We at Samuel's Church stand squarely behind making marriages work. We grieve over the destructive effect divorce brings upon a couple, their children, and the many who are touched by their lives, and we are committed to doing anything we can to assist couples to turn from divorce and work at healing their marriage. Yet, realizing that divorce is a real part of many people's lives, we at Samuel's Church adopt the following statement on divorce and remarriage.
1. Marriage was intended by God to be an unbreakable union (Matt. 19:6) for the purpose of companionship (Gen. 2:18), procreation (Gen. 2:24) and pleasure (Deut. 24:5). God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16), but allows it as an accommodation to man's sin (Mat. 19:8).
2. The only Biblical grounds for divorce are (1) fornication and (2) the desertion of an unbelieving spouse. Fornication includes all sexual sin, such as homosexuality, bestiality, incest, as well as adultery (Mat. 5:32; 19:9). The desertion of an unbelieving spouse means a non-believer no longer desires to remain married to a Christian spouse (1 Cor. 7:15). In these two cases alone, God allows for divorce, although He certainly does not require it. The response God desires is illustrated in Hosea's treatment of his adulterous wife, Gomer. Instead of divorcing her when she committed adultery, Hosea forgave her and restored their marriage (Hosea 3:1-2). It is church policy to never advise divorce, but rather to work at restoring the one caught in sin (Gal. 6:1) and then work at restoring the marriage through forgiveness (Eph. 4:31-32).
3. Remarriage is permitted only if a divorce was based on one of the two Biblical grounds. In cases where a divorce was not on Biblical grounds, God still views the parties as married, even though the government may not. Becoming sexually involved with another or remarrying commits adultery (Mat. 19:9), and the person who marries someone divorced on nonbiblical grounds also commits adultery (Luke 16:18).
4. Believers who pursue divorce on nonbiblical grounds are subject to church discipline because they reject the clear Word of God (Mat. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 5:1-13). The one who gets a divorce on nonbiblical grounds and remarries lives in a state of adultery, since God still views them as married to their original spouse (Mat. 5:32; Mark 10:11,12).
5. If a divorce based on nonbiblical grounds has become final both parties should make no attempt to justify their actions, but rather should seek God's forgiveness (1 John 1:9). God intends they either seek to reconcile their marriage or remain single (1 Cor. 7:11). If a
remarriage has taken place, the person should remain faithful to his or her present marriage partner.
6. Both the innocent party of a divorce and the repentant party of a nonbiblical divorce are free to serve the Lord. Forgiveness and the ensuing privilege to serve is the right of every child of God, but since the church has a responsibility to uphold the Biblical ideal of marriage, especially in the example of its leadership, the appointment to any leadership position must be handled individually and on the basis of their present character qualifications and marriage relationship.
7. Should one partner be experiencing either physical or emotional abuse that becomes intolerable, and there is no Biblical ground for divorce and remarriage, that person may seek legal separation for their own protection or that of their children (1 Cor. 7:11). Legal and/or professional help should be sought in hope that reconciliation may be achieved.