Monday, October 08, 2007

Divorce and Remarriage

David Instone-Brewer has a helpful summary article here on divorce and remarriage.

Here's the upshot:
Putting all this together gives us a clear and consistent set of rules for divorce and remarriage. Divorce is only allowed for a limited number of grounds that are found in the Old Testament and affirmed in the New Testament:
  • 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)
In thinking through these issues it may be helpful to consult the following chart, adapted from Andreas Kostenberger's excellent book, God, Marriage, and Family. The chart reflects the majority evangelical view on divorce and remarriage (which I also hold).

Differences of ViewsShammaiHillelJesus
OT background texts for marriageDeut. 24:1-4Deut. 24:1-4Gen. 1:27; 2:24
Meaning of porneiaImmodest behavior or sexual immoralityAny instance where a wife did something displeasing to her husbandImmoral behavior on the part of the spouse, including, but not restricted to, adultery (majority view; see Matt. 5:31-32; 19:3, 6, 8, 9)
Divorce for porneiaRequiredRequiredPermitted
The application of the standard for divorce and remarriageMen onlyMen onlyBoth men and women

(Thanks to Tim Challies for helping me to recreate this chart in HTML!)