Throughout church history, divorce has been a very sensitive subject, and with the divorce rate of the general population at almost fifty-percent, some controversy is inevitable. The issue becomes even more complex as more Christians, including church leaders and pastors, experience divorce. In light of this increase in the incidence of divorce, missionary organizations will inevitably encounter more divorced men and women who apply for service. The challenge for these agencies is to encompass a biblically based divorce theology that recognizes the seriousness of divorce on one hand while not appearing to submit to cultural influence on the other. This paper suggests that truth and grace are factors to consider in developing a divorce theology and a subsequent divorce policy. The most frequently cited, and the most controversial Old and New Testament verses are examined, specifically, Genesis 2:24, Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:3-12, and 1 Corinthians 7:10-15. The intriguing part about the analysis of these texts is that scholars arrive at different conclusions even though the study is based on the identical text.
Additionally, the divorce policies of fourteen missionary organizations are presented so the reader can compare the recommendations with actual practices. There is a spectrum of policies that are identified that range from rejection of divorced applicants to acceptance of applicants whatever the circumstances of their divorce. Most of the organizations fall somewhere between these two extremes. Many times the divorced applicant is asked too many probing questions regarding the past, and there is not enough inquiry into the status of their present character and heart. The emphasis in the study is placed on God's grace and forgiveness that enables a divorced applicant to move on to new beginnings.
Aveling, D. Leigh
Master of Arts (MA)
Year Degree Awarded
Date (Title Page)
Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings
Divorce - Biblical teaching; Marriage - Biblical teaching
Loma Linda University Libraries
This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.
Kemp, Pennie Lynn, "Grace and Truth: A Divorce Theology For Missionary Organizations" (2002). Loma Linda University Electronic Theses, Dissertations & Projects. 456.
Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives