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.
So much Truth posted on this particular thread, amongst so much hate and blindness. Thanks for your efforts.
There are many Catholics on FR that do a lot more heavy lifting than I do. I thank you for your post, but would state that there are many more worthy that I of such notice.
I think most Christians miss what Jesus did when he addressed the religious world. The Law is deceptive: it appears to be almost attainable if a man will just try a little bit harder. Or at least a man can put on a front of keeping the Law.
It’s like a hurdle that I can clear if I just train a little harder and I just focus constantly.
The Pharisees seemed to have it together. Jesus came along and told them they’re not aiming at God’s bar. His bar is at least a mile high. He said God’s commandment about not committing adultery isn’t about having physical sex with a woman. It’s about looking at her with lust in your heart. His message was that you’re not going to successfully obey the Law. Obeying the Law isn’t the path to righteousness.
In fact Romans tells us the Law causes us to sin.
The Law is the path to the Son. The Son is the doorway to righteousness.
My problem for 40 years was I embraced Jesus for salvation, but then tried to follow God’s commandments in my own power. I was angry and frustrated because I was failing to follow His commandments. I loathed myself.
I’m probably denser and more stubborn than most. It wasn’t until I came to the absolute end of myself that I experienced God’s grace in overcoming the power of sin in my life. My life was radically changed in a single day. It’s a rare day I don’t look back on that encounter with Him and marvel at the miracle He wrought in me. I don’t recognize the man I am today.
This is the work of the kingdom of God, to believe on him who the Father has sent.
I believe we all had similar struggles - especially if that is what you were taught from day one and taught they are the 'only true' - where do you go? Then JESUS sees our heart and we never look back for we have been changed!
And, yes, Romans is Paul's masterpiece, IMO.
While all God's own in His Word have been encouraging - Joseph and Paul are two I'm anxious to meet. I already put 'my reservation' in for them to be apart of greeting me when I enter in. They are my family so I have no doubt those two will be there!
"And THIS is His commandment, that we beleive in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one anoher as He gave us commandment."
1 John 3:23
Where are your getting this misinformation? Anullments depend on the circumstances within the marriage.
I wanna meet Amos, Paul, David and Rich Mullins.
I remember going to some pro-life thing years ago, and meeting a man who had no use for Regan, because he was divorced.
Of course, no protestant church forbids divorce, so what are you gonna do?
Believe it or not, a few do. A church pastored by Henry Blackaby will not recognize unbiblical divorce among its members and will not marry anyone who has divorced for any other than the few strict biblical reasons. They are thriving.
AMEN! and that includes the salad.
Yes, divorces do that. But Rome goes to the extreme to say the marriage never existed - a LIE!
An anullment says that the marriage was not valid. Your phrasing of “never existed” is in error.
An anullment speaks to the validity of the marriage. One example — very simple — lack of form. They didn’t get married in a Catholic Church but by a Justice of the Peace.
It's interesting how some posts get deleted followed by a warning and others that are far more blatant violations of the rules linger on even if they do generate a warning. I look at a post that seems to violate the rules but doesn't even generate a warning, post something that's well short of the one that didn't generate a warning, and my post is still deleted. Go figure.
God Bless you and thanks for the insightful comments you post .
Not sure about the integrity of the author. This is discussed in gobs of Evangelical churches.
Granted you probably won’t hear about it in Joel Osteen’s church. But you won’t hear much about Jesus either.
I haven’t heard divorce encouraged, trivialized, or permitted in any Evangelical church I’ve ever attended.
I keep hearing from the pulpit that divorce is sin and God hates divorce.
Could it? I don't know.
Got any proof for that?
Or is it more idle speculation because Catholics can't come to grips with the idea that someone could find something wrong theologically with Catholic teaching?
I know LOTS of Evangelicals who left the Catholic church. Evangelical churches are jam packed with ex-Catholics and I don't know any of them who left for reasons connected with morals. It's always been theology.
The Roman Catholic church just hands out church sanctioned divorces and repackages them as annulments.
There certainly is precedent for that in Scripture.