I have been greatly encouraged by the degree of respect and understanding that has entered into the evangelical world regarding the sensitive and difficult issues of divorce and remarriage. I have previously blogged about the book that was written in 1938 on these matters by the founder of European Pentecostalism, Thomas Ball Barratt, prefaced by the founder of Swedish Pentecostalism, Lewi Pethrus. Barratt was deeply saddened by the dishonorable resistance from his own eldership in Filadelfia Oslo, forcing him to hold back the book, until it was finally published in 1991, 51 years after his death.
Since 2006 a remarkable book has been available on these matters, “Remarriage after Divorce in Today´s Church” edited (Zondervan) by Mark Strauss (PhD, Aberdeen), professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary in San Diego. This is a biblical and practical summary of the 3 main views among evangelicals on remarriage after divorce, including some of the practical implications for church life, and author interactive responses to each chapter. The 3 contributors are: Gordon J. Wenham: No remarriage after divorce. William A. Heth: Remarriage (two grounds). And Craig S. Keener: Remarriage (variety of reasons).
No consensus exists among evangelicals on their views of remarriage, leaving many Christians confused. This single volume summarizes and explores these 3 main evangelical views: no remarriage, remarriage after adultery or desertion, and remarriage for a variety of reasons. Each of the 3 contributors offers his point of view succinctly with biblical support, and each interacts with the others to help readers come to their own conclusions.
I am awed and impressed by the serious and respectful debate these 3 contributors display, led by the editor. There are no filthy attacks, but straightforward views that differ significantly, but all 3 emphasize their common faith and ministry in Jesus Christ!
I have heard the most incredible and vicious attacks against each other on the European scene, even using Dr. Gordon Wenham´s clear teaching as a justification for these shattering judgements of the lives of fellow Christians. But Wenham & Co prove here that it is fully possible to have a good understanding of each other, while maintaining respect.