(NOTE: This is part of a series titled, “The state of our disunion.”)
Holly came from Miami, FLA
Hitchhiked her way across the U.S.A
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side”
Said, “Hey honey, take a walk on the wild side”
All is not well today between man and woman. Whether it’s the state of our disunion in Russia, Japan, Korea, China, India, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, or those nations formerly comprising Christendom in Western Europe, the United Kingdom, and North America, antagonism, bitterness, perversion, pornography, and disinterest prevail. God created that beautiful gift, man and woman. It is the core of our being. It is the foundational diversity He gave us, yet we are determined to pervert it, trashing male and female and leaving behind muddy waters.
What God created for our blessing, we have turned into a curse. Our women despise us, turning instead to one another for intimacy and love. Men do the same. Some forsake women, turning instead to narcissism, satiating their lust through images of nakedness. Others are even more debauched. They have abandoned the natural function of the woman and now burn in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
Tragically, they deny they suffer under any penalty of their error. To them the gay aesthetic is beautiful. They brag about it and most church-goers believe them, adopting the gay aesthetic as their own.
Still, much beauty remains. Man and woman’s unity in diversity has always demonstrated its greatest beauty within the Christian Church, which is as true today as it was two millennia ago when citizens of the Roman Empire looked at the first Christians, remarking “See how they love one another!” Christian marriage stood out in the Ancient World.
So, too, it sticks out today. We do continue to love one another. We have been given faith by the Holy Spirit for loving our women and our women have been given faith for loving their men. We have been given faith for marriage and children, which in our evil world is no small miracle. Some Christians even keep their vows, not parting until death, which is a splendid testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying believers.
In Corinth, the grossest sexual perversions had invaded the church and needed the Apostle Paul’s firm hand at the tiller to stay the windward course of sexual purity. Today we examine our own churches and grieve over the infiltration we suffer from these same sexual perversions. We too have incestuous homes, broken marriages, rebellious women, abdicating authorities, conflicts exacerbated by our pride, and (particularly obvious with Revoice) men choosing to burn rather than marry.
During the time of our Lord’s incarnation, there was conflict between men and women, man and wife. Notice their seminary profs, elders, and pastors coming to Jesus, pestering Him with questions aimed at making Him look foolish. Matthew records one of those confrontations:
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?”
It’s never simple to deal with the conflict between man and woman, husband and wife. Much of every shepherd’s care for his flock is taken up with serving as a peacemaker among members of Christian families, particularly husbands and their wives. This was true in Jesus’ time, also. Think of the brothers who were fighting over their inheritance and came to Jesus asking Him to resolve the matter. And above we find Him being asked to resolve a doctrinal conflict among the church leaders over what constituted Biblical grounds for divorce.
Jesus knew our lives. From birth He had observed married sinners fighting. He had felt the pain of a wife who is scorned. He had felt the humiliation of a husband who is cuckolded. He had heard the bitter comments made under the breath. He had seen the turning of the cold shoulders, the flirting eyes, the hidden snubs. So the question was no surprise to Him that day: Does God allow a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?
He didn’t need to answer the question. He could have refused it as He refused the brothers’ request to resolve their conflict over money. He could have answered the question with another of His Own: Why are you always testing me? You’re the experts in the law so you tell Me which divorces God approves of, and why?
Note that our Lord doesn’t turn away from the test, but meets it square on by turning back the clock the whole way to the beginning:
And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from 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 they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
Jesus rebuked the church officers for not knowing Scripture. “Have you not read?”
Then, precisely where in Scripture does our Lord turn to address the conflict between male and female, man and wife?
He turns to “the beginning.” It was true in Jesus’ time and it is still true today that peace and beauty between man and woman will only be found by turning back the clock to Creation, learning once more God’s design for male and female, then repenting of our rebellion, instead renewing our commitment to His design.
Can we admit to one another that the rebellion against male and female is not just “out there,” but “in here?” That our own marriages, homes, children, and congregations are filled with ignorance of God’s design of male and female? We have not wanted our pastors to preach on it or teach it, and they have obliged us. We have not wanted to have our sins against God’s creation of male and female pointed out to us. We have not wanted to be held accountable or disciplined for our abdication and rebellion, let alone our lust, sexual perversion, and bitterness. So our elders have left us alone in our sins of fornication, adultery, effeminacy, sodomy; to our burning and divorce rather than marital union and love. Our elders have left us alone to render our marriage beds sterile and kill our unborn children.
This is not the world, but the Church I am speaking of. Like the Israelites settling into their Promised Land, today the people of God have turned from the Law of God to the lawlessness of the Canaanites we live next to, intermarrying with them and copying their sexual deviance and debauchery even up to and including their sacrificing of their children to Moloch.
Among Canaanites, the conceit of the modern runs rampant. What’s best is always what’s latest. Things evolve. Things always progress. Things never decay, and thus the worst thought crime is to seek to turn back the clock, calling for a return to the first things “in the beginning.”
Yet this is precisely what our Lord did when faced with the conflict between man and woman, husband and wife two-thousand years ago. His words, though, have application to our present that are far beyond the question of divorce.
Next we will turn to examining them, seeing how they call us to reform today.