Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by SpiritWalker, Jan 3, 2005.

  1. SpiritWalker

    SpiritWalker
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    This letter is being circulated throughout the church. It takes a hard line against what many of us Baptists practice, (as opposed to theory). What do you think?

    SpiritWalker



    Dear Pastor,

    This letter is written to you by fellow servants and laborers in the Lord. We pray that you will receive it in the same spirit of love and concern with which it is prayerfully sent (1). Although there are many common concerns that could be addressed, this letter focuses on the present state of divorce and remarriage in the church. The steady advance of sexual sin and deviation within the Christian community is fueled, one way or another, by disregard of God’s Word concerning marriage. Consequently, we pray that you will carefully weigh the merits of this case presented to you.

    As you have no doubt read, according to pollsters, the divorce epidemic among "born again Christians" is now higher than those who do not claim Christ (2). They also report that in the Bible belt of the United States, where the greatest concentration of "Bible believing" Christians live, the divorce rate has climbed 50% higher than in the American nation as a whole (2). Some even state that the clergy now represent the second highest divorced rate of all the professions (2). If these statistics reflect anything even close to reality, it points to the unavoidable conclusion that we in the church are caught in a web of sin more contagious and virulent than anything we have previously suffered in our 2,000 year history.

    We believe that the divorce and remarriage doctrines being commonly taught and practiced in the church today are neither supported by Scripture (3) or the early leaders of the Christian faith (4). Approximately 50 years ago, liberal church leaders began disregarding Biblical prohibitions against remarriage, a process that has expanded to include most conservatives, thereby replacing the historic position with the modern one. After only a single generation, little trace or memory remains of the protective walls that had once stood upon the sound original teachings (5). This authorized the divorce and remarriage culture to rapidly invade and infect the people of God with devastating results.

    This contagion is not limited to any particular Church tradition or division. It is spreading like a plague in every Protestant group in the Western world. To compete, Roman Catholics have inflated their concept of annulment leading to remarriage, into a modern day indulgence to sin, just like the Protestants. No longer can any one group point at the other as the source of the problem. The root is the commonly shared theology that undercuts marriage, tolerates divorce, and supports remarriage, contrary to Christ’s specific teachings (6). Fortified by a doctrine of confession without repentance, the epidemic is becoming uncontainable as it gains equality, respectability and a cloak of spirituality within God’s House. As a result, efforts to reach the watching world for Christ are returning unto us void as our lack of integrity empties us of the power of God’s Word.

    Wrong assumptions have provided ideal breeding conditions for the culture. For instance, it is widely assumed that a second marriage is valid in the eyes of God while a former spouse lives; that a second marriage invalidates the original (7) . Little independent thought is given as to what our Lord actually did teach, as most pastors are content to accept the consensus of the age. This theology brands those that hold obediently to the original understanding as legalists, and ostracizes them within their own church and families (8), especially if they have the courage to model and voice their convictions. It seems that most now believe, as an article of faith, that Jesus died to redeem their sin, instead of dying to redeem them from their sin. This subtle twist of Satan makes all the difference in the world.

    Pastor, you must realize that something is fundamentally flawed when the conduct of believer’s only matches or falls below that of unbelievers. It can not be explained as mere pressure exerted by the world, as we have suffered much worse without falling. The problem is not what is found in the world, but what is not found in the church – Righteousness. We therefore plead with you to earnestly seek God’s face on this matter, research for yourself, study His Word, and when finding the truth, take a stand to boldly support it, come what may. Responsibility to take action falls upon you as a shepherd of the Lord's flock (9) . We pray that you will come to understand that any authority the church may possess does not extend to being able to override God’s Word (10).

    The only remedy is to completely submit to Jesus Christ in total repentance and obedience, forsaking sin and thereby gaining His cleansing and healing power. Superficial treatments simply spread the contamination further. If any of us have sinned against God and led our people astray, all we have to do is to fall on our knees in godly sorrow, and repent - repent and forsake our own sin, and of the part we have played in the near destruction of His church (11). As Jesus told those in Laodicea, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

    Pastor, we plead with you to remember the old truths presented here. Please, do not be silent and permit others to be deceived by the church divorce culture any longer (12). Please do not follow the crowd, but look for the ancient paths, and walk in them, isolated and alone if necessary. We pray that the Lord will be with you and your people as we expectantly look forward to His return.

    Your servants in Christ,

    Rev. Stephen W. Wilcox (13)
    Dr. Joseph A. Webb (14)
    Rev. Dana Hartong (15)

    We welcome your comments and will do our best to answer any questions or address your concerns. You may reach us by sending your response to: [email protected]. We would suggest however that you click on the reference numbers found embedded in the text of the letter or on the key below and study the material first before writing, as the information found there may be helpful. A number of teachings by various pastors, authors and theologians on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage as well as other helpful materials may be found at http://www.marriagedivorce.com.

    Key to references:

    (1) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject1.htm

    (2) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject2.htm

    (3) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject3.htm

    (4) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject4.htm

    (5) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject5.htm

    (6) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject6.htm

    (7) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject7.htm

    (8) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject8.htm

    (9) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject9.htm

    (10) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject10.htm

    (11) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject11.htm

    (12) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hoseaproject12.htm

    (13) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/mdgodsword.htm

    (14) http://www.bibleandmarriage.com

    (15) http://www.marriagedivorce.com/hartong.htm

    End of Letter
     
  2. Pastor J

    Pastor J
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    Who is this being distributed to?
    Pastors or Church folk?
     
  3. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Those arguments have long been answered with solid biblical exegesis. There was quite a long thread recently if you are interested.
     
  4. Plain Old Bill

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    It says on the first page it is being sent to pastors and leaders. I hope they remember thse things the next time the argue with thier wives or before the decide to commit adultery or some other marital sin.
     
  5. SpiritWalker

    SpiritWalker
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    Pastor Larry,

    Are you referring to the thread found here:
    http://www.baptistboard.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/3/2355.html? If so, nothing you or anyone else wrote in that thread came close to answering with "sound Biblical exegesis" the Biblical case against remarriage. Or did you have another thread in mind?

    SpiritWalker
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    That was one of them. If you don't have preconceptions and are wiling to study everything the Bible says about it, it answered them more than sufficiently. The problem most people have on both sides is that their preconceptions about their position are stronger than their allegiance ot God's word. That is why there is so much confusion. It is never an easy topic to be sure, but we can arrive at a sufficient biblical answer.

    The biblical case against remarriage rests on some misunderstanding of hte Bible and the attacks rest on some misunderstanding of most people's position.

    I hope you will continue to study with the resolute conviction to adjust your own position to the one that Scripture has.
     
  7. Daniel David

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    There is certainly only one christian position. The other positions are just what some christians hold to.

    The earliest commentary we have on the issue were against remarriage, except in the case of death.
     
  8. rivers1222

    rivers1222
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    And so some 13 yrs ago when my first wife dropped off my 2 and 4 yr old daughters on my doorstep and took off....I shouldnt have married a Christian girl...who helped raise my daughters in the church...but should have shortchanged them due to the edicts of the church?
    To those fine scholars who wrote this letter, I understand your concern because I myself have seen the same stats. However, close the statisticians books, step out from behind the pulput, walk down the aisle as many of us have walked up. Go out in the real world and check out the situations of the people you are suppose to be ministering to. Tell the woman who has had the crap beat out of her for years she cant marry a good Christian man. Tell the single dad he cant marry a woman who has fell in love with, not just with you but your children as well. If these stats are true, and I have no reason to doubt them, then there are a lot of first and second time "offenders" sitting in your pews week after week trying ever so diligently to do Gods will. In some Baptist communities they are not looked upon as equals. Thankfully that is not the case in my place of worship.
     
  9. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Ridiculous hyperbole for which you have unfortunately become known, my friend. I wish you could see the wisdom in backing off some of these kinds of statements. You know as well as I do that there are faithful Christians and solid theologians on both sides of this issue.

    Actually, this is wrong. The earliest commentary on divorce is hte Mosaic Law where remarriage was permitted, but a woman could not leave her second marriage and return to the first. We can debate the reasons for that, but we cannot legitimately deny that the earliest commentary was for remarriage only in teh case of death. Christ himself gave an exception that did not involve death. AGain, we can debate exactly how all that applies, but let's not stretch the truth through simplistic arguments.
     
  10. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Larry, the apostles did not hold to multiple positions on this issue. I think you misunderstood my statement. I was simply saying that only one position is true, and therefore there is only one christian view. Or do you think that maybe Paul and Peter disagreed and that was acceptable?

    You and I both know the Mosaic law has no authority over the believer today. If you disagree, please point out the texts that I am supposed to allow the Law to rule over me on.

    Btw, I have never stated that remarriage was always wrong. I have always stated that remarriage was a concession during the law. Now, I think you should reread my post again. I have no desire to go back and forth again on this issue. You quite clearly did not understand my original post.
     
  11. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I meant to include that the earliest commentary I was referring to was the writings of the fathers, since they had the fortunate experience of living so closely to the apostles themselves.
     
  12. El_Guero

    El_Guero
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    Without a doubt, divorce is considered holy by some ... But, I do not find that in the Bible.
     
  13. Gregory Perry Sr.

    Gregory Perry Sr.
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  14. Gregory Perry Sr.

    Gregory Perry Sr.
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    :rolleyes: Now that I've posted the above link I just want to add my opinion about the subject of the Hosea project.I will just say that although I think their motives are honest I think they are all scrambled up in the doctrinal sense and very legalistic in general.I am also gonna make a statement that I know many in here will disagree with me on....but so be it.As a KJV believer who doesn't trust other translations in general,my personal opinion of this "letter" is that it is the natural result of using a multiplicity of different "versions" to try and establish a doctrinal position.I think the whole thing is a scrambled up mess that puts a lot of people who love the Lord Jesus Christ under undue condemnation.Check out the link I posted above.Bro.Morton lets plain english speak for itself and while I do not believe his treatsie is exhaustive on the subject it certainly is an honest treatment of the subject...and that from a man who is the husband of ONE wife(and only one) who is not seeking to justify himself.Just my opinion.....and I'm NOT trying to turn this into a KJVO thread.That's just my personal assessment of the subject for what it's worth.AND...I'm not looking for an arguement...check the link out...it is interesting and thought provoking.I showed the article to my own well educated Pastor and he was duely impressed and couldn't find much that he was able to refute in it.

    Bro.Greg [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  15. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Perhaps I misunderstood. I think Paul and Peter agreed with Christ that remarriage was permissable in some cases, and Paul says that in his own writings. That does not condone divorce nor encourage it. Some people in good conscience disagree with that and that is fine.

    Actually, I have been on of the big proponents of the fact that the Law has no authority over the believer here. You know that. My point was that the earliest commentary was the Mosaic Law which specifically allowed for divorce and remarriage. That doesn't mean we should or should not. It means that we don't have a biblical theology of divorce if we do not take the teaching of those passages into consideration.

    But Christ made that same concession, as did Paul. So it isn't just the Law; it is grace as well.

    If I misunderstood you, I apologize. Please forgive me.
     
  16. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Who do you know that considers divorce holy? I think most that I have read consider it to be at the very most an unfortunate concession to the sinfulness of the human heart.
     
  17. acts17_11

    acts17_11
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    I to am divorced and remarried. My divorce came after atleast 3 affairs (suspect more) in 4 years. And in the end I wasn't the one who filed. Did I sin? YES in marrying an unbeliever to begin with. And for ignoring the many warnings the Lord sent my way before hand.
    As far as the scriptures on the subject? Divorce IS allowed according to our Lord when fornication takes place. (I qualified) And if the unbeliever chooses to leave (Again I qualify.)

    So here I am two kids to raise without a mother involed in there lives most of the time. Then I met Jenny. She was/is the most loving, beautiful, and morally straight person I've ever known. And YES I married her. And God has very much blessed our marriage.

    I'm not saying that I was justified in remarriage to another women. What I am saying is I did come back to God in repentance (A few years later). And God did bless us. We are now surrendered Christians. We love our Lord and He loves us. And remember all, there is no condamnation for those who are in Christ. The only ones who remember my sin are the hyprocrites who look to snub there nose up at those whom they think they can use to make themselves feel a bit more holy. The fact is I have never met anyone (Christian or not) that has never lusted after that they have no rights to. Our Lord said lust in the heart is also adultry.

    In the end people, I say remove your log before you go condemming everyone else! This arguement always get to that point of self-righteous judgement so how about closing this tread like the others.
     
  18. IveyLeaguer

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    Why not?
     
  19. Johnv

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    I'm a divorced man, who, in about 4 weeks, is getting married ... again. My previous spouse was caught by me in the act of adultery, a man with whom she later moved in with, and eventually married.

    I've consulted with not one, but two pastors, as well as a Christian professional counsellor. All have given me the blessing to marry again, and informed me that scripture does not forbid me from remarrying.

    If someone here doesn't like it, they're welcome to walk the last 6 years of my life in my stead.
     
  20. Daniel David

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    John, your personal story, though tragic, is hardly the standard for anyone. While I am sorry about your divorce, your personal story has no bearing on the interpretation of Scripture.

    Btw, you could find anyone to okay anything using the Bible. That isn't proof either.
     

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