The divorce issue has been a point of discussion and controversy among many people for a long time. It is used as a level of holiness for some and a rod of oppression against those who have experienced it as part of the path they have walked. It is a reality that cannot be ignored and should not be judged. Unless there are issues that the church has examined relative to the divorce, it should no more be held against someone than any other course of life in which they have walk, even if they have persecuted the church and have given their consent that many be executed (Paul). Some people think that divorce is the unpardonable sin while others think that there is nothing wrong with it.
Of course I speak hypothetically, but, if two members of the congregation have a problem, then it is the duty of the other members to bare each others burdens and help those taken in a fault. If these members will not hear the brother or sister, then the matter must involve two or three to go and speak in love to the aggrieved parties. If they will not hear them then the matter comes before the church and if the husband and or wife will not hear the church, then they are to be excluded from the fellowship and shamed in hope of gaining the brother. If they refuse the counsel of the brethren the divorce issue is irrelevant for the church has no authority over them who are without the camp, so, divorce should not be the concern of the church.
Remarriage is again an issue that is tossed about for various reasons. If a brother of a sister has been placed in the position where the unbelieving partner has departed, they are not obligated to remain with them any more than they are obligated to divorce them, but they are not at liberty to remarry. Yet if one is divorced and has remarried and then the Spirit brings them to the fellowship of the congregation, again, the former way of life should not be held over them as the proverbial ‘sword of Damocles’. Once the Spirit has revealed truth unto one of His children the former way of life is left behind like the play toys of childhood. And as He continues to reveal His truth to them, slowly but surely, the baggage of the past is left by the roadside. Whatsoever state they are in they should remain and be content with God’s decrees for He has ordained that which is good, wholesome and profitable to His Beloved. Now if a brother or a sister refuses the counsel of the church in this matter, esteeming themselves more highly than their brethren, then again the principles of Matthew 18:15 must apply before the remarriage ever takes place.
The ‘heinous crimes’ of divorce and remarriage are mute points if proper church order is maintained.
Your servant in Christ,
(Elder) Chet Dirkes