"Look at the legalized adultery we call divorce. Men marry one wife after another and are still admitted into good society; and women do likewise. There are thousands of supposedly respectable men in America living with other men's wives, and thousands of supposedly respectable women living with other women's husbands." - R. A. Torrey From R.A. Torrey's book How to Pray, pages 94-95

R.A. Torrey (1856-1928) was a very well-known Christian writer, evangelist, pastor, graduate of Yale University, and was also the superintendent of Moody Bible Institute for 19 years.

TRINITY BARS THE DIVORCED.; No Remarriage in the Church or Any of the Chapels.

The clergy of Trinity Church announced yesterday that under no circumstances will divorced persons be married by any of the clergy of that Episcopal parish, nor will such marriages be permitted either in the church at Wall Street and Broadway or in any one of the parish's eight chapels. The announcement was as follows:
View full article New York Times
December 7, 1904, Wednesday

Frequently Asked Questions, Comments and Arguments about Marriage Divorce & Remarriage


Does God Join All First Marriages?

 

Comment/question
Not all of us agree on what scripture says is adulterous/sin. And I see nothing in the scriptures that makes a first marriage un-sinful just because it is a first marriage, if God had warned the couple NOT to marry and they married anyhow.
Response
The thing is that scripture does seem to uplift a first marriage as being the covenant marriage. In I Corinthians 7, we see that God DOES join even the believer/unbeliever together, so where does one draw the line at "what God joins together"............the only line I can discern from scripture is this: when two people are FREE to marry, God allows them the choice and then He joins them as ONE. See, He does give us a choice in our life mate.............when we choose unwisely, we suffer the repercussions of our choices, as do our children. That is why OBEDIENCE in the first place is a GOOD thing. There is nothing in God's Word that indicates that we get to change our minds after the fact. MANY people change from when they first marry-----some for the better, some for the worse. Does God keep changing His mind about who we were "supposed" to marry based upon our changing personalities/actions? Again, there is no scripture to support that God only joins those 1st marriages in which the people were "obedient" and married the "right" person. Many times the "right" person is thought of later on as the "wrong" person...........where does that reasoning end, but in unbiblical reasonings?
Comment/question
I like the questions you posed, and I would like to respond.

 

You put it well, that people do change from when they first marry. If you are counting the ages from 22 -40, there should be some changes, we are always growing, and hopefully, if we walk with the Lord, and we obey HIs Word, we are growing in wisdom and grace and we are renewed in our minds. But there are many who do not grow in the Lord, for whatever choices they may make, and they may actually grow in darkness, and grow harder in heart/repetitive sin that is unrepentant/live by the flesh and not by the spirit. Does this make them no longer a spouse? Does this disqualify one who does walk with the Lord from being committed to their vows? NO. Scripture does not teach us this "way out".

 

Does God change His mind about who is the "right" one to be married to if their personality or spiritual compliance to God's word is changed?

 

You are right that there is no Scripture to support that God only joins in covenant marriage to those who are both on fire for God. It is true that many look at a changed mate, and consider them the "wrong" person.

 

There are many things we are allowed to reverse:

 

To return an item to the store if we are unhappy with it.
To change careers to find a better fit.
To move to a new location.
To exchange one thing for another as in a consumed good.

 

But we are expressly taught that we are married to one mate for life, and should they leave us, or mistreat us, our attitude toward them should be one of prayer and obedience to God in spite of their rebellion to God. We are given understanding for separation but expected to enjoy the safety of "remaining unmarried or being reconciled"

We have made allowances to treat an unhappy marriage as if it is like an unhappy purchase. Like buyer's regret. Sometimes it is to cope with rejection, as in "...it doesn't matter if you don't like me, are cruel to me, or are unfaithful.....I didn't think you were such a good gamble for me anyway. " Didn't we think this way as kids when a peer showed disdain or ridiculed us....we had our pride, we did not want to let on how much this could hurt.

 

And so we can be tempted to think the same way with a mate who seems intent on alienating us by hurting us.

 

If someone started out being the "right" person, I mean "right" enough to marry before God and all of your bridesmaids and groomsmen, community and family....and they change.for the worse...they NEED your prayers. The one you married is not forever MIA, but is still alive, underneath a hardened heart. Even if they are showing some problem they had before you married them, they are needing someone who knew them intimately, like a MATE, to intercede for them until they see a softening of heart. They are like really misled and often, like someone who is temporarily insane.

 

How many mates have been cut off due to their sin so the sinner remains in deep bondage and ready to offend another because they have been 'waved off' by the covenant mate that should be praying for them?

 

The Scriptures give us some clear boundaries so we can pray and love with agape, while the prodigal comes to their senses, in the timing of the Lord. There is so much provision for this important work. We need to realize that this idea of treating spouses and family members like products to be returned like defective merchandise, or thrown out like some trash/recycling is NOT God's way.

 

2 Timothy 2: 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

 

Let God's Word give us a godly response to a mate who is rebellious towards God and so then towards us. We will be blessed and kept from temptation if we follow his instruction.
Response
That was a very good word, sister!

 

I liked your example of "buyer's regret". Oh how I wish that the Western world can see that marriage----in God's sight----cannot be compared to what they deem "mistakes" in other areas of life. Covenant marriage is not a sin to be repented of----it is not a "mistake". When someone says they repented of their divorce.........the repentance does not involve their covenant marriage---it only involves the divorce. To "repent" means to change one's mind about what is sin(in agreement with the Lord) and to turn around in the other direction. Many today are teaching that when one repents of divorce, somehow they believe the covenant marriage is dissolved by their repentance and they can move on..........saying NEXT time, with the NEXT person, they will NOT divorce(they truly believe this IS repentance regarding their first covenant marriage).

 

The thing is, that if one truly IS repentant of their divorce, they will desire to rejoin with the one God has joined them to---to reunite the family as ONE again, not find another to replace that covenant spouse. If the other spouse is in unrepentant sin, I can understand the desire NOT to return to such a partner, but the Lord's heart is for the one who is NOT wayward to love their spouse as Christ loves the church, to honor/respect that spouse-----to pray for their release from the bondage of sin so the family can be reunited and be a testimony of the redeeming/restoring power of the Lord.

The world NEEDS such testimonies, for right now, many see Christ as powerless.........and many see Christianity as a "crutch"..........because they do NOT see the power of God which transforms lives and enables us to LOVE as God loves. Much of the world, when they look upon Christianity, are seeing the WORLD looking back at them-----and that is very unappealing.

 

Comment/question
I believe that it's fairly clear that even with the great lengths that you go to to convince that all remarriage is "living in adultery", I don't see many that have changed their point of view.
Response
Jesus said MANY would be on the broad road to destruction and FEW would find salvation, so I don't think your reasoning holds much weight biblically.
Comment/question
When you study the Bible as a whole, not by using a few dozens verses, the conclusions of "a perpetual state of adultery" fall on their face.
Response
What passages would lead a person to believe that what the Lord calls sin is no longer sin, but something "blessed" when it is remained in? I would be interested to see such passages and how those passages relate to other relationships the Lord has called sin. Would those relationships too be permissible?
Comment/question
Somewhere you have lost the meaning of Grace is or you no longer believe in it, or it's simply you don't want certain people to be in your version of heaven.
Response
Grace does not give license to continue sin as Paul taught. Paul also taught that the brethren should not be deceived: that all those who continue in lifestyles of sin would NOT inherit the kingdom of God---------sobering words in an age when "tolerance" is touted as love (misplaced, I believe).
Comment/question
IN my personal opinion, the main reason to continue to post is so that no one walks away from a legitimate marriage and destroys additional lives.
Response
My reason, and I believe other's reasons for posting is that people would weigh their lives by what God says, not according to what people SAY is right with God----that they would be challenged to seek out those difficult questions that most pastors today will not even touch, for fear of what they may find. Some brave few are questioning and the Lord has been faithful to reward such diligent seekers with answers. Some have nothing "close" to lose(those in 1st marriages), while others who have sought and are seeking have much to lose (in second marriages the Lord has called adultery). As divorce and remarriage practices have increased, more and more people now are starting to seek what GOD says. That, as Martha Stewart says, "is a good thing"

 

Comment/question
Repentance doesn't mean divorcing from a second marriage and living single and destroying additional lives.

Repentance means "I will keep these vows" , It's a change of heart not a change of marital status.
Response
Who does God see one married to????? Did God join the two as One, or did man join themselves with another? Very big difference. We can "vow" something to another, but that does not mean God will enter and take a part in it, if it is sin.
Comment/question
And again I say, If your first union was sinful; if God told you not to marry your partner but you did anyhow, then repenting of that would be divorce since God never put it together. Man did!
Response
Anyone could say that, and that is why we must go to the WORD to find what God sees as a lawful union. In scripture, NT, we can see that ANY first marriage (to another whose never been married) is joined by God. In other words, concerning believer/non believer marriages, we see that God does in fact "join" them together and Paul gives an admonishment on how to live as married with an unsaved spouse.
Comment/question
Using that logic, if God did not join two people together in their first marriage, then divorce would be OK.

 

Example: If a prostitute and a drug addict ran off and got married just to save on rent or income taxes, then that is not a legitimate God ordained marriage and they can divorce and remarry again with no consequences.
Response
How do you figure that? If they willfully enter into a marriage together, what difference does it make WHY? Do you know that many marriages happen around the world in which the two who are marrying do not even know each other well? They are not "in love", yet they come together to be man/wife. The "whys" of marriage do not matter.........it is the WHO's of marriage that matter. Is one free to marry or are they "bound" to another in the sight of God? That is the determining factor.

 

Comment/question
this institution created by GOD has been abused, and such making not every marriage, one where the two are joined by GOD, but rather by state alone.
Response
 I very much agree with this statement. The problem is the church is pointing outward saying God did not join THOSE marriages, yet feels that God DOES join those unions He calls adultery. It's an interesting thing to see that history has repeated itself. The Lord rebuked the Pharisees for coming against those who committed adultery when they themselves were guilty of the very same thing(yet they couldn't see it either)...........

 

Comment/question
Question for those who believe one's first marriage lasts a lifetime, regardless of divorces in the legal sense: is it possible to be married in the eyes of God but not in the eyes of the law?
Response
 Absolutely and that's our point. What GOD has joined together is NOT put asunder by man in regards to dissolving what God joined. In that sense, yes, it is possible to be married in the sight of God, yet man says one is not married, but the marriage is dissolved.

 

Comment/question
Here's the scenario: John and Jane got married when they were 19 and 20. He was very immature, Jane said, so they divorced after two children and five years of marriage. But, at age 35, John had grown up, and they realized they loved each other again. So they moved back in together. They did not get a marriage license or go through any of the customary marriage procedures. They don't even consider themselves married. Jane calls him her boyfriend, and she'll explain the whole story to anyone who asks. So, are they married or divorced?
Response
 They are still "joined" in God's eyes. Should they get a marriage license as that is the law of the land, and in the "heathen" eyes, they are committing fornication? Yes, but obviously to them, they do not see what God sees. If they are living together and do not consider themselves married anyways, they must think fornication is ok, hence that would lead me to believe they are not following God to begin with. Unless they are born again, the issue of "bond", "marriage", fornication will not matter to them.

 

Comment/question
So what I believe is what my first sentence says - marriage is the intent of the heart. And the intent of the heart is what God honors. If a couple means their vows and commitment with all their heart, then God honors that and joins them together as one. If the couple is just going through the motions and enjoying the "party", but aren't repeating the vows with a sincere heart, then I believe that they are not joined together as one by God.

One marriage should do everyone. If it doesn't work out, don't look for another one. It will just cause more heartache and trouble. (unless the spouse dies.)

Don't ask me for scriptures - I'm just using common sense.

First marriage have a 52% rate of failure. Second marriages have a 70% rate of failure. Third marriages have a 87% rate of failure. I wouldn't even guess the chances of a 4th marriage.

Response
 I'm glad I reread your post. Actually, your "common sense" can be backed up biblically. Rom. 7:2-3, I Cor. 7:39 teaches that marriage (the first one) lasts until the death of one of the spouses. At that time, the marital bonds are loosed, freeing the one left to marry again, if they so choose.

As for the rest of your post in regards to marriage being a "heart" issue, I will have to disagree. When we enter KNOWINGLY, WILLINGLY, into marriage----a lawful one, God joins it. I see nothing in scripture which states one has to have absolutely pure motives in entering into a marriage. Also, if we are to go by the reasoning that only the marriages which at the beginning were made with good intentions, are "bound together by God", what do we do then with the same marriage in which feelings of committment change down the road? Does God then unbond them? I don't think so. I believe scripture teaches that when we CHOOSE to join ourselves in lawful marriage, He joins the two as One----for life, for better or worse........... Blessings............

 

Comment/question
Thank-you for your answer to my question, I'm not divorced myself nor were my parents and I used to believe the same as u do because that's how it was preached years ago in my church but I have studied the scripture concerning divorce because of how widespread it is among people who r living for God.
I have to question why does a person who has not sinned and didn't cause a break down of the marriage, have to be punished? Do we have to pay for the sins of our husbands/wives? Is marriage the only bond that can't be broken until death?
Does God join each and every person who get married to each other?
I think each and every situation is different and God will be the final judge!
Response
The funny thing is that I never heard preached what I have now come to believe. I have read where no remarriage USED to be preached widely in the churches. I didn't know this until after I studied and came to my present viewpoint and started searching for the church's historical teachings on this topic.

 

As for why some have to suffer due to other's sins, I don't know why. If I had my way, I sure would have some "outs". However, I know the Lord knows what is best and I don't see any "outs" in scripture-----except that if a woman departs, she is to remain UNMARRIED or be reconciled. (I Cor. 7:10-11). There is an "out" in case one does need to separate, but because the Lord has joined them as "one" until death, what one does WILL affect the other. That principle works in ALL lawful marriages. If the husband makes wise decisions, the wife BENEFITS. If he makes foolish decisions, she WILL suffer.

 

Comment/question
There have been many here to also state that not all marriages are lawful. But many have stated that first marriages are always the lawful one. I still have not seen a scripture that supports that. Even the scripture of "the wife of your youth" does not convince me that this is an all or nothing proof. Just that too many men wanted younger women, and that is not a legitimate reason to divorce.

Perhaps the first marriage was a terrible blunder, sinful in fact. Perhaps the 2nd or 3rd marriage is the lawful one. If the first is a sinful union, then God did not join the two as one. The couple may have tried to but evidently it didn't work that way just because they spoke some words.

If God really joins two as one, well, they still may break their promises to each other. Those are the marriages that need to be held together, though.

Warning: no one should use the words, "we should never have gotten married" in the heat of anger. Strong emotions, such as romantic love or hate, make us chose foolishly at times.
Response
The problem is, (name deleted), you have far less biblical support to show a first marriage (for both parties) is NOT biblical. However, there is plenty of scripture to show that subsequent marriages ARE sin when a first spouse is still alive.

As for ALL second/third, etc being sinful.........no I don't believe that. Some second marriages ARE the covenant marriage because such a person in the first marriage was committing adultery by marrying a divorced person(from a covenant marriage). So in essence, their second marriage (if they married someone "Free" to be married) would be the covenant marriage. The problem is that so many are flippant about marriage today.............divorce, remarry, divorce remarry..........that we are in a quandry trying to figure out who is in a covenant marriage and who is not.
 


 

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My Testimony
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Tony Sexton's Repentance From Remarriage Adultery


Dave's Repentance From Remarriage Adultery


The End of 17 Year's of Legalized Adultery


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JW's Repentance From Remarriage Adultery


A Preacher's Journey from Ignorant Rebellion to Repentance


More Testimonies of Repentance From Adulterous Remarriage & Messages of Encouragement


Frequently Asked Questions, Comment, Arguments About Marriage Divorce & Remarriage


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Critique of David Instone-Brewer on Divorce

By Dr. Leslie McFall
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Former Research Fellow at Tyndale House Library (Cambridge, England).

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