Policy on Divorce

General Statement:

In the case of adultery after marriage, it is biblically lawful for the innocent party to divorce the offending party. After the divorce, the innocent party is free to marry another as if the offending party were dead. It is not lawful for the offending party to marry another.

Further Considerations and Explanations:

Divorce for any reason other than adultery is unlawful in the sight of God. If either party of an unlawfully dissolved marriage marries another, that person is committing adultery (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:8-9).

While it is lawful for the innocent party to divorce the offending party, it is not required. It is our belief that even in cases of adultery, forgiveness and reconciliation should be earnestly pursued before divorce is considered (Matthew 18:21-35).

If an unbelieving spouse abandons a believer, the believer is not ‘bound’ or obligated to insist that the marriage remain intact (1 Corinthians 7:12-15); but the teaching of our Lord indicates that the abandoned believer must remain unmarried (Matthew 5:31-32).

Reconciliation, which is ideal, is possible as long as both remain unmarried. If the unbelieving spouse, having deserted the marriage, commits adultery (whether by marrying another or not), then the believer is free to marry in the Lord.

Divorced persons applying for membership will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Persons who have remarried after a lawful divorce are to be treated with the same acceptance and regard as would a remarried widow or widower. Their lawful divorce and remarriage is no hindrance to their serving the church in any capacity.

If any member initiates an unlawful divorce, it is the responsibility of the church to attempt to bring that member to repentance. If the attempt proves unsuccessful, and the member persists in his sinful pursuit of an unlawful divorce, then the church is obligated to exclude that member from the fellowship of the church.

Persons who apply for membership in this church who are married to unlawfully divorced persons shall be encouraged to repent of their adulterous relationship by having the marriage annulled. The annulment must be complete before their application for membership is processed.