I received a “Christian” magazine from a friend to read. One of the articles touched on divorce. Apparently there is a group of folks that believe that marriage is something that once entered into can never be over looked in the eyes of God. Lets call it OMAM once married, always married. According to these folks once two people are married, if they ever divorce and remarry they are living in a state of eternal adultery, therefore they must divorce their current spouse and remarry their first spouse or they will burn in hell. They use Matt 5:32 as their proof text for this teaching.
- God hates divorce, He said so.
- The New Testament is of no use to anyone except Christians. I believe the world will be judged by it, but for purposes of living on earth it is only binding on believers.
- I see different categories of people when it comes to divorce; unbelievers, mixed marriage of a believer and a nonbeliever, two married Christians.
- I see different time frames for when a divorce happens, either prior to becoming a Christian or after one is a Christian.
According to the OMAM crowd if a divorced person remains divorced and celibate they can be a Christian but they can never remarry someone else until the first spouse is dead, otherwise they live in a state of continual sin and if they die they will go to hell.
As I see it:
- Nonbelievers go to hell anyway, that’s what happens to nonbelievers in Christian doctrine. Is hell somehow hotter if they were divorced and remarried? Must be you spend eternity with the divorce lawyer and your mother in law.
- The subject of believers that are married to nonbelievers and what they can do about divorce/remarriage is addressed in Corinthians. OMAM goes against this section of scripture.
- A Christian married to another Christian according to the verse above may only divorce for marital unfaithfulness as cited in Matt 5.
From where I sit: scripture condemns divorce no doubt about it. It doesn’t teach that a remarried person can’t be forgiven for breaking their vows, or that they can’t be saved latter in life, or that they have to remarry their first spouse to be ok with God.
I’m still working this one out so feel free to pipe in with your 2 cents and anything you think applies.