Sunday, December 17, 2006

Divorce and Remarriage, The Views of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod put a exegesis of the verses in the NT regarding divorce and remarriage on the web. It is about 30 pages in length and in depth study that considers the original Greek. Their conclusions are similar to what I've been converging on.

Page 17 Regarding Matthew 5:32:

"The status of the abandoned spouse who is not responsible for the final breakdown of marriage caused by divorce for reasons other than fornication, or by unchastity on the part of the offending spouse, is not expressly mentioned by Jesus in Matthew 5:32. Neither is there any direct prohibition of the remarriage of one who has not destroyed the union through divorce and unchastity."

Page 18 regarding Mt 5:32:

The participle here does not have an article and therefore is indefinite. [55] If the text read, "whoever marries the divorced woman" it would be clear that the reference is to the woman just mentioned, that is, the one wrongly put away. The indefinite use of the participle,
however, entails the possibility that Jesus had in mind a woman who herself was
responsible for obtaining a divorce for reasons other than porneia. [56]"

Page 23 on 1 Co 7:15

In 1 Cor. 7:15 the apostle uses the verb which he uses elsewhere to denote a state of slavery, not the weaker verb deo, which is not his word to express what it means to be under the ownership of someone else. The stronger expression "is not bound" suggests that the believing spouse is no longer tied to the obligation to preserve the marriage, since the unbelieving party has already withdrawn consent to maintain the union.
Admittedly, Paul does not expressly state that the Christian may remarry. However, neither does he expressly forbid remarriage as he did explicitly in verse 11 of the Christian spouse who departs....
The prospect of converting one's spouse is not certain, [83] although of course Paul does desire this. If, therefore, the Christian spouse is no longer bound, such a one is free to secure a civil divorce and remarry. [84]

Summary Statements On Page 25:

3. A person who divorces his/her spouse for any other cause than sexual unfaithfulness
and marries another commits adultery. Anyone who marries a person so discarding his
or her spouse commits adultery.

4. When a spouse commits fornication (i.e., is guilty of sexual unfaithfulness), which
breaks the unity of the marriage, the offended party who endures such unfaithfulness
has the right, though not the command, to obtain a legal divorce and remarry.

5. A spouse who has been willfully and definitively abandoned by his or her partner who
refuses to be reconciled and is unwilling to fulfill the obligations of the marriage
covenant despite persistent persuasion may seek a legal divorce, which in such a case
constitutes a public recognition of a marriage already broken, and remarry.

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