Recently I was taken to task over my view of divorce and remarriage in the church. This came about because I had publicly in our church prayed over a newly wed couple where the wife had been divorced and the previous husband was still alive and unmarried. This appeared to have been an official acceptance on my part, and the church’s part, of their marriage – which it was.
I thought it would be good to get my views down in digital format (no longer paper and ink!) so we could discuss these things.
There are several issues that have to be looked at. First of all, what is marriage? Why do we have marriage since it is not essential for procreation? How does marriage fit into God’s plan for mankind? Is it more than itself i.e. a sign of something greater? If so, what? Are polygamy and polyandry always wrong? How does the church relate to those new converts who are in such marriages?
Secondly there is the issue of divorce itself. What is it? Can it be done without sinning? Is it always because of the hardness of the heart? If it is always sinful, how do you repent of it? What does repentance over this sin look like? How can such a person be restored? If it is not always sinful, how can we tell the difference? Do we need to always be able to tell the difference? Is it ever the right thing to do?
Then, after coming to an understanding divorce, we need to see how this applies to remarriage. Can a divorced person remarry? Is this always adultery? If it is adultery, how can this be repented of? What does forgiveness of the sin of remarriage look like? Can a remarriage be blessed by God? Under what conditions, if any, can a remarriage after divorce be proper? If never proper what do you do about it? How should the church relate to those who are married improperly?
These are some of the questions that need to be addressed in order to answer the question of divorce and remarriage. I will try to simply address these issues over the next few posts. Wish me luck.