Christless Christianity by Michael Horton. Has the church been taken captive?

Christless Christianity: The Alternative Gospel of the American Church
Author: Michael Horton
Publisher: Baker Books (272 pages)
ISBN-10: 0801013186
ISBN-13: 978-0801013188

I wish to thank the fine people at Baker Books for sending me this review copy.

Has mainstream evangelicalism gone Pelagian and taken captive to consumerism, pragmatism, self-sufficiency, individualism, positive thinking, personal prosperity, and nationalism?  Dr. Michael Horton thinks so.  The author of Christless Christianity is Professor Dr. Michael Horton, Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary, California.   Dr. Horton has good and accurate insights on the situation of popular mainstream evangelicalism.  I agree with much of the opinions he has expressed.  Mainstream evangelicalism is going in the wrong direction.  We need to be Christ-centered, not human-centered.  Otherwise, evangelical churches will see the same fate as most mainline churches.

I have read and reviewed another  book of Dr. Horton’s, Introducing Covenant Theology, and gave him two thumbs up for that one.  In Christless Christianity, Michael Horton takes an extremely critical approach and leads the reader through his critique of the less-than-desirable theologies in some of our mainstream evangelical Christian leaders.  This is only the second book of Dr. Horton’s that I’ve read and I hope he has taken a more positive approach in his other books.   I think the tone and the approach he takes is less-than desirable because it takes on a very condemnatory tone.   I know that Dr. Horton is concerned about the state of today’s evangelical church.  I am too.  However, after you hear a person rant on and on about the same subject, it gets tiring after a while. This is how I feel about this book.   This book is basically a rant against what’s going on in today’s misled evangelical Christianity and it feels far from being a book on theology.

I fully agree with Horton’s view of law and gospel, on the theology of the cross, and on the monogeristic position that we are helpless and cannot save ourselves.  I have absolutely no disagreement with Horton on these theologies.  However, I think he is picking on the wrong target.  I am also glad he is speaking up against the false promises in today’s feel-good therapeutic and prosperity gospel theologies.  Furthermore, I have never been a fan of Robert Schuller and prosperity gospel preacher Joel Osteen because I think their theology is wrong-headed.  To be fair and just, I am coming to their defense because I think Dr. Horton has gone too far and is even unfair at times in his critique of them.  He labels today’s mainstream evangelicals as “revivalists”.  This is the wrong term to use.  In chapter three’s “Smooth Talking and Christless Christianity”, the author basically spent most of the entire chapter critiquing Osteen’s teachings.   Horton feels that Osteen is really a “positive thinking” Robert Schuller-type who shameless advocates a theology of glory, and is selling a gospel that teaches people how to be a success in life.

Another beef with this book is that it misleads the reader into thinking that most of our modern-day evangelicals are spouting a message that humans are sinless and do not need Christ to save us from our sins. That is simply not true.  Many, if not most, evangelicals do preach on the seriousness of our sins, some times a little too much.  Many accurately divide law and gospel.  Moreover, other than our traditional-orthodox evangelical protestants, some of the mainstream evangelical churches are likely the last remaining bastions where law and gospel is still proclaimed and rightly taught rather than the wrong-headed antinomian approach.

Revivalist preachers like Charles Finney, whom Dr. Horton harshly criticized, was painted as a Pelagian, or at best, a semi-Pelagian who was fixated on human self-will. Horton says of Finney:

“Where American Transcendentalism and Romanticism (the nineteenth century’s equivalent of the New Age movement) attracted Boston’s intellectuals, Charles Finney and his revivalistic legacy  represents “an alternative Romanticism,” a popular version of self-reliance and inner experience, “taking up where Transcendentalism left off.”… And revivalism in its own way was popularizing this distinctly American religion on the frontier… Efficiency was the rule for success in religion as in business, and ever since evangelicals have judged new movements by whether they “work” in terms of subjective experience and moral transformation.” (p. 52).

Finney’s sermons were anointed by God’s Holy Spirit and his messages have brought a deep conviction of sin and were used by God to lead many souls to salvation or recommit their lives to Christ.  On the contrary, it was not popular but it brought a conviction to many souls, as did the sermons of John Wesley.  Finney’s and Wesley’s sermons have encouraged many to live their lives to the glory of God.  People with an Augustinian-bent can believe that the human will can play a part in the sanctification process but not in justification.  Sanctification is the only place where synergism is active in the Christian’s life.  However, what many of our pro-Augustinian Calvinists (and Lutherans included) misinterpret about “revivalist” evangelical preachers is that when they put the emphasis on how the human will plays a big part in the sanctification process of the Christian, they also assume that evangelicals are saying that it also has a part in justification.  There are many mainstream evangelicals who do not see the power of human will playing a part in one’s salvation.

At times, in one’s zeal for evangelism, a revivalist’s plea to the sinner to accept Christ comes across as decision-theology.  I have to admit that some evangelicals who are theologically untrained do give the wrong impression that it is in the power of one’s will that enables one to choose salvation.   However, we should not allow our theology to blind us to the point where we deny that the human will does exist and can have a part in the life of a Christian.

I believe that one can choose to reject God’s sanctification process due to our curved-inward nature that is hopelessly inclined toward sin, selfishness and self-idolatry.  However, our human will to say “Yes” to God’s salvation is made possible only through God’s gift.  Before I was theologically trained myself, I did not realize this important piece of theology, so, I can sympathize with some of my friends who ignorantly teach this to parishioners in evangelical churches.  Some of it may just be an issue of semantics but some of it is definitely due to a wrong understanding in theology.

The author also took the approach of trying to teach what unorthodox Christianity is like rather than what orthodox Christianity is supposed to be like.  Have you heard the analogy of how to recognize a genuine dollar bill from a counterfeit?  When one wants to teach someone how to recognize a counterfeit $100 dollar bill from a genuine one, the teacher should have the student should learn what characteristics makes a genuine $100 dollar bill, not what makes a fake one.  The student is not able to learn effectively from studying a counterfeit one. If you enjoy what seems like endless ranting about what is wrong with today’s evangelical church, you will enjoy this book; but if you want to learn about what is authentic evangelical theology, I would suggest you find another book.

Horton labels preachers like Osteen as semi-Pelagian New Age teachers.  Some of today’s teachers may be self-deceived but they are not as dark as Professor Michael Horton would seem to portray.    I wish more theologians as theologically astute as Dr. Horton could write books that help us to properly understand evangelical theology rather than continuously rant about what is not genuinely evangelical.  It would just be more edifying to the entire body of Christ.

There are very few books that I have reviewed and had to stop before reaching the end.  This is only the second one ever because I could not endure the negative tone.  It is not easy to read.  However, I did manage to review this one but not the other.  Please do not misunderstand my intentions for this review and commentary, for which I give the book a thumbs down.  Christless Christianity is available from Amazon for $13.59 in hardcover.

I have read and reviewed his book Introducing Covenant Theology and gave him two thumbs up for that one.I have read and reviewed his book Introducing Covenant Theology and gave him two thumbs up for that one.

Anonymous confessions online

There are now websites that give people the opportunity to make anonymous online confessions about their sins.  Just do a Google search on “confessions online” and see for yourself (Warning: some may be veryexplicit).  There’s nobody on the other end who tells you that your sins are forgiven.  So why confess anonymously?  Does this way of confessing our sins give us a cathartic release of guilt?   Regarding these types of online confessions, Dr. Michael Horton says in his book Christless Christianity:

“in a therapeutic worldview, there is no sin and guilt to be forgiven by God but only burdens and feelings of guilt for failing to live up to the expectations of oneself and other human beings.  In other words, for Christianity there is objective guilt and justification; in moralistic therapy there is only subjective guilt and a cathartic release simply by telling someone else about it.”

Personally, I can understand why a person may feel a need to confess their sins or wrongdoings to someone–whether to a real person or anonymously.   I see why the Roman Catholic practice allows a person to feel a sense of a release of guilt when they confess privately to a real live priest.

Is confessing to a live priest more real than making anonymous confessions online where they are only read by people who don’t know you and don’t really care about your sins? How would this be different from confession before God?  And does this way of confessing guilt allow one to be forgive by God?

Where do you get your news from?

I’m interested in your sources of news.  In this internet age, I still get my news from traditional sources like TV and radio but also read news from websites.  I don’t get my news from any single source on a regular basis but seem to jump from one source to the next—very sporadically and irregularly.

Overall and not in any particular order, my top news sources seem to be (excluding blogs):

  • CNN (U.S.)
  • CTV (regional-Canada)
  • BBC (international)
  • Local conservative talk-radio on AM
  • Christianity Today

What are your top sources of news, excluding blogs?

Debate between Calvinism vs Arminianism

Nick Norelli posted links to Michael L. Brown’s radio program Line of Fire on Calvinism vs. Arminianism. I have  previously heard him in person years ago and enjoy his passion for Christ. I love listening to theological concepts like these being thrashed around. It can shake up our comfortable theology.

Bishop T.D. Jakes on Larry King Live

It seems like Christians are the CNN spotlight tonight: Sarah Palin critiqued on AC360.  Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of The Potter’s House Church, was also on CNN’s Larry King Live for an hour and gave him the opportunity to promote his new book “The Memory Quilt: A Christmas Story for Our Times”.  However, his book was not the attention grabber–at least not for me.  As I watched Jakes, I was very impressed with how he handled himself with Larry King. King certainly seemed to carry different tone when interviewing pop culture stars; he seems more human with them, but King does not seem as personable with Jakes and other conservatives and evangelicals.  Nevertheless, Jakes gave his honest opinion and expressed them directly and with a sense of firmness, yet while showing his compassionate human side. Bishop Jakes has previously been on Larry King Live so he knows what kind of questions to expect and how to respond with clarity and grace.

While King asked him potential time-bomb questions that would make many evangelicals squirm in their seats, Bishop Jakes remained positive. You should have seen Larry – he kept his eyes on his sheet of questions and didn’t hold back on the tough time-bomb questions.  King fired away, one provocative question after another, as if trying to see what might evoke a certain response from Jakes, e.g., President Barack Obama and his faith, gay marriage and gay unions, health care and abortion, prosperity gospel, the economy, Islam and the Ft. Hood massacre, war, Sarah Palin, death penalty.  I strongly sensed King was trying to get a sense of Jakes’s religious and political positions and fired them with machine gun speed.  King asked Jakes tough questions that could potentially evoke controversial responses from other evangelicals but Jakes handled King’s questions honestly and adeptly.  Through it all, Jakes remained very gracious and carried with him a clear set of moral values. He is a great clergy-interviewee.  I can see why King would invite Jakes back to his show.  Way to go Bishop Jakes!

 

God’s mission for the institutional church: What are you and your church doing?

This art byJon Birch of ASBO Jesus says it all about our current state of the church and mission.

Regarding many of our old and struggling mainline churches, Daniel P. Smith and Mary K. Sellon says:

Declining congregations have lost connection with the Christian church’s basic mission of helping people experience God and live the gospel message of life and hope. Without this sense of mission to keep the congregation focused beyond the doors of the church, the congregation turns inward and loses connection with its community. Before others will turn to a congregation as a life-giving resource in their lives, the congregation has to be a place that offers life. When traveling by plane, passengers are reminded that in the event of an emergency they should put on their own oxygen masks before helping others. In congregational renewal, a congregation reminds itself of and intentionally engages in the basic practices of Christianity. It realigns itself with the basic outward-focused mission of church. (From: Pathway to Renewal, Alban, 2008)

How and where do we start bridging the gulf, tearing down the walls, and reaching out to the unchurched? 

We, or God rather, may have to wake up the institutional church from its deep slumber first before it can do anything. Some may have already given up hope on the institutional church doing its part in God’s mission. Sometimes, I do feel that way.  I hope your churches and congregations are more active in mission and evangelism than some of our mainline churches. 

What are you and your churches doing in the area of mission and evangelism?

Why learning the catechism and bible is important

These day, I don’t know if many people take the catechism very seriously.  Most Lutherans have heard of Luther’s Large and Small Catechism; some have even heard of the Book of Concord.  Reformed and Presbyterians know of the Geneva, Heidelberg, Larger, Smaller catechisms, including the Westminister Confession of Faith.  But many do not even know what is in them.  A while back, I started reading Luther’s Large Catechism and was blown away by it.  I love it and have come to really appreciate the richness of teaching in the words of Martin Luther.

The Large catechism was intentionally written for pastors and preachers, who he assumes are supposed to be hard working and studious with the scriptures. “It is highly profitable and fruitful to read it daily and make it a subject of meditation and conversation,” says Luther (381).  As I started reading his large catechism, I am always taken aback by his strong language he uses to exhort others to live piously.

Then there are also laypeople who think they can do without pastors. Concerning these people, he lays it on them heavy:

“among the nobility there are also some louts and skinflints (cheapskates) who declare that they can do without pastors and preachers now because we now have everything in books and can learn it all by ourselves.”

So for churches that don’t think they need pastors: “Eat these words!”

Luther likes to keep everyone on their toes, including pastors. To those who are educated beyond their own good, he pointedly exclaims:

“I beg such lazy bellies and presumptuous saints, for God’s sake to let themselves be convinced and believe that they are not really and truly such learned and exalted doctors as they think. I implore them not ever to imagine that they have learned these parts of the catechism perfectly, or that they know them sufficiently, even though they think they know them ever so well.”

So pastors, we have to keep learning the basics.

Luther takes this so seriously that he encourages us to take a hard stance on knowing the catechism. “Anyone who does not know it should not be numbered among Christians nor admitted to any sacrament” (383). This really hurts a lot of Lutherans.

And for young people, he has these tough words to say:

“Young people should be thoroughly taught the parts of the catechism (that is, instruction for children) and diligently drilled in their practice” (383)…. “The children should be taught the habit of reciting them daily, when they arise in the morning, when they go to their meals, and when they go to bed at night. Until they recite them they should be given nothing to eat or drink” (385).

According to this standard, I think more than half of our children would have to starve every night.  This is why I will not take it easy on my confirmation kids.  I am going to do my best to encourage them to learn the bible and the catechism, know it well, and not let them off the hook.

Kolb, Robert and Timothy J. Wengert. The Book of Concord: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000.

Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: Mark by Robert H. Stein

MARK
Series: Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Author: Robert H. Stein
Publisher: Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008.
ISBN: 0-8010-2682-2
ISBN13: 978-0-8010-2682-9

I would like to thank the fine people at Baker Publishing for sending me a review copy of Mark from the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.   The author, Professor Dr. Robert H. Stein, is Senior Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, KY.  He previously taught at Bethel Seminary and is a reknown scholar on the synoptic gospels.  He has authored other books including: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus, The Method and Message of Jesus’ Teachings, Difficult Passages in the New Testament, Luke (New American Commentary), A Basic Guide to Interpreting the Bible, Studying the Synoptic Gospels: Origin and Interpretation and The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction. He was one of the N.T. consultants for the ESV Study Bible.

John Mark is traditionally known as the writer of the Gospel of Mark but Robert H. Stein is open to accrediting its authorship to another Mark.  Stein looks at the internal evidence, as well as, external evidence.  According to internal evidence, Stein says that “it fits well the tradition of the early church that it was written by John Mark.”  Stein also refers to external evidence: (Papias in Eusebius, Eusebius, the Anti-Marcionite Prologue, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, Jerome).  However, he also raised arguments against Markan authorship in looking at an alleged geographical error (Mk. 12:25-13:4) and the author’s ignorance of Jewish laws and customs (Mk. 7:3-4).  However, for me personally, it doesn’t matter if it was the John Mark of Acts 12:12 or another Mark.  I still regard the Gospel of Mark as holy scripture: inspired by the Spirit of God and authoritative for the church of Christ.

Stein believes the second gospel was directed to an audience of Greek-speaking Christians, likely living in Rome, who were familiar with the gospel traditions and very knowledgeable about the Jewish religion.  The date of the writing of the Gospel of Mark is still debated.  It was likely written around (AD) 70 CE but Stein is open to the possibility of some time shortly after 62 CE.  Internal evidence pointing to allusions of the Jewish War in Mark 13 “abomination of desolation” also makes sense.  I think some time around 68/69 CE after Nero’s death was likely.

Stein also believes that Mark was the first canonical Gospel written, and along with Q, served as a source for both the gospels of Matthew and Luke.  He is of the opinion that:

…a cautious use of redaction criticism in Mark is both possible and profitable….Traditional redaction criticism is nevertheless not as holistic a discipline as it first seems, for it is primarily concerned not with the evangelist’s theology as a whole but rather with his unique theological contribution (p. 18).

Stein sees Mark as an historical narrative but not a narrative in the fictional sense because of the historicity of its accounts.    The historical events surrounding Jesus’ life controlled what Mark could write or not write.  Stein seems to feel more comfortable describing the Gospel of Mark as an historical biography.  As a result, he wrote this commentary for the purpose of explaining what Mark was trying to teach through his sayings and the events in the gospel. He did not write this commentary to show exactly what Jesus said or explain the life  of Jesus.  So perhaps a biography rather than a narrative would be more accurate but both terms accurately describe this gospel.

Steins view of Mark’s Christology is formed out of his miracles, words, actions and titles—typical things; but what intrigued me was his view of Jesus’ “messianic secret.”  I had never paid much attention to Mark’s Jesus who was reluctant to reveal his secret messianic identity, which was kept secret until the trial and crucifixion in Mark 14:61-64; 15:2-39.  He gives his reasons for this—for averting an immediate confrontation with Rome because Pilate would not tolerate a popular charismatic teacher who drew the attention of the masses.  This shows that Jesus was not killed as a political revolutionary.  Stein says he was killed because of the hostility of the religious leaders.  Second, Jesus’ messianic secrecy serves as a “literary device to highlight the greatness and glory of Jesus” (p. 25). Since Jesus is too great to be kept a secret, this inability to keep his messianic mission a secret, in itself, becomes the literary device.  This point is an interesting spin worth noting.

The commentary provides both Greek spellings and a transliteration of the original Greek.  Stein pays attention to the Greek.  Concerning Mark 9:31, he states:

The use of the iterative imperfect…indicates that the subject of Jesus’s future passion, death, and resurrection had been a constant theme of his teaching since 8:31…Thus the variation in the passion predictions could have a historical basis in Jesus’s having taught this “theme with variations.” The use of the futuristic present tense “will be delivered” … indicates the certainty of this future event” (p.439).

This is something that most readers and pastors do not pay attention to so I appreciate this attention.

Stein questions the authenticity of passages.  Regarding the disputed verse of Mark 10:45, he draws attention to its interpretation and authenticity.  He states:

The question of whether 10:45 is due to the theological reflection of the early church or came from Jesus himself tends ultimately to be answered according to one’s preconceptions concerning the historical Jesus.  If one assumes the historical Jesus was radically different from the Jesus of the Gospels, then one is predisposed, almost compelled, to deny the authenticity of this verse….It is much more likely that Jesus saw his mission along the lines of the suffering servant of Isaiah… (p. 487).

Given the approach of the BECNT series, Stein is allowed to challenge the status quo but he does not allow himself to get caught up in challenging the status quo for the sake of staking new ground in one’s research.   In liberal biblical theology, new discoveries for the sake of new research seems to be the ultimate goal, but it risks putting authenticity on the line which can actually lead to inauthentic scholarship.  Stein’s approach to theology is conservative but he takes into account the latest critical scholarship.  This gives me reason to remain confident in the new evangelical scholarship.

Stein also covers the important issues like historicity by mentioning various viewpoints.  Regarding the widow’s great gift in 12:41-44, Stein states:

The historicity of the account is often denied on the basis that Jesus could not have known how much the widow contributed to the treasury or that the widow had contributed all that she had (Haenchen 1966: 432-33).  In addition, some claim that the present account was originally a parable that has been transformed into a historical account (Dibelius 1934: 261; Nineham 1963: 334-35).  Yet Jesus might have known of the amount of the widow’s gift by overhearing the attending priest, who would have examined the widow’s offering and directed it to the appropriate receptacle.  All that transpired would have been spoken out loud (Gundry 1993: 731-34; J. Edwards 2002: 380-81).  The widow’s appearance may also have betrayed her situation (Evans 2001: 284) (p. 577).

The BECNT series doesn’t allow the reader to get lost in the forest of details (as some commentaries, e.g., WBC, ICC, may have a tendency to).  I like that because I can get the big picture and pick up on the pertinent issues of a text rather than wade through a sea of details.  Personally, I prefer a commentary that deals with the big picture of a pericope without getting bogged down with too many details.  Much of the details are useless to the heart and thrust of a sermon anyway.  What is the point of spending valuable time reading from commentaries and not be able to use the information one has learned?  Stein’s research is thorough and he references other scholars. He pays attention to existing scholarship, yet, he is able to keep the commentary in a succinct format that brings out the important points.

Robert H. Stein has written a fine commentary on the Gospel of Mark.  Stein leads the reader through the important points in detail while keeping the eye on the big picture.  I like this approach.  This is good for pastors who want to get the important and relevant information faster.  I am impressed with this commentary, and I am confident that as this series expands, BECNT will become established as one of the top premier commentary series in evangelical scholarship.  Another fine piece of work for Baker Academic!

On my clergy vestments: black, white or none?

After I get my hands on a black academic gown, I’d like to wear it on a preaching Sunday just to be a rebel.  A secret: I think black is kind of cool.  Recently, I just purchased a Roman-style “doggy” clerical collar but I’m not wearing it because it’s so difficult to attach.  It looks very Anglican but many Lutherans are starting to wear the doggy collar these days.  Some mainline clergy claim that the collar helps us get entry into places where we ordinarily would not be able to get in.  It automaticaly sets us apart from the laity who wear normal street clothing.  When I enter hospitals and carehomes, it does enable easier entry because we are automatically recognized. But sometimes, I just walk in with a regular shirt. Maybe that’s how I should go on Sunday mornings too?  Maybe I’ll be a rebel.
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Personally, I don’t care for fancy stoles or embroidered albs.  For me, the plainer, the better.   Personally, if I had a choice, I’d prefer to wear the black academic gown that Luther and Calvin wore during the time of the Reformation.  For me, the black academic gown distinctly communicates a return to the roots of the Reformation.  I’m a person whose is rooted in the Reformation tradition rather the liturgical tradition so naturally I prefer the black.   The black gown is still the norm for most mainline Presbyterians; and it was also the norm for Lutheran pastors.  I wonder if Lutherans will ever go back to the traditional black of academia?

Historically, on October 9, 1524, Martin Luther introduced the use of the black academic gown for preaching in order to replace the monk’s robe.  It was meant to get away from the Romish image.   Calvin did the same in Geneva too, hence, the name “Geneva gown”.   I don’t think many Presbyterians and Lutheran in the free or brethren denominations are into the gown and vestment thing.  Presbyterian Church (USA) pastors are into the black Geneva gowns, and some, I hear, have started to switch over to the white albs.   The white alb became  increasingly popular in mainline protestant circles after Vatican II.  Protestant churches were reverting to the liturgical roots of the early church so it was a fashion trend of the second half of the 20th century.  Many of our Lutheran pastors started copying the Catholic and Anglican/Episcopalian brethren in wearing the long white robe/alb.  Today, most Lutheran pastors are donning the white albs, but this was not the case 150 years ago.

Mel Gibson and wife Robyn to divorce

Those who hold to conservative family values still end up in the same messy situations. Rep. New Gingrich, Pastor Ted Haggard, Senator Larry Craig.  Now it’s actor Mel Gibson’s turn.  Hollywood is as mixed up as always.  Mel Gibson’s adulterous affair with actor Oksana Grigorieva has recently resulted in an out of wedlock child, Lucia, born on October 30, 2009.  Grigorieva who is 39 has another child out of wedlock whose biological father is former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton.  He probably has no intention of marrying her.

Wife Robyn Moore, his wife of 28 years, and Mel Gibson will be getting a divorce. Gibson had seven children with his wife Robyn and now that’s all coming to an end.  Sad…truly sad.  I feel for his children. I wonder how that is going to affect their children?

Gibson is a committed Roman Catholic who attended the traditional mass in Latin and even drove his children to church.   After Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ (2004), I learned more about Gibson and got to admire his piety, but recently, any respect he garnered from conservative Catholics and protestants will be lost.  But of course, we still pray for him.

Since he believes in pre-Vatican II theology, his infidelity and divorce and be the cause of his wife’s and his own adultery in the future.  When he marries again, his second marriage will be considered adulterous.  The only way for Gibson to avoid adultery would be to annul the marriage and say he made a mistake after 28 years of being married to the same woman.  He could afford it.  One billion minus $500 million leaves him with $500 million.  Yeah, I think he can afford it.  Oksana Grigorieva will still like that.