Sep 20, 2011 David Lang

Is Divorce Over Alzheimer's Acceptable?

Over the weekend the blogosphere has been abuzz over Pat Robertson's response to a question about divorce on a recent broadcast of The 700 Club. The caller wanted to know how to respond to a married man who is now dating another woman because his wife has Alzheimer's disease. He feels justified because she "as he knows her is gone." Although Robertson declared that this is an ethical question "beyond his ken," he seemed to agree that the man is justified in divorcing his wife. That has prompted a number of blog posts and discussions about legitimate and illegitimate reasons for divorce.

Views-Divorce Last week, we released 16 books in Zondervan's Counterpoints series. One of those is Remarriage After Divorce in Today's Church: 3 Views. These views are that (1) there can be no remarriage after divorce, (2) remarriage after divorce is only acceptable if the divorce was the result of adultery or desertion, and (3) remarriage after divorce is acceptable even if the divorce was the result of circumstances beyond adultery and desertion. After recounting one couple's story, general editor Mark Strauss writes this in the book's introduction:

So what does the Bible say about divorce and remarriage? There are many complex questions and few easy answers: Is it ever acceptable for a Christian to divorce? If so, what are the grounds for a legitimate divorce? Adultery? Desertion? Physical or emotional abuse? If a divorce does take place, what are the options for remarriage? Is remarriage forbidden, or is it acceptable as long as there were legitimate grounds for the divorce? What about cases where there were no such grounds? Does the impossibility of reconciliation (due to the death or remarriage of a spouse) or the passage of time open the possibility for remarriage? A whole new set of questions arises concerning how the church should respond to those who have been divorced and remarried, and whether divorce and remarriage disqualify a person from church leadership or even membership.

Whether you're wrestling with the issue of divorce because it's the latest controversy igniting the blogosphere, or your interest in the subject is more pastoral and personal, this book attempts to address these questions "not as a debate, with winners and losers, but as a dialogue, a conversation that will provide the church with greater wisdom and insight concerning this complex topic." Be sure to turn to this and other volumes in the Counterpoints series for some guidance through the controversies you face.

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Archived Comments

BJ Mora

September 23, 2011 6:49 AM

Pat Robertson was wrong. Sad actually. I would be in the (2) category above. (1) is wrong because churches may (reluctantly?) grant divorce decrees, but not as far as (3) suggests which is what our courts do now. See Jay Adams and John Murray's works on divorce and remarriage.