What does the Bible teach about divorce? May a Christian remarry during the lifetime of a divorced partner? With the increasing number of divorces and second marriages, such questions now touch every family and every church. Cornes addresses these and other questions in a comprehensive and balanced manner.
Cornes begins his book with a theology of marriage and singleness, examining all the significant Old and New Testament passages. He concentrates especially on the teaching of Jesus and the interpretation of that teaching by Paul and the early church. The second part of the book discusses the implications of the biblical teaching of pastoral ministry in the local church, dealing with a host of real life questions in a practical way.
“Divorce can only be what modern psychology confirms: an unnatural tearing apart of what has been glued together, a very painful ripping in two of what is now in essence one.” (Page 130)
“The basic attitude is: ‘My happiness is more important than your happiness, or the children’s happiness or anybody’s happiness’ (p. 117). According to Udry, Americans see marriage as just an arrangement for mutual gratification and so ‘the kind of marriage Americans believe in simply has high divorce rates’ (quoted in Atkinson, p. 21).” (Page 16)
“Those who co-habit before marriage take the marriage bond less seriously than others, and are more inclined to regard it as a conditional contract, easily entered into and easily broken’ (p. 413).” (Page 24)
“Bellah, writing in the Fresh Start Newsletter (Summer 1988, p. 4), says that many of our problems in marriage stem from the notion of romantic love in our society, ‘the notion that there is one person out there who is the perfect person for you, and if you can just find him, you will live happily ever after … Nobody will ever quite measure up, and you will go on looking for Mr or Mrs Right forever, never making a lasting commitment.’” (Page 15)
“It is not true to say that a couple is married in God’s eyes by virtue of the fact that they are co-habiting. They are rather, to use the Bible’s terms, committing fornication.” (Page 43)
. . . A balanced combination of biblical scholarship and practical experience, prophetic witness and pastoral wisdom, courage and compassion, truth and love. It will, I predict . . . become indispensable reading for everybody who is anxious to develop a Christian mind on these topics . . .
Andrew Cornes is the former director of training at All Souls, London and now pastor of All Saints, Crowborough.