“I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
-Matthew 19:9, NIV
Recently, an article was published online by The Washingtonian about The Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) scandals that include stories of child molestation and alleged cover-ups by pastors. This ministry family of churches included such evangelical-land favorite names as C.J. Mahaney and Joshua Harris of I Kissed Dating Good-Bye fame.
The article link is here
WARNING: The stories shared in The Washingtonian are very upsetting to me as a father of a daughter, an evangelical, and a pastor. I say that to give you a heads up before reading the it.
Also, here’s a link to an article on The Wartburg Watch blog for more background.
What Ought To Go Without Saying…
There is a lot of things that ought to go without saying in the article regarding how the pastors reportedly responded to situations of child molestation. A lot.
However, the focus of this blog is sexual infidelity and divorce.
The thing that ought to go without saying is…
A wife may divorce her husband if she discovers he has been unfaithful to her via sexually molesting her or others’ children (and vice versa gender-wise).
Sexually molesting a child certainly is sexual immorality. So, it clearly falls under Christ’s EXPLICIT permission to divorce in Matthew 19:9 (and Matthew 5:32).
Telling a faithful wife to stay married to such a man is like telling her she must stay married to a rapist for that is what a child molester is–i.e. a rapist.
It ought to go without saying that of all cases this ought to qualify for Biblical warrant to divorce. However, somehow the pastors advising Peggy Welsh apparently disagreed about divorcing a known and repeat child molester (including one who molested his ow family member!)*
What sort of sick message does that send about God to the victims of child molestation?!
A pastor is telling your mother that she shouldn’t divorce your abuser and get away from him thereby protecting you from further abuse (hopefully). Something is seriously wrong with one’s Christian theology when one is more concerned about the abuser suffering consequences like divorce for his sins than protecting his victim(s).
That is not the God I serve.
My God is a passionate God! He gets angry when He sees His precious child wronged and hurt. Make no mistake, God is certainly not indifferent about this stuff. Not at all.
*This is the sort of EVIL–i.e. child molestation–that is enabled or minimally tolerated when divorce is always unacceptable in one’s theology.