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Grounds for Divorce

 By Wes Bredenhof

With this post, I’m entering into a minefield, albeit with eyes wide open. Relationships are touchy at any rate, but when you talk about the closest relationship God has designed for human beings, the stakes are all that much higher. Marriage and divorce are topics many readers are invested in, if not personally, then certainly by acquaintance. There’s no lack of strong opinions and there are few occasions where people actually change their minds. In what follows, you’ll meet some men who actually have shifted their thinking on divorce.

Marriage and divorce, especially remarriage after divorce, have been hotly debated in my church circles over the years. I remember an intense online discussion on the Ref-net (a discussion group originally for Canadian Reformed university students) in the 90s. A fellow-Ref-netter asked me what I thought about remarriage after divorce. I had to honestly say, “I don’t know.” For the longest time, I could safely stay on the fence. After all, I never encountered any pastoral need to reach a firm conclusion.

However, I was preaching through the Gospel of Mark in 2010 and then I arrived at Mark 10:1-12. That forced my hand. Study of the issue, both in Mark and in the broader context of Scripture, led me to the conclusion that the Westminster Confession of Faith’s position (in 24.5) was essentially correct. If there were legitimate biblical grounds for divorce, then the innocent party would be free to remarry.

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