Divorce and Remarriage
in the Church
Biblical Solutions
for Pastoral Realities

David Instone-Brewer

(Paternoster UK, 2003)
[Buy from Amazon UK]

(IVP USA, 2006)
[Buy from Amazon USA]



Drag edge to see more <->
 Full text
Introd. Preface 
Introduction: What's new?
Chap.1 Confessions of a Confused Minister
So many questions
Traditional church teaching
No blinding flash
"No-one can separate"?
Looking forward
Putting it in context
Further Reading
Chap.2 A Marriage Made in Paradise
God's perfect plan
But in practice …
The cruel world of the ancient Near East
Moses makes things better
Equality under the Law of Moses
Are marriages any better today?
To conclude: God's law in an imperfect world
Further Reading
Chap.3 God the Reluctant Divorcee
'Thou shalt not commit adultery'
Three more Biblical grounds for divorce
Four marriage vows
God's divorce
A broken contract
Israel's broken marriage vows
God hates divorce
To conclude: Practical laws for a sinful world
Further Reading
Chap.4 The Church Can’t Do Without It 
Applying the Old Testament today
The moral and ceremonial laws
Jesus' view of the Old Testament
Jesus highlighted principles, not details
The basis of modern laws
To conclude: Keeping the spirit of the Law
Further Reading
Chap.5 Divorce on Demand?
A new type of divorce, for men only
The 'Any Cause' divorce
"Nothing except 'Sexual Immorality'"
Asking Jesus' opinion
Understanding the jargon
Answering their question
Jesus' other teaching on marriage and divorce
Divorce only for 'hard-heartedness'
Dropping the bombshell
Re-reading the Gospel passage
Summarising Jesus' teaching
To conclude: Questions which Jesus does not answer
Further Reading
Chap.6 When Your Partner Walks Out
Paul did not disapprove of marriage
A question about sex
Caring for each other
Roman divorce was too easy
Translating 'separate'
What if you have used divorce-by-separation?
What if you are a victim of divorce-by-separation?
To conclude: Divorce should be the last option
Further Reading
Chap.7 Till Death Us Do Part?
Lifelong marriage can be a curse
Texts which might imply lifelong marriage
When silence speaks volumes
Romans 7.2: The church as Christ's bride
1 Corinthians 7.39: widows' freedom to remarry
To conclude: Case not proved
Further Reading
Chap.8 Four Biblical Grounds for Divorce
The church struggles to be just
Why was Jesus silent about the victim's right to divorce?
Didn't Jesus allow only one ground for divorce?
Paul teaches four grounds for divorce
Defining Biblical grounds for divorce
How can one define 'conjugal love'?
So what can we say to the abused?
Behind the façade
To conclude: God knows our secret suffering
Further Reading
Chap.9 Can I Get Married Again?
Mary and Joseph's divorce certificate
"You are free to marry any man you wish"
What the Dead Sea scrolls really say
Everyone expected divorcees to remarry
Paul quotes a divorce certificate
Paul says abandoned believers can remarry
Abandonment is 'neglect'
Even the guilty partner can remarry - eventually
To conclude: Paul allows remarriage
Further Reading
Chap.10 Is Remarriage Adultery?
Joseph's plan to divorce Mary
An invalid divorce for valid reasons
Invalid divorce for no good reason
Preachers' rhetoric
No-one said: Get divorced again
Invalid divorces before conversion
Deciding innocence or guilt
To conclude: Divorce is forgivable
Chap.11 Promises, Promises
The earliest English marriage service
Our marriage vows come from Exodus 21
Valuable contracts in the rubbish room
The vow "to obey"
Roman women rebelled against submission
Why early Christians decided to submit
Should both brides and grooms promise to "obey"?
When should we refuse remarriage in church?
Helping divorcees know God's forgiveness
Service of repentance for broken vows
To conclude: Marriage vows are the key
Further Reading
Chap.12 The Teaching which Time forgot
Survival of Judaism after AD 70
Generations divided by language
Missing punctuation
God's word can cross the generations
Modern readers have to work harder
Scripture alone is not always enough
An explosion of information
To conclude: Crossing the gulf
Chap.13 Conspiracy?
Revealing the Dead Sea scrolls
A suppressed divorce document
Jewish divorce changed in the 2nd century
A world dominated by sex
Church fears about sex
New teaching for a new age
Tradition versus Scripture
Disputes about doctrines
Discoveries ignored by theologians
To conclude: Reversing the change in church doctrine
Further Reading
Chap.14 What Should the Church Do Now?
Summary of this book
Similar conclusions by the Reformers without the recent discoveries
Modern theologians with similar conclusions
Biblical principles and church policy
Contradictions in present church policy
How can we apply these findings?
To conclude: Principles for real life
Further Reading
Chap.15 Dear Pastor…
The theory is good, but does it work?
Email from a woman who stayed with her abusive husband
Email from a woman in a loveless marriage
Email about a foolish marriage
Email suggesting a solution: Jesus was only speaking about betrothal
Email from a guilty and repentant church leader
Email from a remarried man whose church wants him to get divorced
Email from someone who wants a service of repentance when she marries
Email about some new Christians who the church refused to marry
Email from someone who admits being judgmental
Email about a church where divorcees cannot be deacons
Email from Mozambique about polygamy and divorce-by-separation
Email from someone who wants to know my motives
Email from someone who thinks I am teaching this for money
It is for you to judge
Study Guides
Study 1. Four grounds for divorce in the Old Testament
Study 2. Jesus' teaching on adultery and the new 'Any Cause' divorces
Study 3. Paul's teaching on the other three Biblical grounds.
Study 4. 'Till death us do part' and remarriage
Study 5. Wedding vows, and remarriage in church
Study 6 (optional). How to read the Bible, including the Old Testament


Other Versions:
For Scholars
For Church Leaders
Please keep me informed about this work

About the author  Email comments