What’s a Hurting Wife To Do?

Following Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s article “A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce” here on Gentle Reformation, and with the internet abuzz with Australian reporter Julia Baird’s hit piece on the church regarding abuse that has produced such responses as “An Open Letter to Husbands Who Abuse Their Wives” at TGC, a question has been raised. What is the proper response of a Christian wife who finds herself facing a sexually immoral or abusive husband?

Though the types of situations a wife may encounter can vary greatly, meaning there is no simple blanket answer to this question, certain Biblical principles and options can be pursued. My wife, Miriam, helped me to write this post as we reflected on our experiences in pastoral ministry that, sadly, included too many wives dealing with this issue.

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What is a Christian wife to do when she discovers explicit texts from another woman on her husband’s phone? When she is shocked by an explosion of anger that creates a bleeding heart or even a bruised body? When she walks in the room unexpectedly and finds her husband watching pornographic videos?

Each of these scenarios can have quite a range of involvement and intensity, and thus influence how a wife […]


A Plea For Concerted Prayer Against Political Correctness

Yesterday in the UK a story hit the headlines – a leading high street pharmaceutical company, Boots, became the center of a political storm and a media feeding frenzy.

In brief the story went something like this. Following recent legalization of the ‘morning after pill’, Boots, when approached, refused to lower the price of the abortion procuring agent, Levonelle.

Without commenting one way or other on potential commercial motives, Boots, it seems, then issued a press statement indicating their reluctance to offend public sensibilities by encouraging irresponsible use of this drug.

Pressure was brought to bear on main UK pharmaceutical retailers by the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. As a result, two other leading stores, Tesco and Superdrug, were happy to lower their prices to make the medication more freely available. All was being done, we are told, in the name of female freedom (with no consideration for the life drowned in UK latrines, and flushed away by Levonelle).

Subsequently, tension was ramped up by a number of Labour Members of the UK Parliament. They had signed, and then made public, a petition that called on Boots Chemists to reconsider their decision. Journalists then got hold of the ‘story’, and, having ‘catastrophized the trivial’, it […]


What Matters Most – Seeking God’s Glory

Over the last week or two, I’ve been taking some time out to study John’s Gospel in more depth. My particular concern and focus has been to get a better handle on the relationship that exists between Jesus and the Father.

This morning I was looking at John Chapter 7.10-24. This section narrates the doctrinal head-to-head between Jesus and the Jews, both the masses and their masters. The debate took place in the precincts of the Temple. Christ had come in cognito, resisting the pressure of his relatives. Now, constrained by the duties of His office, He stands in God’s House to declare divine doctrine in order to decimate human tradition.

What is apparent, throughout this account, is the commitment of the Son to the glory of His Father. This, in fact, is the thing, above all, that distinguishes Jesus Christ clearly from His Judean teachers and hearers. The central section of the passage is found in the statement recounted by John in Chapter 7 Verse 18:

“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (NKJV).

This portion of the 4th Gospel raises […]


Do you Refresh the Hearts of the Saints?

“You have often refreshed the hearts of the saints.”

So Paul wrote to his good friend Philemon, as he thanked God for his love for all the saints. The church at Colosse met in Philemon and Apphia’s home, and it’s not hard to imagine what life must have been like for the household. No doubt every day there was constant coming and going of visitors in and out of the house. There was a guest room for visitors (Phm 22) which was probably well used. Apphia must surely have cooked many meals for guests. When you arrived at Philemon’s home you were always sure of a warm welcome – you never felt like you were intruding – they were the sort of people who were always pleased to see you and who were genuinely delighted to have people stay. Can’t you just picture Philemon and Apphia sitting with people far into the night, giving comfort and counsel, praying with them, refreshing them in the depths of their souls. This word ‘refresh’ is used elsewhere in Greek of soldiers resting. What a beautiful image of Philemon’s ministry: to battle-weary believers worn out from fighting against temptation or persecution or false teaching or […]


A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce

The following article is a guest post by Rebecca VanDoodewaard, author of Uprooted: A Guide for Homesick Christians and Your Future ‘Other Half’: It Matters Whom You Marry. She is married to William VanDoodewaard, Professor of Church History at Puritan Theological Seminary. They have four children.

During a recent visit, my wife and I discussed these types of issues with Bill & Rebecca. I am thankful for her willingness to express her thoughts so clearly and powerfully in this article.   

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God hates divorce, doesn’t He? Absolutely. Isn’t the gospel about forgiveness and love? Yes, it is. And pastors and elders can use these two truths in isolation from the rest of Scripture and biblical principles to deny people divorce for biblical grounds. “But marriage is a precious thing,” one pastor told a woman whose husband was in prison for pedophilia. “It would be a wonderful picture of God’s grace to move on from this and focus on your marriage,” another one told the husband of an adulteress. “We’re working with him; he’s really struggling, and so you need to forgive him,” a session tells a woman whose husband has been using pornography for years.

Evangelical and confessional churches are striving to maintain a high […]


The One Foundation of Ministry

For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more…
Philippians 1:8-9

My wife and I sat down to dinner at my professor’s home in the last couple months of our seminary training. Glad to receive this invitation, we enjoyed their warm hospitality and genuine care for us. Thinking ahead to being ordained in a few weeks, I decided to seize the opportunity and asked rather abruptly, “What advice would you give to a new pastor?” 


Some Encouragments To Frequent Prayer

Out walking our beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog this evening on a lovely summer’s evening.

Here are some thoughts from a conversation that I had with my wife, on the stroll, as to reasons we should delight to pray often.

First God’s Open Access Policy. Round the clock, day and night, the Father’s door is open to hear His children’s prayers.

Second Our Great High Priest. Christ is engaged in continual everlasting intercession for His people in order that their persons and prayers may find acceptance with the Father – Hebrew 4.14-16.

Third Believers Sin Frequently. More than we know, we are in constant need of ongoing confession, cleansing of conscience, and assurance of pardon, so keeping our list short and confession up to date is best – 1 John 1.5-10.

Fourth Saints Need Much Grace. To keep our vows, fulfill our duties, know God’s will, meditate on truth, enjoy Christian fellowship, cherish our relationships, obey the commandments with joy, thanksgiving, devotion, sacrifice and kindness requires more faith than we have and more grace than we seek.

Fifth Prayer Lists Are Long. Luther did not always pray 3 hours a day. Sometimes, he said, that his dog was keener on eating dinner than his master was eager […]


3GT Episode 45: Does ESV = ESS?

Grab your English Standard Version (ESV) Bible, look up John 14:10 and 16:13, then compare it with another version. Notice the difference?

That’s what the prof asks Aaron and Kyle to do on this episode of 3GT. From there they launch into a discussion of the recent debates regarding the Trinity and the teaching referred to as the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS). Does the ESV Study Bible promote this teaching? Listen as the guys seek to tease out in a clear way some of the subtle yet important distinctions needed about the nature of our God. Do they succeed? We’re not sure, but at least our onsite parishioner ends the show with some interesting applications!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/07/3gt-episode-45.mp3

Download

You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

References Cited

Eternal Subordination of the Son and the ESV Study Bible | Rachel Miller

The Semi-Arianism of ESS | Brad Mason

Also, in God’s providence we just saw today that A Daughter of the Reformation also posted a podcast on this subject. You can listen at “Eternal Subordination of the Son – Podcast with Theology Gals.”


Australia’s Most Beautiful Site

Recently I returned from Australia. What a tremendous time I had seeing the land down under!  

A visit to the Healesville Sanctuary, a natural zoo set in the bushland of Victoria, allowed me to get up close to such creatures as wombats, dingoes, platypuses, Tasmanian Devils and other native animals. A bird show in an amphitheater there was incredible. Birds such as a Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and a Wedge-tailed Eagle came flying in and performed as directed by the trainers. I watched in awe as a Barking Owl glided on command right past my head, its large yellow eyes gazing ahead as its wingtip slipped silently by my right ear.

On another day, I visited Kennett River and had King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas perched on my arm and eating out of my hand. We watched koalas munching away on eucalyptus trees. Mait’s Rest, a rainforest area near Apollo Bay with a wooden boardwalk, transferred us to another world as we walked in the silence provided by towering gum trees and dew-covered large ferns. A delightful drive along the Great Ocean Road was made even more beautiful by the numerous iridescent rainbows that kept appearing and reflecting on […]


Rethinking Christian Calling

Many well-meaning Christians often want to baptize their aspirations and decisions with divine approval. It’s not uncommon to hear young people encouraged to figure out who, where, and what God might be “calling” them to. Consider three little anecdotal stories. John is talking with some friends when he confidently announces that he has met the girl he will marry. When asked how he can be certain he says God has called him to take her as his wife. Susie is getting ready to graduate high school and decides to go to a particular university. When asked why, she says God has called her to go to that school. Ben works as a plumber. When asked why he chose that profession he says God has called him to that work. Do you see the pattern?

While it may not gain me popularity points I want to rethink this common idea of God’s calling. Biblically, the call of God is used in reference to our salvation and to Apostolic office (see e.g. Romans 1:1 and 1 Corinthians 1:1). Foregoing the second of these, the Bible says we have been “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:6) and “called according to his purpose” […]