Churches Of Christ/Divorce and remary
sMy wife left me because of sexual immorality on my part. I repented and never stopped attending church. She served me papers for a Judgement of Separation with Division of Assets. After much pleading for forgiveness and for reconciliation she told me to desist because she was never coming back. After I retired and final spousal support was settled I filed for divorce. After three years I married a woman I dated in High School. She lives in another State. In the course of our telephone conversations she became interest in learning more about salvation and I pointed to the COC where she lived, and she became a Christian, two years before we got married. After attending church in her state for a few months the elders of the church, and the minister asked us to have a meeting in which they told us that our marriage was sinful because I was the guilty party and that to make things right with God we would have to dissolve the marriage.
Are they correct? Are we living in seen? Should we divorce and live celibate lives.
Thank you so much for asking me your question. First, where does the Bible teach that anyone MUST live celibate or that when there is divorce, the guilty party can never again have a marriage? I have not found either. Second, what is being told to you and your current wife is built on baseless assumptions.
They read the words of Matthew 19:9 and then make huge assumptions. They ignore the fact that Jesus was not giving guidance to Christians. Jesus was being tested by Pharisees on the Law of Moses. Jesus was correcting their error in what they taught on divorce and remarriage under Jewish Law.
Also, they ignore proper study techniques. Here is what Jesus said:
Anyone who divorces his wife, except for reason of fornication, and marries another, commits adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.
Now to properly understand what Jesus said, we must take out the "exception clause" and then realize that when the exception clause is put back in, it negates everything said when it was not included. IN other words this is the correct understanding.
Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery...and whoever marries the woman he divorced, also commits adultery...but if the cause for the divorce was "fornication" then no one on any side of this is guilty of adultery. In other words, if the cause for divorce is fornication, then the man who divorced her is not guilty of adultery. Also, the man who marries the woman who is divorced does not commit adultery.
But the bottom line is that only Paul spoke fully about divorce and remarriage to Christians.
So to answer your question, the elders and minister of the church where she became a Christian are incorrect. Your first wife could have chosen to stay with you and save the marriage - and considering you repented instantly and begged her not to end the marriage, she refused to ever come back to you. Then, 3 years after your divorce was final, you married someone new and had every right to do that too. Two wrongs can never make a right. IF it was wrong for you to marry each other (which I do not believe it was wrong) then divorcing each other is not going to make it all okay.
Paul only encourages celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7 because the church was being persecuted at that time. But he also points out that few men had the self control that Paul had in order to be able to live celibate and avoid fornication. It is not good that man should be alone. Paul points this out several times in 1 Cor.7.
The thing is, you repented of your adultery long ago. You remained faithful to God too. Your current spouse is a new Christian. You did not sin by marrying her and your marriage is not sinful. It is centered on God. But a majority of churches of Christ believe and teach as the elders and minister where she became a Christian. You may find it difficult to find a church of Christ that will accept you and your marriage. Personally, I don't believe it's their business to know the details. If I were the two of you, I'd move to a place where no one knows you and worship with a local church that doesn't know you and your history. Then if anyone asks about your marriage, you just tell them that you both are scripturally able to be married. This is not telling a lie and it's really all they need to know.
I pray my answer helps you. If you have more questions, please feel free to ask me.
In Christian Love, Joe Norman