Divorce, Remarriage and the Church

Posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 12:00 a.m.

Here is an article that I wrote concerning this issue. Comments welcome.
--William

Evangelism Sunday

Evangelistic! Yes, that's what we are! Preachers everywhere encourage Christians to evangelize, to spread the good news and compel others to join their group. A typical example:

Scene One-

After listening to the Sunday message, John was convinced that he should be more active in bringing others into their small congregation. He realized that he had been selfish in keeping such great Bible teaching to himself. Their pastor was a godly man and effective in teaching the word. This particular Sunday he preached on Mk. 16:15, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature..." John had never considered that he should be involved in evangelism but on this day he knew that this verse was speaking directly to his heart.

That afternoon he decided that he was going to make a difference. He started by witnessing to the waitress at the diner. He explained the good news to her (in between her customers) and to his surprise she received Jesus as her Lord and Savior! He asked her to accompany his family to church that evening, and she agreed.

When he arrived, John was overjoyed to find that her whole family had decided to join them! He overlooked the fact that she was wearing pants and had pierced ears, but almost fainted when he saw that her son had an earring!

The pastor was pleased that his congregation had taken his message to heart for there were many new people in the evening service, in fact, there were over 30 new faces! He was running a little behind schedule but John had insisted on introducing the waitress and her family.

After brief formalities, the woman asked if she might speak with him privately for a moment. The pastor guided her into a corner and she begin to pour out her life's story. He had often marvelled at how people would open up to him, a total stranger. He assumed that it was because they felt comfortable knowing that a minister of the Gospel wouldn't betray their confidence. As the time grew near for him to speak, he grew impatient and started to excuse himself, but something she was saying caused him to become very attentive.

"My first marriage ended in disaster," she said, "but Rex has been a very good husband to me, even though he isn't a Christian". She went on about the kids, but he interrupted her because the meeting was starting. He promised to continue the conversation later and rushed to the front.

The pastor's thoughts were jumbled and the message that he had prepared seemed out of place, especially with all of the new people. He closed his eyes and asked God for direction and the courage to speak the uncompromising word. Picking up his notes, he spied a copy of Jonathan Edward's _Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God_ that he had been reading earlier and suddenly he knew what he was going to do!

He scanned the audience while the offering was being taken and was shocked to see at least three women whose hair was shorter than his own, complete with sideburns! Another woman's true hair color was beginning to show (at the roots) and then there was this man, or was it a woman? He couldn't tell because of the shoulder length hair! Humph!

Well, one by one, the points of his message (like Paul's "Now Concerning..." in Corinthians) begin to fall into place.

He stepped into the pulpit with his first point -- divorce and remarriage. He didn't move on until he was sure that everyone in the building knew for a certainty that remarriage was nothing more than a nice term for adultery (unless, of course, the first spouse had died).

Next on the list was --worldly clothing. He had a particular disdain for the current popularity of baggy pants and announced that the trend was a sign of rebellion in the youth culture.

Hair issues were next with careful attention paid to the headcovering. He went on and on about long hair for women, until he remembered Mrs. Canton, a faithful member, who had suffered severe hair loss due to a medical condition, so he moved on to the men. He carefully avoided the trap of legalism by refusing to state exactly how long was too long, but he made it clear that he instinctively knew when it was too long.

On to the next point, the wearing of jewelry. The last time he had raised this issue, several of the women had brought their old jewels and donated them to the church.

They sold the stuff and used the money to replace the old steeple and re-carpet the whole church!

Make-up was the next on the agenda and he tried to be as tactful as possible but it was obvious that all of the new women had succumbed to the influence of Jezebel. One woman even got up to leave when the issue was raised. She caused quite a commotion when her high-heeled shoe got caught in the floor vent. Even God must have a sense of humor, he thought!

When he finished he gave an alter call to which 3 or 4 responded. He then offered a closing prayer.

After the service, John came up and congratulated the pastor for "preaching the uncompromising word". He told the pastor that since last Sunday's sermon he had been feeling that the Lord was calling him to be an evangelist. The phrase "...travel land and sea to win one proselyte..." played over and over in his mind and he knew for a certainty that this was what he wanted to do.

The midweek service brought with it a return to normalcy. Most of the regular crowd were there but only a couple of the "newbies" had returned. The pastor's message dealt with the "narrow way" and the fact that only a "few find it".

After the message John came up and reminded the pastor that, while many had followed Jesus, when the going got tough they all left Him. The pastor said, "That's right, only the twelve remained, and even they were shaky at the end."

John, furtively glancing around the room, whispered, "Yep, and one of them was a devil!"

As they walked out together, John suggested that they make last Sunday an annual event

and call it -- Evangelism Sunday! "Great idea," said the pastor, "we'll do it!"

Scene Two-

The whole week was a blur to Rex, the husband of the waitress. He and his wife had hardly spoken since that evening service. He had always tried to be a good husband but their twenty year marriage had long since grown stale and he felt that at the age of forty-three life was passing him by. He longed to be young again and experience some of the things he had missed.

His newly acquired motorcycle had partly restored his zest for life. As he tooled down the highway listening to his favorite song BORN TO BE WILD, the things that the pastor said kept coming into his mind. Could it be that God didn't approve of their marriage? According to the pastor, the last twenty years was nothing more than an adulterous relationship that left four illegitimate children in its wake.

Rex had never taken Christianity seriously although he did believe that there was somebody watching over this old planet. He (or maybe She) must certainly be amused by the daily soap opera of human existence!

Rex had wanted very much to attend the midweek service at the church and talk to the pastor further about this matter of divorce and remarriage, but his job hadn't permitted it. However, just thinking about the possibilities of getting a second chance with someone new was almost too good to be true!

The marriage to Sue Ellen had been his first but since she had been married before it was as if he had never been married! Yes, a new life! The pastor had talked about a "new life" and it certainly fit as the refrain "born to be wild" played in his ears.

He determined to make an appointment with the pastor and talk about this further in the next day or so.

Scene Three-

Sue Ellen had not been able to focus on her duties as a waitress since that eventful Sunday. She had experienced the gamut of emotions that day. When the gentleman had prayed for her she felt waves of electricity washing over her and for the first time in her life the burden of guilt was gone! Even Rex and the children had noticed the difference.

However, her joy was quickly replaced by worry after attending the evening service. In fact, the burden of guilt had returned as the pastor spoke and now she felt overwhelmed and had, for the first time in her life, contemplated suicide as the only way out of this tangled web. Almost everything the pastor had said applied directly to her and the condemnation was squeezing her to the point of making it hard to breathe.

Scene Four-

It had been fifteen years since Sue Ellen had attended the meeting that changed the course of her life.

She had tried to conform to the standards that the pastor had set forth but after a few weeks of outward conformity she gave up trying. She had often considered suicide as her only option. Rex had insisted on getting the divorce so that he could get on with his life. He said it was only a formality anyway, their marriage wasn't valid in the sight of God. The night he had told her about the divorce, she had gotten into her car and wandered aimlessly for hours.

She had thought that God had forgiven her for her past sins but the pastor said that repentance alone wasn't enough in this case. He said that the word "to repent" actually means "to turn away from" and if she continued in the "adulterous" relationship with Rex, it would be evidence that she hadn't truly repented. When she asked the pastor about the kids, he just shrugged and said, "you are just reaping what you've sown".

She left in tears and after driving for hours, she stopped at a convenience store for some gas and spotted the liquor section. She had never been one to indulge in such things, but for some reason she had an overwhelming urge to buy a bottle. After she paid for it she drove to the river and parked the car. How could this be happening? she kept asking herself. Opening the bottle, she sipped some of the content. Before she knew it, the bottle was empty and she was feeling very light-headed.

She got out of her car and staggered to the bridge. There wasn't much traffic that hour of the morning, but as she stumbled onto the bridge a car came from nowhere and almost hit her. She continued a little further and in the darkness she could hear the raging waters below. As she climbed up the rail, her only thought was that it be quick. Then, one by one, the faces of her children, like a slow motion video, passed before her eyes. "Oh Jesus, please help me! I need you now!" she screamed.

That was the last thing that she remembered about that night. She awoke the next morning in the back seat of her car without knowing what had happened.

She never returned to the Church after Rex had obtained the divorce. He had remarried and seemed happy with his new life. He never visited the kids nor supported them in any way, but he had continued to attend the Church. She heard that he had even become a deacon. On Sunday afternoons, when the weather was nice, she could see him playing golf with the pastor at the local country club on her way to work.

After fifteen years, she no longer had to fight the anger when she saw them, indeed, it was almost as if she were a piece of machinery, without feelings. She would rise up in the mornings, go to work and when she got home begin the destructive routine of pills and alcohol until she passed out.

She felt a stiffness in the wind and knew that another summer was coming to an end.

[I must add a personal note here . . . the people that I've described here are real people. Of course the names have been changed and the details are altered so that they can remain anonymous, but the life experiences are real and the chapters are still being written because these people are still living. I know first hand the damage that can result from these kind of things and my prayer (and purpose in writing) is that we all would be slow to speak and quick to reach out, with compassion, to individuals who find themselves in these situations. Let us proclaim the *good news* and be effective in our evangelism!]

ęCopyright 1997 by William Eaton

Permission is given to reprint any of William's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and website address. Please send a copy of the publication to : Deeper Life Family Ministries, P.O. Box 909, Killen, AL 35645.

URL Suggested: <More on divorce and remarriage>


Just to clarify...

Posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 7:51 a.m., in response to Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 12:00 a.m.

Just to clarify...this article was written a few years ago and any resemblance to any situations mentioned on CHFWeb is merely a coincidence. (Or prophetic? (grin)) Also, some of you may not know me so I'll just state for the record that I am still married to the wife of my youth and neither of us have been divorced. Our view upon divorce is as God's --we hate it.

Divorce is *never* an option for two people who are walking with the Lord. Never.

The problem occurs when one spouse is not a believer or has abdicated his/her Christianity (Lordship of Christ) and chosen the pathway of destruction. Of course the same can be said for two unbelievers who have never known the way of the Lord.

Children are the first to suffer in a divorce, in my opinion, but we can rely on the promise in Ps. 27:10 ("When my father and my mother forsake me, Then the LORD will take care of me.") and apply it to those in those terrible circumstances.

William


Re: thank you

Posted by clarice fox-hughesn on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 9:13 a.m., in response to Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 12:00 a.m.


willam, that really touched my heart. love is our first comandment and we must remember this.
god bless clarice


Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church

Posted by sara on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 7:42 a.m., in response to Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 12:00 a.m.

William,
Thank you very much for this perspective. I read a book a few years ago which taught that remarriage was adultery. It caused me a great deal of confusion at the time because the author made his point quite well, but I couldn't reconcile it with the teachings of Jesus that the greatest thing we can do is to love and forgive. How sad that these things really occur!
Sara


Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church

Posted by William Eaton on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 4:47 p.m., in response to Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by sara on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 7:42 a.m.

Hi Sara,

Unfortunately the Church that I attended when I received the Lord taught it that way and you would not believe the problems that resulted. It's a pretty common position, usually taken by those who have never needed to examine the issue. I guess they think that they are doing the Lord's work when they try to play God by giving simplistic answers to complex situations!

Thanks for your note!

William


Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church

Posted by Jena on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 7:30 p.m., in response to Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by William Eaton on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 4:47 p.m.

First let me apologize, because I am a bit slow at times. Also please don't misunderstand what I am going to say.....I hope this comes out the right way.

I am not really sure what the point of this story was. If we get divorced and remarry, then we are living in adultery. We will also be messing up whatever children we have?

Or if we marry someone that has been married before, but we haven't then we are also living in adultry?

I told you I was a bit slow here. This is all kind of new to me, so I am just trying to learn and grasp these concepts.

Thanks for your posting and bringing this to our attention.

Jena


Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church

Posted by Rene' on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 8:11 p.m., in response to Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by William Eaton on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 4:47 p.m.


Hi, Like Jena, I am also a little slow. Am looking forward to hearing the point of the story.

I was not a Christian when I married my husband. No, he was not my first. But it was my understanding that a person starts with a clean slate from the time they are saved . Please clear this up for us slow people , this has been heavy on my mind since I read it yesterday.

Thank you , Rene'


Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 8:56 p.m., in response to Re: Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by Rene' on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 8:11 p.m.

Dear Rene' and Jena,

William is out of town working right now and may or may not have time to respond for a few days. In the meantime, I'll try to quote directly from his writings to answer your questions, as well as provide a link to one of the studies on divorce William has posted on our Deeper Life Family Ministries website.

You both asked what the point of the story he wrote was...this is answered at the end when he said:

"[I must add a personal note here . . . the people that I've described here are real people. Of course the names have been changed and the details are altered so that they can remain anonymous, but the life experiences are real and the chapters are still being written because these people are still living. I know first hand the damage that can result from these kind of things and my prayer (and purpose in writing) is that we all would be slow to speak and quick to reach out, with compassion, to individuals who find themselves in these situations. Let us proclaim the *good news* and be effective in our evangelism!]"

And to answer Jena's question about what our position on divorce and remarriage is, I'll quote directly from an article William wrote:

"I am appalled at the present day divorce statistics and I am ashamed that the statistics are almost the same for Christians as they are for the rest of the population. However, I am equally concerned about ministers who council divorced and remarried couples to end their current marriages (even when children are involved) and return to their original spouses. This is a policy that has serious ramifications and creates problems that most have never considered. I sincerely hope that the Church can mirror God's forgiveness for couples who are in this position and at the same time work tirelessly for the day when the word divorce isn't even a consideration for troubled marriages.

The gospel accounts give instances where condemnation is heaped on those who fail to meet the "sinless" test but this condemnation never comes from the Lord! His gospel is "good news!" He is always the encourager to those who haven't measured up to the rigid standards that religious men have erected. In fact, Jesus even shows in one account that the one who has been forgiven much is the one that "loveth" much! We would all do well to take the admonition "go and sin no more" as a new beginning... a clean slate, and never allow Satan to condemn us by bringing up our past.

Even if you are not the innocent party in a divorce situation, you can receive forgiveness, it's not the unpardonable sin! You may well indeed still suffer the consequences of your decision (perhaps shared custody of children, etc.) but you aren't considered a second class citizen of the kingdom! After repenting, you must consider this part of your life under the Blood of Jesus and put it behind you, trusting the Lord to heal the wounds, and He will bless your current situation beyond all you could think or hope! "

For a study of divorce and what the Bible says about it, you can go to William's article:

"What About Divorce?"

http://www.chfweb.com/eaton/articles/whatabou.html

And I'm sure he'll have more to share on it later when he has time!

In His Abiding Joy and Strength,

Tamara

URL Suggested: <"What About Divorce?">


Thank you William!

Posted by Jan on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 11:59 p.m., in response to Divorce, Remarriage and the Church, posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 17 May 1998, at 12:00 a.m.

My dh was married for 9 years before our marriage. It was my first. He had a daughter who was seven years old at the time of his divorce. Dh was raised in a Christian home. Unfortunately, his church taught that one could lose their salvation.

For the record, there was no infidelity on either side, and his wife left him, taking their daughter, as a way to "pay him back" for not doing things her way. She began dating others and rubbed it in his face. He went on with his life and filed for divorce. He was relieved to have her out of his life.

As a single, Christian woman, when I began dating him there was great hessitation on my part because of the divorce. My church was not a legalistic church and did not condemn marriage to a divorced person but I was concerned he may take marriage commitment lightly. Getting to know him and the circumstances of the split put that to rest. We have been married for 14 years and have four children. I know he is dedicated to me and our marriage.

Several years ago I ordered a book on divorce which was promoted by a hsing author who I read frequently and greatly admired. The book shook me and was very difficult to read. This pastor basically said ANY remarriage, when adultery is not an issue, between Christians, was adultery and the marriage was NOT valid in God's eyes. His solution to this is for the divorced/remarried person to divorce his second spouse, whether there were children produced in the second marriage or not, and to go back to the first "real" spouse and remarry her. The David and Bathsheba story was in the Q&A section of the book as an arguement that God sometimes blesses second marriages. (Because David got Soloman out of this union.) The pastor said God could bless their union because Bathsheba's first husband was dead??!! (Ofcourse he didn't comment on the fact that David was responsible for his death!)

Christ alone is my salvation. Not anything I do or don't do can alter this! I know divorce is a horrible thing, so does my dh. He has gone through years of guilt over his daughter's circumstances. She has had problems due to the divorce (and her mother's subsequent three marriages). The pain of divorce is far reaching.

Thank you for your article.
Jan


Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by monica on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 6:17 a.m., in response to Our View on Divorce and Remarriage, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 8:56 p.m.

I know that I am going to have great difficulty getting my message across here in writing, but I'll give it a try.
I was married previously. The man to whom I was married was very abusive to me, had several affiars, and several other problems.
At the time when I did finally leave the marriage, he had kidnapped me, beaten me, and raped me as well. His ultimate plan was to torture me and kill me and bury me in a field somewhere in the plain lands of Missouri. Only by the divine intervention of the Lord did I manage to get away from him.
I sought counsel on this situation, and was told
He is your husband, you must submit. If he kills you, then that is the Lords will for your life.

OK, here are my thoughts, (I pray that I am not just justifying, for my own sake)

Divorce in the times when scripture was written:
It is my understanding that this was in a betrothal area. For the individual who wanted/needed to get out of the arrangement. These were done deals.

After the marriage ceremony, if a spouse committed
marriage acts or bonds outside of the marriage, there was a stiff penalty--death.

OK--was I a victim of our todays society, and divorced?-----OR---- should I have been *widowed*?

If I had been alive at the time of Christ on earth, what would he have said?

Anyone following me? I would like to hear responses on this, but please remember this is a very sensitive and even still painful place in my life. monica


Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by Rene' on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:42 a.m., in response to Our View on Divorce and Remarriage, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 8:56 p.m.


Thank you for giving of your time to respond. I knew that I could not be as blessed as I am now if it were not for the unconditional love and forgiveness of God. Thank you again.

In his love

Rene'


Re: Thank you William!

Posted by Kevin Megill on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 8:09 a.m., in response to Thank you William!, posted by Jan on Monday, 18 May 1998, at 11:59 p.m.

Dear Jan,

I guess I have never heard anyone give counsel like you mentioned in that book (and that Tamara and William mentioned).

You said: "His solution to this is for the divorced/remarried person to divorce his second spouse, whether there were children produced in the second marriage or not, and to go back to the first "real" spouse and remarry her."

Let me just share something from Deut. that I always felt ruled this out. Maybe I am seeing this passage incorrectly, but I cannot understand how anyone can give that advice in light of these verses.

"Whan a man takes a wife and married her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,

"and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man's wife,

"and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife,

"then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord..." Deut. 24:1-4

Under the law are NOT to remarry your former husband once you have become married to someone else (whether you become released from your second husband either through death or divorce). I don't understand how someone could COUNSEL someone (and require) to deliberately divorce a second spouse in order to remarry the former spouse when it was clearly forbidden under the law.

Am I missing something here?

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 11:53 a.m., in response to Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage, posted by monica on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 6:17 a.m.

William wrote an article some time ago that deals with some of the points you mentioned, Monica, and I'll post it here on the message board as a new message.

I'm so sorry you've had such tragedy in your life and so thankful you know the Lord --Who else could provide comfort and hope after a situation like that? May He bless you and your family and fill your lives with His joy and peace!

In His Abiding Joy and Strength,

Tamara


Divorce --Another Look

Posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 11:58 a.m.

Divorce?

Is it the ultimate evil? If you've experienced a divorce are you treated as a second class citizen in God's Kingdom? Should you endeavor to go back to your first spouse if the bond of marriage has been broken and you find yourself married a second time? Is this God's best?

There isn't any doubt that God intended for marriage to be permanent, just as there isn't any doubt that He created mankind with the promise of everlasting life. However, there was one problem...the fall. Man was plunged into sin and with the entrance of sin into the world improvisation became the order of the day. Our lives are surrounded by evil and while it would be nice not to need to make decisions based upon our imperfect circumstances, it nevertheless can't be done.

The wife who is faced with an abusive home situation (and must consider not only her own safety but the safety of the children), women who are living in fear of STD's because of the indiscretions of their adulterous husbands, desertion of a spouse. All of these things are facts of life in a fallen world, and to ignore them and not offer godly council to those who find themselves in such situations is certainly not the way of love. The Church, in my opinion, has neglected these areas far too long, choosing instead an attitude that ignores reality. To say that divorce is never an option,
is clearly out of line with the Biblical record. In some cases divorce may be the center of God's will for an individual.

For example, in the time of Ezra it became mandatory for the children of Israel to divorce their wives to show that they were truly repentant for their sins. Divorce was expected, not just a forsaking, but a divorce according to the law, complete with a certificate of divorce.

Of course the reason for divorce here was because they had been forbidden to marry outside of the Hebrew nation and had ignored God's prohibition. The point is, however, they were now expected to divorce the wives that they had taken.

God expects us to deal with less than ideal situations with less than ideal solutions. Ideally, no solution would be needed if we weren't in a fallen world, but given the fact that we do live in a sin-stricken world sometimes "divorce" (a less than ideal solution) becomes the solution that is most in line with God's will... the best solution, under the circumstances.

Let me state clearly, I believe that divorce is one of the most devastating of the human experience, but we need to admit that it is only *one* of the most devastating. Finding out about an unfaithful spouse, or finding yourself on the receiving end of a physical beating are just as devastating and in some cases can be more devastating.

God's provision for divorce in Deut. 24 is an example of a "less than ideal solution" for a "less than ideal situation". This doesn't mean that it is the only solution or even that it is the best solution, but it is one solution, given the circumstances. God takes no pleasure in divorce any more than He took pleasure when a person was stoned to death for their sins. He was the one who commanded that stoning (a less than ideal solution) be applied under certain (less than ideal) circumstances. Jesus could say the same thing about stoning for adultery that He said concerning divorce-- from the beginning it was not so... God created them male and female, yet because of the hardness of your hearts... adulterers should be stoned.

Divorce has become a rampant scourge in out society, so much so that the other relevant issues about the home and family are clouded. Mention divorce and an immediate opposition to the idea is felt. Sometimes no attempt is made to understand the reason why the divorce is being sought. Divorce is the end result of a long process and not the main problem. So many times in the Church we wait until the last moment--when divorce is mentioned, and then jump in proclaiming that divorce is not of God and must be avoided to stay within the confines of His will.

Because divorce is breaking up our society we focus on this as the problem without acknowledging that it is a mere symptom and the end result of a long process of decline. A process of decline that shouldn't be occurring in the Church.

Divorce should never be an option for two Christians who are walking with the Lord. When one of the two believers sins against the other by committing fornication divorce becomes an option, obviously, the sinning individual is no longer walking with the Lord.

Divorce is also an option for a Christian and an unbeliever *under certain circumstances* and divorce is an option between two unbelievers *under certain circumstances*.

The language of Deuteronomy 24 is vague and I'm convinced that this played a part in the confusion that prevailed in the Pharisee's minds. "Some uncleanness" is given as proper cause for divorce. There is no clarification about what the "uncleanness" includes and opinions differ widely. However, it seems that men were divorcing their wives for *any* reason before the clause in Deuteronomy was given, which would, quite naturally, result in untold hardship for the divorced wife and cast suspicion upon her reputation and character. She had no recourse in the matter-- her life could be effectively ruined. When God gave the Deut. 24 clause, it actually helped the women who found themselves "put away". It helped them by giving them a certificate that stated the reasons she was divorced. She could then become another's wife without a cloud of suspicion that would have followed her before this law.

People misinterpret the divorce clause because they don't understand why it was given. They see the divorce clause as suddenly opening up the flood- gates and think that things would have been much better without God allowing it. This is simply not true. The divorce clause helped to stem the tide of an out-of-control situation. It was a great improvement given the circumstances.

The Law *limited* divorce to certain specific categories, and gave the women a legal document that dispelled vicious rumors. Without it, the putting away of women would have continued to escalate out of control. The certificate of divorce actually put some controls in an out-of-control situation. It not only served to help women in difficult circumstances, it showed the seriousness of the marriage contract and that marriage couldn't be walked in and out of at the whim of the moment. Husbands would need to show valid reasons for the divorce and be forced to recognize their actions as permanent--He couldn't remarry her if she became another man's wife. It was over. He had no further control in the situation. In my opinion Deut 24 was one of the first victories for women's rights and showed God's love and concern for women.

Ezra 9 & 10 shows that even when God's people had disobediently married foreign wives the men were expected to divorce these wives in a proper manner by giving them a certificate of divorce.

In NT times Jesus clarified why the divorce clause in Deut 24 had been given and made it clear that fornication was the only valid reason for divorce. (Mt. 5 & 19)

There has been a trend to try and interpret the "exception clause" given by Jesus as applicable only to those Jews during the "betrothal period" and didn't include the period after the marriage had been consummated. Matthew, the only gospel that records this particular clause, was ostensibly only writing to Jews who understood His meaning and that after the consummation of the marriage nothing could sever the union except death.

This teaching says that Jesus used the term "fornication" instead of the term "adultery" because the couple weren't actually in a married state until the consummation. However, this view neglects one serious flaw that dooms the argument-- Jesus goes on to use the term "adultery" when referring to the attempted re-marriage of the divorced spouse. If Jesus had only been referring to the betrothal period He wouldn't have used the term adultery, which refers only to an act that a married person can commit. Thus, His own language demands that we recognize that this "exception clause" is a valid reason for divorce for any married couple.

To understand why fornication or adultery are given as reasons for divorce we need look only to 1 Cor 6:15-16. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh."

Fornication/adultery severs the one-flesh relationship and unless the couple reconcile and work through this problem (which is the ideal solution, imo) the intimate one-flesh relationship no longer prevails. In this situation divorce becomes a possibility although many other considerations may enter into the picture that would keep it from being an actuality.

William

URL Suggested: <What About Divorce? A study of the Biblical passages relating to divorce>


Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 12:09 p.m., in response to Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage, posted by Rene' on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:42 a.m.

Rene' you said: "I knew that I could not be as blessed as I am now if it were not for the unconditional love and forgiveness of God."

That's true of EACH one of us here, regardless of whether we've been divorced or not! Praise God for His forgiveness and unconditional love --He chose us, He loved us while we were yet in our sins, He provided forgiveness of sins through the Blood of the Lamb!

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace..." Eph. 1:3-7

In His Abiding Joy and Strength,

Tamara


Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by Peggy on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 2:18 p.m., in response to Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage, posted by monica on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 6:17 a.m.

Hi Monica,

You asked: "If I had been alive at the time of Christ on earth, what would he have said?"

I'm still trying to imagine in my mind what He might have said to you, but I suspect nothing, since you were not in sin. He undoubtedly would have had a LOT to say to your ex-husband, though!

Love,
Peggy


Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage

Posted by monica on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:02 p.m., in response to Re: Our View on Divorce and Remarriage, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 11:53 a.m.

Thanks Tamara, I do agree with both the post and the article.

I do feel truly blessed by the Lord. He has seen fit to give me a Godly husband, and three wonderful energetic guys.

It is good to understand that Gods best was not for me to follow the counsel I received and go with him be killed and placed in a corn field.

I also wanted to say that I hope that the ladies realize this wasn't a case of 'we couldn't get along'. Oh No!!! This was a matter of personal safety, and for the safety of others that I knew. I take seperations and divorces very seriously. I cry when I find that friends or relatives are splitting up. I equate my first marriage with that of a death. To this day, I have never experienced such physical pain in my heart and in my chest as I did that day, when I knew I HAD to leave. It felt like a death, a death that only someone who has experienced a death of a child or spouse.

I am (again) saying way too much! But, I wanted to share the hurt and pain as well, and note how very serious this is to those of us who have been through it.---love ya guys!--monica :)


Re: Thank you William!

Posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:03 p.m., in response to Re: Thank you William!, posted by Kevin Megill on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 8:09 a.m.

Hi Kate,

Those who teach such nonsense (that those who have been divorced and remarried should divorce their current spouse and return to the "original" spouse) say that the "law of love" is what should prevail now --they even go so far as to say that the "exception clause" Jesus gave wasn't valid for the Christian because the law of love dictates that we should forgive the adulterous spouse. I'm surprised that you haven't run across this teaching before, as one person said, a MAJOR homeschooling guru (whose influence is far reaching) recommends one of the books that teach this view.

As I said earlier, I believe the ideal situation in the case of fornication/adultery in marriage is that the couple reconcile and work through this problem, but to say that divorce is never an option in such situations is not what the Bible teaches.

William


Re: Divorce --Another Look

Posted by monica on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:12 p.m.

even under the threat of being killed. Personally
I would have thought of it almost as assisted suicide, if I had stayed. monica :)

btw, this is not at all offensive to me. :D


Amen, Preach it Brother! *grin* nt

Posted by Kevin Megill on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 8:29 p.m., in response to Re: Thank you William!, posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:03 p.m.

,


Thank you again William for your post below! Kate, I could give you the name of the ministry through which you can obtain this book - but... maybe you already know?(nt)

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 8:50 p.m., in response to Re: Thank you William!, posted by Kevin Megill on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 8:09 a.m.

s


Re: Thank you again William for your post below! Kate, I could give you the name of the ministry through which you can obtain this book - but... maybe you already know?(nt)

Posted by Kevin Megill on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 9:08 p.m., in response to Thank you again William for your post below! Kate, I could give you the name of the ministry through which you can obtain this book - but... maybe you already know?(nt), posted by Jan on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 8:50 p.m.

Dear Jan,

Thanks, but I have lived this long in the dark about it, I guess I can go on a little longer! *grin* Obviously I don't read many books from homeschool "gurus"!!! LOL

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


What is the definition of adultery?

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 20 May 1998, at 7:34 a.m., in response to Re: Divorce --Another Look, posted by monica on Tuesday, 19 May 1998, at 7:12 p.m.

Dear Monica and Lisa,

Monica, I have read in another post why you divorced your first husband, and I praise God that you are still with us! According to what you wrote, you had scriptural reasons for divorce.

Lisa, I have to agree that far too many Christians sugarcoat the whole divorce issue. It wasn't always so. One hundred years ago Christians had the same sin natures that we do, but they divorced and remarried far, far less.

Jesus said that if a man divorces his wife and marries another he commits adultery. WHAT IS ADULTERY? It is sex between a married person and someone to whom he is not married (actually, adultery can be a lot more than that--remember, "the eyes, but I won't go there!)

But....Jesus said "if a man divorces..." well, he's no longer married, so WHY did Jesus call it adultery?. The only way that man can be committing adultery is if he is still married to his first wife in the eyes of God. Logically, it can be the only conclusion. Remember, Jesus didn't say "if a man divorces his wife and marries another he commits a SIN." No, He said "he commits the sin of adultery."

When does the sin of "adultery" occur? At the time of the legal divorce...(no, no adultery there), the day of the 2nd wedding ceremony..., the night of the honeymoon..., the first week..., the first year...? When is it no longer "adultery" (Jesus' term, not mine)

Christians who hold this view do not believe that divorce and remarriage is the "unforgiveable sin." No, I believe Christ paid the penalty for ALL of my sins at the cross, past, present and future. I am saved by God's grace and infinite mercy. But, we are still called to speak the truth in love.

This teaching on divorce and remarriage is a hard, hard saying. (Jesus had a few of those!) Many will not accept it. Scripture says that even the elect (believers, those of us saved by the cross) would be deceived in the last days, and I think it is possible that this is one of the most devastating deceptions in the church today.

Paul states that if a woman separates from her husband she is not to remarry. Why? Is it because she is still "married" to her husband, regardless of living arrangements?

By the way, based on the exception clause (adultery), I believe that a victim of divorce, a woman, for example, will be free to marry again as soon as the ex-husband becomes involved with another woman (Don't know too many ex's who leave to live the life of a monk! No offense, guys!!!). Then, he is commiting adultery. I don't think most victims of divorce are forced into a life of celibacy.

Most bible-believing Christians today do not believe we should stop teaching the truth about homosexuality because it offends. Yet, many seem to think we shouldn't "offend" when it comes to divorce.

I don't mean to offend or sound legalistic and judgmental (if I had written about homesexuality would you call me legalistic?). I know that I have a sin nature, and I don't know what I would do if my life's circumstances were different. I have divorced and remarried friends whom I would never presume to judge. No sin is too great for the Cross! Praise God for His infinite mercy!

In His Grace,
Joni


Re: Divorce --Another Look

Posted by William Eaton on Wednesday, 20 May 1998, at 3:28 p.m.

Hi Lisa,

You said:

""But I differ with you on your conclusions that anything but what Jesus said (adultery) is a sanctioned cause for a divorce among Christians. ""

What conclusion (that I've stated) are you referring to?

You state:

""Jesus said the only reason a believer could divorce was because of adultery (Matt. 19). I believe that if He meant there were other allowable reasons, He would have said so & not have been so clear to cite only that one reason.""

Where have I stated otherwise?

You say:

""In 1 Cor. 7, Paul is very clear that a believer married to an unbeliever who consents to stay *should stay married*. (v. 10 - ...the wife should not leave her husband.) I realize that Paul said these were his words and not the Lord's, but Paul's writings are accepted as authoritative of the New Covenant we as believers have with God through Jesus. ""

Are you implying that I don't believe that the words of Paul are inspired Scripture? If so, I can assure you that there isn't anyone here that believes in the revelation and inspiration of Scripture more than myself.

You further state:

""IMHO, to cite Old Testament passages where God allowed divorce to keep His people pure and holy & then say that we as Christians, who are no longer under the Old Covenant, are allowed to do likewise, is wrong. As believers, we do not throw out the O.T. as relevant for today, but when something that is written in the N.T. overrules the O.T., we are to go with that, I believe. ""

Again, I'm not sure what I've said that enables you to imply that I've equated OT passages with NT Christianity, and fostered that (the OT) instead of taking the whole Bible as a unified book. To mention divorce without looking at the primary OT passage that deals with divorce is irresponsible, imo. Did you read my article that deals with the OT passage, what the Pharisees were saying, and finally, Jesus' words on the matter.

You say:

""The N.T. is very clear about believers not divorcing & remarrying, even when they're married to unbelievers. ""

Here is my statement:

""Divorce should never be an option for two Christians who are walking with the Lord. When one of the two believers sins against the other by committing fornication divorce becomes an option, obviously, the sinning individual is no longer walking with the Lord. Divorce is also an option for a Christian and an unbeliever *under certain circumstances* and divorce is an option between two unbelievers *under certain circumstances*.""

These are my own words... with what portion would you disagree?

You say:

""As to the "hard cases," if I were counseling someone in those situations (as I have done), I would advise them to *separate* from their husband, for their safety's sake, but not to divorce. Since Paul says remarriage is not allowed until the original spouse is dead (1 Cor. 7:39), I would say trust the Lord to be without a spouse until either they are reconciled or her husband is dead.""

Here we may have a disagreement. I believe that when Paul/God says a believer isn't bound any longer when an unbeliever leaves, he/He means just that. To insist that one is still married even after the unbelieving spouse is long gone seems like bondage to me.

You take issue with my words by saying:

""The reasoning in this whole paragraph is flawed. God ordered stoning for adulerers; He does not today order divorces. In fact, the New Testament says just the opposite! Your last sentence seems to imply that because of people's hardness of heart, divorces *should* occur (because adulterers likewise *should* be stoned), as if it were a mandate. This is not true! ""

He ordered stoning for adulterers in the same way He permitted divorces among His people. In fact, it seems as if He was behind the divorcing of His people in the Ezra passage, even though it isn't stated explicitly(sp?--No spellchecker here!)

Secondly, I did not imply that divorces *should* occur (other than in the Ezra passage) but that divorces *could* occur.

You say:

""Deut. 24 was not a mandate for divorce, either. It was simply guidelines if the people *did* divorce. Jesus said that passage was referring to Moses *allowing* (not ordering) divorce *because of people's hardness of heart*.""

Hold on a minute, you've got me mixed up with the Pharisees. Where have I said anything about God/Moses ordering, or even pushing the option? On the contrary, I've stated just the opposite.

You say:

""We have a Guide Book for dealing with our imperfect circumstances. If we obey God in all that He's written there, we will not need to "improvise." ""

You missed the point... our guidebook has been given *because* of imperfect circumstances, everything since the fall is improvision. If Adam and Eve had followed the first guideline there wouldn't have been the need for anything more.

You say:

""I think we need to remember one thing: God hates divorce. I don't think we need to sugar coat this truth to make it more palatable to today's Christian.""

I hate to keep pointing out the obvious, but if you will read what I've posted then you'll note that "I HATE DIVORCE" too.

You further state:

""That's not to say, however that we need to be so dogmatic & legalistic that we have no compassion. God forgives divorce just like any other sin, and so should we when we encounter it in other believers, but I think it's important that people remember that it is sin (outside of the reason of adultery). ""

Isn't this the point of all of my articles? Perhaps you have taken issue with my pointing out that there are sometimes an "innocent" party in a divorce, and in my opinion the innocent party wouldn't be guilty of sin.

William


Re: What is the definition of adultery?

Posted by monica on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 10:10 a.m., in response to What is the definition of adultery?, posted by joni on Wednesday, 20 May 1998, at 7:34 a.m.

joni, I just noticed your response to this today (Sunday) I'm sorry that I didn't respond. Hmmm...
but you what I don't know the answer. This is one I will have to look for and seek out.
I will say this I sure am glad that Jesus forgives all of my sins!--monica :0


Re: What is the definition of adultery?

Posted by Peggy on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 1:41 p.m., in response to What is the definition of adultery?, posted by joni on Wednesday, 20 May 1998, at 7:34 a.m.

Joni,

What are your thoughts on this?...

Mat 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

How is it that the non-offending wife is made to be the offending party (she becomes an adultress) through the actions of her husband and through no intentional action of her own?

I asked this a while back and recieved no answers...what do you think?

In Christ,
Peggy


A puzzling question from Matthew

Posted by Kevin Megill on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:01 p.m., in response to Re: What is the definition of adultery?, posted by Peggy on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 1:41 p.m.

Peggy,

I have a guess on this. Just speculation ...

You quoted Mat 5:32:

"But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery."

and then asked:

"How is it that the non-offending wife is made to be the offending party (she becomes an adultress) through the actions of her husband and through no intentional action of her own?"

I think it's pretty reasonable to assume Jesus was not blaming the wife but the husband. After all, he says the man CAUSES HER to become an adulteress, not that she does it herself; also, he is emphasizing the man when he says "anyone ... his wife". So the question is why he would phrase it in this awkward way.

I wonder if in that culture it was financially infeasible for the divorced woman to stay unmarried. Her husband was putting her in a position where she had no choice. Thus Jesus was saying:

"If a man divorces his wife, abandonding his responsibility to care for her financially, it forces her to remarry to someone else. This shames her as an adulteress, but the blame for the sin is his, not hers."

So Jesus wasn't lessening the blame due the man but trying to emphasize that his actions were hurting his wife as well, to his even greater judgment.

Calling her an adulteress was talking about her status in the eyes of the world, not about her sinfulness before God (and certainly not about the validity of her second marriage).

In Him,
Kevin Megill


Re: A puzzling question from Matthew

Posted by Peggy on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:08 p.m., in response to A puzzling question from Matthew, posted by Kevin Megill on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:01 p.m.

Thanks Kevin...

...that is the same conclusion I'd drawn, as well.

...I wondered if there were any other dimensions to it that I wasn't catching. It does seem to impart an extra judgement on the part of the one divorcing their spouse for grounds apart from adultery, doesn't it? I don't intend to find out from personal experience, though...LOL

In Christ,
Peggy


Dear Peggy,

Posted by joni on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:53 p.m., in response to A puzzling question from Matthew, posted by Kevin Megill on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:01 p.m.

This does appear to be a rather confusing passage, doesn't it?

I must say my beliefs regarding this verse are very similar to Kevin's; he just articulates them better than I do!

Kevin seems to indicate that this has nothing to do with the validity of the woman's second marriage; however, I would tend to disagree. Where is the adultery otherwise? IF the first marriage has not been dissolved in God's eyes, she would be "forced" into adultery were she to marry again. She has not committed adultery, otherwise.

(I really don't like this discussion. It's not a position I particularly enjoy holding! I just don't see another position that I can logically hold.)

I would like to ask you when do you think the adultery occurs when Jesus says whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (keeping in mind the definition of adultery, please!)? And when does the adultery end? Really, I'd like to hold another view on this! But I do believe that we are not to separate what GOD has joined together.

I will probably bow out of this discussion at this time. I have divorced friends whom I would never judge, and stating my position on this will probably cause someone *out there* to think I am judging them, when I'm not!

God bless you all.

Joni


Re: Dear Peggy,

Posted by Peggy on Monday, 25 May 1998, at 9:31 a.m., in response to Dear Peggy,, posted by joni on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:53 p.m.

Hi Joni,

You asked: "I would like to ask you when do you think the adultery occurs when Jesus says whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery (keeping in mind the definition of adultery, please!)? And when does the adultery end?"

I honestly don't know. Like you, I prefer not to view this subject from a legal point of view that requires judgement on my part. The two things I do know are that God hates divorce, BUT, we live in a sinfilled world that requires of us a compassionate and merciful response.

I have a couple of other questions on this, but I think I'll hold off and give this subject a rest for awhile.

In Christ,
Peggy


Re: A puzzling question from Matthew

Posted by monica on Tuesday, 26 May 1998, at 6:32 a.m., in response to Re: A puzzling question from Matthew, posted by Peggy on Sunday, 24 May 1998, at 5:08 p.m.

Peggy, Sorry to answer this after so long after this was posted. Thought I would add some of what I felt at the time. I remember being panic stricken with thoughts of I can't get married again! I'll never have a baby! I remember thinking how he had betrayed all that my heart desired. I think that is where (just my thoughts)
the non-offending party adultery is. I wasn't focused on too much of anything outside of poor ol' pitiful me and my gloom and doom at the moment. None of this may make any sense, they were mixed up emotional times for me. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. monica :)


First coverings, now this question....

Posted by Loraine, CA on Wednesday, 1 July 1998, at 11:32 p.m.

Dear ones:

Here I go again...please be patient with me. I am entering into dialogue with a friend who raises questions on issues that I have been settled on for years as a christian. The latest is this: Remarriage
Her church teaches that if there is a divorce in the past of a believer, whether or not they were christians at the time, and they have remarried, they should now divorce AGAIN and remain single or be reconciled to the original ex spouse. This is true even if there are children involved who would then have their family torn apart. I am so confused.
She quoted the verse about the woman caught in adultery to whom Christ said to go and sin no more. She asserts that the second marriage is not valid in God's eyes and simply an adulterous relationship and so should be split apart.
If this is divisive, please do not respond.
In Christ,
Loraine


Re: First coverings, now this question....

Posted by Marie S. on Thursday, 2 July 1998, at 10:31 a.m., in response to First coverings, now this question...., posted by Loraine, CA on Wednesday, 1 July 1998, at 11:32 p.m.

Divorce is sin, as is lying, gossip etc. God forgives sins when we come to Him with a repentent heart even the sin of adultery. To seperate a family or couple because of a divorce and remarriage would only be adding sin upon sin.
I don't believe that this is of the Lord in any way, I don't however know of scripture for this.
But this might somewhat apply: Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Just some thoughts, scattered a bit (like my brain :-}) Blessings, Marie.


Re: First coverings, now this question....

Posted by Julie Hamilton on Thursday, 2 July 1998, at 11:42 a.m., in response to Re: First coverings, now this question...., posted by Marie S. on Thursday, 2 July 1998, at 10:31 a.m.

Dear Loraine and Marie,

I know there are some Christians who can more easily forgive a person who has committed murder than they can someone who has been divorced. I just don't understand that. As far as the church Loraine mentions, teaching that a second divorce is preferable to a couple staying married, I say "Hunh?" What Bible do they read where two wrongs actually make a right? Does this doctrine of theirs even make sense to anyone? IMHO, this flies in the face of common sense, and is certainly a very bizarre interpretation of scripture. AAGGHH! I know I'm testy today, but I do get weary of our sibs in Christ who seem to have an aversion to using their grey matter.

cranky Julie
in Christ (and in Pennsylvania)


Re: Remarriage Valid?

Posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Friday, 3 July 1998, at 1:06 a.m., in response to First coverings, now this question...., posted by Loraine, CA on Wednesday, 1 July 1998, at 11:32 p.m.

Hi Loraine,

Your friend would do well to note that Jesus recognizes the validity of remarriage in His discourse with the woman at the well. Here is the verse:

"The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five *HUSBANDS*; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly." Jn 4:17-18 [emphasis mine]

Two things are apparent from these verses: First, Jesus states the fact that the woman had FIVE valid husbands. It would be quite a stretch to assume that each marriage had ended with the death of the husband prior to her remarriage. Jesus recognized the fact that remarriage had occurred and stated that in each of the five cases a "husband" had emerged. This of course would be impossible if only the first marriage was considered a valid marriage. Secondly, it seems that the woman's statement about having no husband and Jesus' acknowledgement that this currently was a true statement seems to imply that a divorce had truly occurred and instead of saying "oh but you do have a husband, go back to your first/second...fifth husband", He confirms the fact that she was currently without a husband. To take it a step further, it is also implied that just because you have a man around, etc., doesn't mean that you are married.

Some may quibble with this interpretation and remind us that the word for "man" and "husband" are the same word in the Greek. This is true, but the context shows that the only valid translation is "husband/s" due to oppositional nature of the sentence. It doesn't make sense to translate the verse "For thou hast had five *MEN*; and he whom thou now hast is not thy *MAN*.

It is sad that divorced/remarried Christians are treated as second class citizens. If it's true that a divorced and remarried person is in sin, then there is no option except excommunication... under no circumstances should adulterers (if that's what divorced and remarried persons are) be allowed in the Church. Adulterers have their place in the pit and certainly have no place in the Church (1 Cor 6:9).

Again, if people are going to falsely assume that divorced and remarried persons are in adultery, instead of second class citizenship, they should stand up and say it's *no* citizenship.

Here is an article that I recently posted concerning the issue of divorce and remarriage and for those who don't mind reading about the heart-wrenching aspects of divorce/remarriage I'll include a link below to another post that shows where the type of thinking you describe leads.

Divorce?

Is it the ultimate evil? If you've experienced a divorce are you treated as a second class citizen in God's Kingdom? Should you endeavor to go back to your first spouse if the bond of marriage has been broken and you find yourself married a second time? Is this God's best?

There isn't any doubt that God intended for marriage to be permanent, just as there isn't any doubt that He created mankind with the promise of everlasting life. However, there was one problem...the fall. Man was plunged into sin and with the entrance of sin into the world improvisation became the order of the day. Our lives are surrounded by evil and while it would be nice not to need to make decisions based upon our imperfect circumstances, it nevertheless can't be done.

The wife who is faced with an abusive home situation (and must consider not only her own safety but the safety of the children), women who are living in fear of STD's because of the indiscretions of their adulterous husbands, desertion of a spouse. All of these things are facts of life in a fallen world, and to ignore them and not offer godly council to those who find themselves in such situations is certainly not the way of love. The Church, in my opinion, has neglected these areas far too long, choosing instead an attitude that ignores reality. To say that divorce is never an option, is clearly out of line with the Biblical record. In some cases divorce may be the center of God's will for an individual.

For example, in the time of Ezra it became mandatory for the children of Israel to divorce their wives to show that they were truly repentant for their sins. Divorce was expected, not just a forsaking, but a divorce according to the law, complete with a certificate of divorce.

Of course the reason for divorce here was because they had been forbidden to marry outside of the Hebrew nation and had ignored God's prohibition. The point is, however, they were now expected to divorce the wives that they had taken.

God expects us to deal with less than ideal situations with less than ideal solutions. Ideally, no solution would be needed if we weren't in a fallen world, but given the fact that we do live in a sin-stricken world sometimes "divorce" (a less than ideal solution) becomes the solution that is most in line with God's will... the best solution, under the circumstances.

Let me state clearly, I believe that divorce is one of the most devastating of the human experience, but we need to admit that it is only *one* of the most devastating. Finding out about an unfaithful spouse, or finding yourself on the receiving end of a physical beating are just as devastating and in some cases can be more devastating.

God's provision for divorce in Deut. 24 is an example of a "less than ideal solution" for a "less than ideal situation". This doesn't mean that it is the only solution or even that it is the best solution, but it is one solution, given the circumstances. God takes no pleasure in divorce any more than He took pleasure when a person was stoned to death for their sins. He was the one who commanded that stoning (a less than ideal solution) be applied under certain (less than ideal) circumstances. Jesus could say the same thing about stoning for adultery that He said concerning divorce-- from the beginning it was not so... God created them male and female, yet because of the hardness of your hearts... adulterers should be stoned.

Divorce has become a rampant scourge in out society, so much so that the other relevant issues about the home and family are clouded. Mention divorce and an immediate opposition to the idea is felt. Sometimes no attempt is made to understand the reason why the divorce is being sought. Divorce is the end result of a long process and not the main problem. So many times in the Church we wait until the last moment--when divorce is mentioned, and then jump in proclaiming that divorce is not of God and must be avoided to stay within the confines of His will.

Because divorce is breaking up our society we focus on this as the problem without acknowledging that it is a mere symptom and the end result of a long process of decline. A process of decline that shouldn't be occurring in the Church.

Divorce should never be an option for two Christians who are walking with the Lord. When one of the two believers sins against the other by committing fornication divorce becomes an option, obviously, the sinning individual is no longer walking with the Lord.

Divorce is also an option for a Christian and an unbeliever *under certain circumstances* and divorce is an option between two unbelievers *under certain circumstances*.

The language of Deuteronomy 24 is vague and I'm convinced that this played a part in the confusion that prevailed in the Pharisee's minds. "Some uncleanness" is given as proper cause for divorce. There is no clarification about what the "uncleanness" includes and opinions differ widely. However, it seems that men were divorcing their wives for *any* reason before the clause in Deuteronomy was given, which would, quite naturally, result in untold hardship for the divorced wife and cast suspicion upon her reputation and character. She had no recourse in the matter-- her life could be effectively ruined. When God gave the Deut. 24 clause, it actually helped the women who found themselves "put away". It helped them by giving them a certificate that stated the reasons she was divorced. She could then become another's wife without a cloud of suspicion that would have followed her before this law.

People misinterpret the divorce clause because they don't understand why it was given. They see the divorce clause as suddenly opening up the flood- gates and think that things would have been much better without God allowing it. This is simply not true. The divorce clause helped to stem the tide of an out-of-control situation. It was a great improvement given the circumstances.

The Law *limited* divorce to certain specific categories, and gave the women a legal document that dispelled vicious rumors. Without it, the putting away of women would have continued to escalate out of control. The certificate of divorce actually put some controls in an out-of-control situation. It not only served to help women in difficult circumstances, it showed the seriousness of the marriage contract and that marriage couldn't be walked in and out of at the whim of the moment. Husbands would need to show valid reasons for the divorce and be forced to recognize their actions as permanent--He couldn't remarry her if she became another man's wife. It was over. He had no further control in the situation. In my opinion Deut 24 was one of the first victories for women's rights and showed God's love and concern for women.

Ezra 9 & 10 shows that even when God's people had disobediently married foreign wives the men were expected to divorce these wives in a proper manner by giving them a certificate of divorce.

In NT times Jesus clarified why the divorce clause in Deut 24 had been given and made it clear that fornication was the only valid reason for divorce. (Mt. 5 & 19)

There has been a trend to try and interpret the "exception clause" given by Jesus as applicable only to those Jews during the "betrothal period" and didn't include the period after the marriage had been consummated. Matthew, the only gospel that records this particular clause, was ostensibly only writing to Jews who understood His meaning

and that after the consummation of the marriage nothing could sever the union except death.

This teaching says that Jesus used the term "fornication" instead of the term "adultery" because the couple weren't actually in a married state until the consummation. However, this view neglects one serious flaw that dooms the argument-- Jesus goes on to use the term "adultery" when referring to the attempted re-marriage of the divorced spouse. If Jesus had only been referring to the betrothal period He wouldn't have used the term adultery, which refers only to an act that a married person can commit. Thus, His own language demands that we recognize that this "exception clause" is a valid reason for divorce for any married couple.

To understand why fornication or adultery are given as reasons for divorce we need look only to 1 Cor 6:15-16. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says, "shall become one flesh."

Fornication/adultery severs the one-flesh relationship and unless the couple reconcile and work through this problem (which is the ideal solution, imo) the intimate one-flesh relationship no longer prevails. In this situation divorce becomes a possibility although many other considerations may enter into the picture that would keep it from being an actuality.

William

URL Suggested: <Evangelism Sunday>


Re: Remarriage Valid?

Posted by Loraine, CA on Friday, 3 July 1998, at 11:53 a.m., in response to Re: Remarriage Valid?, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Friday, 3 July 1998, at 1:06 a.m.

William:

Thank you so very much for your informative and scriptural reply! I have always been under the same impressions that you wrote about, however, I could not back them up scripturally on a moments notice, as was the case when speaking with my friend.

Thanks for clearing up a very sticky issue, and one which caused me some concern as I struggled to understand my friend's viewpoint.

Off to greet my mother and her NEW husband and his TWO children as they come for the 4th...

Blessings to you,

Loraine


BRAVO!!Excellent job, William! They were my thoughts, and I could not for the life of me formulate them!--*citizen* through the blood of my Redeemer!monica :D nt

Posted by monica on Friday, 3 July 1998, at 12:22 p.m., in response to Re: Remarriage Valid?, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Friday, 3 July 1998, at 1:06 a.m.

mg


Deuteronomy 24:1-4 addresses this

Posted by Barbara C. on Sunday, 5 July 1998, at 5:23 p.m., in response to First coverings, now this question...., posted by Loraine, CA on Wednesday, 1 July 1998, at 11:32 p.m.

I will write this passage from the New King James Version:

"When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man's wife, if the latter husband detests her and writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, THEN HER FORMER HUSBAND WHO DIVORCED HER MUST NOT TAKE HER BACK TO BE HIS WIFE AFTER SHE HAS BEEN DEFILED; FOR THAT IS AN ABOMINATION BEFORE THE LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance." --Emphasis Mine--

This passage makes it clear that once you have divorced and remarried, you are not to go back to you original spouse -- for any reason.

There is also a passage in the New Testament regarding staying in the position we are in when we become a Christian. I am looking for it and will post it when I find it.

In Christ,
Barbara C.


I Corinthians 7

Posted by Barbara C. on Sunday, 5 July 1998, at 6:17 p.m., in response to First coverings, now this question...., posted by Loraine, CA on Wednesday, 1 July 1998, at 11:32 p.m.

Well, I've found a wealth of instruction in I Corinthians 7. Verses 10 - 24 are very relevant to the practices of your friend's church. I will write from the NKJV the passages that spoke to me.

V. 10-11: "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife." Please note that this passage, coupled with the one in Deuteronomy I posted earlier, leads me to believe that she is not to be reconciled to her "first" husband, but the one she is presently married to.

V. 20: "Let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called."

V. 24: "Brethren, let each one remain with God in that calling in which he was called."

I think these Scriptures, along with the ones in Deuteronomy will give you a good base in sharing with your friend. But, before doing so, make sure that you pray for the Holy Spirit's words to flow through you to her in a loving manner.

In Christ,
Barbara C.


Re: I Corinthians 7

Posted by Loraine, CA on Monday, 6 July 1998, at 10:27 a.m., in response to I Corinthians 7, posted by Barbara C. on Sunday, 5 July 1998, at 6:17 p.m.

Barbara:

Thank you so much for researching this out for me! Between your information and Williams, I feel quite confident and settled in my stand and how to present it clearly to any who ask.

My friend and her dh had told another couple that they must divorce because the wife had been previously married. This couple sought counsel from my pastor and they have now attended our church twice and are no longer planning to divorce. I want to be certain that we envelope them in christian love and that I personally have the tools to continue to reassure them of the validity of their marriage.

I am so thankful that God uses us all in so many ways to uplift and encourage one another...even brothers and sisters we don't know!

In Him,

Loraine


Re: I Corinthians 7

Posted by Barbara C. on Monday, 6 July 1998, at 3:30 p.m., in response to Re: I Corinthians 7, posted by Loraine, CA on Monday, 6 July 1998, at 10:27 a.m.

I will pray for them.

Barbara C.


Re: First coverings, now this question....

Posted by Kevin and Kate Megill on Monday, 6 July 1998, at 9:11 p.m., in response to First coverings, now this question...., posted by Loraine, CA on Wednesday, 1 July 1998, at 11:32 p.m.

Hi everyone,

The question is: if someone divorces his wife for unbiblical reasons and remarries, is the second marriage considered valid by God? I agree completely with those who've said YES. Are they supposed to divorce and return to their original spouses? NO. But I'd like to add something.

When this discussion came up previously, one respondent was worried about the interpretation of Matthew 5:32. She said she'd LIKE to believe second marriages were valid, but didn't see how to get around this verse.

Matt 5:32 says:

"... whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

(There's more to the verse but this is enough to demonstrate the difficulty.)

The respondent's reasoning went like this:

1) We know that adultery is sex outside of marriage.
2) A man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
3) Therefore, a man who marries a divorced woman is having sex outside of marriage.
4) Therefore, in God's eyes, their marriage must not really be valid.

She said she'd like to see some way to believe otherwise.

In case anyone else is in the same position, I'd like to offer my answer to this.

Basically, I suggest that adultery is NOT best defined as "sex outside of marriage", but before I give my definition of adultery, let me make a quick point about the context of this verse. In the rest of this chapter of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus considered various Old Testament Laws one by one. In each case, the Pharisees were adhering strictly to the letter of the Law, but not the spirit. They were masters at wriggling out of God's true demands based on technicalities. Jesus in each case points his disciples back to the spirit of the law -- the heart of God behind the rule -- and points out how that raises the standard of righteousness that God requires considerably beyond the Pharisees' idea of it.

Therefore, when Jesus said that to divorce your wife and remarry was to commit adultery, I'm pretty sure that HE WAS NOT MAKING HIS CASE BASED ON THE TECHNICAL MEANING OF THE WORDS. He was basing his argument on the spirit, not the letter, of the laws about adultery. So if we are to understand Jesus' heart, we need to look not at the technical definition of adultery, but at the heart of the idea of adultery. We have to see WHAT ARE THE REASONS THAT GOD HATES ADULTERY?

Take a careful look at the various Scriptures where adultery is discussed. How is it viewed? What are it's penalties? WHY is it condemned? Here are some of the Scriptures to consider:

2 Sam 11,12 and Psalm 51
Proverbs 2:16-19
Proverbs 5
Proverbs 6:20-35
Proverbs 7
Matthew 5:27-32
1 Cor 6:9-20
1 Thess 4:1-8

When I look at these Scriptures, I see many reasons to hate adultery, but what I find primarily is that GOD HATES ADULTERY BECAUSE OF HOW IT HURTS THE BETRAYED SPOUSE.

The heart of adultery is not about sex, but about betrayal. Adultery is NOT "sex outside of marriage" but "betraying your spouse by having sex with someone else".

Aren't these definitions the same? Almost but not quite. For instance, premarital sex wouldn't strictly be "adultery" by my definition, although it would count as sexual sin / immorality / fornication.

And it affects our view of second marriages. A man who divorces his wife simply to marry someone else is committing adultery BECAUSE HE IS BETRAYING HIS FIRST WIFE. Jesus' point is that divorce and remarriage can become a "legal" way of betraying your spouse to get someone else.
The adultery has nothing to do with the validity of the second marriage after the betrayal has taken place. Once he's married again, he is guilty of the ACTION of adultery in the past, which he should repent of, but he is not living in a STATE of adultery in the new marriage.

Therefore, there is no reason that he should have to divorce the new wife -- as a matter of fact, to do so is to commit a NEW betrayal, and repeat the sin again.

---

We now have two alternatives for the interpretation of Matthew 5:32. If there were no further guidance, he might have difficulty deciding which one to believe. But there IS further guidance. First, in 1 Cor 7, Paul spells out all sorts of conditions in which marriages should stay together or may split up, and he never refers to the supposed invalidity of second marriages. Second, and more conclusively, there is that passage in Deut 24:14 which others have already pointed out, where God FORBIDS a man to go back to his first wife.

Those who teach the invalidity of the second marriage apparently say that the Deuteronomy passage, being part of the law, is no longer binding and that the Christian operates under a higher law, that of forgiveness. I agree that it's no longer binding. For example, a Christian whose second wife dies is free to return to his first wife, since he is not under this law.

But it's not enough to just say "we aren't under the law" -- we have to ask what the law in Deut 24 teaches us about the heart of God. WHY did God give this law? I think God wanted to make sure a man couldn't simply flippantly move from one woman to another and then back again when he decided the grass wasn't so much greener on the other side of the fence after all. God didn't want the first marriage to break up, but if it did, He didn't want the same man to break up the second marriage also. Doesn't that tell us something about the heart of God for second marriages today?

In Him,
Kevin


Dear Kate, how about these verses...

Posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:01 a.m., in response to Re: First coverings, now this question...., posted by Kevin and Kate Megill on Monday, 6 July 1998, at 9:11 p.m.

1 Corinthians 7:ll

To the married I give this command (NOT I BUT THE LORD): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.

Notice, here in this section on marriage how Paul differentiates between "his" teaching and the "Lord's" teaching.

In this large section of Corinthians Paul is advocating that "each should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and to which God has called him." I believe he is advocating this because of the special circumstances of the early church. However, the teaching on not remarrying comes from the Lord, and is for ALL time, in my opinion, because man cannot separate what God has joined together.

When you read Matthew 5:32 in light of 1 Corinthians 7:10 I believe it becomes more difficult to spiritualize Matthew 5:32.

It gets tiresome reading that those who hold this view believe that the divorce and remarried are second class citizens or that we believe divorce is the unforgiveable sin. (You did not accuse us of this!) Neither is the case. I believe that God has forgiven the sins of the regenerate past, present, and future. And divorce is not the "unforgiveable sin". Those of us who hold this interpretation simply believe that the 1st marriage is still in effect.

I realize that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about her five husbands. I believe he was using the term husbands the same way he uses the term "marry" when he says whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. In both cases, I believe Jesus used those words in the worldly sense.

Luke 16:18

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

Mark 10: 2-12

Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"

"What did Moses command you?" he replied.

They said "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."

"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law, Jesus replied [so, was this law from God or from the man, Moses?] "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one. Therefore what God has joined, let man not separate."

When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. [ they thought this was harsh, too, I bet] He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."

It's interesting that the very next verses speak of not hindering the little children to come unto Jesus.

It is interesting that the early church immediately after the new testament held the view that man cannot separate what God joined together.

I believe that certain Christians have reacted to this teaching as a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. As someone who left the RC Church, I know how easy that is to do! But in light of all the verses and the very early church's interpretation, I still believe this is the valid interpretation.

We in modern society have a very romanticized view of marriage; hence our modern divorce rate. I also know that some women are in marriages that are impossible to stay in for fear of their safety. St. Paul clearly states that couples may *separate*, but not remarry (and he says this is from the Lord). Our society also believes that sex is necessary to life, like food and water, so life long separation must not be what St. Paul REALLY meant. Well, sex is a very strong drive, but not a necessity in life.

Again, as I have stated in the past, I have divorced family and friends and I do not believe that they are second class citizens in God's kingdom. Only by God's grace, have I not walked that route myself. But because I have walked so many other areas that I shouldn't have, I have compassion and love for Christians who do remarry.
I couldn't imagine going through life alone.

My original question still remains: whan a person commits adultery because of remarriage, when does the adultery occur and when does it end?
By the way, I believe your comments about betrayal are correct. Can you tell me when the betrayal (adultery) ends? If the two become one, and man must not separate what God has joined together, I believe the first marriage is still in effect, even though the "law" states otherwise.

I didn't post for a while, but the comments about second class citizens, etc., showed that some do not understand why we hold this interpretation. Because Jesus said it! I really don't want to debate it. As I said earlier, it's one of those hard sayings (this is definitely a take up your cross saying!) that I don't relish myself.

Sincerely in Christ,
Joni


About the betrayal...

Posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:13 a.m., in response to Dear Kate, how about these verses..., posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:01 a.m.

You are soooooo right, that adultery is about betrayal and not just about sex.

For example, it is so hard for an "ex"-wife to scrimp while attempting to raise her two children, while the jerk ex-husband is supporting his new wife and children in style. Yes, I've seen this happen to friends, and the feeling of betrayal NEVER ends for the first wife or children. I believe this kind of betrayal is very difficult to forgive, because the betrayal never seems to end.
The betrayal continues, because the marriage should have continued.

Sincerely,
Joni


Important note!!

Posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:19 a.m., in response to About the betrayal..., posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:13 a.m.

I had a particular "jerk" in mind, not all divorced males!!!!!!!!! Didn't mean to appear to be bashing the opposite sex. I rather like the one I married!

Sincerely,

Joni


Re: Dear Kate, how about these verses...

Posted by Kevin and Kate Megill on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:28 a.m., in response to Dear Kate, how about these verses..., posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:01 a.m.

Dear Joni,

You said: 'In this large section of Corinthians Paul is advocating that "each should retain the place in life that the Lord assigned to him and
to which God has called him."'

Even though the original was Kevin's not mine *grin* I just wanted to add my small thought on this one point. I believe that Paul was advocating is that each person remain AS HE IS, and he is not necessarily speaking about the place in life that God has assigned to him. I think he is saying that life would be much easier for you if you just served the Lord where you are now and not look to change things...although God may bring changes in your life. A subtle difference, I think.

That's all! Just thought I'd throw this out and you can feel free to throw it out all the way! *grin*

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Re: Remarriage Valid?

Posted by Linda W on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 2:32 p.m., in response to Re: Remarriage Valid?, posted by William and Tamara Eaton on Friday, 3 July 1998, at 1:06 a.m.


I deeply appreciated this response.(nt)


Re: Dear Kate, how about these verses...

Posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 2:59 p.m., in response to Dear Kate, how about these verses..., posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:01 a.m.

Hi Joni,

You said:

""I realize that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well about her five husbands. I believe he was using the term husbands the same way he uses the term "marry" when he says whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. In both cases, I believe Jesus used those words in the worldly sense.""

Obviously the analogy about His words break down because He doesn't use the term "marry" but "husbands", but having said that, why would He make the contrast between the five valid (imo) husbands and the current invalid husband?

I know that you said that you didn't want to debate the issue, so if you don't want to discuss it further, I'll understand, but I promise that I'll remain civil! (or Tamara will delete my note!)

Also, your note didn't mention the verse where Jesus used the phrase "except for fornication" what are your thoughts on that one?

In Jesus,

William


Dear William and Kevin...my response re: divorce and remarriage

Posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:44 p.m., in response to Re: Dear Kate, how about these verses..., posted by William Eaton on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 2:59 p.m.

Dear William and Kevin,

Well, it appears that I shall respond. Hope you are not offended by the two for one reply. Grin!

1. William makes "The woman at the well" argument. William says "Jesus states the fact that the woman had FIVE valid husbands."

Actually, Jesus NEVER stated that the woman had 5 valid husbands, but I concur that the woman had 5 *husbands*---UNDER THE MOSAIC LAW.

Again, read Matthew 19:3-10. Here's what Matt. 19:8-10 says: "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"

Jesus replied, " Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way in the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."

The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, IT IS BETTER NOT TO MARRY."

Wow! Look at what the disciples said. I believe they fully understood the implications of Jesus' statement. Marriage is for life, for better OR WORSE!

2. Kevin makes the statement "God hates adultery because of how it hurts the betrayed spouse."

Kevin also states "A man who divorces his wife simply TO (my emphasis) marry someone else is committing adultery BECAUSE HE IS BETRAYING HIS FIRST WIFE. The adultery has nothing to do with the validity of the second marriage after the betrayal has taken place."

*AFTER* the betrayal has taken place, Kevin? If Guy is living/married with another woman after he has promised to marry me until DEATH do us part, the betrayal is CONTINUING. I would still be hurt. I would be without my husband, protector and provider, and so would my children. This just isn't an argument, in my opinion.

3. About your statement, "A man who divorces his wife *TO* marry someone else... Kevin, I can't find a translation that uses the word "to". ( I only have four, though.) Jesus uses the word "and". In my opinion, you are reading something into the text that is NOT there. Jesus is not necessarily talking about a man who divorces his wife *TO* marry another. He says "AND marries another woman..." The word "AND" leaves room for time to elapse. Not every man who remarries has the second wife waiting in the wings! Grin!

4. Furthermore, Luke 16:18 states "Anyone who divorces his wife AND marries another woman commits adultery, AND THE MAN WHO MARRIES A DIVORCED WOMAN COMMITS ADULTERY.

How is it possible for the man who marries a divorced woman to commit adultery? He didn't break a marriage vow. He didn't betray a spouse. He is committing adultery because they are still married. Again, the length of time after the divorce makes no difference, in my opinion.

5. Kevin states that "Paul never refers to the supposed invalidity of the second marriage" (in 1 Cor. 3) Well, I don't see any mention of second marriages, but I do see

"To the married I give this command (NOT I, BUT THE LORD): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does (perhaps, because he is abusive????), she MUST remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife."

Again, for emphasis, Paul states she must REMAIN unmarried. "Remain" strongly implies forever, in my opinion! I don't think he or Jesus (after all, this is Jesus' command) meant that after a suitable time had elapsed, she was free to marry.

6. The definition of porneia (sp?)--marital unfaithfulness? Well, according to Strong's, the word has several meanings. To tell you the truth, I would like to believe that we are free to divorce if another spouse has been unfaithful, but I'm not really sure that that's the correct meaning in light of all the other statements in the New Testament... and the records of the early church, but I'm not really sure. I do know marriages that are stronger after adultery has occurred than they were before, so it is possible to forgive and go on. If anyone believes in an unforgiveable sin, it is not I. I absolutely believe adultery is forgiveable, but too many Christians act like it is not. Christians are called to forgive. Period.

I believe that the day I accepted Christ I was permanantly sealed. I am saved, regardless of how I feel or whether or not I take a detour from my walk with the Lord.

I also believe that the day I married Guy we became one--*in a sense* you could say we were sealed also. Our marriage is not based on feelings, although feelings are nice. And even if one of us walks away, we are still married.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death." Amen.

Sincerely in Christ,
Joni


Re: Dear William and Kevin...my response re: divorce and remarriage

Posted by Kevin and Kate Megill on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 10:46 p.m., in response to Dear William and Kevin...my response re: divorce and remarriage, posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:44 p.m.

Hi Joni,

Unfortunately I'm overwhelmed with work and various other responsibilities at the moment, so I can't do your reply justice by addressing some of the most important issues. Maybe later on I'll get a chance, until then we can just agree to disagree and pray for each other to see the light!

In the meantime, I'll make three quick points.

a) You wrote:

"How is it possible for the man who marries a divorced woman to commit adultery? He didn't break a marriage vow. He didn't betray a spouse."

My answer: He didn't betray his spouse but he and she together betrayed HER spouse.

b) When Jesus introduces "the exception clause" using the word porneia, my personal opinion is that he was quoting Deut 24:1, using the word porneia to translate whatever Hebrew word is used for the exception clause there ("indecency" in NASB). Not that that explains what he meant by it.

c) Except in cases of adultery, I AGREE with you that a man who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. I DON'T AGREE that that makes the second marriage invalid, and so I don't agree that there is liberty before God to break up the second marriage. Even though it was adultery to marry the second wife, God holds the man to the new marriage. He can't go back to the first without committing adultery all over again. (It's like marrying an unbeliever -- you're not supposed to, but if you do, God will hold you to it from then on.)

I still don't quite see why you think this is an unbiblical position.

Oh well, aren't you glad we can rest in the wisdom of the Lord even as we disagree over Scriptural principles?

Kevin


Dear Kevin,

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 8 July 1998, at 6:49 a.m., in response to Re: Dear William and Kevin...my response re: divorce and remarriage, posted by Kevin and Kate Megill on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 10:46 p.m.

Dear Kevin,

Here's my quick response to your quick response! He he!

A--I'm afraid that you again make the assumption that the woman divorced her husband *TO* marry the second husband. You are reading something into the text that isn't there. The verse simply says that a man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery. I understand that you must read *to* into the text to come up with your definition (betrayal) of adultery. Perhaps the second husband actually had nothing to do with the divorce.

B-- Deuteronomy states "If a man marries a woman who becomes DISPLEASING to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce.......then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been DEFILED."

My comment on this is that I believe this is part of the law that is no longer binding. Ever notice that under the Law, it is always the woman who is *displeasing*...the woman who is *defiled*? Well?.... The Lord said that *Moses* permitted divorce due to the hardness of their hearts, but now the Lord has given us the better, original plan again. In God's plan, women are protected (and children),... not *displeasing* and *defiled*. God does not discriminate against women, although the law of Moses did. Jesus made it clear that this law was from Moses, not God.

3--Validity of second marriages. This again is impossible to discuss without agreeing to the definition of adultery. Again, if Guy divorces me today, AND marries again in 6 months, am I not STILL betrayed? Where is my husband, lover, protector and provider who PROMISED till death do us part?

You are right; we shall agree to disagree! Grin! Since you are unwilling to admit that adultery means "adultery", but instead choose to spiritualize the meaning away to some type of betrayal that ends --*when*, you still haven't said-- we couldn't possibly debate this topic! We aren't even talking about the same thing.

Christians once understood that the *primary* purpose of marriage was for the begetting and rearing of children for the Lord's kingdom, so the teaching on the permanance of marriage was accepted, although not always easy to live. Now, most Christians seem to believe that the primary purpose of marriage is for personal fulfillment, happiness and romance (find that in the bible!). Almost one in two marriages end in divorce, fornication and homosexuality are largely accepted as normal, one in three babies is murdered in the womb and children are murdering other children. We have reaped what we have sown.

Warmest regards to you!

Sincerely in Christ,

Joni


Re: Dear Kevin,

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 8 July 1998, at 8:50 a.m., in response to Dear Kevin,, posted by joni on Wednesday, 8 July 1998, at 6:49 a.m.

Important note:

I wrote that in God's plan women and children are protected. I ask anyone who reads my above post to try to read it as a future citizen of heaven, and not as a citizen of a wealthy industrialized nation!!! Most people do not live the way we do!

Christ re-elevated the status of marriage to it's original position and at the same type elevated the role of women, also. Women could no longer be cast aside because they displeased their husbands.
Until this century and except for women living in wealthier, industrialized nations, women had no protection except the protection that Christ afforded them in marriage. Christianity has not been the cause of discrimination against women...as I have read on this board, but, in fact, has elevated women to a status not afforded by any other religion. Any legal *gains* women have made in the world have been made in Christian countries.

The fact remains that women and children suffer terribly through divorce much more so than men. Is this God's plan? To leave the most vulnerable unprotected? Jesus clearly stated that *Moses* permitted divorce; God does not.

Hope this explains my thoroughly sexist, old fashioned attitude!

Sincerely,
Joni


Dear Lorraine, Marie and Julie, for an explanation of what appears to fly in the face of common sense, see below! nt

Posted by joni on Wednesday, 8 July 1998, at 11:38 a.m., in response to Re: First coverings, now this question...., posted by Julie Hamilton on Thursday, 2 July 1998, at 11:42 a.m.

nt


Re: Valid Marriages??

Posted by William Eaton on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:27 a.m., in response to Dear William and Kevin...my response re: divorce and remarriage, posted by joni on Tuesday, 7 July 1998, at 9:44 p.m.

Hi Joni,

You state:

-- William makes "The woman at the well" argument. William says "Jesus states the fact that the woman had FIVE valid husbands." Actually, Jesus NEVER stated that the woman had 5 valid husbands, but I concur that the woman had 5 *husbands*---UNDER THE MOSAIC LAW.--

If they were not "valid" husbands, then why call them "husbands" at all? If these "husbands" fell into the last catagory (the one who currently was not a "husband") why would Jesus make the distinction? Do we now have two seperate terms for all of our experiences? "Husbands" in the "worldly sense" and "husbands" in the godly sense?

Even to use your example of Jesus' words about those who commit adultery when they "marry" seems to indicate that there is *not* a distinction between marriage(worldly) and marriage(biblical).

If there is a distinction, it brings up an interesting concept: Are unbelievers actually "married"?

In my opinion, your example making the distinction between marriage(worldly) and marriage(Biblically) actually proves my position. Even when adultery takes place, a remarriage is just that--a marriage, both in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of God. The rightness or wrongness of such a marriage taking place is certainly worth arguing, but not the validity of the marriage itself, imo.

You also state:

--... but I concur that the woman had 5 *husbands*---UNDER THE MOSAIC LAW.

The "MOSAIC LAW" was God's Law. Moses didn't write his opinions and call it "The Law". The Deut. 24 passage was God's Word on the subject of divorce and remarriage. So the woman's marriages were all "valid" in the sight of God. Whether or not they were well advised is another question altogether! *grin*

William


PREACH IT, BROTHER!! *grin* nt

Posted by Kate Megill on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:40 a.m., in response to Re: Valid Marriages??, posted by William Eaton on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:27 a.m.

,


Re: Dear Kevin,

Posted by William Eaton on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:44 a.m., in response to Re: Dear Kevin,, posted by joni on Wednesday, 8 July 1998, at 8:50 a.m.

Hi Joni,

You said:

-- Jesus clearly stated that *Moses* permitted divorce; God does not.--

On what basis can you make this statement? Did God give the Law or not? Was Moses writing under his own influence or under the inspiration of God?

I think that you'll find that the use of "Moses" is a generic way of referring to "the Law," which was in reality--"God's Law".

William


Sorry, this should have been "Dear Joni"! nt

Posted by William Eaton on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:45 a.m., in response to Re: Dear Kevin,, posted by William Eaton on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:44 a.m.

nt


Will think about this, but I suppose Jesus was confused about who "permitted" divorce???? nt

Posted by joni on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 11:43 a.m., in response to Re: Valid Marriages??, posted by William Eaton on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 10:27 a.m.

nt


Not at all... Jesus was the author of Deut.24! nt

Posted by William Eaton on Sunday, 12 July 1998, at 12:34 p.m., in response to Will think about this, but I suppose Jesus was confused about who "permitted" divorce???? nt, posted by joni on Saturday, 11 July 1998, at 11:43 a.m.

nt


Divorce question

Posted by Nancy in TX on Tuesday, 8 September 1998, at 12:46 p.m.

I am confused about divorce and what the bible says about it. My husband has been divorced twice and I am his 3rd (and last!) wife. Is this marriage valid in God's eyes or adulterous? My mom divorced my dad and remarried a wonderful man. Is this an adulterous marriage? I am *very* confused and concerned.

Thanks,

Nancy


Re: Divorce question

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Tuesday, 8 September 1998, at 1:21 p.m., in response to Divorce question, posted by Nancy in TX on Tuesday, 8 September 1998, at 12:46 p.m.

Dear Nancy,

There was a very involved discussion that is available in the archives on this very issue. You might be interested in reading the thread. There were disagreements on this issue but hopefully the scripture used and discussed will help you search this out with the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Re: Divorce question

Posted by Nancy in TX on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 7:19 a.m., in response to Re: Divorce question, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Tuesday, 8 September 1998, at 1:21 p.m.

Thank you!


Re: Divorce question

Posted by Nancy in TX on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 7:45 a.m., in response to Re: Divorce question, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Tuesday, 8 September 1998, at 1:21 p.m.


Well, I read the archived thread, and now I'm more confused than ever! *G* Guess I'll just have to read those verses mentioned in the thread and ask the Lord for His wisdom. Since my husband has been divorced twice, I'm wondering if my marriage is valid.

Nancy


Re: Divorce question

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 8:05 a.m., in response to Re: Divorce question, posted by Nancy in TX on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 7:45 a.m.

Dear Nancy,

I agree very much with William and (of course) Kevin. Why should the fact that your husband was divorced 1, 2 or 9 times make a difference to the validity to YOUR marriage? The woman that Jesus spoke to when he told her that she had had 4 husbands and the one she had now was not her husband. He could have called each of the other "men" in her life non-husbands as well, but he called them husbands. To me that says he recognized them as legitimate marriages. The relationship she was in at the present had not been legitimate as they were never married.

I firmly believe the scripture teaches that once you are in a marriage, it becomes set apart by Him and is valid. Yes, divorce (for reasons other than adultery and possibly allowing an unbeliever to leave) is sin, but with sin we go and confess to the Lord and to those we have harmed. We don't sin again (divorce again) to try to "fix" the situation. With our confession comes restoration with the Lord.

I believe the verses shared in Deut. about NOT divorcing and returning to our former spouse addresses this quite clearly.

Yes, the best thing would be to search out the passages that were brought up and look to the Lord and His eternal grace and heart of redeemer! This is the key to our lives as believers, that He is our redeemer. He takes our filthy rags and makes them white as snow. Nothing we can (or have) do is too great for His redemptive power in our lives!

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Thanks again Kate. :-) (nt)

Posted by Nancy in TX on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 9:24 a.m., in response to Re: Divorce question, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 8:05 a.m.


One quick question, Kate...

Posted by Julie Hamilton on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 7:30 a.m., in response to Re: Divorce question, posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Wednesday, 9 September 1998, at 8:05 a.m.

You said: "Yes, divorce, (for reasons other than adultery and possibly allowing an unbeliever to leave) is sin..." Do you agree that physical abuse is grounds for divorce?

I'm not looking to open a can of worms, here, I just am thinking perhaps you gave the "short version" and left that one out. :-D Or do you not believe that being beaten is sufficient grounds in God's eyes to divorce a mate?

Julie in PA


Re: One quick question, Kate...

Posted by Barbara on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 6:36 p.m., in response to One quick question, Kate..., posted by Julie Hamilton on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 7:30 a.m.

Hi Julie,

I might be able to help with the answer to that question. I was married to a man who was very abusive, In fact if I had stayed married to him I belive that I would have died, leaving behind my four children to be raised by him. Did God want me in that marriage? I do not claim to know completely the mind of God, but I can, by the love He has shown to me, say that He did not want me to suffer. The scriptures says that God hates divorce, well it also says He hates abuse.

I am remarried now to a wonderful Christian man who loves the Lord completely. Does God see this marriage as valid? Yes! I can say that because of the relationship that I have with God and the peace I see in my home because of it.

Does this help?

barbi


Re: One quick question, Kate...

Posted by Julie Hamilton on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 6:49 p.m., in response to Re: One quick question, Kate..., posted by Barbara on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 6:36 p.m.

Barbara,

I appreciate your response. My church has a very wonderful, highly regarded biblical counseling ministry with which I have been involved for many years. We have ministered to many people (obviously mostly women) who have been victims of hellish abuse at the hands of their spouses. I agree with you completely, but I was wondering if Kate agreed that abuse --true abuse-- is legitimate, biblical grounds for divorce.

There is a dear woman who posts regularly on this board who was seriously abused by her first husband. He told her he was going to kill her, and how he was going to kill her, and where he was going to bury her body. Her "pastor" told her she had to go back to him and if he killed her it must be God's will. I find this horrifying.

Now, I do believe the word "abuse" gets kicked around a lot and is overused to a ridiculous degree. But when someone is really being abused, I can't imagine Jesus would tell them to submit to that.

Julie in PA


Re: One quick question, Kate...

Posted by Barbara on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 11:47 a.m., in response to Re: One quick question, Kate..., posted by Julie Hamilton on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 6:49 p.m.

Dear Julie,

I agree with you. Jesus does not want us to be subjected to abuse, terror, or torture nor do I consider it sin to leave a situation where this is happening.
My pastor was very careful, he spoke to my exhusband, spoke to the children and then advised me to leave. He saw that we were in a truly abusive and dangerous situation and not just throwing around a word. My exhusband also threatened to kill me, he said that when I least expected it he would be there, maybe after I got out of the shower or maybe in a dark parking lot, he said I would turn around or open my eyes and there he would be, I wouldnt even have the time to think my next thought, I would be dead before I hit the floor.
To anyone in this situation or a situation like it I say, "Run! Run, for your life and the lives of your children!" Sorry for going on, but the thought of someone telling that dear woman to stay in that situation and that perhaps God will is for her to die at the hands of her abusive husband, really horrifies me.

Barbi


A happier Chapter Two...

Posted by Julie Hamilton on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 1:46 p.m., in response to Re: One quick question, Kate..., posted by Barbara on Friday, 11 September 1998, at 11:47 a.m.

Barbi,

Just so ya know, the woman I mentioned is now happily remarried to a wonderful guy, they have a family and she is really growing in Christ.

God is faithful.

Julie in PA


Re: One quick question, Kate...

Posted by LMartin on Sunday, 13 September 1998, at 7:20 a.m., in response to Re: One quick question, Kate..., posted by Barbara on Thursday, 10 September 1998, at 6:36 p.m.

Barbara i agree with you. My mom is in her second and last marriage, her first husband (my dad)cheated on her and was a little abusive. From what i understand your not supposed to be "linked" with an unbeliever (dad was), and it's ok to get out if those are the reasons. My mom is now married to a great guy and i consider him "my dad"and vise versa.

Lisa


Re: One quick question, Kate...

Posted by Kevin & Kate Megill on Monday, 14 September 1998, at 8:18 a.m., in response to Re: One quick question, Kate..., posted by LMartin on Sunday, 13 September 1998, at 7:20 a.m.

Dear Lisa,

Actually about the being yoked with an unbeliever, scripture says if your unbelieving spouse leaves you are not required to try to make him stay...you can let him/her go. It does not say that if you married an unbeliever YOU can leave the marriage.
1 Cor 7:15: "Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace."

In His Joy and Grace,
Kate Megill


Re: Divorce question

Posted by Melanie L. on Thursday, 17 September 1998, at 10:15 a.m., in response to Divorce question, posted by Nancy in TX on Tuesday, 8 September 1998, at 12:46 p.m.

Nancy, it is a good question and confusion is not wrong - but do not fret. You have joined in marriage, made a committment of to your husband and he to you. If he loves the Lord and loves you as Christ loves the Church, God is not going to condemn your marriage or you. God makes things beautiful in His sight. Divorce is a very hard thing, and I feel to easy to do in todays society. Some relationships are not to be, and your husband has probably had to search his heart each time he has divorced. But in Scripture, it has said,"the only reason for divorce is unfaithfulness." Ask God to reveal His love to you "I pray for you in your confusion, and we lift this burden unto you Lord, and asking that you bind it in your name. God in you we trust!"

In Christ Jesus,
Melanie L.

:o)