Florida

Church ruined my (marriage) life

18 posts in this topic

Dilema:

It took me 20 years to find a girl who would go to church, and then the pastor told me I couldn't marry her because she is divorced.

Details:

When I got out of college, I started going to Independent Baptist churches. The pastor at the first one said, "You men are outnumbering the women 4 to 1".  Well, I was hoping I could find a wife in church, but the odds were looking against me.  I moved around and have been to many churches, college and career classes and single's groups.  In an Independent Baptist church, there would usually be several single men, but no single women. In a Southern Baptist church, the divorced women came around after age 30 or so.  They usually had their problems with their ex, their kids, drinking, tattoos, fornication, etc.

So, I finally met a girl who would go to an independent baptist church, and the pastor tells me I can't marry her because she is divorced.  What am I supposed to do?  There are no single women in church.  Forbidding to marry is described as a doctrine of devils (1 Tim 4:1-3).  I think the pastor is wrong because Jesus gave a valid reason for divorce and he was changing the way the Jews in the Old Testament divorced their wives for any reason, but that's sort fo another issue.

Going to church has been a disaster for me (and many other guys) in terms of finding a wife and getting married. I'm not sure what to think at this point.

M in Florida.

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Posted (edited)

Dear M,

It sounds like you are dealing with several issues.  Firstly, if you are just now learning of the common belief in the prohibition of remarriage  after divorce, it sounds as if you may not be spending enough time reading God's word.  If you have been attending a Baptist church for 20 years, this common Baptist doctrine should not come as a surprise to you.

Secondly, it sounds as if you have not made up your mind on this issue.  Your pastor tells you that you may not marry a divorced woman, but you also refer to Matthew 5:32 and state that you believe your pastor to be wrong.  If you have studied the subject by studying the scriptures and have sought clarity in prayer and you truly believe your pastor to be in error, then it doesn't sound like you have a problem; marry whom you please.

From what you have shared in your post, it does not sound like your pastor is forbidding godly marriage, only marriage that he believes is in disobedience to scripture. (I agree with your pastor on this issue, as you have presented his position, but this issue is far from beyond a settled debate amongst Christians of varying denominations; including Baptists).  However, if you believe your pastor to be truly teaching "doctrines of devils," why would you remain in a church where the pastor is teaching a doctrine also taught by those who have departed from the faith, given heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils, spoken lies in hypocrisy and having had his conscience seared with a hot iron?

Brother, church is not the reason for the situation that you shared, which you are finding frustrating and confusing; the existence of sin in the world is the cause.  The lack of available godly women in your area is not the fault of your church and such a lack does not give us permission to lower our standards or to disobey God's commands.  If there are no women available to marry, who meet biblical criteria, then you must either look farther out, relocate to a place where there are more women or remain single.

Remaining single is not a curse or a punishment.  The apostle Paul remained single and encouraged other Christians to do the same, if possible.  I, myself, have remained single and celibate, voluntarily, for the past fifteen years, after many years of godless fornication with many women, prior to getting saved.  

It boils down to what I said above.  You have to make up your mind about what you believe God's word truly says about the matter.  If you believe your pastor to be wrong, then you don't have an issue and you may feel free to marry whichever women you please.  If you share your pastor's understanding of God's word, then you cannot marry a divorced women, unless her husband is no longer living.

I encourage you to search the scriptures yourself.  Do not rely solely upon the advice of others.  You will be able to find members here that will support you in either position.  Make sure you pray and ask for understanding as you study God's word on the matter and don't just try to find a way to interpret the scriptures to support your desire.

That's just my two cents worth.

Edited by Brother Stafford

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2 hours ago, Florida said:

Dilema:

It took me 20 years to find a girl who would go to church, and then the pastor told me I couldn't marry her because she is divorced.

Details:

When I got out of college, I started going to Independent Baptist churches. The pastor at the first one said, "You men are outnumbering the women 4 to 1".  Well, I was hoping I could find a wife in church, but the odds were looking against me.  I moved around and have been to many churches, college and career classes and single's groups.  In an Independent Baptist church, there would usually be several single men, but no single women. In a Southern Baptist church, the divorced women came around after age 30 or so.  They usually had their problems with their ex, their kids, drinking, tattoos, fornication, etc.

So, I finally met a girl who would go to an independent baptist church, and the pastor tells me I can't marry her because she is divorced.  What am I supposed to do?  There are no single women in church.  Forbidding to marry is described as a doctrine of devils (1 Tim 4:1-3).  I think the pastor is wrong because Jesus gave a valid reason for divorce and he was changing the way the Jews in the Old Testament divorced their wives for any reason, but that's sort fo another issue.

Going to church has been a disaster for me (and many other guys) in terms of finding a wife and getting married. I'm not sure what to think at this point.

M in Florida.

Totally off topic, but maybe you should try relocating. Up here the singles tend to be ladies, with a severe shortage of single men.

Back to topic...
The question tends to not be so much around 'is divorce ever permissible', but 'is remarriage after divorce permissible'. The two are different questions. BroStafford is right when he says you need to study it out for yourself.

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2 hours ago, Florida said:

Dilema:

It took me 20 years to find a girl who would go to church, and then the pastor told me I couldn't marry her because she is divorced.

Details:

When I got out of college, I started going to Independent Baptist churches. The pastor at the first one said, "You men are outnumbering the women 4 to 1".  Well, I was hoping I could find a wife in church, but the odds were looking against me.  I moved around and have been to many churches, college and career classes and single's groups.  In an Independent Baptist church, there would usually be several single men, but no single women. In a Southern Baptist church, the divorced women came around after age 30 or so.  They usually had their problems with their ex, their kids, drinking, tattoos, fornication, etc.

So, I finally met a girl who would go to an independent baptist church, and the pastor tells me I can't marry her because she is divorced.  What am I supposed to do?  There are no single women in church.  Forbidding to marry is described as a doctrine of devils (1 Tim 4:1-3).  I think the pastor is wrong because Jesus gave a valid reason for divorce and he was changing the way the Jews in the Old Testament divorced their wives for any reason, but that's sort fo another issue.

Going to church has been a disaster for me (and many other guys) in terms of finding a wife and getting married. I'm not sure what to think at this point.

M in Florida.

There are Independent Baptist Churches that marry divorced people but they are in the minority. I know of two pastors personally who would marry you and let you join their churches. One is married to a divorce woman himself albeit she was divorced before her conversion.

 Divorce is the unpardonable sin among many fundamentalists. 

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Posted (edited)

17 minutes ago, fastjav390 said:

Divorce is the unpardonable sin among many fundamentalists. 

Perhaps I am not as learned as I should be, but I have never heard any fundamentalists teach that there is any unpardonable sin, (other than blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) much less that divorce is unpardonable.  Please provide examples of fundamentalists who teach this.  Names of churches and links to their statements of faith or similar will be acceptable.

Edited by Brother Stafford

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Howdy Florida!  What part of the Sunshine State do you call home?

It is so that divorce and remarriage are not permitted during the church age.  However, God will forgive your sin and your soon to be wife's sin for getting married and then he will bless that marriage but you both must be prepared to be chastened.  Your pastor should not marry you but neither should he deny your family membership either.

It's too late for you but our local church has a couple of dozen college age young women who are waiting upon the Lord with regards to marriage.  Seems we have the opposite situation that your church has!

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Posted (edited)

FYI to any single Christian men who cannot find single lady in church....Go soul winning and led her to the Lord! I know many men who desired a wife but gave it up to the Lord and then in the process of doing the work of the Great Commission, God allowed them to meet their future wife.

Another good option is Facebook....everybody knows somebody. I met my wife on Facebook because she was a friend of a friend and we went to the same college but did not know each other then. We knew each others friends, pastors and churches, were able to learn about each others families, found we had many things in common with similar goals in life, etc. 

@ Florida. Remember God sees christian marriage between a man an a woman as symbolic of his covenant between Him and man. Christ says "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.". This means if the divorced lady has a christian marriage then, even if they are divorced by man, they have not been divorced by God. If her husband is still single then she should seek to go back to him and have that marriage restored. However, if he or she remarries then that will no longer be possible.

Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

I would say it would be better for your relationship with God and for christian marriage in our country for both of you to remain single than to marry divorced. Ultimately, as a Christian you have liberty and are free to do what you want in this matter, and it may even work out well for you, but I would not count on it. Expect to have more complications than the typical marriage. 

Jeremiah 3:1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord.

Galatians 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

Edited by John Young
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Wow, thanks for all the replies.  To John,  "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." I read that the opposite: God joined you together, God can split you apart, but man cannot.  It's not a perfect world and even God is divorced (from the nation of Israel)  Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce.

I am venting a bit because I just broke up with the girl I was dating and engaged to marry.  Too many unreconcilable differences I suppose. She loved me very much, but we lived a little far apart and she didn't want to leave her house or job.  She didn't like my regular church, so we went to the one IFB church for about a year.  I had known some don't believe in remarriage after divorce, but I wasn't sure what their position was.  It just hit me personally when I finally brought it up and talked with the pastor.  We left that church and haven't been back.

From my experience, it seems like Independent Baptists accept there are grounds for divorce (fornication - Mat 5:31, abandonment) and allow remarriage, but Independent Fundamentalist Baptist adopt more of a Catholic practice and don't allow remarriage.

Like I said, I am a bit frustrated and venting and being a bit critical.  Church has become a lonely place after so many years of going by myself while most everybody is there with their wives and families.  Families join churches, get involved, but single men can't even have a family - at least that's been my experience.  Sure, many men and women live alone these days, but I still say it's not a good thing.  God himself said "it's not good that man should be alone" before sin even entered.

I'm new on this site, but thanks for letting me vent.  

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Florida said:

Wow, thanks for all the replies.  To John,  "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." I read that the opposite: God joined you together, God can split you apart, but man cannot.  It's not a perfect world and even God is divorced (from the nation of Israel)  Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce.

Sorry to hear about the struggle you are having. God did say "It is not good that the man should be alone". There were a few years before I was married that singleness was wearing on me and girls that I would not have considered before started to look like viable options to the point of compromising my principles. Without going into detail I'm just letting you know that it is not a good place to go. Be sure you are seeking a wife that will help you and is someone whom you enjoy because she is her. Some people marry a willing girl simply because they don't want to be alone then too late they find she was not someone they wanted to make a life with.

In regards to God, If you read a bit further in the same chapter he still considers Himself married to Israel. Seeks reunification at their return and speaks of a future when they are restored. 

Jeremiah 3:12-20 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. 13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the Lord.

14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 and I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. 19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.

20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the Lord.

Edited by John Young
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8 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

Perhaps I am not as learned as I should be, but I have never heard any fundamentalists teach that there is any unpardonable sin, (other than blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) much less that divorce is unpardonable.  Please provide examples of fundamentalists who teach this.  Names of churches and links to their statements of faith or similar will be acceptable.

I think he was just being facetious.

Divorce is one of the most touchy subjects among some IFBs, and it can raise the hackles on some. At times, those who are diametrically  opposed to divorce and remarriage will tackle that subject with the same fervor as they would MVs, false religions, standards, etc.

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2 hours ago, Florida said:

From my experience, it seems like Independent Baptists accept there are grounds for divorce (fornication - Mat 5:31, abandonment) and allow remarriage, but Independent Fundamentalist Baptist adopt more of a Catholic practice and don't allow remarriage.

I'm new on this site, but thanks for letting me vent.  

I would disagree with that first statement - about forbidding remarriage being a Catholic practice. The Catholics forbid marriage in the first place.
It's a tough thing, though, especially in this day and age. I would love to believe that remarriage is ok (not for my sake, but for others I know)... but I just don't see it in the Bible.

Welcome to Online Baptist!

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There are some benefits to not having a wife, Florida--I would give examples but I don't want to run into the post length error that Pastor Markle encountered last week.

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16 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

Perhaps I am not as learned as I should be, but I have never heard any fundamentalists teach that there is any unpardonable sin, (other than blasphemy against the Holy Ghost) much less that divorce is unpardonable.  Please provide examples of fundamentalists who teach this.  Names of churches and links to their statements of faith or similar will be acceptable.

I was a member of an IFB church in Bremerton, WA, Westside Baptist Church, back in the late 80's, while in the Navy, and I know personally that the pastor's belief on divorce was that a person can never serve in the church after being divorced, that their duty was to "sit down, shut up, pay your tithe." I don't suspect he is the pastor anymore, as he was pretty up in years while I was there, and I suspect he is passed on now. I don't know that the current pastor would hold to it, either. I know after I left the military and my wife has left me, though we were still married, I visited them and he wanted little to do with me.

As to the question at hand, I will hold my belief, but I will say, if you can find a woman not having been married before, it is perhaps better because you will inherit a lot of baggage that you won't have otherwise.

John Young and Jim_Alaska like this

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Number one I believe I would ask your pastor for the reasoning behind his statement.  Did he say you could not marry or should not marry?  Or perhaps did he say "I will not marry the two of you"?  Any response should be in regards to the pastor's reasoning.  I am a huge proponent of soul liberty, the pastor runs the church, not my private life, nor my family life but the church and as my pastor, he counsels me and he instructs me but he does not "tell me what I will or will not do".  He is welcome to tell me what he believes I should do and if I am serious about my walk in the Lord I should listen to what he says none the less I am free to disagree with him and make my own choices as I believe the Lord leads.  So ask questions, then pray and then decide. 

  

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19 minutes ago, Orval said:

He is welcome to tell me what he believes I should do and if I am serious about my walk in the Lord I should listen to what he says none the less I am free to disagree with him and make my own choices as I believe the Lord leads.

Isn't that just a description of free will?

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The pastor said he would not marry us.  He also said we could go get married somewhere else, courthouse, etc. and then be welcomed back to his church because "it would already be done" then.  He gave me a number of verses to look up in Matthew and elsewhere. 

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3 hours ago, Florida said:

The pastor said he would not marry us.  He also said we could go get married somewhere else, courthouse, etc. and then be welcomed back to his church because "it would already be done" then.  He gave me a number of verses to look up in Matthew and elsewhere. 

If this is true and the pastor said that without giving reason or purpose, I believe I would seriously ask my self if I am in the right church.  40 - 75 years ago this was the type of thinking that did great damage to the IBF movement as many pastors (I could name) believed it was their kingdom instead of the kingdom of God they were building.  But I caution you to weigh your options carefully and consider all the counsel given you and above all pray not for what you want but for what God wants for you.  Your current pastor may be rough around the edges but it is likely he truly has your best interest at heart.  None-the-less I cannot see him telling you outright you cannot marry, unless you are homosexual or have some type of communicable disease or some such thing. 

Keep us abreast of your actions as I am truly interested.     

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12 hours ago, Brother Stafford said:

Isn't that just a description of free will?

Soul Liberty is a little more than free will in that Soul liberty does right because of the Spirit of God and conscience is working in harmony and is willing to suffer the consequences for their decision i.e. the three Hebrew children and Nebuchadnezzar, Jesus before Pilot, the disciples before the Sanhedrin etc.   Free will is typically an Arminian belief that allows the believer to enter into and out of Christ by an exercise of the will.  While free will has a common usage among Baptists the use, strictly speaking, is not a correct usage.  We do not of our own will enter into salvation nor do we of our own free will walk away from Christ and enter into perdition.  This is the basis for much Arminian and Calvinistic debate in the fact that they both hold to extreme views of soteriology and in fact both are wrong. IMO.  lol

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