Views on Divorce?

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Jaymin Allen

Puritan Board Freshman
I recently read a John Piper article dealing with his treatment on divorce texts. In this article (Piper on Divorce), Piper takes a very interesting view on rationale for divorce. Piper believes infidelity or sexual immorality are not biblical reasons for leaving a spouse. Leaving the only valid reasons, death (Rom 7:2) and an unbelievers desire to depart (I Cor. 7:15).

Have any of you heard of this view? If so, what do you make of it?
 
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Simply_Nikki

Puritan Board Junior
Matthew 5:32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
:think: I always thought that this meant that sexual immorality was a grounds for divorce. Certainly, I think counseling is in order and that reconciliation should be desired, but I think reconciliation from the victimized partner who is willing to stay with the offender is out of an act of grace, and not necessarily compulsion.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
Jesus says pretty clearly in Matthew 5:31-32 that adultery is the only grounds for divorce (at least for Christians). But it should really only apply if the spouse that commits adultery is unrepentant. If the offending spouse is truly broken and seeks forgiveness, it should be given, painful as it may be. Even so, clearly some people are called to stay with a spouse who commits adultery even if they are unrepentant and continue doing it (see Hosea).

As for abuse, I think it's important that the wife leave that situation and report her husband to the police. She shouldn't necessarily divorce him, but she shouldn't stay in a harmful environment either. If it is clear he is repentant and the abuse stops, then I believe she is obligated to return to him.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I get this question a lot from the inmates through Crossroads Bible Institute. We have to be very careful about how the questions get phrased. One fellow asked, "Why and when do church people encourage divorce?”

A variation is, 'when is divorced allowed?'

We may be answering questions that scripture does not explicitly answer but we can help someone to arrive at an answer. Here's my take:

God hates divorce, the church should hate divorce. The church should never encourage divorce or put it’s approval on it in any way. Jesus made no provision for divorce, neither did Paul and neither should the church. The reason is simple. Marriage is the picture of God’s unbreakable covenant with his church. If the marriage covenant before God is broken then it makes a mockery of the covenant that God has made with His people - ‘what God has joined together let no man separate.’

You will hear folks say that the bible allows for divorce in the case of adultery (or fornication) and abandonment. This is not true, the bible never allows for divorce, period. Divorce is never God’s revealed will. Now, having said that. It is very easy in our culture to get a divorce. Our society has mocked God’s commands at every corner. People get divorced. What do we do with a brother or sister who is the innocent party in a divorce? There is usually an innocent party. Can that person be an elder or serve in the church? Well scripture speaks to these matters. Can that person remarry? Scripture speaks to that question but there can be some different interpretations of the doctrines arrived at.

Bottom line is, divorce is not provided for in scripture but scripture helps us in where we should go if a divorce takes place.

If I'm off target here I would appreciate some pastoral direction.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
I looked at Piper's article. I think he is right. Did you know, there has not been a single case of divorce among the puritans? When a marriage would get on the rock, the couple would separate and the wife would typically return to live with her parents (as happened to John Owen's daugther). Most puritans married twice or three times even, but always after the death of their previous partner. Men would often marry widows (like Calvin and others) out of love and a desire to support the orphans. John Lightfoot, for instance married his first wife at 26, and she was a widow. The fact that many Reformed congregations have divorced and remarried couples is a sad trend that proves how believers nowadays often value the comfort of their lives above the Law of Christ.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Matthew 5:32 But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
:think: I always thought that this meant that sexual immorality was a grounds for divorce. Certainly, I think counseling is in order and that reconciliation should be desired, but I think reconciliation from the victimized partner who is willing to stay with the offender is out of an act of grace, and not necessarily compulsion.

Bingo. I think we stray into error when we allow personal convictions to be our presupposition to scripture. The text is not ambiguous.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
WCF 24:

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.

Links and Downloads Manager - Christian Walk Links - The Westminster Divines on Divorce for Physical Abuse - The PuritanBoard
 

Pilgrim's Progeny

Puritan Board Sophomore
Unbelieving Spouse

It should be made clear that one's spouse being an unbeliever is not a valid grounds for the believer to pursue divorce, but is valid grounds for not pursuing reconciliation if the unbeliever decides to bolt. (1 Cor 7:12-16)

Also I would add that the following IMU,
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.
1 Cor 7:15 (KJV)
does not mean the believer is free to marry again after the unbelieving spouse has left, but that the believer is free to let the unbeliever go, hence the statement"called to peace". I say this because the goal in mind here is the salvation of the unbelieving. Keeping yourself open for the unbelieving spouse to return is a great statement of mercy and grace to the unbelieving spouse.

This is my position. Should my wife ever leave me i will stay open until she dies in order that she may someday return.

I say that in all humility, I know some would disagree.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
You will hear folks say that the bible allows for divorce in the case of adultery (or fornication) and abandonment. This is not true, the bible never allows for divorce, period.

Bottom line is, divorce is not provided for in scripture but scripture helps us in where we should go if a divorce takes place.

If I'm off target here I would appreciate some pastoral direction.

Sorry Bob, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but how else do you intepret Matthew 5:32 than at very least an allowance for divorce:

"But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

I agree that God hates divorce and it should never be "encouraged," but I think Jesus spoke pretty clearly on allowing it in the case of adultery....
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Because he is speaking after the fact Mason and the only exception being addressed is whether or not you force your wife to commit adultery.

You will hear folks say that the bible allows for divorce in the case of adultery (or fornication) and abandonment. This is not true, the bible never allows for divorce, period.

Bottom line is, divorce is not provided for in scripture but scripture helps us in where we should go if a divorce takes place.

If I'm off target here I would appreciate some pastoral direction.

Sorry Bob, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but how else do you intepret Matthew 5:32 than at very least an allowance for divorce:

"But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

I agree that God hates divorce and it should never be "encouraged," but I think Jesus spoke pretty clearly on allowing it in the case of adultery....
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I get this question a lot from the inmates through Crossroads Bible Institute. We have to be very careful about how the questions get phrased. One fellow asked, "Why and when do church people encourage divorce?”

A variation is, 'when is divorced allowed?'

We may be answering questions that scripture does not explicitly answer but we can help someone to arrive at an answer. Here's my take:

God hates divorce, the church should hate divorce. The church should never encourage divorce or put it’s approval on it in any way. Jesus made no provision for divorce, neither did Paul and neither should the church. The reason is simple. Marriage is the picture of God’s unbreakable covenant with his church. If the marriage covenant before God is broken then it makes a mockery of the covenant that God has made with His people - ‘what God has joined together let no man separate.’

You will hear folks say that the bible allows for divorce in the case of adultery (or fornication) and abandonment. This is not true, the bible never allows for divorce, period. Divorce is never God’s revealed will. Now, having said that. It is very easy in our culture to get a divorce. Our society has mocked God’s commands at every corner. People get divorced. What do we do with a brother or sister who is the innocent party in a divorce? There is usually an innocent party. Can that person be an elder or serve in the church? Well scripture speaks to these matters. Can that person remarry? Scripture speaks to that question but there can be some different interpretations of the doctrines arrived at.

Bottom line is, divorce is not provided for in scripture but scripture helps us in where we should go if a divorce takes place.

If I'm off target here I would appreciate some pastoral direction.

Bob, basically you're right on target. While divorce is permitted under the circumstances articulated earlier in this thread, it's not God's perfect plan. Every attempt must be made to reconcile and to avoid breaking the marriage covenant. Unfortunately we are fallen people and divorce does happen. When it does happen it is a tragedy of epic proportions. It is not a matter of, "You cheated on me so now I can divorce!" It's more of, "You cheated on me and I am wounded deeply but marriage is a holy covenant and I will cling to Christ in this matter."

There are wonderful Christian men and women who oppose divorce but have it thrust on them anyway. In that case God allows for it and the church should not ostracize this person. In fact, they should come along side them for the purpose of encouragement and support. I have witnessed dear saints shunned because they were divorced. This ought not to be. It is a blight to the testimony of the church.

The story of Hosea and Gomer is a wonderful example of the grace, mercy and forgiveness in spite of repeated adultery. The fact that Hosea obeyed the word of the Lord did not mean that all was well with his relationship with Gomer. A marriage that is rocked by infidelity is shaken at its roots and placed in peril. The work needed to restore trust and intimacy is daunting and for that reason many decide it is easier to divorce and start over. Certainly Hosea had reason to feel that way.

In summary, the text does say there is grounds for divorce but it's not a positive command; it's negative. Still, God gives grace and will not abandon the Christian who fights against a divorce that is thrust upon them.
 

Pilgrim's Progeny

Puritan Board Sophomore
You will hear folks say that the bible allows for divorce in the case of adultery (or fornication) and abandonment. This is not true, the bible never allows for divorce, period.

Bottom line is, divorce is not provided for in scripture but scripture helps us in where we should go if a divorce takes place.

If I'm off target here I would appreciate some pastoral direction.

Sorry Bob, maybe I'm misunderstanding, but how else do you intepret Matthew 5:32 than at very least an allowance for divorce:

"But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

I agree that God hates divorce and it should never be "encouraged," but I think Jesus spoke pretty clearly on allowing it in the case of adultery....
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.
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.

Matt 19:8-9
Yet even in the case of adultery it is the hard of heart that put away the unfaithful spouse. Therefore, would it not follow that this is not necessarily endorsed but merely permissable. Divorce in this case is an admission of hardness of heart.
 

satz

Puritan Board Senior
Yet even in the case of adultery it is the hard of heart that put away the unfaithful spouse. Therefore, would it not follow that this is not necessarily endorsed but merely permissable. Divorce in this case is an admission of hardness of heart.

Pastor Paul,

I would respectfully disagree. Just as Jesus said he requires mercy and not sacrifice with respect to the sabbath law, so I believe it would be unmerciful to force a christian to stay in a marriage with an unrepentantly unfaithful spouse, or to deny that same christian remarriage if he or she was abandoned by their spouse.

I would emphasize of course, that just as many have said on this thread, I am talking about completely a unrepentant spouse. So maximum effort ought to be expended to save the marriage, and a christian always ought to be willing to forgive a repentant spouse, no matter how terrible that spouse's sins might be.

However, if the spouse cannot be recovered, I believe there is no fault of the christian in divorcing and seeking to remarry.

When Jesus condemns the pharisees for hardness of heart in Matt 19:8 he is making reference to their earlier statement in v3 asking him if divorce was allowable for every cause. Jesus condemns their doctrine and in v9 he gives his position "And I say unto you...".

He then gives an explicit allowance for a man to to put away his wife and marry another and not fall under the condemnation of committing adultery if the cause was fornication.

Also, in 1 Cor 7, Paul in v15 tells us that if an unbelieving spouse departs the christian is 'not under bondage'. In v27 we see that in Paul's use of language to not be 'bound' to a wife is to be 'loosed' and to be 'loosed' is to be free to marry, ie the position of a legitimately divorced person is identical to that of a single person.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
Bob, basically you're right on target. While divorce is permitted under the circumstances articulated earlier in this thread, it's not God's perfect plan. Every attempt must be made to reconcile and to avoid breaking the marriage covenant. Unfortunately we are fallen people and divorce does happen. When it does happen it is a tragedy of epic proportions. It is not a matter of, "You cheated on me so now I can divorce!" It's more of, "You cheated on me and I am wounded deeply but marriage is a holy covenant and I will cling to Christ in this matter."

There are wonderful Christian men and women who oppose divorce but have it thrust on them anyway. In that case God allows for it and the church should not ostracize this person. In fact, they should come along side them for the purpose of encouragement and support. I have witnessed dear saints shunned because they were divorced. This ought not to be. It is a blight to the testimony of the church.

The story of Hosea and Gomer is a wonderful example of the grace, mercy and forgiveness in spite of repeated adultery. The fact that Hosea obeyed the word of the Lord did not mean that all was well with his relationship with Gomer. A marriage that is rocked by infidelity is shaken at its roots and placed in peril. The work needed to restore trust and intimacy is daunting and for that reason many decide it is easier to divorce and start over. Certainly Hosea had reason to feel that way.

In summary, the text does say there is grounds for divorce but it's not a positive command; it's negative. Still, God gives grace and will not abandon the Christian who fights against a divorce that is thrust upon them.

Well said. I believe you are exactly right.
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ray Sutton, who formerly pastored a PCA church in Tyler, Tx, and now is a pastor/bishop in the Reformed Episcopal Church in Dallas, wrote a little book over 25 years ago entitled "Second Chance," which deals with the Biblical passages on divorce.

Pastor Sutton points out that the word translated "adultery" is really the Greek word "porneia," which is usually translated fornication, or any moral uncleanness.

What do you guys/gals make of that?

:detective:
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
I read the Piper article cited, and have a lot of respect for Piper, but I find the Sutton book I cited above more persuasive.

There was also a recent article in Christianity Today that took a similar position to Sutton's. I will look that up and post a link. We're heading out for dinner with my daughter now.

:detective:
 

christianyouth

Puritan Board Senior
Taken from the article in question, here is how Piper understands the exception clause, "Except for unfaithfulness".

3.6 Before we jump to the conclusion that this absolute statement should be qualified in view of the exception clause ("except for unchastity") mentioned in Matthew 19:9, we should seriously entertain the possibility that the exception clause in Matthew 19:9 should be understood in the light of the absolute statement of Matthew 19:6, ("let no man put asunder") especially since the verses that follow this conversation with the Pharisees in Mark 10 do not contain any exception when they condemn remarriage. More on this below.

11. The exception clause of Matthew 19:9 need not imply that divorce on account of adultery frees a person to be remarried. All the weight of the New Testament evidence given in the preceding ten points is against this view, and there are several ways to make good sense out of this verse so that it does not conflict with the broad teaching of the New Testament that remarriage after divorce is prohibited.

Matthew 19:9: And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.

11.2 Here I will simply give a brief summary of my own view of Matthew 19:9 and how I came to it.

I began, first of all, by being troubled that the absolute form of Jesus' denunciation of divorce and remarriage in Mark 10:11,12 and Luke 16:18 is not preserved by Matthew, if in fact his exception clause is a loophole for divorce and remarriage. I was bothered by the simple assumption that so many writers make that Matthew is simply making explicit something that would have been implicitly understood by the hearers of Jesus or the readers of Mark 10 and Luke 16.

Would they really have assumed that the absolute statements included exceptions? I have very strong doubts, and therefore my inclination is to inquire whether or not in fact Matthew's exception clause conforms to the absoluteness of Mark and Luke.

The second thing that began to disturb me was the question, Why does Matthew use the word porneia ("except for immorality") instead of the word moicheia which means adultery? Almost all commentators seem to make the simple assumption again that porneia means adultery in this context. The question nags at me why Matthew would not use the word for adultery, if that is in fact what he meant.

Then I noticed something very interesting. The only other place besides Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 where Matthew uses the word porneiais in 15:19 where it is used alongside of moicheia. Therefore, the primary contextual evidence for Matthew's usage is that he conceives of porneia as something different than adultery. Could this mean, then, that Matthew conceives of porneia in its normal sense of fornication or incest (l Corinthians 5:1) rather than adultery?

A. Isaksson agrees with this view of porneia and sums up his research much like this on pages 134-5 of Marriage and Ministry:

Thus we cannot get away from the fact that the distinction between what was to be regarded as porneia and what was to be regarded as moicheia was very strictly maintained in pre-Christian Jewish literature and in the N.T. Porneia may, of course, denote different forms of forbidden sexual relations, but we can find no unequivocal examples of the use of this word to denote a wife's adultery. Under these circumstances we can hardly assume that this word means adultery in the clauses in Matthew. The logia on divorce are worded as a paragraph of the law, intended to be obeyed by the members of the Church. Under these circumstances it is inconceivable that in a text of this nature the writer would not have maintained a clear distinction between what was unchastity and what was adultery: moicheia and not porneia was used to describe the wife's adultery. From the philological point of view there are accordingly very strong arguments against this interpretation of the clauses as permitting divorce in the case in which the wife was guilty of adultery.

The next clue in my search for an explanation came when I stumbled upon the use of porneia in John 8:41 where Jewish leaders indirectly accuse Jesus of being born of porneia. In other words, since they don't accept the virgin birth, they assume that Mary had committed fornication and Jesus was the result of this act. On the basis of that clue I went back to study Matthew's record of Jesus' birth in Matthew 1:18-20. This was extremely enlightening.

In these verses Joseph and Mary are referred to as husband (aner) and wife (gunaika). Yet they are described as only being betrothed to each other. This is probably owing to the fact that the words for husband and wife are simply man and woman and to the fact that betrothal was a much more significant commitment then than engagement is today. In verse 19 Joseph resolves "to divorce" Mary. The word for divorce is the same as the word in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. But most important of all, Matthew says that Joseph was "just" in making the decision to divorce Mary, presumably on account of her porneia, fornication.

Therefore, as Matthew proceeded to construct the narrative of his gospel, he finds himself in chapter 5 and then later in chapter 19 needing to prohibit all remarriage after divorce (as taught by Jesus) and yet to allow for "divorces" like the one Joseph contemplated toward his betrothed whom he thought guilty of fornication (porneia). Therefore, Matthew includes the exception clause in particular to exonerate Joseph, but also in general to show that the kind of "divorce" that one might pursue during a betrothal on account of fornication is not included in Jesus' absolute prohibition.

A common objection to this interpretation is that both in Matthew 19:3-8 and in Matthew 5:31-32 the issue Jesus is responding to is marriage not betrothal. The point is pressed that "except for fornication" is irrelevant to the context of marriage.

My answer is that this irrelevancy is just the point Matthew wants to make. We may take it for granted that the breakup of an engaged couple over fornication is not an evil "divorce" and does not prohibit remarriage. But we cannot assume that Matthew's readers would take this for granted.

Even in Matthew 5:32, where it seems pointless for us to exclude "the case of fornication" (since we can't see how a betrothed virgin could be "made an adulteress" in any case), it may not be pointless for Matthew's readers. For that matter, it may not be pointless for any readers: if Jesus had said, "Every man who divorces his woman makes her an adulteress," a reader could legitimately ask: "Then was Joseph about to make Mary an adulteress?" We may say this question is not reasonable since we think you can't make unmarried women adulteresses. But it certainly is not meaningless or, perhaps for some readers, pointless, for Matthew to make explicit the obvious exclusion of the case of fornication during betrothal.

This interpretation of the exception clause has several advantages:

1. It does not force Matthew to contradict the plain, absolute meaning of Mark and Luke and the whole range of New Testament teaching set forth above in sections 1-10, including Matthew's own absolute teaching in 19:3-8
2. It provides an explanation for why the word porneia is used in Matthew's exception clause instead of moicheia
3. It squares with Matthew's own use of porneia for fornication in Matthew 15:19
4. It fits the demands of Matthew's wider context concerning Joseph's contemplated divorce.

Since I first wrote this exposition of Matthew 19:9 I have discovered a chapter on this view in Heth and Wenham, Jesus and Divorce and a scholarly defense of it by A. Isaksson, Marriage and Ministry in the New Temple (1965).
 

christianyouth

Puritan Board Senior
Piper's view allows the Matthean exception to square with the absolute condemnations of divorce and remarriage throughout the NT. :)
 

HaigLaw

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Christianity Today article I referred to earlier can be found
here. The article is entitled "What God Has Joined - What does the Bible really teach about divorce?" by David Instone-Brewer. The author refers to his book, Divorce and Remarriage in the Church (InterVarsity Press), and says, "every Jew in Jesus' day knew about Exodus 21:10-11, which allowed divorce for neglect. Before rabbis introduced the "any cause" divorce, this was probably the most common type. Exodus says that everyone, even a slave wife, had three rights within marriage—the rights to food, clothing, and love. If these were neglected, the wronged spouse had the right to seek freedom from that marriage. Even women could, and did, get divorces for neglect—though the man still had to write out the divorce certificate."

He summarized his view of the 3 grounds for divorce as:

1. Adultery (in Deuteronomy 24:1, affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19)
2. Emotional and physical neglect (in Exodus 21:10-11, affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7)
3. Abandonment and abuse (included in neglect, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 7)

"Jewish couples listed these biblical grounds for divorce in their marriage vows. We reiterate them as love, honor, and keep and be faithful to each other. When these vows were broken, it threatened to break up the marriage. As in any broken contract, the wronged party had the right to say, "I forgive you; let's carry on," or, "I can't go on, because this marriage is broken.""

:detective:
 

christianyouth

Puritan Board Senior
Just curious, but where in 1 Cor. 7 does he find that the Bible permits divorce for 'emotional and physical neglect'? I just read the chapter and I certainly didn't see that.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Would they really have assumed that the absolute statements included exceptions? I have very strong doubts, and therefore my inclination is to inquire whether or not in fact Matthew's exception clause conforms to the absoluteness of Mark and Luke.

Piper is a great man. Piper is a Baptist. Baptists have a warped view of the Old Testament. A proper Reformed methodology would be to interpret the assumptions of Christ's audience by what they had read and understood from the Law, which allows divorce. Then you re-invent the wheel again and again, and come back to the WCF as the most Biblical interpretation of the issue.
 

christianyouth

Puritan Board Senior
Would they really have assumed that the absolute statements included exceptions? I have very strong doubts, and therefore my inclination is to inquire whether or not in fact Matthew's exception clause conforms to the absoluteness of Mark and Luke.

Piper is a great man. Piper is a Baptist. Baptists have a warped view of the Old Testament. A proper Reformed methodology would be to interpret the assumptions of Christ's audience by what they had read and understood from the Law, which allows divorce. Then you re-invent the wheel again and again, and come back to the WCF as the most Biblical interpretation of the issue.

Sure, but Jesus says the reason why the OT 'allowed' for divorce, because of the 'hardness of your hearts'. He wasn't endorsing divorce, or saying that divorce is o.k. but it's not God's best plan, he was condemning divorce.


The point of Piper is that the parallels of the Matthew passage speak against divorce in such an absolute way that it would be silly to say that the hearers didn't interpret Jesus' statement as absolutes. We certainly can't deduce that from looking at the passages and their absolute condemnations of divorce.

So, we can either reinterpret the Matthean exception, one phrase found in the NT that seems to permit divorce, or we are forced to reinterpret the absolute condemnations of divorce throughout the NT and say, "Well, in light of the Matthean exception we know that these really can't be absolute condemnations."

I think it's a more sound exegetical principle to reinterpret the Matthean exception. Has nothing to do with having a bad understanding of the OT. It has to do with striving for continuity within the NT.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
The heart of the Bible's teaching on both fidelity and divorce stands in direct opposition to what our society (and sadly, many of our churches) push. The standard advice today is: what's best for ME, what makes ME feel good? Infidelity and divorce strike most closely to the offended partner, than ripples out to a huge circle including the children, church, extended family ... Recognizing that you must remain pure young in life, faithful when and if married, and potentially forgiving, requires constant self-sacrifice and sometimes agonizing before God in prayer. But it results in benefits to many beyond yourself. That said, the decision to forgive an offending spouse must be decided on a case-by-case basis. I am familiar with a case involving a dear sister who I believe is scripturally right in separating herself and her children from a spouse who has been unfaithful in more ways than can be numbered.
 
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