Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
This is part seven of a series of posts exposing the popular divorce recovery ministry of DivorceCare.
DivorceCare claims to be a Christ-centered support ministry established for people who have experienced, or who about to experience divorce. They claim that their goal is to help find help for the hurts of divorce, discover hope for the future, and experience God’s blessing. The founder of DivorceCare, Steve Grissom, is a product of divorce and remarriage. He started DivorceCare based on his experience of divorce and the experience of healing from this divorce to remarry. He claims it was God’s calling to start this ministry.
In the post, we will discover how DivorceCare (DC) defines post-divorce relationships. It is important to note that DC assumes that a divorce ends a marriage covenant. Prior to this week, DC attempted to deal with the effects of divorce and separation, and in week six, DC showed their true colors of what they believe the Bible says about marriage, divorce and remarriage. You should read this post (“What Does the Owner’s Manual Say”) and the preceding posts before preceding to reading this post, and the following posts to come.
The last sessions of DC will deal with new relationships, child care, financial concerns, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Again, it is important to have an understanding of DC’s foundation on how they view marriage, divorce and remarriage. It is also important to compare what DC teaches and what the word of God teaches. You will find that DC not only contradicts the word of God, DC ignores the word of God and leaves the viewer and participant with a false understanding of the Gospel, marriage, and the life of a believer.
In this session, DC will tell us what to expect in a new relationship and how this should coincide with a life in Christ. It is important to understand that there are clear foundations on what DC believes to be true, and we must accept these foundations to understand their position. However, we will see that some of these “foundations” are not on the word of God.
Here are the foundations:
“Relationships are important.”
“A marriage ends in divorce.”
“A new relationship after divorce is acceptable.”
"A relationship with Christ is essential to understand all relationships."
The problem is that DC offers a different Jesus...
These are the four areas that DC covers in this session. In its simplicity, DC recognizes that a divorce ends a marriage, and that the greatest need for the “divorced” person’s is a new relationship in Christ. If we apply this logic to what the Lord teaches, we will find that a divorce does not end a marriage and that a new relationship in Christ includes remaining in Him and trusting Him to restore a prodigal spouse.
Everyone knows the story of the prodigal son. Imagine if we apply this to a prodigal "spouse". We can conclude that a prodigal spouse is defined as that spouse who believes he or she can exit a covenant of marriage before the required time. This could be through abandoning the other spouse, committing adultery and enacting unilateral divorce laws to apply for divorce in order to be with a new person, or it could include mental and physical abuse, and it could include addiction.
According to the teaching of DC, divorce is the right option in the case of abandonment and unrepentant adultery. If this is the case, is it a possible that a “prodigal” spouse could repent of his or her sin? DC assumes that divorce ends a marriage, thus this divorce frees the innocent spouse to remarry into another relationship. But have we considered the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ and how this applies to a prodigal?
I wrote a post on the prodigal spouse here “The story of the prodigal spouse” In this post I made a correlation of the prodigal and the one who remains in the Lord.
“There are actual men and woman who believe that when they made their vows of one-flesh covenant marriage, that God would honor their vows until death even if their spouse did not. These spouses believe that despite the actions of their prodigal spouse, and the pain of rejection they endure, God is faithful to restore the prodigal to repentance just as in the story of the prodigal son. Some of these spouses will tell you that they were not the perfect spouse in the marriage, and that some of the responsibility of their prodigal spouse leaving falls on them. Yet, their time in waiting for the prodigal, they have developed an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and remain obedient to His word and the vow they made before Him.”
The foundation of how one views marriage will have a direct influence of how they view divorce. The Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear that apart from Him, we are dead in our sins and the wrath of God abides on us. (Romans 1:18) This is very true for the covenant-breaker. If divorce ends a marriage, this would technically make marriage anything but a covenant. This would also give us the understanding that we are no longer to love the prodigal spouse, and that a divorce makes him or her the enemy. Yet, we are to love our enemies, even if they are married to us. (Matthew 5:43-48)
DC makes it clear that a divorce ends a marriage and that there is no hope for repentance and restoration. The Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear that remarriage is adultery. (Luke 16:18) So what is the clear teachings of divorce, and how should a person handle the unilateral divorce laws? If divorce actually ends a marriage covenant, why would the Lord call it adultery to remarry?
The teachings of the Lord can be summed up very simply. Marriage is a covenant that can only end in death. (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9; Romans 7:2,3; Eph 5:31 ) A man and woman become one-flesh, no longer to become two again. If one spouse commits sin, the other spouse is to confront the sin so that there is repentance. (Matthew 18:15-17) If there is genuine repentance, there must be forgiveness so there can be restoration and reconciliation. (Matthew 18:21-35) If the other spouse does not repent, there will be consequences. (James 1:15)
First of all, the prodigal spouse has broken a covenant he or she made before the Lord. If he or she does not repent, he or she will die in sin and go to Hell. This is a matter of salvation. The spouse who remains in the Lord must remain in the covenant of marriage. Divorce is NOT an option. If divorce is an option, (Divorce is ONLY an option because the Reformers have handed marriage over to the civil authorities) the believer spouse is to remain in covenant.
What is the significance of a spouse who remains in covenant?
It is a witness to the permanence of the marriage covenant.
If a spouse remains in covenant, it tells family, friends, and even church family that divorce cannot end what God hath joined. It also is a witness to the prodigal spouse who will always know that if he or she repents, the other spouse remained faithful to the covenant. It SHOULD also reflect in the church. Instead of “remarrying” an unrepentant adulterer to his or her mistress, the church should condemn ALL adulterous remarriages period. There is no marriage situation that is beyond the power of God to restore. The problem is not that God cannot restore even the most difficult of marriages, the problem is taking the power of God and putting it in the hands of men.
It is a witness of a relationship with Christ.
Marriage permanence also shows the world the significance of a relationship in Christ. Those who are in Christ are children and heirs to the throne of grace. They are ambassadors of reconciliation, living in the spirit, and not longing for the flesh. This does not mean that a spouse who remains in Christ should remain passive. No. We should hate sin, and the prodigal spouse should be clear that his or her actions will not be tolerated. Instead, the evangelical church has provided loopholes for the prodigal to remain in their death by allowing “remarriage” for the remaining spouse. This makes them both adulterers.
It gives the prodigal no options other than to repent of sin and reconcile the marriage.
If a prodigal leaves the marriage, whether through unilateral divorce or abandonment, they have proven to be in need of salvation. This does not give him or her any liberty other than to repent of sin. Instead, this prodigal can apply and receive a unilateral no-fault divorce, run to the church across town with his or her new partner, and get remarried as if God “blesses” this unholy union.
Meanwhile, the abandoned spouse enters a 13 week DC program that offers him or her the option to remarry. Instead of the evangelical church rushing to save marriages, enacting church discipline, and excommunicating an unrepentant spouse, which would bring about repentance; they have embraced the easy way out…DivorceCare. What DC provides is an option to enter into yet another adulterous remarriage by believing that a vow before the Lord ends on the actions of the other spouse.
It gives no power to divorce.
Divorce has no power if marriage is a one-flesh covenant. Instead of making marriage into a contract, which was done effectively by the Reformers, a marriage covenant requires faith in Christ and trusting Him to restore the sinner to repentance. Marriage is not about the feelings, emotions, and what seems right in the eyes of who enter this covenant. Marriage is about trusting in the Lord.
It is an example of the Gospel.
Remaining in covenant is exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did for us. The Bible is God’s story of His marriage to us. He loved us enough to die in our place. The relationship we have with Christ can never be broken by Him. He is faithful and true even when we are not. The one spouse who remains in covenant is that spouse who represents the love of the Gospel.
From “The story of the prodigal spouse”…For those of you who wait on the Lord for your prodigal spouse…I thank and praise the Lord that you will remain in a vow you made before our Almighty, Holy, and Gracious Father. Know that your waiting on the Lord is not in vain. Should your spouse never repent or return, know that you are a true witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. You represent the man who waits on a prodigal son, setting an example of grace to a world that divorces with hard hearts and remarries into adultery. Please know and believe that you will always have an eternal relationship with the lover of your souls, the Lord Jesus Christ. His word is faithful and true, and He will never leave you, or forsake you. God bless you as you pray for the prodigal and remain in your singleness with the Lord. Never stop praying through the power of the Holy Spirit for the restoration your marriage and the restoration of your prodigal’s soul. Finally, pray for others like you who stand for their marriage, so that God will receive all the glory.”
In conclusion, even though DC provides the participant an opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus, they provide the participant with a different Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ hates divorce and would never believe that a marriage is beyond hope. Nowhere in the Bible will you find that a marriage is going to be perfect. What you will find in the Bible is that the Lord Jesus Christ is perfect. A relationship with Him is all you will ever need because this relationship is the foundation of all other relationships known to man. It is the power of the Holy Spirit in a new life in Christ that shines the clearer and glorifies the Father who is in heaven…even in the most difficult of marriages.
Romans 8:16-18 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
In Christ’s love,