Asked about “freedom to remarry” for the “guilty” or “innocent” party after a divorce for sexual sin, Dr. Don Carson responds:
“There are some people that say that only the innocent party does have the right to remarry. I find it difficult to think of a Biblical text that sanctions that. That is to say, when the sexual union is broken, the sexual union is broken. And history that’s been a pretty centrist position, too. John Murray, for example, insists on that. So you still want to make sure there’s repentance, that there’s genuine conversion and all, yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand all that. But at the same time I don’t think that remarriage after ‘pornea‘ is a concessive option only for the so-called ‘non-guilty’ party. I don’t think that correct.”
Don Carson, Divorce & Remarriage Q&A, 2007 Gospel Coalition Conference (at min. 14:58 of the mp3)
Earlier this evening I spent time with my friend Tim, with whom I’ve become reconnected after several years of being apart. Tim still goes to the same Assemblies of God (“A/G”) church in which we met and I was baptized in 1991. Since that time I’ve left Pentecostalism in the late 1990’s for Evangelicalism, and then moved to the Reformed faith in 2003 (shortly after Tim and I broke contact).
Now, with Tim in a church with Pentecostal holiness heritage—and all the baggage that goes with it—I wondered how we would relate as brothers. Not only would the Reformed-vs.-Arminian angle become an issue, but Pentecostalism’s notorious mistreatment of divorce persons would rear its head at some point. But God had worked in him to impart a level of Gospel-grace that transcends the self-righteous religiosity in which his denomination operates.
To give him an idea of how I viewed religion vs. Gospel, I played Mark Driscoll’s outstanding “Why I hate Religion” sermon clip. He loved it, so I played the Tolerance Rant, too.
This evening, the divorce issue came to a head; for him because he’s considering dating a divorced woman, for me because some day I would like marry again. So I went to the official Assemblies of God website to show him where his church stands, where his money is going, what he’s up against and how his best friend is viewed by his church organization. A quick site search on “divorce” returns an August 10, 2001 news item: 49th General Council report: Divorce/remarriage resolution passes. The resolution is supposed to “permit men and women who were divorced before conversion to pursue ministerial credentials with the Assemblies of God.”
We analyzed the article together.