As Jesus is the cornerstone upon which the Church is built, so are his teachings the unifying cornerstone of Christian doctrine.

Why I Believe that Jesus is God

A recent announcement by a leading pastor in Australia's third largest church that Jesus is not God, but merely a great man, has not caused him to be disciplined as a heretic. The reason given was that no action could be taken unless someone made a formal complaint. A number of church leaders have left the path of orthodox Christianity and the view that Jesus is God the Son. They have zero credibility to represent Christianity in my opinion. So, why do I believe in the Trinity?

First of all, I do believe in God's oneness which is supported in Deuteronomy 6 and Exodus 20. God is described as the Father in 1 Corinthians 8:4,6. Christ is also described as equal to God in Philippians 2:5-11; the Son is described as being the express image of God in Hebrews 1. He is also described as God with us in Matthew 1:23. The most convincing argument to me is the fact that we call Jesus Lord. In the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament that Jesus often quoted, the Greek word for Lord was used to describe YHWH, God. This is most specifically addressed when Jesus is called my Lord and my God in John 20:28. What about the Holy Spirit? He is spoken of interchangeably with God in Acts 5:3-4. Jesus was God the Father's Son yet that which was conceived in Mary was of the Holy Spirit according to Matthew 1:20.

So how do we get three in one? It is important to note that no serious scholar uses 1 John 5:7 to prove the Trinity, because it is of doubtful origin. There is plenty else to support the logical conclusion. Linguistically, we can also see from Genesis 2:24 that a man and a woman are spoken of as one. This is the same word describing God as one in Deuteronomy 6:4. We also note that in Matthew 28:19-20 the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are given one name. Even more convincing is John 1:1 where Jesus, the Word was God.

So how does all this work? We are human and cannot fully understand God, but there have been a number of Trinity theories over the centuries. The so-called economic view is that which we find in Scripture, where details are left to logical analysis. Modalism was also a theory that God is one person with three names. This was rejected because of examples such as Jesus praying to Father. God the Father would not need to pray to himself. He is not schizophrenic. Tritheism, the idea of three gods was also rejected because it basically contradicts the idea of God being one. The Orthodox position logically summarizes a 2,000 year long discussion on the topic as "one ousia in three hypostases" – one Godhead indivisible and yet three persons.

Why is it important that Jesus is God? If a mere man died for you and me, then our faith is in vain. Christianity is not a philosophy like some eastern religions. It is not about a man entering a cave without witnesses and claiming to be God's prophet. It is our self-sacrificing God entering our world to show us his love in a very impactful way, by dying for us and rising the third day with thousands of witnesses. If Jesus was merely a godly man and not Immanuel, God with us, then that sacrifice and resurrection save nobody.

Why God Hates Church Politics

The incidence of James and John seeking the first and second top positions in God's kingdom is not the first example of church politics and won't be the last. Church politics stinks. It was church politics that caused Rome to think of itself more highly than the other four ancient centers of church leadership. It was the arrogance of self-proclaimed superior authority that saw the western church add filioqué to the Nicene Creed, ignoring the sensitivities and concerns of the eastern church. It was authoritarian church politics not good theology that allowed an ancient pop cult of Mary worship to take on the the dogma of infallibility.

Saint Peter's Bascilica in Rome stands as a monument not to Peter but to corrupt church politics, paid for by one of the greatest financial scandals of church history and stands as a memorial for the separation of northern European Christians from their southern brethren. It was intolerant church politics that caused Calvinists to persecute and murder Catholics. It is brutal and arrogant church politics that causes the Russian Orthodox Church to incite persecution of Evangelical churches today.

In my lifetime I have seen church politics close down churches, destroy good pastors and their families, destroy people's finances and drive people out of the church. I have seen people steal congregations for their own selfish ambitions, preach popular rubbish to make money, abuse church members as slave labor to build pastors' private homes, destroy families and marriages and withhold the truth in order not to lose numbers. Church politics almost destroyed my family and is the reason that some very dear loved ones do not attend church to this day. I pray that they will someday look beyond selfish human politics and come to see Jesus weeping for them.

We are all guilty of church politics by the way. When we push and shove and gossip and tear down and manipulate, we are as guilty as others. No church is immune to these sins, because every church contains us. Our church politics only destroys. Yet, we are called to build up the church, heal the sick, comfort the broken-hearted, tell the good news of God's grace and love one another.

In Matthew 20, it is clear that James and John wanted the first and second positions, overlooking the fact that they would have to remove Peter in their ambition. How about us? Do we turn a blind eye to the bodies we walk over when we play church politics? God forgive us! God help us to love and build and not play destructive politics!

Honor without Suffering

We are all the same. We want the health and wealth and glory and honor of God's kingdom now as well as forever, but we don't want the suffering. Isn't it interesting that in Matthew 20:20-22 the mother of James and John seemed to have completely ignored Jesus prophecies of his suffering in order to ask him if her sons could have positions of honor when he came into his kingdom. I think that we are the same. We focus on the comforts, the blessings, the good stuff and not the suffering.

One time I asked my father-in-law if he was ready to enjoy life now that all the struggling to raise a family was over. He implied that I was naive if I believed that all of life's struggles are over once the nest is empty. Eventually, we all become orphans as our parents die one by one, and then we must pass through the time of one or other spouse dying before the other. Life has its blessings, but there are also struggles for our entire lives even for the most blessed of us.

What was Jesus' answer to James' and John's mother's question? He replied, "...You [plural] do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?..." (Matthew 20:22 NASB) After the two brothers said yes, Jesus then went on to confirm that they would indeed drink the same cup. Next time I drink the cup of wine at communion, I want to ask myself if I too am able to drink of the same cup of suffering that Jesus did. I hope that we are not among those naive Christians who believe there is no suffering for the righteous?

Only in eternity is there honor without suffering.


We all naturally like status. It's part of our nature. We can't help it. Yet, the question of who is the greatest has already been raised and answered. Jesus clearly portrayed those who choose low status as the greatest in his kingdom. Strangely, the disciples didn't get it. Not so strange, we also don't get it, really. Deep down inside we all still want status as defined by the standards of this world.

In Matthew 20:20-28 James' and John's mother wanted Christ to give her sons chief positions, status by this world's standards. Status-seeking is one of those fundamental lusts that we must overcome. I recently visited a factory outlet mall and was frankly appalled at the uselessness of fashion. People suckered into status were everywhere throwing away good money for clothes and accessories that gave them the "look" which fashion gurus have deceived them into thinking gives them status. What a sad world!

Mixing our lust for status and religion must surely be one of the most subtle deceptions. Britains did it, and Americans used to do it. What's that? Mixing Christianity and idolatrous nationalism began with Britains claiming the status of God's kingdom on earth and more recently among American Christians often takes on a religious form of nation-worship. Don't get me wrong! My heritage is both American and British. I love those nations, but there is a difference between love of country and one-eyed, blind jingoism.

What we see in egotistical nationalism plays out individually as well in everything from choice of car to house and the constant introduction of ourselves by our job status. Even at pastoral conferences an often asked question is, "How many attend your church?" Small church pastors sadly lament that when they say 30 or 100, they are often politely but quickly side-stepped by those with larger churches.

Status is a scourge, nationally and privately. I don't care whether we live in a Democracy with what we define humanly as relative political freedom or an oppressive Communist dictatorship. The saying of Jesus is true no matter what kind of human government we live under, "But Jesus called them to him and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.'" (Matthew 20:25 RSV)

Several times I stood at the Berlin wall and marvelled. There were guards sitting up in high towers watching me. Barbed wire was everywhere and I could feel the threat of death if I had tried to cross. At the same time, I saw birds flying back and forth without a worry or care. What a contrast!

Are we much different under Democracy? I frankly don't think so. Our nations also oppress and use authority to lord it over others. We are naturally arrrogant and superior about the status of our democratic traditions, our fashions, our job titles, our social standing, and even our church prestige but somehow I think that Jesus is not all that impressed. The values which we are learning, those of the kingdom of heaven, are totally different.

Thinking about Death

When my dear grandma was alive, I remember her talking often about her impending death. It seemed as if she had a morbid fascination with it and that she was often thinking about death. She was a Christian lady and it was her example that first exposed me to a living grace.

Jesus also seemed to think a lot about death. At least we see recorded often that he spoke of his impending crucifixion. Much to the chagrin of anti-semitic types I'm sure, Matthew 20:17-19 is the third record of such a conversation and the first time that he included Gentiles among those responsible for his death. He gave a pretty detailed prophecy of the cross, including being mocked, flogged and rising again the third day.

Do we think about our death? I pray that I have the opportunity that one of the patriarchs of old had, to be on my death bed, with my sons around me, and give them my last blessing. I pray that I can look back and say it is finished. I was so glad to have spent some time with my father before his death. We parted with a good relationship. Perhaps if we thought about the day of our death more often, as Christ seemed to do, we will spend more quality time doing the right things now.

God's A-List

The A-List seems to be a big thing in Hollywood, and if you're not on it you are nothing, at least according to those who are. Yet what about God, does he have a heavenly A-List, and if so, who would be on it?

As Christians in a now society, we so easily forget eternity as all our focus is so often on this present world. Yet, Jesus promised so much in the kingdom of heaven, hyperbolically a hundred times what we may have had to give up now in order to follow him. In our world a common saying is that he who dies with the most things wins. But in Matthew 19:30 Jesus says the exact opposite, again contradicting this world's way of thinking.

So, how is it with us? Are we among the first or do we count ourselves among the last. Imagine if Hollywood paraded the homeless, manual laborers, janitors and others that people may put on a Z-List and made a big fuss over them. Woudn't that be rather strange? No familiar names, no big egos and the typical paparazzi fawning over "personalities" but instead, a red-carpet welcome of those who are the last in our society.

That is how it will be in heaven. Many who are the last will be among the first, because God's A-List has nothing to do with Hollywood or any other of this world's standards. "Although the demands of discipleship are great, the eventual rewards will be far greater." (Hagner, D. A. (2002). Vol. 33B: Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 14-28. Word Biblical Commentary (566). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)

What's in it for Us

A friend of mine was a missionary in Africa for 13 years. He returned home to a lower than average standard of living, without a retirement plan and without any equity in a house. You may know others who have sacrificed abroad or at home for the gospel's sake seemingly without anything material to show for it. Occasionally, we see bitterness in similar circumstances and hear the natural question, "What's in it for me?"

After hearing Jesus' exposé on wealth, the disciples also asked, "We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?" (Matthew 19:27 NIV) Unlike the rich young man earlier in this chapter, it seems like the disciples had left wealth behind, but not sold it. We know that Peter owned at least one house. Yet Jesus promised to reward them for their sacrifice with unique positions, a hundred times what they had left behind and eternal life.

In order to understand the promise of verse 29, I think it is good to understand a little bit about what property ownership really means. Most English speaking countries and 49 of the 50 US States use English Common Law as the basis of property ownership. I think that French Common Law used in Louisiana is similar. This gives us a right to property as tenants in common, joint tenants, or tenants by the entirety, but tenants nevertheless. We really live under an occasionally used law, the law of eminent domain or similar name. This means that the government can take our land any time they want for the greater public good. We are after all, tenants and not permanent owners at law.

I can see the positive side of that, because that's also the reality with God. He is the ultimate owner of everything. In other words, when Jesus said that we will receive a hundred times the houses, family and lands that we may have left behind, that is for this life as well as the next (Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:29-30). We don't have to own something to enjoy it. In fact we don't really own it anyway do we? So what am I getting at?

Since being a Christian, I have enjoyed many people's farms and lands, have been a guest in hundreds of homes and count hundreds of Christians as friends and family. And this was just this present life in this world. That's why I believe Jesus meant it literally when he said to his students, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19:29 NASB)

Easy for the Rich to Enter Heaven

Friends of the Unrighteous Mammon: Northern Christians and Market Capitalism, 1815-1860A popular message implies that it is easy for a rich Christian to enter heaven. Jesus said just the opposite (Matthew 19:16-28). False teachings imply that wealth is God's blessing. Then why did Jesus say it is hard for a wealthy Christian to enter heaven? It is a battle. "The wealthy are generally held captive by their wealth." (Hagner, D. A. (2002). Vol. 33B: Word Biblical Commentary: Matthew 14-28. Word Biblical Commentary (562). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.) Are poor Christians cursed and wealthy Christians blessed? The Jews also believed this. It is impossible for rich or poor to be saved, except for the greatest miracle of all time, God's grace: "where humanity is helpless, God can." (The Gospel of Matthew New International Commentary on the New Testament, NICNT, by: R.T. France, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2007)

Must You too Sell all that You Have

Why did Jesus tell the rich young ruler to sell all that he had, and not Peter, who owned at least one house? Jesus had other wealthy followers as well -- Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, Zacchaeus and perhaps even Matthew. We read nowhere of them being told to liquidate their assets. So why the rich young fellow? Jesus did not specifically say why, and so we can only speculate. But, we are given a few clues in the following parable where we are told that being wealthy can make eternal life impossible.

So what does this tell us about our salvation versus that of someone else? One thing that it does tell us is that our paths to the kingdom of heaven are individually tailored. We naturally tend to judge people based upon their material accoutrements and their perceived status. However, we cannot do so. God may require one to give up everything and not another, based upon their individual spiritual needs. Perhaps some few are indeed able to have great wealth, and not let it distract them from a "full, undivided commitment to Jesus in discipleship." (Hagner, D. A. (2002). Vol. 33B: Word Biblical Commentary : Matthew 14-28. Word Biblical Commentary (562). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.)

If you want to be Perfect

Perfectionism is a typical characteristic of firstborn and only children, yet it can afflict any of us to varying degrees. A perfectionist will typically try extremely hard and yet give up when failure is evident. In Matthew 19:21 Jesus gave some individual advice to a perfectionist, who had come face to face with the fact that no matter how hard we try, we can never be as good as God. What was his advice?

We can summarize Jesus' counsel to the man by the verbs he used: sell, give, come, follow. How could Jesus tell someone to sell everything they have and completely divest themselves of a perfect life, in order to become perfect? Perhaps in this man's case, he was not living the perfect life after all. Perhaps he was actually a slave to money and living a very imperfect life. Jesus offered him perfection, which is embodied in the words "come and follow me."

It is important here to note that voluntary poverty does not earn eternal life. Rather, it is a release from the bondage of materialism. I can relate to that. One time we lost our house, car and my job all in the same day. Strangely, it was like a great burden lifted from our shoulders. Also, whenever we move and divest ourselves of the mill stone of accumulated material goods, it is like a breath of fresh air, a relief. Materialism becomes a burden and we don't even notice until we get rid of all the stuff we collect.

The Simple Life

As is so often the case with Jesus' teachings, he used an extreme example of voluntary poverty and a monastic lifestyle, to teach a lesson for all of us. Not everyone is called to poverty and the itinerant ministry that Jesus offered the rich young man, but it is true for all of us that the simple life is a far richer life. However, it is not by itself the perfect life. What it can do is free us up so we have time to follow Christ and learn more about the perfect life that only he can offer us.

We all know how much time lawncare, gardening, housework, pool maintainance, interior decorating, horse management, boat cleaning and vehicle maintainance can take. We generally become slaves to what we own. The more we own, the greater degree of slavery we experience. When we simplify, it's amazing how much more time we have for the things of God and the pursuit of real perfection.

Which Commandments

When Jesus instructed a rich young man to keep the commandments if he was to enter into life, he asked which. To us that might seem strange, because we assume in our culture that "the commandments" means the Ten Commandments. Yet, in Jewish culture it is and was popular to understand that phrase as all 600 plus commandments contained in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Old Testament. Many count that as 613 commandments, a whole lot more than ten.

Indeed, in Matthew 19:17-19 Jesus then quoted several of the Ten Commandments, but added one not specifically contained within the decalogue. He said to love your neighbor as yourself which comes from Leviticus 19:18 and is not quoted in the Ten Commandments. The commandments that Jesus quoted summarize how we are to do good towards our neighbor.

Saturday Sabbatarian churches love to quote these verses when claiming that we must keep the 7th day Sabbath, even though neither Jesus nor the apostles made any such command for the church.

A great number of the 613 commands from the Old Testament are flatly ignored by all Christians, at least in the flesh. Why? Christians do not operate by the letter of the law but by the spirit. Our sacrifice is in Christ, our circumcision is of the heart, and our rest is in Jesus for eternity.

Don't Let Jesus Speak

I heard that Jesus is coming to speak at our church this week. For goodness sake can't somebody do something about it? We don't want HIM to come. He might do something embarrassing like turn water into wine, and we don't allow any alcohol at our church. He might actually heal somebody and we don't do that Pentecostal stuff. He might say that God created everything and we have grown out of that mythological nonsense. He might ask us to repent of our sins, and we don't want anyone going from preaching to meddling.

If we allow Jesus to preach in our church, why he might tell us not to be so materialistic and give to the poor. He might claim that he is "God with us" but our pastor teaches that Jesus was just a man like any other man. He might tell us that our leaders do not teach infallible doctrines, and instead of praying to Mary, why he might teach us to pray to Our Father in heaven. And tongues? Why he might not even mention them. He might tell us that we're not spirit filled unless we also repent.

And worst of all? Why Jesus might tell us that he didn't use the King James Bible. No please, let's not have Jesus speak this weekend at church. He just might turn our world upside down.

How Good is Good

When a rich guy asked Jesus what good thing he could do to inherit eternal life, Christ's reply in Matthew 19:17 was rather contrary. He simply said that there is only one good person, God. Was he just being picky?

Now we carelessly use the word "good" for all kinds of human endeavors. We say that somebody did a good job, or that so and so is a good person, or that we live in a good country. So, what was Jesus implying here? Was he just the kind of guy none of us likes to be around, because he is always correcting our grammar or vocabulary?

Actually, all of our human efforts at doing good are inadequate for eternal life. Ultimate good can only be done by God who began teaching righteousness via the commandments and because of our lack of capacity for good, concluded it in the cross.

Little Ones and Rich Ones

Isn't it interesting that Matthew contrasts two stories in the same chapter. The one is how Jesus took a little child and blessed it. The other is about a rich young man who was disappointed by Jesus' teaching on wealth. Jesus' welcome was the exact opposite to each as to what they probably normally received. The little child was welcomed and the rich young man was told to give to the poor and follow Jesus.

We may have all witnessed people pandering to rich people in churches, and being rather dismissive of children or others of similar low social status, who may have little or no money to contribute. Our natural tendency is not to follow Christ's example, but to think of the financial consequences of offending a well to do contributor. It's probably the same story in just about all of our churches. Status counts with us, but Jesus set a different example.

Our culture also often has certain built in presuppositions, assumptions. We often assume that a poor person is that way because of some fault of theirs and that a rich person is blessed by God because they have done something right. Yet, the opposite can also be the truth. A poor person may have suffered loss at the hands of unscrupulous people and the rich person may figuratively have blood on their hands. We simply cannot judge.

In Matthew 19:16 the question asked by the wealthy young man was about what he could do. That is often a problem not just for the wealthy. Rich people in particular can tend to want to salve their consciences by doing something. Perhaps that is one reason why some people, after having climbed over the bodies of others to accumulate, spend the rest of their lives trying to make up for it by philanthropy. Yet, we know that salvation is not gained by what we do, but by following Jesus Christ and allowing him to teach us a new way.

Even Greater Treasure on Earth

Now along came a man who approached a popular televangelist with the question, "Teacher, what good thing shall I do in order to have eternal life?"

The televangelist replied, "If you want to enter into life keep the commandments."The young man replied, "I have kept all these. Where do I fall short?"

The televangelist said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go and give thanks for all you have, send a tenth of it to me, and you will have even greater treasure on earth."

When the young man heard this he went away with great joy, because he already had great wealth and the televangelist had promised him even more.

Such is the delusion of popular health-wealth teaching which is foisted upon naive and unsuspecting people. If we want the truth on this parody, it is found in Matthew 19:16-26.

Children Unwelcomed

After living for some time in Germany, where our children often seemed unwelcomed, imagine our surprise to visit Poland, where our children were not only welcomed, but publicly praised and made the center of attention. Perhaps a lack of child friendliness in religious matters was the reason that the disciples shooed them away from Jesus in Matthew 19. However, Jesus made one of his usual countercultural statements, that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such people.

Children matter in the kingdom of heaven. Yet, how often have we heard in church, usually little old ladies complain about children and their noise! It seems that children are often not made to feel welcomed in our churches. What a contradiction! Children do not conform easily to formalities, and perhaps that is one reason why Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven belongs to such people. Perhaps our stiff and unbending not so child-friendly formalities also have very little to do with the kingdom of heaven.

This experience is often seen as a forerunner of the dedication of children or the baptism of infants. Yet, this informal experience itself seems to totally contradict such later formalities. The laying on of hands as a blessing was certainly widely used throughout Bible history, but this in no way indicates a formal ceremony that now needs to be scheduled into the liturgical life of a child.

Rather than holding any special significance for later church ceremonies like child baptism or infant dedication, perhaps we ought to simply take the lesson at face value, and learn to treat children as Christ would have us do.

Is it Better not to Marry

After Jesus taught the disciples that generally speaking divorce and remarriage was adultery, they asked the natural question. Is it better then not to marry at all, than marry and be imprisoned in an bad marriage? Yet Jesus answered their wry comment by stating that celibacy is a real option. However, it is not for everyone.

Many Catholics criticize their own church's teaching on celibacy. Although it claims that celibacy is an option, the Catholic Church then adds that in normal circumstances pastors are only chosen from among the celibate, in effect forcing someone who wants to be a priest to start by being celibate. This goes against the grain of biblical teaching on the topic, which make one qualification for eldership, being the husband of one wife. Of course that qualification does not preclude legitimate celibates, who were not coerced into that choice, but does include the presumption that most elders would be married.

However, there is a legitimate choice, made without pressure, to become celibate. Marriage is the norm, but another exception is sometimes described as the gift of celibacy. Coerced celibacy is nowhere supported in the Bible. However, some choose the single lifestyle legitimately, and that choice to remain single for life has the full support of heaven.

Jesus' Grounds for Divorce

Divorce Busting: A Step-by-Step Approach to Making Your Marriage Loving AgainIn recent news from Germany a female legislator wanted to create a legal "trial marriage" of sorts, one that expired after 5 years or so. I don't think that the idea passed, but it shows the attitude of our world towards this sacred institution. What grounds are legitimate in our fallen world then? Although this is not the only passage on the topic, I want to focus on Jesus' statement in Matthew 19:9. Here the only legitimate grounds for divorce are porneia in Greek, broadly translated by sexual unfaithfulness. Divorce in Jesus' day was apparently as easy or even easier than it is today, so we cannot really excuse their society or ours. The only difference was perhaps that in their society, divorce was more often a male prerogative. What is important is the comparison between the phrases "one flesh" and "sexual unfaithfulness." One or other marriage partner has broken the sacred bond. What Jesus did here was demand a complete rethink of what marriage is. The failure ought not be the norm. Divorce ought always have the status of being a lesser evil, never an ultimate good.

Reference: The Gospel of Matthew, New International Commentary on the New Testament, NICNT, by: R.T. France, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 2007

Moses vs God

Why did Moses permit divorce, when that was not God's original intent? Did Jesus mean to say in Matthew 19:7 that Moses' divorce rule was not inspired by God? Did Moses go against God by allowing divorce?

The passage in question is Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Even though it was not the created ideal for marriage, it was a concession made by God through Moses because of sin. Divorce was allowed so that people could make the best of a bad situation. The problem was not that an exception was made, but that people were making the exception the rule. Sounds a lot like our society today, doesn't it.

Our divorce and remarriage merry-go-round ought not be the norm, but what Jesus stated in Matthew 19:6 "...What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."

Blessing of Lifelong Marriage

If you were God and wanted to bless human beings abundantly, how would you create them? Would you ever in your wildest imagination, think to make them male and female? Imagine creating two loyal lifelong companions designed for perfect compatibility in every way, producing children together, planning a life together, being there for each other in good times and bad, lifting each other up and working as a team within broad based created roles. How much of a blessing would that be?

There is no more powerful union between human beings as that made by God between a man and a woman. One biblical description of marriage is "one flesh," meaning that we are metaphorically glued or welded together. Our bond with our parents is not as strong as that.

Imagine then if that union was broken by disloyalty, disharmony, selfishness, fighting, lust, greed, etc. What are the implications of breaking a bond that God himself describes as the most important physical union in the human family? Marriage is not just a human convention. The reference to the creation means that God joins a man and a woman as one indivisible unit. "Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:6 NKJV) From creation, no other human relationship has ever had such a unique bond or status.

Sadly, the ideal is not lived up to by everyone. Jesus reluctantly gave one ground in this chapter for legitimate divorce, marital unfaithfulness -- a very destructive failure. The marital bond is such an integral part of the created fabric of human society, that to break it destroys humanity at its very core. Have I exaggerated? I frankly don't think so. I wouldn't trade my marriage for anything in this world.

Hard Hearted Divorce

In Matthew 19 Jesus discussed the subject of divorce and remarriage with the Pharisees. They asked him why if divorce was so wrong, did Moses give the people permission. His simple answer was that Moses allowed it because the people were so hard-hearted. Why is divorce as prevalent in the Christian community as outside? Are we in the Church as hard-hearted today too?

Marriage is the intended sexual union and chastity before and during make the best marriage. Yet today, are we so hardened that we no longer desire the pure, faithful, lifelong union between a man and a woman that God intended? Granted, some choose to remain celibate singles and that is also a good choice. If the only person you have ever had sex with is your spouse, you have had the best sex on the planet. Ignore the hard-hearted Hollywood propaganda! It is one of the biggest lies on the planet.

How hard are our hearts? Whose morality counts with us? Are our hearts tender enough to listen to God, or do we prefer to listen to stubborn and impious humans who want any excuse for irresponsible and socially destructive divorce?

Original Intent of Marriage

In Matthew 19 some religious leaders came to Jesus asking him to interpret Moses' law on divorce. Jesus cut right through the Gordian Knot of legal technicalities, and went right back to a time before the law, to the original intent. There are many questions that we could ask today that are really answered by the same principle.

Are multiple marriages okay? Is same sex marriage okay? Is premarital sex okay? Is having a mistress okay? Is polygamy okay? Rather than give a legalistic answer to such questions, perhaps if Jesus were here today, he would answer in the same way, by going back to first principles. "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female...for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh" (Matthew 19:4-5 NASB)

Perhaps we could expand the discussion beyond marriage to dozens of other topics. What about alcohol, anointing the sick, baptism, church government, communion, dancing, ethics, infallibility, Mary, nuns, prayer, sacraments, tongues, versions of the Bible, worship, xmas, etc. Perhaps a good place to start is not with Augustine, Thomas, Luther, Calvin, or Billy Graham. Pehaps a good place to start is in the beginning, and ask the question, "What was the original intent?"