Position of the Elders: Marriage and Divorce

(November, 2015)

 1. We affirm that the Biblical model of marriage is between a man and woman.


 2. We affirm that marriage is good and that the Bible teaches that, as God originally intended marriage, it is to be a permanent union.  However, we do also realize that we live in a sinful world and because of the hard-heartedness of men and women, divorce does happen.  We also recognize that both historically, and in our own day, there are a variety of positions about whether or not a Christian can, in good conscience, obtain a divorce. And likewise, whether a divorced Christian is permitted to seek remarriage.


 3. We recognize that we, as elders of GRBC, have slightly varying views and might nuance things differently at times regarding these matters.  We also expect that members of the GRBC congregation hold to differing views.  And we agree that these differing convictions are often deeply rooted in Scripture and have come from much studying and wrestling with God’s Word to us through Scripture.  And we also know that a Christian’s views may change over time as more study is done. We consider these varying views of marriage, divorce, and remarriage as not being a first tier doctrinal issue (that is, one which defines Christian orthodoxy), nor a second tier doctrinal issue (that is, one which defines a distinctive of our church body).  Rather, we consider that brothers and sisters of this local body can have differing views on these questions. Therefore, we do not require for members of GRBC to hold a particular view of divorce and remarriage.  However, as pastors of this local body:
a) when a couple expresses an intent to pursue a divorce, we will strive to work with them with the goal that they reconcile with one another. And we will encourage them that even when certain circumstances might permit a divorce, being permitted does not equate to being required to divorce, nor is divorce the first or best option.
Divorce is a very painful experience for all of those involved.  For the spouses separating, for their children, for their parents, for their friends, and for the church.  We are very aware of the pain and turmoil involved in divorce. We also understand from our own life experiences the devastation on families that comes from divorce.  And we are sensitive to the fact that many of our members if not most of our members have been touched by divorce in one way or another. So we will endeavor to do as much as we can to seek reconciliation if at all possible.
b) Regarding the question of remarriage, each situation will be considered on a case by case basis and each elder will act upon his own convictions if asked to participate in a marriage ceremony involving a previously divorced member.


 4. Lastly, we affirm that divorcing and remarrying, even in sin, is not an unforgivable sin.  Scripture has clearly outlined that there is one sin that is unpardonable in Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28-29.  Because of the mighty power of Christ’s work on the cross there is hope for all to be forgiven of our sins, even if, in the past, out of sin, there has been divorce.  And we affirm that God’s grace should not be used as a license to sin in this area or any other.