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A couple years ago, I read one of the best books to have ever been written as it touches church history and men of faith biographies: God’s Generals by Roberts Liardon. It is a book that every believer, especially ministers who are serious about their calling, should read at least once in their lifetime and preferably multiple times afterwards. In this book, a story is given of a woman that was used by God mightily in the dawn of 1928. At only 21 years of age, Kathryn Kuhlman, accompanied by her longtime friend and skilled pianist Helen Gulliford, began to travel to different states and remote areas that no one was willing to evangelize to, preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Kathryn and Helen traveled around with Kathryn’s sister, Myrtle, who had been married to a young evangelist that had just graduated from seminary. She spent the majority of her time helping with house chores and reading the Word. Up until 1924, Myrtle and her husband had been doing ministry but had encountered several financial challenges that left them barely surviving. They chose to part ways with Kathryn and Helen as they were not able to provide for themselves and the two dependants anymore. As the Lord would have it, a local pastor in Idaho who had heard Kathryn share the word at one of the meetings with her sister, offered them a little room to stay in with the condition that they would preach at his church in a small pool hall in the area. This was the beginning of The Kathryn Kuhlman Ministry!

From that little pool hall, she continued to preach The Gospel across Idaho, never relenting or allowing her flesh to get in the way of God’s will. It is said of Kathryn that even with a broken leg in a cast, she would step on the pulpit and preach. Kathryn’s ministry continued to grow and reached far and wide, especially by the news of the healings and baptisms in the Holy Ghost that had been happening at her meetings. In 1935, Kathryn met an evangelist by the name of Burroughs Waltrip who was originally from Austin, Texas.

He was a handsome man, eight years older than her and had been invited to preach at the Denver Tabernacle, where she held her meetings. Although there seemed to be an undeniable connection between the two, Waltrip was married and had two boys. One thing however, as mentioned by Waltrip’s wife, was wanting in his doctrine; He believed that if you did not love your spouse at the time of your marriage, then there was no covenant in the first place and that consequently made a person free to divorce and remarry. It was to this effect that Waltip left his wife and never returned home to his boys.

A few months after he left his wife and began to travel the world and evangelize both in person and on radio, Waltrip identified himself as a single man. He often did ministry with Kathryn and their romantic involvement became known to the public. Kathryn’s closest friends however, including Helen the pianist, had sincerely advised her not to pursue this relationship but she had believed her partner’s story that it was his wife that left him, therefore he was free to remarry (1 Corinthians 7:15). She herself testified to having had several promptings from the Holy Spirit not to proceed with this engagement, but reasoned that fear was having the best of her and she proceeded to marry Waltrip. She disregarded both the Holy Spirit and her entourage. It is said that her decision to step outside of God’s will was so heavy on her that she fainted in the middle of her vows but the young man did all he could to revive her so that she may finish her vows.

For seven years they were married and during those seven painful and long years, Kathryn learnt that there had been several deceiving spirits involved. The lies of Waltrip became known that he had actually been the one who divorced his wife and left his children. Kathryn completely disappeared from the spotlight and would occasionally attend meetings where her husband had to minister but the public always recognized her and pointed out the issues surrounding their marriage. For seven years, Kathryn died a new death daily facing the public critic but above all, her conscience for stepping out of God’s will. She finally came to the realization that God had never released her from her initial calling and that she had loved a man more than God and made the excruciating decision to leave her husband and trust God for restoration.

1.  False Doctrines

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 2 Peter 3:14-16NKJV

One of the major errors we see in Kathryn and Waltrip’s story is the use of false doctrine to derail a servant of God who was on course. False doctrine in the original Hebrew or Greek language is the introduction of false teaching with the intention to draw men under grace to works, while distracting them to stay the course altogether. This is exactly what we see in this story where a man’s selfish desires and greed led him to bypass God’s set principles to satisfy his lust. In our theme scripture, the Apostle Peter writes that the untaught and unstable people twist the counsel in scripture, to their own destruction. It means that not being taught or not having a teachable heart is the beginning of all troubles for God takes no pleasure in fools(Ecclesiastes 5:4). Naturally, Waltrip’s reasoning did not just harm Kathryn’s ministry, but it resulted in children losing their father, a wife suffering the shame of abandonment and his own death after being convicted from stealing.

Unfortunately, we still see similar stories among believers, when they faint in the face of societal pressure, allowing the desire to marry to overpower their trust in God to care for their every single need in life, including marriage. I cannot recount the amount of times I have heard stories of wonderful men and women of God caught choosing an individual over their God. Oftentimes, these believers served faithfully in the house of the Lord from a young age, and upon meeting a handsome man or beautiful woman who had little care for the God they serve, would jump and marry with unwavering hope that their love will change their partner’s hearts and draw them to Christ. Child of God, anyone who converts because they love you, will equally leave the faith if you ever misbehave. Do not, at any cost, make yourself the trophy in a man’s search for God. Other similar experiences, which are even more dangerous and harmful to the body of Christ and the purpose in the ministry that is marriage, is the assumption that the basic shared belief between a man and woman automatically qualifies them to pursue marriage, omitting other weightier matters of the spirit(Matthew 23:23).

Many have fallen victim to this deception notwithstanding that just because you are both believers, does not make you compatible and standing in God’s will, who alone has reserved to Himself the mystery of two becoming one as a depiction of Christ and His church. Others have given themselves wholly to the lust of the flesh and the pride of life presupposing that an inferior love such as eros (romantic love) can replace the power existing only in agape (sacrificial and unconditional love of God) – to reach and change a man’s heart, drawing it to Christ (John 12:32).

2.  Broken Principle

The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the Lord, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 2:16NIV

I have said this innumerable times that our God is a God of patterns and principles. In these modern days, marriage seems to have become just another item on a checklist as is graduation, first car purchase or property acquisition. It is not something great to be revered and carefully sought after, as it represents the only possible level of intimacy that man can attain with God in the body. The prophet Malachi is instructed to write, from God’s own mouth, that He hates divorce. The author of marriage Himself says He hates divorce [Selah].

He proceeds to say why that is and it is this: it’s like saying the God Almighty would inflict violence to the one He is supposed to protect. Think of how outrageous it feels or sounds when you hear of someone that is supposed to protect another be the very one to abuse their position of authority: a parent who rapes his child, a husband who abuses his wife, or a boss who extorts his workers. Yet the scriptures don’t liken any of this to God doing violence to whom He should protect.

In our story, Waltrip did not only use his authority as a ‘Man of God’ to deceive, but twisted to his advantage the very scriptures He had been entrusted with to shepherd God’s people. A marriage that begins on broken principle will inevitably find itself in a consistent pattern of more broken principles to have its way, and unlike what the enemy whispers in the beginning, it does not get better with time. The Bible says it is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than to live with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home (Proverbs 25:24). Remember that only a wife and the Holy Spirit are referred to as helpers; consequently, an uneasy spirit only reinforces conviction.

Child of God, going to court before man and standing on an altar before God to exchange vows may fulfill the requirement to profess your commitment to one spouse but it does not automatically align purpose or sanctify your union. You may fulfill all requirements by the letter (the law) but remember that the letter kills while the spirit gives life(2 Corinthians 3:6). In other words, your decision to do what is lawful may permanently hinder what is spiritual and expose you to a life that consistently takes from who you are when you could have been free if you trusted God’s ultimate plan to place you right into purpose(Jeremiah 1:5).

Perfect love casts out all fear. Your fear of what is to come should never bloat out the power resting in His Perfect love that vows to perfect all that concerns you (Psalm 138:8). [Selah].

If you have never given your life to Jesus Christ, and you feel that this is the perfect time, pray this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I thank you because you died for my sins and you were raised for my glory. Today, I receive you as my Lord and Savior. I am born again. Amen.”

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