It is instructive to note that those who allow for the remarriage of the deserted believer and of the "innocent party" have found it difficult to "hold the line." Luther even permitted the bigamy of Philip of Hesse, creating a huge scandal throughout Christendom. An Italian Protestant deserted his Roman Catholic wife and children and moved to Geneva. He, a "believer," left her, an unbeliever, and yet Calvin allowed him to remarry while his wife was living. The Reformers did not have the last word on the doctrine of marriage.
Increasingly, in our "wicked and adulterous generation" (Matt. 16:4), churches are caving in on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Congregations are being led by divorced and remarried ministers, elders and deacons. Divorced and remarried people are coming to the Lord’s Supper, and sometimes they partake at the table in the same congregation or denomination. In many places, various grounds for divorce are accepted and not just the one ground, adultery. The permission to remarry for only the "innocent party," as well as being unbiblical (Rom. 7:2-3: I Cor. 7:39), is in many instances proving unstable. If the "innocent party" is free to remarry, it must be because the marriage itself is dissolved. And if the marriage is dissolved for the "innocent party," then it must also be dissolved for the "guilty party." Why then cannot the "guilty party" remarry? Many congregations and church synods have not been able to withstand this argument. But perhaps even more persuasive is the realization that teaching and practising the biblical doctrine of marriage, divorce and remarriage may well mean the loss of numbers and a deep, spiritual struggle.
As the cracks in the marriage doctrine held by many are growing larger and larger, it is time for individuals, families and churches to embrace that marriage doctrine espoused by Jesus Christ, the church’sbridegroom and head.
In the attack on the biblical doctrine of marriage, divorce and remarriage, the great truth of the unbreakable bond between Christ and His church is being attacked, for the former is to reflect the latter (Eph. 5:22-33). The bond between Christ and His elect bride is that of the everlasting covenant realized by the irresistible grace of Almighty God and wrought by the indwelling Spirit. Our wicked sins can not break this bond; nor can even death itself. For God is immortal, and our death is a passageway into glory, and Christ’s death is our redemption, sanctification and glorification (25-27).
- Volume: 10
- Issue: 11
Rev. Angust Stewart (Wife: Mary)
Ordained - 2001
Pastorates: Covenant Protestant Reformed Church of Ballymena, Northern Ireland - 2001Website: www.cprf.co.uk/
Address7 Lislunnan Road
State or ProvinceCo.Antrim
Zip CodeBT42 3NR
Telephone(01144) 28 25 891851