Posted in theology

Complaining about your spouse?

By Elizabeth Prata

I wasn’t saved until I was 42. Before that, I’d been married. I remember what it was like to complain about my spouse. It was the norm. It was a usual thing to gripe about him, to nitpick every fault and failure and deficit to my friends when we got together. We didn’t have the internet then, but we did complain about our spouses in public, even TO our spouses in public. All in good fun, we said. Just joshing.

Sure. Sure it was. What it actually was, was marital wars. It was putting salt on the jabs and pokes and little bitter wounds that pile up. It was a normal thing. Doing that meant we were trying to get an advantage in our constant undercurrent of passive-aggressive battle that unsaved marriages often are.

The unsaved’s marriage is a war, as Genesis 3:16 says the woman will constantly try to usurp her husband. In turn, the husband has to constantly suppress his wife. There is no common ground, as there is in a Christian marriage, the common ground being Jesus.

The Christian marriage is in fact a societal foundation block of intertwined flesh of two made one. It is a pair, united in purpose and walking together. Big difference from the ego-maniacal wars of the unsaved marriage.

When we are saved, we realize our utter depravity, our utter lostness before God, and our helpless estate. We need Jesus every moment to do what is right, and that includes loving our spouses well.

After salvation, I was not married any more but I watched Christian married couples closely. They loved each other. Their devotion seemed real and deep. They praised each other, lifted each other up, and spoke well of him or her.

This kind of behavior and their kind words about each other was startling in how much it contrasted with the darkness of non-Christian talk about spouses. It was like a warm glow of a candlelit table, comfortable and inviting, rather than the hot pricks and barbs of usual conversations about our spouse.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

I would like to reiterate what Dr. Strachan said in the tweet screen shot above. It IS radical to speak well of one’s spouse (or of anyone!) I don’t know if long-time Christians know HOW radical it is. Wholesome and uplifting speech about your wife or husband is countercultural and stands out like a lighthouse beacon on a stormy night.

The good news is that if you have fallen into the trap of downgrading your spouse in public in speech or gestures, you can repent to Jesus and He will forgive. The Holy Spirit is our very present help to aid us in resisting that kind of speech.

If you have been uplifting your spouse in conversation to others, then please know how such talk stands out in the swirl of talk by the unsaved that usually consists of complaints, gossip, and pettiness. Such speech stands out like warm rain on a sunny day.

EPrata photo
Posted in theology

Is your marriage as strong as Roman concrete?

By Elizabeth Prata

I love all things Italian. My father’s side of the family came from Italy. I have a fascination with the Roman empire because of its monumental achievements. Who wouldn’t be amazed at the discipline of the Roman legion? The straight and paved Roman roads? The soaring aqueducts, bridges, and buildings? The breakwaters?

Wait, wut? The breakwaters?

Yes, perhaps the most amazing achievement of all. Astonishing because they have lasted for 2000 years, and, modern engineers can’t figure out how.

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Posted in theology

Marriage is intended to be solely one man and one woman

By Elizabeth Prata

Yesterday I wrote about polygamy in the Bible. God does not accept polygamy as an appropriate marital configuration. His standard is seen in Genesis 2:24, where he brought one man to one woman and made them as one flesh for life.

This standard is emphasized both positively and negatively throughout the Bible. In the New Testament Jesus re-taught that standard, quoting the Old Testament. The negative examples of what happens to a family when they stray from it is clearly seen whenever polygamy is practiced. Abraham, Solomon, David, Elkanah, Jacob, and others suffered terribly whenever it’s shown they took on plural wives or concubines.

Despite that, there are religions that practice polygamy, which is one person married to multiple other spouses. Usually it’s the man who has many wives, which is technically called polygyny. We rarely see a culture that adopts polyandry, which is women taking on multiple husbands.

There is one cult that claims the God of the Bible and practices polygamy. That cult is Mormonism, or as they refer to themselves, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many of their historical elders were polygamists, usually in secret, from almost the start of the founding of the cult. Founder Joseph Smith claimed to have had a revelation from Jesus to take plural wives. (Source). Smith did so, and taught the practice to close associates. In public however, they denied the existence of polygamy for a few of those beginning years. One wonders why, if this teaching truly was from God – who is good, holy, and pure – it needed to be a secret…

In fact, the Mormons’ 1835 founding and guiding document, Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), banned polygamy and said that monogamy was the only acceptable form of marriage. But men continued to take plural wives, and the practice spread. In 1852 polygamy was announced publicly and finally published in the 1876 version of the LDS Church’s Doctrine and Covenants, the practice became openly public. This caused much controversy between the LDS church and the United States government, which vehemently opposed the practice. Mormons called it having ‘spiritual wives’ or “plural marriage.” The government called it polygamy and against the law.

Recently the LDS church posted documents on their website admitting their early history was rife with “plural marriages”. Joseph Smith had up to 40 wives, the youngest of age 14.

Where do Mormons get that polygamy is biblical? First, this is their reasoning, aside from basing legitimacy on the alleged extra-biblical, direct revelation Joseph Smith allegedly received, Smith then wrote down the revelation and codified it into the documents they vault to equal stature as scripture, for example, their Doctrine & Covenants 132:34 says that God commanded polygamy.

34 God commanded Abraham, and Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law; and from Hagar sprang many people. This, therefore, was fulfilling, among other things, the promises. 35 Was Abraham, therefore, under condemnation? Verily I say unto you, Nay; for I, the Lord, commanded it.

So, a direct command via revelation, plus an argument from silence. Their argument from silence explains that when Abraham took wives and concubines, since there was no explicit condemnation from God for doing that, it must be OK.

Further, they say that since the Prophet (Smith) was told to do it, and there was NO condemnation to Abraham for taking multiple wives, and further proof of the practice’s acceptability is that he was blessed with children. They say in paragraph 37, “Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him,“.

Fourth, they say that when there is an apparent contradiction between what the LORD had said before in scripture, and the instructions now, obedience is key. The D & C use the example in 132:36 that God commanded Abraham to kill Isaac. We know the 5th Commandment says Thou Shalt Not Kill. It is interpreted that Abraham’s obedience to the voice of God commanding him to kill Isaac even though the Commandments forbid it, was accounted to him as righteousness. Similarly was Abraham’s acceptance of plural wives despite an apparent contradiction in Genesis 2:24, and that also was accounted. This interpretation is taught at the churchofjesuschrist.org, the legitimate Mormon website. We read, “It is important to remember that if God were to command His people to do something contrary to current commandments, such direction would come through His living prophet.” So, essentially the living prophet designated by the Mormons as the one to receive revelation, could say anything, claim it was “God told me”, and the Mormons would have to obey. This is so dangerous.

Yet scripture is clear that marriage is one man and one woman. We also read that, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8). And to watch out, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds“. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

We see how easy it is for satan to twist the scriptures. All the most famous false teachers and false prophets we read about in the Bible or hear about in the news, start off with a hefty blend of truth mixed in with lies. That proportion changes as the false prophet’s following grows. His teachings become less truth and more lies. By then, people are hooked, as the frogs in ever-warming water, perhaps not noticing the drift from sacred scripture. Satan deceived Eve simply by insinuations and questions. The Judaizers made sense to the confused Jews coming out of the old covenant and emerging into the new. Cults always begin with truth and lies mixed, expertly proportioned so as to make sense to the people the false teacher or false prophet is trying to deceive.

Peter writes in 2 Peter 3:14-18,

Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found spotless and blameless by Him, at peace, and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which there are some things that are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unscrupulous people and lose your own firm commitment, but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

From this we learn that:
1. Some biblical concepts are hard to understand,
2. We must be diligent to interpret correctly so as to understand according to the Spirit and not to the flesh,
3. There are unscrupulous teachers coming in the name of Christ. The word unscrupulous means lawless, licentious, and unrestrained,
4. Scripture can be distorted.

Whenever a ‘biblical’ teaching appeals to the flesh, it’s false. And who is unstable? The double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8). Again, if a teaching appeals to the flesh, it is false.

The beauty of the institute of marriage is that it’s a picture of Jesus and His Bride (the Church). The Church global is one body, (not plural bodies) whom Jesus gave His life for and will be presented to Him by His Father, Yahweh at the heavenly supper as spotless. Marriage is supposed to be instructive to us, where the man is head of the house, women are to submit to His leadership, He is to love his wife even unto death, and as a unit of one man and one woman, go forth to proclaim the excellencies of Jesus while striving for holiness. Just as it was intended in the Garden by God for Adam and Eve.

Posted in theology

Marriage: Polygamy in the Bible

By Elizabeth Prata

Last week I’d written a short series on Marriage for wives. The essays in the series were:

Persevering in Marriage: A True Story
Culture Calls this a Dirty Word
Recommending Confidently Called Homemakers
What are the biblical qualities God desires in a woman teacher? Not the ones Beth Moore exhibits
What if my marriage is to a difficult man?
Unequally yoked (or yoked to a minimal believer) but still need to submit?

A dear sister contacted me and asked me to write about polygamy. In my series, I’d only mentioned polygamy, noting that Abraham had multiple wives. So did, David, Solomon, Elkanah, and that even the institute of marriage crumbled as early as Genesis 4:19, when we read that Lamech took two wives.

As I was writing the series I briefly considered writing more about polygamy (multiple spouses supposedly married to one person) but discarded the idea since polygamy isn’t a huge concern in the US.

I was wrong.

Continue reading “Marriage: Polygamy in the Bible”
Posted in theology

Unequally yoked (or yoked to a minimal believer) but still need to submit?

By Elizabeth Prata

The Bible calls married women to submit to their husbands, as they submit to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22-25). But when your husband isn’t a believer in Christ, or is a minimal believer showing little interest in spiritual things, how does one navigate the minefields that pop up? Yesterday we saw young Abigail in that situation, and she used tact and diplomacy.

The question is, how to submit to husband without sinning against Jesus. Let’s start with a negative example of what NOT to do. I’d said on the first essay in this series that submission means you do not have to follow your husband into sin. In the days of the early church shown in Acts, everyone was selling their land and laying the proceeds at the apostles’ feet, so that there was not a needy person among them. (Acts 4:32-35). So Ananias and Sapphira decided they would do the same.

Continue reading “Unequally yoked (or yoked to a minimal believer) but still need to submit?”
Posted in theology

What if my marriage is to a difficult man?

By Elizabeth Prata

EPrata photo

This week I’ve been looking at marriage. I wrote about what submission is and isn’t, I posted a sweet testimony about persevering in marriage, and I recommended a site called Confidently Called Homemakers that has a lot of encouragements and resources for the women who work at home.

Today we’ll look at marriage to a difficult man. I know what you’re thinking, lol, ‘They’re ALL difficult!’ And they are! And so are we women. As part of the curse, God said that the desire for women would be for their husbands, and the husbands in turn would have a tendency to rule over us. This is ripe ground for conflict. Before the fall, Adam and Eve’s was the only perfect marriage. All of them since have had difficulty. In Genesis 3 Adam and Eve started blame-shifting and bickering. (Where do I get the bickering from? I am supposing…the leaf-sewing went something like this: “You’re not doing it right! That leaf isn’t big enough! Just give it here!”)

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Posted in Uncategorized

Persevering in Marriage: A True Story

By Elizabeth Prata

Marriage is hard. It takes a lot of work, denial of self, service to the spouse, and submission. Having Jesus at the center is necessary for success and even then, some Christian marriages still fail. Without Christ, I am not sure how any marriage survives! I am not married now, but I was before I was saved. It was difficult and I wish now that I’d had Jesus to rely upon for help. Christians are truly blessed to have the Groom to whom we can bring our marital cares, joys, and petitions.

This week I’ll look at Christian marriage in a upcoming few essays.

Here is a heartfelt, true story about marriage from someone who knows. May you be encouraged as I was by this sweet testimony of my friend Pastor James Bell. He posted this in 2016. He’ll now have been married for 54 years next month. Here’s Pastor Bell:

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Posted in theology

The first thing satan did was corrupt gender roles

By Elizabeth Prata

Recently I’ve watched a growing wave of corruption of gender biology and more push-back about it than I’ve ever seen. In the secular world, the madness of trans-gender has become a pitched frenzy. The church isn’t unaffected. Even inside ‘Christian’ circles, sassy or angry or ignorant women are howling themselves into usurping madcaps more each day.

How do strong Christian women fight against this? First, by remembering this verse from Ephesians 6:12,

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

We combat this tsunami of falsehood secondly by staying in the word of God, wielding the word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17), and quoting the word of God.

Continue reading “The first thing satan did was corrupt gender roles”
Posted in theology

Michal: She despised her husband in her heart

By Elizabeth Prata

Michal was wife of king David. Her name “describes an admiring acknowledgment of the transcendent unapproachable majesty of the divine nature” according to “All the Women of the Bible” (which is a very handy reference at Bible Gateway, for free).

Sadly, she did not live up to her name. Let’s see what happened.

Michal was daughter of King Saul, and she fell in love with David. Hard. David was handsome, accomplished, and beloved by many. Michal was entranced. David was going to be king, so that meant she would be queen. She even defied her father, King Saul, when she learned that King Saul plotted to kill David. She was married to him by now, and she informed David of the plot, and made a dummy to put in the bed so David could escape, and lied, saying David had threatened to kill her if she didn’t let him go.

Continue reading “Michal: She despised her husband in her heart”