The Biblical Doctrine of Divorce

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by ReformedBaptist, Jun 18, 2008.

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  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    As I too have read through threads concerning divorce, an attempt to defend the truth of Scripture without mercy, I thought it good to show and make plain the biblical teaching of divorce found in Scripture. It is my hope in doing so that God's truth and His glory will be at the forefront, and that truth will work a measure of freedom to His people who feel weighed down through the teachings of others who give a false understanding of the subject.

    To speak of divorce it is helpful to shed light on marriage. When did marriage begin? Why did it begin? Marriage began in the garden of Eden. It was a union between one man and one woman for life. See Genesis 2:21-24 and Mark 10:1-9

    Because of man's sinful nature, the godly union of one man with one woman became quickly corrupted, evidenced by polygamy and the sin of adultery. Divorce was permissable under the Law of God under the Old Covenant. See Deut 24:1-4. Our Lord Jesus gave us the understanding that God permitted this because of hardness of hearts.

    Jesus unequivically said concernign marriage that what God has joined together let to man seperate. Matt 10:9 But is divorce ever permissable? Under the Old Covenant it was. It is every permissable under the New Covenant? Yes.

    Adultery is one permissable reason for divorce. Let's look at this biblically:

    They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 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. 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. Matthew 19:7-9

    Let's break this down into points:

    1. Moses in the Law permitted divorce, but it was not God's will. There was no permissiveness for divorce until the Law, and no biblical evidence that divorce was permitted from Adam until the Law.

    2. If a man puts away his wife, whom he has joined with and God has joined, but he puts away, and marries another, commits adultery. The woman that is put away, if she marries again, commits adultery. And the reverse would be true. The one causes the other to commit adultery because if the other marries again, then he/she marries someone who is not their lawful spouse, and so they both commit adultery.

    3. The exception. The exception is fornication. Porneia in Greek, from where we get our word pornography. All sexual immorality is biblical grounds for lawful divorce according to the Son of God.

    Try not to lose the immediate context of what is happening here, namely, don't forget the question that was asked of Jesus. "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?" And don't lose sight of why they were asking this..."The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him..."

    They asked a question of lawfulness. When is it lawful to divorce? Jesus tells them it is not lawful to divorce for any reason EXCEPT fornication. "ei mē" a conjuction used conditionally. Jesus meaning and speech here is not ambiguos. He is telling us that no divorce is truly lawful except on the ground of sexual immorality.

    Why would Jesus permit it for this reason? Here is my understanding:

    Marriage is a conditional covenant between a man and a woman. When a man knows his wife, they become one flesh. God has joined them together and they are bound together by the covenant of marriage. When a man or woman joins with another or commits other forms of fornication, they break that bond and the terms of their marriage covenant. The other is free as if the one died. They are no longer bound to the covenant.

    Is fornication the only way a man or woman may break their covenant? No.

    Look at 1 Corinthians 7

    And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

    This is the self-same as what Jesus taught. Why would the apostle say for the one who departs not to marry again? Because the Lord said if they did they commit adultery. Now what happens in a marriage where the unbeliever leaves the believer? Or other such issues of abandonment?

    "But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace."

    If a man leaves his wife, abandons her, she is not under bondage in such cases. She is NO LONGER BOUND TO HER HUSBAND.

    The idea that divorce is never permitted by God under any circumstance is an unbiblical teaching. Many women are langusihing in adulterous marriages where the husband is either actively engaged with another woman (or man) or else he is addicted to pornography. Marriages suffering through these circumstances are NOT beyond reconciliation, forgiveness, and restoration. But this is another discussion.

    I pray this helps add some clarification of the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles concerning divorce. I believe divorce is always bad no matter what the circumstances. We know the Lord hates it. But the woman (or man) who has suffered with an adulterous spouse should not bear the weight of guilt for divorcing her husband. If she chooses to stay and forgive that is HER decision. She is no longer bound to her husband.
     
  2. Cutter

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    Is it possible to be married in the sight of man and not be married in the sight of the Lord?
     
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    This comes accross as an odd question to me. Once a man joins with a woman he has become one flesh with her. Some refer to this as married in the sight of God. I am not sure how someone could be married in the sight of man but not God.

    Perhaps this could be for a couple who unlawfully divorce and remarry. They are both in adultery. But they are not to re-marry. They are to repent and confess their sin to the Lord.
     
  4. Brother Shane

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    I did as your private message advised; I read your post. I'll have you know I stopped when you confirmed that divorce is permissible under the new covenant. I have been taught that for all my life, and will refuse to read such. The Bible has never -- NOT ONCE -- taught us (today) to divorce. That scripture you are going by DOES NOT imply that we may divorce for sexual immorality. Until you get your reasoning right, I will not post in this thread. I'm sure you want to know why I believe such -- hunt elsewhere, it is here.
     
  5. ReformedBaptist

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    Shane, if you have shut your mind off in such a manner, then you are showing yourself a rebel to the truth. I looked at the text of the Scripture in both English and Greek. It says what it says, and it teaching me something different than what you are trying to teach here. My friend, have a care...you are in danger of teaching doctrine contrary that of our Lord Jesus and His Aposltes.
     
  6. donnA

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    If this were possible then a person could always say they married the wrong person, that person is not God's will for them, the marriage therefore not recognized by God, and divorce becomes alright, even acceptable and encouraged in order to be in God's will.
     
  7. Thinkingstuff

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    This question is interesting because the Orthodox and the Catholics both believed for a marriage to be approved by God it must happen in the chruch. They don't regard a Justice of the peace to be acceptable. To be honest I don't know where they get it from but it is a certain belief that they have.
     
  8. donnA

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    So I wonder what they say about a divorce by a couple who were not married in the church.
     
  9. annsni

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    Yes, but the Catholic church is also the church that will annul my friends' marriage of 20 years (with 3 children) and allow the husband to become a priest - although the reason for the divorce is that he's decided he's gay. I'm serious.
     
  10. annsni

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    It's the clear teaching of Scripture.

    If you don't want to post to this thread, don't. It will make the thread more pleasant, honestly.
     
  11. LadyEagle

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    As an aside: Technically, the way I understand it, each and every person that one has sexual relations with becomes part of the "one flesh." That is one reason "fornication" or sexual impurity is sin, because it pollutes the one man-one woman picture of marriage God has ordained. I don't know if my explanation is articulate enough, but if a man, for instance, has 25 women sexual partners in his life time, he has become "one flesh" with 25 different women and (if they have had more than one sexual partner), then he also becomes one flesh with all of those men that she has had sex with. Don't know if my explanation is expressed well enough or not.

    Also, as scientists discover more and more about DNA (and DNA is exchanged in sexual encounters), there may be more to this than we can fully grasp with our present knowledge about DNA, but of course, God has the big picture.

    I agree 100% with the OP, which is excellent, and I thank you for your explanation of the Biblical doctrine on divorce and remarriage! Also, thank you for putting the words of Jesus in the proper context for the many readers (including surfers) of this Board. Amen!
     
  12. donnA

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    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  13. DHK

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    The "Biblical" doctrine of divorce?
    It is not Biblical--ever--with the one exception of death.
    Paul teaches that if the spouse dies then the other is free to marry.
    The vow we take "till death do us part" does have meaning.
     
  14. ReformedBaptist

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    With all due respect brother, your statement here is contrary to the Word of God. It is also rather queer that you would scoff at a biblical doctrine of divorce. The Bible contains teaching on marriage and divorce, and therefore there IS a biblical doctrine of divorce.
     
  15. donnA

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    If the bible talks about divorce, gives any instructions at all, then yes there is a biblical doctrine of divorce.
     
  16. LadyEagle

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    And, no offense DHK, but this attitude is exactly why a lot of divorced people (who feel guilty and ashamed enough most of the time even if they tried to do everything right) will not darken the door of a church. Too many people have this erroneous thinking. As I pointed out in another thread, if we lived in OT times, the adulterer would be stoned to death and the widow or widower would be free to marry because the offender was dead. Also, God divorced Israel. My post is not meant to offend you, just take issue with your statements.
     
  17. DHK

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    If it is Biblical it must be demonstrated to be Biblical. I find no Biblical evidence for any such doctrine. In fact I find the exact opposite.

    Mark 10:11-12 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

    There is the Biblical doctrine of divorce and remarriage.
    Remarriage after divorce and you are an adulterer or adultress. There is no grounds for it.

    Mark 10:9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    --There is the Biblical doctrine of divorce. What God has joined together let no man put asunder.

    Care to argue with the Lord Jesus Christ? Those are His Words, and I find them quite clear and straight forwardd.
     
  18. ReformedBaptist

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    I agree 100% I think also what gets often overlooked in this subject is that marriage is a covenant. Once the covenant is broken, then those involved are no longer bound to it.
     
  19. DHK

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    Do we then rationalize the Bible to make it suitable for others.
    Do you put your stamp orf approval on pedophiles so they won't be made to feel guilty and ashamed. You don't want them to darken the doors of a church. Sin is sin, whether in your eyes it is great or small. Why condone some and not others. You are inconsistent. You want to welcome some sinners and not others. Right?
     
  20. ReformedBaptist

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    I will not argue with Jesus Christ, but I will take issue with you misrepresenting the Scripture by leaving out the full context of Jesus' teaching to suit your tradition. Nor will I sit idle while you try to stonewall another with useless rhetoric. How about in the next post you try to deal with ALL of Jesus words, pariculary with the exception He allowed for divorce.

    The very fact that you now admit the Bible teaches about divorce and remarriage shows your agreement that there is a biblcial doctrine of divorce and by your own words, you have refuted yourself.
     
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