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  #1  
Old 01-02-2002, 05:31 PM
trying2understand trying2understand is offline
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How does a pastor of a Baptist church address divorce and remarriage among his members? Is it treated as though such church members are living in continuing adultery?

How are divorced/remarried Christians who seek membership in a Baptist church counselled?

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: trying2understand ]
  #2  
Old 01-02-2002, 09:46 PM
HankD HankD is offline
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This varies from church to church since Baptist churches are autonomous (or are supposed to be).

Most situations which I have seen allow divorced and remarried people to become members particularly if this happened before their salvation.
some/many Baptists churches won't allow either person to teach or the husband to preach or hold a church office if either has had another spouse who is still alive.

This varies and churches will have turmoil if an incoming pastor disagrees with the previous one.

Counselling:
In Matthew 19 Jesus allowed divorce for "fornication". This is from the Greek word "porneia" which has a scope wider than the English word fornication.
Presumably Jesus meant that if you discover that your mate has been sexually immoral, then you may divorce that person. He does not say that you can or cannot re-marry.
I believe he leaves that up to the individual through prayer and the strength of the individual to resist temptation.
In the best of all worlds reconciliation is probably the best way, but there are powerful emotions involved in these situations. Some people try to forgive but just can't. Sometimes the offender doesn't want reconciliation but "freedom". Jesus knew all these things when He made the exception.
There are varying opinions concerning this exception.

If there has been no sexually immorality people should not divorce but seek professional help.

Some Christians will make a case for abuse.
This is a tough situation. I had a daughter in a physically abusive situation. Her husband also had a girlfriend while married to my daughter and towards the end spent more time with the girlfriend than at home. She finally divorced him. I was torn. On the one hand I was glad he was out of her life, on the other hand, knowing my daughter, I knew she would remarry, She did. He is a decent man. I supported her then with my love as I still do now.

HankD

[ January 02, 2002: Message edited by: HankD ]
  #3  
Old 01-02-2002, 10:51 PM
Daniel Davidson Daniel Davidson is offline
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If divorce and remarriage is ok, I don't see why anullment and remarriage is not ok too.
  #4  
Old 01-03-2002, 10:21 AM
Pastor Larry Pastor Larry is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trying2understand:
How does a pastor of a Baptist church address divorce and remarriage among his members? Is it treated as though such church members are living in continuing adultry?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

As Hank said, it depends. I would never encourage a divorce but in a last resort may condone one. The party refusing to reconcile would be subject to church discipline since they are living in unrepentant sin.

A second marriage is not living in continual adultery since adultery is sex outside of marriage. The second marriage by definition precludes that, IMHO.

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>How are divorced/remarried Christians who seek membership in a Baptist church counselled?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

If they have repented, then they are accepted. A divorce is a sin just like any other. It can be forgiven. Various church responsibilities may or may not be open to them depending on the church. I would handle it on a case by case basis, taking many things into consideration.
  #5  
Old 01-03-2002, 10:30 AM
Daniel Davidson Daniel Davidson is offline
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If a couple whose divorce and remarriage you condoned moved and went to another church, would the local pastor there have to re-examine the whole situation and decide whether or not to condone it too? Or is your decision as a minister of God good enough for any baptist church?
  #6  
Old 01-03-2002, 11:06 AM
Pastor Larry Pastor Larry is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Daniel Davidson:
If a couple whose divorce and remarriage you condoned moved and went to another church, would the local pastor there have to re-examine the whole situation and decide whether or not to condone it too? Or is your decision as a minister of God good enough for any baptist church?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I don't know what he would do. YOu would have to ask him. As for me, if couple came to my church having been divorced and remarried, and having subsequently repented if necessary, they would be accepted into membership. There is no valid reason in Scripture for denying church membership and fellowship to a Christian who is walking orderly.
  #7  
Old 01-03-2002, 11:28 AM
Clint Kritzer Clint Kritzer is offline
 
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I want to interject a couple of points here. First of all, I will state that I am a divorced man married to a divorced woman and we both feel that our marriage is of God and reliant on Christ and the church.

First of all, perhaps one of the many ancient Greek translators on this board may be able to shed light on this. The KJV in Matthew 5: 32 uses the word "fornication" whereas the NIV uses "marital unfaithfulness." It seems that many people only hear the one vow "til death do us part." I contend that the other vows hold the same power i.e.; "forsaking all others", "honor and cherish". I know that in mine and Margie's marriages these particular vows were broken. Does not the breaking of these covenants constitute unfaithfulness as much as out-and-out adultery?

My second point could be toward the literalist. Also referring to Matthew 5, Christ proclamation about divorce refers to men suing for divorce not women suing men. Is there also a difference here? My ex-wife sued first in my first marriage and Margie sued in her's.

The two of us are in a Godly marriage now with a deep love for each other and a deep commitment to Christ and the church. We agonized over the Gospel condemnation of divorce but in the end we felt that the scriptural question of who can be saved is answered well in Matthew 19: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR> 24
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
25
When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
26
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

We are a happy couple raising a child in the ways of the scriptures with a second child on the way who will also benefit from a religious upbringing. It is by God's grace that one is saved, not by faith, not by works, not by adherence to the law. We struggle to live good Christian lives, but in the end it is God who passes final sentencing.

Just my thoughts on the matter. May God bless you.

- Clint

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
  #8  
Old 01-03-2002, 12:50 PM
trying2understand trying2understand is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:
A second marriage is not living in continual adultery since adultery is sex outside of marriage. The second marriage by definition precludes that, IMHO.
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Then what an odd thing for Jesus to say. That divorcing one's spouse causes them to commit adultery.

Jesus did not make the exception that you wish to claim. If you are joined together by God, that marriage is for life, regardless of a civil divorce. Thus the sexual union in a remarrige is adultery.

Matthew 5:32 "But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

"...and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

My question is, if is adultery to marry a divorced person, how exactly does one repent of a sin that one continues to commit and will not cease from committing?

How does one repent without ceasing the sin?

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: trying2understand ]

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: trying2understand ]
  #9  
Old 01-03-2002, 01:07 PM
trying2understand trying2understand is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Clint Kritzer:
First of all, perhaps one of the many ancient Greek translators on this board may be able to shed light on this. The KJV in Matthew 5: 32 uses the word "fornication" whereas the NIV uses "marital unfaithfulness." It seems that many people only hear the one vow "til death do us part." I contend that the other vows hold the same power i.e.; "forsaking all others", "honor and cherish". I know that in mine and Margie's marriages these particular vows were broken. Does not the breaking of these covenants constitute unfaithfulness as much as out-and-out adultery?

My second point could be toward the literalist. Also referring to Matthew 5, Christ proclamation about divorce refers to men suing for divorce not women suing men. Is there also a difference here? My ex-wife sued first in my first marriage and Margie sued in her's.

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Clint, I am not an "expert", but my understanding is that the "porneia" refers not to fornication, but to the lawfulness of the marriage. Mosaic law fobid marriage between persons of certain blood or legal relationship. But some Rabbis of that time allowed converts to Judaism who were in such marriages to remain in them. The clause that so many want to hang their hats on as an allowance for divorce is actually a prohibition for converts to Christianity to remain in an unlawful marriage. You seem to want to take a nonexisting exemption for divorce a little further than some.

As to whether the husband or the wife starts the divorce - Matthew 5:32 is pretty clear that your notion is a nonstarter.

"But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery."

...whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

I don't see the "she started it" exception that you speak of.
  #10  
Old 01-03-2002, 01:49 PM
Pastor Larry Pastor Larry is offline
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<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trying2understand:
My question is, if is adultery to marry a divorced person, how exactly does one repent of a sin that one continues to commit and will not cease from committing?

How does one repent without ceasing the sin?
<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I understand the tension here and it is not easy. There are a number of suggestions as to what Jesus was saying and it is not entirely clear what it was. Here is my point. To not continue in a marriage duly constituted would be to divorce, the very thing that Jesus is condemning. Furthermore, sexual relations within marriage are not adultery. You might argue that it was the initial act which was adultery and not the continuing as some have suggested. I personally do not believe it to be living in a continual state of sin though I understand there is an issue which could be made for that. I am not dogmatic on this. I have come to my position somewhat hesitantly but it is a position that I feel best accounts for what Scripture teaches in all the passages referring to divorce and remarriage.

In most cases, I think that I would recommend that a person not remarry unless to the original spouse. But if reconciliation is impossible (remarriage of the spouse, apostasy, etc.), then at some point we have to consider the stipulation given in 1 Cor 7:28 where a person who remarries has not sinned.

[ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
 

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