Friday, April 06, 2007

Evangelicals and Divorce

In today's Wall Street Journal, David Instone-Brewer, author of Divorce and Remarriage in the Church, notes the disparity between what the Bible teaches about divorce and the attitudes and practices of many evangelicals:
Many have privately abandoned the Bible's teaching on divorce. American law has pushed them along. For many years, divorce was a tort--legally possible only if one party to the marriage contract had violated it. Ronald Reagan, as governor of California, signed a no-fault divorce bill in 1970, and within 15 years every state in the union had a similar law. The cultural conversation shifted away from marriage's mutual obligations--codified in law--and toward personal fulfillment.
The recent emphasis on the rights of individuals has even been encouraged by the current crop of evangelical preachers. Joel Osteen, the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, and Joyce Meyer, a Christian television and radio personality, have built their ministries on promoting individual development. It seems that this development can often be found in marriage, but also, for some, in divorce.
And since Joyce Meyer's name came up, now is a good time for me to air a question that's been bugging me for a few weeks now. Could someone please tell me why Mrs. Meyer is among the distinguished plenary speakers at this year's world conference of the American Association of Christian Counselors?


Jeff Burton said...

Since you have brought this up, and you are a pastor, how do you handle this subject?

jc said...

I think Joyce Meyer was invited because she has written books on overcoming fear, anxiety, etc, topics that many would consider counseling.

dconnery2 said...

How is it that Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen are considered evangelicals? I think I must be mistaken as to what the word "evangelical" means these days.

Eric S. Mueller said...

I remember reading a few years ago about a divorce Amy Grant went through. I believe she was quoted as saying "I'm sure God wants me to be happy". The article I was reading went on to ask what counselor or pastor encouraged that line of thinking in that context.

I wasn't a believer when I got married, but my wife and I promised each other that no matter what, we were in this until the end. I've read that most couples who experience problems report that if they stay together, within five years things improve. I'm not completely dismissing all of the teachings of popular figures such as Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer, nor do I believe that we need to sit around in pious misery, but sacrificial giving is part of following Christ and likewise, marriage.

I have no idea why either Osteen or Meyer are invited to that conference. I imagine as a pastor Joel Osteen must have some training and experience as a counselor, and I believe Joyce Meyer is a minister in some capacity or other. I would hope with all of the books she has written, she has some practical experience or observation to back them up.

Joanne said...

God gave us his word, not to judge the lives of others, but to help us live our lives as his son, Jesus Christ, showed us how to live. He gave us his word to instruct ourselves and his word became flesh to be a living example of how to live, then that life became a sacrifice to reconcile us with our Father in heaven. God hates divorce, but he also hates a man who covers his wife with violence. Judge not lest be judged and you shall be judged by the same measure you judge others. I could go on and on. Bottom line, we are called to love one another as ourselves, and the greatest of his gifts is love.
If we as individuals could focus on loving one another (not just our friends and family, but those who are not lovable), then we have fulfilled the greatest of God's commandments.

amber alys said...

it is very simple. We are living in a fallen world and things happen. Joyce Meyers is where she is at because God put her there. Though divorce is not ideal it is what happens and that does not mean that someone is dead to Christ or to work for Christ. If there are people who don't want to receive what she or any other divorced has to give then it is their loss and simply not going to affect the ones that God has chosen to speak.