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Keralabrethren.net: General Forum: A family seeking YOUR advice..

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# 02276 :  A family seeking YOUR advice..

 

Dear readers,
 
I am presenting a situation for your evaluation and input. This did not happen to me or to my family. I am thankful to God that it did not happen to me. But the situation I am presenting is very close to a situation I happened to know. But the place and people I picture here are of fictitious nature. If you are not comfortable about making any comment please refrain from doing so. But please refrain from criticizing this attempt to pick the brains of godly parents who could empathize with it, yet want to be scriptural with their advice.  I am using the personal pronouns for the simplicity of narration but as I suggested before, this did not happen to me.  
 
I am of KB origin and I lived in the USA for a number years. My daughter was born and brought up here and became interested to get married in her mid-twenties. We wanted her to marry someone with KB root and we made frequent trips to Kerala to find a suitable boy. After few such trips we felt comfortable with a proposal and the children expressed mutual interest.
 
We wanted the marriage to take place here in the USA for the sake of immediate sanction of visa for the bridegroom. My daughter was able to secure a fiancé visa for her future husband and made preparation for the wedding. In the summer of 2009 they got married in the USA. My daughter was eagerly anticipating for this day just as we were and the ceremony went well. The boy’s parents were also present along with few other relatives of their family. But the majority of the guests were from our side.
 
But during the reception the boy talked to his parents and said that he did not like the way my daughter presented herself at the wedding with American wedding gown and wedding party etc. He apologized profusely to his parents for continuing with the wedding although he was struggling with this ever since morning. The parents were devastated and they asked him to reconsider his decisions and at least talk to my daughter and to us before making such drastic decision.
 
But he insisted that he would secretly leave with his relatives to New York the same night and then head back to India at the earliest. He already had his friend’s car ready and they took off towards the end of the reception without further delay.  He did not say good bye to anyone.
 
His parents asked us to go with them and few other relatives to a room upstairs and delivered this news to us. You can imagine how devastated we were and how we felt terrible for our daughter. Once she found out what had happened she fainted for few minutes and she never recovered fully from this terrible humiliation.
 
Over the past 3 years we were in touch with the family and the local assembly where he used to be in fellowship. The elders had requested him not to be fellowship there because they knew that he had done a terrible thing to my daughter. His parents were very remorseful for what their son had done. The son is unwilling to change his mind even after my daughter showed willingness to stay with him in India for a period of time or even spend the rest of her foreseeable future. All along, he said he is willing to sign a divorce papers if we proceed with it.
 
My questions –
 
If you are in my daughter’s place what would you do? [She is still young and has other opportunities to get married to suitable men.]
 
If you are in our place as parents what would you do?
 
If you are a concerned Bible teacher what would be your advice?
 
Your brother in Christ,
 
Tom Johns
 
 
Post by : tomj  View Profile    since : 27 Jan 2012


Reply by : avoid_legalism   View Profile   Since : 27 Jan 2012 10:00:37 PM Close

Thank God that this is a fictitious account of a story that (unfortunately) has happened on occasion.  As a parent myself, I shudder to think of that scenario. 

I wonder, sometimes, and I'm thinking aloud, that we are so quick to have absolutes and principles set in concrete that we forget the human element.  I am not saying that we should be relativistic, but there are times, where concrete is not hte answer.  I think of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery.  Those who held stones were absolutely correct in what they were about to do because of the law.  But yet Jesus showed grace and mercy.  In the same way, I'm sure we all could quote doctrinal principles and be ready, but would it be full of grace and mercy?

Br. Johns, thank you for this thought provoking fictional case study.   I apologize that I cannot answer the questions...except maybe with my heart.

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 27 Jan 2012 11:43:29 PM Close

Dear avoid-legalism,

Thank you for your compassionate input. I am not expecting many people to give profound answers to these questions. But I like to hear their heartfelt reaction after realizing this situation.

 I should have added two specific information about this young man – my ‘son in law.’ (1) He is refusing to initiate divorce because he thinks it is unbiblical to divorce his ‘wife.’ But he will be more than happy to sign the divorce papers if we/ our daughter initiate it. He thinks at that point he is no longer guilty. (2) There are rumors about my son in law that he is associated with a woman and spending quite a bit time together, but he flatly refuses any such allegation and there are no credible witnesses to testify to it. So ‘infidelity ’ can be ruled out.
Please consider these pieces of information also when you formulate your thoughts.   
Even if you have never contributed on this forum before, I like to hear your honest view. I will not consider your advice as silly, ignorant, illogical, unreal etc. All I am asking is this that you put yourself in my daughter’s place, our place as parents or even as my son in law’s parents.
The assembly was going to excommunicate them for ‘not controlling’ their son. But we have pleaded the assembly not to do it because they are equally broken hearted as we, and the son is now over 30 and they can control him only so much.  We could not find any fault with them at all.
What would you do?
Tom Johns

 

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Reply by : annamant   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2012 12:35:15 AM Close

I feel like you do not need communities suggestions.Bible clearley says -there is no body perfect  in the life and  nobody  follow 10 commandments. When you become adults -you responsable for your own action and reaction-there is no need to forse an adult -genuvineley and willingley each one need to do the desire of their heart -things will happend knowingley or unknowingley-if he asks for divorse -give it to him -her job to please   her husband- and  make him happy   -i know one case  sunday christion husband asked for divorse  doing physical abuse -for 13 years - wife did not believd in divorse -the day he got the divorse -he spread the news she did the divorse  and he is not guilty -wife thought -she should fullfill his desire and make him happy -i think she should make him happy -it doesnt matter who did it now -and try to find her way to the next chapter in the life .There are so many claiming KB  holy elders do things behind the screen-think nobody knows -but somehow-they are still preaching and teaching the gospel-let good lord bless both of your family -and give the right wisdom-

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Reply by : philip   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2012 2:10:21 AM Close

 

My Response:
It is unfortunate that 3 years have passed since this incident. Sorry to see the heartaches of the people involved. May God grant you all wisdom to handle it.
It seems there is need for further clarifications before adequately responding to the concerns:
(a)    Was there not a rehearsal for the wedding and did someone not tell the groom what to expect? (with regard to dress and the demeanor)
(b)   Did he not know that she was going to wear a gown (which is seen sometimes in Kerala also these days)?
(c)    Is it safe to assume that the boy was in touch with the girl for some time before the marriage and that he would have arrived in the U.S. a few days before the wedding?
(d)   Was it the gown itself or its cut (low or embarrassingly low) that seemed to be a problem for him?
(e)   Were there public kisses of the bride and groom or was it initiated? Did any of the male guests kiss the bride while the groom was watching? (This could have been a big problem for a new comer to another culture).
(f)     Was her behavior during the reception above reproach? (Any of this can be misunderstood or misinterpreted by a newly arrived person who is not at all familiar with such cultural elements of a Western wedding)
(g)    Was someone else involved in making the boy think about going back to India, including the friends who arranged transport for him?
(h)   Was there ever any initiative in taking the boy for counseling during these 3 years?
 
Your questions:
 
1.    If you are in my daughter’s place what would you do? [She is still young and has other opportunities to get married to suitable men.] She should give a chance for some spiritual counseling for the man. Has she ever seen him or spoken to him face to face after the incident of his going back? If not, this should have been done or may be done even now, if she is genuine in desiring him to come back to her. No stone should be left unturned in such a vital matter.   
 
2.    If you are in our place as parents what would you do? If parents have not so far spoken to the son-in-law face to face, after he returned to India, they should do so and find out what has been such a great offence. If he misunderstood any thing, it should be clarified and he should be made to understand to the extent possible. They should speak to his parents about spiritual counseling and try to make them understand. They with their daughter have to spend considerable time in prayer and try to involve some spiritual counselor to speak to the boy. (Am I safe to assume that all of these are done?)
 
3.    If you are a concerned Bible teacher what would be your advice? A spiritual counselor should get involved to resolve this situation. If I am to handle this situation, I would do the following: (a) I would speak to both the husband and wife to find out what has all happened in this case and to identify the real cause of the conflict (b) I will take time and effort to go into all the initiatives taken so far to clearly understand and analyze the scenario. (c) I would personally speak to (i) the husband’s parents (ii) the wife’s parents (iii) identify and speak to a few of the confidants of the husband and collect more facts about him which might be helpful in speaking to him (iv) I will spend time counseling the man about resolving the situation (v) I will try to find out if he has any other problems which require therapy of some kind, including spiritual guidance (vii) I will speak to the leaders in his assembly to seek their help in getting the husband to come around, rather than excommunicate him. He is a victim of something (?) and that has to be identified.(I am saying all of these because these are not clear from the narration.) I would show all concerned from the Bible that divorce is not a scriptural answer to disputes in marriage which would have come from wrong impressions and perceptions, misunderstandings, misrepresentations, misinterpretations and over expectations, immaturity, culture shock, lack of familiarity of different systems etc. I feel that the husband is asking the wife to initiate the divorce papers to absolve him of the responsibilities of the situation so that he can safely get married.
 
Although the real reasons for this problem is not very clear from this narration (granting that it is not easy to verbalize all of the details publically), I tend to see serious spiritual problems in this which may be handled through spiritual counseling on a one-to-one basis.  
 
(Pardon me if you think I have not understood the scenario properly).
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Reply by : sathyasnehi   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2012 6:27:04 AM Close

While I look at many of the points raised by ‘philip’ worth considering,  I think to investigate deeply into whatever had happened will not serve any purpose positively for the goodness of either party. Though there may be seemingly certain mistakes on the girl’s side, to be spiritual, the boy must have lenient towards the generous character shown by his own parents. Joseph, a just man (in Matthew’s Gospel), when he had some suspicion about his wife, he had not immediately put her away, but was only minded to do so, then at last heeded to the voice of the Holy Spirit. It seems the boy here is not ready to hear any spiritual advice from any one. 

Then, what else to do further? Is re-marriage is worth considering for that girl?  I hope so.  I am mulling over this problem further and register my view in my next post later.   

 

Sathyasnehi

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Reply by : jj   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2012 6:57:25 AM Close

Dear Bro,

 

Its a heart wrenching senario that you have presented. Yes many parents like their children to get married to people from KB background. I too feel this is good. However there is  a 'culture shock ' issue that has to be taken into consideration when choosing a partner from Kerala. Brides/grooms from outside kerala / gulf adjust well to U.S senarios.

Refering to the senario presented by you, I find it difficult to believe that just the clothes / party could trigger such a response. I would be forced to suspect a more serious undelying  reason especially if he did not even try to talk it out.

I hate to say it but the earlier it is resolved the better. Either the boy has to come forward to talk things over else it will have to end in a divorce. My heart goes out to the bride whose dream was shattered and her family. Prologing this any longer would only increase the pain of rejection and the emotional scars she would carry with her probably all her life. 

The bride also will need some christian counselling.

 

If I am the parent,  I would try and ease the pain as quickly as possible and when the bride is ready, get her a God fearing partner who is updated on the entire senario. Marriage would heal the scars better than any counselling would.

 

 

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Reply by : abc   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2012 12:45:32 PM Close

 

This is a fiction and there is no meaning in analyzing. This is a biased pciture and prejudiced. And What is the aim fo the fiction?
OTHERWISE THERE ARE MUCH MORE THINGS WHICH ARE NOT REVEALED IN THE POST.

But let me a tell a real story where a KB family from US flew in to India and the girl of the family was married to a KB boy. It looked like a perfectly arranged marriage involving parents and church members of both parties. On first night, the girl tells the boy that she is already married and living with an American, and she had done this under coercion from her parents. Girl's parents were also aware of this relationship. Girl and family flew back to US within 2 days to save their skin and now lives in US happily. The boy and his family were devastated.

Such unfortunate incidents happen once in a while, but it cannot be used to frame rules or to justify anthing.

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 28 Jan 2012 8:39:36 PM Close

Thank you everyone for your contribution.
Annamant – Thank you for your advice and input.
Philip – You have taken much time in answering each of my questions and offered valuable suggestions based on your years of experience in this field. I appreciate that.
Sathysnehi – Thank you. I am looking forward to reading your next posting also.
JJ – Your ending comment worth further discussion. You said “If I am the parent, I would try and ease the pain as quickly as possible and when the bride is ready, get her a God fearing partner who is updated on the entire scenario. Marriage would heal the scars better than any counseling would.”
 
 
 
This would mean – There should be a divorce initiated by us. Then there is a remarriage.
 
 
 
Should we even entertain such thoughts? Would this be scriptural? {I am very happy that you addressed this with such openness.}
 
 
 
Abc – Please do not write this off as ‘fiction.’ You said later on – “Such unfortunate incidents happen once in a while, but it cannot be used to frame rules or to justify anything.” – I know of at least 3 similar incidents. So let us continue our discussion with empathy.
 
 
 
Some general comments from me – If you are reading this thread for the 1st time please read all of the above postings in its order. Or you will not get the reason or logic of this discussion.
 
 
All of the comments above are practical, useful and godly. Thank you very much.
 
 
Let me go back to JJ's comment
 
 
 
JJ made a comment that I quoted above that would bring this to a closure [we hope] in a practical sense. Then we face the following questions –
 
 
A) Is it scriptural to seek divorce in this case?
B) Is it scriptural to have a remarriage?
 
 
 
Again, please discuss this as a matter happened to you/ your daughter/ or you are an elder in the assembly where the girl fellowships and if you truly cannot empathize with this, please do not pontificate your answers to make it look pious. [Sorry, I am being very frank and open. Please excuse me.]
 
 
 
Tom Johns
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Reply by : apologia   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 6:15:40 AM Close

My questions to brother Tom Johns;

According to you, your family and your daughter were led into this marriage because we felt comfortable with a proposal and the children expressed mutual interest’. Was it the Scriptural way of proceeding on a serious matter such as this? Why didn’t you seek the advice of the ‘concerned Bible Teachers’ at that time, i.e., before deciding to go ahead with the marriage if you did not know how to find the will of God?

 

About your questions –

 

If you are in my daughter’s place what would you do? [She is still young and has other opportunities to get married to suitable men.]

 

If you are in our place as parents what would you do?

 

If you are a concerned Bible teacher what would be your advice?

 

This seems to be a subtle attempt to extract a desired answer (or a topic for debate) to the leading questions you have posted. ‘What would you do if you were in my shoes’ kind of questions are aimed at deriving responses based on emotions.  Why else would anyone ask for advice from unsuspecting ‘readers’ who are given a vague description and only one side of the story?

There may be a secret agenda behind narrating this fictitious/probable story. It could be an attempt to establish some unscriptural practice or at least to set a favourable platform for its discussion. People generally raise existential issues from assumed scenarios to induce others into saying something against the established beliefs or practices. Sadducees tried it with Jesus (cf. Matthew 22: 23- 28). If this is an attempt to prove such an idea, the response of Jesus (Matthew 22: 29-30) is the apt response for this too.

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Reply by : palatty   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 8:08:53 AM Close

 

Dear Bro.Tom,
                        I am exercised to participate in this discussion because I have come across in my life a few situations of this kind. My comments are as follows:
The fact that the boy had his friend’s car ready to take him & his relatives to NY makes me to think that the boy had some existing contacts in the U.S and hence he was NOT totally ignorant of the American culture to fall prey to a sudden cultural shock at the sight of a low neck (?) wedding gown or certain American manners during the wedding. It is hard to believe that such a mature person whom the girl’s parents found “Most Suitable” after so much of searching should decide to ruin his life so easily for a silly reason. There must be something more to the whole story.
Whatever be the case, there is no doubt that the choice was a “Perfect MISMATCH”. I find no good reason for two lives to suffer their entire life time just because there was a small flaw somewhere in the decision making process. Marriage is a very important step because it can make or mar a person’s entire life. At the same time for a believer, marriage is NOT the biggest thing in life, but following Jesus is! In this particular episode, it is said to be an “arranged” marriage. Arranged marriages are definitely good as far as it is arranged by God and not by the parents especially when in many a cases, an arranged marriage turns out to be a ceremonial culmination of certain corrupt intentions such as covetousness of the parents of either side. Pro 19:14 House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudent wife is from the LORD.
 
Your daughter is still young. She never had the occasion to fall in love with the man she married. She has not surrendered her heart fully to him so far. So if she is innocent her conscience will not prick her nor  the Holy Spirit will convict her in her for this situation. Nevertheless, Can she ever accept her current husband as her head joyfully and not because the Bible commands her to do so? What prohibits her from getting married to a man who would love to receive her as she is wholeheartedly and she most joyfully makes him her head! Sometimes it is God’s way of doing things. His ways are inscrutable. Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
 
I attempt to answer your queries hereunder.
 
1.       If I were in your daughter’s place, I would profusely thank God for saving me from suffering a life-long torture under a husband who would not accept me as I am. I also would thank God that this person chose to leave before consummation of the marriage.
2.      Parents should refrain from imposing their decisions on the adult children. They should restrict themselves to the extent of expressing their opinion for the evaluation of their grown-up wards especially when it is a matter of their personal life! If I am one of the parents I would follow the following steps.
(a) Organize a meeting of the boy & the girl for them to talk it out across the table. Provide them the services of an expert marriage counselor. In all probability the crux of the problem lies elsewhere. ( See the cases I have encountered that are recounted hereunder later) Extend moral support of well-meaning elders of the community. Preferably avoid the present elders who are stupid enough to threaten the boy’s parents with ex-communication. Help the couple to consider if it would be wise in their part to give a try to save their marriage without causing further & irreparable damage to the prospects of their future married life even if it got to be with some other partners. They should be encouraged to take a Free and Firm decision Boldly and Unanimously.( Never a half-hearted decision taken under duress or remorse, no matter even if it is a perpetual separation)
(b)  If any of the parties refuse such an invitation, it should be made abundantly clear that the other party would not hesitate to take the matter to an appropriate   court of Law for the costs and consequences of which the relenting party shall be held solely responsible. The community should extend financial & moral support to such a move if it becomes necessary.
(c)   Invite the boy and the girl to this forum and allow them to silently watch the opinion that the general public express. That will have some impact on their present stand.
 
 
Your Son-in-Law may not be moving the divorce papers NOT simply because it is unbiblical but it may be because he is clever enough to foresee the legal consequences & also the effect that such a move from his side can bring about on his future prospects of finding a suitable life partner. The rumors of his spending quality time with another woman may be true as it is but natural as he may now be looking out for someone who will accept him under the given circumstances.
 
Some Cases I have encountered:
 
1.      A girl, daughter of one of my distant relatives belonging to a rich RC family was married off to a well educated boy. The guy was smart but impotent. The girl went back home the very next day of the marriage when she came to know of this fact. Her family could not recover the hefty dowry in spite of many years of court battle.
 
2.      One of my secretaries, a beautiful smart Hindu lady was married to an Engineer. In fact he was operated upon for cancer and his testicles were removed. He could not perform sexual intercourse. He had gone for a marriage just because his friends used to tease him calling him impotent and he had challenged them that he will marry a girl far better than any of the spouses of his friends.
 
3.       A brother of a friend of mine married a girl from the U.S. When he visited the U.S after several months (It took time to complete the formalities of immigration) he was surprised to know that his wife was a lesbian and she would very openly have sex with her girl friend in his presence.
 
4.      A cousin of my wife is the Pastor of a large Independent church. He married a girl 20 years ago. She was very active participant in the church activities. She was rich, good looking and a topper in her college. On the first night itself he came to know that she was a mentally challenged person. He thought that it was a case of Devil possession. They lived together for 20 years, bore 3 male children and  2 years ago they got legally separated as she became totally insane and her mother preferred to allow her Son-in-law the liberty to marry a suitable person who would look after the children whilst the mother herself takes care of her daughter.
 
 
 
 
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Reply by : sathyasnehi   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 10:40:52 AM Close

The post by Mr.Palatty has been most eloquently written.  There is nothing for me to suggest any more.  To those like Apologia and abc:  Let us not be the mind readers of Mr. Tom.  Whether he is hiding the real facts or he has not been given with the real facts by the real parents are immaterial for us. We are here to take into account the firsthand information given by Mr.Tom, only for giving our suggestions and not for investigating the genuineness of his intention.   

     For me, the origin and the developments in this case are secondary.  How it has ended is my primary concern. The couple married legally and in the presence of God (to be so) is now separated from each other.  For the sake of God’s glory all possible steps should be taken by everyone connected to this story to reunite the boy and the girl. If it is in no way possible, then the sad decision of seeking legal separation has to be made.  Persons thus separated can take new life partners, if they desire.  Reason is obvious.

 

http://www.heavensfamily.org/uploads/rv/rE/rvrEE11TJHZ96RcWFYxsXQ/dmm_13.pdf

    

http://www.heavensfamily.org/uploads/PQ/XB/PQXBWdX9CAbI5N901Q8VIA/13.pdf

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 3:52:15 PM Close

 

Dear apologia,
The decision to go ahead with the marriage was not a knee jerk reaction of a moment’s impetuous decision. The boy was in fellowship at the local assembly and those who knew him had no knowledge of him anything to the contrary. There was a period of time in between decisions to prayerfully wait for the final decision. Nothing was done in haste except the hind sight now suggests something more should have been done. Obviously something went wrong!
__________________________________________________________________________________
Now, regarding your other assumptions, I would have liked you to answer those questions rather than digging deeper into my motives. I noticed that you have registered as a contributor on this forum only few hours/ day ago. [By clicking on the icon next to the name would give that detail.] I am glad you joined the discussion and I greatly appreciate seeing some new faces and that was expressed as one of my desires also.  
I am not sure if you have read some of my earlier postings over the years. It would be unlikely that you had a chance to. [Not that my postings were great or profound that every reader should stop everything and read.] About 2-3 years ago, I posted “Divorce and Remarriage” a practical position paper based on all the scriptural passages that deal with this subject. So, I am not appearing here stealthily with a shady agenda. I will re-post it here in its entirety at a later time
The background of my writing.
There are some developments in Kerala and endless debate over things of this nature, with several ‘teachers’ writing in the magazines quoting Greek and Hebrews and swinging religious jargons from the convention pulpit to electronic & printed media.
I wanted such writers who are ready to crucify and tarnish anyone who would consider anything against their ultimatum to sit down and answer my 3 questions.  They claim that they have the final say on this because they are rightly dividing the Word, unlike others. In reality, they believe in what they teach.
I did not think people like xxxxxx, xxxxx [not revealing the names here] who are writing volumes in the Brethren magazines would contribute here or even see this thread. Even if they did see, they might simply shrug off these questions thinking that they and their families are of higher spiritual plateau, and these situations would never face them. Or, they would boldly declare that they will stick with the principles they preach no matter what in all sincerity.
It is one thing to preach, but such preachers often find a more favorable ‘application’ to those verses when it hits in their household. So, it is better to learn the ’principles’ involved rather than becoming wishy-washy when the rubber meets the road [when it actually happens.]  This is why I asked those questions.
Bible addresses most of these situations that are facing us today if we are willing to consider all the pertaining scriptures and study well. Such study would eliminate the need for deciphering whether the couple had any sexual union or not; if they haven’t had any sexual union, they are free to divorce; and then go into the Greek to determine what the actual word for ‘becoming one flesh’ etc. Both sides are approaching these passages/ words without considering all the pertinent passages. Lot of times it is like the blind people’s description of the elephant they ‘saw.’
The studies on the root meanings of certain words are useful. But the discussions that I see on the magazines are not exemplifying the Greek knowledge of the writers. Not having sexual union as a culmination of the marriage is the resulting manifestation of a serious sinful reality in the relationship. That reality must be addressed in light of the scriptures.  
[In the scenario I depicted, even if the couple have had shared few days together and had sexual union, and then this desertion happened, the end decision should not be based on the sexual union, but based on the desertion. I have addressed the ‘desertion’ issue in the position paper I had posted here. So, dear brother/ sister there is no hidden agenda from me. You felt it because our interaction had been limited. This does not mean that everyone agrees with the way I see those scriptural passages. People expressed their disagreement here at that time. ]
The discussions that are going on in Kerala [magazines] are like putting out a fire by dousing water at the tip of the fire. Water should reach the bottom part of the fire to extinguish it. That is done by accepting the revealed truths from the Bible and show willingness to change the preconceived notions as the Spirit of God reveals those.
You are right about labeling my 3 questions as ‘leading questions.’ They are meant to lead the contributors to focus on the human element. I believe a discussion should have some personal applications. Biblical principles are there to shape our conduct. This situation I described is something that we face in our lives rather unfortunately due to sin and disobedience.  After all, our feet are touching this sinful world and until we are transformed we would face such challenges. If we refuse to address it we are like the Ostrich with the  its head buried in the sand at the impending sandstorm. Such non-action will not protect  us from the dangers.
The discussions and the media war going on in India regarding this issue, warrant each assembly to prepare a written document explaining where they stand on these issues. It is not a ‘Brethren’ position paper. It must be a position paper for each gathering. If one assembly is happy to pattern after another Assembly’s position paper they should be welcomed to do so.  I am not suggesting the position paper I will be posting ‘the ONE’ for every assembly. Let the elders study and if they find it scriptural they are free to copy any portion of it or in its entirety.   
Tom Johns
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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 5:20:44 PM Close

 

Dear Palatty/ sathyasnehi,
Thank you for your comments. They do make sense and all such steps are valuable. Also, the incidents that you have cited testify the fact that what I had narrated is indeed a likely scenario. Some people commented that we are dealing with a hypothetical situation so it is unfair to stir up the emotions to generate a favorable response.
They are partially right. I wanted them to empathize with the situation. It is not a foreign concept to the Bible. Someone already mentioned how the Lord handled the woman who was caught in adultery. Jesus did not condone the sin of adultery, but he showed the right way to handle it. He looked into the person and knew more about her plight than anyone else in that gathering and extended grace even without her asking for it.
I wanted everyone to show the same amount of emotional attachment the Lord showed above while making their suggestions to these questions.
Tom Johns
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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 8:30:52 PM Close
Dear Tom J,
 
I agree with you that sexual union is not the validation of marriage - to me the oaths that the two people take before God is what seals a marriage contract. If the husband leaves his wife right after the ceremony or 10 years after, it is the same violation - it is desertion and it constitutes a breakage of the marriage vow.
 
What can a woman do, who has been deserted by her husband? May I ask, if the desertion is permanent, with no possibility of an amicable reconciliation, why shouldn't the woman be allowed to seek a re-marriage? Or, has our rigid interpretation of the marriage and divorce laws lead us to destine that such a deserted woman endure the cruelty of a single life, even when she has done nothing wrong?
 
As you know, Paul already allows freedom from the marriage contract, if an unbelieving person leaves his/her spouse. This we read in 1 Cor 7:15 - But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace.
 
In Matt 18, the Lord Jesus gives the rules of conduct that must be followed when a believer sins against another believer. To me this case your presented (even though it may be fiction) is a case of one believer sinning against another believer - the boy sinned against the girl, by deserting her, to whom he vowed before God and witnesses, a life time of love and commitment.
 
So, the rules of Matt 18: 15-17 apply.
 
 
Step 1: Go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone -
Since the desertion happened publically, this step cannot be followed per se, since the sin was committed in public. Nevertheless, since the girl has tried to contact the boy privately to resolve it, means that she has completed this first step. The boy has refused to hear the girl in private.
 
 
Step 2:If he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established -
From your account, the boy's parents are witnesses to what happened. They know both sides of the story and are very remorseful about what their son did. Thus, by being witness to the whole event and trying to dissuade their son from proceeding, they have established the "witness requirement" of what happened. This completes step 2.
 
 
Step 3: And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church -
As I understand this was also, done, since the elders of the church in which the boy used to attend, tried to get involved, but the boy has refused to hear them and has instead chosen to severe fellowship with the church, rather than resolve the issue of his desertion. Once we is out of the church, the church's influence on his actions is also limited. This completes step 3.
 
 
Step 4: But if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican -
In this last step, the Lord Jesus granted permission for the brother who was sinned against, to consider the brother who sinned, as a "heathen" or a "publican" - in other words consider him as an "unbeliever". In the case you wrote, following the progression of Steps from 1 to 4, the Lord Jesus has allowed the deserted girl to regard the boy who deserted her, as an unbeliever.
 
 
That brings us back to 1 Cor 7:15. Since the deserted girl can consider the deserter husband to be an "unbeliever", she can consider it as a release from the marriage contract, based on 1 Cor 7:15. Thus she is free to marry whoever she wants to.
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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 30 Jan 2012 9:42:23 PM Close

Dear Mosses2006,

I think you have assessed the situation correctly and applying Matthew 18 principles is the biblical way to solve this issue. Also, due to the time elapsed and ample time is given to rectify the situation, this boy should be considered as an outsider to the manifested grace of our God, even though he is professed to be a beleiver. It should be left to God to deal with him and my family should move on with our lives.

I was hoping that this particular passage would be brought out by someone since it is indeed the most important and pertinent portion when we deal with a situation like this. All other comments are very valid but Matthew 18 gives the steps we need to take. You have rightly pointed out 1 Cor 7:15 as well. Thank you brother.

Tom Johns

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Reply by : sathyasnehi   View Profile   Since : 31 Jan 2012 4:29:33 AM Close

'moses2006' has presented a good thought

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Reply by : mithun2   View Profile   Since : 31 Jan 2012 12:37:53 PM Close

I cori 7:15 - But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

This verse says, they can live separate.  There is no need to apply force or go to court to bring back the unbeliever person to the same roof. 

Let us not interpret the word of God with emotions, but with the help of Holy Spirit.    We can only go to the throne of grace in this situation and pray for the repentence of the groom.    I don't agree with the  remarriage here unless there is absolute certainty of the death of the party in question

 

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Reply by : moses2006   View Profile   Since : 31 Jan 2012 1:50:21 PM Close

Dear 'mithun2'

The context of 1 Cor 7:10-16 is about keeping the marriage vows. A marriage vow, "binds" two people - the wife is bound to the husband and the husband is bound to the wife, until death parts them or the Lord's return.

In v15, Paul very clearly states that, if an unbelieving person leaves his/her spouse, then the 'deserted spouse' is "NOT BOUND" to the 'deserter spouse'. Essentially, the unbeliever who leaves his/her spouse, unbinds his/her believer spouse from the marriage vow. Once unbound, there is no scriptural reason to forbid such a person from marrying again. 

No doubt, it has to acertained that the deserter spouse has indeed left permanently with no intention of ever keeping to his/her marriage vow. That is where the principles of Matt 18:15-17 becomes useful. In addition, we can pray for repentance of the deserter spouse, but to move forward in the face of an unrepentant deserter (such as the one described in this thread), one has to resort to principles taught by the Lord Himself.

Afterall, God has called us to peace.

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Reply by : palatty   View Profile   Since : 5 Feb 2012 12:34:44 PM Close

Unawares of the consequences, I hqappened to share some of the incidents of deceptive marriages that had come to my knowledge in response to the hypothetical situation you had posted. Subsequenty I received several calls & mails from my friends telling me about similar situations that have occured specifically in our assemblies. I never could imagine that so many people indeed are silent readers  of this forum. I am aghast at the fact that there are people who have CONVERTED to Brethren just to marry off their sick daughters to grooms who would not dare to divorce without the risk of attracting ex-communication. More surprising to me is the revelation that even some unscrupulous Elders/Evangelists were actively involved in perpetuating such a crime.

Under the given circumstances, it is expedient that the resdponsible brothers ponder over the ways & means to effectively defeat this kind of deceitful strategies whilst we all remain fully in allegiance to the principles laid down in the word of God. We respect Matthew 18 principles & 1 Cor7:10-16. The reference websites that Sathyasnehi has given us in his post are very useful & informative. Your own re-posted analysis on Divorce and Remarriage also provides food for thought.

We all need to continue discussing this issue. Of course there will be "Holier than thou" exhibitors. Let the wailing women continue to lament and shed crocodile tears. But there are well meaning Brethren who can empathise with the victims and provide valuable counseling to the victims strengthening them to deal with such situations in perfect consonance with the major principles of Love, Compassion, Truth and Righteousness that Our Lord has laid down as the plillars while dealing with situations of injustice that the believers meet with.

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Reply by : apologia   View Profile   Since : 29 Feb 2012 11:13:03 AM Close

Dear Bro. Tom Johns,

This is in response ro your post on 30 Jan 2012 3:52:15 PM. I was preoccupied with some important work hence the delay in replying. May I furnish my comments and questions on your reply to me.

Your posts is in red,

Dear apologia, The decision to go ahead with the marriage was not a knee jerk reaction of a moment’s impetuous decision. The boy was in fellowship at the local assembly and those who knew him had no knowledge of him anything to the contrary. There was a period of time in between decisions to prayerfully wait for the final decision. Nothing was done in haste except the hind sight now suggests something more should have been done. Obviously something went wrong! Now, regarding your other assumptions, I would have liked you to answer those questions rather than digging deeper into my motives.

My comment

1.       Who is assuming, me or you? It is you who presented the assumed scenario reserving the freedom & flexibility of supplementing it with more assumptions when faced with questions.

Few questions on your  The background of my writing.

“There are some developments in Kerala and endless debate over things of this nature, with several ‘teachers’ writing in the magazines quoting Greek and Hebrews and swinging religious jargons from the convention pulpit to electronic & printed media.”

2.       Is quoting Greek and Hebrew the prerogative of those who live in U. S?

3.       Are you against the use of religious jargons only? What about your secular phrases? (“becoming wishy-washy when the rubber meets the road”, “blind people’s description of the elephant they ‘saw.”, “putting out a fire by dousing water at the tip of the fire”., “like the Ostrich with the  its head buried in the sand”)

“I wanted such writers who are ready to crucify and tarnish anyone who would consider anything against their ultimatum to sit down and answer my 3 questions.”

4.       Who is trying to crucify and tarnish whom? What were you trying when you wrote the following?

“I did not think people like xxxxxx, xxxxx [not revealing the names here] who are writing volumes in the Brethren magazines would contribute here or even see this thread. Even if they did see, they might simply shrug off these questions thinking that they and their families are of higher spiritual plateau, and these situations would never face them. Or, they would boldly declare that they will stick with the principles they preach no matter what in all sincerity. It is one thing to preach, but such preachers often find a more favorable ‘application’ to those verses when it hits in their household.”

5.       Can you give at least one documentary evidence to show their ultimatum? Look again, who is giving the ultimatum, they or you?

“I wanted such writers……… to sit down and answer my 3 questions”

6.       Or else what?

“They claim that they have the final say on this because they are rightly dividing the Word, unlike others.”

7.       Where did they claim that they have the final say?

“In reality, they believe in what they teach.”


8.       Shouldn’t they?

 

“Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believe, and so we speak,” 2 Cor 4. 13

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 5 Mar 2012 1:44:50 AM Close

 

Dear apologia,
I wanted to answer some of your questions. Your questions are marked in red.
1.      Who is assuming, me or you? It is you who presented the assumed scenario reserving the freedom & flexibility of supplementing it with more assumptions when faced with questions.
Answer -
Please refer to your posting from Jan 30th. “This seems to be a subtle attempt to extract a desired answer (or a topic for debate) to the leading questions you have posted. ‘What would you do if you were in my shoes’ kind of questions are aimed at deriving responses based on emotions. Why else would anyone ask for advice from unsuspecting ‘readers’ who are given a vague description and only one side of the story?
There may be a secret agenda behind narrating this fictitious/probable story. It could be an attempt to establish some unscriptural practice or at least to set a favourable platform for its discussion. People generally raise existential issues from assumed scenarios to induce others into saying something against the established beliefs or practices.” End of quotes
Here you have assumed quite a bit about my motives. So it is you who have assumed in my estimation.
 
2.      Is quoting Greek and Hebrew the prerogative of those who live in U. S?
Answer – Quoting Greek and Hebrew is not tied to a certain locale. My plea to people who try to quote Greek or Hebrew to study well, before making unfounded assertions. There are some Scholars that I know who are able to shed lights into what the original author meant to express by using a certain expressions in their original compositions. They have studied for years and had mastered the Biblical Hebrew and Greek. Others who ‘sprinkle’ Hebrew and Greek in their teachings simply do not know what they are doing. It is like someone untrained sitting at the helm of an armored tank with ample supply of canons and shooting with no purpose. It makes lots of noise but the goals are not even defined let alone they hit the target.  
3.      Are you against the use of religious jargons only? What about your secular phrases? (“becoming wishy-washy when the rubber meets the road”, “blind people’s description of the elephant they ‘saw.”, “putting out a fire by dousing water at the tip of the fire”., “like the Ostrich with the its head buried in the sand”)
Answer – What you quoted are simply idioms. Whenever I use unfamiliar idioms, I try to explain it. Religious ‘jargons’ are different. In another posting I will explain this further.
You quoted the following and asked me a question -
“I wanted such writers who are ready to crucify and tarnish anyone who would consider anything against their ultimatum to sit down and answer my 3 questions.”
4.      Who is trying to crucify and tarnish whom? What were you trying when you wrote the following?
Answer – Please read some articles that are being circulated in the leading magazines from last one year or so. [Magazines that are widely circulated among the Brethren in Kerala.]
You quoted the following and asked me few questions -
“I did not think people like xxxxxx, xxxxx [not revealing the names here] who are writing volumes in the Brethren magazines would contribute here or even see this thread. Even if they did see, they might simply shrug off these questions thinking that they and their families are of higher spiritual plateau, and these situations would never face them. Or, they would boldly declare that they will stick with the principles they preach no matter what in all sincerity. It is one thing to preach, but such preachers often find a more favorable ‘application’ to those verses when it hits in their household.”
5.      Can you give at least one documentary evidence to show their ultimatum? Look again, who is giving the ultimatum, they or you?
6.      “I wanted such writers……… to sit down and answer my 3 questions”
7.      Or else what?
Answer – Who issued ‘ultimatum?’ Did I? An ultimatum cannot be given by saying ‘I wanted such writers..” An ultimatum is a demand and failure to comply could lead to dire consequences. Did I come across that way? I doubt that.
You quoted me and asked -
“They claim that they have the final say on this because they are rightly dividing the Word, unlike others.”
8.      Where did they claim that they have the final say?
Answer – The articles are very assertive. They have the ‘final say’ in what they publish because it is written on the pages of the magazine and they are not requesting any rebuttal.
You quoted the following and asked -
“In reality, they believe in what they teach.”
9.      Shouldn’t they?  [This is your question to me.]
Answer – There are many who ‘believe’ wearing Jewelry is a sin. They teach and write such nonsense.. Similarly, they pound the podium with their fist and make assertions on other issues as well. When I wrote the above comment, I wanted to comment their sincerity even though they may not be correct in their assertions. I meant this in a good way. I have commented on the sincerity of Bobby Chacko and Sathyasnehi. Just because they believe something do not make it biblical. This is what I meant.
A final note – The purpose of my writings are invariably focused to challenge the Christians to broaden their outlook about practical Christianity. I seldom interested in debating for the sake of debate. Occasionally I write refuting heresies. I have done that against Bobby Chacko & Sathysnehi and few others on this this forum. They propagate a strange gospel which is not gospel at all. I am thankful for the ones who are diligent in refuting their heresies.  I would appreciate any follow up questions to focus on practical Christian living and concerns stemming from the related subject. [Not suggesting that the above questions were not, but I wanted to reiterate my focus.]
Your brother in Christ,
Tom Johns
 
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Reply by : apologia   View Profile   Since : 14 Mar 2012 2:27:52 PM Close

Dear brother Tom Johns

Thank you for your response and explanations. Pls allow me to comment on your explanations and clarify my concerns.

In your answer to question No.1 you wrote,

Please refer to your posting from Jan 30th. “This seems to be a subtle attempt……………………………………….” End of quotes

Here you have assumed quite a bit about my motives. So it is you who have assumed in my estimation.

I did not assume, only raised my concerns. Even if you consider that I was assuming, it was necessitated by your invitation to the readers to follow up on your assumptions. You wanted the readers to assume that they are in the assumed scenario and write as to how they would respond in the assumed scenario. But I did not realize that you wanted the readers to assume only what you wanted them to and no further.

 

In your answer to question no. 2 you wrote,

 

 Answer – Quoting Greek and Hebrew is not tied to a certain locale. My plea to people who try to quote Greek or Hebrew to study well, before making unfounded assertions. There are some Scholars that I know who are able to shed lights into what the original author meant to express by using a certain expressions in their original compositions. They have studied for years and had mastered the Biblical Hebrew and Greek.

 

How do you know that those who ‘sprinkle’ Hebrew and Greek in their teachings’ do not refer to the scholars they ‘know who are able to shed lights into what the original author meant to express by using a certain expressions in their original compositions’ and  ‘have studied for years and had mastered the Biblical Hebrew and Greek.’?

 

You continued in your answer to question no. 2

Others who ‘sprinkle’ Hebrew and Greek in their teachings simply do not know what they are doing. It is like someone untrained sitting at the helm of an armored tank with ample supply of canons and shooting with no purpose. It makes lots of noise but the goals are not even defined let alone they hit the target.  

What is ‘sprinkling’ Hebrew and Greek?  Do you resort to that in your teachings/writings? How can you make a blanket condemnation of those who refer to Hebrew and Greek words occasionally (if that is what you meant by ‘sprinkling’) for clarity? And how have you judged that they ‘simply do not know what they are doing’?

It is like someone …..’

If this is another ‘idiom’ of yours I prefer not to comment. From the dictionary I learn that an idiom is ‘A manner of speaking that is natural to native speakers of a language’, or ‘The usage or vocabulary that is characteristic of a specific group of people’. However, such usage is uncalled for and defamatory while referring to the servants of God.

To question no. 3 you wrote

Answer – What you quoted are simply idioms. Whenever I use unfamiliar idioms, I try to explain it. Religious ‘jargons’ are different. In another posting I will explain this further.

I wait for your explanation

To question no. 4- 7 you wrote

Answer – Please read some articles that are being circulated in the leading magazines from last one year or so. [Magazines that are widely circulated among the Brethren in Kerala.]

Answer – Who issued ‘ultimatum?’ Did I? An ultimatum cannot be given by saying ‘I wanted such writers..” An ultimatum is a demand and failure to comply could lead to dire consequences. Did I come across that way? I doubt that.

Answer – The articles are very assertive. They have the ‘final say’ in what they publish because it is written on the pages of the magazine and they are not requesting any rebuttal.

 

If you had found anyone’s writing/preaching to be erroneous, arrogant, or unfounded assertions you should have either confronted them in person with the truth from the word of God or refuted them in a platform/forum where you are sure that they too can defend/explain their position. Alternatively, you could’ve refuted their unfounded assertions instead of generalizing, judging and condemning those who have spoken or written on a specific issue. All these you did it in a forum of your convenience/choice. As far as your allegations that they are ready to crucify and tarnish anyone who would consider anything against their ultimatum’, it will remain an unfounded allegation until you provide documentary evidence. The onus is on you to provide the evidence; it is not for me to search.

Again you accuse them for being assertive, shouldn’t we all be about our faith and practices? “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.” 1 Thess 1: 5.

Once again, please provide evidence to show that they claimed that They have the ‘final say’ in what they publish because it is written on the pages of the magazine and they are not requesting any rebuttal.’

 

On your final note

A final note – The purpose of my writings ………………… I would appreciate any follow up questions to focus on practical Christian living and concerns stemming from the related subject. ………..

 

Thank you, yes brother I do have some follow up questions on your position paper. God willing, I shall post the same in the other thread.

 

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 14 Mar 2012 5:20:18 PM Close

Dear apologia,

Please see my comments under divorce & remarriage. The same comments are applicable here also.

Tom Johns

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Reply by : apologia   View Profile   Since : 15 Mar 2012 3:24:55 PM Close

Dear brother Tom Johns,

I found no comments from you under ‘Divorce & Remarriage; that are relevant or applicable here

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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 15 Mar 2012 5:46:05 PM Close

 

Dear apologia,
I am not sure how I can put these in words without being hurtful or belittling. Trust me; I have tried my best not to say it bluntly.  I wish you would take more time and read all those passages and understand all of them in the right context. Those questions you have asked, perhaps do not deserve all the importance that you think that I should give.  I DO NOT want to come across rude or arrogant. Lord knows my heart.
Tom Johns
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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 24 May 2016 1:12:53 PM Close

Hello,

I apologise if I am responding to this topic 4 years late. I have been going through most discussions on the forum over the last few days. And this one in particular actually caught my eye.

This is truly a difficult situation, but as I pondered on the right way to approach it through the scripture, Moses2006 already had put across what I also had in mind. The beauty is that over the past couple of weeks Mathew 18 has been the 'hot topic' in Christian principle and fundamentals. 

Except for the Lord, nobody actually know who is His unless the person is sealed by the spirit. The discernment and wisdom is lead by the spirit and God given. we have to ask Him for it.

Lets continue to grow in His favour and wisdom to tackle such heartbreaking insistances which we may come across in the present and future.

Regards,

Joe

 

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Reply by : abc   View Profile   Since : 30 May 2016 3:45:29 PM Close
I think some one there who has no job sitting and scratching the body has revived the thread. And mr. Tom whose main interest in this forum is to mudsling brethren in kerala (sitting in MI) even through hypothesis like this.
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Reply by : tomj   View Profile   Since : 31 May 2016 1:50:13 PM Close

Dear abc, 

'Mudslinging' is when someone says something untrue and spread it in a derogatory manner. I have been very careful in my writings not to do that. I am very careful not to personally attack a person in this forum based on anything but for defending the scriptures. If there are unscriptural practices in the KB circle, I called those as ‘heresies’ because there are no other ways to describe it based on the scriptures. Please read the Book of Galatians.

Also, until one personally faces similar issues in life, that person may not be fully able to empathize or embrace a person who may be going through trials of this sort. I did write this with the hope that my KB brothers and sisters would open their eyes to see how unchristian would it be to crush down people who go through difficulties and being Pharisaical in their approach.   

Tom Johns

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Reply by : paizanjoe   View Profile   Since : 31 May 2016 3:04:09 PM Close

Hello abc,

Well, dont know what you mean by 'there' or 'scratching the body'. Think it is some colloquial Malayalam interpretation. In any such case, such assumptions are provoking. If your assumption is that 'someone' is in the US. Then it would be stereotyping. Brethren (Mallus) are there in Canada, UK, France, Middle East, Australia and NZ also.

With regards to Tom Johns (I do not know him personally except in these forums), I am yet to read where he was out to sling mud at any of the assemblies in Kerala or for that matter in India. So while you make the accusation, it would be good if you can base it with any of his previous posts proving he has done so. Otherwise brother, it is a false accusation.

 

Regards,

Joe

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Reply by : paulthomas1   View Profile   Since : 6 Jun 2016 1:16:10 PM Close

I am a little confused with usernames - is abic and abc the same user? 

@abc - You just showed your true colors in that post. You sound like a typical Kerala Brethren who upholds the might of KB tradition, values and ritiuals over the scripture. Seriouly you used the words "sitting and scratching the body" and "mudsling" to describe another brother?? After all the scriptures you quote to show your knowledge - at the end of the day this is what your character is. Are you irritated with this thread, the contents or the people who contributed to it?

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 6 Jun 2016 8:40:16 PM Close

paulthomas1,
I (abic) do not have any knowledge of the screen/user id ‘abc’, and do not know the person.

Reading through the thread, I do not see any mudslinging by tomj to any brethren in Kerala. He narrated an incident and asked for reader’s opinion. I align with moses2006 valuable insights.

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 7 Jun 2016 3:39:00 AM Close

Dear 'abic',

Have you been on this Forum, under any other user name, any time in the past? Just to know and no offence meant please.

Thanks, PTV

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Reply by : abic   View Profile   Since : 7 Jun 2016 1:03:26 PM Close

beracah,
Yes, I had a user Id that I created in the early stages of this website. I might have posted a few posts under that userId. If I recall correctly I think, that may be prior to 2005. I don't even remember what my userId was and I tried to serach through the archives to resurrect that back, but could not figure out. 
Is there any specific reason for your question, that I may answer?

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Reply by : beracah   View Profile   Since : 8 Jun 2016 11:28:04 AM Close

Dear 'abic',

Just felt like asking and you answered; that's all.

Thanks - PTV

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