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What God Has Put Together

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					   What God Has Put Together

The Dissolution of Marriage in Christian Perspective
              Rolan Monje, BD, MMin and
                   Rico Salcedo, JD
              Introduction
• Grateful we can learn and discuss together
• We do this as a spiritual family
• This powerpoint only serves as an
  introduction; many studies to follow
• Some areas are understandably difficult or
  sensitive
• We can arrive at basic principles though
  practicalities may vary

                                               2
            Theme verse
“Haven’t you read,” [Jesus] replied, “that at
the beginning the Creator ‘made them male
and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a
man will leave his father and mother and be
united to his wife, and the two will become
one flesh’ ?
So they are no longer two, but one.
Therefore what God has joined together,
let man not separate.” – Mt 19.4-6

                                                3
    Marriage & divorce issues
• Discussed in the Bible, though in Jewish
  context, and not as thoroughly as we may
  wish
• Combination of three spheres or
  components: biblical, pastoral, legal
• These three components interlock and
  interplay in varying degrees


                                             4
Various aspects of divorce issues

                         PASTORAL/
                         COUNSELING
   BIBLICAL/
   DOCTRINAL




               LEGAL/LAW-RELATED




                                      5
                 Components
1. Doctrinal component – has to do with Biblical
   standards & heart behind God’s commands; takes
   priority in decisions
2. Pastoral component – has to do with how church
   members and friends help the individuals
   concerned, working out a plan while helping
   teach and counsel
3. Legal component – has to do with the relevant
   laws, based on the citizenship of the individuals
   concerned; e.g. divorce is non-existent in the
   Philippine setting for a couple who are both
   Filipino citizens

                                                   6
  Components of divorce issues
• The biblical, pastoral, and legal aspects are
  interrelated
• No aspect can be excluded from the picture,
  although the doctrinal aspect takes highest
  priority, with the pastoral aspect following
• Any situation should be assessed in view of
  all three components


                                              7
                PART 1

DOCTRINAL COMPONENT
 – God’s heart  as a perfect loving Father
 – Divine standards  because He knows best
 – Timeless Principles  to guide our hearts




                                               8
          Biblical principles
         – nature of marriage
• Marriage is between a male and a female
  (Gen 1.27; Matt 19.4)
• Marriage involves sexual union (1 Co 6.16);
  vs. fornication and adultery
• Marriage involves a covenant before God
  (Mal 2.24)



                                            9
         Biblical principles
       – duration of marriage
• Marriage is a lifelong commitment (Matt
  19.6; Rom 7.2)
• Marriage is not eternal (Matt 22.30)




                                            10
        Points of agreement in
            Christendom
• Divorce is not God’s ideal (Mal 2.16), i.e. it
  is permitted but not intended (Matt 19.8)
• Divorce is not permissible for every cause
  (Matt 19.9 …except for immorality
  [fornication], and marries commits adultery)
• Divorce creates problems



                                              11
           Conflicting views
• No grounds for divorce
• One ground for divorce (Grk: porneia in Matt
  19.9, meaning marital unfaithfulness)
• Many grounds for divorce




                                             12
• Biblical texts strive to prevent and limit
  divorce. Jesus teaches that divorce is
  evidence of a hardness of heart, and is
  merely an accommodation for it (Matt 5,
  19). In Matt 5.31-32, Jesus condemns a
  man’s selfish actions but also shows that a
  woman sins when she remarries.


                                                13
• Only in extreme cases should a Christian be
  willing to leave his/her spouse. In fact, the
  goal of having a non-Christian spouse is to
  win that person over, despite all difficulties
  ( 1 Co 7). Note that this section seems to
  place both the husband and wife on equal
  terms.


                                               14
                PART II

PASTORAL/COUNSELING
 COMPONENT
 – Church Involvement  spiritual guidance
 – Counseling  individual, intimate talks




                                             15
   Pastoral/Counseling Aspects
• Principles before practice – to understand
  the ‘big picture,’ Biblical principles before
  getting into details
• Biblical before pastoral – to grasp the heart
  of God before practical/church matters
• Pastoral before legal – to assist in
  spiritual/emotional guidance before
  legalities

                                                  16
         Goals of counseling
• To assess the marriage
• To bring to light issues of the heart
• To give Scriptural perspective
• To address sin problems and sinful
  tendencies
• To work on a plan (e.g. 6-month marriage
  revitalization plan) for repentance even
  before annulment is considered

                                             17
      Pastoral/Counseling aspects
• Steps in counseling
  –   Prayer
  –   Assessment of status of marriage
  –   Evaluation of legality of marriage
  –   Bible study of expectations of God
  –   Counseling appointments (together & apart)
  –   Recommendations and 6-month plan


                                                   18
                Counseling talks
• Questions to ask the individuals
  –   What is the background of the marriage?
  –   What has contributed for it to get to this point?
  –   Is there physically harm involved?
  –   Why do you wish to file for annulment?
  –   Have you read your Bible on this?
  –   Have you prayed about this?
  –   Have you done everything Biblically to save
      your marriage?

                                                          19
            Counseling talks
• Examples of sin issues that arise when a
  couple considers divorce (Mt 5, Mk 7)
  – Failure to open up on marriage or family
    problems, which build up after some time
  – Unrighteous attraction to another person
  – Past sin not dealt with or unconfessed
  – Immature or hopeless attitude of ‘escape’ from
    conflict or problems
  – Giving to pressure from friends or in-laws


                                                 20
                Counseling talks
• Mt 5 and Mk 7 tell us that divorce is more a heart
  issue than anything else; Jesus tells us that divorce
  is a sad revelation of the state of hearts
• Unlike the latitude of interpretations of Deut 24,
  only in the most severe and limited cases (e.g.
  criminal liabilities, psychological incapacity, etc.) is
  divorce/annulment entertained in church settings
• Dealing with heart problems and sinful tendencies
  in a spiritual and guided way can be effective to
  save marriages such that divorce/annulment will not
  be necessary

                                                         21
              Counseling Talks
• In the book “Surviving an Affair,” William
  Harley advices a 6-month ‘idealized’ and
  ‘guided’ program to save marriages on the
  brink of collapse. Even non-Christian couples
  have been reunited by this structured program.
• In the book “Connecting,” Larry Crabb tells us
  that most relational problems stem from a
  failure to connect with people. Working on
  ways to ‘connect’ with spiritual friends solves
  problems remarkably.

                                                22
        Recommended Reading
• The Act of Marriage, The Beauty of Sexual Love
  by Tim and Beverly La Haye

• Boundaries in Marriage
  by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

• Communication, Key To Your Marriage
  by H. Norman Wright

• Fit To Be Tied, Making Marriages Last a Lifetime
  by Bill and Lynne Hybels




                                                     23
         Recommended Reading
• Surviving an Affair
  by Willard F. Harley, Jr.

• The Five Love Languages
  by Dr. Gary Chapman

• The Grace Awakening
  by Charles R. Swindoll

• His Needs, Her Needs, Building and Affair-Proof
  Marriage
  by Willard F. Harley, Jr.



                                                    24
                  Part III

LEGAL COMPONENT
 – God expects us to follow the laws of the land
 – Our conscience dictates that we abide by the
   legal procedures prescribed by the state of
   which we are citizens




                                                   25
            Legal Aspects
• Relevant Laws of the Land
  Executive Order No. 209
  The Family Code of the Philippines

 I. Marriage
 II. Legal Separation
 III. Rights and Obligations
 IV. Property Relations
 V. The Family, etc.

                                       26
• Republic Act No. 386
  The Civil Code of the Philippines
• Other pertinent laws regarding protection of
  women, custody of children, etc.




                                             27
         Validity of a marriage
•   Marriage license
•   Marriage certificate
•   Testimony of officiating minister
•   Testimony of witnesses
•   Etc.




                                        28
    Dissolution of marriage in the
       Philippines (post 1950)
•   Annulment
•   Declaration of nullity
•   Divorce by an alien spouse
•   Declaration of presumptive death
•   Muslim divorce




                                       29
Action for Annulment (voidable)
• Lack of parental consent (>18,<21)
• Consent obtained through fraud
• Consent obtained through force or
  intimidation
• Insanity or soundness of mind
• Impotence
• Affliction with STD

                                       30
    Action for declaration of nullity
     of marriage (void marriage)
• Underage (even with parental consent)
• No authority to solemnize
• Bigamy and polygamy
• No marriage license
• Psychological incapacity
• Subsequent marriage with incomplete
  documentation
• Incest
• Breach of public policy
                                          31
        Divorce vs. annulment
• In divorce (which is non-existent in the
  Philippines), the grounds or reasons for such arise
  during the marriage. In declaration of nullity of a
  marriage (as provided for by the Family Code),
  the grounds or reasons are already existing even
  before the marriage, but such grounds may have
  manifested themselves only during the marriage.
• In practical effect, however, both divorce and
  declaration of nullity of a marriage allow the
  former spouses to get married again to other
  persons.

                                                    32
   e.g. psychological incapacity
• Article 36 of the Family Code provides, "A
  marriage contracted by any party who, at
  the time of the celebration, was
  psychologically incapacitated to comply
  with the essential marital obligations of
  marriage, shall likewise be void even if
  such incapacity becomes manifest only after
  its solemnization."

                                            33
 Legal separation vs. annulment
• The grounds or reasons are different, and
  more importantly, in legal separation, the
  spouses are not allowed to get married again
  to other parties. The wife also still has to
  use her husband's surname.




                                            34
      Other factors to consider
• The rights of a woman (especially in view
  of Mark 10.12 and 1 Cor 7.15)
• The right to remarry (Matt 19.9)
• Legal separation as allowed by the state
  (divortium a toro et mensa)




                                              35
               Moving Forward
• The church will continue to build up the marriages in
  the congregation, and seek proactive measures to
  strengthen couples in both large group and small group
  settings
• Leaders must be aware of the three components of
  divorce/annulment issues
• Couples must not be hasty in their decision-making
  even though admittedly the final decision belongs to
  them
• Situations must be tackled on a case-to-case basis, with
  much prayer and Bible study

                                                      36
            Closing Thoughts
• Marriage issues bear upon interrelated
  doctrinal, pastoral, and legal components; with
  spiritual components (especially preventive
  counselling) necessarily taking greater weight.
• God’s word is clear and simple, yet we
  acknowledge that there are multiple involved
  situations.
• Dissolution of marriage, while in God’s
  concessionary will, is not in his ideal will.

                                               37

				
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