Article 103-5 – Divorce

Biblical Principles for Living

103-5.1 Divorce is the breaking of the marriage covenant instituted and ordained of God. God hates it because it is inconsistent with His purpose1 and creates problems for all those associated with it. It is not permitted for any reason other than adultery,2 and should be considered only after careful and prayerful attempts for forgiveness and reconciliation.3 Scripture permits but never requires that a person divorce a marriage partner who has committed adultery.4

103-5.2 People divorced for reasons other than that allowed by Scripture ought not marry another, but be reconciled, and seek God’s resolution for the breakdown of the marriage.5 Divorced persons must seek forgiveness for any sin that led to, or is associated with, their divorce. They should seek the grace of God for their spiritual growth and healing.6

103-5.3 The church should seek to prevent divorce by offering both premarital counseling and on-going opportunities for marital instruction.7 The principles that make for a godly marriage should be evident in the life and example of every Christian family, especially the leadership of the church.8

103-5.4 By the grace of God, those who have been divorced and those who have married divorced persons, if they give evidence of forgiveness and Christian living, may be admitted to church membership and do not forfeit the privilege of serving within the Church.9 The elders of each particular church should evaluate the circumstances surrounding a divorce or remarriage in order to assure obedience to Scripture and confirm or establish the legitimacy of any remarriage.10

103-5.5 The church should counsel those considering divorce to seek other solutions to the problems in their relationships. There are times when a church is called upon to exercise discipline towards those who are seeking, or who have obtained a divorce. There are also times when a church is called upon to exercise discipline towards those who are seeking to remarry, or who have already remarried. Remarriage is permissible for those who have been legitimately divorced or whose return to the former partner is determined by the elders to be impossible.11 Individuals involved in these circumstances must submit themselves to the Word of God in their present situation.12

103-5.6 The responsibility of the church toward people considering divorce, remarriage, or those who have been divorced or remarried, is always to apply the Word of God in love.13 The goal of this ministry is to restore any break in their fellowship with God and with the life of the church, to preserve the purity of the church14 and to clear the reputation of a person.

1 Gen 2:24; Prov. 2:17; Mal. 2:14-16
2 Mat. 5:32; Rom. 7:2
3 Mk. 10:6-9; 1 Cor. 7:10, 11
4 Mat. 19:9
5 Psa. 139:23, 24; Rom. 7:2, 3; 1 Pet. 3:7-9
6 Gal. 5:14-23; Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12, 13
7 Pro. 11:14 (15:22,23); Titus 2:3-8
8 1 Tim. 3:1-7; Titus 1:6
9 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Heb. 2:11
10 Heb. 13:4
11 Dt 24:1-4; Mk. 10:11, 12; 1 Cor 7:39
12 1 Cor. 7:17-24
13 Eph. 4:15, 16
14 1 Thes. 4:3-7

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