A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

FAQ Highlight — What about divorce?

Our position on divorce: We believe that marriage is a covenant, the terms of which are the vows. Habitual, unrepentant, violation of those vows destroys the covenant and entitles the wronged spouse to divorce, though does not require it.

The Bible sets out covenant-destroying sins: 

  • desertion and abuse  (1 Cor. 7:15) – abuse is a form of desertion because the evil conduct violates and repels the victim 
  • adultery (Mat 19, Mk 10).

God doesn’t hate the legal process of divorce; he hates the sins of desertion, abuse and adultery that cause marriages to break down.

We believe that a wronged party, after divorce, is free to remarry, only in the Lord (i.e., another believer).

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Our FAQ page “What about divorce?” reiterates our position on divorce and gives over 20 links that address issues such as: Does the Bible allow divorce for domestic abuse? Does God hate divorce? and Will I be sinning if I divorce my abuser?

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5 Comments

  1. Sharon

    In my former marriage, my spouse showed no loyalty to me, even such as a friend or family member normally would. If the children complained about the least thing, it was Mommy’s fault. When verbally assaulted by his family, he always sided with them. At first, I thought they were always right…till a friend said to me, “Seems like you’re a total door mat…”
    That prompted me to read “Men Who Hate Women and The Women Who Love Them.” It was very helpful, even though not written by a Christian per se. But, when his mother turned against me, because she wanted us to live in a different way, well, it was my fault and he chose to “honor his mother”, as he put it, and go home with her… Obviously, his first loyalty was to her.

  2. Still Struggling

    Can you please expound on adultery as a valid reason? For many years the only definition of adultery that seemed plausible as a valid reason that I’d heard was if your spouse has an affair with another adult. I knew a young woman persuaded by her church to stay with a convicted pedophile. It seemed to me she had a valid reason if she chose divorce even though it was not being classified as adultery.

    More recently I’ve learned that Jesus wording in Matthew 19 meant sexual immorality of any kind. If I remember what I read correctly, Jesus used a Greek word “pornea” which is the root of the word “pornography” so he was really saying sexual immoral behavior. It’s been several years since I read that so I might have gotten it wrong.

    This lack of firm definition of adultery has been a big part in keeping me stuck for a long time to a porn addicted sexually abusive man. I’d hate for anyone to be stuck for the same reason.

    • Jeff Crippen

      If you search with the search window on the ACFJ blog home page and also utilize the reference tabs at the top of the page you will be able to find articles on Matthew 19. However, here is the very heart of the matter. Marriage is a covenant. Covenants have terms. We call them vows in a marriage covenant. Every covenant except the New Covenant in Christ (since He is the One who fulfills it) is breakable. The marriage covenant can be broken when vows are broken and can be destroyed when vows are habitually broken with no repentance, as in abuse. ALL of the examples you mention above destroy the covenant. Divorcing such a wicked person is merely acknowledging in the civil courts what the wicked spouse has already done – destroyed the marriage by destroying the covenant.

      People have debated at length the meaning of “porneia.” But I believe that the real solution to most of these issues is to just step back and look at the big picture of the Bible, of God’s character, and of His intent for our freedom from any kind of bondage. A pedophile as a husband? Under God’s Law which is an extension of His very nature, that husband would have been stoned to death. Marriage over. In the New Covenant, God’s character is the same. And specifically we see in 1 Cor 7 that if an unbelieving spouse leaves a Christian spouse, we are to let them go. Marriage over. That being the case, if the lesser sin of desertion is grounds for not being under bondage (not bound by the marriage covenant any longer) then surely the greater sin such as raping children is grounds for divorce.

      The narrow, woodenly stiff handling of Scripture that we see so often that turns one verse into some absolute, all-encompassing rule binding everyone in every place is the same kind of wicked error the Pharisees made and for which Jesus so roundly rebuked them.

      With all of that said, let me give you a proposed definition of “adultery.” Adultery is unfaithfulness to the marriage covenant. To ALL of the terms of the vows, not just the one about not having sex with others. Adultery is covenant unfaithfulness. How do I know? Because the Bible over and over again says so. It calls idolatry, for example, adultery. Why? Because idolatry forsakes the Lord for other gods.

      Married to a person who habitually and without repentance smashes the vows he took at the wedding? Go out from him, and be free.

  3. Herjourney

    Desertion to an abuser is setting up his evil agenda, to make it appear like he was in the right to desert his spouse. Pathological liers!
    Abusers are masters at setting up His victims. His allies are now his children and possibly the pastor who believes and teaches that a wife is to submit to his complete authority.

  4. Dumbfounded

    Ever heard of this?
    My now x abuser husband used to tell me we’re both committing adultery- with each other!!
    The reason: We were both in our 2nd marriage. He was my 2nd husband and I was his 2nd wife.

    I’ve been divorced since 2012. I’ve made much process in my healing. Recently, I had a setback. I asked my abusive x husband to forgive me for divorcing him. I know I’m not responsible for his salvation! Yet, my thought was “I want to make sure he has no harboring unforgiveness for me”
    Why did I even ask the question 4 years later? I spent 12+ years praying and fasting for this man.
    I am free now!

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