Sojourner

Adventist Couples Divorce and Remarriage?

Can anyone tell me if the SDA has a positional statement on Divorce and Remarriage? By that I am wanting to know where the denomination stands on permitting members to remarry in the church if they have been divorced for reasons other than infidelity? 

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In general, the denomination wants to be redemptive.

As to what is done when a couple divorces, that is up to the local congregation.  It would be uncommon for any other level of the denomination to get involved.  However, the exceptions to this might exist if the divorce involved either SDA clergy.

As to the local congregation:  That will differ from place to place.  Consistency does not exist.  However, I will suggest that more often than not, the local congregation will attempt to be redemptive and not take any disciplinary action.

The bottom line is:  There is a reality that in our human condition, there are some marriages that simply can not reasonably be expected to be fixed.  Reality tells us that they are damaged beyond repair.  As to remarriage after a divorce, that must be between the individual and God.

Further, the SDA denomination, has come to the place where it considers the Biblical grounds for divorce to include more than sexual intercourse outside of the marital relationship.

 

 

 

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You know, the idea that divorce and remarriage can only  occur be demonstrating sexual intercourse outside of the marital relationship has resulted in some very strange situations:

Some years ago one of the individual U.S. States similar very restrictive requirements.  As a result, an industry came into  being in that State.  When a couple agreed to divorce, one of the members would rent a hotel/motel room.  A hired person of the opposite sex would join that person in bed.  A photographer would burst into the room and photograph the couple and leave.  In actuality no actual sex had occurred.  But, the photograph met the legal requirement.  The divorce could now take place.

As a result of strict requirements that once existed in the SDA denomination, some very strange things actually occurred.  So, called "Spiritual Adultery" has been used when no physical act has actually occurred.  Divorce had been claimed to be justified on alleged thoughts on the part of one individual.  It has been alleged to be justified on the basis that one partner  masturbated.  I could give more of the idiotic reasons that people have used to justify divorce and remarriage.

The bottom line is that it is now felt by many SDAs that we should got out of this kind of a response and  attempt to become more redemptive.

 

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I wonder what the church would teach when a member pleads "spiritual adultery?"  Is this a Biblical grounds for divorce?

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Wanderer:  As you probably know,  there is a very public and well known case in which this was done. This incident has been well discussed in this forum.  It is the desire of  those who run this forum that this discussion not be resurrected again.

 

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4 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

Wanderer:  As you probably know,  there is a very public and well known case in which this was done. This incident has been well discussed in this forum.  It is the desire of  those who run this forum that this discussion be resurrected again.

 

I am really behind on a  lot of stuff. I do not know which case you are referring to. I am interested in whats on this forum already regarding this issue

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I will send you a private message.

 

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5 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

It is the desire of  those who run this forum that this discussion be resurrected again.

Was there a typo in this sentence?

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Ys.  There was a typo.  Thank your for calling it to my attention.

It is the desire of the administrators who run this forum that this subject NOT be resurrected again.

 

:)

 

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1 hour ago, B/W Photodude said:

Was there a typo in this sentence?

Glad to see you!

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I will suggest the divorced individuals are often disciplined indirectly by the local congregation.  They are typically not asked to serve by the nominating committee - even when there are empty position that no one is willing to volunteer for.

The Adventist church is very much dedicated to the position that adultery and abandonment by an unbelieving spouse are the only "Biblical" reasons for divorce.  I suspect this is because Ellen White made reference to Jesus' comment about this.  However as I read it, that is not what Jesus was saying.

Let's look at Matthew 5:32.  "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery"  I realize the commas were not in the original text but now let's eliminate the exceptions phrase and see how it looks.  "But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."  That changes the whole focus of the verse.  The message Jesus was teaching is that if I divorce my wife and thus cause her to go find another man, I am guilty of adultery."  In verse 28 Jesus said anyone that looked at a woman with lust was guilty of adultery.  Now when many read this, they are assuming that when Jesus said "except for sexual immorality" that Jesus was giving the only acceptable grounds for divorce.  However the other way to read it is that Jesus is saying if a man divorces his wife, that man causes her to commit adultery unless (of course) she is already committing adultery before he divorces her.  

In Mark 10:9 we find "Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."  I believe the Bible clearly teaches that divorce is never God's will.  In the story of Hosea we see God commanding a prophet to marry a prostitute.  Yet if adultery is divine grounds for divorce, Hosea would have divorced the woman the first time she went out on him.  But that is not the story.  He goes after her and when she is sold, he purchases her back.  Hosea indeed loved Gomer as Christ loves the church.  The point Jesus makes is that if someone like Hosea did divorce his wife, Hosea wouldn't be guilty of adultery.

In Matthew 19:8 Jesus tells us that Moses permitted divorce due to the hardness of our hearts.  That is still the reality we live in today.  What is a hard heart?  It is a heart that cannot forgive.  Or it is a heart consumed with sinful desire (which normally doesn't forgive either).  Most definitely Hosea did not have a hard heart.  He was able to forgive 70x7.  If we were all able to do that, there would be no divorce.  However for marriage to work, both spouses have to have a heart like Hosea.  It only takes one hard heart to end a marriage.

For transparency sake, let me admit to being divorced myself.  I do not even like the term 'Biblical divorce" because I don't believe there is such a thing.  I also don't like the idea of trying to judge people who have been divorced and trying to figure out if they had Biblical grounds or not.  To what point?  To figure out if they can teach Sabbath School, be a Pathfinder leader, a deacon or an elder?  The trauma of a divorce draws some people closer to God than they ever had been before.  Some people are more fit to serve after their divorce than they were while married.  I will suggest that every divorce is the result of at least one hard heart.  That is why divorces happen and why Moses permitted them. I agree with Brother Matthews, "There is a reality that in our human condition, there are some marriages that simply can not reasonably be expected to be fixed.  Reality tells us that they are damaged beyond repair.  As to remarriage after a divorce, that must be between the individual and God"

The church has done a lot in the past couple of decade to minister to marriages and help them stay together.  That is a needed and powerful ministry.  However we also need to minister to the divorced.  I saw one article that stated that 50% of Adventists that get divorced will quit attending church within three years.  That isn't hard to believe.  Especially when you consider that most nominating committees will not ask them to actively be part of the organized church.

GayatfootofCross, Gail, Stan and 1 other like this

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Shane:  Good stuff;

As to the congregational reaction, that will depend upon the congregation and there is variance among congregations.

 

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What should a woman do when her able-bodied husband does not go out and get a real job to support his family?

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Gerry:  Many women are in that position.

*  In some marriages, the woman has a much greater earning power than the man.

*  In some marriages, due to disability or other reasons, there was little chance  of the man of the man being able to earn the needed amount of family income.  YEs, I know you said "ablebodied."  But the man still has to be trained in an area were he can earn the amount needed for a family to live.

 

 

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Many years ago, one of the ordained ministers in our congregation who was also a Ph.D. in Clinical Counseling, gave a Sabbath school lesson series on divorce and remarriage.   One of his important points which has stuck with me for all those years since that time is that ADULTERY IS NOT A PHYSICAL ACT.   It is ANYthing which comes to interfere in the intimacy of the partners.    And just as there must be social intimacy before there can be physical intimacy, so there is sometimes a break in the social intimacy without any break in the physical intimacy.   But that still constitutes adultery.

Human beings being what they are, it usually follows that broken physical intimacy follows broken social intimacy -- but not always.

[This law of human behavior was put to the test several times in my law practice, when good, upstanding Adventist members would come to me seeking to file for a divorce, even though their partner had never "slept" with anybody else.  I often referred the client to this Adventist clinical counselor, and he helped them see what had actually happened in their marriage.]

  --Actually, a dear friend of mine, a man [this was 40 years ago or so] even went to the conference president and asked him to send somebody to spy on my friend's ex-wife (up in Northern California), so my friend could get PERMISSION to go abroad as an Adventist missionary and be remarried first!   [I was not the potential new wife, BTW!]   I was aghast when he did that, but I didn't get involved.

This topic has caused many heartaches over the years.   I believe God sees our hearts, and He knows each one of us.   We needn't worry ourselves sick about whether we'll go to heaven when Jesus comes.   He loves us!   I fully believe He will save every person who does not actively resist.

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A number of years ago a Rabbi told me that wife abuse was adultery. That makes sense.

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1 hour ago, Stan said:

A number of years ago a Rabbi told me that wife abuse was adultery. That makes sense.

If that is correct then it can work the other way too....presumably in areas wider than physical abuse.

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There is a bottom line that in our human, imperfect world, some marriages are not made in heaven and cannot be sustained.  Adultery is not the issue.  The issue then becomes:  What do we do that can bring healing to a broken situation.  IOW, how do we treat the people involved.

In my opinion, we may need to deal with the situation without attempting to place blame on any one person.  Certainly, two people are involved and it can be said that each of the two persons is imperfect.  But, that does not mean that we can benefit the situation by pointing the finger of blame as either.

I am reminded of a certain State in the U.S. in which, at that time, it was hard to get a divorce absent a claim of adultery.  So, arrangement would be made:

*  A hotel/motel room would be hired.

*  An actor/actress would be retained.

*  The spouse and actor/actress would get into the same hotel/motel bed.

*  A dective would barge into the room and snap a photograph of the startled couple in the same bed  together.

*  The spouse and the actor/actress would part their ways, never to see each other again.

*  The photograph along with the testimony of the photographer would be admitted in court.

*  The divorce would be granted.

 

If a couple are determined to divorce, we do not need to put them through this kind of garbage.

 

 

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20 hours ago, Gregory Matthews said:

There is a bottom line that in our human, imperfect world, some marriages are not made in heaven and cannot be sustained.

 

 

I've often pondered the meaning of Mark 10:9. Many "joinings" do not appear (to me) to have been done by God, even if formalised in the Church.

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The word "adultery", as used in The Bible, refers to the physical act:

John 8:3  And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
John 8:4  They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

Passages from the Pentateuch directly or indirectly confirm that adultery refers to the physical act.

Jesus, a Jew, would have held adultery to be the physical act. He said in no uncertain terms,

Mat 5:32  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Adultery is fornication, a physical act. Furthermore, The Bible makes it crystal clear that the physical act is sin. Christ made it clear that even the directed conscious desire for THE PHYSICAL ACT, i.e. LUST, is a sin. Christ further said that marriage to a divorced individual is ongoing sin. Does God forgive even this sin? Certainly! Ours is a loving God, our Heavenly Father no less,  Who would not want us to nurse the painful belief in such unforgiven sin. But our Father does not want us to hypocritically dance around and pussyfoot around the fact that sin is sin, and to marry a divorced individual is sin.

I married an Adventist 57 years ago. We are still married. Through fellowship with her church, I learned that there are only two kinds of Adventists:

     1. Adventists who sin, and who realize they sin, AND that their sin is forgiven by the Grace of God.

     2. Adventists who sin, but who sincerely deny that they sin, but who are still forgiven by the Grace of God IF they accept Christ as their Savior.

In that respect, God is a psychiatrist who practices a variety of Transactional Analysis: I'm okay, you're okay - this being the original ideal transaction. The Christian variety  of Transactional Analysis is - I'm (God) Okay; you're (the Christian) not okay: but that's okay. Don't even bother me with the notion that this is "cheap grace". God's Grace is by no means cheap - it was purchased by the blood and suffering of The Only One Ever Free from Sin, Jesus Christ.

Jawge from Jawja

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On 3/23/2017 at 1:17 AM, Stan said:

A number of years ago a Rabbi told me that wife abuse was adultery. That makes sense.

I would also like to suggest that physical child abuse would seem to me to be reason enough for theological legality when considering divorce. After all there are often more than two directly involved, probably often inhibiting the immature child/ren from developing a proper relationship or concept of the only God Who is Love, a personal childhood experience of my own that made it necessary for many years to exemplify what was so necessary for a healthy religious life.

God is Love!~Jesus saves!  :D

 

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