For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.

Position

Marriage is an institution created by God. It is a covenant relationship established by mutual vows between a man and a woman united by God. Permanent unity in marriage is possible in Christ and is demanded of Christ’s disciples who are married. Marriages should not be dissolved; divorce is contrary to God’s will. However, by persistent and unrepented sin, people can separate what God has joined together. Scripture acknowledges that certain actions and attitudes that occur in a sinful world and conflict with God’s will can destroy a marriage relationship.

Since failure to keep the marriage covenant is sin, the church must exercise a ministry of reconciliation and call marriage partners to confession, forgiveness, reconciliation, and renewed obedience. The church must minister with special concern to those involved in the traumatic experience of divorce, speaking with clarity where sinful conduct is overt and apparent and exercising formal discipline when there is disdain for biblical teaching and when repentance is beyond hope. The church must be a place of acceptance and support for those who have been divorced and for their children.

The church should neither issue a clear prohibition against remarriage nor attempt to list with legal precision the circumstances under which remarriage does not conflict with biblical teaching. The church must apply biblical principles to concrete situations in the light of its best understanding of what happened in a particular divorce and what is being planned for a particular remarriage.

History

The subject of divorce was dealt with in the context of marriage and divorce. For a concise history of these matters see the entry Marriage.

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Acts of Synod 1908, pp. 31, 39, 42
Acts of Synod 1947, pp. 17, 47, 65-69, 77-80, 238-45
Acts of Synod 1952, pp. 20-23, 123-52
Acts of Synod 1956, pp. 15-17, 55-59, 117-19, 285-327, 379-80
Acts of Synod 1957, pp. 87-90, 93-95, 105-7, 335-47
Acts of Synod 1968, pp. 60-61, 577-78
Acts of Synod 1971, pp. 112, 148, 632-40
Acts of Synod 1973, pp. 58-59, 108, 595-607, 744-45
Acts of Synod 1975, pp. 104, 488-514
Acts of Synod 1976, pp. 38-39, 85, 104, 458-96
Acts of Synod 1977, pp. 134-37, 149, 510-48, 681-82, 691-94, 697-99
Acts of Synod 1979, pp. 45, 137, 467
Acts of Synod 1980, pp. 40-41, 467-85, 592
Acts of Synod 1981, pp. 62, 614-17
Acts of Synod 1983, pp. 671-72
Agenda for Synod 1994, p. 239
Acts of Synod 1994, p. 485