Faith

On divorce and remarriage for Christians, part 1: Introduction and background

I’m going to take a big risk and write about divorce and remarriage among Christians.

This a touchy topic because not only because it gets at the core of our personal lives, but also because the various branches of Christianity don’t all agree on what to believe and practice here.

Wedding day of the second marriage for both of us

My Christian foundation is in churches of the Restoration Movement — the Christian Churches, the Churches of Christ, and the Disciples of Christ. I know little about Catholicism or Presbyterianism or Seventh-Day Adventism or any other Christian -ism beyond what I can research on the Internet.

If you’re not in the Restoration Movement, it might help you to understand that like evangelicals and fundamentalists, our churches look to the Bible as the sole source of Christian authority. Our churches are autonomous; there is no central organization that normalizes our beliefs. Because of our common roots most of our congregations’ beliefs align, but you’ll find some differences from congregation to congregation.

Our churches believe that divorce is a sin, and is allowed only for adultery. Some go so far as to say that God does not recognize a divorce except for adultery — you are still married in God’s eyes. Therefore, if you remarry, it is a sin and God does not recognize that marriage. On the other hand, some of our churches accept divorce and remarriage. Some even encourage and embrace remarriage.

I care about this topic because I’m divorced and remarried. Neither my first wife nor I committed adultery. Rather, abuse and addiction destroyed trust and safety in the relationship, and damaged us past our ability to stay together. After a long time I met a woman who I came to love and believed would be a wonderful partner and companion for the rest of my life, and I married her.

I’ve studied divorce and remarriage and sought out God on it over the years and my thinking on it has evolved. I remain open to learning more and changing my thinking as necessary as I continue to build my relationship with God, gain more wisdom through living, and study my Bible. But I want to talk about what I believe today, which is: God very much wants us to marry in lifelong loving relationships, sin is always involved when a marriage ends, and divorce pains him greatly. But there are allowable reasons for divorce beyond adultery, and remarriage is allowed after any divorce.

I will explain my reasoning in posts over the next two Tuesdays. Let me emphasize that this is what I believe today based on my study and prayer, within the context of my particular Christian background. If you’re a Christian from a different background, what I will share with you may sound alien and wrong. That’s okay; I’m not here to change your mind. I just want to share my position and reasoning.

I do not pretend to be an expert in these matters. I’m a sinner who tries to follow Jesus as best I can. I welcome reasonable discussion that might open my mind to arguments I have overlooked and facts I am missing. I welcome your comments on these posts especially if you have a different Christian faith background from me. I will enjoy hearing your perspective and learning from you. However, I want to remind you of my comment policy — let’s keep it pleasant, eh?

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