Wednesday, July 14, 2004

From MDR to polygamy

We were anxiously awaiting your letter this morning so thanks for being faithful to send it. It's nice to get a lot of mail in the morning, isn't it? How about a word from you too, Natalie?

It was nice to hear you responding to Becky's little joke. I guess your questions were directed mostly to her so I'll let her answer it. Her side of the discussion seems to have deviated completely from MDR to polygamy about which, as I mentioned, I personally don't have a lot to say.

One question just comes to mind, though, as I'm skimming over your letter of this morning. Would it be fair to say that you think that Solomon sinned when he took a second wife? I think that might be the crux of it all.

We can't find a word in the Bible that would suggest that but perhaps this is how you feel and if so, you could maybe share this with us. All we want to know is what the Bible teaches.

Moving on to your comment on Lilly's quote; sorry if we appeared a bit confusing. We have talked a great deal about this subject over the past couple of days and then each has typed out his or her thoughts to you in their own letters. But I think we are fairly agreed about things here. I never saw the need to get into polygamy in the first place but I'm sure not going to shy away from it, now we're here. Let me just go on the record again by saying:

1. I believe in marriage. I believe it is right and honorable in all, and "God's way" for mankind. (I also believe in monogamy, for the record, as being the best way to work this out but I just don't think it's a moral issue. It's either an individual or a cultural thing; but not a moral one.)

2. I don't believe in divorce. It has always existed and it probably always will, given the hardness of men's hearts but that doesn't make it right or proper or permissible. A Christian especially must have a much higher standard by which to live that is based upon faith, love and repentance.

3. I don't believe in remarriage for divorced women, just as the Bible makes clear. I don't think we can offer any "loopholes" for selfish motives in cases like this where God's word is clear.

OK I hope that helps make things clear. Now, don't we see things eye-to-eye? Then you got to my letter but only asked me to confirm that we are all seeing things "as one" over here, and we are (I just checked).

Your closing thoughts on unanimity were good. When we talk about unanimity we assume that we are talking about it in a Christian context among brothers and sisters that are seeking God's will together.

Obviously there is no benefit whatsoever in unanimity without the Spirit of God. I'm sure the devil's councils are unanimous gatherings but that doesn't make their conclusions right at all.

Well, this note is short but I think I answered everything in your last letter. I sure hope you will get a bit of time to sit down and share your heart with us on this (and other issues) so that we can see as one.

We have sent you a lot of our thoughts and insights but we don't really feel you've had the time yet to address them so we mustn't hurry you and try to go on too fast.

We look forward to hearing from you all. Lots of love from all of us.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Reply to a friend

Thanks for your little note this morning, Tot; too bad you didn't have time to write. We had best go slow since there's no hurry in all this and if you are busy, take your time and respond whenever you can. That way it gives us something to answer and discuss too. (I'm okay, thanks. I just need some R&R and so am taking the week off. It's nice to be able to get in the Word a bit more.)

Now as to the issues at hand, I guess we can stop calling it MDR now because I think it is starting to cloud the real point, which is remarriage only, right? We all know marriage is honorable in all and that God hates divorce so that's not the question. The question is remarriage.

Now, as I said, I liked Timothy Williams' tract on the subject very much which is why we had it translated into French. It's a good message and needed right now more than ever before. But the simple "problem" -- which is not really a problem at all, but typical -- is that the scripture often has many different things to say about human relationships; and that is why we need to be led of the Spirit.

If things were that cut and dried we wouldn't even need the Spirit. Only the Spirit can guide us into all truth and out of what may look like a labyrinth of "contradictory" scriptures. Every Christian doctrine in the Bible is fiercely upheld by some and fiercely contradicted by others -- all trying (often sincerely) to use the Bible as their guide.

Now you and I know that the Bible is only saying one thing but in order to discern what the Bible is saying we must be in tuned to the Spirit of God -- the words alone won't do it, right?

I'm reminded of the Pharisees and the case of the woman taken in adultery. OK, here's a woman taken in the very act. Is she guilty? Yes. Should she be stoned? What did Moses say? Yes.

Then stone her; why hesitate? If you want to follow the law, stone the woman and no one will be able to fault you; you will be absolutely right and 100% following the law.

But Christ Jesus would have us see a higher way, a way of love, a way of being led by the Spirit and you can't legislate that way. You can't put it into a book or a box all nice and cut and dried and sorted out. It doesn't fit. God has a higher law which is above every other one of His laws and that is the law of love.

Church people like Timothy Williams (as I know him) don't usually like this higher law because it is so much easier to impose the lower law, of which we are all sinners. Now the irony of it all is that we need this "lower law" to show us God's righteousness and to show us where God is and where He wants us to be. That's why Christ said that he didn't come to abolish the law but rather to fulfill it.

OK these are just a couple of thoughts on this issue this morning while waiting for your letter. Take your time -- there's no hurry. I think we will find that we are more agreed than it might appear on the surface sometimes.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Peritonite appendiculaire

That's the fancy term for what we sometimes just call appendicitis — with a slight difference; and that is that this one was getting out of hand!

I was sitting on the terrace enjoying the evening when I was taken with a feeling of nausea with increasing backache pain.  After going inside Sarah persuaded me to go to the hospital in Château du Loir to get things checked out.

As it happened, Camille left home the same evening.  For the maternity ward!

After keeping me for observation for a couple of days and seemingly not able to locate the source of my pains they sent me in an ambulance to Le Mans where a more proficient medical team came up with the above diagnosis.  They scheduled an operation the very next day!

Everything went very well and I was back home inside the week.  This is my second medical problem of my life; first the hernia in my fiftieth year, now this, in my fifty-fifth.

Think I'll let things stop here.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Here's David!

After much waiting and anticipation, Christine was provided with a little brother, whom his parents (Raphael & Camille) have called David.  Just thought you'd like to see the first picture of him:


As usual, our family web site has been updated with a few more pictures for you.  Just click here.

http://neve-family.com/family/david/index.html