And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
-Jeremiah 3:8, KJV
Pastors, if you are teaching divorce as always an awful sin, you are teaching heresy and enabling abuse.
Divorce is not the worst outcome for someone to experience in a troubled marriage. Damnation of one’s soul through unrepentant sin is (see Hebrews 10:26-27)!
To those who are strongly opposed to ALL divorces, I will point out the verse from Jeremiah 3:8. This verse means divorce is not sin per se as God cannot sin.
So, why are pastors still teaching the heresy that divorce is sin?!
I believe pastors do this for a variety of reasons. Some are more noble than others. But intentions do not matter here. Rather we need to pay attention to sound theology and the impact of heretical teaching on this matter.
If you are taught that divorce is always sin, you will stay in an abusive situation longer than is safe for you. This, in and of itself, is spiritual abuse.
As I have written elsewhere, when divorce is never acceptable, then everything else is! That means this teaching enables abusive sins against faithful spouses.
But what about when divorce IS sin, Pastor David?
I agree that divorce CAN BE sin. But divorce is morally neutral since God was attributed to enacting a divorce in the Old Testament (see Jeremiah 3:8). The question is the context of the divorce.
Is there biblical reasons for this divorce or is it taken to pursue another sinful, adulterous relationship?
Remember, we have to move away from prejudging every divorce as sinful. Whenever we do this–labeling all divorces as sin–we enable abuse and condemn victims of the adulterous spouses. This is neither sound pastoral care nor godly.