On another site, a while ago so I don't have the link, somebody was saying that a couple was getting married and one of them had been divorced - she was having a problem with that because there was no way that she could be sure (as part of the congregation) that the couple could Biblically marry.
And did not trust the church leadership to have the discernment to make that call. I think what the person wanted was for the divorced person to stand up in front of the congregation and explain why they were divorced and make a justification (in front of the congregation) to remarry.
My feeling at the time (and still is) -
- if that person had sinned and repented, it's none of my business, it's between them and God. If the church leadership knows the story, that's good enough for me.
- If the person had NOT sinned, it's none of my business, it's between them and God. If the church leadership knows the story, that's good enough for me.
- If I don't trust my church leadership to make the call, it's time to look for another church.
If I NEED to know the "back story" about a couple who is getting married, I need to check my own heart for the potential of gossip and holding repented of sin against a person that isn't even liable to me to start with.
I also thought at the time that if there was a process within a denomination (somewhat like annulment, but realistically looking at the cause of the divorce)...and issuing a certificate by the church board stating that they had worked with this person through the divorce and found them to be free to remarry, it would (I think) leave a lot fewer headaches and heartaches for a divorced person who wants to carry on with their life.
There is seldom only one "guilty party" in a divorce - and a discerning church board would know this. If a person has committed "porneia" and repented - wanting to stay married and is committed to faithfulness from that point forward...and the spouse refuses to forgive...
that puts the unforgiving spouse in the position of being the "guilty party." A repentant person is then held hostage by the sin of their spouse who is divorcing them.
Many divorces are so confused and convoluted that it would truly take a mature and discerning board to sort things out.
I'm not suggesting a "divorce sacrament" - but rather a system by which a board or church leader (trained in counseling) could work through the repentance process (since there is rarely only one guilty party) or the divorce process (if truly innocent) and issue a certificate or letter that the person could carry to their next church (if there is a next church) that verifies to the pastor that church leadership has overseen the situation or process and found the person Biblically able to remarry (and that would vary by denomination.)
We stand before the church and say "we are getting married in the eyes of the Lord."
Why not stand before the church and say, "this union is Biblically dissolved?"