Friday, February 2, 2018

What is wrong with UBF private revelation about marriage

Views expressed do not necessarily represent those of University Bible Fellowship

Here is an old draft I wrote about marriage by faith possibly last updated on April 28, 2015, I am posting this now on 2018 February 2

The article explains what is wrong with third private revelation when it comes to marriage.  The Bible does not list who is supposed to marry who, when UBF elders claim to receive such revelation it is an extra Biblical teaching and they clearly are not Sola Scriptura people who go by the Bible alone in spite of claims otherwise.  Actually no one goes by the Bible alone.

This article is worth reading even though I selected a lot of similar Bible verses to my other work because it clarifies points about them I did not think to bring up until reminded by my old work.  I had to make some major changes to odd sentence structures and may have accidentally changed the meaning to make it more understandable.  I also added several notes not in my original writing.  But it is primarily my earlier original work with few changes.

The  article is copied below

Title: Marriage by choice or marriage by unbelief

Good help by some members of UBF at some times in regard to marriage and purity,
First I want to mention that I have respect for the idea of helping someone find a marriage partner and helping encourage them to stay pure and that there are many good teachings in line with Biblical faith taught by some members of UBF.

Purpose of this article.
There is a teaching by some members of UBF that if you pray God will lead you to marry the right person, however I wish to suggest that God already taught that you can choose who you marry so long as it is not a type of marriage forbidden for ethical reasons such as the types of marriages listed as forbidden in the Bible.  None the less some UBF leaders try to discourage followers from marrying unless the leaders perceive it is a marriage led by God, I believe this extra-Biblical leading is contrary to the scriptural idea that you can choose.  This extra Biblical leading to discourage marriage without valid grounds would be better named “marriage by unbelief” than “marriage by faith” since the leadership usurps your faith in the Biblical teaching that God gave you a choice without needing extra biblical leading by UBF leaders first.  Many UBF leaders say “scripture alone” but going by scripture plus “leading” is not scripture alone.  They might not say they forbid marriage but imply someone is settling for less than the best if the UBF leaders do not feel it is led by God. 

Problematic nature of interpretations of scripture based on private revelations (or being “led by God”) contradicting a logical or reasonable interpretation of the Public revelation of God as revealed by the deposit of faith i.e. the historical records of what God said such as found in the Bible

20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:20-21 KJV

Although I am not endorsing the Roman Catholic Church led by the pope I am endorsing the Roman Catholic teaching that we should not trust a private revelation that contradicts what is taught in a correct interpretation of the public revelation found in scripture.  What UBF calls being led by God is sometimes similar to what Roman Catholics call private revelations.  I believe that some UBF leaders often privately (“personally”) interpret scripture based on alleged private revelations which they call God’s leading and also get alleged private revelations based on a private interpretation of scripture not based on logic and reason but their desires or will.  This alleged revelation of God trumps a reasonable interpretation of scripture based on logical principles and information including information outside the Bible such as archeological findings.  Genesis 24 explains how God gave instructions for Isaac’s marriage through a servant but he did not say this was how everyone was to get married nor does it say that it is the best way for everyone to get married.  

Some UBF leaders felt this is the best way for everyone to get married even though this contradicts other passages of the Bible that apply to people in general permitting people to make choices independent of a third party servant without referring to these choices as less than the best.  2 Peter 1:20-21 talks about how prophecy does not come from private interpretation or the will of man, but some UBF members feel  they are led by God through private revelation(although they might call it something else) to tell you who to marry based on their private interpretation of Genesis 24 but no genuine prophecy (such as a prophecy about who you should marry) came by private interpretation or the will of man (their will about who you should marry or what they want the Bible to mean.)

If they are not supernaturally led by God to discourage marriage is it a doctrine of devils?

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 KJV

Forbidding to marry and discouraging to marry might not be the same and also for other reasons I am not sure this verse applies to them but it should be considered strongly.  It might just be bad doctrine imagined by man rather than demon or devil specific in this case.

For the sake of shortening the article the following is implied

Throughout this text when I mention that a man or woman can marry anyone he or she chooses I mean anyone unless forbidden for ethically valid reasons but I am not counting UBF leaders not feeling the marriage is led by God as an ethically valid reason.

What are some of the ethically valid reasons to forbid marriage according to the Bible or types of marriages forbidden?

Bestiality (Leviticus 20)
Males marrying males (Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, Romans 1, 1 Timothy  1)
Certain types of incest (Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20)
Marrying a woman and her mother/daughter (Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20)
Marrying a woman and her sister to vex her (Leviticus 18 but not Leviticus 20 no death penalty)
Polyandry  via the prohibition on marrying another man’s wife (Leviticus 20, Romans 7)
A woman marrying the same man who divorced her after she marries another man (Deuteronomy 24)
A priest marrying a divorced woman (Leviticus 21)
A high-priest marrying a widow or non-virgin (Leviticus 21)
 Forced Marriage (Exodus 21, Deuteronomy 24, 1 Timothy 1)

Bible verses that imply a man can choose to marry any woman he wants

“If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[a] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

I believe that exodus 21:1-11 gives the overall structure of marriages in the Bible and that Deuteronomy 21, 22, 24 and 25 give more specific cases of marriage that fall within the model of Exodus 21:7-11.  A phrase within  Exodus 21:8a says the following (although NIV and NASB have alternate ways to translate it in the footnotes)

“If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself”  NASB
“If she does not please her master, who designated her for himself” NRSVCE
“If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself” NIV

All of these readings imply the man can select who he marries.  To say it is less than the best for him to select who he marries unless UBF leadership feels it is, is God’s leading is to contradict the leading of God in scripture that he can choose indicated by the translations “designated for himself” or “selected for himself.”  But someone might object this is in the old testament, however so is Genesis 2 and Genesis 24 that some UBF leaders use like ink-blots to justify their marriage doctrines, I will address this later.
But doesn’t Exodus 21:9 also allow a man to select a spouse for his son?
Yes but that does not negate that Exodus 21:8 allows a man to select his spouse for himself.  Additionally  the son is not required to marry the spouse his father selected for him, nor does it say it is better to let your father choose for you, nor does it say your father is symbolic here for UBF leadership.  

Is it OK for UBF leadership to just show you a picture of someone and let you decide if you marry them based on the picture? (Note: I think I asked that because in Exodus 21 a third party can delegate a spouse, otherwise this question and answer seems out of place)

I suppose you could do that if you want to but it does not have to be that way as the only way or the best way.

But why not Genesis 2 as your basic model?
The majority of the text in Genesis 2 is a historical event not a command.  One small portion of it is interpreted by Jesus in the new testament as a prohibition on divorce however elsewhere in the Bible some valid reasons for divorce are explained, clearly divorce is then prohibited except where there is a valid reason.  But Genesis 2 does not appear to set rules for initiating marriage when interpreted by Jesus in the new testament and I do not want to open a can of worms for anything goes hermeneutics by adding on interpretations of the Genesis 2 not supported elsewhere in scripture.  Many UBF leaders tend to misinterpret historical events as rules they make up.

Updated note: 
See Mark 10:2-12 and Mathew 19:3-12 to see Jesus interpret a section of Genesis 2 in regards to divorce prohibitions and not as meaning the marriage by faith doctrine.  He also does not interpret Genesis 2 to mean who is allowed to marry who or not marry who and when and how to decide who you marry, but only to prohibit divorce in some cases for people already married.  He also does not interpret Genesis 2 to forbid homosexual marriage or anything like that in Mark and Mathew, if that is forbidden it is not from Genesis 2 but elsewhere in scripture and to say otherwise is not according to sound Biblical interpretation principles but from listening to sermons on Genesis 2 rather than reading Genesis 2 yourself and thinking the sermons on the text are equivalent to the text, such as when people imagine the word "antichrist" is in the book of revelation where it is never found because of hearing sermons on the book of revelation.

Special Cases Deuteronomy 21 and 25

if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. Deuteronomy 21:11 NIV

If someone was attracted to a captive woman?  Did they need UBF leaders to pray about it before they decide to marry her only with their permission or is it less than the best without their permission?  The Bible says, “you may take her as your wife” although this text does not generally apply in most cases today (Updated Note: Possibly not in any case today) none the less it does not contradict the principle of choice in Exodus 21, but certainly would contradict the UBF concept of “marriage by faith” in the “servants” to find the right person for you (matchmaking through private revelation of UBF leadership) as the best way.

Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” 10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.
Deuteronomy 25:8-10 NIV

All I want to point out is that in this case he can choose whether or not he marries the widow.  

I really want to make some Sandal jokes about UBF members who refuse to marry people in spite of their elders persuasion, but I have not yet seen this at UBF yet….  If anyone has experienced sandal based persecution for refusing to marry someone the elder suggested (other than their sister in law or brother in law after….) please post about this.  (Updated Note:  I think I was saying I could see UBF elders twisting this scripture to start throwing shoes at people who refuse their suggested match, even though I never saw it happened or heard it suggested by elders yet, I am laughing about that possibility seeing how they twisted other Bible verses)

28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.
1 Corinthians 7:28a NIV

36 If anyone is worried that he might not be acting honorably toward the virgin he is engaged to, and if his passions are too strong[b] and he feels he ought to marry, he should do as he wants. He is not sinning. They should get married. 37 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. 38 So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.[c]
1 Corinthians 7:36-38 NIV

It does not say if you marry you have not sinned if the UBF leadership felt it was led by God.  You can marry someone without sinning, if this is God’s word you do not need to pray about it to know whether or not it is sinful to marry the person you want to because God allows it without considering it sin.  You can also choose not to marry someone without sinning.  If God’s word says either choice is not sinning then could saying that you are settling for rest than the best if you do not have UBF leadership tell you which way they feel God is leading the decision possibly contradict scripture?  Do you really need supernatural leading of God if he already told you either way is acceptable?  If 1 corinthians 7 is inspired by God then you already know the answer if you pray and get an answer that contradicts the Bible then what?  Do you need to pray that prayer?  None the less I say if it is God’s word because Paul says stuff like, “(I, not the Lord)” in the NIV translation of verse 12 but also I say If it is God’s word to ask you if UBF leaders are really consistent about what they consider to be God’s word and whether or not they respect what they label as God’s word.

Bible verse that implies a  widow can choose which man she marries in post new testament times

 A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:39 NIV

This is very clear it says anyone she wishes I believe that if this is God’s word than God is leading her by scripture to let her know she may marry anyone she wished, but if the leadership says they must feel she is led by God than this alleged private revelation of theirs trumps the public revelation that she can marry who she wishes which is wrong!

Bible verse that implies a woman divorced by her ex-husband can choose if she marries

When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the Lord: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.When a man hath taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war, neither shall he be charged with any business: but he shall be free at home one year, and shall cheer up his wife which he hath taken.

Potential Objections to a woman’s choice: The divorced woman verse does not say any man but another man and what about woman that are not divorced or widows

The word “may” is very important.  Since she may be another man’s wife she may choose to either marry or not marry another man other than her ex-husband (she can also remarry her ex-husband provided she is not disqualified under verses 3 and 4.)  [Updated note: That is if she did not marry another man after the divorce] This verse in the context of other scripture implies she can choose who she marries.  UBF leaders might object it does not say any man she wishes but another man so she can marry another man but only if they feel it is God’s leading otherwise it will be less than the best or even sinful.  If you only look at this Bible verse that might make sense but there are numerous verses that allow a man to choose any woman as a marriage partner.  A man can not choose to marry any woman he wants if he can not choose to marry the divorced woman unless the UBF leaders feel it is God’s leading and since he can marry any woman he wants based on other sections of the Bible, the divorced woman is eligible to choose to marry any  man who chooses to marry her, but she does not have to wait for him to propose she can ask him to propose to her and thus choose to request to marry any  man without sinning even if UBF leaders do not feel it is God’s leading.  This does not apply to divorced woman only because forbidding a man from marrying a (unmarried) non-divorced woman would also contradict the idea that a man can choose who he marries expressed elsewhere in scripture and thus allows any woman to marry any  man she wishes even if UBF leaders do not feel it is God’s leading. [Updated note: That is any woman can ask a man to propose to marry her, thus if a man can select any woman that means a woman can select any man unless otherwise prohibited]

Is there any value in the fact that woman who were divorced by their husband and widows are specifically mentioned as being permitted to marry if all women are permitted to choose their marriage partner? 

Yes some people think woman divorced by their husbands and widows are forbidden from remarrying, so it is a useful clarification that death or divorce does not forbid remarriage in all or most circumstances.

Bible verses that allow a man to choose to marry any woman he wants.

Fine detail on how the prohibition of kidnapping implies against forced marriage and a potential argument against the use of the word “rape” in some translations of Deuteronomy 22:27-28.  Which are useful to understand my overall reasoning structure but not meant to imply the practice of kidnapping or forced marriage occurred in UBF.  This section is last because it is not necessary reading to understand my main points for most readers but it is important to respond to some liberal counterarguments against my main points in which someone might try to claim the Bible especially the old testament is “pro-rape” and therefore should not be used as a basis for doctrine about marriage. [Updated Note: the word liberal has frequently changed it's meaning]

There are numerous verses in the Bible that imply that someone can choose their marriage partner or choose to be unmarried.  If one man were to marry one woman two people would be involved in the marriage, none the less some of the verses that mention a woman can choose her marriage partner do not mention that a man can decide whether or not he marries her and some of the verses that mention a man can decide to marry a woman do not mention that the woman can decide whether or not he marries him.  

Some people interpret (or in my opinion misinterpret) these scriptures to imply that the Bible allows men to force women to marry them.  I wish to suggest that the prohibitions on kidnapping in the Bible imply against forced marriage (since someone is not allowed to force you to stay somewhere you do not want to be and they cannot consummate the marriage if they are not together) with at least two possible exceptions the case of a man having premarital physical relations with a non-betrothed virgin woman (Deuteronomy 22:27-28) and the case of marrying a captive bride because someone who is captive could be in a sense kidnapped and so the verses permitting taking captives might imply exceptions in which kidnapping is allowed.  

None the less even though the verses in which kidnapping is forbidden would not work to show the captive war bride could reject a marriage partner it could be true that God has allowed the captive bride to reject the man as a marriage partner based on the fact that something does not have to be found in scripture to be true, to make this claim is not to say that scripture is false but rather to claim that scripture simply does not state every true fact in all of existence.

Updated note: I am saying there are two ways to interpret Deuteronomy 21 one allowing forced marriage of the captive woman and one only allowing marriage of her if she agrees.  To say these are two ways to interpret it, is not the same as me encouraging forced marriage myself, but simple academic honesty.  This issue of interpretation can not be resolved using the Bible alone and the original meaning may very well never be known.

In the United States it is permissible for someone to marry someone who is a prisoner in jail but even though they are a prisoner they can still choose not to get married to a specific person or at all, perhaps the same could be said about the permission to marry a captive woman.  Regarding the case of forcing people who had premarital relations to marry, in some NIV translations the word rape has been used in Deuteronomy 22:27-28 but the KJV does not say rape but “lay hold on her, and lie with her”  instead of the word “force” such as in Deuteronomy 22:25 KJV, it might be that the translators of the KJV assumed it was consensual in Deuteronomy 22:27-28 but forced in Deuteronomy 22:25, such that it could be possible the woman and the man who were forced to marry each other both willing chose to have premarital relations first as opposed to if the man raped her in which case he would have been put to death for kidnapping and there would be no forced marriage or if the woman kidnapped the man she would be put to death and there would be no forced marriage.

Updated note: The Contemporary English Version does not refer to it as rape at all except as a possible alternative translation in the footnotes

Suppose a woman isn’t engaged to be married, and a man talks her into sleeping with him. If they are caught, they will be forced to get married. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and[e] can never divorce her.
[e] 22.28,29 talks her into sleeping with him. . . bride-price and: Or “forces her to have sex.29 Then if they are caught, he will have to marry her. He must give her father fifty pieces of silver as a bride-price and.”
Deuteronomy 22:28-29 Contemporary English Version with footnote
Accessed online on 2018 February 2

Bible verses forbidding kidnapping
And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.
Exodus 21:16 KJV
If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.
Deuteronomy 24:7 KJV
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; 11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
1 Timothy 1:8-11 KJV

Note that even though some of these words look like they are masculine in the English if an audience contains a 100 women and 1 man you are supposed to address the audience as though they are masculine plural, a masculine word can refer to woman/women in addition to men in both Greek and Hebrew so theses verses could still prohibit kidnapping woman.  These verses are important in that kidnapping being forbidden implies forced marriage being forbidden in most cases as I discussed above. [Updated Note: I am saying that the verses prohibiting kidnapping may apply to both males and females and not males only]

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