• Dee Parsons

    Yes, far too many people, even in the church divorce for poor reasons. However some churches have responded to this reality in a knee jerk fashion, making any sort of divorce wrong, even for domestic violence.

    The recent case of Karen Hinkley and The Village Church should cause all churches to reexamine their theology and response in this area. There is nothing in Scripture that demands anyone stay with a spouse who is abusive, involved in any sort of pedophilia, or illegal activity such as embezzling friends and neighbors.

  • Ted

    A necessarily related question is: what has modern Christianity done wrong, to lose so much public credibility that few take its teachings on marriage seriously any longer?

    The answers can be found in the merciless way many, many pastors and churches have blamed other communities for their own sins, have ignored women’s cries against abusive husbands, and have exploited their congregations for money and political power.

  • Chris Nystrom

    “There is nothing in Scripture that demands anyone stay with a spouse who is abusive, involved in any sort of pedophilia, or illegal activity such as embezzling friends and neighbors” – Where do you see scripture that gives an out for these things? Where is this list in scripture? Or is this your own idea?

  • Larry

    Categorical statements about the morality of marriage and divorce are one of the most uselessly harmful things churches do with their congregations. Like all personal situations, context is everything. Statements and positions devoid of context are less than useless.

    The only thing blanket condemnation of divorce has done is create miserable conditions for the devout, enabled abuse and stigmatized people arbitrarily. The idea of binding covenant marriage appears to be a recipe for abuse. People staying together our of fear of God, church or some self-imposed obligations than a desire to be together.

    Its rather telling that a chief complaint of ultra-religious communities is how their culture not only enables domestic abuse but finds ways to excuse it as a group. One of the most difficult things for domestic violence social workers to deal with are victims from an ultra-religious community. Because leaving an abusive family is seen as banishment from the community.

  • Shawnie5

    “Let not the wife depart from her husband. But if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” I Cor.7:10-11

  • Larry

    That is that the scriptural escape clause from toxic marriage that Chris Nystrom was looking for. Remaining unmarried or reconciled to her husband is hardly moving on from abusive situations. If anything it penalizes women who leave a marriage.

    Of course that is unless you feel like going through some sort of textual contortion to interpret it in such a fashion. Because who needs a plain reading of a text when you can make something up?

  • Shawnie5

    Who asked for your opinion of the passage? A reference was requested and supplied.

  • Ben in oakland

    I don’t see that this gives a wife an out of a bad marriage. It just says that if she leaves, she’s screwed– or not.

  • ben in oakland

    And there is nothing in scripture that gives any wife an out, either. Shawnie quotes Corinthians, which grants no such permission.

    Personally, I prefer Epheisians.

    “Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

  • Bernardo

    And indeed since there is no out, the problem resides with scripture. It is the 21st century and we should not be looking for outdated books for moral guidance. Rules like “Do no harm” should be our guides not some manuals written by unknowns like M, M,L and J or by some money-grabbing ex-rabbi by the name of Paul or con artists like Joe Smith and Mohammed.

  • Shawnie5

    It says she doesn’t have to stay, which is what Dee was saying. It only precludes remarriage, as per Jesus’ teaching on the subject. And it’s no less a restriction on men than it is on women, which is why the disciples exclaimed “then it’s better not to marry at all!”

  • Susan

    Chastity, love, and marital fidelity are virtues to which Christians aspire. I think that may be the only viable viewpoint from which the church today may speak about marriages without resorting to legalism. A rule-based approach always ends in casuistic problems, such as: “What is the ‘biblical’ definition of adultery?” (A wife’s sexual unfaithfulness to her husband, not the other way around; the latter is a tradition of the Church based on Jesus’ revolutionary suggestion that a husband might commit adultery against his wife.)

    The “outs” mentioned in scriptures such as Matthew 19 and 1 Corinthians 7 can illustrate these virtues within the context of the actual human condition without becoming laws that may be oppressive in themselves.

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  • MarkE

    1 Cor 7:15 “But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother (or sister) is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you.”

  • Shawnie5

    True, but a marriage situation between a believer and an unbeliever is a different situation, where one might say God does not actually join the two together. The reference I supplied is about marriage between believers, which involves a covenant made between husband, wife, and God.

  • Larry

    Shawnie, if you want private conversations, then an open message board is not for you. 🙂

    The passage is pretty weak. All it acknowledges is that wives leave. They are penalized for doing so. That’s it.

    But it hardly addresses what Dee and Chris were looking for. Scriptural justification for leaving abusive marriages.

  • Shawnie5

    As Paul plainly stated, a wife CAN leave. She simply can’t make a new covenant while a prior one exists. Neither can her husband.

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