Skip to comments.The scandal of evangelical silence on divorce
Posted on 08/06/2013 12:01:51 PM PDT by Morgana
August 6, 2013 (Breakpoint) - If I asked you to name the hot button social issues of concern to Christians, youd probably cite abortion and gay marriage right away. Of course, the coarse and hyper-sexualized nature of popular culture might also come to mind.
But what probably wouldnt come to mind is the high incidence of divorce. Given the clear biblical teaching on the subject and its impact on families and children, that is, to put it mildly, more than a little odd.
Actually, as one Christian leader rightly puts it, our lack of attention to the subject is a scandal.
That leader is Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. I recently came across a three-year-old podcastbetter late than never, especially in this casein which he labeled our indifference to divorce the scandal of the Evangelical conscience.
The podcast began with an interview of Mark A. Smith, a political scientist at the University of Washington. Smith had recently written a paper entitled Religion, Divorce, and the Missing Culture War in America.
As Smith studied the culture wars across the U.S., he was struck by the issue that was conspicuous by its absence: namely divorce.
For instance, during its existence, the Moral Majority mobilized and lobbied on many political issues, including abortion, pornography, gay rights, school prayer . . . and sex education in schools. In contrast, divorce ranked so low on the groups agenda that books on the Moral Majority do not even give the issue an entry in the index.
This makes no sense. As Smith noted, from the standpoint of simple logic, divorce fits cleanly within the category of family values. In fact, divorce seems to carry a more direct connection to the daily realities of families than do the bellwether culture war issues of abortion and homosexuality.
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So Mohler asked Smith, why the silence on divorce?
Smiths answer is that the inclusion of divorce on the agenda of the Christian right would have risked a massive alienation of members, so the issue went virtually unmentioned.
Or, as Mohler put it, evangelicals allowed culture to trump Scripture. According to him, the church largely followed the lead of its members and accepted what might be called the privatization of divorce. Churches simply allowed a secular culture to determine that divorce is no big deal, and that it is a purely private matter.
This happened despite the clear scriptural teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life.
As divorce has been privatizedfenced off from Scripture, Christian teaching, and from the communityso has marriage. If marriage is merely a means to happiness or sexual fulfillment (instead of a sacrament, a life-long commitment of sacrificial love open to the creation of life), no wonder same-sex couples argue that they deserve the same happiness and fulfillment available to heterosexuals.
In addition, what Mohler calls the real scandalthe fact that evangelical Protestants divorce at rates at least as high as the rest of the publiccreates a significant credibility crisis when evangelicals then rise to speak in defense of marriage.
No, divorce is not an unpardonable sin but, as Mohler insists, it is a sin, and our acceptance of this particular sin while inveighing against other violations of Gods plan for marriage is hypocritical.
My point here is not to pour salt on the wounds of divorced Christiansthey deserve and need our compassion; but its to get the Church to acknowledge the beam in its own eye and, thus, end a silence that is not only conspicuous but scandalous.
Certainly up until this summer, HETEROSEXUALS have been wholly responsible for the destruction of the institution of marriage.
Irony, the Mark of Quality Literature.
I was shocked to realize recently that Reagan has been our only divorced and remarried president - ever. Not to say that some of them weren’t fornicating scumbags (Jackson married a still-married woman not yet divorced from her husband), but the fact that we have had a pretty high moral social standard for the presidency overall comports completely with the values espoused at the founding of our Nation. But, I don’t see this happening much in the future, if we even have one.
Pride ruins marriage like pride ruins all of us... gay pride can counterfeit God’s union but their pride will be their ruin too...
It is imperative that a pastor be “the husband of one wife,” not divorced. I get sick when I see presumptuous people dragging this abomination into the pulpit.
Ping for later.
Sometimes the truth hurts. We give liberals Christians a lot of crap for excusing bad behavior - rightfully so - but we excuse things of our own. This is one of those times when we need to look at the plank in our own eye.
I’m the product of a divorced family, and even I didn’t realize how much I’d come to excuse divorce. There’s something to be said for that.
His role in the history of divorce in america goes way beyond that.
I realize that. As Calipornia goes, so goes the nation, as the saying goes.
Divorce is not a sin. God does not like it and He, also, doesn't like gossip.
And since when are faggots and their supporters concerned about sin? So much for their hypocrisy about what is suspicious in their thirst to be accepted when God has destroyed a city because of it's depravity.
Today we say that Catholic priests don't preach against contraception because so many in their congregations are guilty of it, and would quit coming back to church.
I suspect that many preachers don't preach against divorce because so many in their congregations are divorced and would leave, along with their contributions.
And Reagan was highly embarrassed by his divorce. He regarded that as his biggest personal failure.
Or could it be that many Evangelical churches are populated with ex-Catholics who left because they did not want the annulment hassle?
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.
When I was in hs, I had a tough old priest for Latin class who had been an army chaplain who went in on D-Day and the France and German campaigns.
He couldn’t make it through a full hour class without a cig. He would teach 40 mins, give us a worksheet, and split until dismissal.
One day he came running back in and said “guys, I just heard President Kennedy was shot by a sniper”
So being gay is new? Not according to God's Word.
This is simply an Alinsky type attack on showing the traditional their own beliefs as a way to accept/condone what God says is an abomination to Him. Don't be caught up in it nor justify it some way. God created marriage between a man and woman. Period. End of story. Let them live with their own mess.
Churches simply allowed a secular culture to determine that divorce is no big deal, and that it is a purely private matter.
Indeed - one of the things I’ve never been able to understand. Especially the divorced people who were having affairs with other congregation members, then get married IN THE CHURCH and expect everyone to rejoice with them. And too many do.
Mohler is exactly right. Toleration of divorce is a huge black eye on Protestant churches. I have only attended one church that took divorce seriously, and that one ended up splitting because the majority of the congregants were unhappy about the ban on divorced officers. Now I’m told the same people are grumbling about the ban on female officers. All the other churches have been A-OK with divorce. I’ve even heard pastors admit to counseling in favor of it even in cases where there was no abuse.
It all comes down to the fact that, today, the church, be it Catholic or Protestant, 'mainline' or evangelical, has far less of an influence on its members lives than it did as recently as 50 years ago. Cultural mores have replaced the church for many, especially the 'C&E Christians'. That (purportedly) Christian Americans divorce at the same rate non-Christians do is not only sad but emblematic of the tragic loss of God's influence on American lives.
In my opion, after 52 years in evangelical circles, the problem is:
1) Lack of catachism training. Standard Sunday school and Youth groups are not the same as catechizing children. Do you teach kids all about marriage and divorce as 6 year olds? No. But you should as 14+ year olds. And basic Christian ethics as well as doctrine should be taught to younger kids too. This simply isn’t being done today in evangelical Churches...and a simple “Jesus, Others, You” ethic doesn’t cut it in these times of ethical confusion and moral “pluralism.” This is also, in my opinion...exactly WHY so many evangelicals still vote Democrat—as they are confused on basic Christian ethics—starting from when they were kids.
2) Lack of specific biblical ethical teaching from the pulpit. Many churches pastors will preach the bible—but, when it comes to ethics, real issues of right and wrong—especially in the political realm—pastors shy away from being clear. I think I’ve heard one or two sermons (if that)—in my whole life on why and how abortion is wrong. Do the pastors I sit under firmly believe abortion is wrong? YES! Biblically literate evangelicals ALWAYS do....however, many in the pews are not biblically literate—and too many pastors assume they are—and therefore they don’t touch controversial topics, which might turn some new-comers, or baby-Christians off. The same is true for divorce.
If all members of conservative, evangelical churches can’t even submit to the idea that abortion is murder—and therefore MUST be opposed—and compromise over it, is actually SIN...how in the world can we expect them to heed biblical teaching on divorce?
Too long has ethics been ignored in evangelical churches—for fear of being labeled “legalist!” This is silly, as God’s people are called to be holy, and holiness is described in biblical ethics. The good news of Jesus saving us from sin—AND, once saved, avoiding sin to please our Savior, are both a part of the gospel.
Ethics, including especially biblical teachings on marriage and divorce, needs must be part of our preaching again.
Where you got that from, I do not know. It's not what I wrote, and it's the opposite of what I believe.
I have no doubt about that. It's why I said don't get caught up in it. You listed them after cohabitation, abortion, etc. as if the wrongs of man/women can justify their depravity. While you showed how mighty we have fallen as a society, this article, IMO, is mocking the 'traditionalists' into accepting 'homo' marriage is just as valid - with their 'beam in their own eye' comment.
I think are minds were on different things. Your's was on the progression of wrongs in society and mine was on the intent of this article.
I find it unlikely that Eric Metaxas, writing for BreakPoint (Charles Colson’s old outfit), discussing Albert Mohler, and published by LifeSite is promoting the homosexual agenda.
Mrs. Don-o, I recall your mentioning the idea that all decent people are opposed to abortion, except for rape, incest, and their particular circumstance. In a similar way, it seems that most Christians are opposed to divorce, except for adultery, abuse, or their particular circumstance.
What can be done about it, with the state of the law, I don’t know. Anyone can be dumped, for any reason, at any time, and churches can’t be expected to re-litigate every divorce in order to decide whom to praise and whom to blame.
Your post is way too bias and all over the place besides not knowing what you are talking. The Cuomo and Kennedy kids would laugh at it. Especially, the ones whose parents marriage was annulled like it never happened.
And you go on about ethics? LOL!
All the SBC churches I'm familiar with at least make that point to couples in premarriage counseling even if they don't mention it in sermons much if ever. The "Independent Evangelicals", though, just wink and nod at two thirds of all abortions in this country and pretend they're solid pro-life Christians.
First contraception, then divorce & remarriage, then abortion disguised as contraception, and now a whole lot of "Evangelicals" are endorsing queers marrying one another because that's the "fair" thing to do.
It's just another example of how the "go along to get along" approach always leads to self-destruction.
Justify? No, it's exactly the opposite. I listed homosexual intercourse together with cohabitation, abortion, etc. in order to show that NONE of them are justified. The males and females, by their depravity, degraded marriage even before gays decided to adopt pseudo-"marriage" as part of their agenda.
Through most of the 20th century, gays and sexual activists were generally anti-marriage. They described it as a regressive, bourgeois structure. They didn't make a strategic pivot toward "marriage" until very, very recently. The first laws in history enabling same-sex so-called "marriage" were not enacted during the first decade of the 21st century.
Jesus said, "He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me." (John 14:21) In 1 Cor 7:10, the scripture says, "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord:A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife."
Jesus said, "Whom The Lord brings together, let NO man put assunder." How can you say divorce is not a sin?
Costa Rica might be the place to go, when the USA goes under. Nice Catholic people, good climate, fascinating gardening possibilities.
Divorce exists, but not the degree of toleration for it. It is basically a non-issue in many churches.
I have thought that myself. I remember when I read Never Let Me Go, I said, "I hope the Moslems win before this happens."
Costa Rica: Earthquakes, mudslides, and incredible (largely unreported) crime. Much as I love Hispanics, there's a good reason they're all moving to North Carolina. My friend Brad from Cub Scouts has a Costa Rican maid.
You can come here! Anoreth will fortify the perimeter, and I will invent brilliant uses of kudzu. Bill will look pretty.
It’s all about the offering plate, especially in the mega-churches.
The ironic thing about Reagan’s divorce is that he possibly might not have become president without Nancy. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Jane Wyman list as a main complaint that he spent too much time on politics?
It took me years to realize that all professing “Christians” are not followers of Christ. Particularly in the South, my family for instance would say they are Christians because it the South everyone is, they all go to church but do they follow Christ? It is a social network. This is the problem with Evangelicals and SBC.
Really? I didn't see that in your post.
Cohabitation - contraception - divorce Wrecked marriage before the gays even got interested in camping out in the rubble.
They didn't make a strategic pivot toward "marriage" until very, very recently.
S&G didn't consider marriage because there was 'no freebies' in it for them back then. Evil knows no bounds when it comes to attempting to mock God - so now they will mock those who do honor God - while getting their 'married' freebies, and can by 'law' now. And that is how evil had the open door - simply make ourselves equal. man/man or woman/woman will never equal man/woman.
And who are Mormons and Catholics following?
You can all you want - until you get in the mind of Eric and really know. What 'scandaleous' and 'silent thing' does he have, you will never know. Calling divorce 'scandalous' and 'silent' for others is over the top and that could be that there is something brewing beneath.
Calling obama's past scandalous and his records being silent I can see - but I doubt Eric is interested in that.
And that's the beam that Eric doesn't want to discuss. Priorities, priorities.
Well, everyone has his own perspective.
Did you overlook that....How does she depart but divorce?
And a husband is not to divorce his wife.
Did you overlook that... a husband can't.
" But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so...."
Now what? It's OK to 'sin' sometimes?
"I hate divorce," says the LORD God of Israel, "and I hate a man's covering himself with violence as well as with his garment," says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.
Did you EVER gossip in your life? He HATES that also.
**Churches simply allowed a secular culture to determine that divorce is no big deal, and that it is a purely private matter.**
Not with the Catholic Church. Once married — let nothing take them apart except death.
I know that divorces happen. As long as a divorced person does not remarry — they can still receive the Sacraments.
An anullment really isn’t that much of a hassle.
As it should be. It is between two people and God. It’s only fuel for gossipers inside the church. Who needs a sermon on divorce? Both or at least one is more than likely devastated by it. A preacher should not waste the time of a whole congregation to preach/teach on divorce when no one wants divorce but some do ‘want out’ and they/or one goes privately to the pastor for counseling.
There is no bigger black eye than annulment and by men who have never been married! Just pay up and magic happens - your marriage never happened!
And what their focus is.
Gossip isn’t connected to the word ‘commandment’. Divorce is. It sounds like you are trying to justify yourself.
It sounds like you are trying to justify yourself.
It sounds more you don't know God nor how to interpret HIS WORD.