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Should Christians remarry after divorce?

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  • Should Christians remarry after divorce?

    Marriage and divorce are treated as frivolous and trivial things by many in America, but it seems pretty serious in scripture. In Luke 16:8 we have:

    Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery
    And I'm pretty sure there are other verses in other gospels suggesting similar things. I know divorce is said to be permissible due to our own weaknesses, but remarriage following divorce seems to be clearly stated as sinful. So, some questions:

    Is there some historical/cultural context attached to this teaching that I'm unaware of, or is this an explicit statement that divorced Christians ought not remarry regardless of circumstances leading to the divorce?

    Are there other verses that provide for conditional circumstances where remarriage may be permissible? If one partner is dead then the "till death" commitment seems to be fulfilled, sure. But are there others?

    And as a follow up question if the answer is that remarriage following divorce isn't appropriate, if you're talking to someone who is a Christian who has gone through a divorce, how might we counsel them with regards to the matter of remarriage? Is it a bit of a "sorry, marriage is serious business, you should remain unmarried for the rest of your life even if you meet a totally godly guy/girl in the future - that's just the way it works" kind of message?

    This question doesn't involve me or anyone in my personal life (at the moment). I'm just looking for what scripture has to say on the subject within a proper context (that is to say, the context within which it was intended to be understood instead of whatever my modern American culture might lead me to believe).

  • #2
    A Christian is allowed to remarry if the partner committed adultery or abandoned the other partner and refused to reconcile. There are other instances where it is acceptable, but not preferrable.
    That's what
    - She

    Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
    - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

    I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
    Stephen R. Donaldson

    Comment


    • #3
      The best modern treatment I know of that covers this is Craig Keener's And Marries Another.
      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
        A Christian is allowed to remarry if the partner committed adultery or abandoned the other partner and refused to reconcile. There are other instances where it is acceptable, but not preferrable.
        Your opinion on this, please... if the divorce came BEFORE the individual became a Christian, do you consider that divorce "under the blood"?
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          Your opinion on this, please... if the divorce came BEFORE the individual became a Christian, do you consider that divorce "under the blood"?
          If they divorced before becoming believers, that means they were married as unbelievers, and the marriage was not sealed by the Holy Spirit, so that seal could not have been broken.
          That's what
          - She

          Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
          - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

          I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
          Stephen R. Donaldson

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
            If they divorced before becoming believers, that means they were married as unbelievers, and the marriage was not sealed by the Holy Spirit, so that seal could not have been broken.
            1 Cor 7 also says if you are married to an unbeliever who leaves then you are free too.

            I would also put being abused by your spouse as a reason for divorce that maybe not be mentioned explicitly in the bible but I think God would accept based on other principles of the value of life and love in the bible.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Sparko View Post
              1 Cor 7 also says if you are married to an unbeliever who leaves then you are free too.

              I would also put being abused by your spouse as a reason for divorce that maybe not be mentioned explicitly in the bible but I think God would accept based on other principles of the value of life and love in the bible.
              I think abuse would fall under desertion, from a practical standpoint.
              That's what
              - She

              Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
              - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

              I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
              Stephen R. Donaldson

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                1 Cor 7 also says if you are married to an unbeliever who leaves then you are free too.
                Free to divorce, yes. Paul does not address remarriage there.
                Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                sigpic
                I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                  If they divorced before becoming believers, that means they were married as unbelievers, and the marriage was not sealed by the Holy Spirit, so that seal could not have been broken.
                  Thanks
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
                    1 Cor 7 also says if you are married to an unbeliever who leaves then you are free too.

                    I would also put being abused by your spouse as a reason for divorce that maybe not be mentioned explicitly in the bible but I think God would accept based on other principles of the value of life and love in the bible. [Emphasis added.]
                    I find myself in basic agreement with this. In my judgement, one who habitually abuses (mentally, verbally and/or physically) his or her spouse has, for all intents and purposes, abrogated the marriage. The notion that nothing less than physically committing a sexual act with an individual outside the marriage covenant makes divorce permissible is extremely problematic (to say the least).
                    For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                      Free to divorce, yes. Paul does not address remarriage there.
                      As several scholars have pointed out, desertion was tantamount to divorce in the Roman Empire so in these cases, divorce would have already taken place, thus restricting the statement to divorce but not remarriage would have been extremely redundant.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                        A Christian is allowed to remarry if the partner committed adultery or abandoned the other partner and refused to reconcile. There are other instances where it is acceptable, but not preferrable.
                        Scripture references if you have them? Not doubting they exist, just want them for personal perusal.

                        Originally posted by KingsGambit
                        The best modern treatment I know of that covers this is Craig Keener's And Marries Another.
                        I'll check that out - thanks.

                        Originally posted by The Remonstrant
                        Originally posted by Sparko
                        1 Cor 7 also says if you are married to an unbeliever who leaves then you are free too.

                        I would also put being abused by your spouse as a reason for divorce that maybe not be mentioned explicitly in the bible but I think God would accept based on other principles of the value of life and love in the bible. [Emphasis added.]
                        I find myself in basic agreement with this. In my judgement, one who habitually abuses (mentally, verbally and/or physically) his or her spouse has, for all intents and purposes, abrogated the marriage. The notion that nothing less than physically committing a sexual act with an individual outside the marriage covenant makes divorce permissible is extremely problematic (to say the least).
                        By 'reason for divorce' here do you also mean that they are permitted to remarry?

                        Also, what about situations that aren't directly abusive, but just extremely difficult to live with -- such as some kind of addiction. If a spouse is unwilling (or unable, or whatever) to take necessary measures to overcome an addiction that is harmful to the marriage (drugs for example), is that spouse essentially "abandoning" the other? Or would the addiction be more of a "in sickness..." kind of disease?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by deranger View Post
                          Scripture references if you have them? Not doubting they exist, just want them for personal perusal.



                          I'll check that out - thanks.



                          By 'reason for divorce' here do you also mean that they are permitted to remarry?

                          Also, what about situations that aren't directly abusive, but just extremely difficult to live with -- such as some kind of addiction. If a spouse is unwilling (or unable, or whatever) to take necessary measures to overcome an addiction that is harmful to the marriage (drugs for example), is that spouse essentially "abandoning" the other? Or would the addiction be more of a "in sickness..." kind of disease?
                          each situation would be unique.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                            As several scholars have pointed out, desertion was tantamount to divorce in the Roman Empire so in these cases, divorce would have already taken place, thus restricting the statement to divorce but not remarriage would have been extremely redundant.
                            Er, what? Calling it "redundant" makes absolutely no sense. Perhaps you were aiming for another word? And I'm not sure where scripture says anything about desertion making remarriage okay. I know you're going to be biased toward allowing remarriage here, but scripture doesn't allow much leeway AFAICS. In fact, contra Bill, Paul is legitimizing state marriage with his advice here by encouraging people not to divorce.
                            Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. – St. John Chrysostom

                            Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                            sigpic
                            I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                              In fact, contra Bill, Paul is legitimizing state marriage with his advice here by encouraging people not to divorce.
                              I wasn't saying that Paul didn't legitimize state sanctioned marriages, because clearly he does say that even a marriage to an unbeliever is still a marriage. But I think you are taking Paul's words a bit too far. He is speaking to believers not initiating divorce with their unbelieving spouses. I would think that if Paul doesn't hold the unbelieving spouse to the marriage, and allows for the unbeliever to walk away (freeing the believer from the bond), then the same would hold true if both were unbelievers and one walked away.
                              That's what
                              - She

                              Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                              - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                              I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                              Stephen R. Donaldson

                              Comment

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