How Should We Treat Divorce and Remarriage in the Church?

February 21, 2009

In thinking about the question of divorce and remarriage, there are two extremes we must avoid.

First, we must avoid saying more on this subject than the Bible actually says.
In years past, divorced people often felt like lepers inside the evangelical church. Even today they sometimes feel like second-class citizens who are barely tolerated by the rest of the congregation. In our zeal to condemn divorce, we sometimes condemn those who have been divorced. We hate the sin and the sinner. I remember in my early years at Calvary talking with a friend-who has since moved out of the area-who told me how difficult it was to feel at home here 25 years ago because of his divorce. Not only could he not be in leadership, at first he couldn’t even serve as an usher. Such stories could be multiplied in every church. I’m glad to say that this attitude has slowly shifted over the years. No matter how much we may hate divorce, we must not erect barriers that the Bible itself does not set up.

Second, we must also avoid saying less than what the Bible actually says.
In some ways the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme in many churches. Because we are truly living in a divorce culture, and perhaps because we want to respond to hurting people with the grace of God, sometimes in our zeal to reach people we have actually lowered the biblical standards-or abandoned them altogether. Sometimes the church has simply winked at unbiblical divorce because it would be too difficult or too painful to hold Christians to the high standards of God’s Word. As a result our churches are filled with hurting, confused believers who truly want to know what the Bible says and wonder why they never get their questions answered.

You can read more of my response to this question here.

Do you have any thoughts or questions about this post?