That Officially Support The Permanency Of Marriage
Daniel R. Jennings, Compiler
When God first began opening my eyes to the truth of the permanency of marriage I did not realize that there were actually denominations which taught this truth. I have tried to compile a list of the denominations that officially teach this as well as a list of denominations in which there is a push for a return to teaching the permanency of marriage. For those who are interested I detail the theological reasons which played a part in my change of mind on marriage here. I cannot vouch for everything that these denominations teach. They actually disagree on some issues. However, on the issue of marriage, divorce and subsequent remarriage they are generally* trying to uphold the standards that Christ set for the world in Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18.
Denominations That Officially Support The Permanency Of Marriage
*See the note at the end of the
Denominations In Which There Is A Push For The Permanency Of Marriage
“53. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
Consistent with marriage vows, and in harmony with the teaching of Scripture, we do not recognize the right of divorced persons to re-marry while their first partner is alive. No one may be admitted or retained as a member who violates this principle by: a) Living in a state of remarriage to another person while their former partner is alive. b) Living in a state of remarriage to a person who is party to a prior marriage in which their former mate is alive. It is not our purpose to sit in judgment of those whose marital status is in violation of this principle. The question of whom God has joined together is in some cases a difficult one that only God can determine. We are bound to be charitable to all parties, but also bound to leave the standard where the Bible places it, knowing that all who are truly born of God’s Spirit are members of the church of the first born and enrolled in heaven.”
“149. ORDAINED MINISTERS FROM OTHER CHURCHES
Ordained ministers with valid credentials from other evangelical churches or other Conferences may be received into the Conference with temporary credentials until they are reviewed by the Examining Board and approved by the Annual Conference. Credentials of ministers who have been divorced from one companion and have married anotherwithout the former having died are not recognized. Upon recognition of the local Conference hemust become a member of one of the local churches.”
“155. DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE
In these days of multiplied divorces and great laxity relative to the marriage question, it is fully agreed that no minister shall unite in holy wedlock any who have been divorced. Any minister who has been divorced from one companion and has married another without the former having died, or is married to one who has another living companion, shall not be licensed or ordained, and any minister who violates this rule shall be dismissed immediately from his ministerial standing.”
(Source: Pilgrim Holiness Church Discipline, 2000)
“A question that is often asked is whether or not an outsider can join a Hutterite colony.
It has happened that outsiders or non-Hutterites join a Hutterite colony, but it is quite rare. Few Hutterite colony are open to outsider joining, but there are a handful who would consider it, depending on the candidate and the willingness of the candidate to adopt to the Hutterian norms.
Over the year’s many people have attempted to become full members of the Hutterite community, but haven’t been successful for a variety of reasons. For one, Hutterites speak Hutterisch which is a Carinthian-Tirolean dialect. This language change is a boundary for many. For another, all Hutterite use the same German sermons, and although most have been translated to English, almost all Hutterite ministers preach in German.
Cultural boundaries and traditions also provide an obstacle for anyone attempting to join. Changes in attire, ways of doing things, and other traditions would have to be adopted.
Another issue, divorce, could be a roadblock because Hutterites don’t accept divorce among their members, nor would they allow a divorcee who has married another person to join. If a divorcee were to join, that person would not be allowed to marry anyone except their original marriage partner. Of course, marriage is defined as the holy union between one man and one woman.”
No Centralized Headquarters
“Divorce in the Amish church is grounds for excommunication
Amish take their wedding vows seriously. Divorce is not sanctioned in the Amish church, though may occur in rare cases. Divorce is seen as reason for excommunication. Separations, however, do occasionally occur among Amish.
Amish do not remarry so long as their previous partner is alive. However, Amish do frequently remarry in the case of a partner’s death.”
(Source: Can Amish Get Divorced)
*The Amish do not have a centralized headquarters, thus they do not publish “official” positions. The above is from Erik Wesner who has visited over 30 Amish communities and met roughly 5,000 Amish families. He is considered to a leading scholar on the Amish.
Beachy Amish Mennonite Churches
“Scripturally, NOTHING can break the marriage bond EXCEPT DEATH (Romans 7:1-3).
1. That act of adultery does not dissolve the marriage bond, otherwise it would mean that the “bed” is the “highest” of marriage. It should be quickly pointed out, though, that such unfaithfulness decidedly affects the quality of the marital relationship and leaves a permanent scar on the persons involved (Proverbs 13:15b).
2. From God’s point of view, the legal document of divorce, though it is recognized by the world, does not break the marriage bond, otherwise a later marital relationship with another partner would not be called “adultery” (Mark 10:11-12).
3. The conversion of one of the marriage partners does not dissolve the marriage bond. If the unbelieving partner should leave, the marriage bond continues (1 Corinthians 7:12-14).
4. A divorced person who enters a second marriage relationship while the original partner is still living, indeed, might get recognition from the state as being legally married, but “from the beginning it was not so” (Matthew 19:8b). God is NOT pleased with that adulterous marital union. The first marriage bond is still binding. The Scriptures life up a high and holy standard for marriage and God does not sanction the “allowances” and “loopholes” brought forward by the carnal mind of man (Proverbs 6:32-33)!
The church is called to minister
with loving and caring consideration for those who are caught in the tangles of
divorce and remarriage (Galatians 6:1-3). Concern for their personal salvation
should motivate us to lead them to a full commitment of faith in Christ Jesus
(2 Corinthians 5:18-20). The church has the scriptural responsibility to show
such ones the eternal principles from the Scriptures which govern the marriage
relationship. While the final decision to separate from an adulterous marital
union must be voluntary, GOD DOES REQUIRE A SEPARATION to bring about a
reconciliation with Himself (1 Cor. 6:9,10; Heb. 13:4l
(Source: Marriage, Divorce And Remarriage)
“Remarriage after divorce is not permitted, according to our understanding of our Lord’s instruction in the gospels.”
(Source: About The New Conference Fellowship)
“Divorce and remarriage constitutes the sin of adultery. The only allowable causes for remarriage are fornication and death. However, fornication is not unfaithfulness or simple adultery, but is a state of being married to another's wife or husband. See Matthew 5:32; 14:3, 4; 19:3-12; Mark 10:12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:2, 3; 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 13; 6:9, 13, 16-18; 7:2, 10, 11; Acts 15:28, 29; Revelation 2:20-22.”
(Source: Basic Bible Beliefs)
Southeastern Mennonite Conference
HQ Contact Info Unavailable
“The indissolubility of the marriage bond is a principle that is basic to a consistent interpretation and application of Bible teachings in relation to problems issuing from divorce and remarriage. When confronted with the question of divorce, Jesus based His response solidly on God's ordinance in creation when He said, "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder [to divide or separate]."
Scripturally, there is nothing which breaks the marriage bond except death. The act of adultery does not dissolve the marriage bond, although it decidedly affects the quality of a marriage relationship and leaves a permanent scar on the persons involved. A legal document called divorce, from God's point of view, does not break the marriage bond, else remarriage would not be adultery. Even the conversion of one of two unbelieving married partners does not dissolve the marriage bond. If the unbelieving partner should leave, the marriage bond continues. Divorced persons who enter a second marriage relation while their first partners are still living may be recognized by the state as legally married, hut "from the beginning it was not so." Matt. 5:31, 32; 19:6-8; Mk. 10:4-9: Prov. 6:32. 33; Rom.7:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:10-16, 39.
The church is called to minister with loving and caring consideration to those who arc caught in the tangles of divorce and remarriage. Concern for their personal salvation should motivate us to lead them to a full commitment to Jesus Christ and to show them from the Scriptures those holy principles which regulate the marriage relationship. While the final decision to separate from an adulterous relationship would he voluntary, God requires it for reconciliation to Him. John 4:13-18; 8:1-11; Rom. 15: 14; Gal. 6:1-3; Col. 4:6.”
United Anglican Church
“What is our position on Remarriage after Divorce? The United Anglican Church seeks to maintain the traditional Anglican view. We realize that some relationships are null from the beginning, and we know that sometimes couples do cease living together. We have a pastoral concern for people in either circumstance. However, we cannot ignore Christ's teaching. Those who have a valid marriage are not free to marry another as long as the first partner lives, and the Church cannot bless a second marriage under such circumstances.”
Protestant Reformed Churches In
“In harmony with the truth of marriage, the Scriptures forbid divorce. Divorce is sin: a man or woman's faithlessness, i.e., hatred, towards his or her mate and revolt against the God who joined them in marriage. This is Christ's radical doctrine in Matthew19. When the Pharisees asked whether a man might put away his wife for every cause, His answer was: No divorce! "Let not man put asunder!" The toleration of divorce by Moses was due to the Israelites' hard hearts, and divorce is not to be suffered any longer. The sin that a man commits, when he divorces his wife, is that he makes his wife commit adultery (Matt. 5:32). He exposes her to an adulterous relationship with a third party.
Even separation is forbidden. A wife may not leave her husband (I Cor. 7:10), or the husband, his wife — not even if the mate is an unbeliever (I Cor. 7:12ff.). Marriage is communion: the two must live together. Not only must they live together under one roof, but they must live together sexually: "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence (literally, 'the debt'): and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other..." (ICor. 7:3-5).
There is one exception in Scripture to the prohibition of divorce, namely, "fornication." According to Matthew5:31, 32, a man does not sin if he puts his wife away because she lives in adultery with another man. This indicates the gravity of adultery. It is taken lightly today. It is joked about. It is toyed with when men enjoy the movies, magazines, and novels that present adultery as an accepted, attractive way of life. One thing is so destructive of the union of marriage, striking as it does at the heart of that institution, that it tears the two apart to the extent that the ability and calling to live together are gone: adultery. Besides this, there is no ground for divorce, not mental cruelty, not incompatibility, not a bad wife or a miserable husband — nothing. In marriage we take each other — as the old forms also stated — "for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health."
In keeping with its doctrine of marriage, as well as its prohibition of divorce, the Word also prohibits remarriage, while one's (original) mate still lives. This is the implication of the institution of marriage: one man and one woman joined as one flesh by God for life. Only God dissolves the union, and He does so by death. As long as the two are living, their union leaves no place for a third party. When churches today bring up examples of the permission of remarriage in the history of the church, we ask, in all seriousness, "What was the rule in the beginning?"
The New Testament makes explicit the teaching that is implicit in the institution of marriage. This is done in the passages already quoted from Romans7 and ICorinthians 7: married persons are bound to each other for life; only death looses the bond, so that one may marry another; marriage to another before the death of one's mate makes one an adulterer or adulteress.
Three other passages speak directly of remarriage: Mark10:11, 12; Luke 16:18; and I Corinthians 7:10, 11. The two former passages are absolute, unqualified condemnations of remarriage as adultery. "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery" (Luke16:18). In ICorinthians 7:10, 11, after Paul tells the wife not to leave her husband, he conceives of the possibility that she may have to leave nevertheless; in such a case "let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband."
But what about the remarriage of the one divorced on the biblical ground of adultery? One passage in all Scripture seems, at first glance, to permit the remarriage of one divorced on the ground of fornication, namely, Matthew19:9: "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery." If this were the correct interpretation of the text, there would be one, and only one, ground for remarriage: the adultery of one's mate. The "innocent party" would be free to marry another. However, there is powerful biblical evidence to the contrary. There is the testimony of the Scriptures that only death dissolves the bond of marriage. There is the unqualified prohibition of remarriage elsewhere in the Bible. And there is the last part of Matthew19:9 itself. The last part of the text calls the new union of the woman divorced un-biblically, whose husband has since remarried, an adulterous union. The Lord expressly states that the "innocent party" may not remarry. The exceptive clause in Matthew19:9 ("except it be for fornication") is intended to qualify only the prohibition of divorce, in perfect harmony with the fact that the Lord is answering the Pharisee's question concerning the legitimacy of divorce (cf. v. 3).
The Scriptures draw the lines plainly. Marriage is a lifelong bond; divorce is forbidden, except on the ground of the sexual unfaithfulness of one's mate; remarriage is forbidden until death separates the two. These lines make a narrow way into the Kingdom for men and women, as regards marriage; and it is not surprising that there are only few who find it. But this is the way into the Kingdom; no adulterer shall enter. This is what the church is called to preach, publicly and privately, and when we do, we are defending marriage in the face of the all-out assault on marriage today.”
(Source: Marriage And Divorce)
“Marriage is for Life, a holy institution that is binding before God, giving neither partner liberty to marry again as long as the first companion lives. Mark 10:6-12; Romans 7:1-3.
The Bible teaches that marriage is binding for life. Under the New Testament teachings of Christ, there is only one allowable cause for separation, and that is fornication (a sexual relationship prior to marriage). This provision was related to the Jewish tradition of betrothal. If, during the approximate one year betrothal period which preceded the physical consummation of the marriage, one of the parties committed fornication, the other party could terminate the marriage agreement. This allowance for divorce does not apply to those who have consummated their marriage today, since such unfaithfulness is regarded as adultery rather than fornication.
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus restated God's plan for marriage as first recorded in Genesis 2:24. He emphasized the sacredness of this union with the instruction, "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." While there may be occasions when a Christian is separated or divorced, no allowance is made for a person to marry again while the first companion lives.”
(Source: Doctrines—Extended List)
The Independent Fundamental Churches of
“In addition to doctrinal agreement, a willingness to abide by the IFCA Constitution, and separation from denominational affiliation, membership renewal depends on continued abstinence from the use of liquor, tobacco, and narcotics. We expect our members to be free of immorality, divorce, marriage to a divorcee, or membership in an oath-bound society.”
(Source: Member Renewal Form)
“a. Individual membership in IFCA International is open, without respect to race or national origin, to men who meet the constitutional requirements for membership.
b. The following are specific causes for rejection of applicants for membership: use of liquor, tobacco or narcotics, immorality, divorce, remarriage following divorce, marriage to a divorcee, membership in an oath-bound society, unfavorable references, doctrinal and constitutional disagreement.”
“To clarify the specific causes for the rejection of an application for membership, the terms “divorce” and “divorcee” shall be defined as referring to a situation where a former spouse was still living at the time of the remarriage.
An applicant for membership will not be automatically rejected if he and his wife were divorced and both remained unmarried until they remarried each other.”
It appears that it may be possible for one to be divorced and remarried and still be a part of an IFCA church. It appears that membership in the local congregation and membership on the IFCA organizational level are two different things. Refer to their Report on Divorce and IFCA Membership IFCA International Board of Directors, June 2008 for more details.
No Minister of this Church shall solemnize the marriage of any person who has been the husband or wife of any other person then living whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by the civil court, except as hereinafter in these Canons provided; nor shall any member of the Church enter upon a marriage when either of the contracting parties has been the husband or the wife of any other person then living whose marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a civil court, except as hereinafter in these Canons provided.”
*Note that there is a lengthy section of impediments which invalidate a marriage in their Church Manual which should be considered before accepting them as totally in favor of the permanency of marriage.
Anglican Catholic Church
“§11.5.03 Impediment of Divorce.
No man shall be admitted into Holy Orders who has contracted what purports to be a second or subsequent marriage (whether or not the same is valid according to secular law) while he has a presently living wife of a marriage considered valid by the Church, nor shall he be admitted into Holy Orders if he has contracted what purports to be marriage with a woman (whether or not the same is valid according to secular law) who has a presently living husband of a marriage considered valid by the Church.
CANON 15.3. HOLY MATRIMONY.
§15.3.01 Indissolubility, Nature, and Purposes of Matrimony.
This Church affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and life-long, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity, and to that end couples entering into that union shall make and subscribe before the Solemnisation of Matrimony the following Declaration of Intention and Commitment to Holy Matrimony in the presence of the Officiating Clergyman and two (2) witnesses:
DECLARATION OF INTENTION AND COMMITMENT TO HOLY MATRIMONY.
We, A.B. and C.D., desiring to receive the blessing of Holy Matrimony within the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, do solemnly declare: That we hold and accept Holy Matrimony to be a mystical and lifelong union of husband and wife, as it is set forth in the Form of Solemnisation of Matrimony in the Book of Common Prayer, and that this union forms an indissoluble Sacramental bond so long as we both shall live, which cannot be broken or dissolved by any action of civil authority…
§15.3.03 Impediments to Marriage.
It shall be the duty and responsibility of every Clergyman of this Church before solemnising any marriage, or when application is made to him for matrimony to be solemnised in the Church or Chapel of which he is the Minister or allowing such matrimony to be solemnised therein, to enquire diligently and to determine, with due pastoral care and consideration, the right of the parties to contract a marriage or the solemnisation thereof according to the Discipline of the Church and the Laws Ecclesiastical, and these Canons, exercising care that none of the following impediments exist.
(a) Diriment Impediments or Impedimenta Dirimenta.
Without restricting the generality of the foregoing, the following in particular shall be deemed to be diriment impediments that if such exists or is present at the time of any purported marriage or has been placed or has obtained or existed before any such purported marriage and has not been removed or revoked or ceased to exist by the time of such solemnisation, they shall render such purported marriage wholly null and void ab initio:…
(xii) Prior marriage of either of the parties, the original partner remaining still alive, unless the Church has determined by due canonical procedure that the former union was null and void ab initio and not a true and valid marriage.”
(Source: Canons Of The Anglican Catholic Church)*
*Note that there is a lengthy section of impediments which invalidate a marriage in their Church Manual which should be considered before accepting them as totally in favor of the permanency of marriage.
Denominations In Which There Is A Push For The Permanency Of Marriage
“Concerning remarriage — the Bible in a number of places says that death dissolves a marriage, and that then it is not a sin to remarry (1 Cor. 7:39; Romans 7:2). The Word of God gives no license under any condition for anyone to remarry as long as he or she has a former living companion. The real solution for those who are already divorced and remarried is the voluntary separation of the married partners like the Children of Israel did during the revival under Ezra’s preaching (Ezra 10:31).”
(Source: Brethren Revival Fellowship)
“No apostle ever wrote to any of the churches of Christ that there was a valid 'cause' for divorce and remarriage.”
(Source: Churches Of Christ Against Divorce)
Southern Baptist Convention
“WHEREAS, The Bible
reveals that marriage is a gospel mystery, pointing to Christ’s union with His
church (Ephesians 5:22-32); and
WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that marriage was established by God “in the beginning” to be a permanent one-flesh union (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:1-9); and
WHEREAS, Our Lord Jesus commands us that what “God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9); and
WHEREAS, The biblical story shows us that one of the lamentable aspects of sin is the destruction of marriages and families, a destruction seen from the Fall until this present darkness; and
WHEREAS, The rampant divorce rate in our culture has come with great social and economic cost, with women and children suffering disproportionately in ways that are incalculable; and
WHEREAS, We have affirmed in our confession of faith our belief in the sanctity and permanence of marriage; and
WHEREAS, Some studies have indicated that conservative Protestants in the United States of America are divorcing at the same rate, if not at higher rates, than the general population; and
WHEREAS, Some studies
also indicate that areas where Southern Baptist churches predominate in number
often have higher divorce rates than areas we would define as “unchurched” and
in need of evangelical witness; and
WHEREAS, Even the most expansive view of the biblical exceptions allowing for divorce and remarriage would rule out many, if not most, of the divorces in our churches; and
WHEREAS, The acceleration in rates of divorce in Southern Baptist churches has not come through a shift in theological conviction about scriptural teaching on divorce but rather through cultural accommodation; and
WHEREAS, We have been prophetic in confronting assaults in the outside culture on God’s design for marriage while rarely speaking with the same alarm and force to a scandal that has become all too commonplace in our own churches; and
WHEREAS, We do not serve those who are hurting from divorce by speaking to them only in therapeutic terms rather than in terms of both repentance and forgiveness; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Orlando, Florida, June 15-16, 2010, acknowledge the complicity of many among us for too often failing to show the world the meaning of the gospel through marital fidelity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we express our conviction that a denomination defined theologically by our belief in the authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture ought to proclaim the whole counsel of God, especially when the Bible confronts our own patterns of sin; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we express our further conviction that a denomination defined missiologically ought to recognize how damaging Southern Baptist accommodation to the divorce culture is to our global witness for Christ; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we express our further conviction that a denomination seeking God’s blessing in revival and reformation ought to address the spiritual wreckage left in our Southern Baptist churches by our own divorce rates and our silence about the same; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call
on our churches to proclaim the Word of God on the permanence of marriage, and
to provide ongoing marriage enrichment opportunities, in light of the gospel of
Jesus Christ and God’s abhorrence of divorce; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to unite in marriage only those who are biblically qualified to be married to one another and who demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of lifelong love and fidelity; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our churches in our wedding services to maintain the gravity of the vows being undertaken, not simply as a token of a couple’s romance but as a covenant before God, until death do them part; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to minister to couples and families in crisis through counseling, mentorship, and, where necessary, through biblical church discipline; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to proclaim God’s mercy and grace to all people—including those who have been divorced without biblical grounds—due to the truth that the blood of Jesus can atone for any sin and can cleanse any conscience; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we call on our churches to have special compassion for and energetic ministry to those who have been left in the wake of family brokenness; and be it further
RESOLVED, That we urge all Southern Baptists in troubled or faltering marriages to seek godly assistance and, where possible, reconciliation; and be it finally
RESOLVED, That we pray that the true peace of our Lord Jesus Christ will reign in us such that the next generation will see the gospel not only in the counter-cultural nature of our verbal witness but also in the counter-cultural love and fidelity of our marriages.
“Because of the tremendous pressure that a sick society has placed upon the Church, the canon law dealing with the remarriage of divorced persons in the Episcopal Church has been altered. In 1973 the General Convention adopted a canon completely overthrowing the teachings of Christ and of the New Testament concerning the life-long state of marriage. Marriage, according to the Church's current teaching, is a glorified agreement which can be broken at will. What was proposed and called a "marriage canon" was in actuality a "divorce canon". As it stands now the only requirement which is really necessary in order for a priest to remarry a divorced person is his finding that the prior marriage has been annulled or dissolved by a final judgement or decree of a civil court of competent jurisdiction. Episcopal consent, in most cases, has become a formality.
The collapse of the acceptance of Christian marriage in its Biblical, Catholic, and Anglican sacramental structure in the Episcopal Church is recognized and authenticated in the 1979 Prayer Book. This is done by the removal in the main marriage office of the phrase "according to God's Holy Ordinance." This phrase has always been in the prayer books of the Anglican Communion a vital part of the marriage service. For the meaning of "God's Holy Ordinance" we look to Mark 10:2-12. It is, of course, in this passage from St. Mark that the life-long indissolubility of marriage is taught by our Lord. The portion of scripture from the tenth chapter of Mark's Gospel appointed for use in the marriage service in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is deliberately edited to eliminate anything which would be contrary to the sanctified concubinage encouraged in the Episcopal Church.
More than anywhere else it is in this change in the meaning of marriage that we see the capitulation of the Episcopal Church to the spirit of the age.”