Divorce + remarriage = adultery

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by trying2understand, Jan 2, 2002.

  1. trying2understand

    trying2understand
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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. HankD

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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. Daniel Davidson

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    If divorce and remarriage is ok, I don't see why anullment and remarriage is not ok too.
     
  4. Pastor Larry

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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. Daniel Davidson

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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. Pastor Larry

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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. Clint Kritzer

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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. trying2understand

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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. trying2understand

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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. Pastor Larry

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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 ]
     
  11. trying2understand

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:


    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 ]
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    A tense and difficult situation - absolutely.

    How would you personally feel about officiating a marriage in which one or both of the parties has been previously married and divorced?

    Ron
     
  12. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trying2understand:
    How would you personally feel about officiating a marriage in which one or both of the parties has been previously married and divorced?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    In some cases I would do it. It would be a case by case basis I would imagine. I would make no guarantees until after we had spent some time in pre-marital counsel.

    [ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  13. trying2understand

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    It has been suggested that in a divorce/remarriage situation it is better to remain in the second marriage because to divorce is a sin, even though Scripture tells us that whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    So since both are sins which is the better sin? Divorce or adultery?

    Here is a radical idea. How about simply choosing not to sin. That is, remain married but live as "brother and sister". I believe even the Apostle Paul has something to say in that regard.

    I also remember something about adulterers not entering Heaven. Which is worse? A few cold showers [​IMG] or an eternity separated from God?
     
  14. Daniel Davidson

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    [ January 03, 2002: Message edited by: Daniel Davidson ]
     
  15. Pauline

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    The Jews of Jesus' day had their concept of valid and invalid marriages though they used different terminology. English speaking Protestant readers, with no concept of what is a valid or invalid marriage, try to understand Mt 5,32 in light of our society today and that just doesn't work. That verse is not refering to adultery nor fornication as many people in our society think today when they read it.

    The Catholic Church's understanding is helpful on this subject. A valid marriage has to be one that is according to God's nature and His will. So a marriage has to be a covenantal lifelong relationship which is open to life. If those conditions aren't present, then in God's eyes it is not a marriage. It is primarily a matter of intention, and of being old enough and morally-right enough to have a proper intention. In our society today, too many marry without have a right intention so they never had a valid marriage.

    Returning Catholics often have a previous marriage, divorce, and second marriage which have to be dealt with. And we have to give them much loving support through the process of determining their current situation. Some of them will be able to remarry, some won't. And we must help the latter ones find ways to peacefully adjust to their situation.

    A woman seeking a Catholic annulment told me how healing the process has been for her. And that she is prepared to live her life according to the decision of the tribunal after the investigation of her case is completed. I am thankful that we are helping those with these divorce situations to find and accept the Lord's will for them.

    Pauline
     
  16. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trying2understand:
    Here is a radical idea. How about simply choosing not to sin. That is, remain married but live as "brother and sister". I believe even the Apostle Paul has something to say in that regard.?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    You are certainly right. He does have something to say about that.

    1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    For a husband and wife to live in constant abstinence would be a sin and an unnecessary temptation. Therefore your solution would be unbiblical.

    Furthermore, you ignore Paul's direction in 1 Cor 7:27-28 that I already cited. He plainly says that if a person marries, they have not sinned. Therefore, again on biblical grounds, your solution is unbiblical.

    I do not think there is any case to say that continuing in a proper marriage relationship is sinful. As I have previously said, there are a number of different suggestions about what the Matthew passage means. You should avail yourself of some of the literature available.
     
  17. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pauline:
    The Jews of Jesus' day had their concept of valid and invalid marriages though they used different terminology.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Perhaps not as different as you would have us believe though. The discussion Jesus was addressing was what made for a valid divorce. The two schools (Shammai and Hillel) had differing opinions and that is what Christ was addressing. It really had nothing to do with "valid" or "invalid" marriages.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>The Catholic Church's understanding is helpful on this subject. A valid marriage has to be one that is according to God's nature and His will. So a marriage has to be a covenantal lifelong relationship which is open to life. If those conditions aren't present, then in God's eyes it is not a marriage. It is primarily a matter of intention, and of being old enough and morally-right enough to have a proper intention. In our society today, too many marry without have a right intention so they never had a valid marriage. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Here is another serious breakdown. First, Pauline has presumed to define a "marriage in God's eyes" when God has not defined such. The scriptural revelation involves Gen 2, Prov 2:17, and Mal 2:14. In none of those passages is marriage defined as Pauline has defined it. In each case, the issue involves one man and one woman in a covenant before God. No passage discusses intent or being open to life. Those are "extras." Marriage has been defined in such a way that most protestants and indeed most Catholics do not have a valid marriage because they are not "open to life" in the way that Pauline defines it.

    We must understand that an annulment is a divorce by another name. It involves the breakup of a marriage and it is wrong. It does not lessen the matter to call it "annulled."
     
  18. trying2understand

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:


    You are certainly right. He does have something to say about that.

    1 Corinthians 7:5 Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

    For a husband and wife to live in constant abstinence would be a sin and an unnecessary temptation. Therefore your solution would be unbiblical.

    Furthermore, you ignore Paul's direction in 1 Cor 7:27-28 that I already cited. He plainly says that if a person marries, they have not sinned. Therefore, again on biblical grounds, your solution is unbiblical.

    I do not think there is any case to say that continuing in a proper marriage relationship is sinful. As I have previously said, there are a number of different suggestions about what the Matthew passage means. You should avail yourself of some of the literature available.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What happened to context? 1Cor 7:27-28 is addressed to VIRGINS and WIDOWS not divorcees.
     
  19. Jamal5000

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    It's not permitted in my church, period.
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by trying2understand:
    What happened to context? 1Cor 7:27-28 is addressed to VIRGINS and WIDOWS not divorcees.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    What context are you reading? Let's look at it together:

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    "Bound" obviously refers to marriage. Therefore "released" refers to divorce.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    See above discussion except that now they are reversed. In the context, these two statements must be contrasting to one another. "Released" must, it seems of necessity, refer to something that previously existed. It would be improper to describe someone who has never been married as being "released" from a wife. The word means to set free.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>But if you marry, you have not sinned;<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    From the previous context, he is referring to those who are released from a wife.

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Here Paul seems to be giving an additional stipulation on marriage. This one addressed to "virgins," those who have not been married. If he meant "virgins" in the first phrase of this verse, it would be meaningless to repeat it here. So in the context, it is in addition to the previous person being referred to.

    So Paul's point is this: If you have a wife, stay married; if you are released from a wife, stay divorced. However, if you marry you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries she has not sinned. Just be prepared for "trouble in this life."

    A widow is not referred to until v. 39, well after this reference. So your initial statement that Paul is referring to widows and virgins is only partially correct in vv. 27-28.

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

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