Is divorce and remarriage permissible for Christians?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Carson Weber, Apr 16, 2002.

  1. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    For two Christians, is divorce and remarriage permissible?

    Why or why not?

    [ April 21, 2002, 12:10 AM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  2. ken1burton

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    Jesus said "saving for the cause of Fornication."

    (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. (KJV)

    Jesus seems pretty consistant with His doctrine, It was seen as "Take the Wrong, and even take more wrong out of love."

    (MATTHEW 5:40) And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. (KJV)
    (MATTHEW 5:39) But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (KJV)
    MATTHEW 5:41) And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. (KJV)

    But having it ok to get a divorce if a spouse cheats. does not take any more wrong out of love. Jesus is consistant. The Church has misunderstood what Jesus was saying. First we need to see Fornication according to God's words.

    (ISAIAH 23:17) And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the Lord will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth. (KJV)
    (ISAIAH 23:18) And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing. (KJV)

    Tyre's hire is to commit fornication with everyone, But that hire is seen in the next verse as Holiness unto the Lord.

    God speaks in Similitudes:
    (HOSEA 12:10) I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.(KJV)

    The day of the cross is as 1,000 years. Jesus is alive as Adam (similitude) for 930 years, He is dead or desolate as Jerusalem (all curses for Jerusalem falls on Christ.) 70 years. After Jesus is revived He loves all mankind. This then seen as Holiness unto the Lord.

    For a Jew to make a marriage or to love a Non-Jew was as fornication. Marriage seen also as between believers, so to reach for a non-believer seen as reaching outside the Marriage.

    Now to put the reason for a divorce into the context God wanted. "If your spouse loves another, Take the Wrong and set them free so they can be with the one they now love."

    This now fits all of the other things Jesus spoke of us doing, always out of love take the wrong. Even if you do not want to let your spouse go. Take the wrong so they can be happy together, in this there is no wrong on your part. for it is done out of the love God put in your heart with knowing Him.

    Ken
     
  3. Sir Ed

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  4. Brother Adam

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    Never met someone into numerology eh, sir ed?

    Yes, A Christian can divorce his wife under the following scripture:

    Matthew 19:1-12
    And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan; [2] And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
    [3] The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? [4] And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, [5] And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? [6] Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. [7] They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? [8] He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. [9] And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
    [10] His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. [11] But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. [12] For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
     
  5. Carson Weber

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    How are we to translate the "porneia" exception clause?

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ April 21, 2002, 12:11 AM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  6. Carson Weber

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    Hi everyone,

    Much confusion swirls around Jesus' statement in Mt 19:9 - "Whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another, commits adultery." Does Jesus really make an "exception" to allow for divorce and remarriage? Since the rise of Protestantism in the 16th c., many Protestants have answered "yes". They began to appeal to this exception clause to justify divorce and remarriage in extreme circumstances, thus inaugurating the advent of Christian serial polygamy. However, this view fails to interpret Jesus' statement in light of its immediate, biblical context.

    The disciples' response to Jesus' statement on divorce, "it is not expedient to marry" (19:11) demonstrates that, in their understanding, Jesus was leaving no room at all for divorce and remarriage. In fact, they viewed celibacy as a preferable alternative to marriage precisely because Jesus' teaching on this amtter is so strict - far more so than that of any of his Jewish contemporaries.

    But, the question still remains: What did Jesus mean when he qualified his teaching on divorce w/ the phrase, "except for unchastity" (19:9)?

    3 interpretive options have been offered in Catholic tradition to clarify the meaning of this "exception clause". All of them reinforce the harmony b/t Jesus' revolutionary teaching and the unchanging position of the Catholic Church:

    1. Patristic View - Several Chruch Fathers suggest Jesus allowed for divorce in cases of serious sexual sin like adultery, but he never permitted remarriage. The spouses may separate in these circumstances by a legal arrangement of living apart, but they cannot break the marriage bond, and they aren't free to remarry. This view finds support by a consideration of the Greek word porneia, translated "unchastity", in Mt. 19:9. While the word has a broad rnage of meaning, it can mean "adultery", as in the Greek OT. Thus, an adulterous situation may give cause for separation so long as the spouses do not embark upon a second marriage. This squares with St. Paul's teaching that a separated couple has only two options: 1. be reconciled to one another, or 2. remain single (1 Cor 7:10-11).

    2. Levitical Law View - This position interprets "unchastity" in Mt. 19:9 as invalid marriages where the spouses are too closely related. Thus, "except for unchastity" means "except where unlawful unions exist". Such unions ought to be severed b/c of the impediment posed by near blood-relations. A divorce under these conditions doesn't sunder a true marriage bond b/c a valid marriage never existed; it is the equivalent to an annulment. The OT background is Lev 18:6-18 where porneia refers to prohibited marriages b/t closely related kinsfolk. In 1 Cor 5:1-2, porneia clearly refers to an illicit union of a man and his father's wife.

    3. "No Comment" View - According to this position, Jesus sets aside Jewish debates over the grounds for divorce in the Old Covenant (Dt. 24). Because Jesus is revoking the Deuteronomic concession on divorce, he brackets the whole issue and sets it off to the side as irrelevant. Thus, "except for unchastity" means "regardless of the OT grands for divorce". Jesus refeuses even to comment on Dt. 24:1. To do so would blunt the force of his own teaching, since he isn't clarifying or reaffirming Moses' permission, he's abolishing it.

    Each of these views faithfully upholds Jesus' prohibition against divorce and remarriage. He restores marriage to its original purity as a lifelong union of love and fidelity. Through the sound principles of biblical interpretation and the guidance of tradition, the revolutionary standard of Jesus' teaching on marriage and divorce is preserved intact in his Church.

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ April 17, 2002, 01:41 AM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  7. ChristianCynic

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    This shows what garbage 'Catholic tradition'-- or any "tradition"-- is. The only way to differentiate that Jesus said "This is my body" in regard to the bread he passed out and he meant it literally [even though his physical body was right there housing his vocal organs]- but then he said "...except for porneia" and he did NOT mean it literally-- is to make yourself a mindless puppet to some organization. It's little wonder there are so many different views in relation to so many doctrinal points, since every Christian is selective as to what scripture must be accepted denotatively and which is not.
     
  8. Briguy

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    When the disciples said it is not expedient to marry, they were saying the same thing that Paul said. That a person will have more of themselves to give to the service of God if they are single.

    Second, Why is it OK in this case not to just accept what Jesus said. When we discuss remitting and retaining sin and "This is my body" it says what it says and you won't discuss that there is more to it. Now we have a scripture that says what it says, "except for unchasity" and it doesn't mean what it says. It seems you interpret scripture based on what the RCC says already. You are using scripture to prove a position instead of studying for yourself and developing a position, which is a huge difference.

    Also, Carson I must say I am surprized that you lack the dignity to respond to the other thread. You know the one with "real" in the title. I showed where you said what you said, which is what you asked and now you start other topics and ignore my question. If I am right and you are wrong on that thread then admit that and we can move forward. Remember, Pride comes before a fall!!! :eek:

    In Christ,
    Brian

    [ April 17, 2002, 09:00 AM: Message edited by: The Briguy ]
     
  9. Helen

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    Yes, Carson, divorce is permissable if the other abandons the marriage in a continuing adulterous relationship. The mate left behind, after the formality of the divorce is finished, should take time to heal and get close to God and not go out looking for a replacement.

    But if, at a later time, God brings another into the divorce victim's life, then yes, remarriage is OK.

    I was abandon by my children's father (he left us all, with no further contact after the divorce was final) almost eleven years ago after 20 years of marriage. He had evidently been unfaithful a good part of that time. I had not. He married his 'latest' within a couple of months of the divorce being final.

    For seven years (not on purpose as per the number, please!) I refused to speak to any man in any situation which might give any encouragement or cause any other woman even a suspician of the intense pain I had suffered when I was thrown away like a used and crumpled paper cup.

    And then the Lord brought Barry into my life. When he first mentioned the possibility of marriage my response was "friendships are so nice!"

    Two years later I married him. He is the only man I have ever met who references every moment of his life to Christ. I am intensely proud of him and secure with him. We have been blessed with a love I did not know could exist in this life on this earth. My children are our children and they love him. On our wedding program we put the words to the old Barbra Streisand song from "Funny Girl"

    a feeling deep in your soul says you were half now you're whole

    For a long time I did not think remarriage was possible. Now I think God for His love, mercy, and provision for us all.
     
  10. Carson Weber

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    Hi ChristianCynic,

    You wrote, "but then he said "...except for porneia" and he did NOT mean it literally"

    You are incorrect in asserting that I do not take the porneia exception clause literally. I believe that Jesus meant exactly what he said. The problem lies in that we disagree in how to take this exception clause literally. The case at hand does not involve a symbolic/figurative vs. literal interpretation such as in interpreting "this is my body," and I believe your comment is quite disgenerous.

    I personally hold to the Patristic View. Jesus does not address remarriage; he addresses divorce, which entails separation between the two. If Jesus is advocating divorce and remarriage, then Jesus is destroying with one hand what he has built up with another.

    One central aspect of the Christian religion is the abolishment of the Mosaic Deuteronomic Concessions, which are a lower law than the Book of the Law given by Moses on the Plains of Moab due to the hardness of hearts. Jesus brings marriage back to its pristine state.

    How is he able to do this? For the simple reason that he circumcises our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit and gives us the power to become children of God. We now are enabled to live the vocation of marriage, while to divorce/remarry is to fall back into Old Testament morality. Of course, if necessary, the couple may divorce, but remarriage has never even been advocated, condoned, or suggested throughout the history of Christianity until Johannes Calvinus allowed divorce in his ignorance of the nature of Deuteronomic law.

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for your answer. I replied. I would also ask that you please refrain from phrases such as "lack the dignity" and "Pride comes before a fall".

    Thanks.

    Hi Helen,

    Thank you for your beautiful testimony.

    Are you the same helen I know from CARM?

    God bless,

    Carson
     
  11. Helen

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    Are you the same helen I know from CARM?

    Yes.
     
  12. Gina B

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    Good answer Helen.
    Common sense when reading the Bible and in your Christian life is a really good thing!
    There are reasons, not to be taken lightly, for divorce. I'm soooo tired of people trying to "improve" upon what God has already said, declaring divorce wrong for every single person and looking down on those who have had the misforune to go through it, without even bothering to know the circumstances. Jesus himself didn't do that, what gives anyone else the right?
    And right Helen, about taking time to heal. My divorce isn't even final until May 15th (hopefully) and I've heard everything, people trying to set me up, people showing interest, and others TELLING me I need to get remarried right away for support. It's disgusting!
    da Gina
     
  13. Briguy

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    Hey Carson, If I offened you by my comments I apoligize. They were meant to get your attention and were done more in humor then anything, which is why I put the "eek" face in. Again, I am sorry for what I said.

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  14. Chemnitz

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  15. Carson Weber

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    Hi Helen,

    I wanted to comment on how beautiful you are. Nice photo!

    Hi Gina,

    The virtue of Prudence demands that we remain still and receive objective truth and reality in our humility, recognizing that our subjective dispositions can err and that we are in need of knowledge that we do not have.

    Divine revelation, for the Christian believer, presents undefiled and real truth that must be accepted in our receptivity. When we involve our personal "feelings" and subjective experiences in our interpretation and even abolition of revelation as Christians, we fail in this primary moral virtue, and he who is imprudent sins.

    So, I suggest that we refrain from what "we want to believe", stand back in our humility, and receive the Word of Life for what it is: God's infallible, unfailing, and absolute love and direction for our lives.

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you. I'm glad we both can understand that communication is many times an imperfect situation & that that we must continually ask for forgiveness, give forgiveness, and receive forgiveness. God bless you.

    Hi Godmetal,

    I enjoyed the exegetical study you provided. Though, I find that it substantially errs when it reaches this conclusion under II. B., "Thus, as marriage may be destroyed by the procurement of divorce, so may unchastity on the part of a spouse lead to the severance of the marital union."

    Marriage was never destroyed by the procurement of divorce; divorce was simply allowed in the lower second Law of Deuteronomy (Deuteros = second; nomos = law) to prevent a greater evil: the murder of wives by their Jewish husbands (hardness of hearts).

    Unchastity leads to grounds for separation in legal divorce, and when this unfortunate situation occurs, the Christian may separate from his/her spouse. However, remarriage is never an option for the Christian because the marital bond remains. This is the teaching of Scripture and the consistent practice/teaching of Christianity.

    "What then shall the husband do, if the wife continue in this disposition [adultery]? Let him divorce her, and let the husband remain single. But if he divorce his wife and marry another, he too commits adultery" (Hermas in The Shepherd 4:1:6)

    "That Scripture counsels marriage, however, and never allows any release from the union, is expressly contained in the law: 'You shall not divorce a wife, except for reason of immorality.' And it regards as adultery the marriage of a spouse, while the one from whom a separation was made is still alive. 'Whoever takes a divorced woman as wife commits adultery'; it says; for 'if anyone divorce his wife, he debauches her.' That is, he compels her to commit adultery. And not only does he that divorces her become the cause of this, but also he that takes the woman and gives her the opportunity of sinning; for if he did not take her, she would return to her husband." (Clement of Alexandria in Miscellanies 2:23:145)

    I know from my discussions with professional Protestant exegetes that most seriously acknowledge and condone the wisdom of the Fathers (i.e. Augustine), and I challenge you to challenge your seminary to explain why the solid doctrine of the Church has been altered in this case by those who wish to return marred Christianity (i.e. Roman aberrations) to its reformed excellence.

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ April 17, 2002, 10:44 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  16. ChristianCynic

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    &lt; The problem lies in that we disagree in how to take this exception clause literally. &gt;

    Now ain't that a sticky wicket? Literally in Greek? literally in English? literally in Latin? I haven't looked at that passage in Latin, but otherwise the only difference is that some English translations are more restrictive than the Greek in that "fornication" does denote intercourse between 2 not married to each other.

    But regardless [and to the real point], if anyone attemtps to put greater restrictions on people than scripture itself does, it should be regarded as incompetent.
     
  17. Carson Weber

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    Hi ChristianCynic,

    I can do nothing more than simply agree with you.

    The Patristic View, as I've demonstrated, allows for divorce, while recognizing that remarriage, even for the victimized party, results in the sin of adultery, which is the consistent teaching of NT Scripture regardless of what we desire as Christians. I can desire that the marital bond isn't permanent (I can even pray for its dissolution), but that does not change the fact of its permanence, which Scripture attests to.

    You wrote, "if anyone atempts to put greater restrictions on people than scripture itself does, it should be regarded as incompetent."

    Absolutely. And the disciples' response to Jesus' teaching on divorce/remarriage denotes the reality of the restriction Jesus places upon him who believes in Him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is not expedient to marry." We should recognize and accept the full force of this response.

    After the disciples' response, Jesus even goes on further to speak of an unheard of situation in antiquity, "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

    Eunuchs were entrusted with the Davidic King's concubines in the Kingdom of Israel precisely because they could be trusted not to have intercourse with the harem due to their state of being. Jesus tells us that some men (in the metaphor of "eunuch") will even renounce marriage for the sake of the Kingdom voluntarily! Jesus, the anointed Davidic King has only one bride, the Church, and ministers will renounce marriage for the sake of his bride (the Kingdom), as the eunuchs in the Old Testament cared for the King's concubines. Wow! Hard to believe? "He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."

    God bless,

    Carson

    [ April 17, 2002, 11:14 PM: Message edited by: Carson Weber ]
     
  18. Briguy

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    Hi Carson, Hope this day finds you well! I agree with you that some people should stay single to serve God better. Before I was saved I thought priests and monks were silly to do this but scriptually they are doing the preferred thing. I cannot deny that the Bible says that some choose to be single for life. Here is the question though. Paul says clearly it is better to marry then to burn with lust. Paul clearly understood the sexual drive that people have and how many people needed to be married to deal with it. If remarriage is not permissable what would happen to the young man who was married, whose wife leaves him never to be seen again, since he has established for his life that he needs the imitacy of a wife. Is he supposed to just put aside all of the emotions and drive that he has naturally for the next 40 years or so. --Or-- did the writings of Paul give us an out when it comes to the problem of remarriage.

    I look forward to your response,
    Brian
     
  19. Gina B

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    Carson: I had thought that remarriage was forbidden only on the part of the spouse who had committed adultery or divorced for unbiblical reasons.
    It is said that if an unbeliever leaves a believer, the believer is free to remarry, doesn't it?
    Gina
     
  20. Chemnitz

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    Carson, you disappoint me. You are smarter than this, look at what you quoted in making your challenge. Hermas isn't even recognized as part of the canonical books. So Clement's argument which as far as I can tell is based on Hermas is going to be looked at as "that's nice what does scripture say."

    Yes we acknowledge the ECF's to be smart men even cite them for precedence in a given interpretation of accepted Scripture, but we also maintain they are falliable.
     

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