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Biblical authority, Counseling, Marriage

Cohabitation, Divorce, and Remarriage [discussion]

Bride and groom figurines standing on two separated slices of wedding cake

 

Welcome to a new section here at GraceWithSalt.com.  For several years now I have been writing on apologetics issues such as creation/evolution and Biblical authority.  Last year I finished my masters in professional counseling and have been spending the last couple years sitting with people in their darkest moments, and hopefully playing a small role in helping them find hope and solutions.  During that time I’ve felt interested in blogging about counseling topics, but never had a section here to do that – so today we are changing that!

Recently I got involved in a comment “battle” about cohabitation, divorce, and remarriage.  It was following an older post about gay marriage where another commenter rightly pointed out that the church needs to focus more on divorce.  I was replying to that comment when the new commenter (identity protected) joined in.  The conversation, reprinted below, serves a good reminder on the stark difference in approaches to marriage between those with a truly Biblical worldview and those with a worldly mindset.

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

12 thoughts on “Cohabitation, Divorce, and Remarriage [discussion]

  1. Why do you think that in the States, the highest rate of divorce is among fundamentalist Christians?

    Posted by Arkenaten | July 2, 2015, 3:10 pm
    • Well, first I would ask you to cite your source for that claim. Then I’d ask for a definition of fundamentalist Christian. If you are saying why is the divorce rate the same in the church than outside the church then I would say pretty much what I’ve already said – too many people rushing into marriage unprepared, too many people marrying for wrong reasons, and too many people unable to realign their goals and commitments. I’m guessing the answer would be the same for the “fundamentalists” too. Just because there is a right way to do it does not mean many people do. Biblical Christians are just as flawed and prone to sin as anyone else.

      Posted by Tim | July 2, 2015, 3:15 pm
      • I can do a Google search for you, sure, but it is a stat that is much bandied about.
        I am saying the divorce rate among Fundamentalist Christians is higher than the national average.

        Are you unfamiliar with the term Fundamentalist Christian?

        Posted by Arkenaten | July 2, 2015, 3:22 pm
  2. Ok, I found it – http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm.
    George Barna calls it “evangelical Christians”, but yes I know what a fundamentalist is – but it can mean different things to different people. Barna says that the rate IS higher among evangelicals, but many reasons are also cited as to what may be causing that distinction. Here is his commentary, which I agree with…

    “While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.”

    Posted by Tim | July 2, 2015, 3:33 pm
    • The last sentence is the most pertinent, don’t you think and tends to add credence to the original statement regarding the higher then average divorce rate among born again/evangelical christians.

      As a counselor and a fundamentalist christian how do you deal with this knowledge?

      Posted by Arkenaten | July 2, 2015, 3:45 pm
      • I believe our churches are very focused on evangelism and filling the seats, I don’t think they are as good at growing fully mature and Biblically grounded Christians. I think truly Biblically-based Christians are a very small minority of the overall public – probably below 10%. I am willing to bet that if you could truly interview only that population the statistics would be much different. MANY people identify as born again Christians but do not even believe Hell exists. That give me great reason to believe their faith is not Biblically-based but opinion-based – and an opinion-based lifestyle would lead to a higher divorce rate.

        Posted by Tim | July 2, 2015, 3:50 pm
        • Well, hell does not exist, as it is a church construct based on mistranslation of the words in the Old and New Testament and I am truly surprised you are unaware of the etymology.
          Certainly, the character Jesus of Nazareth never taught it.
          But this is by the by; are you suggesting that those Christians who do not follow the bible to the letter are thus, not genuine Christians?

          Posted by Arkenaten | July 2, 2015, 3:58 pm
          • I do not agree with your belief about Hell and am not willing to get into that topic on this post (perhaps another time), but let me clarify the end part. A Christian is someone who accepts Jesus’s forgiveness – period. A Biblical Christian believes the Bible as the word of God, absolutely true, and puts its teachings into daily practice in their life. In other words a Biblical Christian is not just a Christian in name only, but in practice. Not just a convert, but a disciple.

            Posted by Tim | July 2, 2015, 4:05 pm
            • So how do you judge who is a disciple an who is not?
              There are millions who consider themselves christian based on similar if not exact criteria.
              Some consider it essential to believe in a physical resurrection for example while others do not.
              The point is, that divorce is notably higher among evangelical christians than other sects of christianity and most certainly higher than agnostics and atheists.
              My question is how do you deal with/come to terms with this fact as a counselor and YEC?

              Posted by Arkenaten | July 2, 2015, 4:11 pm
              • It is very difficult to acertain authentic Christianity without in-depth talks and a solid Biblical worldview yourself. Statistics will have a very hard time showing it. Probably George Barna does the best at it as he has a set of criteria people have to agree to before labeling them a born-again Christian. But either way your point stands, and your question is valid.

                I believe two humans who truly have a Biblically-based shared vision for their marriage and family is EXTREMELY rare! Thus when you see statistics that church folk are the same or higher than unchurched in divorce, you can’t ascertain the authenticity of their faith in the equation. I feel comfortable believing that the majority of those are not truly biblically-based mature Christians. Having said that, I must admit that yes – even biblicaly-based mature Christians can and do divorce because no system is perfect because it involves sinful humans who will make mistakes. It’s not a cut-and-dry topic.

                Posted by Tim | July 2, 2015, 4:17 pm
                • Not to hammer the point, the stats refer to evangelical christians, and I would venture that there is no reason to suspect these people do not truly believe they are as Christian as you.
                  Based on this, why do you, as a counselor think the divorce rate is so much higher among evangelical Christians than other Christian sects?

                  Posted by Arkenaten | July 2, 2015, 4:21 pm
                  • Perhaps I am not being clear and I believe we are just harping on it now, but let me try again (for the last time). I believe evangelical Christians and Christians who have been transformed into disciples are two different distinctions. Someone can label themselves an evangelical Christian and live their life however they want. That’s not a good representation of authentic Christianity. They may be saved, but they are not active disciples. And even if you become an active disciple, that doesn’t mean your spouse is. There is so many factors involved. In other words a truly biblically-based authentic disciplined Christian marriage is in my opinion EXTREMELY RARE… thus the stats you are quoting do not reflect that accurately. You are trying to make a point that being a Christian has no effect or a negative affect on marriage, and I understand how you can come to that conclusion, but I believe it is not accurate of real authentic Christianity. There is a difference that needs to be taken into account that is extremely difficult to take into account, but it is a difference I see everyday.

                    Posted by Tim | July 2, 2015, 4:29 pm

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