“What Jesus Demands From The World” – Daily Devotional (7/18/10): Demand #41 “What God Has Joined Together Let No Man Separate, For Whoever Divorces and Marries Another Commits Adultery”

As an earnest follower of Jesus, it is important to wrestle with the demands from him that challenge our own views and opinions, as well as ones that run contrary to our culture’s values.  The Biblical view on grounds for divorce and remarriage is one of those areas.  As was described by John Piper in the last chapter, divorce is devastating to all parties involved.  The Church is to provide love and care for those undergoing  or have undergone this process, but we must also affirm the standards Jesus gives us.

Posted below is the Free Methodist stance on this issue, taken from pages 69-71 of our Book of Discipline (2007).  The whole book is available to view/download under my “Free Methodist Sites” on this page.  Please reflect and pray for God to help you grasp and hold up God’s purpose for marriage.

Blessings,

Pastor Josh

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¶3310 “We commit ourselves to honor the sanctity of marriage and the family.” (¶159)

¶3311 The Christian and Marriage

C. Healing Troubled Marriages

The church which is alive to God has spiritual resources for marriages in trouble. The chief resources are the renewing power of the Holy Spirit and the Word, prayer and the sacraments, counsel and support. Through the church’s ministry, God can bring healing and reconciliation. Therefore, if our members find their marriage in crisis, we encourage them to seek the counsel of their pastor and submit to the guidance of the church. Professional counsel may be necessary. We recognize that domestic violence, emotional and/or physical, does occur in church-related families. It often jeopardizes the safety of a spouse or children and may threaten life itself. These family members need both spiritual and emotional healing (Malachi 2:13-16).

When after counsel with the pastor, it is deemed that destruction of the home is imminent or has already taken place, Christians may separate. In such cases, the way to reconciliation must be kept open (1 Corinthians 7:10-11). Even when a marriage is violated by sexual infidelity, the partners are encouraged to work for restoration of the union.

D. Divorce

When one marriage partner is a Christian and the other a non-believer, we believe that the Christian may not for that reason divorce the unbelieving mate (1 Corinthians 7:12-13), because Christian love may redeem the unbeliever and unite the home in Christ (1 Corinthians 7:16).

When a marriage is violated by sexual infidelity, the partners are encouraged to work for restoration of the union. Where reconciliation is impossible, a divorce may be allowed as inevitable (Matthew 5:32; 19:9).

Desertion is the abandoning of a marriage without just cause. We believe that a person denies the faith when he/she deserts a spouse deliberately and for an extended period of time. When the desertion leads subsequently to divorce, the deserted partner is no longer bound by the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:15). Where reconciliation is impossible in a troubled marriage, we acknowledge that divorce may be unavoidable (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). When marriages break down completely, we recognize that, in the words of Jesus, “hardness of heart” is implicit on one or both sides of the union (Matthew 19:3-8; Mark 10:5-9).

Though the Scriptures allow divorce on the grounds of adultery (Matthew 5:32) and desertion (1 Corinthians 7:10-16), they do not mandate divorce and we advise counsel with church leaders to seek other alternatives. One of these may be for both to live celibately.

E. Recovery after Divorce

Divorce always produces trauma. It is the breaking of a covenant, thus violating God’s intention for faithfulness in marriage (Malachi 2:13-16). For this reason divorced persons should be helped to understand and remedy the causes for the divorce. They should seek pastoral counsel. Professional counsel may also be necessary. If unhealthy patterns of relating exist, the marriage partners must be helped to replace them with new attitudes and behaviors that are Christlike (Colossians 3:1-15). Repentance and forgiveness are crucial to recovery. The goals of the process are personal healing and restoration to wholesome participation within the church. The church must extend its concern to family and others affected by the divorce.

F. Remarriage after a Divorce

A divorced member or one who is considering marriage to a divorced person must come under the authority, counsel and guidance of the church. Persons who have been involved in divorce while in a state of unbelief shall not for that reason alone be barred from becoming members, even though they remarry. Similarly, believers are not prohibited from marrying a person who was divorced while an unbeliever. A member of the church divorced from an adulterous spouse or deserted by an unbelieving mate, after attempts at forgiveness and reconciliation have been rejected, may remarry (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3-11; 1 Corinthians 7:15).

Published in: on July 18, 2010 at 11:00 AM  Leave a Comment  
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