Friday, February 27, 2004
Divorce and Remarriage
A recent visitor to our church remarked that as a person who had been divorced and was remarried, he felt uncomfortable because of the comments I made in my sermon, "God's Divine Plan for Families and Why the Divorced Are Under a Curse." I, of course, made no apology for the Truth of God's word about this topic and advised the individual that the Bible's teaching is very clear on the subject and I can do no less than stand for what the Scriptures teach. As I expected, this couple did not return - proof once again that men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. I'm sure they will find a comfortable spot in one of the burgeoning number of "Emergent" or "Postmodern" churches where sin of every sort is not only tolerated but glossed over as if it were no sin at all.
One of the clearest teachings in the entire Bible is that divorce, in most cases, is a sin and that remarriage in all cases is wrong. I am quite proud of the fact that there are only a few individuals attending our church who are divorced and there are no couples who are remarried. How do we manage this incredible feat? It is actually quite easy. We make things so uncomfortable for such people that only the most dedicated Pharisees are willing to stay in our church. We constantly make references to the sanctity of marriage, intact families, the evils of divorce, the blessings of married life and the need to stay together no matter how abusive the spouse or how intolerable the situation. Most people who want to excuse their sin and wish to be coddled in their corruption soon get the message that we are a church who stands for the Truth and uncompromising in our stand against wickedness.
Some are unclear as to why we are so adamant on this subject. The reasons are numerous but I will name a few. The main reason is that the only time divorce is acceptable in God's eyes is in cases where a spouse has committed the sin of adultery. We also recognize that there are sometimes extenuating circumstances when an unregenerate spouse will leave a believing spouse and, as Paul teaches in his letter to the Corinthians, the believing spouse is not bound in such cases to remain married. In this we are truly liberal in allowing divorced believers to remain in the congregation despite the fact that they have participated in breaking the bonds of holy matrimony. So, while divorce is a great evil in today's society, we recognize that it
happens and work hard to accept people in a loving way even though their lives are horribly ruined and they are rendered eternally unqualified for any full time Christian ministry positions.
However, we would never allow them or any other divorced person to remarry in our church. If people who have been divorced marry, then according to the Bible they are living in adultery. And anyone who is living with an adulterer is committing adultery by marrying the divorced person - so both individuals in such an arrangement are living in sin. While divorce and remarriage are not unpardonable sins, the fact that such a couple is living in a perpetual state of adultery as long as they are married, prevents them from participating in many of the activities of the church. A man who divorces and remarries is forever disqualified from ever being a pastor. This is one of the reasons I never listen to Charles Stanley because he is soft on personal sin as evidenced by his corrupt life. Remarried people are denied the right to hold any leadership positions, church offices and are prevented from serving on key committees. They are not really treated as second class Christians however, because we magnanimously provide them many areas of service like grounds keeping, church janitor, folding bulletins and
of course contributing to the work of the church with their tithes and offerings. We even allow them to partake of the Lord's Table as long as they confess their immoral relationship before the church prior to each communion service so that they don't partake unworthily with unconfessed sin in their lives.
Some would say that there are no Pharisees who are divorced and remarried and this is patently not true. There are a number of folks who were divorced and remarried before they were saved. In these cases their sin is covered under the blood of Christ's forgiveness and grace so they are no longer living in adultery. Those who divorce and remarry after salvation are not afforded this forgiveness and grace, which is why they will continue to live in adultery as long as they remain together. Indeed the best thing for such Christians to do is to divorce their adulterous spouses and dedicate themselves to a celibate life, content with serving God on the fringes of Christian ministry.
Nevertheless, each one should retain the place in life that the Lord
assigned to him and to which God has called him.
I Corinthians 7:17 (NIV)
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