William Perkins on divorce and remarriage

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Thirdly, here may be asked, whether after divorce for adultery, the parties divorced may marry again, without committing adultery? This point hath bin diversely discussed, we will consider the reasons on both sides; First, for the lawfulness of it, especially to the party innocent.

1. From Christ’s doctrine in this place; for in his answer to the false interpretation of Moses’ politick Law, touching divorce, he first propounds a general rule, and then puts an exception thereto: the nature of which exception is, always to imply and put down the contrary to the general rule. As in this place; the general rule is, Whosoever putteth away his wife, causeth her to commit adultery; & he that marrieth her committeth adultery. The exception then must be contrary; namely, that in the case of adultery, he that puts away his wife, lawfully convicted thereof, causeth her not to commit adultery; neither he that marrieth her that is divorced, doth commit adultery. If it be said, that Christ propounded two rules, one for the case of divorce, the other for the case of marrying after divorce; & applieth his exception for adultery only to the case of divorce, and not to the case of marriage after divorce.

Ans. As the exception for adultery, is here in this chapter joined with the case of divorce; he that putteth away his wife, except it be for fornication, &c. so in the 19. cha. v. 9. the same exception for adultery, is expressly applied not only to the case of divorce, but also to the case of marriage after divorce; saying, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and marry another, committeth adultery: so that if in this place the exception make the divorce lawful for adultery, then in the 19. chapter, it maketh it lawful to marry again after such divorce, without the guilt of adultery. 2. The innocent party is not to be punished for the wilfulness of the offender, and therefore the party that is faultless may with good conscience marry again, after lawful divorce. 3. God hath provided marriage to be a remedy against incontinency for all persons, 1. Corinth. 7. 2. ...

For more, see William Perkins on divorce and remarriage.

This extract is too long to post in full here but it is worth reading in full if you get the opportunity.
 

Sovereign Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
I have always thought it was permissible for a person to remarry if the other had been unfaithful and they divorced them. Paul teaches it as well.[1 Corinthians 7:12-16]
 

Sovereign Grace

Puritan Board Freshman
There is a Brother close to where I live whose wife had lost a lot of weight, started going online, found a guy and left him. They had kids who were grown. So they’d been married 20-25 years at least. As far as I know, he was always faithful, never abused her. Was a really good husband to her. But none know what goes on behind closed doors, either. But as far as I can tell, she just left him after she got attention from another guy. He just remarried a Christian widow. One of the churches he preaches at occasionally is leaving an association as the other churches won’t allow men to preach who had been divorced and remarried. It wasn’t his fault his wife left him. Why should he be punished for her sin? She was the one who filed for divorce, If I recall correctly. Then he remarried a Christian widow. Seems like this is a biblically acceptable marriage to me.

But I’m open to correction if I’m wrong here. Hopefully someone can give bigger insight into this touchy subject.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
There is a Brother close to where I live whose wife had lost a lot of weight, started going online, found a guy and left him. They had kids who were grown. So they’d been married 20-25 years at least. As far as I know, he was always faithful, never abused her. Was a really good husband to her. But none know what goes on behind closed doors, either. But as far as I can tell, she just left him after she got attention from another guy. He just remarried a Christian widow. One of the churches he preaches at occasionally is leaving an association as the other churches won’t allow men to preach who had been divorced and remarried. It wasn’t his fault his wife left him. Why should he be punished for her sin? She was the one who filed for divorce, If I recall correctly. Then he remarried a Christian widow. Seems like this is a biblically acceptable marriage to me.

But I’m open to correction if I’m wrong here. Hopefully someone can give bigger insight into this touchy subject.

The Reformed churches generally have regarded the Romish prohibition on remarriage in such an instance as a form of cruelty which contradicts natural justice.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Junior
I believe the general historical biblical consensus is that there is just grounds for divorce where a spouse has committed adultery (though, divorce is certainly not required in such a case; and if the marriage can be saved, this is even better). This is because adultery dissolves the marriage covenant. And where there is just grounds for divorce of the injured party in a marriage, there is also provision for remarriage. The passages in the gospels and Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 interpret one another.
 
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