Some time ago, I participated in a debate about divorce and remarriage in Church. I argued that a divorced person may be remarried in church during the lifetime of a former spouse, certainly if the divorce had been occasioned by adultery on the part of the former spouse, and possibly for other reasons also. I’m afraid I don’t have a record of the counter-argument, but here’s what I presented:-
There are many things that we should be able to agree on:-
How can the Christian church not only uphold God’s good plan for marriage, but also witness to his grace when marriages fail?
What are our guiding metaphors about God?
Some see God primarily as Creator, Law-Giver and Judge. The question of divorce, then will be approached in terms of moral rules and the need for discipline.
Others will focus more on the grace of God in Jesus Christ. They will not only take seriously the reality of sin, but the promise of a new start in the gospel, and to the possibility of good consequences.
Harry Benson, of the Marriage Foundation, has elaborated the cause for concern by setting out some shocking statistics. They are presented mainly in his own words. (They are addressed to Mr Cameron, but should be of interest to us all).
45% of teenagers studying for GCSEs are not living with both parents. Source: Understanding Society 2009-2010 data.
In Matthew 19:6 (= Mark 10:9) Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24, and then says, “what God has joined together, let man not separate”.
R. Paul Stevens discusses three approaches to the vexed question of remarriage after divorce: (a) the textual/legal approach, which seeks to find out what Scripture says about permissible grounds; (b) a dispensational approach which asks whether the harder teaching of the Bible is for our own day or some other age; and (c) through a biblical theology approach, which seeks to connect the reality of Scripture with the reality of contemporary culture.…
The Christian church has never reached agreement over the question of remarriage after divorce .
The Catholic church, taking a sacramental view of marriage, has held that a marriage is indissoluble, whereas the reformed churches rejected the concept of indissolubility.
Cranmer had proposed a revised Canon Law (1553), which would have provided for divorce on the grounds of adultery, malicious desertion, prolonged absence without news, attempts against the partner’s life and cruelty.