Top critical review
THREE VIEWS, SAME COMPROMISE
on 24 August 2016
This book, by three well known scholars, illustrates 3 different views on remarriage after divorce.
It begins with Gordon Wenham's view which considers remarriage after divorce never acceptable.
The second view, by William Heth, considers remarriage after divorce permissible for the grounds of adultery and desertion.
The third, by Craig Keener, is the most liberal and regards remarriage after divorce acceptable for circumstances beyond adultery and desertion.
All the three scholars discuss whether devorced and remarried people should hold leadership positions in the Church, and comment on each other's essay.
There is a brief introduction and conclusion by Mark Strauss.
In the introduction, Mark Strauss invites the reader to approach this book as a dialogue and avoid attack on other views.
Although we certainly should avoid needless attacks, it is important to keep in mind that, when sin is concerned, the stake is indeed high: heaven or hell. Therefore, loving correction is essential.
I would like to conclude my review by saying that although my view is akin to Wenham's, I think it is necessary to comment on one inconsistency in his essay.
On page 123, in his response to Craig Keener, Wenham wrote: “He begins [Craig] with cases where pastors have attempted to break up second marriages. I have never advocated this. My view is that people should be discouraged from remarrying after divorce; but where such marriages exist, it would be tactless in the extreme to suggest that the couple break up”.
In my opinion, this statement is the ultimate in inconsistency. If remarriage after divorce is adultery and a sin (as Wenham claims) it is unacceptable to tolerate a second “marriage” in a Christian Church. There is no second marriage therefore nothing should be broken.
When people accept Christ and His message, they surely realize when a form of cohabitation is sinful and, they surely understand that celibacy or reconciliation are the only options when divorce is involved.