"Sound Doctrine" - (Titus 2:1)

A Lasting Hollywood Marriage

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Hollywood marriages are most often known for their extreme brevity, most of Elizabeth Taylor's eight marriages being high profile examples. In contrast, however, a few Hollywood marriages are celebrated for having endured the test of time. Paul Newman recently died at the age of eighty-three, having been married to Joanne Woodward for fifty years. While the longevity of their marriage offers a refreshing counterpart to the depressingly brief nuptials of many celebrities, it still falls far short of the divine standard. Despite the appearance of fidelity, theirs was a sinful relationship because Newman was married nine years to Jackie Witte before he married Woodward.

Identifying adulterous marriages among public figures has never been well received. Doing so brought about the murder of John the Baptist. "Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her. For John had said to Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife.' Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him" (Mark 6:17-19). Notice that, although Herod had married Herodias, she remained the wife of Philip. The apostle Paul explained, "For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man" (Romans 7:2-3).

God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16). Under the contingency that God's will in this regard has already been violated, sin must progress no further; the one who has divorced should "remain unmarried or be reconciled" (1st Corinthians 7:10). Marriage subsequent to divorce is adultery, as Jesus preached, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery" (Mark 10:11-12). The only qualification to this rule, according to Christ, is that the faithful may put away a spouse guilty of fornication, and subsequently enjoy the right to marry again (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:9). Those in marriages disapproved by God are required to repent by ending the relationship (Ezra 10:1-44). This is what John clearly implied when he said, "It is not lawful for you to have her" (Matthew 14:4).

Although it seems natural to applaud Paul Newman's steadfast devotion to the woman to whom he was married, the fact remains she was not his wife. The important thing to consider is the commitment he made to his wife, his real wife, Jackie Witte. Was he true to his vow (Ecclesiastes 5:5)? Or did he violate his word (James 5:12)? Did he honor his wife (1st Peter 3:7)? Or did he sunder what God had joined (Matthew 19:6)?


Tom Edwards

Virtually every Christian realizes that vulgar speech, curse words, swear words, using the Lord's name in vain, etc. are condemned in the Bible; yet how many saints have unknowingly been guilty of such by using today's euphemisms?

First of all, what is a euphemism? Is it bad or is it good? Actually, it depends on what word it is standing for that would make it either one we could use or one we should not. It has been defined as "the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt". For instance, to say one has "passed away" or "is at rest" is euphemistic of simply saying one has "died". This is so because the former phrases are milder to sensitivities. In this example, the expressions "passed away" or "is at rest" are not standing for something bad and would, unquestionably, not be wrong for one to use. Also, in the advertising world, it surely sounds much better for the salesperson to refer to one who is a little on the heavy side as being "full-figured" rather than "fat", or for the car dealer to refer to his cars as being "economical" rather than "cheap". Or if I were a garbage man, I might refer to myself as a "sanitary engineer". In all these examples the euphemistic renderings would be all right to use because they are not signifying anything which would be improper, but let us consider some words in which their counterparts are terms that the Christian should not use for to do so would be wrong; the following is a list of such:

  • "Gee": euphemistic for "Jesus"
  • "Golly": euphemistic for "God"
  • "Heck": euphemistic for "hell"
  • "Darn": euphemistic for "damn"
  • "Gosh": euphemistic for "God"

Sometimes these words are used in combinations, such as in the phrase "gosh darn it". By looking at what these words are really standing for in the above section, it is easy to figure out what this wording actually means. Is it something that a Christian should be saying? Undoubtedly, it is not.

Terms such as "Jesus", "God", "hell", and "damn" are found in numerous passages throughout the Bible, but never are these words used loosely or irreverently. Since the Christian would not want to say the Lord's name in vain then surely he should not want to use any of the euphemisms that would pertain to His name.

Let us not be careless in our words, but careful. Just as a tree is known by its fruit, a person is also known by the "fruit of his lips." Jesus warned, "And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment" (Matthew 12:36).

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