Marriage and Divorce – Gospel Standard Statement

Statement from the Committee of the Gospel Standard Societies.

“We affirm that the marriage bond is only broken in God’s sight by death, and that any other dissolution of the tie is unscriptural and is not countenanced by God.”

“We further affirm that to admit to the ordinances of God’s house those who are living in an unscriptural relationship is to act contrary to God’s revealed will and should not be allowed in our churches.”

(Matthew 5:31-32; Matthew 19:3-9; Mark 10:2-12; Luke 16:18; Romans 7:1-3).

G. D. BUSS
L. S. B. HYDE
D. F. DICKINSON
G. M. SHAW
R. D. G. FIELD
A. J. LEVELL
J. W. STEVENS
H. D. HADDOW
D. J. PLAYFOOT
J. A. WATTS
J. A. HART
B. A. RAMSBOTTOM
C. A. WOOD
S. J. HICKMAN
J. J. RAYNER

2 Comments on “Marriage and Divorce – Gospel Standard Statement

  1. I feel the need to clarify a few things here as it seems there is much opposition to the above and yet when upon reading the statement above I wonder what all of the fuss is about. If one claims to be a follower of the Word of God then surely it is not hard to be in agreement with God’s Word?

    The Holy Scriptures are very clear on the following points.

    1) It is God ALONE who joins a man and a woman in a one flesh union. This is called marriage.

    2) The Marriage bond is ONLY dissolved by the death of one of the spouses.

    3) A Woman is married to her husband as long as he lives.

    4) If she joins with another man and obtains a marriage license while her husband is still alive, she shall be called an adulteress – a practicing adulterer living in an unscriptural relationship.

    Gilbert Beebe was absolutely correct when he wrote the following…

    The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth, and the husband is bound by the law to his wife as long as the wife liveth. And, that a bill of divorcement legally obtained may in the eye of our civil code disannul a former marriage contract so that, as far as the civil law is concerned, the parties may contract to live in adultery and their issue be legal. But the Bible gives them no such liberty, nor has the God of heaven given any authority to any earthly legislature to divide asunder what God has joined together.
    (Gilbert Beebe – September 15, 1840 – “The Law of Marriage”)

    ——————–

    “But unto the married I COMMAND, yet not I, BUT THE LORD, let not the wife depart from her husband; but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.”
    (1 Corinthians 7:10-11)

    “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband Liveth.”
    (1 Corinthians 7:39)

    From the plain testimony of the Scriptures as referred to above, we give it as our decided conviction that no married wife can, under any circumstances whatever, marry another man while her husband is living, without involving herself in the crime of adultery. We do not say, first husband and first wife, for a second marriage does not constitute the parties husband and wife, where this legal impediment exists.
    (Gilbert Beebe – September 15, 1840 – “The Law of Marriage”)

    ——————–

    This Gospel Standard statement is speaking of those who are UNREPENTANT. This is not speaking of those who have commited the sin of adultery in the past who have come to see the error of their ways and sought the Lord for forgiveness and obtained it by His great mercy.

  2. I think everyone would agree that divorce is a bad thing. However, this is not really the issue.

    What should a church say to a woman who has come in to the services, been converted under the word, and applies for membership, if:
    a) her “first husband” turned out to be an abusive rapist who beat her, and then divorced and left her;
    b) she then married another man and is happily living with him and multiple small children.

    There are only a few options:
    a) Yes, she can join and remain in her family.
    b) No, she cannot join because she is “living in sin” (as her first husband is still alive); if she wants to join, she must abandon her “second husband” and children and live alone.

    Surely nobody would advocate the second option. To force her to leave her second husband and children would seem to me to be adding sin to sin.

    Some people seem to advocate a “middle way”: “Well, she should not leave her family, but she cannot be baptised.” This to me is illogical. If she is living in sin, she ought to leave her family; if she isn’t living in sin, what hinders her to be baptised?

    It’s all very well to come up with black-and-white rulings, but life is sometimes complicated. If God grants revival, men and women will be converted from lives of sin of all types. Some may have been married multiple times. We have to think about how we would handle this.

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