Methodist Changes On Divorce

Matthew 19:9: … Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Methodist Creed Book, 1896: No divorce, except for adultery, shall be regarded by the Church as lawful; and no Minister shall solemnize marriage in any case where there is a divorced wife or husband living; but this rule shall not be applied to the innocent party to a divorce for the cause of adultery, nor to divorced parties seeking to be reunited in marriage. (The Doctrines and Discipline of the Methodist Episcopal Church)

That looks just like Matthew 19:9, right?

Methodist Creed Book, 1914: The Ministers of our Church shall be prohibited from solemnizing the rites of matrimony between divorced persons, except in the case of innocent parties who have been divorced for the one scriptural cause.

Methodist Creed Book, 1940: No Minister shall solemnize the marriage of a divorced person whose wife or husband is living and unmarried; but this rule shall not apply (1) to the innocent person when it is clearly established by competent testimony that the true cause for divorce was adultery or other vicious conditions which through mental or physical cruelty or physical peril invalidated the marriage vow, nor (2) to the divorced persons seeking to be reunited in marriage.

Methodist Creed Book, 1960: In view of the seriousness with which the Scriptures and the Church regard divorce, a minister may solemnize the marriage of a divorced person only when he has satisfied himself by careful counseling that (a) the divorced person is sufficiently aware of the factors leading to the failure of the previous marriage, (b) the divorced person is sincerely preparing to make the proposed marriage truly Christian, and (c) sufficient time has elapsed for adequate preparation and counseling.

Methodist Creed Book, 1984: Where marriage partners, even after thoughtful consideration and counsel, are estranged beyond reconciliation, we recognize divorce as regrettable but recognize the right of divorced persons to remarry. We express our deep concern for the care and nurture of the children of divorced and/or remarried persons. We encourage that either or both of the divorced parents be considered for custody of the minor children of the marriage. We encourage an active, accepting, and enabling commitment of the church and our society to minister to the members of divorced families.

See the gradual, but drastic change?

Matthew 5:32: … whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Romans 7:2-3: For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

Almost all type churches have made similar changes on divorce, and on other topics:

• Romans 6:4 the Catholics changed baptism from immersion to sprinkling in the 1311 Council of Ravenna

• I Corinthians 14:34-35 almost all churches used to forbid “women preachers;” now almost all allow it

• Romans 1:26-27 just like many churches have changed on the marriage of divorcees, the same change is beginning on the marriage of homosexuals – it is just a matter of time

• many other changes/departures from the Bible over time


3 Responses to “Methodist Changes On Divorce”

  1. Deborah Leath Says:

    It seems as though the Methodist Church and all those other churches who have relaxed their values on the divorce topic have done a dis-service to the parties of the divorce, GOD, and also the lives of any others they come in contact with. The seriousness and the sanctity of marriage has fallen by the wayside. The churches are then part of the problem, and not part of the solution. People enter into marriage thinking they can just get out if it doesn’t work. Some ministers of God’s Word. I bet God is not happy with the changes to HIS COMMANDS!

  2. Terry Hulbert Says:

    God’s Grace and Mercy are new every day. I am Methodist and we DO believe in the sanctity of marriage. But if there are scriptural grounds for divorce (adultery, willful desertion, physical abuse) then the injured spouse isn’t condemned. If we all did good towards each other and did what God wanted us to, we’d be a lot better off. But there is sin in the world.

    • Patrick Donahue Says:

      Terry – What Bible verses justify divorce for willful desertion and physical abuse? And what do you think about the Methodist church now showing approval for gay marriages?

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