Churches Of Christ/What do I do now, with this new faith?
Joe, I have studied intently now the teachings of Bro. Dan Billingsley, and have been convinced that my previous believe was incorrect. Billingsley is right on target. After spending over 20 years in a terrible marriage and fighting for my family all those years I finally realized I couldn't make the marriage alone. Divorced now for 3 years and re-married now for 1 year. Only after much study could I except that I wouldn't go straight to hell for divorcing am I now very happy. Not raised Church of Christ yet spent the last 22 years as a member of the Church the last 5 of those as a Deacon. I have found that by in large I have been looked down upon by members of the Church much more than non-members, but with my new faith I live knowing I still have a home with the Lord regardless of what "they" think. I want desperately to find a body of believers to worship with of like mind in my area... which seems impossible, but I keep praying. My question, should I attempt to approach the leaders of my former congregation about these "teachings"? What has been your success rate with the traditional Church of Christ members in showing them these teachings? I do plenty of personal training on this new way of looking at the scripture just simply planting the seeds but no real break through in converting anyone to this thought. I want to tell the world and show so many good Christians brothers and sisters living in misery hanging on to a ragged symbol of a marriage just because he or she feels that a divorce would send them straight to Hell. So,so sad. I have heard many elders in the church comment on the issue of divorce and re-marriage gives them the most trouble.... now I know why. They have been taught in-correctly and they are trying to hold husbands and wives to standards that our Lord never intended.
Thank you for writing your question to me. I am quite familiar with brother Dan Billingsley and what he teaches. He regularly sends me new articles he writes. I do agree that what Jesus said regarding divorce and remarriage was Old Covenant and not New Covenant teachings. It was fully based on Deuteronomy 24:1-4. But I do not fully agree with brother Billingsley regarding his overall belief that all the gospels belong with the Old Testament. I believe the gospels are kind of transitional books between the two covenants. One thing Jesus said regarding marriage is and always was true. It remains true regardless of covenant. God created man and woman with the intention that the two become one flesh in marriage and that marriage be for life.
It should be the number one goal of any Christian to enter into marriage with the intention to be once and for life. There is no problem that can arise within a marriage that two Christians cannot work through and overcome. Divorce shouldn't ever even be in the mind of a Christian as a possibility. Sadly though divorce is sometimes unavoidable and occurs against one's will. Such was the case for me. I did not want my divorce even though my wife was unfaithful to me with a married man with whom she worked. When only one person in the marriage is working to make the marriage what it should be and trying to live by God's Word the marriage will end.
What we also need to always keep in mind is that God's grace does give us the ability to turn from sin and re-commit our lives to living as Christians. Hence even if we let sin harden our hearts and cause us to either be unfaithful in our first marriage or divorce for no reason other than wanting out, we can repent and ensure that our second marriage is what God wants it to be for us.
There are more and more within the churches of Christ who are learning the truth about divorce and remarriage and rejecting what has been traditionally taught. But there are not many congregations who overall understand, believe and teach the truth on MDR. Regarding whether or not you should confront your former congregation about these teachings I cannot give you advice as I am not sure of your full knowledge and understanding and whether or not you have the skill and ability to confront them and persuade them. Also, we must choose our battles wisely. I have not had much success myself in convincing others who have been taught and convinced of the traditional teachings on MDR but I have been able to convince some. Most ministers and elders and deacons are very convinced they know and teach the truth already on MDR so their minds tend to be pretty closed to even considering the possibility they might be wrong. I have seriously studied MDR for over 9 years and am convinced my current understanding is the truth. I was fortunate to be raised by parents who encouraged me to prove what is true and never to blindly believe anything anyone tells me is true even if it's my own parents. It is sad that so many believe and teach error on MDR and I have heard many many sad stories but my goal is to help those I can to have hope and not feel they are either doomed to Hell or to living a lonely celibate life due to their first marriage ending.
We must pick and choose our battles and work to spread the truth with every opportunity that comes our way. This is all we can do but I do see more and more learning and understanding the truth on MDR. I will pray for you as you also work to help so many to learn they have been taught error and that you may convince them of the truth.
May God bless us as we work to give those who have lost hope find it again.
In Christian Love, Joe Norman