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Is Divorce Biblical When Emotional and Spiritual Abuse Are Present?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
May 24, 2023 1:14 pm

Is Divorce Biblical When Emotional and Spiritual Abuse Are Present?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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May 24, 2023 1:14 pm

Episode 1234 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes


Questions in this Episode

1. How is a person born again?

2. How can I respond to someone who doesn't believe that the Bible is true?

3. Is mental illness a genetic or spiritual disorder?

4. Is Divorce Biblical When Emotional and Spiritual Abuse Are Present?

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Is divorce biblical when emotional and spiritual abuse is present? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi, this is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. Here's our phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-20. If you get our voicemail, feel free to leave us a message.

You can also email us anytime. Send your question to us at First up today, let's go to George calling in from Iowa.

George, what's your question for Adriel? Yes, my question is, it says you must be born again. How is a person born again?

George, right to the point. How is someone born again? Jesus is speaking about the fact—well, just one.

Let's set the context. This is John chapter 3, and Jesus is having a conversation with a religious leader named Nicodemus. And Nicodemus comes to him, and he basically says, we know that you're a teacher come from God, and so on and so forth. By the way, Nicodemus is coming to him at night.

It's sort of undercover. He probably doesn't want his other Pharisee friends to know that he's meeting with Jesus. And Jesus sort of changes the direction of the conversation, and he says you have to be born again. And Nicodemus is confused.

He says, well, what are you talking about? Can a man enter his mother's womb again when he's old and be born a second time? Jesus says, no, unless you're born of water in the Spirit. There, I think he's echoing language from the book of Ezekiel that talks about the blessing of the new covenant, where God was going to wash away the sins of his people and give them a new heart to follow him. And so being born again, George, is the work of the Holy Spirit transforming our heart of stone spiritually dead and making us alive spiritually together with Christ, as Paul says, in Ephesians chapter two, so that we might know and love God.

Sometimes the technical theological word that we use to describe this is regeneration. And so it's a work of the Holy Spirit. And that's part of Jesus's point there in John chapter three a little bit later. And so we all, yes, you're absolutely right. We have to be born again. And one of the things that this demonstrates is you and I can't save ourselves. Salvation is not a human work.

It's not pull yourself up by the bootstraps, do this, that, and the other. It's a work of the Holy Spirit. And so this is actually introduced, I would say, at the beginning of the Gospel of John in John chapter one, verse nine, the true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him.

He came to his own. And his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become the children of God, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And so it's the work of the Holy Spirit according to the will of God. And the ultimate sign of this is that life, faith, laying hold of Jesus together with all of his benefits. George. And so, I mean, that's what I would say.

I want to go back to you, though, George, just to follow up, because, you know, there was a brief, were you looking for something else specifically? Or was that just without the focus of your question? That is, baptism is a sign and seal of that gift of regeneration. It's not that baptism in water is what necessarily affects that. Like every single person who is baptized in water is undoubtedly born again. This is a covenant promise of God, a sign that God gives to his covenant people to exhibit his love and goodwill and the blessings of salvation.

It's a means of grace. And so I think we value baptism as that, as the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The Spirit works with the word and with these, you know, physical signs of water or also bread and wine in the Lord's Supper. But the grace of regeneration is not necessarily tied to the moment of the administration of baptism. There are people who are born again of the Holy Spirit prior to being baptized, and then there are people who are baptized but don't experience the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit until later in their lives. This is something that I think is shown forth in the Book of Acts.

And so the sign of baptism is meant to point us upwards to the reality, this greater reality in Christ through his redemptive work and the washing away of all of our sins. Thanks, George, for giving us a call. Hey, George, thanks so much for your call and for listening to CORE Christianity. If you have a question for Adriel about the Bible or the Christian life, you can feel free to email us anytime at questions at or leave us a voicemail on our system. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Crystal, who's calling in from Missouri. Crystal, what's your question for Adriel?

Hi there, thank you. What Scriptures can I say to someone that says the Bible is not all true because of, you know, man made it? And I told him, you know, man didn't make it, it was the Holy Spirit. And then he goes in to say that the Catholic Church took books out of the Bible to hide that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. And just, to me, it was blasphemy, really.

And I just kind of shut down. And I just, I don't really know what Scriptures to go to, to, you know, try to prove to him, I guess. Mm-hmm. Crystal, I mean, it's so hard in the situations, right, where you're having a conversation with someone who disagrees with your faith, and they say something, they make these claims, and you're not sure, well, is that true?

Where does that come from? And you're searching for words. I just want to encourage you, and God bless you, in wanting to have these conversations and in wanting to thoughtfully answer the questions of skeptics and non-Christians. And so I want to help you. I want to encourage you in that. And say, man, keep up the good work.

And I also want to help you in terms of being able to respond to this individual in particular. Now, one of the things I've found in my own life is a lot of times you get into a conversation with someone who isn't a Christian, and maybe they've heard things, right? It's not that they've really, and I don't want to, maybe this guy has done some in-depth study, but a lot of times I've found it's just people are repeating things that they've heard, like the Catholic Church took books out of the Bible in order to hide, you know, the fact that, or this idea that Jesus was married. The reality is that's just sensationalism. That's like, you know, the Da Vinci code that came out not too long ago, that movie.

It doesn't have any basis in reality. Actually, the reality is the Roman Catholic Church added books to the Bible, didn't take away books from the Bible. The Roman Catholic canon of scripture, quote, unquote, their Bible has more books in it than the Protestant Bible does.

And so I would say it's not that they took books out, it's that they added certain books to the Bible. But with regard to the divine inspiration and authority of scripture, I mean, there's certainly what the Apostle Paul says, for example, in 2 Timothy 3, verse 16, all scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. That's 2 Timothy 3, 16. Another passage, I think, that you might want to write down, Crystal, is 2 Peter 1, where Peter says in verse 16, we did not follow cleverly devised myth when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was born to him by the majestic glory, this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased, we ourselves heard this very voice born from heaven. For we were with him on the holy mountain and we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed to which you will do well to pay attention to a lamp shining in a dark place until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of scripture comes from someone's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. You see, we believe that the authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit so that they produced this infallible and inerrant document through which God speaks to his people today.

And he might say, well, those are just, you know, you're just asserting that. You're just asserting that the Bible is God-breathed. What's the evidence?

Well, look, there is actually evidence that I think you can point to. There's the prophetic testimony of scripture, all of those prophecies that we see in the Old Testament fulfilled so marvelously and beautifully in Jesus Christ. Prophecies like we find in the Psalms, Psalm 22, about the crucifixion of Jesus or the suffering servant, Messiah, Isaiah 53. These passages written hundreds of years before the coming of Christ and before his sacrificial death beautifully illustrate everything that was going to happen. You say, well, you know, we don't remember tomorrow.

None of us can remember that. We don't know that. And yet God says, I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me declaring the end from the beginning.

And from ancient times, the things that are not yet done, that's Isaiah 46, 9, and 10. And so we can point to things as Christians and say, look, I can have confidence that this is the word of God. But at the end of the day, as you're having conversations with this individual, it's the work of the Holy Spirit. I would just encourage, I would say, look, be skeptical all you want. I encourage you to read the Gospel of John, to read the scriptures, to open them up. Because God, the Spirit, works through the word. And ultimately, that's what this guy is going to need.

I mean, you can talk and provide every evidence there is. But until the Holy Spirit does a work in this individual's heart, the blinders are up. And so pray, I would say, Crystal, and God bless you again for wanting to have these conversations. And may God give you a continued confidence in him and in his word as you continue to grow in your own faith.

God bless. You know, Adriel, you made a really good point. Sometimes the skeptic, the atheist will make some claim that they've heard is true. They really have not done any of their own research.

And so a lot of times it's good for us just to start with, where did you come up with that idea? Or how do you draw that conclusion? And kind of they're making the claim, right? They're the ones that are making the assertion. It's up to them. We need to put it back on them to explain why they believe what they believe and then follow up with them and see where did you get this idea? Yeah, I mean, there's a lot here, right?

I do think that follow up is important. And I don't say what I said to dismiss every skeptic or every atheist. I know that there are really thoughtful skeptics who have done a lot of research and have studied. And so I think we engage differently there. But oftentimes, I mean, this is where you need to exercise some discernment. Is this individual someone who's really interested in having a conversation, who knows what they're talking about or is open to learning? Or is this someone who just wants to argue for the sake of arguing and could really care less? But they've actually not done any of the research. They're just sort of regurgitating something that they've heard and treating it as a fact, when in reality, it's just silly.

I mean, it wouldn't take very long to do a little bit of study to realize like, oh, actually, that's just not true. And so this is where for our sister and for all of us, we need to be able to have that discernment to know, okay, when do I engage and when am I just sort of casting my pearls before swine, like Jesus used that metaphor there? Is this helpful? Is this going to be a good conversation or an opportunity to share the gospel? Or does this person just want to fight and mock what I believe? And at that point, you just need to be able to say, okay, I'm going to take a step back here because I'm wasting my time. I continue to pray. But having that discernment, I think, is key.

So well said. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you've got a question about the Bible or the Christian life, feel free to call us 24 hours a day and leave us a voicemail with your question. Also, let us know where you're calling from on the voicemail system. Here's the number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. Let's go to Chris calling in from Nashville, Tennessee. Chris, what's your question for Adriel?

Testing 123. Can you hear me? Hey, Chris, I can hear you. All right. My question is, what is your view on mental illness? To elaborate, do you think it's just genetic or is there a spiritual aspect? Is there anything demonic or what kind of causes it? I don't know if it's been mentioned in the Bible, but I was wondering what your view is on that.

Yeah. So I would say mental illness is a real thing that the church has not always addressed well, and even biblically, I would say. So I understand it, just like really any illness, you know, as a result of the fall.

All of us, right? I mean, this is getting into the doctrine of total depravity, which doesn't mean we're as bad or everyone is as bad as they could be. It just means that sin has affected every part of us, spiritually, bodily, our minds even. This is why we get sick and die is because sin is in the world. This is why we have things like mental illness.

And so it's a result of the fall. And so one of the problems that I think we've seen in the church is sometimes we just over spiritualize everything and we can do that with mental illness. We can say instead of addressing it, you know, as a mental illness, as a medical condition, we can just over spiritualize and say, well, this is just you need to be exercised or you need to pray harder or you need to try harder. And a lot of times there can be guilt and shame.

I mean, someone can have a real mental illness. And then the church is coming in and sort of heaping on guilt and shame, saying, oh, this is your fault. You're not praying enough.

You're not trying harder. Maybe there's some secret sin in your life. And so I think that's devastating. Now, that doesn't mean that there aren't situations where there isn't a spiritual component to all this. I mean, we're one person, mind, spirit, body. And so I think the evil one, right, in terms of his attacks can, you know, influence us in ways, you know, our minds is what I'm getting at. But I just think we have to be cautious here. We have to be open to just the wisdom that God gives through doctors, good doctors in particular, you know, realizing that common grace is a thing that God works in the world through his word, but that he also works just through nature, common grace that, you know, you can have a good doctor that can help diagnose some of these things.

And so getting the help that you need, I think, holistically from the medical community, but also from the church is really important. And so this is a complex issue. And, Bill, I want to sort of, you know, pass the ball to you now, because I know you've worked in that world for quite a while.

And so, Bill, what would you say to Chris and to his question? You know, we talked before about the importance of understanding God's revelation to us, right? We have his special revelation in scripture, and then we have his general revelation or natural revelation in how he's designed the world, how he's designed human beings, how he's made us to best function. And we can glean from both of those. And I think, you know, you talked about the two extremes, and there's a real danger in seeing everything as a demonic attack, and then there's a real danger in ignoring the fact that we can have spiritual oppression in our lives. Interestingly enough, with some schizophrenics, they have what we call religious delusions, where they believe that they're Jesus or they believe that they are Satan or they, you know, have words of prophecy. And so you're you're now trying to tease out how much of that is, you know, brain chemistry and their schizophrenia. How much of that could be Satan actually preying upon that individual in their, you know, their vulnerable state? So I think we have to be very discerning, very wise about this and never throw the baby out with the bathwater always.

I love what you said. We need to there are good doctors. There are science out there. We know there are certain medications that can help people. At the same time, we can't ignore the fact that there is Satan, you know, prowling around like a roaring lion waiting to devour us.

And especially for those who are not in Christ, there's a real danger of spiritual oppression. Yeah. And I just want to for a second speak to the person who really who is who wrestles. Maybe it's with depression, the clinical kind of depression or some other mental health issue. And you feel so ashamed.

You feel like, man, what's wrong with me? I know. I know that there are many.

One, you're not alone. And I know that there are many Christians who that's that's what they feel. That's what they they wrestle with, those feelings of guilt and shame. I just want to say to you, you you don't have to bear that feeling, those feelings of guilt and shame. We live in a broken world. You wouldn't have to feel that shame any more than you should feel shame if you had, you know, some other kind of sickness or diseases.

You know, your body had cancer. You need to get the encouragement and the help that you need. Like Bill said, from good medical professionals, but also from the local church, you need the support. It's not an either or. It's both and. It's prayer, community, encouragement in the word, clinging to the gospel and the hope that Christ gives us, even as we pursue these other avenues of getting help and assistance. And I know that that's a that's a long journey. That's not an easy thing.

There aren't easy answers. But Christ is with you in that struggle. And we also have the hope, brothers and sisters, regardless of the illness that we have, we have the hope of the full and final restoration of our bodies because Jesus has conquered sin and death once and for all. And so this struggle that you're in is not a struggle that you're going to be in forever. No, God has given you a better hope. You have the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. And so may God help you with it now to find healing and ways to deal with it that are healthy and good and also give you that hope that's rooted in the gospel. Thank you, Chris, for your question. Boy, that's so well said. We have that hope of eternity and new new bodies, new minds, new brain chemistry. It's all going to be there. And I'm so thankful for that.

So thanks for that, Adriel. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. We've been talking about a great new resource that we have for parents and grandparents over the last couple of weeks. And if you have teenagers in your family who are getting set to head off to college, maybe they're a junior or senior in high school, you really want to get a copy of this because it will help them prepare for what they may be facing on the college campus.

Yeah. The resource is called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. And I mean, I think this is just good for anyone to read, but especially, you know, for kids in high school getting ready to go off to college, preparing yourself to get plugged into a good church, making sure that you understand the fundamentals of the gospel as well as, you know, why we believe the things that we believe. I just think this is a wonderful resource, a helpful resource, and you can get it over at Great resource. Again, it's called How to Keep Your Faith After High School. Find that at our website with a lot of other great resources, forward slash offers.

But we do receive voicemails here at the core. And here's one that came in from one of our listeners named Maria. My question is, is divorce biblical in the context of spiritual, psychological, and emotional abuse?

Man, Maria, these situations are so devastating. I mean, marriage is supposed to be a picture of the relationship that exists between Christ and the church. The husband is called to lay down his life sacrificially in love for his wife. Wife is called to submit as the church does to Christ in love.

Rather, the two of them, one, one flesh, nourishing, the husband called to nourish and cherish his wife as Christ does the church. And yet there are situations, and I know, I mean, I've seen this, there are situations where the opposite is happening, where one spouse is tearing down the other. And it doesn't always look like physical abuse. There is such a thing as, I think, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse. And you need the church to be involved. You need, hopefully, a good counselor, an abuse counselor specifically who could identify some of these tactics to be involved.

Because, I mean, it can be really hard to pinpoint and to see. With regard to, you know, is divorce legitimate in this context, I want to be very careful and say, yeah, go ahead and just go on and get a divorce. This is where you need the counsel of others. But there are instances, I would say, where I believe, this is my view as a pastor, that it does constitute a kind of abandonment.

And even worse, in some sense, because it's tearing down the other person, your spouse. This is where the church needs to get involved and there needs to be a disciplinary process and so on and so forth. And so, may the Lord be with you and give you wisdom and surround you with counselors who are going to give you insight into God's word and help you in the days ahead. Thanks for calling. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at and click on offers in the menu bar. Or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833, the CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-24 16:28:18 / 2023-05-24 16:38:06 / 10

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