Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Divorce and Remarriage Part II

A question has arisen from my previous post about divorce and remarriage: What happens if two Christians are married and one of them is excommunicated and then leaves the other?

Excommunication is a process whereby the church recognizes a person as being a non-Christian. Excommunication should not be entered into lightly and it should take an appropriate amount of time with the goal of bringing the sinning brother or sister back into fellowship with God, his family, and those around him. If, after repeated attempts to regain his faith, he constantly and consistently refuses to come back to God, he should be excommunicated by his church.

It should be marked that excommunication is not a punishment, it is a step of reconciliation. It is an attempt to bring the sinning person back into fellowship, not a step of getting rid of the person. It does have a cleansing and purifying aspect to it in that it takes a person who is claiming to be a Christian and who is shaming the Church of Christ and bringing reproach to the savior, but its primary purpose is restoration.

If the process is competed and the sinful spouse is excommunicated heis put out of the church. He is removed from the body of Christ and it is proclaimed to him and to all the world that he is not a Christian (Mt. 18:17-20). He are not a member of the Church, or the Body of Christ. He must repent or He will spend eternity in Hell. He is handed over to Satan and put out of the church so that he might learn not to blaspheme and to want to walk with God (1 Tim. 1:20).

Now back to the original question. After the man has been excommunicated the family situation is no longer two believers living together. They are now a believer living with an unbeliever. As 1 Corinthians 7 says, if the unbeliever consents to live with the believer, she must not divorce him because who knows, it could be through her ministry to him that brings him to Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 3:1-6). But if the excommunicated unbeliever leaves the believer, she is free to divorce him and to remarry—only in the Lord. Or if the excommunicated unbeliever kicks the believer out of the house, she is free to divorce him and to remarry—only in the Lord.

I hope this helps.

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