The problem of divorce and remarriage strikes at the roots of our social structure. With such root problems the temptation is always to teeter between the extremes of the ostrich and the jay: either we isolate our heads and hearts from the problem or we frantically announce our passing fancies as final solutions. Certainly the concerned Christian must bend every effort to understand the complexity of the problem as it works itself out in everyday living.

But for Christians who claim biblical authority for life and thought, such analyses must be accompanied by equally honest and rigorous application of scriptural principles bearing on the problem. Indirectly, the teaching of Holy Scripture must become our starting point. Each of us individually and within the fellowship of the body of Christ must perform the necessary tasks of first ascertaining and faithfully reaffirming exactly what the Bible in each part and as a whole teaches on this delicate issue and, second, of shaping an honest and caring application of that teaching within the home and church.

As we approach these tasks, we frequently confuse two closely related but quite distinct questions: (1) Are divorce and remarriage permitted? and (2) How are divorced persons who remarry to be treated in the church? The answer of the church to the first question is abundantly clear and consistent in its broad outline. It is also solidly in accordance with Holy Scripture.

No Christian ought ever to seek to break up a marriage—his own or anyone else’s. Marriages may be made on earth but they are sealed in heaven. They are designed for life. That means “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”

Christ, the Lord of the church, provided unequivocal ...

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