On the Right of Divorce of Christians
Version 0.1, 20141019, originally published in Mein Blog on everstray.com
I Is it not existing?
The traditional Christian world, of course the right of divorce is not granted to any Christians. A great witness is the Catholic Church, which declared that the only method of divorce is an annulment, meaning that the previous marriage is not valid, as never existed. Anyway, it is almost correct, as Jesus Christ addressed in Matthew 5:31&32, “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 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.” (KJV) However, later Jesus stated again about this theme, in Matthew 19:1-12, where Jesus said, “But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.”
II What it actually is?
Permit to divorce or not, it seems to be an independent case of law, as the cause could be found, the evidence could be witnessed, the text of law could be referred. It is not correct to think about the divorce case standalone, but to considerate it more completely. We have to know more cases, to dig out the actual heart of God. The fundamental case is the origin of marriage, and more old stories in Biblical history.
Adam and Eve is the first couple made up by God. In Malachi 2:15, the word of God is clear, “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.” God put a wish into the family, that is to seek godly seeds of the two. But we found the fact is that among the Israelis a lot of men put away their wife to seek new ones. Attention here, the next verse, “For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.” From here we could find a fact, that the man in marriage is the stronger side, while the woman is the weaker side. The common cases upon the earth are the violence and treacherousness against wives. The law about the divorce in the Moses’s Law, is a law to protect married women, rather than a law to free the bad husbands.
This thought is important, Peter as well emphasized this in Peter 3:7, “Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.” The law is not incomplete, but Jesus declared the higher standard, the heart of God, which is too hard for the sinful people.
Paul wrote to us about the permission of divorce, is only for one condition, “if the unbelieving depart, let him depart” in 1 Corinthians 7:16. Based on this, in Watchman Nee’s books, the rules about divorce are written for Local Church. According to Romans 7:2&3, the law is only for the living persons, not the dead. With this principle, some elders of Local Church made a tradition that if one of couple committed adultery another could hold the legal reason to divorce, in the case the guilty side refuses to repent.
All the above is for both religious and civil divorce, which means the civil divorce is operated after the religious divorce are admitted by common people in Church, or the presentative of Church Authority. Of course, it is not from the original words in Bible, but the deduction of the above principles.
III Personal Comment
Personally, I think there is no pity in religion. It is very simple, as religion is based on the laws, which set what one shall believe, what one shall do, what one shall never do, and so on. Christianity should not be treated as a religion, as it is never an acceptable law set for the children of Adam born in sin. Christian is living with the faith, which is granted by the Holy Spirit of God, who Himself dwelled within us. Christian should be in a state of following the laws, but follow the instructions of the inner life. What is the inner life? Isn’t the life Heavenly and faithful? Would a faithful life declare a divorce? Never such a case. But for those victims of sinners, who divorced not due to the sin of one’s self, never forget the blood of Christ.
A normal Christian would not care if the right of divorce is available, as the marriage is too holy to come into, no reason to get out. However, for the tragic fact of divorce as Unbelieving Depart, Paul gave the permission. And if the spouse committed adultery and denied to repent, the marriage itself was broken due to unfaithfulness, traditionally the civil divorce is admitted. The two are the only cases of legal divorce in Traditional Christianity, according to New Testament and its deduction.