Questions On Divorce and Remarriage
The following questions are based on actual cases. To answer, circle "Y" for yes or "N" for no. Our answers are given at the close of this article.
1. Shirley and I were married in 1972. We were both virgins and baptized believers. We were married in the church, and believed firmly that marriage is for life.
Y N (a) If Shirley leaves the church, rejecting all Biblical doctrines, and does not want to live with me, may I divorce her and remarry someone else?
Y N (b) If one of us commits repeated adultery, is the other free to divorce and remarry?
Y N (c) After 18 years of marriage and three children, if one of us discovers that the other really wasnít a virgin when we were married, may there be a legitimate divorce with the right to remarry?
2. A young man raised in the church dated a girl outside the church. He was not yet baptized. His parents are zealous believers who teach their children that marriage is for life. The unconverted young woman swept him off his feet and they were hastily married, with the believing parentsí approval and church brethren as witnesses. They attended college together, but after a couple of years, she left him and they divorced.
Y N Is this young man free to remarry?
3. A young man desired to marry a woman of a particular ancestry. He married a lady he thought was of this nationality, but she deceived him and later he found out this wasnít so.
Y N May he divorce her with the right to remarry?
4. It was too good to be true. He appeared to be a fine, courteous man. She was a single mature adult who had never married, and a property owner. After they were married, things didnít work out. He wanted her to sign the property over to him. Finally, her brother did a little private detective work, and discovered that this man was a bigamist, specializing in marrying rich women, grabbing their assets, and leaving. She divorced him just in time, before he grabbed her property.
Y N Is she free to remarry?
5. The unbaptized son of a church elder was serious about an unconverted young girl. He got her to promise him that she would become interested in the church, and they were married. Some time later, after having a child, problems developed. She confessed that she never intended to follow church teaching. A divorce ensued.
Y N Is he free to remarry?
6. An attractive womanís first marriage was too hasty. She divorced a few months later due to incompatibility. Some time later, she married an older man who had two children from a prior marriage. They are now happily married and have three children.
Y N Is she living in an adulterous relationship that must be terminated?
1. No to all questions. Neither desertion, adultery, or belated discovery of pre-marital fornication are grounds for divorce with the right to remarry. Since we are married for life, we ought to work out our problems and learn to love one another.
2. No. The marriage was unwise and had a poor chance of success from the start (young age, conflicting religious beliefs). However, the believing young man entered into a binding vow for life. He knew what he was doing, and so did the parents and witnesses. The unconverted young woman did not fulfil her vows and had little commitment. I Corinthians 7:39 ought to be loudly proclaimed in todayís churches, that the believer should marry ONLY IN THE LORD! You canít tell some young people a thing. Some people only learn bitter lessons from their own experience. Can we learn from this sad episode?
3. No. Non-sexual "fraud" is not grounds for divorce with the right to remarry. "Fraud" (deceit) is a different word than fornication, Romans 1:29. The valid Bible grounds for divorce (annulment) with the right to remarry is "fornication," fraudulent claims of sexual purity SOON discovered to be false. If nationality meant so much to this man, it would have been a simple matter to perform a genealogical check prior to marriage and prove whether or not his fiancee was of the desired nationality. This man probably wouldnít buy a house without title insurance, but he married someone without checking it out!
4. Yes. The shyster was not eligible to marry. A potential mate "too good to be true" often isnít true. Why not do a little detective work prior to marriage? After all, you "kick the tires" when you purchase a car. Doesnít it make good sense to check him or her out, instead of being a "sucker" later?
5. No. There is no porneia (fornication) here. Marriage cannot remake a person. Only the Almighty can call another into His truth. Even if you had hired Perry Mason to check things out before marriage, you will be surprised how little you knew about the person you married. The Savior tells us to forgive and forget. Letís quit being hard-hearted like the Israelites of old, Matthew 19:7-8. If two people, eligible for marriage, unite in holy matrimony, they are bound together for life. No ifís, andís, or butís. It is that simple. If someone teaches that many cases are complicated, then they are telling you a lie. Godís truth is plain and simple, for those willing to submit to it.
6. Probably yes. But, we havenít been given the facts concerning the eligibility of her first husband, nor the eligibility of her second husband. She needs to discover the facts of the matter. If there is no evidence to the contrary, her present marriage should be considered adulterous. As the teaching of John the Baptist concerning Herod shows, unconverted people are responsible for their marital vows. If this woman came into the church, her decision would be an individual responsibility before God. The ministry should not regulate or pry into peopleís lives. However, the ministry should make the truth plain so that people can apply Biblical Law in their own lives. A faithful believer would certainly seek wise counsel from the ministry as they face such important questions regarding their personal lives.
Written by Richard C. Nickels
Giving & Sharing
PO Box 100
Neck City, MO 64849
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