Sunday, October 05, 2008

imago dei

Front Note: This posts is mostly for me. Something as a reminder for when I check past posts and remember where I have been and where I am going. But please, read on...

As I have talked about previously in posts, I am going thru Oasis (divorce) counseling thru North Point Ministries. Since my divorce, I have struggled with the idea of dating and marriage post-divorce. What good, Godly man would want to date/marry a lady who has been divorced? Would that make him/me an adulterer? There is some harsh punishments (i.e. stoning) in the Bible for divorce so what does that mean in this present day... does God see someone who is divorced as unlovable, unworthy, or unforgivable?

I have had to believe that God does forgive, that I am worthy and lovable. And there are so many other Christian people who have gone thru this so I know that it is possible to get remarried. However I have continued to struggle.

On Thursday I had some work to do so I stayed pretty late. During part of the work I was transferring data so I started looking at the website Blue Like Jazz and was looking around and then remembered the church Don talked about a lot, imago dei, and started poking around there. I really would love to visit the church some day but that's a completely different topic.

As I was poking around I found their stance on divorce and remarriage. It gave me hope...

Imago Dei Community seeks God’s help to build strong marriages and families. Marriage is God’s gift for believers and unbelievers (Genesis 2:24); but, in a broken world, marriages will fail and we must be ready to respond with grace and truth.

The New Testament allows, but does not require divorce for sexual unfaithfulness. God’s grace encourages us to forgive and have hope that God’s transforming power can redeem even the most broken marriage. However, when there has been sexual unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage are allowed, and do not constitute adultery. The marriage bond includes a covenant and then uniting sexually in “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Biblically, a marriage is viewed as ending when one spouse dies (Romans 7:2). It can also end when two things occur: (1) the one flesh has been violated (sexual unfaithfulness) and (2) the legal covenant has been revoked (divorce); if only one of these two things has occurred, the marriage continues to exist.

If someone divorces without a valid cause, they are still married in God’s sight. If one of them remarries, their new sexual union is adultery against their former spouse, and the first marriage is ended. Their union forms a new marriage. The new couple should repent of adultery, receive God’s forgiveness, and seek to make their marriage faithfully permanent. The former spouse is now single and free to remarry (Matthew 19:3-12).

One further exception is the so-called “Pauline privilege” in I Corinthians 7:15 (the believer “is not under bondage in such cases”) . The “bound” condition is best understood as the marriage bond (I Corinthians 7:39). In a marriage of believer and unbeliever, the believer should seek to preserve the marriage (1 Corinthians 7:13-14; 1 Peter 3:1-2). However, if the unbelieving spouse deserts, the believer, after patient prayer, may divorce and remarry.

Unmarried sexual cohabitation is an expression of sexual sin that seeks intimacy without commitment. The couple should either separate or make a marriage covenant in harmony with Scripture and state law (Hebrews 13:4; Romans 13:1).

Qualifications for church leadership involve one’s current life style. No one is disqualified because they did not meet the requirements in the past. The “husband of one wife” qualification for elders and deacons (I Timothy 3:2; 3:12) requires a person to have a reputation of living faithfully with their current spouse. The qualification is an idiom meaning a “one wife kind of man” not someone who has never been divorced or never remarried. For a single person this would require a reputation of sexual purity. Taking the phrase literally results in the unlikely view that it excludes single men like Paul, and those who have remarried for any cause. (Kostenberger, God Marriage and Family, chp. 12; Strauch, Biblical Eldership, 189-193).

It's kinda long so I cropped it. Check out the site if you want to see their position in its entirety.


The Walkup's said...

Thats awesome Kristie-i've been prayig for you to be encouraged so i'm so glad God answered my prayers!

More Christ Like said...

Les McFall has an interested way to deal with the exception clause in Matthew 19:9. He has written a 43 page paper that reviews the changes in the Greek made by Erasmus that effect the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated. I reviewed McFall's paper at Except For Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9. I would love to hear some feedback on this position.