Divorce and Remarriage

The issue of divorce and remarriage is one which has eluded unanimity among Christians for centuries. The resultant confusion has left the practice of modern Christians barely distinguishable from that of the rest of the culture. The leadership of Lion and Lamb Church believe that it is essential that scripture form the basis of our beliefs and convictions, rather than a simple “baptism of what is.”

Nonetheless, after a fairly exhaustive review of various biblical texts on the issue, many good and godly brothers in Christ have diverged on the justification and even the scriptural basis for divorce and remarriage. To an extent, that diversity of opinion is reflected among the leaders of Lion and Lamb Church.

Lion and Lamb leaders are in wholehearted agreement that marriage is one of God's greatest blessings on the human race and a means whereby He accomplishes much of His will on the earth. Marriage as an institution should be protected as the incalculable gift of God it is, and every effort should be exhausted to strengthen marriages and to prevent faltering marriages from ending. Lion & Lamb is committed heart and soul to helping marriages reflect the glory of God and to be the source of blessing God means them to be.

We also understand that while God's design for marriage is perfect, marriage partners are not. Sin, willfulness, neglect, and unfaithfulness on the part of one or both marriage partners much too often lead to dissolution of the marriage through divorce.

Lion and Lamb leaders are united in their conviction that God designed marriage to:

  1. Be a lifelong relationship, and the primary means by which: mankind experiences completion as man and woman; God provides a stable, loving relationship in which men and women can grow and thrive; children are brought into the world; children are given a safe, stable environment in which to grow and thrive; the knowledge of God is passed from one generation to the next.

  2. Be a living example of God's love for His people, and Christ's love for the Church. God's provision of marriage, and His call to marital faithfulness and mutual love and service between husbands and wives, is a high call, meant to glorify God, bless men and women, and provide a living illustration of the great and costly love of God for those in relationship with Him.

Because God's design for marriage includes permanence and mutual self sacrifice in service of the other spouse's best interest, any marriage ending before the death of a spouse falls short of God's design, and is a serious and significant failure, affecting both spouses, their families, any children, the Church, and the larger culture.

While divorce has become commonplace in both the wider culture and the Church, its widespread pervasiveness should not be mistaken as an indication that divorce is anything less than the rupturing of a union meant to last a lifetime. Divorce leaves all parties damaged and God's good will and image marred. It is important for the Church to have a biblical perspective on divorce and its aftermath, as well as what the scriptures say about the possibility of remarriage.

Practice at Lion and Lamb:

Out of a respect for differing interpretations and convictions, a desire to walk in unity, a humble recognition that we are all sinners saved by God's grace as well as a recognition of the reality of divorce and remarriage within the church at large, the leaders have agreed to the following as a practical approach to situations that may arise within the body of Lion and Lamb:

  1. Those who have been divorced and those who have remarried are welcome in full fellowship in Lion and Lamb so long as they willingly affirm the ideal and purpose of marriage portrayed in this statement. We believe this will involve seeking forgiveness for any wrong committed, regardless of the fault on the other side, and making things right to the extent possible. We encourage transparency regarding one's own weaknesses and failures that may have contributed to the collapse of his or her own past marriage(s).

  2. If a divorced and remarried couple would like to fellowship at Lion and Lamb, but is under censure at another church, Lion and Lamb leadership will investigate the reasons for the censure and may require that the couple seek reconciliation at their previous church before being accepted at Lion and Lamb.

  3. Assuming that the above reparative steps have been accomplished to the extent possible, leaders at Lion & Lamb may perform marriages only for those whose previous marriage was severed by unfaithfulness or abandonment by the other spouse. (Unfaithfulness and abandonment being the potential exceptions allowing divorce and remarriage as understood by Church leadership). Leaders may choose not to perform such marriages based on their own convictions.

  4. Believing in the inestimable worth of marriage, leadership will encourage restoration and reconciliation in any circumstance of marital separation. If a person in fellowship at Lion & Lamb leaves their spouse, they will be exhorted to remain unmarried, per 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, with the hope of restoration. If a separation is necessary for the protection of spouse or children, repentance, reconciliation and restoration will be encouraged as a solution, rather than divorce. If they proceed to divorce their spouse in a situation not covered by the potential exceptions in Matthew 5 and 19 (unfaithfulness), or 1 Corinthians 7 (abandonment), they will be approached in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-18, and exhorted back to covenant faithfulness.

Lion & Lamb Church wants to sound a clarion call to God's high design for marriage faithfulness and permanence, while at the same time, displaying God's redeeming love in compassion, forgiveness, and restoration.

We want to encourage a culture in which lifelong devotion and joy in marriage is the norm. We will strive to communicate this in both teaching and example.

Biblical Passages

The following are the passages in the scriptures that deal most directly with divorce and remarriage and which inform this discussion.

  • Genesis 2:20-24

  • Deuteronomy 24:1-4

  • Malachi 2:16

  • Matthew 5:31-32

  • Matthew 19:3-12

  • Mark 10:2-12

  • Luke 16:18

  • 1 Corinthians 7:10-16, 39

  • Ephesians 5:25-32

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