Permanence of Marriage Movement

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by bookslover, Jul 24, 2016.

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  1. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Has anyone heard of the "Permanence of Marriage Movement"? Apparently, it believes that there are NO biblical grounds for divorce, that you have to stay married no matter what the circumstances. A pastor friend is looking for information about this, and I thought I would check around here.
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    I don't know if he is part of that movement, but doesn't Piper hold those views?
  3. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Piper and Voddie Baucham both do. I have not heard of the movement itself but, I do not find it surprising.
  4. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    This seems to be a small but growing movement among Baptists, some Calvinistic and some not. (I believe that this is basically also the view of the Protestant Reformed Churches and the Netherlands Reformed Churches. But my understanding is that most Presbyterian and Reformed churches have affirmed what is taught in the WCF.)

    Jim Elliff and his fellow elders have published a book defending this view. I think Nancy Leigh DeMoss also teaches this. Charles Ryrie believed it and lived it.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2016
  5. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    The Permanence of Marriage Movement seems different than merely some of our pastors believing in a permanence view of marriage. Since they call themselves a "movement" this means their aim is to spread this view.

    They seem to have a Facebook page here:

    Just like teetotallers who see the abuse of alcohol and so prohibit its use totally, this permanence view sees the sinful divorces in our land and so concludes that NO divorce is permissible.
  6. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    This is a teaching that is increasing in prominence in "family integrated" circles (and thus among homeschoolers) and among some complementarian teachers, both men and women.
  7. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    Our church holds to the permanence view, however I would not call this a movement. The term movement gives the impression that it is fast growing. I don't think that is the case. It is a minority view in most denominations and even in most family integrated churches.
  8. Nate

    Nate Puritan Board Junior

    The Protestant Reformed Churches allow for divorce in the event of adultery.
  9. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    So, your church doesn't believe that there are two legitimate grounds for divorce: (1) sexual immorality and (2) the departure of an unbelieving spouse? Those are the two biblical allowances. Just asking.
  10. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    But does that imply remarriage? Looking into the view it seems while for some it may be a ground for divorce and subsequent remarriage it remains largely ambiguous or at least cryptic.
    Not that I am criticizing the PRC, I have just noticed the view states "we allow divorce." But most believe it implies remarriage where those who hold that view believe that it is a no. Silence is a double edged sword.
  11. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    It seems that defining terms would be helpful. Anyone who holds to Biblical marriage holds to marriage permanence. The question comes in what breaks that marriage: historically, I'd say the scriptures address death, infidelity and desertion by a nonbeliever.
  12. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    Those holding to the view under examination here believe that only death can break the marriage bond.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk
  13. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    What is the official position of the Netherlands Reformed Congregations on this issue?
  14. Nate

    Nate Puritan Board Junior

    You are correct: the PRC does not allow for remarriage while the former spouse remains alive. To be fair though, I was not trying to be cryptic, but simply responding in the contex of the specific OP statement regarding "NO biblical grounds for divorce" and the subsequent suggestion that the PRC held this view.
  15. MichaelNZ

    MichaelNZ Puritan Board Freshman

    This is also the Roman Catholic view. However, they have a way out through the annulment process (i.e.they will look at the circumstances surrounding the wedding ceremony and may come to the conclusion that no valid marriage ever took place, thus leaving the couple free to remarry).

    To PuritanPilgrim and others who hold the permanence view, what do you do if a divorced and remarried couple start addressing your church? Also, do you believe that those who got married and divorced before getting saved are free to remarry in the church?
  16. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    Rome has historically permitted bed and board separation in the case of adultery (and desertion, in which the remaining party has no choice in the matter).

    The key here is whether remarriage is permitted. If remarriage is not permitted to the innocent party after adultery, for instance, then there is no biblical doctrine of divorce present. This is because if the divorce is biblically lawful, then the remarriage is lawful.

    If remarriage is not considered ever lawful, then there is no true doctrine of divorce: this is patently unbiblical, whether practiced by Rome or some Protestant groups.

    Let me be painfully clear: if the right of remarriage for the innocent party after divorce or the remaining party after desertion is denied, there is no biblical doctrine of divorce and remarriage present and God's Word has plainly been denied, no matter how pious those holding such appear to be.

  17. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you, Rev. Strange. I was stopping by to suggest that we cannot give definition to language that is not squared by what the Bible teaches. You're consideration in terms of remarriage is far more cogent! We may be able to place upon ourselves more stringent requirements than the Word requires but Christian liberty does not allow us to place that requirement on others. Such fencing of the Biblical requirements was soundly refuted by Jesus himself and oddly echos the first century rabbinic compass.
  18. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Why the innocent party only? The divorce would be lawful for both parties.

    To the OP, my previous church's pastor held this view (Calvinist, but not confessionally Reformed). He took the passages on divorce in the case of adultery as addressing breaking of an engagement, not marriage.
  19. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior


    I grant you that there may be mitigating circumstances for the guilty party in adultery and for the leaving party in desertion (conversion, for example), as well as disputes about what precisely constitutes desertion, all of which impact the consideration of remarriage.

    However, those disputes are properly internecine ones among those who hold to the Bible and the WCF. Whether there is a right of real divorce and remarriage for the innocent and remaining parties is not a matter of dispute, but settled doctrine (v. WCF 24).

    To address your question now more decidedly, let's take the adultery exception. The reason that the guilty party has no right of remarriage ordinarily (notice that word) is because the guilty party has no right of divorce. Only the innocent party has such a right. And thus the right to remarry. One may not, in other words, commit adultery and say "Well, I've committed adultery and I now have the right to divorce and remarriage." No, only the innocent party has the right of divorce and remarriage.

    In the desertion case, the unbeliever may well get remarried, not thinking that they are bound by God's law at all. That does not mean that they are not, however. They are and they have no proper right of remarriage, because they improperly and unlawfully left their mate.

    So, no, ordinarily all the rights accrue to the innocent and remaining parties.

  20. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks for your response. I'm asking more to the case of the innocent party divorcing. The guilty party is also divorced, correct? In which case they are no longer married. Why cannot they also remarry? I'm not in this situation, nor have I ever been (or anyone I know). I'm just curious.
  21. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior


    Because the right to divorce and the right to remarry are inextricably linked. Only one possessing the former also enjoys the latter.

    If one committed adultery and that led to divorce, one has no ordinary right of remarriage thereafter. The right of remarriage is not a reward for committing adultery. It only pertains to the innocent party.

    What the guilty party should do is repent and recognize that he has no ordinary right of remarriage (which is part of the repentance in this case).

  22. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    We do not hold those as biblical allowances. The Westminster speaks on this topic, however the writers of the 1689 choose to remain silent on the topic.

    We have divorced and remarried people who are members of our church. It's not a unforgivable sin. We tell them, whatever marriage you are in is the one that you should stay in. Divorce is messy. Additionally, we understand that within the reformed community we are in the minority. If one of our members were seeking divorce under one of the two "exception clauses" we would not excommunicate for that reason. However, we would be encouraging them to be reconcile with their spouse. However, as elders we will not perform a remarriage for someone who is divorced if their spouse is living. Marriage is a picture of Christ and his church, Christ will not leave or forsake his church.
  23. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior


    This is thought to be sound-reasoning, doubtless; but it is, in fact, specious.

    It is quite true that Christ will never leave nor forsake his own. It is not the case, however, that Christ will not withdraw the candle-stand, and thus his blessing and presence, from a church that has shown itself to be, as a visible church, not his own.

    Similarly in terms of the church discipline of individuals: The above-stated position would suggest that Christ will not put someone out whom he has claimed by baptism and who has professed his faith and interest in Christ. But we know, of course, that those who by their life show themselves to be no true disciples, are indeed to be put out of the congregation. It is simply not the case that Christ will not disown those who, though having professed him, refuse to follow him. Do we need to give all the biblical citations for this?

    One who sins against the marriage, who breaks the marriage vow by outward and actual adultery, is liable to be put outside the marriage, by a proclamation that no true marriage any longer obtains. The innocent party is not obliged to divorce the guilty but may do so, and in some instances, should likely do so (to maintain the institution of marriage that the guilty party has so badly besmirched).

    To confess the permanence of marriage in this life is to make an idol of marriage, just as to confess that civil rebellion is never warranted under any circumstances is to make an idol of the state (or that the church must always be obeyed: that makes an idol of the church). All institutions given by God are relativized by our sinful estate and the commands of God for our relief in such. Only God is absolute and only he is to be obeyed at all times without qualification. Civil governors, ecclesiastical officers, and husbands do not enjoy inviolable authority. States, churches, and marriages may be dissolved in the proper circumstances. To teach otherwise is to establish a tyranny unrecognized by God's Word.

  24. Miss Marple

    Miss Marple Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Strange your reasoning is such a breath of fresh air!
  25. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    The analogy is not an exact one. The likeness between a marriage between a Christian man and his wife and Christ and the Church is an analogical likeness, not a univocal one. Otherwise, one would have to assume that the marriage between a husband and wife goes on throughout eternity, which is obviously unbiblical and unconfessional, as marriage is only for the present life.
  26. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

  27. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    Dr. Strange,

    Does the offended party in the case of sexual immorality have the right to divorce or the requirement to divorce?
  28. Alan D. Strange

    Alan D. Strange Puritan Board Junior

    brother. Wright:

    As I noted above, the innocent party has the right to sue out a divorce (in the language of WCF 24.5).

  29. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    Yes, I understand the WCF says they have the right to sue according to 24.5. I am asking on what basis would someone determine whether or not to sue. If it's not required, but merely a choice, on what basis do they make that choice?
  30. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Reference was made upthread to the PCA study report by the Baptist missionary.

    I would highlight this portion:

    "i. That in matters pertaining to sexual immorality and desertion, the pastor and Ruling Elders are responsible for providing counsel, direction and judgment, according to the Scriptures and the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church in America."
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