Pat Robertson has said many unhelpful things over the years (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here), but this has to be the absolute worst. On yesterday’s edition of “The 700 Club,” he told a viewer that it would be okay for the viewer to divorce his spouse who has Alzheimer’s because Alzheimer’s is a “kind of death.”
There is nothing else to say about Robertson’s advice except that it is a gospel-distorting, soul-damning error. The Bible says it this way, “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Yet Robertson advises this man to take the very path that scripture says leads to apostasy.
The worst thing about Robertson’s flippant remarks is how they distort the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 5:28-32, the apostle Paul teaches that the innermost meaning of marriage is the gospel. The “mystery” of marriage from Adam and Eve until now is that it is meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s marriage to His church.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
The husband’s purpose in marriage is to love and care for his wife in a self-sacrificial way so that people will see an example of how Christ loves his church. Jesus says to his bride that no matter what, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus’ devotion to his bride is a covenant-keeping love that cannot be overthrown by any calamity or evil in the world—not even Alzheimer’s. Husbands are called to love their wives in the same way. A husband who forsakes his wife in the hour of her greatest need is saying that Jesus might abandon his bride as well. In other words, such wayward men are distorting the gospel.
Pat Robertson has distorted the gospel, and he has given occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme. He needs to repent.
See Christianity Today’s coverage of this story.
We’ve got that sort of crap all over the twin heresy networks of TBN and Daystar. I absolutely refuse to watch either – no matter how good some individual programs mat be.
I’ll take EWTN anyday over either of those two embarrassments.
What do you mean by “soul-damming” exactly?
I don’t know too much about Pat Robertson really. I am with Kamilla in saying that I stay pretty well away from TV christianity. But, from what I’ve seen, it really wouldn’t bother me too much if Pat Robertson went through “a kind of death.” And, of course, I say that in love.
My dad takes care of my mom, who is in mid-stage Alzheimer’s, full-tme. I’m going to have to write about this on my own blog. Thanks for making me aware of this, Denny.
God bless your father and give him strength for the journey.
So, you believe someone can become an apostate by getting a divorce? It’s the unpardonable sin?
I do think that the sin of divorce can lead to damnation. I don’t think it’s the unpardonable sin.
Can you elaborate on how the sin of divorce can lead to damnation? My thanks in advance.
Any unrepentant sin can lead to apostasy, and sinful divorces are not excepted. Do you disagree?
He really has no stop button on his mouth, does he?
yyyyyyUCK! I didn’t even watch the video.
Amen, brother – My mom has always been a huge Pat Robertson fan, I’m going to have to get her take on this. I truly am appalled at this advice he gave, and the underlying rationalization, unbelievable! No wonder “traditional marriage” has taken such a hit lately, when the figureheads of conservatism treat it in such a pitiful way, and so publicly – makes me sad.
Divorce is not always a sin, it may or may not be, depending on whether marriage vows have been broken. If marriage vows have not been broken, then it is sin, and one which breaks the marriage vows.
I think it is very doubtful, but it is possible that he corrected himself later in the video. This is clearly not the entire video. I don’t think he stopped and said he was wrong, but we have seen clever editing completely change the meaning of someone’s statement. Let’s slow down just a tad unless you have the full video that can be posted.
Check out this video on YouTube:
This should quell any lingering doubts. We also have to remember this is the man who, ten years ago, endorsed Cina’s one child policy. E’s a disgrace to the name of Christ and every Christian who supports him is complicit.
Thanks, Kamilla! I have edited the post so as to include the video you provided.
Denny, that’s exactly what I said when I heard it this morning.
Sinful, disgusting, wrong.
younger Christian married people need the strong and faithful examples of the older generation’s witness of spouses caring for each other when the time comes of sickness . . .
without this witness, the Church would be weakened, I think
we can’t abandon a spouse in time of need . . . we have to do what is right
Pat is wacky. I have only two words for his word on this: Crap Pola.
Doesn’t Pat struggle with the question and finally say he doesn’t know how to answer and that an ethicist would give a better answer?
Denny, don’t u think it fair to mention this?
Thinking about this again today (I here one of the networks did a piece on in tonight) – and now that I think about it, I am surprised at Terry Meeuwsen’s response. She quizzes him on vows and “till death do us part” which makes me wonder how she justifies her own divorce and 2nd marriage.
The full video is worse than the summary in your post –
His small comments and attitude are very telling: the co-host asks very legitimately about the vows until death do us part, and interrupts her dismissively with “yeah, well…” and gives some wishy washy response about “if you respect those vows”, as if they are optional – he’s talking to Christians mainly, that’s his audience, hold to bar a little bit higher –
And this his comment on his real life example, that the wife “finally died”, it seems that he doesn’t respect the lives of those with end-life diseases that rob the mind of its capacity to recognize people – he focused entirely on the husband who visited and poor him, he was giving his wife love and attention and was getting nothing in return – he should “divorce her and start all over” – pitiful
The more I watched him, and his manner, I do think possibly Pat is slipping mentally, and should step down – I wonder what his co-host (and live audience) were thinking
There are a LOT of pastors who dispense very similar advice and cater to people’s impulse to divorce when the going gets tough.
They do so in the name of compassion and it happens every day in some very surprising and conservative settings as well.
well a lot of people loved Our Lord, but when the time came for His Suffering on the Cross, most left Him and went away . . .
some stayed, among them blessed Mary His mother,
and St. John . . .
we have a devotion in my Church called a ‘vigil’ and yes, it trains us to ‘stay’ and to ‘keep watch’ and to pray during the appointed times when we remember events in Our Lord’s life
sometimes we need to ‘keep vigil’ for one another in a marriage, and not to run away while the other suffers . . . to stay ‘with’ a spouse is to stand witness to our love for them, and that love is not something to run away from
That is awful. It is an utter abandonment of the marriage vows. And, calling Alz. a “kind of death” is not to understand Rom 7 and what Paul was saying at all. When this man’s wife needs him most, he’s going to run out and divorce her and get a girlfriend? That mocks the very nature of biblical marriage, and thus, the Gospel.
PS – Anyone remember the story of Robert McQuilken and how he served his ailing wife? Now that’s manhood and fulfilling your vow.