Mum's the Word on Divorce

The Church’s Scandalous Silence

Rating: 5.00

We evangelicals are so silent on this crucial topic, we might as well call it the “D-word.” I’ll explain next, on BreakPoint.

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Eric Metaxas

If I asked you to name the “hot button” social issues of concern to Christians, you’d probably cite abortion and gay marriage right away. Of course, the coarse and hyper-sexualized nature of popular culture might also come to mind.

But what probably wouldn’t come to mind is the high incidence of divorce. Given the clear biblical teaching on the subject and its impact on families and children, that is, to put it mildly, more than a little odd.

Actually, as one Christian leader rightly puts it, our lack of attention to the subject is a “scandal.”

That leader is Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. I recently came across a three-year-old podcast—better late than never, especially in this case—in which he labeled our indifference to divorce “the scandal of the Evangelical conscience.”

The podcast began with an interview of Mark A. Smith, a political scientist at the University of Washington. Smith had recently written a paper entitled “Religion, Divorce, and the Missing Culture War in America.”

As Smith studied the culture wars across the U.S., he was struck by the issue that was conspicuous by its absence: namely divorce.

For instance, during its existence, the Moral Majority “mobilized and lobbied on many political issues, including abortion, pornography, gay rights, school prayer . . . and sex education in schools.” In contrast, divorce ranked “so low on the group’s agenda that books on the Moral Majority do not even give the issue an entry in the index.”

This makes no sense. As Smith noted, “from the standpoint of simple logic, divorce fits cleanly within the category of ‘family values.’”  In fact, “divorce seems to carry a more direct connection to the daily realities of families than do the bellwether culture war issues of abortion and homosexuality.”

So Mohler asked Smith, why the silence on divorce?

Smith’s answer is that “the inclusion of divorce on the agenda of the Christian right would have risked a massive alienation of members,” so the issue went virtually unmentioned.

Or, as Mohler put it, “evangelicals allowed culture to trump Scripture.” According to him, “the church largely followed the lead of its members and accepted what might be called the ‘privatization’ of divorce. Churches simply allowed a secular culture to determine that divorce is no big deal, and that it is a purely private matter.”

This happened despite the clear scriptural teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life.

As divorce has been privatized—fenced off from Scripture, Christian teaching, and from the community—so has marriage. If marriage is merely a means to happiness or sexual fulfillment (instead of a sacrament, a life-long commitment of sacrificial love open to the creation of life), no wonder same-sex couples argue that they deserve the same happiness and fulfillment available to heterosexuals.

In addition, what Mohler calls the “real scandal”—the fact that “evangelical Protestants divorce at rates at least as high as the rest of the public”—creates a “significant credibility crisis when evangelicals then rise to speak in defense of marriage.”Newsletter_Gen_180x180_B

No, divorce is not an unpardonable sin but, as Mohler insists, it is a sin, and our acceptance of this particular sin while inveighing against other violations of God’s plan for marriage is hypocritical.

My point here is not to pour salt on the wounds of divorced Christians—they deserve and need our compassion; but it’s to get the Church to acknowledge the beam in its own eye and, thus, end a silence that is not only conspicuous but scandalous.

Further Reading and Information

BP-Takeaction_80613Mum’s the Word on Divorce: The Church’s Scandalous Silence - Next Steps

As Eric points out, the honest truth is that most churches shy away from the subject of divorce. Recognizing that there is no condemnation in Christ, we must also recognize and acknowledge the truth that Christ highlighted in His own ministry—God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman, for life.

The links below can help as we become active encouragers of marriages in our churches and spheres of influence. Check out the practical steps for strengthening and supporting the married couples you know.


Marriage Savers


Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More than to Make Us Happy?
Gary L. Thomas | Zondervan | February 2002

The Mystery of Marriage: Meditations on the Miracle
Mike Mason | Multnomah Publishers | June 2005

Other Resources:

Religion, Divorce, and the Missing Culture War in America, downloadable pdf
Mark A. Smith | Political Science Quarterly | Spring 2010

Divorce—the Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, podcast
Albert Mohler | Albertmohler.com | September 30, 2010


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Zen and the art of morocycle engine searches
Thanks for the heads up on engine searches. I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm searching for an engine, whether it's a steam engine or a jet engine.
A word to the wise, Richard -- don't use our search engine. It's terrible. Use Google and include the word "BreakPoint" in your search.

. . . And yes, I know it should be fixed. There's nothing I can do about it. I don't have the skills to fix it, and those around here who do have the skills don't have the time.
Does cheese age better than Twinkies?
I didn't mean to imply that the late Chuck Colson's 2009 commentary on abuse was out of date. I was just thinking that if it's been that long since any commentary on that subject has been run, maybe someone doesn't think it's very important. If worse comes to worse you could run the 2009 commentary every year, or more often. And I certainly wouldn't consider repeatedly rerunning a four-year-old commentary if I thought it was out of date.

PS I did a search in the BreakPoint Archive of commentaries since 1/2/09 on the topic of Marriage & Family for the word abuse. It found 15. I looked at a sample of them, and most were on homosexuality and gay "marriage". The closest one to the subject I found was one on how in ancient times free sex, including homosexuality, was all the rage and women and boys were regularly sexually used and abused by men, until God gave Israel the law that sex should be confined to heterosexual marriage ("Judaism's Sexual Revolution", 2/3/12). Daisy Chain, the one you referenced, wasn't even on the list! The 4/25/13 commentary "We Hate to Say We Told You So", and its rerun on 7/5/13 were both on the list.
Thank you, Richard. Re: the age of the commentary, it was simply the first one that came to my mind, and I don't think it's particularly out of date.
The referenced commentary on abuse

As I've said before, sometimes I try to help out with website problems. This is a web page problem I've seen before on this site. Maybe it only happens in certain browsers. Maybe it's just a bug in my browser. But even if it is, I'm sure there are others using the same browser (and possibly others) who experienced the same issue. Here it is.

I went to the page you referenced in your recent comment on this page. The first thing I noticed was that it is four years old. I wondered if it has been that long since you had a commentary on abuse. But the big problem is I couldn't read the first paragraph because it was partially obscured by the audio controls. I was able to think of several ways to get around that problem, because I'm familiar with how the web works, but I thought maybe some other readers of this page might not. So here are three:

1. (This one is kind of obvious if you think about it.) Use the audio controls to play the commentary, if only to hear the first paragraph. Or listen to all of it. Your choice.

2. Use your web browser's Page Source command (every browser I've ever used has one, although it has different names in some, but I suppose there could be exceptions) to see the HTML source code of the page, and look for the text of the first paragraph. I guarantee you it is there. The easiest way to find it is to use the Find command to look for the first few words of the paragraph that you can see on the page.

3. Select the text of the first paragraph with the mouse and/or keyboard (there are several ways to do that), do a Copy command (just how to do that depends on your browser and your operating system, e.g. Windows, Mac OS). Then open your favorite text editor or word processor, and paste it into a blank document.

Hope that helps.

P.S. For those still having problems, here is the first paragraph:

Recently, I discussed the very disturbing topic of abuse in Christian homes. Overall, the feedback I received from listeners was very positive—many expressed their gratitude that we would speak about such a difficult but important issue. Others, however, were distinctly uncomfortable that we aired two commentaries on the subject.
Cindy, I'm truly sorry to hear what you went through. Please know that no one here is condoning abuse. In fact, we've done some commentaries about that very subject before. Here's an example: http://www.breakpoint.org/commentaries/12461-daisy-chain
The new scarlet letter
Let me guess. You guys are all married and most likely came from families little affected by divorce. Let me remind you many people aren't that lucky and see things from a different standpoint.

While I’m in agreement that we need to spend more time helping marriages, I find most these arguments quite unconvincing. While it is very clear that God loves marriages and hates divorce, I can’t see any compelling evidence that divorce, in and of itself, is sinful. In fact, this is quite impossible given that God in his word, approves of divorce, allows divorce, and even commands divorce. I’ve heard this argument from many “spiritual” people and it has more to do with people proving their spirituality.

And I believe this is the big reason why Church’s often shy away from the issue. The people who are most vocal about divorce (and they aren't rare), spend their time condemning people and circumstances they don’t understand, while picking and choosing what parts of the Bible to use. They claim they present the full Biblical view while you are denying the authority of scripture. Does this sound familiar? And any chance that people could have a real discussion on how we should handle divorce is dominated by their condemnation of those who are victims of divorce.

Now I understand that divorce can be sinful and almost certainly has some sinful aspects to it, but it is much more complicated than calling it sin. All the teaching that condemn divorce seem to be circumstantial, while it is left out of any passage about law or other grouping of sins.

I also have to say that these facts about divorce, which have been circulated for decades, are very circumspect. Of course the divorce rate is similar between those who go to church are don’t, since most people go to church. When you look at the actual people who are committed to the Church and practice Christianity, the divorce rate drops off significantly.

But the idea of measuring divorce rates in the Church is circumspect itself. I don’t see any place in the Bible where it says divorce will decrease as Christianity expands. It’s an interesting idea, but we need to keep in mind that Jesus didn't come to bring peace. Certainly Christianity stirs up conflict along with alleviating it.

Can someone actually sit down and have a real conversation about divorce instead of letting a few vocal objectors dictate to everyone else how we must act. I really want help those going through divorces and prevent as many as possible, but this is unlikely given the fact of the stigma put on anyone who even mentions the word. That is why it is the new scarlet letter. It's not a real concession to say its forgivable (all sins are), but it has become the sin that we love to elevate above all others, shaming anyone in its wake. Who is going to seek help from the Church when the Church has the attitude of condemnation.

After watching several good friends go through this, I can't stand by and let people criticize circumstances they don't even understand. I have come to the firm conclusion that if you are still married it is for a simple reason: You haven't endured what others have. Keep that in mind before you start throwing stones. Every generation has their sin of choice to make others feel better. Divorce is ours.
Cindy Burrell's testimony
Cindy, and other women who've had the courage to comment, I do not disparage your testimony at all. There is one side of the equation I don't hear about however. Where are the godly elders/deacons of the church who should be confronting these husbands that are jerks? Where is the practice of Matthew 18 with these prideful men? To me it seems Cindy received sound, biblical advice. But such was not carried out with her husband. Shame on the church! AND WHERE WERE THE PRAYER WARRIORS? Enduring, persistent, intercessory prayer? We the church have failed in many places of biblical responsibility. But I will err on the side of this article before I err on the "easy divorce" side of the equation - which IS NOT where Cindy was at all! THANK YOU CINDY for your perspective, and call to fully deal with both spouses.
I was fairly broken-hearted when I read the this article. Mr. Metaxas firmly espouses the traditional church script on the subject of divorce, calling it a “sin.” Yes, the legalists will love the piece, but it is simplistic, inaccurate and, yes, unbiblical.

You see, divorce is biblical. It was provided specifically to protect and defend women who were being neglected or abused by their husbands. Surely you will endeavor to discredit me. So be it. I am a survivor of a 20-year “Christian” marriage to a verbal and emotional abuser - and a divorcee. I was released from my marriage by the Holy Spirit after so many long years of living according to the church mantra, saddled with a belief that God would heal our marriage if I was obedient.

During those horrid years, I was convinced that my obedience would yield restoration, so my world revolved around fulfilling my biblical obligations and saving my marriage. The more my husband abused me the harder I tried. He loved that. He continued to ratchet up the intensity of his abuse toward me and our children while demanding that I submit to him and claiming the authority the church gave him as head of the home. But, the church said I was to forgive “seventy times seven,” that I could “win him without a word,” and my prayers and submission would yield change.

In the ten years since I left, I have been healed by the grace of God, and my children have begun to heal from the emotional wounds their unrepentant father inflicted – multiplied because I was convinced that I was supposed to remain with him. Yes, the church defends the office of marriage while neglecting the sanctity of it. It defends suffering as a means of honoring God, when marriage is intended to reflect the love between Christ and His church, not a form of terrible bondage inflicted in God’s name. It was when I finally cried out to God and asked Him what I should do that I heard unmistakably, “You must leave.” Still I believed our relationship should be healed. But, my husband remained unrepentant, and nine months later, the Lord released me.

The truth is that it takes two people to keep a marriage whole, and only one person to destroy it. Our marriage had been decimated from the inside out long before I ever filed anything. The divorce was a public declaration of a spiritual reality.

The saddest part in all of this is that abusers love the church’s rigid stance on divorce. It empowers them to rationalize their cruel and dominating behaviors and keeps their victims held captive – and the church somehow takes pride in that. The church offers abusers grace and acceptance and forgiveness and puts the onus on the abusers’ victims to attempt the impossible – to find a way to earn the love of a narcissistic sociopath. The church is truly an abuser’s most powerful ally.

How bad can it be, you say? Well, abusers aren’t just people having an occasional bad day. Abusers are emotionally and verbally cruel – they make it a habit to tear down your looks, your faith, your character, your family, your hobbies, anything that brings you joy. They are accusatory, sarcastic, and manipulative. Their lies are truth. They rage and use veiled and direct threats and slam doors and glare at their victims or use the silent treatment against them. Abusers threaten their wives with risks to children and pets and abuse the innocent when their wives don’t give them whatever it is they want. They demand perfection and punish or berate the spouse who fails in the minutest detail. And they show up at church on Sunday mornings holding their victim’s hand and greeting everyone… They may be a deacon or a youth leader. That provides a good cover for them.

Abusers may molest, grope or rape their wives or ask her to do things she finds repulsive. He will say “your body is not your own,” and laugh when she cries for mercy. Abusers often deprive their victims of financial and material sustenance, isolate them from friends and family and other forms of emotional support, and use Scripture and Christian lingo to badger and berate their victims. “You just need to trust me, submit to me, understand what a godly wife is like, fulfill your wifely duty, stop being so selfish, learn to forgive…” Day after day, month after month, year after year. This is what the church defends.

People who say that Christians should never divorce have never lived with an abuser who calls himself a “Christian.” The victim who finally dares to break her silence may well hear her pastor tell her, “God hates divorce,” she needs to go home and fix it, that God will help her do so. Those pastors pat themselves on the back for keeping a marriage together. They don’t understand abuse – or God’s heart and design for marriage.

People who say there is no justification for divorce also don’t know Scripture. Maybe those who are willing to see the heart of God and want to know what Jesus really meant will be willing to dig a little deeper instead of spouting off “God hates divorce,” which isn’t what God said at all.

Take a look at my three-part series on “A Redemptive Look at Three of the Most Commonly Misappropriated Scriptures on the Subject of Divorce.” You can find the first part here.

Need more evidence? Read Pastor Jeff Crippen’s new book, “A Cry for Justice,” or theologian David Instone-Brewer’s “Divorce and Remarriage” or Pastor Walter Callison’s “Divorce: A Gift of God’s Love,” or my book, “God Is My Witness: Making a Case for Biblical Divorce.”

The very righteous-seeming mantra of Christians should never get a divorce keeps abused people in destructive, ungodly, unbiblical marriages and teaches our children that the ungodly horror they are living in is somehow “Christian,” acceptable and normal. It is treachery. And that is what God hates. It’s too bad the church doesn’t understand what abuse is and why God provided divorce.

Judge me all you want. I thank God for His grace and provision – and stand in it.

Cindy Burrell
Owner and Author
The Difference
I appreciate the opportunity to bring this subject to mainstream Christians. It is a subject not dicussed as a challenge for us. We do need to address this epidemic and place more emphasis on the sanctity of marriage and what it means in serving our Lord. Utilizing topics on the rights of gay marriage as a double standard for our silence on divorce...is complicated and in my opinion, in error. Let's begin with Moses. He wrote letters of divorce. The justification was fornication. Jesus spoke of divorce (Matthew 19:8)I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife EXCEPT for sexual immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery.
The word except here is in shouty caps. Adultery is used to deine sex outside of marital bonds. Fornication is the other justification for divorce. The other, sexual immorality is as follows: prostitution, pornography, adultery, and homosexuality. Any of these would be legitimate reasons for divorce. We can not and should not minimize our sin. We, as Christians, are repentant. However, we do not take a sin and sanctify it and ask God to make it holy in his eyes i.e., marriage. By allowing gay couples to participate in this sacrament is mocking God. Homosexuality is clearly ear-marked by God as an abomination in his eys. Yes, we commit adultery...even when our eyes lust for another, we are adulters at heart. Matthew 5:27-28. We should pay attention to double standards and hypocrisy and continually repent and seeks God's Will. His will would not be implemented in same sex marriage.
The Church isn't completely silent, there are ministries to support marriage and to help those in trouble and who have failed, but they are not always easy to find. Divorce Care is one such ministry. Others I know about originated at Saddleback Church and can be replicated at other churches by simply asking Saddleback Church for help - Separated Men's Group, Separated Women's Group, and Single Parents Ministry. This is an extremely important issue the Church needs to address, especially in the face of today's culture on traditional marriage. The core of our society is the family and erosion in this area will cause our foundation to crumble. This needs to be a top priority in our churches. The Same-sex marriage issue is only a symptom of a much deeper problem.
Thanks for this solid article. As a pastor not currently serving a church, I too, share the same passion, and am following God's lead to mobilize the church to teach and offer marriage reconciliation at a higher frequency than how to divorce and move on to your next relationship.

Church folks, including staffers, are uncomfortable before and after a couple is in trouble. The couple in trouble knows this and suffers in silence because of it. Once the divorce or intent to divorce is "announced", we quickly say, "We're so sorry. Let's get you into a singles class so you can meet someone." This is the most harmful thing we can do to a hurting individual and the children whose family just shattered.
To that end, I have worked to successfully introduce a bill in the GA General Assembly (we call it the Children's Hope for Family Act). The church needs the state's help to slow things down so we can learn how to helpfully intervene and save families. In GA and many other states, the "waiting period" is only 30 days. The enemy gets in the camp and whispers, "This will all be over soon and you can start a new life fresh and clean, away from all this. The kids will be fine."

For any who are interested in the proposed legislation and our efforts to save 1/3 of the families with children who are considering divorce, my website is www.allforfamlife.org/divorce-intervention.

If we just stand on God's Word when He gives us opportunity, He will be glorified.
"You have well said, I have no husband: For you have had five husbands; and the man you now have is not your husband.."
I think it no coincidence that this is in the context of," Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." -Jn 4
The divorce rate within in the church is staggering, along with the rate of infidelity. Most leave their spouse for someone else. It would appear that the spring has been clogged. There seems to be so much emphasis (at least in this part of the country where I live) on giving of yourself 100% by doing some church related activity; and very little emphasis on cultivating a relationship with God through time in private praise and fellowship in his word. Neglecting this can leave one dry and frustrated.
Jeremiah 2:13 states "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
Perhaps we have put to high an expectation on our own spouses to meet our needs, perhaps we just become too busy with 'much serving' and have subsided 'drinking from the well,' or 'waiting on the one who renews our strength.' And when we notice that what used to be a river is now only a trickle, we start hewing out a cistern in the form of someone or something else. It ought not be.
Is 55:1 "Ho, every one that thirst, come to the waters.....and let your soul delight itself in fatness. This verse always gives me a chuckle when I think of the slang meaning of the word 'Ho.' It could just as well been written 'whore.'
I realize that Jesus said "Go...make disciples," but perhaps we have forgotten that he also says "Come."
Perhaps I've not given an answer to the deafening silence in the church with regards to divorce. But I think this is the solution to the divorce rate.
Not a whore(ing)...anymore.
Ephe 3:19
the D word and the need for reversing course
Thanks for writing this article. To the extent that Christians are perceived as having the same divorce rate as the rest of the culture it diminishes our ability to affect the culture on other matters. My son/daughter uses this argument as a support for gay marriage. The line goes "how can Christians have any thing to say about gay marriage when they have the same divorce rates as everyone else?"

The silence is the killer. We cannot bury a subject due to its difficulty. We can condemn ourselves for aggregate results that are too high - rates that prove the extent of our accomodation to culture. We can also point out better analysis (such as one K posted from Stand to Reason) than the soundbite analysis that gets posited and repeated. But if the rate is too high (which it is) we must be the more careful in our manner.

We have to be careful on our judgements - (individual cases are extremently difficult even for those closest) but silence on the aggregate is unworthy. There are so many areas of our faith where we need (through many means) to recommit to orthodoxy and Christ's claims on our life and faith rather than being like the frog accepting the gradual warming of the pot in accomodation to cultural shifts that go against the scriptures.

Can I write this only if never divorced? What about divorced once? twice? do episodic details matter?

Our aggregate diet has been poor, our exercise has been lacking and we are guilty of a gluttony of self centered cultural accommodation in the area of marriage. We must determine to do everything possible within the body of Christ to permanently change course. We must train for and run a marathon rather than a sprint – a marathon burdened by the weight we have piled on ourselves.

Thank you Eric for an excellent nudge in the right direction (and thanks for coming out to Orcas Island last summer for Kindlings Fest).
Please note that I am writing this because of my deep experience with this subject. Between the both of my biological mother and father they have been married 7 times. Between the eight of my siblings we have had 5 separate parents. One of my brothers just recently came out of the closet. I grew up primarily in a very broken but conservative christian home. If there is any one out there that believes that any divorce, no matter the circumstances, can be considered innocent or if one believes that certain divorces lacks consequences, is a person that i want to shake some sense in right now. Regardless of the fact that a divorce is a result of mental, emotional, verbal, physical, sexual abuse, or whether it is infidelity; it is a cancer. Divorce is rotten at every and any angle it can be manifested. In my family alone, it has taken an emotional, mental and spiritual toll on everyone, including the children who had nothing to do with the causes. I understand that there are some legitimate reasons to divorce, but as a reminder, this amputation is not isolated to the separation of a husband and wife. It involves a slew of hurtful amputations to the whole family. I am not speaking so much about couples that have no children. I do not believe the damage is so catastrophic without kids. I could write a book on this topic and share story after story telling the events from my family's life. The only other issue I want to address is remarriage. Can I just say without a doubt and with as much earnest as i can. . . If u have children. Do not. . . I repeat, do NOT remarry. I wish badly that I could explain all the pitfalls and problems of not only divorce, but also remarriage with kids involved. There is so much pain and so much that becomes broken that can never be fixed. As a final thought, my view of a family was so distorted that when I met my wife around her family and noticed the intimacy and connection she had from not living a lifestyle similar to mine, I thought there was something weird and sexually strange things happening with her family. I didnt understand it and took me quite some time to understand how divorce sickened my own mnd regardless of the fact that it wasnt me who signed the divorce papers.
One reason churches are silent is because people who divorce rarely stay divorced. They remarry. And when it comes to Christians, if the divorce was not on biblical grounds, then the remarriage is on unbiblical grounds as well.

Can you imagine saying to an audience of perhaps regular attenders/members, "You're living in adultery"? Talk about offending people! And we all know we can't do THAT.

I remember hearing about these topics 25 years ago when my (now former) church was just starting out and we were very small. But of course as time went on and the church grew, there was no more talk about it and I assume no accountability on it either.

No wonder we are of so little use in the culture today. We cannot even police our own, as it were.
From Stand to Reason's website:

"W. Bradford Wilcox, a leading sociologist at the University of Virginia and director of the National Marriage Project, finds from his own analysis that 'active conservative Protestants' who regularly attend church are 35 percent less likely to divorce compared to those who have no affiliation. Nominally attending conservative Protestants are 20 percent more likely to divorce, compared to secular Americans."

I agree with the main point of "Mum's the Word on Divorce." I've had church Bible study leaders (facilitators) who probably do not know how much baggage they carry from their divorces, but it affects their ability to lead.
divorce and abuse
This commentary has many good points, but one stood out to me as being a blanket statement that is not always true. The statement "Divorce is sin." is a sentence that is also bringing problems to the Church. Sometimes it is sin, and sometimes it is not. For more on this view, please take a look at this blog post: http://cryingoutforjustice.wordpress.com/2012/04/04/divorce-is-sin-says-who-guest-article-by-joe-pote/

There is not time or space to fully speak to this issue here. Just know that many people in the church stay in marriages where there is a great deal of abuse, enabling their spouse to continue to sin against them, while the church applauds the abuser for wanting to stay in the marriage. I've been there. I have friends who have been there. My children have suffered and have a skewed idea of what marriage is, which I now have to help them straighten out.
Many times women have to choose between two very difficult options, abuse and divorce. And sometimes, as in my case, the divorce was done to me, along with the abuse. So which "sin" did we choose? Divorce or abuse?
Fantastic article!
Thank you for this truth-filled commentary. Where the Church has failed to maintain a commitment to Biblical marriage, the very platform for evangelism itself has crumbled.
One thing that would be huge in the issue of divorce is church discipline. I am thankful that the elders in my local congregation take this aspect of their calling very seriously. When members of the church seek divorce, our session gets involved with the discipline process. They seek to hold both the man and the woman accountable to the vows that they took before God when entering their marriage. They follow very closely the church discipline in Matthew 18. When members join the church, they place themselves under the authority of the teaching and ruling elders. I have seen some marriages dissolved in spite of this, but at least we are trying to be faithful to God's word.
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