By Femi Aribisala
I wrote a book entitled; Why Christians Won’t Go to Heaven. Some Christians complained my book is too absolu-te. They said I should have written: “Why Some Christians Won’t Go to Heaven.” No, I replied. I mean no Christian will go to heaven. Christ-ianity is not a criterion for heaven. Last week, I wrote an article entitled “Christians Make Terri-ble Husbands.” Some self-righteous Christian husbands shot back saying I should have said: “Some Christians Make Terrible Husb-ands.” No! No! No! I mean “all Christian hus-bands.”
God’s prophetic word is appropriately exp-ressed in absolute terms. Jesus says: “The sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:12). He does not say “some of the sons of the kingdom.”
Option of divorce
Man specializes in turning the God’s truth into a lie. Take, for example, the question of divorce. Moses knew God is against divorce. Nevertheless, he perm-itted the Israelites to divorce their wives. What gave Moses such audacity? Jesus said: “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, who-ever divorces his wife, except for sexual immor-ality, and marries anoth-er, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” (Matthew 19:9).
God’s command on the question of divorce is absolute; but man turned it into a relative comm-and. When the disciples discovered God is abso-lutely against divorce, they replied: “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matthew 19:-10). In short, they would rather not marry than obey God in marria-ge. But if we don’t mar-ry, we are confronted with another absolute commandment. We must not have sex out-side of marriage. What is the way out? Sin!
Most Christians cont-ract relative marriages even though the marriage covenant is couch-ed in absolute terms. When we say: “for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer; in sickness and in health;” we are speaking absolutely and not relatively. Never-theless, we retain the option of divorce if things get worse or poorer. When we quarrel one year down the road, we play the divorce card. But if divorce were an option in God’s plan for marriage, he would not have asked Hosea to marry a prosti-tute. As to be expected, Hosea’s prostitute wife was unfaithful to him. She even had children by other men. Never-theless, divorce was not an option for Hosea.
In short, the Christian marriage has become a farce. We talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. We make the absolute commitment, even before God, knowing full well we have no intention of keeping it absol-utely. We make the commitment to be faithful; “forsaking all others,” but have no qualms whatsoever about having affairs. We even have one or two children out of wedlock. We pro-mise to love and to cherish, yet we are not aver-se to beating up our wives, sometimes to the point of hospitalisation. No wonder then that the Christian marriage is no longer till death do us part. It is now till divorce do us part. It is till problems do us part; or till economic adversity do us part; or till the bond-woman do us part.
As usual, Jesus foresaw all this hypocrisy. He would not have us deceive ourselves that by signing a legal agreement, or by going before a pastor and a church, that makes our marriage binding . Precisely because we choose to swear the oath of marriage, that implies we are not trustworthy and cannot trust others. In the scriptures, marriages were not determined by oaths, but by sexual intercourse.
Jesus says: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:33-37).
Christians specialise in converting God’s absolutes to man’s relatives. A famous Nigerian pastor is divorced from his wife. He then remarried a divorced woman. Nevertheless, he told his congregation that “the Holy Spirit” ministered to him that his new wife, Stephanie, has never been married before. Apparently, the Stephanie who was married before is dead and this newly-married Stephanie is born again. So old things are passed away, (including her previous marriage), behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17). Thank God for Paul.
Paul’s double-minded scriptures are always available for those incli-ned to contradict Jesus. Sometimes, Paulinists lose complete sight of Jesus. When you quote Jesus to them, they accuse you of heresy. One pastor with a vested interest said forbidding a Christian to remarry because he is divorced is a doctrine of demons. Where does he get this from? Where else but from Paul? Paul says: “The Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry.” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
When queried by a Vanguard journalist about his remarriage after divorce, Pastor Chris Okotie of Household of God, Lagos had this to say: “Some argue that the bible says you must remain unmarried for as long as your spouse is alive… The bible does-n’t say so. It doesn’t say so. I think a lot of people don’t study the Word of God enough. There is a difference be-tween a man who marries a woman and the woman leaves him and the one that divorces. There are so many people who are parading themselves as preachers of the scriptures who don’t know the bible enough, particularly in the area of marriage.”
However, marriage is God’s institution. It is not man-made. God’s marriage plan is absolute; there is no divor-ce. It is till death do us part. Indeed, everything about God’s concept of marriage is absolute. God’s absolute marriage has one prototype. It is between Adam and Eve; it is not between Adam and Steve.
Under what circumstances is it lawful for a man to hate his wife? Under absolutely no circumstances! Under what circumstances is it lawful for a man to beat his wife or for a wife to slap her husband? Under absolutely no circ-umstances! Under what circumstances is it lawful for a husband or a wife to commit adult-ery? Under absolutely no circumstances! Un-der what circumstances is it lawful for a husband and wife to abuse one another? Under absolutely no circumstances! Under what circumstances is it lawful for a husband and wife to deceive one another? Under absolutely no circumstances!
Under what circumstances is it lawful for a husband to kiss his wife? Under absolutely all circumstances!