04/26/15

What Did Paul Really Say About Divorce?

Part 4 in the Series:

Lies I Learned in Church: Divorce

By Don Enevoldsen

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Thus far we have examined three contexts in which the Bible spoke of divorce. The first was the legal declaration in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. God has always been very pro-marriage, but he recognized that not everyone would approach the responsibility of such a relationship with love, and there would be situations in which one spouse abused the other—either emotionally or physically—and for the sake of the victim’s safety and happiness, there needed to be an escape clause of some sort. So, because of the hardness—or more literally, perverseness—of their hearts, God gave a law detailing how divorce was to be conducted.

04/12/15

What Did Jesus Really Say About Divorce?

Part 3 in the Series:

Lies I Learned in Church: Divorce

By Don Enevoldsen

IMG_0647Jesus made it a matter of routine to take the side of those victimized by misapplication of the Law. The case of the woman caught in adultery is a classic example. The “teachers of the law,” that is, those who knew the Scriptures better than anyone, and who probably had memorized the entire Torah, dragged her into the presence of Jesus in an effort to ensnare him. “Teacher,” they said, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” (John 8:3-4).

04/6/15

God Hates Violence, Not Divorce

Part 2 in the Series:

Lies I Learned in Church: Divorce

By Don Enevoldsen

ATT0001818In the hands of religion, the most benevolent of intentions can be twisted into malevolence. Such is the creativity of sinful humanity.

The laws of ancient Jewish marriage provide us with a striking example. Judaism, in contrast to nearly all ancient cultures, gave women relatively high status. Though restrictive by modern American standards (as we shall see shortly), Israel was still on the cutting edge of women’s rights. Marriage customs and laws were intended to protect women from being arbitrarily divorced and left with nothing. To guard against this possibility, weddings were preceded by copious exchanges of money and gifts.

03/29/15

Does God Hate Divorce?

Part 1 in the Series:

Lies I Learned in Church: Divorce

By Don Enevoldsen

Promised Land ClosedGod hates divorce!

I lived with the ominous implications of that statement from Malachi 2:16 for decades. You see, I am divorced. And worse, it happened when I was in the ministry.

At least I learned some things about the purity that is required for church leadership. For example, I learned that God forgives murderers and restores them to favor, but he hates divorced people and relegates them to eternal misery. Had I killed my spouse I would probably have remained as pastor.

03/22/15

Sexual Immorality Isn’t What You Think

Part 8 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

IMG_1679A couple of years after I started attending Living Word Bible Church, an incident occurred that would have been a sign to me of things to come—if I had known the details leading up to it. But I didn’t until more than a decade later.

The pastor’s assistant (I will call her simply M, for now) was having marital problems. Since the church was started on a word from God to build strong families, you would think this would be an ideal opportunity to put their calling into practice. And in a sense they did. Maureen Anderson spent time counseling M, at least for a while. But eventually she gave M definitive advice. Nothing was going to change and M needed to leave her husband.

03/8/15

Climbing the Social Ladder

Part 7 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

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As I write this series, a multitude of memories have flooded my mind from the fifteen years I spent at Living Word Bible Church. So many experiences, which did not seem terribly important at the time, now present themselves as glaring examples of spiritual abuse that I could not even begin to recount all of them. In every case, the goal of the senior pastor was to secure his position of power and to keep people in their place, all under the guise of “building the kingdom.”

03/1/15

What is a Bed of Suffering?

Part 6 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

TricliniumLast week, we examined the background to the words of Jesus that Jezebel influenced people to eat food sacrificed to idols, and saw a connection between pagan offerings, which were then sold in the marketplace, and the religious overtones associated with various banquets at which that food might be consumed. There is another detail in the message to Thyatira that links Jezebel to the banquets of ancient Rome. Jesus said that he would “cast her on a bed of suffering.” (Revelation 2:22)

02/22/15

Food Sacrificed to Idols

Part 5 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

AltarOne of the primary criticisms of Jezebel given in Revelation was that she misled people into sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20) It’s no wonder the focus has been on the first of those two. Sex sells, after all, and not many people have to worry about temptation to idol worship in modern America.

02/15/15

Patty’s Story

Part 4 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

There is much more to say about the background to the church in Thyatira. Every part of the passage in Revelation 2:18-29 points to leadership that is self-entitled, ruthless enough to do anything to maintain their position of power, and convinced that God has their back and therefore justifies every one of their actions and decisions.

02/8/15

The Woman in the Window

Part 3 in the Series:

The Spirit of Jezebel

By Don Enevoldsen

Astarte in WindowThe message to the church of Thyatira revolves around a character called “that woman Jezebel.” (Revelation 2:20) Since Revelation is an apocalyptic book, written in an apocalyptic style, which makes copious use of imagery and symbols, there is no good reason to assume this particular Jezebel was an actual person in the church. Such allusions to Old Testament characters are so consistently incorporated into the images of Revelation, it would be very unusual if the reference was not to the wife of King Ahab, whose life represented characteristics intended for the church to recognize.