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¶630.3.1.4 AS REGARDS DIVINELY APPOINTED INSTITUTIONS: Principles Regarding Divorce

¶630.3.1.4 Principles Regarding Divorce

When one marriage partner is a Christian and the other a nonbeliever, we believe that the
Christian may not for that reason divorce the unchristian mate (I Corinthians 7:12-13), because
Christian love may redeem the unbeliever and unite the home in Christ (I Corinthians 7:16, I
Peter 3:1-2).

When a marriage is violated by sexual infidelity, the partners are encouraged to work for
restoration of the union. Where reconciliation is impossible, a divorce may be allowed.
(Matthew 5:32; 19:9).

Desertion is the abandoning of a marriage without just cause. We believe that a person denies the faith that deserts a spouse deliberately and for an extended period of time. When the desertion leads subsequently to divorce, the deserted partner is no longer bound by the marriage (I Corinthians 7:15).

Where reconciliation is impossible in a troubled marriage, we acknowledge that divorce may be unavoidable (Matthew 5:32; 19:9). When marriages break down completely, we recognize that, in the words of Jesus, “hardness of heart” is implicit on one or both sides of the union (Matthew 19:3-8; Mark 10:5-9).
Though the Scriptures allow divorce on the grounds of adultery (Matthew 5:32) and desertion
(I Corinthians 7:10-16), it does not mandate divorce and we advise counsel with church leaders to seek other alternatives. One of these may be for both to live celibately.