might be a good description of a ‘sinful’ sundering of a marriage

  42. Another Voice,

    I don’t see abuse as a grounds for divorce. I see adultery as grounds for divorce. I don’t believe a woman or a man has to stay in the same house of an abuser.

    However, I have watched divorce explode in the Christian churches in my life time.

    My mother was mentally ill and there were some hard moments to experience over the course of my growing up but my father stayed with her and supported her until the day he passed away.

    He was abused verbally and we all were abused verbally and many times phyiscally. We didn’t divorce her as our mother either.

    I just think today we use some of the flimiest excuses to run away from anything that is uncomfortable.

    The point I was making is that if someone gets divorced other than on the grounds of adultery they are actively committing adultery and doing so willing.

    I believe the scriptures bear this out. That is if you read them as written and not try to create gray areas so one can find a loophole to bail out of unpleasant situation.

    Where in scripture does it say if things go bad and it doesn’t make you feel good then it is ok to just leave the situation?

    The issue isn’t divorce the issue is remarrying and entering into a relationship that is called adultery.

    I am sorry if that offends or hurts someone fellings but is it better to just let someone destroy their eterney rather than call sin, sin?

  43. Rick,

    Where does it say that remarrying after divorce is adultery?

    In Mark 10, the verb is in the subjunctive mood, my friend.

    So in other words, it is more accurate to translate; “Anyone who divorces his wife IN ORDER to marry another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband IN ORDER to marry another commits adultery”.

    See, Rick, that is what the Pharisees were doing. Divorcing because they had someone else already lined up. And that is the adultery of the heart Jesus was referring to…

  44. Yeah….that’s what I thought.

  45. PTI, little stinker. 🙁 The first comment was good enough.

  46. I believe PTI has it correct…Michael is PTI’s an accurate interpretation in your opinion? How do the other PP pastors weigh in?

  47. Divorce today, as it was in Moses’ day – had legal purposes. Rick’s history is quite unique, as I think we all recognize that MOST abuse issues are the man beating on the woman (and often the kids too) often with alcohol abuse involved. The wife is the weaker vessel, and this shows itself in society by male against female violence far more than the other. I also include child molestation in this discussion.

    As has been posted here in the past, often a woman’s life is in mortal danger from her abusive husband if she separates. To advise a woman who is beaten to separate and try to work things out is quite naive in most cases. She will be even more badly beaten in the future, and maybe killed. You don’t ‘separate’ unless you have counted the cost and are ready to go the whole way. One reason why few women do.

    Nobody is suggesting that divorce is the first option, anymore than one should immediately look to divorce when adultery occurs. Nor am I talking about ‘verbal’ abuse which I know can be horrible, but I also know is open to a lot of subjective interpretation. But when a man crosses that line and actually BEATS his wife, well, as a man I can just say that there are some things one never does, and that includes hitting a woman.

    The idea that a woman would escape secretly from the man who beats her to live the rest of her life underground, but then NOT be allowed by God to procure the legal protections and support divorce would give her family, as well as the possibility to remarry someone who could be the Dad for her kids – is a mistake.

    I made the Biblical case above so I’m not going to repeat it. However, this is ‘rubber meets the road’ stuff for some of us pastors (in fact MOST if not ALL of the pastors here).

    One more thing – there are a lot of women who are in prison for killling their abusive and/or child molesting husbands. Often they felt they had no alternative. I wonder how many of them were told by their church when they tried to get help ‘go home and submit to your husband.’

  48. I was a police officer and saw too many wives beaten and battered by their husbands. Call me a pagan if you want, but if a husband is going to use his wife as a punching bag I say to the wife get out now!

    I am a pastor and I love and teach the scriptures but couldn’t live with myself if I encouraged a woman to stay with such a man and he abused her and or killed her just because the “bible says”. Don’t think Jesus would send her back into that kind of situation either.

    Sorry…this is where the “Protect and Serve” comes out of me.

  49. Glad I stayed out of this thread!

  50. Glad I stayed out of this thread! PP is stressing me out today. 🙂

  51. Right on, Steve.

    Sorry, Bob!

  52. If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 1 Cor. 7:12-13
    —————————————————————————————-
    We all know a Christian married to an unbeliever who a) has prayed for years for their salvation only to not get an answer and b) plays around with the idea of getting a divorce to marry a believer (maybe because they argue that God wouldn’t want them to be ‘unhappy’)

    Obviously, Paul’s words are quite clear. No divorce.

    Pleased (syneudokeō) to dwell implies far more than the jerk not wanting to find his own place, and so he stays under the same roof.

    I will go to my death counseling abused women, on the basis of this Scripture’s authority, that an abusive or molesting husband is not ‘pleased’ to dwell.

    If the Lord corrects me in glory on my interpretation, so be it. I’m sure it won’t be the only passage He has to do so.

    The alternative is what Hopkins states, and having to appear before the Lord with the blood of another on my hands because of a warped view on submission by the wife.

  53. …in agreement with AV and Steve…sending Bob a virtual beer so he can calm that stress a little 🙂

    ooooo
    I bud I
    I I
    I____I

  54. …didn’t turn out…but you get the idea 🙂

  55. Got it Believe 😉

    I get to travel to Tahoe this weekend to hear Kent Hughes. Some great teaching will ease the stress. 🙂

    I’m sure Kent will pass the ODM’s test for acceptability, but I wouldn’t give a hoot (keeping it clean) if they didn’t. 🙂

  56. hey Bob (((sisterly hugs)))

  57. Back at you Dusty! Hope you and Buster can make it to Efest!

  58. Well since I am not a bible scholar and my Greek and Hebrew are terribly wanting, I have to rely on what is printed in the Bible to come to conclusions as to what God meant when He said what He said. Thank God that He gave us one who could help us to understand Him without having to attend years of schooling. The Holy Spirit.

    Here is actually what was said. ” Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committteth adultery: AND whosoever marreth her that is put away from Her husband committeth adultery.”

    Now here we have a poor woman who was put away by a lusting husband and if she remarries, the man she remarries is committing adultery. Not once but every time he lays with her.

    The Pharisees were preverting the scriptures and the prophets.

    I believe the scriptures mention that God hates divorce. Also Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts.

    So has God stop hating divorce? If so why did Paul even bring it up?

    I mentioned my childhood to bring up the point that sometimes we are forced into very uncomfortable situations not of our choosing.

    Some of the events that happen to me would have put my mother in jail today.
    I had nowhere to run to. I had to learn how to become invisible.

    It caused deep scars. Should I have cursed my father for allowing those things to continue?

    All the pain and suffering that was experienced brought me to a place where I met Jesus.

    I am not a pastor but I have seen pastors send women back to abusive husbands. I have also seen pastors who would encourage divorce a the drop of a hat. The divorce rates today in the church are equal to the divorce rates in the world. So somebody isn’t doing a very good job at counselling families in crisis.

    Again, it is about remarring. Adultery becomes a permenant condition outside of the instructions laid out in the scriptures.

    Instead of hardness of the heart, we have introduced sloppy agape.

  59. Rick,

    You obviously don’t want to hear any opinion other than your own.

    Your exegesis has been corrected and your legalism is showing.

    I would NEVER send a woman back to an abusive husband…he has broken covenant and unless he repents she should leave him.

    Go argue with yourself…I’m tired of you.

  60. Well since I am not a bible scholar and my Greek and Hebrew are terribly wanting, I have to rely on what is printed in the Bible to come to conclusions as to what God meant when He said what He said. Thank God that He gave us one who could help us to understand Him without having to attend years of schooling. The Holy Spirit.
    ————————————————————————————

    Rick, It is a shame your opening paragraph was written with such a tone, because it frankly takes away from the rest of what you wrote. You have a unique story of longsuffering and grace, and would profit many no doubt.

    Did the Holy Spirit tell you why the enemies of Jesus would ask him that question. Did they tell you about the controversy during Jesus’ day on the subject, and the split it had caused among the Jews. Did the Spirit tell you about Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai, and their respective views of interpretation of what the Mosaic law was teaching. Did the Spirit give you any of the historical, cultural background necessary to make understanding that passage possible.

    Because I am jealous if He did. He sure didn’t for me. I learned from books written by teachers in the Body, who learned from books from other teachers in the Body before them, and so forth.

    There may be a lot of pride found today in scholarship….

    But nothing is more arrogant than claiming the Holy Spirit for one’s personally exclusive interpreter.

    Hours (years) of study, and reliance on the Holy Spirit are not mutually exclusive Rick. They go together for those who want to practice faithful exegesis to the text.

  61. I love this song…I bet any lady would love to have this sang to her. (Buster…hint hint 😉 )
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CYI5bKZMes&feature=related

  62. sang? sung? 😳

  63. Rick

    You are right you are not a bible scholar…I am sure you mean well and I appriciate your desire to be led by scripture but there are many differing opinions and interpretations on the passages you referenced and maybe you should withold your judgment until you’ve had the chance to stare a woman in the eye after her husband shove his fist through it breaking her face

    God hates divorce, and to marry a person without grounds for divorce may be adultery but God can forgive divorce and we sin all the time grieving God. I doubt he would forgive me for sending a woman into danger using the scriptures as you have as justification.

    You seem to think physical abuse of this sort is somehow an easy way out of a marriage. I think you’re confused

  64. Yes, the Bible says God hates divorce. There is of course a context to that verse.

    The Bible ALSO says that God Himself divorced Israel. Jer 3:8

    So…did God hate His own act? Why would God describe His own actions by something sinful? Something He hates in all situations?

    The law is holy, just and good, and yes Jesus said that Moses allowed for divorce because of the hardness of man’s heart…but that does not make the command any LESS holy, just or good.

    God – who knows all, knows that because of the hardness of sinful hearts, it is best to have a divorce. in some situations.

    The discussion then centers on when those situations are allowable.

    Parroting ‘God hates divorce’ is hardly the last word on the subject.

  65. Oops…Hopkins, my last comment was not directed at you in any way.

    We crossed in the posting.

  66. Final word on this, cause I’m riled up.

    I don’t get riled up on whether God chose me, or I chose God.
    I don’t get riled up on pre,post,mid trib or pre,post,amill.
    I have my views, supported by Scripture as I understand it, and so I teach.
    I don’t usually even comment in those threads here.

    But THIS topic is neither philosophical nor futuristic. This is a reality in my pastoral obligations today, now. Just this year, in the first four months, I have had to deal with multiple issues in marriages at our church dealing with abuse in some form to some degree. Cops have been involved, have not been involved, and might become involved, in each specific case. There is no blanket standard or easy answers.

    I am pretty confident that neither Steve nor Michael preaches easy divorce, and I sure don’t. Yet, look at the agreement.

    This is a topic that one might hold back their theological dogmatism until gaining a little greater understanding of the counseling responsibility therein. A pastoral perspective, so to speak.

  67. “Again, it is about remarring. Adultery becomes a permenant condition outside of the instructions laid out in the scriptures.”

    First I am sorry for your pain and I do understand it, but try being a celibate male in the Church, if you are not married by your twenties you are a pervert or you are gay. Personally that is why I wont ever share any “sexual” issues I might have in a faith community, they are usually far more screwed up them myself. Rick if you really want a challenge take up the subject of origins it is rather interesting and I do equate the two because Creation and marriage are connected in the biblical text. Personally I think we lost that fight a hundred years ago but that is me, and I deliver my usual disclaimer I am not a biologist, etc. and I do not mean that to be condescending. Personally if a pastor sends a women back into an abusive situation in marriage, such events should be actionable, and the clown that did it should be sued into oblivion.

  68. Another voice what you suggest would be wonderful, but it causes one problem, it requires time, which is something that, well wont happen. I can actually remember repenting of the time I cost my pastor, about an hour, which was actually three hours to long. Basically if its messy it should be one swept under the rug, kicked out or ignored depending on the situation. The main issue was to avoid a mess, inconvenience, or making the institution look bad. I have not notices such issues in the Gospels of Jesus, but I have found in my Christian life, much of the gospels are inconvenient and troublesome thus, outside of the apologetic, should be ignored.

  69. Rick –
    Yes, God hates divorce. Why wouldn’t He hate it? Divorce (whether biblically justified or not in your interpretation) is always caused by sin. Even in a case in which a divorce might be biblically justified & allowed by God does not mean that God would hate the divorce any less.

    God’s hatred of divorce & His repeated love for His people who suffer are not mutually exclusive concepts.

  70. Tim
    Another great point!

    Sending a woman into a physically harmful situation in the name of God is something the Taliban would do…not Christians

  71. AV…wow, good stuff, IMO.

  72. AV said, “There may be a lot of pride found today in scholarship….
    But nothing is more arrogant than claiming the Holy Spirit for one’s personally exclusive interpreter.
    Hours (years) of study, and reliance on the Holy Spirit are not mutually exclusive Rick. They go together for those who want to practice faithful exegesis to the text.”

    Rick, listen to these guys…don’t let your pride get in the way, like I have on other issues.

    AV makes a great point here (and in his other posts, so does Tim, so does Steve, so does Michael…when you have that kind of consensus from guys who have studied this stuff and dealt with it in real life…we should listen with an open mind and heart…saying this to myself as much as to you).

    Blessings brother…hang in there…don’t go away.

  73. I appreciate what many have said on this thread about divorce. Grace should prevail over judgment when repentance has occurred. My divorce, now 19 years in the past, still haunts me at times. I have stood before the firing squad of judgmental Christians many times over the years. I would be lying if I said it didn’t hurt, but at the same time, its all part of the consequences. I am thankful that God has forgotten what people, including myself, remember.

  74. Rick I am glad you had a good ending to your story, but not every story ends that way…I think yours is unique in that your mom was not mentally aware…

    in most, I think, abusive relationships the abuser is a bully and / or worse…

    Everyone told my mom to go back to my dad…’the kids need their father’….my dad verbally assaulted my mom. he physically assaulted her, he sexually assaulted her….he then sold all of their belongings, took us kids and split…leaving her penniless- with nothing but the cloths on her back -literally and homeless…and childless (yep, he had the docs. render her barren after my brother was born-without her knowledge.)….took her 2 1/2 years to find us….and my ‘dad’ tried to give us up for adoption-he did not want us…we were just another tool to hurt my mom with.

    what lesson did I get out of the ‘stay married at all cost’ theory….the church does not care about women, they are there to protect the men. the church does not care about children… …women are told to stay in the marriage and suck it up and the men are told to get out as fast as possible and move on.

    I thank God for the men here who protect women and children.

  75. Bob S…I love you man (agape and phileo…don’t need any confusion 🙂 )

    If it weren’t for a miracle in my relationship with my wife…I’d be in the same boat with you (though I remember my sin regularly…which is part good in that it makes me vigilant against it…part bad because I am tempted to fall into despair).

    Guilt and shame is not a fruit of the Spirit. You have repented, you are forgiven (saying this to myself also…I struggle with guilt and shame as well as anger…still).

    Sin does have consequences…the devil always switches the price tags. Hopefully some guys on here will learn from our examples…though we are forgiven…there is a lingering pain that is part of the deal we made with the devil.

  76. Dusters makes an excellent point…we need to protect women and children…and the whole “submit” to the husband and father gets way out of line in our Fundamentalist Church Society far too often.

    There is a balance.

    I believe the PP pastors have struck it.

    Willy nilly divorce: No.

    Last Resort due to adultery and/or sexual and/or physical abuse: Yes.

    Will God forgive if somehow the interpretation is incorrect on this non-Salvational issue? Yes.

  77. Hi Believe,

    I like your summary.

    One observation:
    ‘Last Resort due to adultery and/or sexual and/or physical abuse: Yes.’

    Let’s make sure ‘Last Resort’ is defined by the individual (usually, but not always, the woman) involved in the situation. Grace needs to triumph over judgment here. Unless we’ve walked that mile in someone else’s shoes, we’re not in a position to make a judgment about how much someone can take. No two of us are made up alike. And abuse takes a powerful toll — emotionally, financially, and spiritually. I’d rather see someone leave such a situation before it’s not too late — before they reach the end of their report and get really despondent and desperate.

  78. Lute, agreed.

    Also, don’t know if you read my apology a few days ago…wanted to personally apologize to you for being a jerk in the past on here to you. Please forgive me.

  79. Lutheran bring up a good point. Those who are abused are usually, but not always, women. I’ve seen men physically abused as well.

  80. When I was young the community would take abusive men to the woods for “counseling”.

    My father was taken to the woods, tied to a tree, and had a running chain saw leveled at his crotch.

    That was effective in stemming the abuse for a season.
    Unfortunately, they’ve outlawed good counseling and sometimes divorce saves lives and futures.

  81. Believe,

    No apology necessary. Absolution complete because of Christ! Bless you, my brother.

    I apologize too when I I said snarky stuff along the way to you.

  82. I went online yesterday and found several things relating to the AG divorce.

    Some assertions aside, Im not sure the public knows all the details to make a good judgment here.

    Therefore, we should be very careful in making assertions and damning those involved when we don’t know all the details.

    In fact I would say that nome of us have the right to do so any more than we have the right to tell Jennifer Knapp what to do. We aren’t their pastors nor close friends nor even relatives.

  83. I am amazed at how a conversation can start in one place and then end in a place with judgements cast and opinions formed{mine included} away from the original point.

    So far and maybe fairly, I have had it pointed out to me that I am unlearned and in Michael words ” legalistic”. I don’t think you will find in anything I have posted that said I am favor of anyone, man or woman staying in a abusive relationship.

    I only used my own life experience to point out that life can unfair.

    I haven’t discounted what has been said by anyone who has responded.

    I was addressing remarriage.

    Michael, your experience of handling a abusive husband is not much different than some of my Christian brothers who upon learning of a brother’s abuse to his wife, went to his house and slapped him to the floor. The same way he slapped his wife to the floor. He got the message. He still walks in the fellowship and he no longer raises his hands to his wife.

    As for being legalistic, I think I am of the same mind as John Calvin and John Knox as far as divorce and remarriage are concerned.

    I fully understand that poor counsel would be forcing anyone to stay in a relationship that could cause them great harm. I never said that marriage should be preserved at all cost.

    I was trying to address the issue of remarriage and it’s eternal effect on our position in Christ.

    Since the scripture mentions that adulters shall not see the kingdom of God.

    What I do know is the church today has as many divorces as the unchurched. I am quite sure not all of the divorces in the church are do to abusive husbands.

    I thank you all for taking the time to give your best opinions as to how you see divorce and remarrriage.

    To anyone who was brought to anger from anything I may have posted, I apologize.

  84. Rick, yes the threads can take some strange turns. However, they usually are easy to follow and see why they progress as they do. None of us can rewrite history when our own words are still there on the screen. Here is my brief summary.

    I asked if you thought God might allow divorce, but not allow to remarry. I don’t think there is such a case personally.

    Your reply at 5:32 PM was directed to me and began quite clearly as follows:
    “I don’t see abuse as a grounds for divorce. I see adultery as grounds for divorce. I don’t believe a woman or a man has to stay in the same house of an abuser.”

    That’s pretty clear what you think.

    The rest of the post (and others) was pretty defiant. Stuff like ” Where in scripture does it say if things go bad and it doesn’t make you feel good then it is ok to just leave the situation?” or “I am sorry if that offends or hurts someone fellings but is it better to just let someone destroy their eterney rather than call sin, sin?”

    My 7:23 PM directly answered that post. I point out the inconsistency that God would allow for a lifetime separation if necessary, but not the legal benefits to the innocent spouse that comes with a legal divorce. I also pointed out from personal experience in the trenches, as did other pastors, where you might rethink your view. At least investigate how ‘easy’ it is to leave an abusive husband without ending up in the hospital or the morgue.

    No revisionist history please. This is not ‘angels on the head of a pin’ stuff. It’s life or death.

  85. I have a friend who is a Pakistani Muslim (born and raised in England). She married her first cousin which is very common for their culture, even here in the UK. I asked her why so many Pakistani Muslims did this and she told me that this is to protect the women.
    Here is how it works: If a man’s daughter marries his sister’s son and the son is abusing his wife, his uncle (the wife’s father) will go to the husband’s mother (the wife’s father’s sister) and will tell the husband’s mother to make her son stop abusing his wife. If he doesn’t, it would be a “shame” to the family and basically would not be tolerated.

    I just thought that was very interesting.

    After reading this, it reminds me of the Willie Nelson song, “I’m my own Grandpa.” 🙂

  86. If he doesn’t, it would be a “shame” to the family and basically would not be tolerated.
    ————————————————————————–
    How would it not be tolerated? Would they execute him?

    That seems to be the ‘Muslim way’ when shame is brought to the family. Just curious if it would apply here.

    Thanks for sharing that Nonnie. Very interesting.

  87. …marrying first cousins…probably got a little of that up in the hills in these parts…YEEEHHHAAAWWW!!!! 🙂 🙂 (no offense intended to my redneck brothers…just poking a little fun)

  88. AV, no I don’t think men would be executed for for abusing his wife. However, sadly, it is not uncommon here that I read in the paper about Muslim women (young wives and girl friends that end up dead).

    I assumed that my friend meant that the family (same family on both sides of the married couple) would chastise the young man and often there is family business where he makes a living, which is also family run. So basically the abusive husband has to count the cost of losing everything (his parents, family, wife, job) or keep abusing his wife. The cost would probably be too high.

    I just found it fascinating.

    What is also interesting is that within the same inbreeding cultures (living in Britain) the birth defects rate is much higher than the national average. But it is the elephant in the room that no one speaks of.

  89. Thanks Nonnie. I am always eager to learn about Islamic culture. It is fascinating.

  90. AV

    Maybe you would understand my last committ if you go to post 6.

    Your opinion is your opinion.

    I was seeking to understand how some people get to their views on divorce and remarriage. I already apologized to anyone who may have been offended by my way or method of bringing out that information. If once wasn’t enough for you then again I apologize.

  91. hmmm rabbit trailing again… someone here posted a link to a lecture by Walid Shoebat and stayed up past my bedtime listening last night – He made the observation that Islam is a political system first and foremost – couched in a false religion – he also noted that there is no respect for women in it…
    since we have a new life and allegiance to a new kingdom, somehow it seems to me that we should do our level best to live honorably according to God’s norms and standards – we should treasure them… the marriage model with all the examples (not the rules) that we have in Scripture are a great source of understanding – BTW isn’t there something in there about God divorcing??? not sure… anybody know what i think i’m talkin bout 😕

  92. Em…I know that Walid lays out a pretty strong case for his End of Days and Bible Prophecy theories…

    It connects some dots for me.

    “Mountains” from an Eastern perspective…are Kingdoms.

    7 Kings, 7 Kingdoms.

    Also, when Jesus, our Christ, says if you have enough Faith, you can move “Mountains”…that He may have meant we can influence Kingdoms in our day, our age, our Vapor.

    Makes more “sense” to me than the Western literal translation. Gets back to the “inerrancy/infallibility” of Scripture discussion to me…Logos (The Word) is completely inerrant and infallible…logos (man’s reason) trying to figure out the Absolute Truth contained in Scripture…very errant and fallible.

  93. Rick, you wrote: “Maybe you would understand my last committ if you go to post 6.”

    I haven’t mentioned a thing about Amy Grant and did not get involved until post 28, and THAT was in reply to Tim’s comment about verses supporting divorce for abuse.

    You wrote “Your opinion is your opinion” and then “.I was seeking to understand how some people get to their views on divorce and remarriage”

    May I suggest you then “seek to understand’ – To dismiss what is not just my lone opinion but a pretty strong consensus opinion by those with experience is hardly the mark of an honest seeker. A little tip for the future, given the gravity of the topic we are discussing.

    But rest assured, no offense was ever taken by me, so no apology is needed. The last word is yours if you want it.

    Peace.

  94. EM…scroll up aways and you will see my mention of that Scripture. Jeremiah 3:8 – about God divorcing Israel.

  95. Sounds to me like Rick may have a different experience and therefore understanding of what I and a few others mean by the term abuse. Sounds to me like he would not put some one in harms way but simply doesn’t want to make getting out of a relationship easily and the “abuse card” get played pretty frequently. I appreciate the fact that rick values marriage and the scriptures. Let look for common ground here…we may be closer to agreeing than not

  96. AV, thank you – there’s a vast difference in looking for Scripture loopholes and looking for guidance, isn’t there?

    Believe, was that your link? The guy’s a little full of himself (IMO),i didn’t say “amen” right down the line, but very worth listening to – lot of “yeah”s! and “exactly”s! coming out me last night 🙂 i particularly agreed with his observation that compared to the Bible the Koran’s composition looked like it had been run thru a shredder and pieced together (same can be said for the book of Mormon IMO) – he loved the fact that God had put His Scripture together in a manner that makes you dig in order to gain understanding and the satisfaction found in doing so, the wonder/miracle that it all does come together – all the pieces of the puzzle find their place the more you dig…

  97. AV, found it! … your #65

  98. Steve H

    Thank you, someone actually understood what I was trying to express. Badly I guess. I do value marriage, I have been at it for 41 years.

    I once had a sister in the Lord who complained that her unsaved husband didn’t understand her. She asked for prayer. We prayed for her and the Lord captured her husband. He was on fire. She divorced him. She lost her acceptance card to her pity party.

    So I know the church buys into a sob story pretty easily.

    Again thanks for the kind words.

  99. What is the difference between TB and AG?

    Let’s be fair – there is a huge difference.

    One is openly repentant, is actively seeking out everyone hurt by the misbehavior to seek forgiveness, has submitted to counsel and personal restoration, and works aggressively to defend the reputation of, and ensure not a single negative word is said about, the betrayed ex.

    The other has been silent.

    I do not know or need to know or pretend to know what happened in either situation. I love them all and hope to spend forever with them in heaven

    But in terms of what is on the record, there is a big difference!

  100. I’ll leave this for others to answer….

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