Divorce Deception

“God Hates Divorce!” the pastor screams from the pulpit. Instantaneously, anyone who’s ever been divorced, knows someone who’s been divorced, has been contemplating divorce or has ever wanted to get a divorce (most couples) instantly feels a huge wave of guilt and shame. That, of course, is the MO of the IFB pastor and staff – to subjugate their congregation with guilt and shaming tactics so as to control and manipulate. This issue is no different. If you’ve been divorced and you hear the pastor say this, in that moment you’ve somehow become a little lower than an adulterer on the IFB’s sin hierarchy. Those who haven’t been divorced, instantly feel a swell of pride and superiority and begin to look down on the divorced as tainted and sinful. The pity then begins as those who have been divorced are made to feel inferior and unworthy.

What the IFB doesn’t realize is that the passage quoted (Malachi 2:16) is a picture of Israel’s unfaithfulness from years before. Once again we see how the IFB pulls a verse of scripture out of context and twists it to fit an agenda – actually, not even one verse in this instance, but one phrase. It’s an agenda of control, coercion and manipulation. As the pastor stands up there aligned with the non-divorced oozing an ever increasing pious and smug sense of self righteousness, the divorced are forced to hang their heads in shame.

What if I told you, however, that God is divorced? I bet the IFB pastor that stands behind the pulpit on Sunday morning shouting about how damaged and sinful the divorced are has also conveniently left out that God is divorced! Oh they will briefly mention, albeit with a lower tone of voice and a degraded vocal inflection, that Jesus did agree to provide for divorce in the case of adultery and abandonment (see Matthew 5), but then they will raise their voice again and shout that “God hates divorce!”. They will NEVER mention, though, that God is divorced.

Don’t believe me? I have no doubt that a few IFB pastors and apologists will castigate me for this. Well, look it up! Jeremiah 3 tells the story of Judah’s and Israel’s unfaithfulness. We know that the church, the body of believers, is the bride of Christ (Ephesians 5, 2 Corinthians 11). Before Christ’s atoning work on the cross, Israel, God’s chosen people, were considered the bride of God. God was “married” to Israel as His chosen people. Jeremiah 3 tells us that Israel was unfaithful to God, worshiping idols and other gods. This was not a sexual adultery, but rather a turning away from God, an emotional abandonment and neglect. This, by the way, indicates that adultery can be more than just sexual unfaithfulness. Adultery is a blatant disregard for the well being of the spouse. A spouse can be emotionally unfaithful (neglectful and abusive), just like Israel was in Jeremiah 3. This expands the grounds of divorce from physical adultery to emotional unfaithfulness.

The kicker is that one of the mandates of an Independent Fundamental Baptist pastor is to not be divorced. In order to be an IFB pastor, one must be male and never have been divorced. As Mark Lowry brilliantly points out in the above video that God can’t even pastor a Baptist church. This means that in reality, whether they realize it or not, the IFB pastor who stands up there behind the pulpit shouting with smug sense of self importance that divorced people are to be condemned, that he, being non-divorces is better than God! How arrogant is that!

God’s divorce with Israel wasn’t something that God actually wanted or desired! It was a necessary evil, but God did it. That is what Malachi 2:16 is referring to – it’s a reminder that, although God hates divorce, He condones and even participates in it when necessary. Just because God hates divorce doesn’t mean that there aren’t grounds for divorce nor does it mean that divorce is a sin (and even in the cases where it is a sin it’s not any worse of a sin than other sins). The IFB has no business teaching that divorced people are worse than others. There is absolutely no scriptural support for treating divorce as if it were the plague. There are times when a marriage can’t be (and some that shouldn’t be) salvaged – especially in the case of abuse. In IFB circles, divorce has become a narrative of brokenness and sinfulness. To communicate that message to people and to use scripture to justify that message is pure spiritual abuse.

Updated: July 23, 2017 — 9:42 pm


  1. One thing that I found with the IFB people is that while they scorn those that have divorced their spouse because of sexual unfaithfulness, is that many of their own founders of fundamentalism such as John R. Rice, H. A. Ironside as well as a host of others, simply do not support their central belief that a person that is divorced and remarried is not a Christian. Read the commentary on Matthew written by Ironside, and the article written by Rice.

    My present wife of 3 years was denounced as being an adulteress because she married one that was divorced some 45 years ago while that wife is still alive.

    Fortunately I was able to get her out of one of their churches but the problem I face now is that her son-in-law, plus 2 of the husbands of her granddaughter have married IFB ministers to be.

    How to love those that condemn you can be a real problem. I pray for God’s grace on this issue as I simply do not want to fight with such people.

  2. I can understand what the IFB churches are teaching on the subject of divorce. My current wife was going to an IFB church and after I married her, with the help of the Lord was able to get her out of that system. We now go to a Bible Fellowship Church. They scorned her because about 50 years ago, I had a wife that left me for a man she met in one of the sanitariums. She was there because of being addicted to amphetamines (used by doctors for dietary reasons). She left me with 2 pre-school age children to raise by myself. While they seemed to accept my divorce, the point of contention was that I was not permitted to remarry as divorce in their view does not break the covenant of marriage – one is still married to the adulterous person that put away despite the fact that she went on to marry 3 more times.

    The problem I have today is that her son-in-law, as well as the husbands of her granddaughters are IFB ministers. They slander my wife by labeling her an adulterous because my first wife is still alive.

    The problem with IFB people is that they think they are always right in their interpretation of Scripture and refuse to have any dialogue on the subject with us.

  3. Wow! You’ve got it all so wrongly figured out! God does hate divorce because it is a sin or brought about by sin! He doesn’t hate the divorce people, just their sin! Sounds to me like all of you anti-IFB people just don’t want to be told you’re sinful. This is the first subject I clicked on because I’ve been divorced and found it a curious read. Sin cannot be justified by condemning the God called preachers for pointing out you’re sin. Sounds like people that know their guilty of sin but want to call it something else, like turning it all around and claiming abuse. What are you going to say when you get to meet the Lord? Are you going to try and say the IFB’s pointed out my sin and my feelings were hurt so I turned it all around and put the blame on them. The world is trying so desperately to make every sin okay to commit no matter what they read in their Holy Bible’s. The opposing points for the true Word of God is brought about by Satan. You’re just helping the devil and his demons do their work by opposing the truth!

    1. @Dawn

      I never said divorce isn’t a sin. I never said that God doesn’t hate divorce. In fact, in the article I very clearly acknowledge that God does hate divorce.

      Did you even read the article before you decided to jump in and castigate me? In typical IFB fashion you went in the attack and judged me with out even stopping to read what is written.

      It’s right there in black and white. I’m not trying to justifying sin. You were so focused on attacking me that you missed the entire point of the article.

      Thanks for being a shining example of the closed minded IFB cult mentality.

    2. Dawn, divorce may be the will of God in some cases. For instance, when one of the spouse is an abusive non-Christian and a genuine child of the devil.
      It is not the will of God that any of His children should be made to suffer for the sins of another but will rescue them from an very abusive relationship. We are called to peace.
      I believe that it was His will for me to divorce my wife in consideration for the welfare and safety of two small children. I remarried after being a single parent for 6 years, and my second marriage lasted over 35 years and was greatly blessed by the Lord. One of my children went on to be an airline pilot, the other a nurse.

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