How do Protestant literalists reconcile divorce?

Jesus was pretty clear on the subject: divorce was basically not allowed (cite). But divorce is obviously common today, even among people who otherwise advocate a literal following of biblical direction. So how do conservative Christian literalists reconcile accepting divorce with Jesus’ prohibition?

I’m not looking for a general debate on whether divorce is a sin or not. I’m looking for the theological arguments used by those who support the existing postion I’ve described.

Matthew 19:9 “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”"
Mark 10:11 "He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. "
It’s clear as mud I guess. Anyway, it looks like it’s ok to divorce for adultery. Well, at least if it’s the wife screwing around.

I don’t think they do. I think they are generally opposed to it.

Just that literalists are actually a lot rarer than you likely believe them to be.

Even then, though, its apparently a sin to re-marry, or marry someone who has been divorced.

Thats why Protestants should get a Pope. Get one of those annulment or dispensation thingies, and your golden.

No, according to Matt it looks like you can divorce because your wife committed adultery and remarry without committing adultery yourself.

If it’s with an Assyrian, I think you can drive a spear through her. At least according to Phinehas.

My first thought is that Christ is not judging someone who divorces & then later on meets someone & marries, but that He is against divorcing a spouse to then take another.

Also, Christ notes that Moses & the Torah allowed divorce because of hard-heartedness, a part of human sinfulness, but is telling His disciples that they should be better than that, & so He only allows divorce/remarriage in cases of adultery (and I think that is not only sexual infidelity but any serious betrayal of trust, and would include abandonment & abuse.) Paul backs up that interpretation in I Corinthians 7.

Finally, for Christ to totally disallow divorce/remarriage makes Him harsher than Torah rules, and if an interpretation of Scripture makes Christ less Gracious than The Law, then that interpretation should be highly suspect.

Btw, Eastern Orthodoxy also allows for divorce & remarriage. And it can be argued for all practical purposes that Roman Catholicism does also but just calls it ‘annulment’.

One last note- Christ is answering if divorce is allowed “for any reason”. We think that Christ is saying “No, only for adultery. Other than that, no other reason.” However, the Rabbinical school of Hillel allowed “divorce for any reason” (that day’s equivalent of no-fault-divorce) whereas the school of Shammai only allowed divorce for serious reasons, such as adultery. It’s VERY possible that Christ was addressing the Hillel vs. Shammai debate. And if so, it’s significant because Jesus is usually regarded as closer to the Hillel school due to its lenience & graciousness as opposed to Shammaic emphasis on Law.

Actually, only if it’s a pagan Midianite & the guy got speared also.

He was an Israelite chieftan, she was a Midianite princess. If my suspicion is right that she was a pagan sex-priestess & they were blatantly committing pagan ritual sex as an example for the rest of Israel to follow, I have no problem saying they had it coming & “Attaboy, Phinehas.”

IANAP (“Protestant?” I thought they stopped calling themselves Protestants because their main focus is no longer protesting the Church, and simply call themselves “Christians,” leaving the Catholics to retort “oh, so you’re not protesting us anymore, but calling yourselves Christians as if we aren’t isn’t some sort of barb?”)

But anyway, wasn’t sacramental status of marriage one of the things Martin Luther protested? Scripturally, it wasn’t actually a sacrament, although the Church had made it one to serve as yet another revenue stream.

Poorly, to outsiders, but effectively-enough to members.

I wanted to make the distinction from the Catholic Church which does not need to reconcile this issue. Catholic doctrine holds that divorce is wrong so they have no need for any theological justification otherwise.

I’ve never heard of anyone being kicked out of the Baptist or Lutheran or Presbytrian Church for getting divorced. Certainly there’s no policy I’ve ever heard of that you can’t get divorced - most Protestant denominations may frown on divorce but they accept that it can happen. Nothing comparible to Catholic doctrine which essentially says that divorce is impossible - once you’re married you’re married forever; God put you together and no human agency can seperate you. It’s not something you can change your mind about and try again. Even if you live in a place where divorce is legal under secular law, you’re in a permanent state of sin as far as the church is concerned.

So at some point, Protestant denominations must have changed from the Catholic view that divorce is so wrong it’s impossible to the modern view that it’s acceptable if not encouraged. And they must have presented some religious argument to justify this change. Was it Luther and Calvin that announced the change and if so what were their arguments?

Phinehas Greyface.

I’m sorry if I was too much of a show-off to be clear: Luther challenged the validity of marriage as a sacrament. He thought the Catholic Church had made it one so as to get more money out of the parishoners and hold more control over their lives. He called bullshit on that, as well as on celibacy for the clergy (for the same reasons) and he, an ordained priest, married; and not to just any woman, but to a nun. (I suppose they had a lot of catching-up to do and it seemed wise not to make it too one-sided)

The Protestants still buy into the institution of marriage, but if the union fails, divorce is due to sin by at least one of the parties, not a sin in and of itself. The Catholics can make divorce itself a sin, but then, since they hold with the concept of original sin, being born in the first place is a sin. Pretty much everything is a Catholic sin.

In the case of my boss it was simple. He divorced his wife (adultery was not a factor), he later met another woman he wanted to marry, and a number of ministers he knew refused to officiate the ceremony on the grounds that they would not marry someone who had been divorced.

So not all Christian literalists have trouble reconciling the viewpoint.

I’m sorry, but I don’t understand your question.

What does it mean to you to “accept divorce”? How does a person who “accepts divorce” act or do that someone who doesn’t accept it? How does an institution or society “accept divorce”?

Are you asking whether or not Christian literalists think divorce is a sin?

Exactly. Most Christians who call themselves “literalists” pick, choose and interpret the parts of the Bible they personally agree with.
Are there any sects out there that can truly be called “literalist”?

“Attaboy, Phinehas” why, exactly? For being considerate enough to wait until they were through?

Well, that’s a tough question. How can one be a ‘true’ literalist when interpreting an obvious allegory?

Literalism gives the text less respect than it deserves.

Literalism is for Christian Fundies and the Atheists who want to shoot at the low-hanging fruit.

I’ve seen more impassioned defenses of literalism from atheists than I have from Christians.

Even literalist Christians have no problem with divorce. It’s the ‘remarry’ part that’s iffy. My grandparents were literalists, and when my mother divorved by father, they basically told her that she had chosen a life of celibacy. She tried to remarry once, and when she took her boyfriend to meet my grandfather, he threw such a fit that it killed the wedding and the guy went away.

There are plenty of literalists out there. They tend to not make a lot of noise in public about it.