Eph 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
This is part six 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.
Finally, after five weeks, DivorceCare (DC) is going to explain their position on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Instead of STARTING this series with what God has to say about marriage, divorce, and remarriage (MDR), the participants are offered with what DC has to say about MDR. The workbook begins with the following paragraph:
“IF YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN, you may be trying to make sense of confusing or conflicting opinions about how God views divorce…” page 51 of the DC workbook.
These words are a reflection on how the evangelical church views marriage divorce and remarriage.
In one sentence, we see that DC has managed to define the state of marriage in the evangelical church. “If you are a Christian” refers to the idea that a person “in Christ” would be confused about marriage definition and the how divorce applies to those who are in Christ. What are these “confusing and conflicting opinions” of how God views divorce if God is not a god of confusion?
The fact is there several positions on (MDR) in the evangelical church. I have addressed these positions here. (The Four Stances on Divorce and Remarriage...and Marriage.)
DC would fall in the “Divorce and Remarriage in the Case of Adultery and Desertion” and “Divorce and Remarriage for Many Reasons.” If I were to point specifically what DC believes in MDR, I would have to look no further than the Westminster Confessions of Faith’s position on MDR. The Westminster Confession of Faith is a document written in 1646 by the Reformers as a confession of what they believe about God. This confession includes what they believe about MDR. More on this later.
The fact is DC makes it perfectly clear that there is confusion about MDR, and they believe what they offer the participant is from the word of God. They continue in the first paragraph with this statement.
“One thing’s for sure, you should never be ashamed or think less of yourself for being a divorced person. You’ll be encouraged to hear what God thinks of His children.”
According to these sentences, DC makes the reader believe that a divorced person is no longer in covenant marriage. If it can be proved by the word of God that a one-flesh covenant marriage does not end in divorce, then they will lead a person into more sin should he or she “remarry.” Who are God’s children? It is those who live by faith in Christ Jesus. Therefore it is imperative we understand how the Lord Jesus Christ defines marriage and what it takes to remain in a marriage covenant.
Gal 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
The workbook and video series discusses DC‘s “idea” on the true nature of marriage, under what circumstances the Bible “clearly” permits divorce, and how to use the Bible to make wise post-divorce decisions. They begin with the question: “What is Marriage?” God’ idea…..
DC immediately make the participant believe that marriage is God’s “idea”. Whenever you see the words “idea” or “intention” you will understand that DC has already capitulated on marriage permanence. We must assume that God will not hold us to a covenant vow that He is very much apart of. We must assume that God would not require us to “remain” in Him should our spouse suddenly enter into sin, or abandon the marriage. We must assume that the vow we made before God is suddenly released by the breaking of the vow our spouse made to us. Instead of remaining “faithful” to God, our vow, and the work of God in a prodigal spouse, it is assumed that there are “CLEAR” instances where we can divorce AND remarry.
If marriage is a COMMAND and not an IDEA, would this have incredible consequences to those who believe a divorce can end what God hath joined together? If I were point to two verses that define the “law” of marriage and that God would never think marriage was an “idea”, I would look no further than Matthew 19:3-6 and Mark 10:6-9.
Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him (The Lord Jesus Christ), tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
The “LAW” of marriage is as it was in the beginning. One man and one woman for life.
I Corinthians 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
Here is Paul writing to the Corinth church on the definition of marriage. Paul is referring to what the Lord teaches on marriage. In these two verses we see that the Lord Jesus Christ commands that marriage is permanent until death. There are no provisions of divorce or remarriage for the Christian, and whenever we read other scripture pertaining to MDR, we need to use these two verses as the foundation. A husband is NEVER to divorce his wife, and a wife, IF divorced, is to remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. These verses cover every situation of divorce. Therefore, we must consider all other verses on the subject under this pretense.
Since DC believes marriage is God’s “idea” and not God’s command, we should have very little trouble understanding their position and how to defend against it. In fact, DC manages to contradict “God’s idea of marriage” with marriage being a covenant and permanent relationship. If marriage is a covenant and permanent, it cannot be “not a covenant” and “not permanent” at the same time. Since they also state that marriage is a symbol of the Gospel, then we should conclude that divorce can never be a symbol of the Gospel.
DC then gives “Unbiblical Grounds for Divorce”. These include: “We’re incompatible.” We don’t love each other anymore,” and “It is better for the kids.” I would never argue that these are “unbiblical grounds for divorce”, my question is why DC fails to address the consequences of unbiblical grounds of divorce, and a subsequent unbiblical remarriage. Also, do the unbiblical grounds have something in common with what DC refers to as the “Biblical Grounds for Divorce?” We shall see…
As mentioned previously, DC aligns with the Westminster Confession of Faith on the two Biblical grounds for divorce they are: Immorality and departure of a non-Christian spouse. Let’s compare DC’s “unbiblical grounds of divorce” (UGD) with the “biblical grounds of divorce” (BGD). DC will tell you that the UGD are based on the idea that both spouses agree to these terms whether it is incompatibility, falling out of love, or a great idea for the kid’s sake. We could assume that “BOTH” spouses are unsaved, or not Christians.
These are the verses DC and the Westminster Confession of Faith use to treat marriage as anything but a one-flesh covenant.
Immorality -Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication (DC equates this to be all forms of immortality), and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Here is a post on this scripture. Exception clause in context, not contrast…
Departure of a non-Christian spouse: 1 Cor 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace (DC assumes that this peace gives an unbelieving spouse freedom to divorce and remarry) Here is my post on these scriptures. Divorce in the case of abandonment?…1 Cor 7:15
In the case of BGD, we must assume that only one of the spouses is saved, or as the Westminster Confession of Faith puts it, “innocent”. . If one spouse is innocent, that would equate to the “guilty” spouse as not only being guilty of “immorality” or “abandonment”, they are also without question, not saved. (Here is a post on the Westminster Confession and what they believe about divorce and remarriage and how it relates to the Gospel-The Westminster Confession's Deconstuction of Marriage.
Is “incompatibility” the same as “unequally-yoked”? (2 Cor 6:14) Is “falling out of love” the same as “immorality” if that falling out of love leads to adultery? What I am trying to compare is the fact that even though one spouse breaks the law of marriage, there is nothing in God’s word that would indicate the marriage covenant ends. If God hates divorce (Mal 2:14-16) what would be the option for a spouse who loves the Lord and remained in covenant? The ONLY option for the unsaved spouse is to repent and reconcile with the saved spouse less they die in their sin.
DC makes us believe that the actions of an unsaved immoral and/or abandoning spouse give the “innocent” spouse freedom to divorce, and if they so desire, to remarry another. Yet Luke 16:18 gives no indication that the “innocent” or the “guilty” spouse has any other option other than to reconcile the marriage less it be adultery should both divorce and remarry. It is also adultery if someone dares to “marry” either of those who divorced.
The BGD that DC uses makes it too easy to treat marriage as anything other than a covenant. If this is the case, DC’s interpretation of these BGD are not very biblical, and neither do they corroborate with other scripture on the subject. One must take these scriptures out of context to believe that God requires both spouses to honor their vows to Him and to their spouse of covenant.
In conclusion, DC makes it clear that they do not offer help for the hurts of divorce, they offer deception and more misery. The statistics of second and third marriages do not lie. The statistics of the consequences of divorce do not lie. Instead of teaching marriage permanence, the power of the Gospel, and supporting those who remain in Christ, DC instead offers no hope for the future. DC would rather provide loopholes to exit marriage instead of believing the Lord's command to enact church discipline (Matthew 18:15-17) and remaining in covenant by becoming a witness to a world that embraces divorce and remarriage.
The Reformers and DC should admit that they have failed in defending marriage and that God's word points to remaining in His faithfulness, sovereignty and power to restore death into life. Instead, the Reformers and DC make us believe marriage is temporal and that the law of marriage is only applicable to our desires of the flesh, and not that it is a representation of a life of eternity in Christ. DC wants us to believe God blesses their ministry, thus DC attempts to make us believe that God blesses what He hates in divorce, and what He calls adultery in remarriage.
God did not “intend” marriage to be permanent, he “commanded” marriage to be permanent. If DC would repent of their false teaching and structure this teaching to the permanence of marriage that the "law of marriage" is as it was in the beginning, they would be a blessing to lives of people who need both the grace and truth of the Gospel. Instead, DC has created and remained in teaching a curriculum that leads to sin and death. I know that Steve Grissom and the many “experts” of DC have been warned that this DC ministry is not only responsible for making people believe a divorce ends a one-flesh covenant, DC has made it possible for many to join in and remain in adulterous remarriages. God help them.
In Christ's love,