Foolish Pastor Recommends Divorce

By David J. Stewart | January 2007

"For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away..." -Malachi 2:16

I recently received the following letter from one of my web visitors...

A pastor I know continually keeps saying that a man or woman can divorce and remarry (with God's blessing) as long as they repent of whatever was their fault in the prior marriage. Once they repent of all that caused the divorce, he says their "slate is clean"! He also likes to point out that "God is a divorcee" (because he gave Israel a bill of divorce). Somehow that's supposed to make it okay?  Also, I have known countless people who divorce and remarry and seem to live happily ever after with their new spouses and so-called "blended" families. 

One divorced woman recently even bragged of her remarriage: "2006 has been a wonderful year of change and metamorphosis for our family!  The biggest news of the year is the uniting of our two families into one new family." She goes on to speak of how her and her new husband (#2) are "spending time laying the foundation for their new marriage and family". With 6 kids (two from his previous marriage and 4 from hers) in their "new family" she paints a picture of unspeakable joy and transformation. You would think that divorce and remarriage was the best thing that had ever happened to her. Incidentally, she divorced her first husband because she said her marriage had become "unhealthy"!

What I'm wondering is this. IF it were true that divorcees can simply repent and move on to new lives and spouses, what would that mean for the rest of us who sincerely struggle to stay in our marriages and keep our
wedding vows?

Paula *******

Divorce is a sin! How tragic that so many people today are glorying in their sins. We see homosexuals rewriting the Bible in an attempt to justify their wickedness. We see churches promoting abortion, literally marching in pro-abortion rallies.  And so it goes with divorce. Many pastors and so-called Christian workers today are recommending divorces. This is a woeful evil upon America.  Divorce is NOT ok folks--it is a horrible sin which God hates... "For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away..." (Malachi 2:16). God hates evil, and so should we (Psalm 97:10).

Wayward Pastor Teaches Heresy

Paula states above... "A pastor I know continually keeps saying that a man or woman can divorce and remarry (with God's blessing) as long as they repent of whatever was their fault in the prior marriage." That is heresy, a false doctrine not taught in the Scriptures. God never gives anyone the permission to divorce! Jesus clearly taught in Matthew 19:8, "...Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so." This verse plainly condemns ALL divorce! Jesus said from the beginning of mankind, divorce was NOT allowed.  Thus, it is only man's sinful pride and hardheartedness that causes divorce.

 Many people have the wrong attitude that they can divorce their spouse, ask God to forgive them after the damage is done, and then move on happily like nothing happened. It's not that easy folks. Divorce is a sin that perpetuates for a lifetime. Remarriage is ADULTERY if the former spouse is still alive (1st Corinthians 7:39; Matthew 5:32). The pain, debt, jealousy, bitterness, anger, bankruptcy, stress, loss of property, loss of retirement, loneliness, and suffering caused in a divorce are consequences that often last a lifetime. No pastor who is right with God would ever condone or recommend a divorce. Shame on such a wicked pastor!

Lifetime Consequences of a Divorce Must Be Judged by God

Most believers don't understand the concept of justice. Just because a person is forgiven of a sin doesn't mean that they don't have to give account to God or make restitution for their sin. Do you think you won't have to give account for your sins in heaven? Jesus shed His blood to pay for your sins so you wouldn't have to burn in Hell, but the sins you commit still have to be accounted for (Romans 14:12). Listen to the wise words of Dr. John R. Rice:

"At the judgment seat of Christ God's anger is not expressed against any individual who has thoroughly repented of his sins, confessed them and forsaken them. But God's judgment on the sin itself may continue where there is no judgment against the individual as such. It seems to me that we need to make a distinction between the proper anger and wrath of God against one who goes on unrepentant in sin, and God's proper wise judgment against the sin itself even when the sinner has been reconciled completely and forgiven." 

SOURCE: Dr. John R. Rice, from the excellent book Dr. Rice, Here's My Question.

So you see, the consequences of your sins still have to be dealt with. God must avenge the innocent (2nd Thessalonians 4:6). Even though you may divorce and remarry, and find a better life; you will still have to stand accountable unto God for every hurtful thing which you caused your spouse to endure by divorcing. Each person will be judged individually by God (Romans 14:12). No one is going to get away with anything (Matthew 12:36; Galatians 6:7). 

So you see, it's not as easy as abandoning your spouse in a divorce, confessing your sins, and then moving on like nothing happened. The damages which you have caused must be accounted for and restitution made to the victim, even though you personally may already be forgiven. A good example is the Christian woman who went around church slandering her pastor for several months. She caused him much grief and embarrassment. Then one day she came to her pastor and apologized, asking for his forgiveness. The pastor forgave her, but informed her that the damage she had done was irreversible. His good name had been tarnished, and his character assassinated. 

Although the woman repented, making things right with her pastor and God, the damage was done. That woman's malicious gossiping will have to be accounted for in Heaven. This is clear Biblical teaching in 1st Corinthians 3:13-15... "Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." There will be many believers in Heaven who will have absolutely nothing to show for their life spent here on earth, i.e., saved as by fire. 

God Never Divorced His People

We read in Jeremiah 3:8 that God gave Israel "a bill of divorce"; however, God was breaking off his business relations with the nation of Israel, not casting away His people. This is clearly declared in Romans 11:2, "God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew..." Paula mentions above in her letter that she heard a pastor calling God a "divorcee."  Nothing could be further from the truth. God gave up on the nation of Israel and turned to the Gentiles instead to preach the Gospel to the world. God became fed up with Israel's rebellion. It would be like God allowing China to invade America today. It wouldn't mean that God had cast away the Christians remaining in America. It would just mean that America had brought judgment upon herself... and it's already starting to happen!!! 

Furthermore, God promises every believer in Hebrews 13:5, "...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." Only an ignorant or backslidden pastor would foolish try to accuse God of walking out on His own. That's not the God of the Bible!

The Word of God Declares Judgment Upon Adulterers

Hebrews 13:4 states, "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge." Romans 7:3 reads, "So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress..." Remarriage is adultery is the former spouse is still alive. It doesn't matter how well other remarried couples may seem to be doing, they are living in adultery. The wicked prospered in Job's time as well... "The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

Job's friend were implying that Job must have sinned to bring evil upon himself. Job wisely points out to his judgmental friends that God allows the wicked to be blessed, but that doesn't make them righteous. Some of the vilest God-hating sinners in this world seem to be very happy, but judgment day is coming. Payday someday! 

1st Corinthians 7:10 instructs divorced couples to reunite if possible; but strictly forbids remarriage to another, which is adultery (Romans 7:3). Please do not misunderstand the point of this article. If you have already gone through a divorce, God is willing to forgive you (Isaiah 1:18; 1st John 1:9); BUT, the consequences of your sins will follow you into eternity... "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13).

"...Let not the wife depart from her husband... and let not the husband put away his wife." -1st Corinthians 7:10,11

Happily Married (streaming audio Windows Media sermon by Pastor Jeff Owens.  Download.)

Marriage and the Character of a Martyr (streaming media MP3 sermon by Pastor Jeff Owens.  MP3 Download  |  Real Audio Download)