Question:

Hello,

I have read some the things you have on here and I love the way you respond and answer people. I have been a member of the church of Christ since I was young -- or should I say I was baptized when I was young? I was in and out of the church in my younger years. I married a non-member and stayed married for over a decade. Every year I was married my preacher preached that Christians who marry non-members are suppose to divorce in order to repent. I did, never believing that I would do it again, but I did, my husband got baptized, but he doesn't believe the church of Christ is the true church. He doesn't believe that there are three in the Godhead. He believes it's one God with three jobs. My preacher told me that my husband is an unbeliever and the baptism is no good because my husband does not want to hear him preaching against other churches. My husband is or was Pentecostal but he has not been back to the Pentecostal church but once since we have married. He says he just want my preacher to preach.

After this conversation with my preacher I have done research, I came to this web site and the website of two other church of Christ members and have found out that God does not like divorce period. But I am also discovering that I didn't get some teachings that I needed and it could be because of being in and out of the church of Christ, but I have found out my son who was raised in the church, taught at home and church, doesn't know that the church is the only church we are to attend. I gave him proof, such as Matthew 16:21, Romans 16:16 and Ephesians 3:21. I know that's a few but I thought it may help. Also he is attending ACU. I thought they would teach that there, but he says they don't explain the Scriptures. They more or less just study the history of it, I believe.

My eyes are now being opened. I am scared for my children's souls. The two younger are upset with me for divorcing my ex and also for remarrying (I remarried a non-Christian because I didn't want him to go back to his country. I do love him. I also thought I could get him to become a member. I now know that I did evil that good may come of it. I didn't realize it until my preacher was preaching one day and it hit me what I had done. Also I can't remember if it was you or one of the others who said you should repent of not putting God first, not going out and divorcing. I am called a hypocrite because of what I have done, and I ask them not to do it. I believe God has forgiven me. I would have stayed had I known I wasn't suppose to divorce, even though I fell out of love. I would have tried to make it work. My preacher says no one is smarter than him because of his age and his knowledge of the Bible. I don't know if he is talking about the members or everyone. He is in his eighties. I can't talk to him because for some reason I can't remember Scriptures, but I know them when someone quotes them, if that make sense. So I can't back what I say with Scriptures and he won't listen. I know he loves me, but he really believes we should divorce our spouse's if they are not Christians -- or should I say members?

I ask you for two things: please write to my son, and explain to him about the church. The other I just want you to talk to me give me some knowledge, talk to me like a sister or daughter. I just want God's take on what I have written to you.


Answer:

I have a hard time believing that a preacher would preach that Christians are to divorce their unbelieving spouses since that is a direct contradiction of what Paul said. "But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 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. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (I Corinthians 7:12-16).

Regardless of what the preacher might have said, that doesn't remove your own responsibility to check what is being said before acting on anyone's words. The Bereans were praised because they didn't just take Paul's word at face value. "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so" (Acts 17:11).

A hypocrite is a person who puts on an act. And it is accurate to say that your actions were of someone acting pious. You stated that you were convinced that you should divorce your first husband because he wasn't a Christian -- which, by the way did not give you the right to remarry (Matthew 19:9; I Corinthians 7:10-11) -- but then you turn around and married a non-Christian. That isn't consistent.

The problem is that you had no scriptural reason for leaving your first husband. You should not have divorced your husband. Thus, the passage that applies is: "But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11). The only reason that allows for a remarriage is if a divorce is because of his committing fornication, which was not the case. Because of this, your current marriage is adulterous. "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery" (Luke 16:18). While you remain in this marriage, it remains adulterous. "For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man" (Romans 7:2-3).

The only way to straighten out the mess that you've gotten yourself into is to end the current marriage and then repent of the sins you've been committing. If you can resolve matters with your first husband, you do have the option of remarrying him; otherwise, you are to remain unmarried. I know this sounds harsh, but God sees marriage covenants as serious matters.

You also need to find a better church to attend. Clearly the one you are attending now is teaching far too much false doctrine to be healthy for your soul.

ACU should be treated as any other secular college. It hasn't been known as a stronghold of sound teaching in a very long time. But it is also a college. The Lord gave the duty of teaching the gospel to Christians and the church: "And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love" (Ephesians 4:11-16). I'm not surprised that your son is not getting well grounded in the Bible at this college. I would be happy to talk to him, but I would like to hear directly from him that he wants to talk and what are his questions.