Monday, August 10, 2009

Does God Ordain Divorce?

According to http://www.divorcerate.org/

"The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce, according to Jennifer Baker of the Forest Institute of Professional Psychology in Springfield, Missouri.”

According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%"

The figures are different depending on the source and the year, but they are all about the same. Most sources also agree that the divorce rate among Christians is not much different than the national average.

Scripture says several things about divorce:

"...the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not the LORD made them one?...So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
'I hate divorce,' says the Lord God of Israel..." Milachi 2:14b-16a

"Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?'
'Haven't you read,' He replied, 'that at the beginning the Creator "made them male and female," and said, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh"? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.'
'Why then,' they asked, 'did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?'
Jesus replied, 'Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces hiw wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.'" Matthew 19:3-8

There are 31 other places where "divorce" also appears in the Bible in the NIV. (according to biblegateway.com)

So here are my questions:
Is there ever a time when divorce is an appropriate response to marital struggles? Marital unfaithfulness and death are the only 2 reasons given by Scripture for the ending of a marriage, are these fair boundaries? Most also agree that physical abuse towards a spouse or children would be appropriate grounds for a divorce. How does this relate to Scripture?

How should the church relate to those who attend the church who have gone through a divorce, especially for reasons not founded upon Scripture (fell "out of love," arguing a lot, differing opinions)? How should the church respond to marriages based upon poor marriage foundations (such as spouse becomes a Christians after marriage and the other is not, a Christian marries a non-Christian, were married before they both became Christians and find that they don't get along, etc.)

There are a lot of questions, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Would physical/mental abuse of your spouse be considered unfaithfulness?

    ReplyDelete

What do you think?