Further Up, Further In Weblog

Chronicling the Journey of the Homeyers

Divorce November 16, 2007

Filed under: Discipleship — furtherupfurtherin @ 4:28 pm
Tags: , , ,

Take the time to read this article that was in Christianity Today last month on Divorce.  It is more than worth your time. 

 The author makes a compelling argument for the biblical grounds for divorce being these:

  • Adultery (in Deuteronomy 24:1, affirmed by Jesus in Matthew 19)
  • Emotional and physical neglect (in Exodus 21:10-11, affirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7)
  • Abandonment and abuse (included in neglect, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 7)
  • It is a fascinating interpretation and exegesis of scripture which brought much clarity to my mind on what both testaments have to say on the subject of divorce. 

    Most of the interpretations of the Bible’s teaching on divorce that I have heard in the church are more a product of hearsay and isogesis (the practice of taking one verse or group of verses out of their overall context and inferring meaning into the text that isn’t there) and narrow thinking that doesn’t sqaure at all with modern-day experience. 

    Jesus Christ is the means through which we are to interpret scripture, not our own culture or our own presuppositions and this reading of scripture squares with the Jesus I know.  Granted, I am aware of the danger of referring to the, “Jesus I know,” or “my Jesus” because other readings can square with someone else’s Jesus which may or may not be Jesus at all. 

    Ok, this post has rambled a bit.  I’d be interested to hear some reaction either way to this article.  For me the implications of this article have muchto do with leadership in the church.  Hopefully most churches have gotten past spurning those who have been divorced.  But in light of this interpretation of scripture, does the door open wider for the ordaining of divorce’s as deacons and for ministry? 

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    2 Responses to “Divorce”

    1. Lori Says:

      This is a compelling article and one that for me, a Christian woman who was divorced from a verbally and emotionally abusive husband and is now married to a wonderful, Godly man, helps to put some pieces together.

      I always believed divorce to be a sin except in cases of adultery, and I spent eight years being belittled and blamed in a marriage that sapped me of energy, joy and even ministry. When we divorced after he refused to continue counseling, I felt like a failure.

      It took several years to heal and learn to see myself through the eyes of Christ rather than those of an abuser, but when I did, God blessed me with a Christ-like husband and continues to bless our marriage and lives in phenomenal ways.

      Through it all, I have often questioned why God would give with such abundance, not only in my life but also in my relationship with Him, if I were living in sin. I knew without question that I was in God’s will, but I couldn’t reconcile it with what I had been taught.

      I am studying for a degree in Biblical Studies at a conservative Christian school and will follow God’s lead as He shows me His plan. I was discouraged when a favorite professor lost his teaching position because of his divorce for reasons other than adultery.

      I tend to have a rather conservative view, and I’m hesitant to paint to broad a definition of the boundaries of biblical grounds for divorce, but this is a personal comfort and something that I definitely want to explore further in study and prayer.

      Thank you for sharing this insight.

    2. furtherupfurtherin Says:

      Lori,
      Thanks for commenting and sharing your story. I have read, enjoyed, and been impressed by many of your comments on my uncle’s blog.

      I definitely understand the fear of painting too broad an interpretation to any area of scripture. In my mind there is an equal danger in painting those boundaries too narrowly. For many Baptists today I fear this danger of conservatism is greater and an appropriate and discerning broadening (some would say liberalizing) of our scriptural interpretation and theology would be extremely freeing.

      Thanks again for your comment and vulnerability.


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