Sidetracked Thread Concerning Divorce

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Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
My question is "Is it ok to be married and not have sex?"

No

adultery has been committed and there are certainly grounds for biblical divorce.

:down: "A wife may not leave her husband (I Cor. 7:10), or the husband, his wife — not even if the mate is an unbeliever (I Cor. 7:12ff.). Marriage is communion: the two must live together. Not only must they live together under one roof, but they must live together sexually: "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence (literally, 'the debt'): and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other..." (I Cor. 7:3-5)." - Prof Engelsma

http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_15.html
http://www.prca.org/pamphlets/pamphlet_78.html
http://www.prca.org/current/Marriage/Marriage--cover.htm


I have the greatest respect for prof. Englesma, however, when it comes to this issue he has bound a burden grevious to be born on people and is guilty of teaching error in his zeal to keep marriage holy and sanctified. If one goes out side the clear teaching of the scripture and takes the R.C.C. postion on this issue they are guilty of legalism. :2cents:
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
I have the greatest respect for prof. Englesma, however, when it comes to this issue he has bound a burden grevious to be born on people and is guilty of teaching error in his zeal to keep marriage holy and sanctified. If one goes out side the clear teaching of the scripture and takes the R.C.C. postion on this issue they are guilty of legalism. :2cents:

His view is the same I held prior to reading him for that has been the historic position of the Anglican Church. His view is also in line with Scripture and I would be interested if you could refute his argument from Scripture. :)

O GOD, who by thy mighty power hast made all things of nothing; who also (after other things set in order) didst appoint, that out of man (created after thine own image and similitude) woman should take her beginning; and, knitting them together, didst teach that it should never be lawful to put asunder those whom thou by Matrimony hadst made one: O God, who hast consecrated the state of Matrimony to such an excellent mystery, that in it is signified and represented the spiritual marriage and unity betwixt Christ and his Church: Look mercifully upon these thy servants, that both this man may love his wife, according to thy Word, (as Christ did love his spouse the Church, who gave himself for it, loving and cherishing it even as his own flesh,) and also that this woman may be loving and amiable, faithful and obedient to her husband; and in all quietness, sobriety, and peace, be a follower of holy and godly matrons. O Lord, bless them both, and grant them to inherit thy everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.​
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
I have the greatest respect for prof. Englesma, however, when it comes to this issue he has bound a burden grevious to be born on people and is guilty of teaching error in his zeal to keep marriage holy and sanctified. If one goes out side the clear teaching of the scripture and takes the R.C.C. postion on this issue they are guilty of legalism. :2cents:

:up:

Those who take the hyper-strict view on divorce and remarriage may have the best of intentions, but the end result of their doctrine is, In my humble opinion, no better than the pharisees who would rather keep the strict application of the sabbath than let the Lord heal people on that day.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
Those who take the hyper-strict view on divorce and remarriage may have the best of intentions, but the end result of their doctrine is, In my humble opinion, no better than the pharisees who would rather keep the strict application of the sabbath than let the Lord heal people on that day.

Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. Christ will never divorce the church. The husband must never divorce the wife and vice versa. It is sinful. What God has joined together let no man put asunder!
 

etexas

Puritan Board Doctor
I agree Matrimony is a picture of the Church.....I am lucky......I have a gem of a wife. Christ did allow for divorce in cases of Adultery......I believe in trying to work things out with a Pastor/Priest if that fails and you have an unrepentant spouse....divorce might be the final, last and only option. I think in general Divorce is odious to God, but our Lord Himself did leave that one reason in his position as the new Moses and Lawgiver.:2cents:
 
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BobVigneault

Bawberator
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. Christ will never divorce the church. The husband must never divorce the wife and vice versa. It is sinful. What God has joined together let no man put asunder!


It's very clear where you stand on this Richard. If you just changed the word 'must' to 'ought' I would be in full agreement with everything you said there. I'm betting you wouldn't be willing to change it so let's acknowledge our disagreement and pray for this tragic couple that they won't seek divorce but would glorify God in a restored covenantal relationship.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church. Christ will never divorce the church. The husband must never divorce the wife and vice versa. It is sinful. What God has joined together let no man put asunder!

How far shall we take this analogy? Since there is no marriage in heaven, does that mean Christ's union with the church shall also end?

Mark 12:25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

I know we will disagree on the interpretation of the various passages that deal specifically with marriage and divorce. But simply speculating based on the importance of marriage is not a good way to discover God's particular opinion about divorce.
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
If you just changed the word 'must' to 'ought' I would be in full agreement with everything you said there.
I wouldn't say that exactly. Putting 'ought' in his language would still be speaking of all situations involving divorce, wherease your position seems to be that in some situations (e.g. adultery) it is morally permissible to get a divorce. His language expresses universal quantification, wherease yours does not. So you would have to change that before replacing his 'must' with your 'ought'.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
If you just changed the word 'must' to 'ought' I would be in full agreement with everything you said there.
I wouldn't say that exactly. Putting 'ought' in his language would still be speaking of all situations involving divorce, wherease your position seems to be that in some situations (e.g. adultery) it is morally permissible to get a divorce. His language expresses universal quantification, wherease yours does not. So you would have to change that before replacing his 'must' with your 'ought'.

I believe every couple ought to remain married and not divorce in every situation. I'm not saying that everyone involved in a divorce has sinned - at least one of the parties has.
 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
I believe this is sound teaching about this topic:

The Westminster Confession of Faith: Chapter 24

Chapter 24. Of Marriage and Divorce.
1. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband at the same time.a

a. Gen 2:24; Prov 2:17; Mat 19:5-6.

2. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife;a for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed;b and for preventing of uncleanness.c

a. Gen 2:18. • b. Mal 2:15. • c. 1 Cor 7:2, 9.

3. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry who are able with judgment to give their consent.a Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.b And therefore, such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, Papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.c

a. Gen 24:57-58; 1 Cor 7:36-38; Heb 13:4; 1 Tim 4:3. • b. 1 Cor 7:39. • c. Gen 34:14; Exod 34:16; Deut 7:3-4; 1 Kings 11:4; Neh 13:25-27; Mal 2:11-12; 2 Cor 6:14.

4. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden in the Word;a nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man, or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.b The man may not marry any of his wife's kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own, nor the woman of her husband's kindred nearer in blood than of her own.c

a. Lev 18 throughout; Amos 2:7; 1 Cor 5:1. • b. Lev 18:24-28; Mark 6:18. • c. Lev 20:19-21.

5. Adultery or fornication, committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.a In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce,b and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.c

a. Mat 1:18-20. • b. Mat 5:31-32. • c. Mat 19:9; Rom 7:2-3.

6. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage;a wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.b

a. Mat 19:6, 8-9; 1 Cor 7:15. • b. Deut 24:1-4.
 

Cheshire Cat

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ought implies moral obligation. It would seem that if one party has sinned, leaving the innocent party morally permissible to divorce, then the innocent party is not morally obligated to stay married. So no 'ought'.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Ought implies moral obligation. It would seem that if one party has sinned, leaving the innocent party morally permissible to divorce, then the innocent party is not morally obligated to stay married. So no 'ought'.

Ought can also imply moral propriety or rightness. We may choose to do a right thing that we are not obligated to do.

Example, my soon to be adopted daughter has been fighting anger and hatred for her birth mom. I have encouraged her to forgive the woman. The woman has not asked for forgiveness or repented. I am encouraging my daughter to pray for her birth mom because it is the right and appropriate thing to do.
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
Ought implies moral obligation. It would seem that if one party has sinned, leaving the innocent party morally permissible to divorce, then the innocent party is not morally obligated to stay married. So no 'ought'.

Ought can also imply moral propriety or rightness. We may choose to do a right thing that we are not obligated to do.

Example, my soon to be adopted daughter has been fighting anger and hatred for her birth mom. I have encouraged her to forgive the woman. The woman has not asked for forgiveness or repented. I am encouraging my daughter to pray for her birth mom because it is the right and appropriate thing to do.

But, if something is morally right or appropriate, isn't there, necessarily, and obligation to do it?

I deleted the last part of my answer because it related specifically to the other thread. I will post it there.
 
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BobVigneault

Bawberator
But, if something is morally right or appropriate, isn't there, necessarily, and obligation to do it?

Let's put it this way. You are obligated to do something if not doing it is morally wrong. In my understanding this woman would be permitted to divorce her husband. However, it serves a greater purpose if she reconciles and remains married for this act would glorify God far more than if she divorces.
 

Calvibaptist

Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan
But, if something is morally right or appropriate, isn't there, necessarily, and obligation to do it?

Let's put it this way. You are obligated to do something if not doing it is morally wrong. In my understanding this woman would be permitted to divorce her husband. However, it serves a greater purpose if she reconciles and remains married for this act would glorify God far more than if she divorces.

My thoughts exactly. This would be my counsel to her (with a lot more information and time spent discussing!)
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
5. Adultery or fornication, committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.a In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce,b and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.c

a. Mat 1:18-20. • b. Mat 5:31-32. • c. Mat 19:9; Rom 7:2-3.

6. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage;a wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.b

a. Mat 19:6, 8-9; 1 Cor 7:15. • b. Deut 24:1-4.

I understand brother and have friends in the "real" world who adhere to this sincerely to this teaching. I also believe that they are sincerely wrong to do so.

I confess with Engelsma:

In harmony with the truth of marriage, the Scriptures forbid divorce. Divorce is sin: a man or woman's faithlessness, i.e., hatred, towards his or her mate and revolt against the God who joined them in marriage. This is Christ's radical doctrine in Matthew 19. When the Pharisees asked whether a man might put away his wife for every cause, His answer was: No divorce! "Let not man put asunder!" The toleration of divorce by Moses was due to the Israelites' hard hearts, and divorce is not to be suffered any longer. The sin that a man commits, when he divorces his wife, is that he makes his wife commit adultery (Matt. 5:32). He exposes her to an adulterous relationship with a third party.

Even separation is forbidden. A wife may not leave her husband (I Cor. 7:10), or the husband, his wife — not even if the mate is an unbeliever (I Cor. 7:12ff.). Marriage is communion: the two must live together. Not only must they live together under one roof, but they must live together sexually: "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence (literally, 'the debt'): and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other..." (ICor. 7:3-5).

There is one exception in Scripture to the prohibition of divorce, namely, "fornication." According to Matthew5:31, 32, a man does not sin if he puts his wife away because she lives in adultery with another man. This indicates the gravity of adultery. It is taken lightly today. It is joked about. It is toyed with when men enjoy the movies, magazines, and novels that present adultery as an accepted, attractive way of life. One thing is so destructive of the union of marriage, striking as it does at the heart of that institution, that it tears the two apart to the extent that the ability and calling to live together are gone: adultery. Besides this, there is no ground for divorce, not mental cruelty, not incompatibility, not a bad wife or a miserable husband — nothing. In marriage we take each other — as the old forms also stated — "for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health."

In keeping with its doctrine of marriage, as well as its prohibition of divorce, the Word also prohibits remarriage, while one's (original) mate still lives. This is the implication of the institution of marriage: one man and one woman joined as one flesh by God for life. Only God dissolves the union, and He does so by death. As long as the two are living, their union leaves no place for a third party. When churches today bring up examples of the permission of remarriage in the history of the church, we ask, in all seriousness, "What was the rule in the beginning?"

Three other passages speak directly of remarriage: Mark10:11, 12; Luke 16:18; and I Corinthians 7:10, 11. The two former passages are absolute, unqualified condemnations of remarriage as adultery. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery" (Luke16:18). In ICorinthians 7:10, 11, after Paul tells the wife not to leave her husband, he conceives of the possibility that she may have to leave nevertheless; in such a case "let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband."

But what about the remarriage of the one divorced on the biblical ground of adultery? One passage in all Scripture seems, at first glance, to permit the remarriage of one divorced on the ground of fornication, namely, Matthew19:9: "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." If this were the correct interpretation of the text, there would be one, and only one, ground for remarriage: the adultery of one's mate. The "innocent party" would be free to marry another. However, there is powerful biblical evidence to the contrary. There is the testimony of the Scriptures that only death dissolves the bond of marriage. There is the unqualified prohibition of remarriage elsewhere in the Bible. And there is the last part of Matthew19:9 itself. The last part of the text calls the new union of the woman divorced un-biblically, whose husband has since remarried, an adulterous union. The Lord expressly states that the "innocent party" may not remarry. The exceptive clause in Matthew19:9 ("except it be for fornication") is intended to qualify only the prohibition of divorce, in perfect harmony with the fact that the Lord is answering the Pharisee's question concerning the legitimacy of divorce (cf. v. 3).

The Scriptures draw the lines plainly. Marriage is a lifelong bond; divorce is forbidden, except on the ground of the sexual unfaithfulness of one's mate; remarriage is forbidden until death separates the two. These lines make a narrow way into the Kingdom for men and women, as regards marriage; and it is not surprising that there are only few who find it. But this is the way into the Kingdom; no adulterer shall enter. This is what the church is called to preach, publicly and privately, and when we do, we are defending marriage in the face of the all-out assault on marriage today.

 

Blueridge Believer

Puritan Board Professor
5. Adultery or fornication, committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.a In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce,b and after the divorce to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.c

a. Mat 1:18-20. • b. Mat 5:31-32. • c. Mat 19:9; Rom 7:2-3.

6. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments, unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage; yet nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage;a wherein a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it, not left to their own wills and discretion in their own case.b

a. Mat 19:6, 8-9; 1 Cor 7:15. • b. Deut 24:1-4.

I understand brother and have friends in the "real" world who adhere to this sincerely to this teaching. I also believe that they are sincerely wrong to do so.

I confess with Engelsma:

In harmony with the truth of marriage, the Scriptures forbid divorce. Divorce is sin: a man or woman's faithlessness, i.e., hatred, towards his or her mate and revolt against the God who joined them in marriage. This is Christ's radical doctrine in Matthew 19. When the Pharisees asked whether a man might put away his wife for every cause, His answer was: No divorce! "Let not man put asunder!" The toleration of divorce by Moses was due to the Israelites' hard hearts, and divorce is not to be suffered any longer. The sin that a man commits, when he divorces his wife, is that he makes his wife commit adultery (Matt. 5:32). He exposes her to an adulterous relationship with a third party.

Even separation is forbidden. A wife may not leave her husband (I Cor. 7:10), or the husband, his wife — not even if the mate is an unbeliever (I Cor. 7:12ff.). Marriage is communion: the two must live together. Not only must they live together under one roof, but they must live together sexually: "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence (literally, 'the debt'): and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other..." (ICor. 7:3-5).

There is one exception in Scripture to the prohibition of divorce, namely, "fornication." According to Matthew5:31, 32, a man does not sin if he puts his wife away because she lives in adultery with another man. This indicates the gravity of adultery. It is taken lightly today. It is joked about. It is toyed with when men enjoy the movies, magazines, and novels that present adultery as an accepted, attractive way of life. One thing is so destructive of the union of marriage, striking as it does at the heart of that institution, that it tears the two apart to the extent that the ability and calling to live together are gone: adultery. Besides this, there is no ground for divorce, not mental cruelty, not incompatibility, not a bad wife or a miserable husband — nothing. In marriage we take each other — as the old forms also stated — "for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health."

In keeping with its doctrine of marriage, as well as its prohibition of divorce, the Word also prohibits remarriage, while one's (original) mate still lives. This is the implication of the institution of marriage: one man and one woman joined as one flesh by God for life. Only God dissolves the union, and He does so by death. As long as the two are living, their union leaves no place for a third party. When churches today bring up examples of the permission of remarriage in the history of the church, we ask, in all seriousness, "What was the rule in the beginning?"

Three other passages speak directly of remarriage: Mark10:11, 12; Luke 16:18; and I Corinthians 7:10, 11. The two former passages are absolute, unqualified condemnations of remarriage as adultery. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery" (Luke16:18). In ICorinthians 7:10, 11, after Paul tells the wife not to leave her husband, he conceives of the possibility that she may have to leave nevertheless; in such a case "let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband."

But what about the remarriage of the one divorced on the biblical ground of adultery? One passage in all Scripture seems, at first glance, to permit the remarriage of one divorced on the ground of fornication, namely, Matthew19:9: "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." If this were the correct interpretation of the text, there would be one, and only one, ground for remarriage: the adultery of one's mate. The "innocent party" would be free to marry another. However, there is powerful biblical evidence to the contrary. There is the testimony of the Scriptures that only death dissolves the bond of marriage. There is the unqualified prohibition of remarriage elsewhere in the Bible. And there is the last part of Matthew19:9 itself. The last part of the text calls the new union of the woman divorced un-biblically, whose husband has since remarried, an adulterous union. The Lord expressly states that the "innocent party" may not remarry. The exceptive clause in Matthew19:9 ("except it be for fornication") is intended to qualify only the prohibition of divorce, in perfect harmony with the fact that the Lord is answering the Pharisee's question concerning the legitimacy of divorce (cf. v. 3).

The Scriptures draw the lines plainly. Marriage is a lifelong bond; divorce is forbidden, except on the ground of the sexual unfaithfulness of one's mate; remarriage is forbidden until death separates the two. These lines make a narrow way into the Kingdom for men and women, as regards marriage; and it is not surprising that there are only few who find it. But this is the way into the Kingdom; no adulterer shall enter. This is what the church is called to preach, publicly and privately, and when we do, we are defending marriage in the face of the all-out assault on marriage today.



As I said before, I have great respect for prof. Englesma but in this doctrine he is on the "fringe" of confessing christianity. I believe the totality of scripture proves him wrong.
See Duet. 24, Ezra 10, Matt. 5 and 19 and 1 Cor. 7.

I believe and teach that there are three things that seperate a marraige.
1. Death
2. Adultery, and remarriage is permitted
3. Desertion of a believer by an unbeliever, and remarriage is permitted.

The doctrine he teaches is a "burden greivious to be born" and has the potential to persecute believers who have been unfortunate in matters of marriage, especially before they were saved.
 
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