"Is an unbeliever accountable to God's marriage law?"
Should I disfellowship an elder or congregation professing the belief
that an unbeliever is not accountable to God's marriage law?
There is an elder of a congregation (not the one I attend) that is saying that the unbeliever isn't accountable to God's marriage law (Matthew 5:32; 19:1-9 Mark 10:1-12 & Luke 16:18), and says that he can stay in a relationship with one who has divorced unscripturally and remarried, even after he's baptized. I've talked to him about this on a few occasions, telling him that if God recognizes the unbeliever's marriage, then he would also recognize it if he committed adultery, so he would have to repent and stop committing adultery. There has been no convincing him thus far. However, he keeps saying, "We'll talk more on this. This is an interesting topic."
You are correct in your use of the Scriptures mentioned above. You have correctly pointed out that God's marriage law is binding on the believer as well as the unbeliever. The doctrine that the elder is following is that of the late James D. Bales and others. Bales said, "Forget about the numbers — a man could be married a hundred times and when the one that he is married to becomes a Christian she becomes his one and only wife." Of course, this is gross error. The word "committeth" in Matthew 19 means literally that the unscripturally married individuals "Keep on committing adultery" as long as they live in this state of adultery. In my judgment, the fact that he keeps on referring to talking more about this "interesting topic" is that he does not want to take a stand. Clearly, you have the right scriptures in this matter. It may very well be that others do not know of his position and he does not want them to know, but I rather doubt this.
Next you commented:
"We have a small gathering on Tuesdays, and I've been going there for bible studies since I've become a child of God (July 15, 2004). However, since our "private" talks have come up about marriage, and our present disagreement, I've wondered if this topic warrants disfellowship (Romans 16:17 & 1 Corinthians 5:1-2), if the disagreement continues. Can you comment on this? If the topic warrants disfellowship, would it have to be disfellowship of the whole congregation, since he is an elder overseeing it (Matthew 15:13-14)?"
You have answered your own question. You cannot have fellowship with this elder. However, remember that the eldership is where the authority rests and not in one elder. What is the position of the other elders? Where does the congregation stand? It may be possible that no one else knows this elder's position. It is possible, but hardly probable. There is no way, without violating your conscience, to continue any kind of fellowship with this elder. If you cannot fellowship him, then how could you fellowship those who fellowship him without violating 2 John 9-11. Would you not be a partaker of his evil deed (doctrine) by continuing your fellowship? I would immediately quit the Tuesday meetings and explain in a loving way to the elder why you are doing so.
Next you wrote:
"Also, there is a woman who left that congregation (for reasons unknown) where this elder is leading, and has gone to a Baptist church. I bring this up because I've been encouraging her (and giving her biblical material) to go back to where she was worshipping, if she wants to please God. She seems to have a listening ear (can't say for certain) to what's told her. But, if it is the case that the eldership is in error about the topic of which I speak to you about, and it warrants disfellowship, then this is quite a dilemma. She is a babe-in-Christ as I am also. Can you also comment on this?"
This, indeed, is a terrible situation. Even a babe in Christ should be able to understand God's marriage laws. You have stated that you are also a babe, yet, you understand God's marriage law. Most assuredly she needs to come out of the Baptist error to which she has turned. It is quite a dilemma, but if you cannot fellowship the elder or the congregation where he is an elder, how could you encourage her or anyone else to have fellowship with such false teaching?
What should you do?
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