What About an Inter-racial, Inter-faith, Same-sex Marriage?

Dear Mrs. Bohlin,

What is your position and/or your church’s position on inter-racial marriage? And the same on marriage between religious faiths? How would you advise me to respond to a relative who has stated intentions to marry an atheist, of the same sex and of a different racial and ethnic background?

I agree with my church’s position on inter-racial marriage, which is that biblically there is no prohibition against it—the prohibition is about believers in Christ marrying unbelievers. realtruthrealquick.com/interracial-marriage-christian/

Concerning inter-faith marriage, that depends on your definition of inter-faith. Some make a distinction between Christian denominations and say, for example, that Presbyterians shouldn’t marry Episcopalians. I don’t think that is inter-faith, that would be intra-faith marriage. But when we’re talking about, for example, a Christian marrying a Hindu, that is clearly prohibited in scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments. The children of Israel were instructed never to marry any pagan neighbors, and we are told in 2 Cor. 6:14 not to be unequally yoked, believer to unbeliever.

Concerning your relative: is s/he a believer in Jesus? Then I would ask them how they are dealing with the Bible’s teaching not to marry a unbeliever, and the Biblical pattern of marriage as strictly between husband and wife (with no exceptions). Most of the time, people who do what they please regardless of what the Bible says, do so because they don’t know what God has said in His word . . . or if they do, they dismiss it for a variety of reasons, all because they want what they want. There is a heart of rebellion there. If your relative is a believer, the biggest issue is the authority of the Bible and their refusal to submit to it.

If the relative is not a believer, God’s standards and commands are STILL given “that it may go well with you,” (stated 8 times in Deuteronomy)—they function like guardrails on a treacherous mountain road. If we stay inside of the guardrails, we are protected from careening off the cliff to disaster below. But this person’s relationship with God—or rather, the lack of one—is the most important issue. If they’re not a believer, they probably don’t care what God has said, mistakenly thinking that the Bible’s commands and restrictions don’t apply to them. But that’s like thinking, “If I don’t believe in gravity, I can do what I please and get away with it.” No. No one gets away with trying to violate the law of gravity . . . and eventually, they discover they can’t get away with violating the law of God either. Their biggest need is salvation. They need to know that God’s Son, Jesus, died for his/her sins, was buried and rose from the dead three days later so s/he could be reconciled to God. That need overshadows questions about who they want to marry.

I send this with a prayer that you will be able to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) to your relative, and he or she will have ears to hear.

Blessings,
Sue

Posted Nov. 22, 2015
© 2015 Probe Ministries




“What About ADD and Medication for Kids?”

My son has ADD. It’s a real struggle and at this point in time I am not wanting to put him on medication. Others have felt that medication would help him. I know Christ has given us a promise of a sound mind which we pray daily and also for the mind of Christ. I want to do what is best for him and am starting to get confused because with everything we are doing his struggles don’t seem to be letting up for him and I would hate to have let him struggle especially in school unnecessarily. What are your thoughts on this issue of ADD and medication?

We have an e-mail answer about chemical imbalance that you may find helpful.

Also, the Lord has given me great peace about the validity of the analogy between the physical assistance I need as a polio survivor to use a cane for walking and an electric scooter for large places, and the physical (chemical) assistance that a weakness in brain chemistry needs in order to function well. There is no shame in using my cane to help me walk, and there should be no shame in using chemical assistance in using meds to help your son’s brain function better. Part of God’s charge to Adam and Eve was to exercise dominion over the earth, which includes research and development of technology. I bet you didn’t anguish over giving him immunizations when he was a baby, which was also the outworking of that same charge to have dominion over the earth.

When I helped in classes at my kids’ school, there was one little boy whose mom put him on Ritalin and whose dad, who said “No kid of mine is going to take that sissy stuff!”, wouldn’t give it to him when he was caring for the boy. This precious little boy told me, “I wish I had my ‘smart medicine.'” The meds made it possible for him to concentrate and to do much better in school (and thus feel better about himself).

I don’t see any contradiction between having the mind of Christ and taking medication that enables your son to be clearer and not have to struggle so to EXPERIENCE the mind of Christ. One is a spiritual issue and the other is physical. If you get nothing from this e-mail other than a sense of permission to give it a whirl and see if it helps, great! <smile> You can always take him off it later. It’s not a sin issue, it’s a “let’s try and see if this works” issue. . . which, in my experience as a parent, is how much of parenting works since kids don’t come with manuals!

Hope this helps!

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries




“Should a Husband Divorce His Unfaithful Wife?”

Hi, Greetings in Jesus name, I would like to know what the Bible teaches about when a wife is having sex with other men. What should the husband do in this case–should he divorce her and remarry? Will that be a sin in the sight of God according to the Bible?

Wow. There’s a lot of pain and anger connected to the situation that would result in asking this question!

I do realize that some women are driven by such relational and sexual brokenness that their pathological pursuit of sexual partners outside the marriage indicates something is terribly wrong and needs attention. Telling such a woman, “Stop it!” will not have much of an impact. There’s much more going on.

But because God created women to be so relational, and because we long for safety and security in our relationships, if a wife is having sex with other men, that is not the norm. Something is driving her to do that, and I would want to know what it is. Since the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:31), we need to pass your question through the filter of love: what is the most loving response to this situation?

Because I am a wife, and because I know how much my heart, like most other women, longs to be loved and respected and cherished by my husband, my question is, “Why is this lady going outside her marriage for sex?” I wonder how her husband is treating her. A woman who feels cherished and respected and valued by her husband usually does not have any interest in going to other men for attention, affection and affirmation.

There is obviously conflict here, and the Bible instructs us how to resolve conflict in God-honoring and people-honoring ways. First, it is always up to us to examine ourselves for our role in the conflict. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matt 7:3) So I would counsel the husband to ask himself, “What have I done to drive my wife to the arms of other men? Have I loved her as Christ loves the church, sacrificially? What part have my attitudes and choices played in what my wife has done?” Since there is a good chance that he has a blind spot about this, it would be wise to ask others who know the couple for their honest input: “Have you seen anything in me that is less than loving and kind toward my wife?” Whatever the answer is, the husband needs to acknowledge it, confess it to his wife, and ask her forgiveness—as well as change his ways of relating to her.

The next step of biblical conflict resolution is to talk to the other person in private. “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother” (Matt 18:15). This would mean a private husband-wife conversation where the husband talks to his wife about her sin, leading off with taking responsibility for any part he has played. It would be appropriate to share how her choices have deeply hurt him and ask her to stop and repent of her sin.

The third step, if the offender will not repent, is to escalate the conflict to involve others. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every face my be confirmed” (Matt 18:16). This would mean bringing the situation into the light with others who are “doing life” with the couple.

The fourth step is to broaden the scope of the conflict to the larger community. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector” (Matt 18:17).

If a husband has gone through all the steps of godly, biblical conflict resolution, and his wife is still hard-hearted and will not repent, then he does have the option of divorcing her. Jesus did give that option, but note the role of hard hearts in His teaching on divorce: “He said to them, ‘Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery'” (Matt 19:8-9). I find it interesting in view of your question about a man possibly divorcing his wife, that Jesus ascribes hard-heartedness to the men seeking divorce. Of course some women are hard-hearted and unrepentant, but I’d be interested in asking the unfaithful wife, “Why are you doing this? Tell me about your relationship with your husband. Do you feel safe, secure, respected and loved? Do his eyes light up when you enter a room? Do you feel God’s love for you through your husband? What are you looking for in other men that you’re not getting from your husband?”

Finally, you asked about remarriage. According to the Matt. 19 passage, it does appear that a husband whose wife was unfaithful has the freedom in the Lord to remarry without it being adultery for him. But I earnestly want to impress on you that what would far more please and glorify God is to find the reasons for the broken relationship and repair it with the glue of grace and forgiveness. Eph. 5:9-10 exhorts us to “live as children of light and find out what pleases the Lord.” Reconciliation pleases the Lord, and that is far more important than what a spouse is technically allowed to do in the wake of unfaithfulness.

I hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

© 2010 Probe Ministries




“You Anti-Abortion Doctor Killers Are Hypocrites!”

So since obviously you say the religion is against abortion and abortion is evil and wrong. . . What is god going to do about the guy that murdered a man in church since he was an abortion doctor?

So murdering a baby is wrong. . . . and getting your anti, “you don’t have a choice” word across no matter what happens is OK?

It’s OK to bomb clinics and murder doctors and harass people. . . I must have missed that passage in the bible. That must be in the book of “I’m a Hypocrite” verse 12.

So let’s say your beautiful wholesome daughter was raped by a psychotic crazed madman and he got her pregnant. You would welcome that half-crazed child into your life? Or going off of anti-abortion tactics, obviously you would just kill her and say it was in the book of Hypocrite, or wait. . . you would put the baby up for adoption and not tell the parents that this is a child of a rape.

You see the problem here don’t you? But of course it’s not a problem in your eyes until it hits home isn’t it.

Oh I guess you anti-abortion activists will continue to bomb buildings, murder people and harass people in the name of god. Wow. . . you know what. . . that is rather hypocritical isn’t it.

Murder is OK, it must say so in some part of the bible that I missed too. . . and bombing. . . does it say anywhere there “And the lord, place a bomb in the building to blow it up”? Man, I musta skipped over that section.

Dear friend,

I’m glad you wrote so we can provide a different perspective. Before responding to the points of your email, let me state unequivocally that we condemn the use of all violence in the struggle to end the violence of abortion. As a ministry, and all of us individually.

So since obviously you say the religion is against abortion and abortion is evil and wrong. . . What is god going to do about the guy that murdered a man in church since he was an abortion doctor?

My guess is that He will respond the same way as to any other murderer.

So murdering a baby is wrong. . . . and getting your anti, “you don’t have a choice” word across no matter what happens is OK?

We would say no, it’s not okay. God tells us to show respect and honor to everyone, even those we disagree with.

And we disagree with those who believe it is acceptable to use violence to stop abortion. “The end justifies the means” is not a biblical philosophy; it is actually the fruit of Darwinist thinking that says the fit will survive by whatever means they can get away with. Those justifying their unbiblical actions because they believe that abortion must be stopped regardless of the methods used are dishonoring God.

It’s OK to bomb clinics and murder doctors and harass people. . . I must have missed that passage in the bible. That must be in the book of “I’m a Hypocrite” verse 12.

:::wince::: Your point is well taken. However, please consider the possibility that people who bomb clinics and murder abortionists and harrass people are acting on their own choice instead of taking their orders from what God has said in His word. The Old Testament property laws show that God wants us to respect other people’s property, and bombing clinics is a violation of that. Murdering doctors is a direct violation of the commandment “Thou shalt not murder.” Harrassing people is a violation of God’s command to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

So let’s say your beautiful wholesome daughter was raped by a psychotic crazed madman and he got her pregnant. You would welcome that half-crazed child into your life? Or going off of anti-abortion tactics, obviously you would just kill her and say it was in the book of Hypocrite, or wait. . . you would put the baby up for adoption and not tell the parents that this is a child of a rape.

Let’s go one step further. I’m a woman; during my childbearing years I lived with the possibility that it could have been me getting impregnated through a rape. I did think about what we would do. Because there’s a big difference between pre-deciding a response to a hypothetical situation and actually living it, we had two choices: welcome the baby into our family as a continual reminder of what grace (undeserved blessing and favor) looks like, or giving the baby up for adoption. There is a growing number of infertile couples who would give anything to bring such a life into their home, regardless of how he came to be. The baby would be an innocent party who had nothing to do with his or her conception. (And even if the father were a “psychotic crazed madman,” that doesn’t make his offspring crazy.)

You see the problem here don’t you? But of course it’s not a problem in your eyes until it hits home isn’t it.

It would be a very big problem. Our response is that we have an even bigger God.

Oh I guess you anti-abortion activists will continue to bomb buildings, murder people and harass people in the name of god. Wow. . . you know what. . . that is rather hypocritical isn’t it.

Yes, it is hypocritical to do things in the name of God who forbids us to do those things. I’m curious, though, why you wrote to Probe Ministries, since none of us are anti-abortion “activists.” Not a one of us has ever bombed a building or murdered doctors or harassed people. I’m also curious. . . are you able to consider the possibility that people who cross God’s lines, no matter how well-intentioned they are, are a tiny minority of those who are passionate about this issue?

We think it’s interesting that in today’s culture, it’s not okay to blame all Muslims for the actions of extremist Muslim terrorists (and of course it’s not). . . but it’s acceptable to blame all Christians for the actions of a handful of extremists? Isn’t that what you’re doing here?

Murder is OK, it must say so in some part of the bible that I missed too. . . and bombing. . . does it say anywhere there “And the lord, place a bomb in the building to blow it up”? Man, I musta skipped over that section.

You’re right. Murder and bombing other people’s buildings are not instructed in the Bible. In fact, the Bible tells us to do the opposite of those things. The people choosing to resort to their own methods in hopes of achieving their goals are not basing their choices on biblical values or principles. They do what they do in spite of what the Bible says, not because of it.

Thanks for writing.

Sue Bohlin

© 2009 Probe Ministries




“Can I Divorce My Bipolar Wife for Cheating Unawares?”

My wife is bipolar. I have read that someone with this disease can have a sexual encounter and not remember it. If this is so and I find out, could I divorce her for adultery or cheating?

This is difficult situation, and you have my sympathy. It’s hard to live with the extreme mood swings of someone with bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). But it’s even harder to BE that person, I assure you!

When people experience blackouts during manic episodes, they are not in control. Their mental illness is in control. Like those with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as multiple personality disorder), they can discover that they did things they would never have chosen if they were in their “right mind.” A dear friend of mine tells me that one of her “alters” (personalities) was a smoker although she was not. She would just find the cigarette butts and wonder why the car smelled like smoke!

This means that if you learn your wife had a sexual encounter that she did not choose and does not remember, it would be unfair and unloving to hold it against her.

Do you remember the part of your wedding vows that says, “in sickness and in health”? Your wife has a sickness. If she got cancer, would you divorce her for not being healthy? If you became disabled, would you want her to divorce you because you couldn’t provide for her?

It sounds like you might be looking for a loophole to justify divorcing your wife. I respectfully urge you to close down that search and open up a new one for a marriage counselor.

Cordially,

Sue Bohlin

© 2009 Probe Ministries

 




“What is the Role of the Church in Women Battering?”

What is the role of the church in women battering?

First, let me recommend my colleague Kerby Anderson’s article Abuse and Domestic Violence. The final section has a segment called “What the Church Can Do.”

Also, I would respectfully suggest that the role of the church is to challenge battering husbands that their actions are sin and hold them accountable for their behavior, and to provide emotional and physical support to the wife until the home is safe again. The wife and those in church leadership would know it is safe when the husband evidences a changed heart resulting in changed behavior. And a changed heart usually only happens in the context of community, in this case male community, where a small group of men will, in love and commitment, “get in his face” to challenge his wrong thinking, help identify the anger fueling his rage against his wife, and encourage him to move into a deeper relationship with God.

The best specific answer to this question I’ve heard is the policy of church leadership to meet with the husband and wife, to confront the husband in love: about his responsibility to love and cherish his wife as Christ loves the church (Eph. 5:25—29), about the importance of using his strength to serve his wife, not hurt or threaten her, and to live with her in an understanding way, honoring her as a weaker vessel (1 Pet. 3:7). Then—and this is extremely important—the husband is warned that if he tries to retaliate in any way, whether by force or even threatening to hurt his wife, she is to call the elders and tell them. And they will take action, either removing her from the home to safety or moving his stuff out so she can stay in the home. And they promise that retaliation will not be tolerated: if she doesn’t press charges for the domestic violence, they will. Assault and battery is not just a sin; it’s a crime.

I know that in many (if not most) churches, those in leadership don’t know what to do other than tell the wife “pray harder and submit.” (If that had worked, she wouldn’t need intervention!) An excellent resource for understanding the dynamics of an abusive husband is Paul Hegstrom’s book Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them, which is written by a repentant, recovered abuser. And pastor, by the way!

I hope you find this helpful.

Sue Bohlin

© 2008 Probe Ministries




“What Does The Bible Say About Pregnancy Resulting from Premarital Sex?”

I have a question about premarital sex and marriage, and I would like to use Bristol Palin as an example. She and her boyfriend are both very young, and, of course, they had premarital sex. Now they are getting married. I think this is a good thing. But, I was wondering if the Bible has anything to say about this kind of situation? If a couple has a premarital sex and pregnancy follows, should the couple get married, or is it different in each case?

If there’s a verse or even a principle that addresses this topic specifically in the Bible, I’ve never come across it. I think that the solution will be different in each case. For example, it would be a disaster for some people to get married; in those cases, I think the best thing, the solution most honoring to God and to the baby, would be to give the baby up for adoption into a family who would provide a much more stable, loving home environment. Or, if there’s a stable, loving extended family to help raise the baby, that can be the right solution. In other cases, the couple got the order of things wrong, but they marry and go on to create a healthy, God-honoring family.

So no, there is no biblical one-size-fits-all solution or principle. Living out the command to “love your neighbor as you love yourself,” particularly the best way to love the “baby-neighbor,” will look different in different situations.

Sue Bohlin

 

© 2008 Probe Ministries




“Can I Get HIV From Washing Machines?”

Hello Mr. Ray,

I would like to get some advice from you regarding HIV transmission.

Because of the nature of my job, I have to always travel from one place to another. During this I have to stay in the hotel for many days. For washing my clothes, I often use the washing machines which are kept in the hotel for washing clothes. These machines are used by many people for washing clothes. Do I need to take any special care when using these machines for washing my clothes, as these machines are used by several people; some of them might be infected with the disease or the clothes which are brought for washing might be contaminated with body fluids of the infected person.

Please advise.
There is no danger to you in using these washing machines. Infection with HIV requires direct contact with body fluids contaminated with the virus. HIV is actually a very fragile virus outside the body so even if someone were to have washed clothes containing blood or semen from an infected individual in the machine you are about to use, the virus will have been disabled long before by exposure to air, drying and the chemicals in the detergent. Infection also requires exposure to a large number of virus particles. So even if, by the remotest of chance, some virus particles survived all this (and the heat of the dryer), there simply would not be enough of them to cause infection by the time you put your clothes on or even handled them in the laundry facility.

I am confident that you have nothing to be afraid of.

Respectfully,

Ray Bohlin
Probe Ministries




“Will I Go to Hell For Getting Divorced?”

If I get a divorce, does that mean I will spend eternity in hell? I am saved so I don’t think I would be forgiven for it. I know that if someone gets divorced and then gets saved then they will be forgiven but I am saved so I’m supposed to know better. And I think the only acceptable reasons for divorce are abuse or infidelity and neither are true in this case. So does that mean I have to spend the rest of my life with someone incompatible just to avoid the lake of fire??

Sorry to be so intense but I really need to know, and could you use specific evidence from scripture to explain your point? Thanks.

Bless your heart. I can only imagine the pain that would bring you to the point you’re at.

No, divorce does not send anyone to hell. Refusing to be reconciled to God through Jesus is the only thing that sends anyone to hell. If you have been saved by trusting in Jesus, you have been sealed to Him through the Holy Spirit, and your eternity is secure. (We have a few articles on that subject that I think you will find helpful:

Back to your question: consider what the Lord Jesus said about divorce in Matt. 19:3-8–

Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Yes, God’s intention is for our marriages to be forever. However, because God is good and because He understands the wickedness of the human heart, he allows for divorce; note His reason: “because your hearts were hard.” He knows that being married to a person with a hard heart is like a prison sentence, and He provides a way out. I think the issue is more remarriage than divorce. If nothing has broken the marriage covenant, then when a divorced person remarries, he or she commits adultery.

So if your husband’s heart is unrepentantly hard, know that divorce is God’s grace in that situation. If it’s YOUR heart that’s hard, then the order of the day is confession and repentance, asking for His help to make it soft.

But please know, regardless of what happens, that divorce will not send you to hell. Jesus forever indwells your heart through faith, and the Father would not send Him there!

I hope this helps.

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries




“We Want an Easy Way Out of Our Pregnancy”

Dear Sir/Madam,

With due high respect I’ve got a deep problem in my family, I hope you are able to help us. My wife and me have a unwanted embryo. She had a pregnancy test and unfortunately it was positive. Our embryo is 3 weeks old. In my country, Iran, “pregnancy abortion” is illegal and even if it is possible it will be very expensive. We are not ready for have a baby and both of us hate this. What should we do? We are looking for medicine and easy way for clear it. We are impatiently waiting for your efficient way to save us and improve our life with your guidance.

Dear ______,

I’m not sure how you found us, but we are against abortion because it is the murder of an innocent human being. I know it is distressing to find yourself pregnant before you are ready, but you and your wife do not have an unwanted embryo, you are growing a BABY who is in an early stage of development.

I don’t know if it will make any difference to you, but I want you to know I regularly talk to women who had abortions, and it traumatized them. The guilt and shame they carry is a huge burden. They can’t get away from the fact that they murdered their own babies. Please reconsider your position.

There is no easy way to “clear” an unwanted pregnancy because it is a serious matter to take the life of another human being. This baby could not have been conceived without God’s permission and blessing; He means for you to have him or her, love him or her, and trust Him to help you care for this precious life.

I pray God will give you a peace that will enable you to trust Him to get you through this time without doing something you will regret for the rest of your lives and for which you will have to answer to Him.

With concern,

Sue Bohlin
Probe Ministries