Guest / Limited Access /

This week on his television show Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson said a man would be morally justified to divorce his wife with Alzheimer's disease in order to marry another woman. The dementia-riddled wife is, Robertson said, "not there" anymore. This is more than an embarrassment. This is more than cruelty. This is a repudiation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Few Christians take Robertson all that seriously anymore. Most roll their eyes, and shake their heads when he makes another outlandish comment (for instance, defending China's brutal one-child abortion policy to identifying God's judgment on specific actions in the September 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, or the Haiti earthquake). This is serious, though, because it points to an issue that is much bigger than Robertson.

Marriage, the Scripture tells us, is an icon of something deeper, more ancient, more mysterious. The marriage union is a sign, the Apostle Paul announces, of the mystery of Christ and his church (Eph. 5). The husband, then, is to love his wife "as Christ loved the church" (Eph. 5:25). This love is defined not as the hormonal surge of romance but as a self-sacrificial crucifixion of self. The husband pictures Christ when he loves his wife by giving himself up for her.

At the arrest of Christ, his Bride, the church, forgot who she was, and denied who he was. He didn't divorce her. He didn't leave.

The Bride of Christ fled his side, and went back to their old ways of life. When Jesus came to them after the resurrection, the church was about the very thing they were doing when Jesus found them in the first place: out on the boats with their nets. Jesus didn't leave. He stood by his words, stood by his Bride, even to the Place of the Skull, and beyond.

A ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Current IssueGleanings: September 2016
Subscriber Access Only Gleanings: September 2016
Important developments in the church and the world (as they appeared in our September issue).
Current IssueHow I Found Healing for My Spiritual Blindness
Subscriber Access Only How I Found Healing for My Spiritual Blindness
Discovering hope and healing for fallible followers through Jesus’ faithfulness in the Gospel of Mark.
RecommendedFor TV's Gaffigans, Church Is a 'Miracle' On-Screen and Off
For TV's Gaffigans, Church Is a 'Miracle' On-Screen and Off
Writer, producer, and mother of five Jeannie Gaffigan on how faith feeds her family's comedic calling.
TrendingWhy Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
Why Most Pastors Aren’t Answering Your Phone Calls
It's one the great mysteries of ministry. Why do pastors have such a bad reputation for answering or returning phone calls? Here are 9 reasons.
Editor's PickThe Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
The Good (and Bad) News About Christian Higher Education
‘Christian colleges are as strong as they’ve been since the 1920s,’ says historian William Ringenberg. But there are challenges on the horizon.
Christianity Today
Pat Robertson Repudiates the Gospel
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

September 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.