Fornication…

“If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife”
~~Exodus 22:16

Many believe that in our present day and age, the enforcement of the Exodus 22:16 verse/law would be a great encouragement to fornication. Some also think applying Mosaic Law in the New Testament dispensation is like crucifying Christ again.

In others view too, if the focus of the new testament is only about fleeing fornication, then what happens in a situation when someone is unable to follow the rules all the way through and where do we find a remedy for that situation. Are they totally condemned because they couldn’t flee?

Again, others feel there should be a balance so we don’t try to live the Christian life only on the basis of the New Testament, after all the Bible in its entirety is our manual, not just the New Testament.

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So what do I think? I think both verses (Exodus 22:16 and 1 Corinthians 6:18) being in the Bible makes the Bible a holistic book.  Though there are some varied histories behind the Exodus verse and what was the norm in those days, I do not believe the verse is meant for pagans; neither do I believe it is there to encourage promiscuity or the lack of self control. And whether or not its application or relevance should be left to die with the practice of old and not brought into modern day Christianity, the reality is that I believe God in His infinite wisdom knows that even in today’s Christendom, some will get caught up in a situation where they are unable to exercise self-control and have “unmarried sex” and maybe have pregnancy on their hands before marriage. And what should then be the Bible’s requirement when that happens to a virgin or woman of marriageable age? Judge and condemn them because “fornicators” shall not inherit the kingdom of God, and on that basis prevent them from getting married because of the sin? Should they be made to look like the worse of sinners as some Churches do or be allowed to marry even when they are willing?

I do not see the application of Exodus 22:16 as condoning wrong or encouraging sin but just the recommendation of the Word of God. Repentance will not be required of Christians and mentioned in the Bible if God was oblivious of the fact that Christians do sin or will sin (not as a habit though). All sin is sin; fornication (whether a one-time act or serial act) is an equal sin as any other sin. Christians do mess up, don’t they?

Far from it, I’m not encouraging fornication; just sharing my thought on the Exodus 22:16 verse. Premarital sex is a sin and that’s undisputed! Premarital sex is sexual immorality and all sexually immoral (I believe those whose actions have become a conscious habit and not just someone who once fell into sexual sin and repented) will NOT inherit the kingdom of God!

sexual-sin

But what’s the atonement for every form of sin as the Christian knows and lives by? Isn’t it simply a genuine repentance and change from one’s old ways (though some consequences of one’s sins cannot be undone)? And aren’t all Christians, including Pastors, only being perfected in that regard? Is it not true that we all are not perfect; at least, not yet?

So yes, I’m not encouraging premarital sex. I’m only saying that the practice where a Christian brother and a Christian sister are made to feel like the worse of sinners when either by “mistake” or some unrestrained passions they fornicate and even refused marriage by the Church even when they are willing to is too extreme and not a balanced Christian principle in my view. Of course I do not expect the Church to encourage sex before marriage or preach it, but neither do I expect the Church to assume that Christians are without sin. Christians were sinners before accepting Christ and Christians are not without sin after accepting Christ.

What do we sometimes see in Churches? Some churches decline such folk marriage even when the people involved have acknowledged their sin, repented and are willing to. Some churches say they have to punish or discipline the people involved in order to maybe purge out the sin or serve as deterrent to others. To do this therefore they instill certain rules. In some churches the Church Pastor brings them before the whole congregation and shames them, telling of their act. Then, the “fornicators” (not the appropriate tag because I don’t believe someone who fornicates and then repents still qualifies to be called a fornicator) when in Church cannot sit among the congregation but at the far back of the church in specially reserved seats for such folks. He/she is also not allowed to partake in communion; neither is he/she allowed to come near the “altar”, among other restrictions.

The Biblical basis for such actions is sometimes “absurd” to me; but surprisingly many Christians submit to these kinds of treatments by the Church, maybe out of respect for Church elders or “Church discipline”. Those who are unable to handle the ill treatment just leave the Church altogether.  Church discipline especially regarding dating and relationships is a very sensitive and divisive issue to many Church folks anyways.

hold-hands

When two people are unable to exercise self-control which leads them to fornicate, I’m convinced the Biblical solution is to pray for them and encourage them to repent and mentor them. And should pregnancy be the outcome, they should be made to consider marrying especially if they are of marriageable age and offered as much help that the Church can in that regard.

Isn’t that what Exodus 22:16 recommends? Even if marriage is not the option they want to pursue, a lot can still be done for them other than shaming? Why a Church will rather chose to not encourage the praying for, mentoring and marriage option, but be interested in shaming and “disciplining” instead is what is sometimes not [biblically] clear.

Nonetheless, here’s how one Dr Lawson Stone interprets Exodus 22:16:

“Clearly this text has no idea of justifying or legitimizing any kind of sexual intercourse prior to marriage, but is a sanction enforcing marriage as the only setting for sexual union. The Church’s emphasis on sexual sin appears selective, harsh and hypocritical”

Well, the thing with opinions; they are so varied!

God help us!

(PS: Fornication is sin; as much as you can, flee it!)

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

A new woman

I was a distant admirer

My eyes liking what they saw

The beautiful personality of a simple lady

So simple in all respects

Circumspect in choice of friends

Godly in character and dressing

Her chasteness so alluringly satisfying to me

I wished I could get closer

To experience her Godly ambience

But these now are mere ruminations of the past

For a new woman now I see

A totally changed personality

Running down an ungodly road

The road of conscious self exposure

A new love found in garments so scanty and revealing

My eyes lost all admirations

Having suffered a thousand “negative externalities”

From her now ungodly self exhibitions

Casting off her “breastplate of righteousness”

And parading her nakedness

To the displeasure of God and Godly men

But the pleasure of worldly men

To some, a shame to womanhood

To others, a good display of woman empowerment

I wondered what went wrong

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

 

Image source:
dailybiblememe.com

 

 

God help His Church…

We have said it a billion times!
Our churches have lost it!
Both the “sane” and “insane” churches
Our people both literate and illiterate have lost it too!
In the name of spirituality…we have all lost it!
We have argued many times
How far church discipline should go
We have argued a billion times
Where the Churches assumed role of “parenting” ends
We have raised it a million times
How church “membership” ought to be defined
And where the church’s “authority” over its “members” ends
We have voiced out a thousand times
How non-ethical our church leaders are operating
How manipulative and cunning they have become
How the main purpose of the Church has shifted
How “secular” our churches have become
How we can no longer differentiate
Church from a Business or Secular Organization, etc
But for fear of being labelled “carnal”
And put in some particular stereotypes
And for how wrongly we have been brainwashed
In interpreting the “touch not my anointed…” scriptures
The “it is God speaking through me” gimmicks
That makes us take every message/direction from the pulpit
Hook, line and sinker!
We ourselves have become unwise and “stupid” followers
How brainwashed we have become
How undiscerning we have become
How dead in our spirits we have become
Because we do not know the Bible for ourselves
Because we fail to realize
Our lives are not sold out to churches to do as they please
Our lives are to be led by Christ and not the Church
Church leading you and Christ leading you…
There’s a whole lot of difference!
The day you know…you will be liberated!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

(PS: Sentiments entirely mine! Don’t steal it! And don’t hate when you don’t share same sentiments! Leave me to Christ…lol 😂😜)

New month!

How Thou didst commend Thy love
When Thou didst whisper in my ears
“I am thine and thou art Mine.”
Kind were those accents
When Thou saidst,
“The Father Himself loveth you.”
And sweet the moments, passing sweet
When Thou declaredst to me
The love of the Spirit.
Never shall my soul forget
Those chambers of fellowship
Where Thou has unveiled Thyself to me.
SO I PRAY TODAY:
Precious Lord Jesus,
Give me a fresh draught
Of Thy wondrous love
To begin this month with.
And let Thy love be shed abroad
In every heart that’s willing to receive.
Excepted from:

http://www.backtothebible.org/devotions/jesus-love

Image source:
http://www.happyholidays2014.com/hello-february-2015-pictures-and-images.html

Woman: God’s great gift

Reading the creation story, one comes to realize that:

THE HIGHEST GOOD GOD THOUGHT OF FOR A MAN BESIDES HIMSELF IS A WOMAN.

A woman is thus very very good for a man…but, it is where purpose is not known that abuse becomes inevitable!

May our women look to God (their source) for their self-worth and not always run to man for validation.

Woman, know ye not that thou art worth much more than the value a man places on you?

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

PS: If you like it, keep not! Comment, share…and subscribe!

Image source:
http://www.thedsilvadiaries.com/woman-sharing-power-with-god/

A New Year is Here!

Happy New Year Everyone!

May the birth of the new year breathe new life into every aspect of our being! May we be so alive to see the realization of our dreams and resolutions. May we find a renewed love for God even as His Grace abounds for our daily needs. May the life we live in the year be a lifestyle of worship, one that fulfills God’s holy purpose and that is pleasing and acceptable to  God.

And may we be reminded as we live through the year that:

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
2 Corinthians 3:5-6

May God watch over us and our relationships and marriages!

Best wishes and gratitude for staying true to Everything Marriage over the past year!

Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

BUILD A PERSONAL MARRIAGE LIBRARY

I realized very early in my life that one very important ingredient for a strong and successful relationship/marriage is a good resource base of knowledge and reference. Every marriage I believe must have something to draw upon for new knowledge once a while. On that ground I began building my marriage library even before the thought of starting a love relationship with someone’s “innocent” daughter crossed my mind.

I determined early I was not going to build my relationship and marriage after that of my parents…not that they did not have a good marriage whist it lasted but somehow, I knew I was doomed to fail if that became my only reference aside the Bible or the scanty once a while marriage sermons from the pulpit. Bible knowledge alone to me is not enough. It remains the number one and most important reference for every good Christian marriage though but there’s a wealth of other resources (in variety of formats) out there, mainly born out of people’s rich experiences of the institution that one can also learn from and easily relate to. As must be expected, there are varied perspectives presented by people on marriage and some quite skewed from Bible principles but I find it’s always better to have a broad spectrum of knowledge and then filter out what is good for one’s purpose.

The Good Book says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” as in Hosea 4:6 (RSV) and I believe by extension that, most marriages are becoming very mundane and stagnant (lacking growth) because they are not refreshed every now and then with new knowledge from good marriage resources. We must often review our relationships/marriages and ask the question “what’s new in my relationship/marriage?”. Why? Because whether you like it or not, every relationship/marriage needs constant renewal, creativity and attention to detail. And we need a great dose of knowledge to do that!

And like any successful business venture, one needs good preparation and grooming for both the start-up and operation. And that requires capacity for a lot of fresh updated knowledge to survive in a constantly changing business environment. And as long as the world keeps evolving, the dynamics of marriage will also keep changing from that of old age Bible day marriages. We must therefore acquire as much knowledge in order to adjust to and accommodate the changes as they come. And every passing moment people are publishing their experiences of the institution of marriage. But, somehow, I find many people just do not prepare enough for the marriage venture. All they believe there is to it is getting of age, locating just anyone, settling down with them and going through the motions. I find it a very pathetic way of going about something very important to all human survival as marriage. It’s important we acquire as much knowledge about things before we go into them. “Had I known” must not always come last.

Enough said. At this point, I think it is worth sharing just a few resources (books) that characterize my marriage library and wish to also recommend them as good materials for every relationship/marriage:

  1. How to choose a life partner: 165 questions to ask (Pastor Bimbo Odukoya)
  2. Are you the one for me? (Barbara De Angelis)
  3. Men are from Mars, women are from Venus: A practical guide for improving communication and getting what you want in your relationships (John Gray)
  4. What every man wants in a woman: 10 essentials for growing deeper in love (John Hagee)
  5. What every woman wants in a man: 10 qualities for nurturing intimacy (Diana Hagee)
  6. The five love languages: how to express heartfelt commitment to your mate (Gary Chapman)
  7. I love you but I’m not in love with you: seven steps to saving your relationship (Andrew G. Marshall)
  8. Why you act the way you do (Tim LaHaye)
  9. Help your partner say ‘yes’: seven steps to achieving better cooperation and communication (Andrew G. Marshall)
  10. Before you plan your wedding plan your marriage (Dr. Greg Smalley & Erin Smalley)
  11. His needs her needs: building an affair-proof marriage (Willard F. Harley)
  12. Every woman: a gynaecological guide for life (Derek Llewellyn-Jones)
  13. Marriage works: the ultimate guide to marriage (J. John)
  14. Make or break: an introduction to marriage counseling (Jack Dominian)
  15. Build a life-long love affair: Seven steps to revitalizing your relationship (Andrew G. Marshall)
  16. The act of marriage: the beauty of sexual love (Tim & Beverly LaHaye)
  17. At the heart of your long distance relationship: love deeply, live fully and grow closer together from near or far (Catherine Day)
  18. For better or for worse: lessons from old testament couples (SDA Church)

There you have it: just a few good books in my store that I refer to every now and then.

So here’s how I wrap up: do make it a life goal to at LEAST every year of your relationship/marriage acquire a good book or any other resource material on marriage and inject some new fire based on the knowledge acquired into your marriage and see your marriage grow and glow. Certainly, growing a relationship/marriage is work and never comes easy. So get serious with your relationship and marriage now before you lose it!

“A word to a wise is enough” the saying goes but I like to put it this way: “a word to a wise is never enough unless it makes sense”. I trust that you do find some sense here!

Cheers!