Editor’s note: Baptist Bulletin ran a three article set on the topic of divorce and remarriage in the November/December 2020 issue. Below is the first, an introduction by the magazine’s managing editor.
By David Gunn
In some ways, marriage and other family relationships is where the rubber meets the road for Christian ministry and living. Here, in the daily hustle and bustle of human lives lived in close proximity to one another, theory and doctrine are put to the test. Sometimes we rise to the challenge and glorify God in and through those relationships. Sometimes we don’t.
Marriages present Christian ministers with some of the thorniest issues they’ll ever deal with. Probably chief among them is the issue of divorce and remarriage. Does Scripture permit Christians to pursue that course? And if so, under what circumstances and according to what guiding rules and principles? Gallons of ink have been spilled exploring these questions, and no decisive consensus seems to be forthcoming.
Among Regular Baptists, two views on the subject appear to be dominant: some hold that the Bible does permit (although it does not command) divorce and remarriage under a limited set of circumstances. Others hold that divorce and remarriage are never Scripturally authorized. Sometimes these views are referred to as the “exception clause” and “no exception clause” views (although that verbiage is probably too narrow, as it doesn’t reflect the full range of passages and issues the discussion entails).