Saturday, October 13, 2007

Marriage and Divorce

I believe that Christians should know options on topics in ethics, so this posting provides various views on divorce and remarriage in terms of Biblical analysis.

For a listing of books on the topic see here.

David Instone-Brewer is one of the greatest scholars on the topic of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. He is a researcher at Tyndale House, Cambridge and a specialist on the Jewish context of N.T. teaching. See a profile of him here. His material on divorce and remarriage is here, here, and here. He argues that Jesus and Paul both duplicated the O.T.'s high view of marriage, discouragement of divorce, and yet the possibility of divorce because of adultery, desertion, and abuse (physical and emotional). As I mentioned in class, he has an article on this topic in Christianity Today magazine.

Surprisingly, some fundamentalist Christians argue against remarriage by stating that the words of Jesus in Matthew 19 do not apply to the church age. See this Way of Life article. For a conservative view that does not adopt this dispensationalist hermeneutic, go here.

The most influential evangelical writers arguing against remarriage are J. Carl Laney and Gordon Wenham. An outline of Laney's position can be downloaded here.

John Piper believes that remarriage is wrong though Bethlehem Baptist Church, where he pastors, has a more moderate position.

On practical issues related to remarriage see this important essay at

For facts about the family see this website.


Eloquorius said...

Some people study ecclesiology, some eschatology, some soteriology, I study divorce and remarriage (how’s that for a theological hobby?). If you don’t mind me pointing to another website, the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen put together a very good case in his Theses on Divorce and Spousal Abuse. There he makes some points that I have not seen made many other places. He looks to Scripture to interpret Scripture. In other words, instead of asking "What do we think porneia means?" he asks the better question: "How does the Bible use the word? When does the Bible use the word, and for what?" The answers will really surprise you, trust me.

Please note that I do NOT endorse Bahnsen's other views on things like Christian Reconstructionism and such. His theological work on divorce and remarriage remains outstanding.

Feel free to contact me if you ever want to discuss this issue or needs resources or perspectives on this issue.

More Christ Like said...

Les McFall has an interesting way to deal with the exception clause in Matthew 19:9. He has written a 43 page paper that reviews the changes in the Greek made by Erasmus that effect the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated. I reviewed McFall's paper at Except For Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9. I would love to hear some feedback on this position.