Divorce dilemma in the early Church

Yes, this writing has never been taught in 2,000 years. That God’s design of the bride price and unilateral marriage was the fundamental basis for Moses’ concession expressed in Matt. 19:9 (only man could initiate divorce for porneia). When the Gentile Church started to grow on its own, without the Jewish council of James and the elders in Jerusalem, they read the command’s for the Church from a “bilateral” culture and in a literal fashion. This is what caused so much confusion in the first 400 years of Christianity.

The majority of bilateral thinkers read scripture and came to the conclusion that the woman was “never” allowed to remarry (remain unmarried or reconcile with her husband vs. 11) until the death of her husband (1 Cor. 7:39). Not because their view was bilateral, but because this is the literal “expressed” interpretation of chapter 7. They really did not understand how to combine Paul’s writings with Jesus’ exception clause. This was evident by the majority of Christian commentaries in 200-400 C.E.

It is clear, if the marriage covenant was broken according to Moses laws both are free to remarry without being guilty of “adultery” in remarriage (Matt. 5:31-32). But, what was not clear is that Deut. 24:1, being unilateral, meant only the man could initiate the divorce. The woman cannot divorce her husband for anything other than if he was an unbeliever and requested the divorce (1 Cor. 7:15). The early Church fathers missed putting all these points together.

So, with an unbalanced approach, their teachings were soon rejected as “flawed” by the majority for skipping the basic premise of Deut. 24:1. It is my assumption and observation that at the beginning of the 5th C.E. the majority of Christians flip-flopped with Deut. 24:1 being their primary text (bilateral marriages being practiced) while skipping the premise of Paul’s clear unilateral unwavering approach to remarriage.

Paul did not need to reiterate Deut. 24:1 to the believers living in Corinth, for it is obvious they had an influence of the Law of Moses by mentioning “circumcision” and dietary laws. It’s as if the far “left” Christians were not able to agree with the far “right” Christians in the early Church. So, divorce and remarriage became a highly contentious subject. But, there is a balanced approach to Paul’s writings and Deut. 24:1-4. Paul never tried to change or do away with Moses’ permission, only answer those questions posed by the Gentile believers who already knew and accepted the Law.




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This entry was posted in bible, Christian, Christian living, Christian sales, divorce, Divorce and remarriage, If not for fornication, Jesus, Marriage divorce and remarriage, Matt. 19:9, Matthew 19:9, Paul, remarriage, remarry, what does the bible say about divorce. Bookmark the permalink.

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