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Preface

            God called me to go to Ireland to preach the gospel. I arrived on the field in Oct. of 2008. The focus was to plant churches, with the understanding that teamwork is the Biblical plan to do that. Men need to work together in various ways to plant churches. What is most needed is the teaching and training of God called men for service. For quite some time now I personally have sensed God’s call to Pastor. Since this calling I have redoubled my efforts to know what the Bible has to say about marriage, divorce and remarriage. I studied the Bible’s teaching on this subject more intensely when God called me to missionary service some 10 years ago. I am a divorced man. You will read a brief testimony about that in this paper. Primarily though this paper was written to help others find the truth about an important and debated subject. Along with that understanding of what the Bible teaches about marriage, divorce, and remarriage comes the question; “Can a divorced man pastor?” I hope to help God called Biblically divorced men to find peace in Truth. 1Tim. 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. I intend to follow the will / call of God upon my life.

                                                                 

Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (Edited 2015)

Gen.2:20-25; Jer.3:8; Deut.24:1-4; Matt.19:9

 

            What we know about marriage, divorce and remarriage must be based upon the Scriptures first and foremost. Our own beliefs and desires must be put aside in submission to the study of the Bible. In the first marriage do we find a ceremony, or vows? No, not necessarily, and we should not put too much emphasis on them as opposed to the desire / intent of each person involved in this union to honor and obey God from the heart. Adam did say “…This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:” indicating the one flesh relationship (literally one flesh) and his intent to leave for a man to leave their father and mother and cleave unto his wife.  A ceremony and public vows are not unbiblical in fact they give society a way of honoring God’s institution of marriage.    Words are important!

            Webster - Intent - Literally, having the mind strained or bent on an object; a purpose or intention applied to persons or things. Intention - Intention is when the mind, with great earnestness and of choice, fixes its view on any idea, considers it on every side, and will not be called off by the ordinary solicitation of other ideas.

             This brief writing is on what the Bible teaches about the titled subject. It is an important doctrine of the Bible and must be studied to know God’s mind on the subject. This paper is written to Christians in general but especially to Pastors and men called of God who are entering the ministry full time or in their local church. This is not to condemn nor exalt any man or his position about the titled subject, but to summarize what the Bible teaches about a disputed and at times contentious issue. This is the issue of marriage, and as it pertains to a possible subsequent divorce and remarriage; specifically in reference to the man called to pastor, preach or missionary service.

            The Bible teaches that there is Biblical divorce and hence a freedom for Biblical remarriage! Those who do not believe that have every right to their beliefs. We will not stand in each other’s place at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. We must have Scripture to stand on and I hope to not only show what I believe but more importantly what the Bible teaches on this subject.

 

Is marriage really defined by the intent of the heart of each person which God knows?

            The focus is on the observation that marriage takes place first in the heart and the individual will of the person. It is the intent of the person to cleave, and stay with that person for life that really solidifies the relationship.  There is recognition that the two first humans were to be joined together as one flesh. There was an intent that they would stay together. Gen 2:23, 24  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

            God intended Adam and Eve to marry for life. When sin entered into the world everything changed. So, also the intents in men’s and women’s hearts to obey God and remain true to their marriage covenant changed. No longer was the marriage covenant made in innocence but from a sinful, fallen nature. Death, murder, stealing, fornication, and lying were soon to be seen in the world. People began to commit all these sins and many more. Polygamy (important to remember) also began in Gen.4:19 when Lamech took unto himself two wives. We as the human creation of God now would break our covenant relationships and not fulfill our initial intention to remain true to one person for life. Ultimately, God had to provide us with what to do when society was plagued by these sins and disobedience. One of these sins was fornication - (a general term for all sexual sins) and in particular adultery which is the fornication between a married individual and someone who is not their spouse.  

Certainly divorce is not God’s perfect will. Matt. 19:8  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. With this Scripture we can see God’s original intent was not for men to put away their wives but it was happening. Moses causes the man to give a writing or bill of divorcement to reveal the cause of the divorce and clear the woman from any accusations that were not true such as committing adultery. Adultery would not have warranted a bill of divorcement as the guilty party is stoned to death. The Lord Jesus then tells us that any divorce except for the cause of fornication was not a valid divorce. Mat.t 19:9  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.

            Hence any action taken to remarry without a Biblical divorce (the exception) was an act of adultery because in God’s eyes the man and woman were still married. So, why does Jesus include the exception clause…?

 

            Reason - The stoning of the guilty has ceased under grace. Lev. 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. The Law of Moses said the guilty were to be put to death but even Jesus set a higher and greater judgment - forgiveness and restoration if possible. In fact we find the woman caught in adultery (the very act) in John chapter 8 is pardoned and given the chance to live a forgiven, new life!

            Also, knowing the extreme emotional pain, when one spouse is unfaithful, and the deep mistrust which can accompany such an act in the heart of the innocent spouse, God allowed (not required) divorce. One spouse had broken the original marriage intention or vow (promise) that was made between the husband and wife. The covenant had been broken. A third party had entered into what was a two person but one flesh relationship. Now one spouse had entered into another one flesh relationship with another person, (1Cor. 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.) hence breaking their promise and their original intent to remain faithful to one person.  They had broken the covenant; their promise to leave and cleave to this one person.

            Moses also regulated the ongoing practice of the Jews putting away their spouses for any cause when he required a bill of divorcement. Men were putting away their wives for any reason they thought valid and Moses regulated divorce by requiring a bill of divorcement. In many ways it protected the woman from total abandonment, false accusation (of being called an adulteress) and blame. Deut. 24:1-4  When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2  And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.  3  And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;  4  Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

 

            Does this mean the innocent party should get a divorce? Not necessarily. Can this broken covenant be restored? Can the marriage ever be reconciled? A marriage certainly can be restored and forgiveness offered. Two people can be reconciled to each other again and trust be restored. God however in His Word speaks to both ways. God Himself shows us in Hosea that there can be forgiveness and restoration of a broken marriage. He also shows us by the scriptures that He Himself divorced Israel because of her adulteries. I will address this later.  Jer. 3:8  And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

 

            Why are Biblically divorced people able to Biblically Remarry

         We can be at peace in our heart (Rom.14:5b “…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”) about what the Bible says on this subject concerning different situations and also the state of many Biblically divorced men who have been called into service. Shall we not all give an account of ourselves on that day? 2Cor. 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

            I am a missionary on the field of Ireland since Oct. 1st 2008. I was divorced by an adulterous wife in 1989 before I was saved. I was saved in June of 1990 but that life changing event did not restore or reconcile the marriage, but only increased the animosity as I tried to mend the marriage. Matt.10:32-39 I remarried in May of 1992 to my wife Kathy of 23 years. My wife was divorced over thirty years ago from an adulterer, drunkard and physical abuser. She got saved in 1991 and has been the most precious thing in my life beside the Lord Jesus Christ. She is an absolute blessing as a missionary’s wife and meets any and all the qualifications the Bible has for these women. The Bible says in 1Tim. 3:11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Kathy is all that and more. I have a sincere and determined reason for wanting to know the Bible’s teaching on this subject. When I sensed God’s call and leading into missionary service I wanted to do the will of God. It mattered not what men said. I followed the Lord. My concern was that the call was from God and not some selfish or personal desire. Today as I write this paper I want to do the will of God. That is why I have studied the teaching on marriage, divorce and remarriage.      

                       I am the “…husband of one wife…” not two. My former wife committed adultery and broke her marriage vow. Even before people are saved they know that adultery (which is a form / act of fornication) is Biblically, morally and socially wrong. Though now society has changed its mind on adultery, and obviously people’s morals have declined, the Bible is clear that it is sin. Jesus explains that “fornication” is the only situation where a man could put away his wife and not commit adultery in the remarriage to another. In fact he causes the wife he has put away to be an adulteress because she is still biblically married to him, if the putting away was for any reason but fornication. I would add that any man that took the unbiblical divorced woman as a wife also commits adultery.

            I did not divorce my former wife she divorced me. Let me say this though and that is that it is the innocent party that has the4 right to put away not the guilty. If the innocent party does not recognize the divorce than for intents and purposes they are still married. However, after being divorced I realized there was freedom to remarry because of the “exception clause” in the Scriptures. The exception clause being that if a man or woman divorces their spouse for any reason but fornication he or she is still married in the eyes of God and commits adultery by remarrying.

Matt. 19:9  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.

 

            Fornication = Webster - 1. The incontinence, lewdness sexual immorality of unmarried persons, male or female; also, the criminal conversation or sexual behavior of a married man with an unmarried woman.  2. Adultery. Matt. 5:32    3. Incest. 1 Cor. 5. 4. Idolatry; a forsaking of the true God, and worshipping of idols.       2 Chron. 21.  Rev 19.

 

            When a person is Biblically divorced and / or civilly divorced (even against their will, and given a legal document that pronounces the man and woman now legally divorced in the eyes of the state) there is not one Scripture that says they cannot remarry. I say divorced against their will because an individual may not have been the aggressor or pursuer in any way of the divorce. It was carried out against every plea for reconciliation. In fact that is the grace of God that the innocent party can remarry! The Bible says it is not good for man to be alone. The whole reason for divorce is for remarriage sanctioned by God Himself. This idea that a man is to remain celibate the rest of his life when divorced by an unfaithful wife is absolute lunacy. There is not one scripture to back that up. That whole concept comes from the Catholic teachings.

            Think with me for a minute. If Joseph who was going to put away Mary his wife (for good reason) and did follow through than he would have to remain celibate? Why? One scripture! Joseph was the innocent party and seemingly Mary the guilty. Please remember that fornication used by Jesus in Matt.5 and 19 is not limited to just sex between two unmarried people. The Bible teaches differently and the dictionaries define it much more broadly to include all forms of immorality. Simply reference one account in 1Cor.5 where the word fornication is used in the incestual relationship between a step-son and his step mother. One was certainly married. I believe the Lord encourages marriage for those Biblically divorced who choose to.

Gen 2:18  And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

1Cor. 7:2  Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.

1Cor. 7:9  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

             Let me add that a civil divorce though legal in the eyes of man does not, nor cannot supersede or outweigh the Scriptures when and if they say otherwise. If God’s law is contrary to man’s law, well… Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. That does not mean that civil law should not be followed for that also has been ordained of God for the good.

           Rom 13:1 - 3  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

           

 

What does it mean to Marry? (Scriptures references below)The Bible teaches that marriage is a covenant relationship (a vow or promise before God to your spouse with the intent of a lasting commitment) between one man and one woman.  The Bible teaches that coming together as one flesh does not make the marriage but is sanctified in and because of the marriage relationship. Two people can fornicate but that does not make them married.

 1Cor. 6:15  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.

1Cor. 6:16  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

1Cor. 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

1Cor. 6:18  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

             Two people can become one flesh but not married. God recognizes as holy the one flesh relationship in the bonds of marriage. When the one flesh relationship takes place outside the bonds of marriage it is fornication or sexual sin. Heb. 13:4  Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

 

Gen.2:22-25; Mal.2:14; Matt.19:9; 1Cor:7:12-16; Rom.7:1-4

 

Three different situations to look at with these Scriptures in mind!

            Matt. 19:5  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?

            Matt. 19:6  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

First and explanation of the above verse

What is the meaning of…?

“… what God hath joined together let not man put asunder…”

 

            The Bible is clear on Who instituted the marriage relationship – God Almighty! God brought Eve to Adam; and Adam declared “…this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…”Gen.2:23 God was the one Who designed this special relationship between one man and one woman, one male and one female. The Lord designed the institution of marriage. So, today whether saved or unsaved, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Christian, it is God Who is the Creator, Architect, and Originator of the marriage institution. In the scope of that institution does God join every couple together? No! That does not mean that once married they don’t have to adhere to the Biblical guidelines and instruction concerning the institution of marriage. It also isn’t saying that just because God wasn’t intimately involved in bringing two people together that they part ways for their own selfish convenience. Only the Bible is the rule and practice for the governing of the marriage. Thinking of this Scripture one only should have to look at what the Bible teaches about marriage. The conclusion can be drawn from the Bible’s teaching on what marriage is in God’s eyes. Is it just the institution of marriage in general or does the meaning extend into the actual joining together of a man and woman? I believe God is intimately involved when two Christians yielded to the will of God seek a mate and wait on God; He is joining that couple together because they are focused on His will being accomplished in their lives. He is bringing them together into a one flesh relationship. They each have God’s choice of their mate for life.

 

Questions:

 Does God bring all men and women together?

Has the Lord been involved in every man and woman’s choosing of their spouses?

 Does God approve and /or join together all marriages?

           

 

Explanation: God is the Originator of the institution of marriage, but I do not believe God is involved in joining every couple together. God is not in any perverse unions between homosexuals, nor would He be joining together heathen in an unholy union or relationship. Once a man and woman are married though, they have then brought themselves under God’s law and institution. The marriage is ordained of God in that He is the One who designed it and gave us the guidelines to follow. The Lord is not personally or directly joining wicked heathen idol worshipping people together in the bonds of marriage, but they are choosing something God designed and affirms.

 

Are all couples joined by God?

Matt. 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

            Was the Lord referring to all couples who marry are joined by God? I would believe that even those with a strict view do not believe all are joined by God, for they believe God only joins ‘first marriages.’ Jesus spoke of ‘what’ God has joined together – by instituting marriage at the beginning – not necessarily ‘whom,’ as though each couple that marries is individually joined by God.

            Does God join together two unbelievers, or an unequal yoke, or a woman just marrying for money, or a man lusting for a young bride? Is this the intention of this statement by the Lord? No, I believe that that though God ordained marriage at the beginning and was intimately involved with Adam and Eve, not all subsequent marriages through the ages were made with the personal involvement of the Lord to the extent that He joined them, or brought them together; hence the reason for so many marriages gone wrong because they didn’t start right. Nevertheless, once two people marry they have put themselves under a Divine institution that works and is regulated by God’s Word, and that is what God has joined together.

            This doesn’t even take into account the homosexual charade of marriage. Marriage is one man and one woman so God has not joined this unholy union together nor is it even a marriage in any sense. It is an abomination to God.

 

There are three spiritual conditions / possibilities that are present when two people marry.

 

1.               Unsaved / Unsaved - The Scriptures tell me that God is not in their lives nor do they acknowledge or know Him. They are not seeking God nor are they brought together by God. My point being that although they come under the institution of marriage (because God ordained it) when they make their vows, ceremony, intentions known, that does not mean that God was  in their thoughts or hearts in any way guiding and approving of their decision or personal intentions. Only that when the decision was made and they married, it was God’s institution they were entering into. Hence they come under God’s specific guidelines for what a marriage is and how a marriage works. Eph. 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  Eph. 4:18  Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart

Before we are saved we are blind, hopeless sinners alienated from God with no understanding but in darkness until the light of the glorious Gospel saved us.

Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God…”

 

2.                        Unsaved / Saved - We find this scenario addressed in the letters to the Corinthians. God would not be joining together a saved person and an unsaved person because the Bible says in 2Co 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? This would be totally without question against what God says about these types of relationships. Two people could however be both unsaved and one spouse gets saved after they are married. This must have been happening in the city of Corinth as the Gospel was preached and Paul addressed their questions about what was taking place as people were saved. 

Paul says Jesus did not address this situation specifically so…

1Co 7:12 - 16 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14  For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 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. 16  For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

           If a person is no longer under bondage to that marriage relationship anymore than he or she is free to remarry or they still would be in bondage to that relationship. Where is the call to peace in that even as the unsaved spouse who departs or leaves one marriage goes and remarries; the saved spouse is not free from that former spouse but is still in bondage to that marriage which is finished. That marriage is ended and the saved spouse is free to remarry if they choose. Being free to remarry is the freedom from the bondage of the former marriage. The peace is not restraining the unbeliever from leaving by legal wrangling. If they want to leave let them depart. You can encourage them to remain but not with the bitterness and strife that would come from the unbeliever’s desire to get out of the relationship. Where is the peace in that?

 

 

3.   Saved / Saved - The Scriptures tell us that saved people are the children of God. They have the Holy Spirit indwelling them and fully able to understand and obey God because they know Him. They have the ability to know what the Bible says and the Scriptures tell us that only death or fornication / adultery can break this bond.

           Matt. 19:9  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.

In 1Cor. 7:10, 11  And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

              These two children of God are to remain together for life or there could be the possibility of one spouse committing adultery hence if there will be no forgiveness or reconciliation a divorce is permitted. This is the only exception as the Scripture tells above that the woman who departs (“saving for the cause of fornication…” Matt.19:9) is to remain unmarried (divorced but celibate) or be reconciled to her husband. Why, because in the eyes of the Lord they are still husband and wife. Reference above 1Cor.7:10, 11.

 

What is Divorce?

 By law a legal dissolution of the bonds of matrimony, or the separation of husband and wife by a judicial sentence. The putting away of one’s spouse. This is properly called a divorce.

Biblical divorce

Now, there is such a thing as Biblical divorce. The putting away of one’s spouse is a dissolution (to dissolve) or means to end a legal agreement and covenant such as a marriage. It is in the Bible spoken by Moses, the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul. It is defined in the Scriptures as permitted by God but not His perfect will. I have spoken of the narrow view the Bible takes and will expound more in this paper. Civil law does not supersede God’s laws. Just as abortion may be allowed but it is the murder of innocent life as the Bible says “thou shalt not kill.” If a divorce is Biblical though, than a remarriage is Biblical; in fact the very reason for the dissolution of the first marriage (under scriptural guidelines) is to allow if desired another marriage.

 

Deut.24:1-4; Matt.19:9; Jer.3:8; Is.50:1; 1Cor.7

                                        

There are civil divorces.  Divorce laws vary considerably around the world but in most countries it requires the sanction of a court or other authority in a legal process. The legal process for divorce may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt.

 

The marriage covenant can only be broken by three Biblical instances or events.

1.      One spouse dies. Rom.7:1-4

2.      One spouse commits fornication (adultery, any sexual sin) and the offended spouse divorces, or the guilty spouse leaves. Matt. 19:9

3.      The unsaved spouse divorces (departs) the saved spouse. I Cor. 7:12-15

              Summary could be as follows: Death, Divorce, or Desertion

 

 

Bible words and meanings

1.      Married - A man and woman who have joined themselves in a covenant relationship before God with the intent and promise in their hearts to last till death.

2.      Unmarried - Not married; having no husband or no wife. Can include virgins, widows and the Biblically divorced.

3.      Fornication - The incontinence or lewdness of unmarried persons, male or female; also, the criminal conversation or sinful sexual behavior of a married man with an unmarried woman and vise versa.

4.      Adultery - Violation of the marriage bed; a crime, or a civil injury, which introduces, or may introduce, into a family, a spurious offspring. This is a specific act of fornication or sexual immorality.

Note: By the laws of Connecticut, the sexual intercourse of any man, with a married woman, is the crime of adultery in both: such intercourse of a married man, with an unmarried woman, is fornication in both, and adultery of the man, within the meaning of the law respecting divorce; but not a felonious adultery in either, or the crime of adultery at common law, or by statute. In common usage, adultery means the unfaithfulness of any married person to the marriage bed. In a Scriptural sense, all manner of lewdness or unchastity, as in the seventh commandment. In Scripture, idolatry, or apostasy from the true God. Jer. 3. Matt. 5:32    Incest. 1Cor. 5.   Idolatry; a forsaking of the true God, and worshipping of idols. 2Chron. 21. Rev. 19.

5.      Loosed - Biblically divorced, dissolved, put off, break up, To untie or unbind; to free from any fastening, to set at liberty

6.      Bound - to knit, tie; be bound to or in bonds, Under legal or moral restraint or obligation.

7.      Depart - go away, separate, put asunder

8.      Put away - release, dismiss, divorce, depart, loose

9.      Biblical Divorce - a cutting of the marital bond

10.  Civil Divorce - a court order that says you are no longer legally married

A civil divorce does not necessarily cut the Biblical marriage bond.  It depends on the reason for the divorce.  Matt.19:9 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

 

 

The Beliefs of many Christians

Divorce and Remarriage - Some say…

Ø     I believe that God intends marriage to last until one of the partners dies.  I agree

Ø     I believe that God did permit divorce on the grounds of fornication, but that divorce is never His perfect will.   I agree

Ø     Although divorced persons and remarried persons may be greatly used of God in the service of Christ and may hold positions of service in the Church, they may not be considered for the position of Pastor or Deacon as is instructed in the Scriptures. I whole heartedly disagree.

 

       Many have written extensively on this subject and well should we, as we should know what the Scriptures say. There are opposing views on one particular portion of Scripture which is 1Tim. 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;  - particularly as the phrase “…the husband of one wife…” is to be understood. I want as simply as possible to tell why I believe a divorced man can pastor. There are many papers and books written on this subject whether agreeing or disagreeing with my personal stand on this issue. What I believe (and I believe the Bible teaches that there is Biblical divorce and remarriage) is the only way I can answer the many different situations and questions that arise about this subject. As I said I come to this conclusion because I believe that is what the Scriptures teach us. There are too many holes in the teaching that divorced men cannot pastor. They sound good and seem to be taking the high road on this matter but what does the Bible teach should be the focus.

 

There are Christians who believe that a divorced man cannot pastor; no way, no how, no exceptions. Well, let us look at what the Scriptures plainly teach.

First of all…

·        How do many arrive at this from a simple reading and study of the Scriptures?

·         Do they arrive at this belief because it is what we have been taught?

·         Do they feel as if they are taking the high road and being more spiritual?

·         Could they be imposing something on the Scriptures that the Scriptures are not teaching but man is teaching as doctrine? Could this be the case and they just can’t find it in themselves to say “I could be wrong”?

      People believe what they believe and I hope they have studied this, and that they are not just parroting what their teachers have told them the Bible teaches. Many men have never looked at this for themselves and that is a shame because in this day and age we had better know what the Scriptures say about this subject            

Matt. 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.

 

Husband of One Wife!

 

1Tim. 3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

 

            Those who may believe God only recognizes ‘first’ marriages sometimes quote 1Tim.3:2. They take this to mean God only allows one marriage over the entire lifetime, and in this case, specifically, a man who has remarried after divorce cannot be a pastor. This is not the point of the Scripture. In fact the very purpose of a Biblical divorce is the legal and spiritual lawfulness to remarry.

            The Scripture is actually (by simply reading the words and not imposing our beliefs upon it) saying a pastor must have one wife at this time. If this is not correct then even a widowed pastor could not remarry and still pastor. Why, because he would two wives over his lifetime. It does not say “having been married one time.” The logical reason being, “having been married one time” would contradict all passages that allowed a man to remarry under the circumstances sanctioned by God; whether death or divorce.  If Paul was saying a pastor was permitted only one marriage in life he could have used a very common Greek word to describe this. He could have said “…married (gameo – Grk.) only once…” but he didn’t, but used a different construction altogether.

            A pastor was to be “…the husband of one wife…”  A man with a previous marriage which ended because of death or Biblical divorce – and who was now “…the husband of one wife…” – meets that specific marital qualification laid down by Paul. If he was the husband of two or three wives (polygamous) or not Biblically divorced he did not meet the qualification. By the way there are many other qualifications that must be taken just as seriously and I hope are when a man is being ordained to the highest office on this earth.

            We would hesitate to speak of all the hypocritical judgment passed by those who ordain or ‘qualify’ those who were, or are not now faithful husbands, or were fornicators and whoremongers before they were saved, and are not even considered to have any stain against them. Why? Because they don’t have a divorce paper! I don’t condemn these men but only bring up the hypocrisy of those that judge a biblically divorced man, or one who was saved out of a checkered past. (All are sinners) Rom.3:23

             1Cor.  6:11  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

            Interesting to see the preachers fawn over men who committed some of the vilest acts and then got saved to be ordained to the ministry. It is as if the more sinful and wicked the more interesting the testimony. Yes, God can forgive the vilest sinner but not the man who married a girl because it was the right thing to do before hopping in bed. Than the devil got into that thing and the woman commits adultery and a divorce happens. Now, for some strange reason we are to believe that the man is to remain celibate (Dr. Stinnett Ballew and others would attest to) and certainly is disqualified from the ministry if he was to remarry. Some scripture would help me to understand this false teaching but there is none.

 

            Note on Polygamy – The words “…husband of one wife…” strictly speaking permits only one interpretation: a prospective pastor or deacon (because he should be an example in all things) may not be a polygamist.  The verses says absolutely nothing about remarriage but that the man is to be a one woman man with only one wife at a time. Even O.T. polygamy was never the ideal because God said two shall be one. In the N.T. a polygamist convert could enter into the body of believers-1Cor.7:17, 20, 24 but could not hold an office. The pastor or deacon must hold before the church a monogamous marriage relationship. A man who got saved and was married to more than one wife was not to divorce those wives to be a pastor. The reason for the divorce would be unbiblical. God would not call a man who was living in a polygamous relationship but that does not mean he could not be saved.

            Some say there was no polygamy at the time of the N.T. writing but that simply is not true. The facts prove otherwise as it still continued with the Jews, and also among the Greeks, Romans and who knows where else. Many other non biblical writers such as Josephus (212ad) and Theodosius (393ad) found it necessary to enact special laws against this ongoing practice.

 

      1Tim. 3:2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

                                                                                                              

      The focus is on what the phrase “…husband of one wife…” means. Let me as simply and clearly say that if you had no prior influence in your mind or prior teaching on this verse you would not come away with the notion Paul is teaching on divorce here. It simply is speaking of polygamy (more than one wife) and a man who is faithful and content with one wife, not two. The language is actually promoting a faithful ‘one woman man,’ not a man with a roving eye but committed to one woman. Polygamy was a practice at the time (even if some say it wasn’t) and still is today in many countries. It was extensively practiced and was not regarded as unlawful. Yet one purpose of the gospel was to restore the monogamous relationship. All new converts did not divorce the many wives but the bishop was to be an example of the ‘one wife’ relationship so their example helped the converts see this practice was dishonourable and improper in the Christian church. The bishop was not to be a polygamist but be married to one woman. Why would the plain simple reading of the verse lend itself to the interpretation of divorce? Paul would have said that don’t you think? He has made it very clear that the pastor should have one wife. I have asked men who know my situation (my divorce and remarriage) if they consider me the husband of two wives? They said no! Then why would I be excluded from pastoring? If I am not the husband of two wives I am the husband of one wife.  If I ever was thought to be the husband of two wives then why was I not brought up on church discipline? Why as a tithing member of a fundamental Baptist Church was I not disciplined? Why, because, I was not the husband of two wives but one wife. If that is and was the clear case then, why do some see divorce in the same clear language of 1Timothy chapter 3?

 

     There is not one man in the pastorate today or ever who meets the qualifications of 1Tim. 3 (in relation to the office of pastor) over his entire lifetime, not one. This list of things to look for in prospective candidates for the office of pastor is focused on who a man is now in the present. We are sinners saved by grace and called by His grace. I find it interesting that so many put an overemphasis on one qualification over the other. How many men have been grilled about their love of money, angry countenance, inhospitable nature or covetousness and inability to teach? What about the man who can’t be serious when the situation calls for it, or be a sober man. What of the man with a brawling attitude. There is more than just one qualification, and they all are important!

 

1 Tim. 3:1-7 1Ti 3:1  This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

 

            Grammar - “…must be…” Greek construction - ‘must - δεῖ - Third person singular active present  / ‘be’ - εἶναι - Present infinitive present tense, right now, at the present / recent past

            All the qualifications are in the present tense so why would we impose this specific qualification “husband of one wife” over a man’s entire life. God is interested in who the man is now. What man could qualify if we brought his entire life history into the discussion? None! That is why the blood Christ is so precious. 1Peter 1:18, 19 The character of the man, his integrity and attitude are as important as is his marital status. The phrase simply does not say what some impose upon it, or possibly want it to say. Truth is the first qualification mentioned is to be ‘blameless.’

1.      Has every man been blameless over their entire life?

2.      Has every man never been a striker over his entire life?

3.      Has a man always had a good report “of them that are without” can this even be possible? What is the meaning of this qualification? When a man is unsaved is he of good report of them that are without? 

 

What does “one wife” really mean?    One, 1, first wife, only wife?

 

I am present tense the husband of one wife! One = singular not many, hence a one woman man, faithful to one woman, which is the proper meaning from the Greek!

·         The meaning is one wife (singular); and so a man seeking the pastorate could have been married to another woman in the past and a couple of things could have happened.

1.      He could have been divorced by an unfaithful wife

2.      He could have divorced a wife because she committed fornication, adultery, sexual sin

3.      She could have died

           If it means first wife/ only wife then the Bible would exclude a man from holding the pastorate whose first wife had died? Now, if the argument would be that he is allowed to remarry because his wife died then why is it wrong or unbiblical for a Biblically divorced man (fornication, desertion,) to hold the position of pastor. The meaning must carry all the way through each situation or scenario of any man’s life. We can’t make the Scriptures say what we want them to say, but we must interpret them literally, clearly and plainly as they read. We cannot throw a blanket interpretation over every situation we find and try to make it fit when it simply doesn’t or just generates more questions. We want to resolve every question with a Bible answer.

·                  Another argument is that that man cannot teach about divorce and be effective because he has been divorced. Where is that teaching in the Bible? If a man has murdered someone or been an accomplice to murder, and gets saved can he pastor? Is he a murderer? Ok, was he a murderer? Can he teach “…thou shalt not kill.”? Some would say that the murderer is no longer a murderer but the divorced man is always divorced. What does that have to do with the qualifications for a bishop? I guess the statement could be “He WAS a murderer but you ARE divorced. None of that matters if they are forgiven and called of God. We must go to the Scriptures for our answers. If a man slept with a hundred women but marries none of them and repents is he qualified to pastor?

           The Bible no where says a divorced person cannot be a pastor or deacon. This is important because there are many men that have been disqualified for service or ordination by other men but not God. A person’s own interpretation of this phrase (“…husband of one wife…”) may yield this conclusion, but the Bible clearly does not say the word “divorced.” We need to be honest with this fact "the husband of one wife" is not an exclusion of a widower nor is it an exclusion of a divorced and remarried man! It is to prevent a polygamist from entering the ministry. Many of the religious leaders are guilty of hurting many dear brethren by not allowing them to preach because of the "ONE and ONLY" stand! The "ONE and ONLY" stand  is that to be a preacher you must be of only ONE wife for life,  no matter how many affairs happen,  both known and unknown, as long as you don’t have a divorce paper.

           If the phase “husband of one wife” means one and only for life then a man whose wife has died is prohibited to remarry and stay in the pastorate. Paul could have easily said…

·    No second marriages

·    No divorced men

The Bible does NOT say either, so why do we impose our private interpretation?

           My point is that we must look on each man as an individual and look at his life now or over the recent past. We are not to disqualify men God has called but agree with God according to what the Bible clearly says. If a man does not meet the qualifications then he should not be considered for ordination but we must be sure we are not disqualifying a man over what we believe then what the scriptures plainly teach. We would do well to remember the verses below…

 1Cor. 6:8 - 11 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

 

The Engagement Position 

            Some teach that since Jesus used the word fornication in Matt.19:9 (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.) that He was speaking of sexual sin during the engagement period, not after marriage. This belief stems from a wrong belief of the Biblical use of the Greek word ‘porneia’. This idea that divorce is allowed after engagement, but not after marriage cannot be maintained.

           

 The Case of Joseph and Mary  

 

Matt. 1:18 - 20 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.    19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

 

           Joseph seeing the condition of his wife Mary (of whom he had not come together with as yet) was minded to divorce her. Why? It was evident to Joseph (anyone else for that matter) that Mary had committed the sin of fornication / adultery. Joseph did not know if who he thought Mary had relations with was an unmarried or married man. All Joseph knew was that his betrothed wife was unfaithful to him. Joseph was a just man and instead of Mary being stoned (Deut. 22:23, 24) or making her a publick example he chose a bill of divorcement (Deut.24:1).  He wanted to divorce her quietly. Let remind you that Deut. 24 did not make the woman a publick example, (Deut. 22 did!) but made the man explain why he was putting away his wife though she had not committed fornication. Mary I am sure was pleading her innocence but Joseph was having none of it. He is having his doubts as we all would and should. This hasn’t ever happened before.

           Joseph was reassured in a dream that he did not have to fear in taking unto himself Mary his wife. “…fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

 Joseph and Mary were husband and wife with a contractual or covenant agreement. She was betrothed to him. Betrothal, according to the law made him her husband before marriage.

Deut. 22:23, 24  If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her;  24  Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.

 

What about Matt.19:9 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.

 

  1. Jesus and the Pharisees were not discussing engagement but marriage.
  2. The passages that are brought up in the discussion between Jesus and the Pharisees (Gen. 2 and Deuteronomy 24:1-4 do not refer to engagement but marriage.
  3. The whole context is on the lawful state of remarrying. “…Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another,”

If we take the phrase “…except it be for fornication…” out of the verse we wind up with an unlawful remarriage. When we find these verses in Luke and Mark we simply have to take all the verses together to come up with the whole teaching.

  1. Porneia was a general term with adultery being a specific sexual act between a married and unmarried person. Why this is such a bone of contention I can’t see. Check all the dictionaries and Greek you want, the simple fact remains fornication is the general term for all sexual sins.
  2. Jesus was bringing the Pharisees back to God’s original intent for marriage in the beginning, and then gave the ONLY exception for divorce and remarriage, and that was fornication (sexual sin).

 

 

What about God’s divorce?

God Himself divorced Israel for adulterous fornication. Plainly God knows what adultery and fornication are and uses the terms properly and doesn’t try to confuse us. If God said He divorced Israel, pictured as a woman married to Him, for sinful adulteries, then His use of the terms makes it clear that married persons can be legitimately divorced.

Jeremiah 3:1-8  1  They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.  4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?  5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.  6 The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.  7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.  8  And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.

 

      Let me say that God put away Israel because of her fornication (adulteries) being the wife of the Lord. In Isaiah 50:1 we see the Lord reminding Israel that it was her adulteries that He put her away and that He didn’t just sell her off to creditors. God wasn’t at fault but Israel as a nation committed fornication, and as the wife of Jehovah committed that specific act of adultery against her Husband.

 

Isaiah 50:1  Thus saith the LORD, Where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.

 

God will restore His relationship with Israel and He will not violate Deut. 24:1-4 because Israel never remarries but continues to play the harlot and God goes after her and forgives her and restores her. Does this not show us two things…?

  1. There can be an innocent party in a divorce, as God does not sin in His divorce.
  2. There can be restoration, reconciliation and forgiveness in these situations, and should be the first counsel for any couple involved in this situation.

 

What about Malachi 2:11-16?

Mal. 2:11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god. 12  The LORD will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob, and him that offereth an offering unto the LORD of hosts. 13  And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth it with good will at your hand. 14 Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. 15  And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth. 16  For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

           What is the passage teaching us? Does God hate all “putting away”? What about divorce for just cause? Does God hate Himself, since He Himself divorced Israel? God divorced Israel because of her fornications. God had a just cause for putting away His wife. The simple fact is that the Bible does not condemn all cases of divorce and remarriage. Though God did not directly institute divorce it is accepted and recognized in the Bible as a fact of human life. Moses required the bill of divorce Deut.24:1-4 as a legal basis for a custom that had been ongoing as far back as Abraham. Gen.21:10-14 What Moses did was to regulate the ongoing practice.

 

Now, What exactly then does God hate?

            God hated the treacherous (deceitful, unfaithful, covertly) putting away of the wife of their youth or covenant. These Jewish men had dealt treacherously with the wives of their youth. God is against this divorce because of the kind of divorce it was. Men were putting away their wives and marrying heathen women. A woman who worshipped a false god was termed the daughter of a strange god. “…for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.

            This not only was a racial issue but a religious one. Deut.7:3, 4 In the book of Ezra (chapter 10) Jewish men had married foreign wives contrary to the Law. Ezra instructed them in a time of repentance and prayer to do God’s pleasure and put away their foreign wives.

            It seems obvious to understand each passage about divorce, it must be put in its proper place and context. This passage (along with Ezra and Nehemiah) is a two part solution to a single problem. They do not contradict one another but show God’s answer to restoring the national identity by obligatory divorce.

·        In Ezra and Nehemiah God commands the putting away of foreign wives.

·        In Malachi God shows his disdain for their treacherous ways toward the wife of their youth or putting away of their Jewish wives.

 

            Although the Bible says God hates divorce, it does not mean that God hates you, if you are divorced. I came to think about that statement in a whole new way when I went through my own divorce. In fact, after experiencing first-hand the pain and suffering divorce causes, who wouldn’t say: “I hate divorce!”? I hated having my home torn apart. I despised the rejection I felt. I was crushed by the grief and tearing of the one flesh relationship. Who wouldn’t?  No wonder a loving God who would go to such great lengths to spare us the eternal consequences of our sin that he even sent His Son to die for us, hates divorce! What loving Father wouldn’t?  The words “I hate divorce” spring from God's compassion, not condemnation.

 

What about Hosea and Gomer?

Hosea 1:2  The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.

            Even though Israel disobeys God multiple times and even commits adultery against God (idol worship), God still loves Israel.

 

But let us consider a few facts about Hosea & Gomer:

1. God gives Hosea a specific command to marry a harlot (not the whole nation of Israel-only 1 man named Hosea).

2. This marriage is meant to be symbolic of Israel’s marriage (covenant) with God.

3. God uses this marriage to compare his relationship with Israel throughout the whole book of Hosea.

4. Hosea goes and takes his wife back after adultery, and she agrees to stay with him after he “purchased her.” This was due to God’s commanding him do this.

5. God never says we MUST stay with anyone who commits adultery against us. He only commands Hosea to take her back in this case as a symbol. Again, he doesn’t command anyone else BUT Hosea to do this.

 

Important to note:

Hosea 3:1-5 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.  2  So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:  3  And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.  4  For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:  5  Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.

 

  1.  Hosea does nothing to prove my interpretation of the Bible wrong. In fact, is proves it right. We have the option of getting back with adulterous spouses; however, we also have the option to leave. This case is an exception and a command only for Hosea (not all people).
  2. God is saying that while we are granted the option of divorce in adultery, it certainly isn’t REQUIRED.
  3. This entire book (while it literally happens), also is symbolic of Israel. God does this entire thing to teach Israel something. Refer to vss. 3, 4
  4. God NEVER says we can’t divorce when adultery is committed. He merely tells Hosea to go back to his wife in this one situation. Why? To symbolically show that God will return to his “adulterous love” which is Israel. Again, it is symbolic. Israel never marries another.

 

 

God uses Hosea to show Israel their sins of adulterous idol worship and the breaking of God’s laws.

            God shows us that both paths are Biblical though one may be preferred above the other. Sometimes there is no way to go back and repair and restore a marriage. A person who has been the innocent spouse ( there can be an innocent party in a divorce, God divorced Israel) in a marriage where one has walked away and committed sexual sin must be given the Biblical hope that there is grace, forgiveness, peace, and hope for a life after divorce. Total and absolute forgiveness! I understand completely that all of our sins, decisions and choices have consequences. The innocent party in a divorce is made to bear the consequences of the guilty party’s sins and choices. Is this right for the innocent party to remain bound to a marriage that is ended, dissolved? Are there not a multitude of situations out there where one person was mistreated verbally, and been both physically, and emotionally abused? Have you not seen and heard of women being treated like cattle, and stepped out on every chance the man has. Is this her fault? Does she deserve this? Is a single life with no marital fulfillment her lot in life when he finally tells her goodbye and divorces her? Where is that in the scriptures? Celibacy as Paul states is a gift, a choice, but, there is also the choice to remarry. Divine wisdom sees what sin’s fruition is.

            We see the grace of God in freeing / allowing the innocent spouse to remarry and have joy and peace in their lives. Does not the scripture allow for the Biblically divorced person to remarry and experience peace and joy in a new life? Are they resigned to a life of loneliness? Show the scriptures. Some would say that we can be celibate if it is God’s will and I agree.    

 

 Phil. 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.                                                                                                                                                              Phil.4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

            Paul also tells us he wished all could be like him but the realization is that all can’t because it is a gift from God. So, the Bible tells us in many other instances that it not only is a gift, but that all cannot receive the saying of celibacy, and that it would be better to marry than to burn.

            Mat 19:10 - 12 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.

            1Cor. 7:7-9 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

 

            What do we say to the thousands of people who experience divorce and are in our churches? I say the Bible has the answer for every situation. Let God’s word pass the judgment not man’s wisdom. There are so many situations that come up and God has the answer for each and every one.  I am not saying that men who have a different view than I do don’t love their people because of their view of divorce and remarriage. Many men would not have married my wife and I twenty years ago because we were both divorced. I am not saying you are not loving and caring people but are you Biblical? Does what you believe line up with the Scriptures or is every person, no matter what the circumstance and situation resigned to a life of celibacy? The questions must be asked “Is there just cause (according to the Bible) for divorce?”   “Is there the freedom to remarry after such divorce?”   I believe the Bible teaches there is Biblical divorce and remarriage.

 

         

 

Conclusion:  No one should come to the conclusion that there is a condoning or advocacy for easy divorce. We must be Biblical in our understanding even when it goes against the teaching of many preachers. There are no grudges or animosity toward others though that is certainly not what many good men and women have experienced by others. The goal was to be as understanding to what others believe but, explain what I believe the Bible teaches on this subject. There must be Christian courtesy and respect for each other as we seek to understand the truth. I am grateful for the encouragement and help of men (more than I originally thought) who agree with my understanding of the Bible’s teaching on divorce and remarriage. I also am grateful for those men who do not agree but have remained close allies in the battle for souls, and some who are my closest and best friends, and counselors.

Respectfully Written

His servant, your friend

Daniel C. Eberly    John 12:24

 

Gal. 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

 

Books referenced and Author / others who deserve credit

 

    1. The Holy Bible Authorized KJV – The Holy Spirit
    2. The Marriage and Divorce Controversy – Pastor Karl Baker
    3. Making a Difference – Pastor William E. Nicholson
    4. Divorce and Remarriage (Recovering the Biblical View) – William F. Luck
    5. Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Bible – Jay E. Adams
    6. The Bill of Divorcement  - Dr. Roy Branson
    7. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; - Dr. Roy Branson
    8. Many other good Bible believing men
    9. I would like to thank my dear friend Kenneth Kowalski of whom much of this work is presented because of his constant prayers and counsel. “Iron sharpeneth iron”

Mark 16:15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."

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Family Photos

Co-Laborers Together
Daniel & Katherine Eberly

Agharina,
Dripsey Cork, Ireland

E-mail: eberlydc@juno.com
                        or
             dceberly@gmail.com

Sending Church

First Baptist Church of Southard
Pastor William Gaul
31 Hilltop Rd
Howell, NJ 07731
732-364-7636

 

Support Information

Word for the World Baptist Ministries
PO Box 849 Rossville, GA 30741
(706) 866-8826
info@wftwbm.org