UPDATED: No Divorce: Only in the Philippines…

 

Divorce in DictionaryThis article was originally posted on July 17, 2009. With the passing of the divorce referendum in Malta the other day, the Philippines will soon be the only country in the world where divorce is not legal. Because of the great influence of the Roman Catholic Church, two divorce bills have languished in the Philippine Congress for 13 years. But the debate on the two bills will start again this week.

If Filipinos are so concerned that legalizing divorce will end up like the instant “no-fault” divorces in America (after all, they have heard of Britney Spears’ one-day marriage), grounds for divorce can be restricted to illegal marriages listed in the article, plus adultery and desertion only. As in Malta, couples may also be required to be legally separated for four years before they are qualified to file for divorce. What must be avoided are Pandora’s boxes such as “psychological incapacity” and “irreconcilable differences.” Churches that recognize divorce must not recognize divorces that are not grounded on adultery or desertion to prevent unlawful remarriage as well. The Pandora’s boxes of “psychological incapacity” and “irreconcilable differences” must never be legalized.

§

Not exactly. Actually, the Philippines is one of only two countries in the world that I know of where divorce is not legalized, the other of course being Vatican City. The subject I am about to embark upon is usually not openly discussed around these parts and hopefully, people will not tag me with the “L” word after reading this post.

A few days ago, I was talking with the wife of a Filipino pastor who mentioned that her husband just conducted a mass wedding ceremony for six couples who had been living together–and had born children–for many years. As we discussed this subject, it became apparent that she also noticed the epidemic of sexual immorality in the Philippines, not only in the cities, but even in far-flung villages. Couples, especially those in slum villages, start living together without getting married, on the pretext that getting married is too expensive for them. This is a lame excuse, because it is obvious that these people, especially the men, spend most of their money on cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, gambling and many other destructive vices.

Up to the 1970s, unwed mothers would commonly be disowned by their families, and couples living together would be a huge scandal in any community. With the increase in Filipinos working overseas (there are now about 11 million OFWs), especially in the West, sexual corruption slowly crawled in. For the families of those OFWs, financial progress comes at a huge price–broken families, adultery, wayward children–perhaps millions of them.

Millions of men and women, separated from their legal spouses, live with other men and women, consigned to their hopeless situation because there is no legal divorce. They bear and raise their own “illegitimate” children. Often, however, the men abandon their legal wives and children because they are not held accountable by the courts due to lack of legal divorce or separation proceedings.

To be sure, annulment can be filed, mostly under the pretext of “psychological incapacity. This option, however, is only for the very rich, and this is why only 8,000 annulment cases are filed annually, a drop in the bucket compared with tens of thousands, perhaps millions, who are separated and living together with other partners.

The end result of all of this is the epidemic of social ills, sexual immorality, violent crime, poverty and general lawlessness.

Difficulties for a True Church
And the church is not immune from this epidemic. It is obvious that there are many men and women in the church today who live together illegally and immorally, and the reason is that he/she is married to a different person, but separated, and therefore cannot marry their current partner. This could be their sad situation for many years, and so they have children. And because they are not married, it is often all too easy for them to find new relationships. I have even heard that in some churches, there are men and women living in this kind of relationship who are allowed to be elders and teachers, partake of the Holy Communion, and have their children baptized.

What is the church to do? A true church, to be faithful to Scriptures, has to exercise church discipline over its officebearers and members alike. The Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 85 says, “If any under the Christian name show themselves unsound either in doctrine or in life, and after several brotherly admonitions do not turn from their errors or evil ways,” they are to be “excluded from the Christian communion.” They are not to be allowed to be teachers and officebearers in the church. Because they are to be regarded as unbelievers, their children are not to be baptized. But these measures are always extremely painful to the church.

Divorce in the Philippines, Anyone?
For this reason, in spite of its evil and tendency to be abused, I believe it is time to legalize divorce in the Philippines.

Those who know me and who may be reading this would be surely shocked, especially for Filipinos who have been schooled all their lives about the sanctity of marriage, knowing it is Jesus himself who commanded us, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matt 19:6).

To be sure, Protestants recognize this holy and lifelong institution, but they also saw the total depravity of man’s heart. Thus, they saw that God has provided a solution to those marriages that are seriously defiled and irreparably damaged by human rebellion against God, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so” (Matt 19:8).

Chapter 24 of the Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes the Reformed position regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage:

Paragraph 1: Marriage is to be between one man and one woman (Gen 2:18-24).

Paragraph 3: It is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord. Therefore, those who profess the true reformed religion should not marry unbelievers (I Cor 7:39; II Cor 6:14-18).

Paragraph 5: In the case of adultery after marriage it is lawful for the innocent party to seek a divorce and after the divorce to remarry just as if the offending party were dead
(Matt 5:32; 19:9).

Paragraph 6: Nothing but adultery or such willful desertion as cannot be remedied by the church or the civil authorities is sufficient cause to dissolve the bond of marriage
(I Cor 7:15).

Notice that in Paragraph 6, the WCF allows remarriage after lawful divorce. In continuing his discussion with the Pharisees, Jesus said, “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery” (Matt 19:9). This implies that divorce “and remarriage afterwards” on the grounds of sexual immorality (and willful desertion in I Corinthians 7:15) are lawful, and thus are not considered adultery.

What constitutes sexual immorality? Is it only sleeping with a person who is not the husband or wife? Of course not, because the Greek word porneia includes a broad range of other sexual sins contrary to Scriptural standards: homosexuality, lesbianism, sodomy, harlotry, incest and bestiality. All of these violate the “one flesh” aspect of marriage.

What about willful desertion? Is it only packing one’s bag and leaving the house? Perhaps actions which are tantamount to desertion may be lawful grounds for divorce, as illustrated by the following examples: (1) the deliberate withholding of food, clothing, and sexual relations from the spouse; and (2) life-threatening spousal abuse, or any other actions that are destructive to the “cleaving” aspect of the marriage relationship.

The Westminster theologians recognized that God has clear guidelines in the matter of marriage, divorce and remarriage. They recognized that sinful man would abuse any gracious act of God, presuming that his grace is license to do whatever is right in their own eyes. He was gracious to the Jews in allowing divorce, but they then divorced their wives for any other cause in addition to sexual immorality and desertion
(Matt 19:3). This was not God’s intention from creation, and it was not his intention when he granted them lawful divorce due to their hardness of heart.

Putting the Brakes on the Abuse of Divorce
Lawful annulment in the Philippines is commonly granted on the grounds of psychological incapacity, minority (a party below 18 even with the consent of parents), lack of authority of the solemnizing officer, absence of a marriage license, polygamy, mistaken identity, and incestuous marriage. Incest and polygamy fall in the lawful categories of sexual immorality and desertion, but the others are questionable pretexts at best. The only reason why annulment in the Philippines has not become an epidemic like divorce in the West is that only the very rich can afford the legal process.

If divorce is legalized, how is the church going to prevent its abuse, as can be seen in many other countries? Here, the true church has a great responsibility. First, premarital and marriage counseling is a must. One of the major reasons for failed marriages is the lack or absence of Biblical counseling. Second, the church has to be careful in determining whether the divorce is based on the Biblical grounds of sexual immorality or desertion. This process has to be done when a member files for divorce or intends to marry a divorced person; both cases have to have lawful grounds for divorce. Third, a member is to be subject to the elders of the church, and if he or she disobeys the determination and advise of the elders, he or she is to be subject to church discipline. Fourth, women who become “widows” (and their young children) because of divorce must be cared for by the benevolence of the church.

§

Historically, the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has always been a tough nut to crack in the matter of divorce, and most of the 80 percent of Filipinos who are Catholics remain loyal to their church. But this intransigence and ignorance of the Biblical grounds for divorce has had disastrous effects on the Filipino family, particularly on women and children. It had also put many churches in various difficult situations when its wayward members see that the most viable option for them is to continue their sinful relationships.

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66 thoughts on “UPDATED: No Divorce: Only in the Philippines…”

  1. Pingback: Divorce in the Philippines (in the Biblical context)

  2. Hello Nollie,

    I respect you’re writings and thoughts very much. You’re very clear and precise. I encourage you to keep blogging for Christ. You’re doing a fine job. I enjoy reading statements made from real people with no attitude, but just a passion for bringing the simple truth to the light, for other people to understand.

  3. I am a Filipino and raised in the phil. for 24 years, but now live in the US. I am against divorce. Living in a country where divorce is legal, i have seen the impact of it to the children. Children here do not value marriage. Why? because 99% of them came from a divorce family. They’ve seen they’re parents with another person, and worse they have to deal with it. Having step mom and dad also the root of a problem. One of such is molestation. And because it is what the children seen and experienced, they will also do it as they thought it is ok. So when compare to the philippines, people there value marriage. Filipinos make sure that the person that they will marry will be the person they would be with till the end of their time. Mistakes happen in the middle of marriages and if divorce is legal in the phil. they will think that it is the only solution to their problem. They will not try. Try to make their family whole again, instead they will go straight to what they believe the solution–divorce.

    1. Your speculations don’t square with the fact that “the only Christian nation in Asia” is also one of the most corrupt in the whole world. And this includes not only political corruption, but sexual corruption, which makes no divorce meaningless, useless and nonsense.

      1. “I can see that you have not done your homework regarding the Greek new Teatament. So i prefer if you would get a new testament Scholar that has wrote either a commentary of Matthew or something like that.”

        You don’t know what you’re talking about. And I can see from your spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence construction, that you’re a scholar.

        And I’m pruning your “scholarly” comment because it’s so long and boring. And mindless. In other words, stupid nonsense.

      2. I would like to tesify before you and before a court of law in the Philippines…

        Hahahaha! Your “tesimony” will not be admissible in court because no one would understand you.

  4. I’m 14 from Philippines and my cousins engaged in pre-marital sex which I find immoral. My cousins are twins and both of them are only 15 and their children are now 1 year old! They separate from their families!
    And I also have a 19 year old cousin whose not married, yet she’s pregnant right now… 
    I feel so bad. I agree with you completely.
    I don’t even like the fact that my family prays by the rosary and bow down to virgin Mary statues and “Santo Ninio” it’s blasphemy.

  5. WHY NOT FOLLOW WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS? DIVORCE IS OK AND THE ONLY GROUND IS ADULTERY… AND THAT’S WHAT REALLY HAPPENS IN REAL LIFE… COUPLES SEPARATE BECAUSE OF ADULTERY.

  6. Whether you are for divorce or not, one thing is for sure that we both agree on.
    DIVORCE BREAKS THE FAMILY APART.

  7. Hi pastor,
    I was like confused when you said “Whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.” I read this from bible and from what I understand from this sentence is, it was “You can divorce if only the reason for this is, sexual immorality, if that’s not the reason and you remarry another man you commits adultery” but you said the opposite of what I understand. You say “if you commits nothing except for sexual immorality and have a divorce then it was not adultery” and from what I understand on what you added ( 1 Corinthians 7:15), It was from what I understand is “If you’re husband or wife is trying to slave on all of you or harm any of you then God will give you divorce and He will give you peace.” and for me you said the opposite. But anyways I am with NO DIVORCE. From what I UNDERSTAND in the bible, God opposed Divorce. But I will try to re-read them and consult other bibles for clearer explanation. God bless and Peace be with you. 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment, Pinoyallover. I understand your concern about divorce. And obviously, divorce did not curb sexual immorality in every place where it is legal (practically the whole world, except for two countries). As Jesus said, from the beginning, God did not intend to have divorce, but because of man’s sinfulness, he allowed it. As in many other instances, God allowed exceptions because of man’s sin. Divorce is God’s solution to the defilement of marriage because of adultery or desertion.

      The construction of the Greek text in Matthew 19:8-9 plainly means that Jesus allows divorce and remarriage in case of adultery, and only in this case (Paul adds desertion as a second reason in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16). The ESV Study Bible has a clearer explanation:

      except for sexual immorality (Gk. porneia). “This implies that divorce and remarriage on the grounds of sexual immorality are not prohibited and thus do not constitute adultery. This is the one exception Jesus makes to the requirement that marriage be lifelong, for sexual immorality grievously defiles and indeed corrupts the ‘one flesh’ union (v. 5).”

      and marries another, commits adultery. “(1) If a divorce is obtained for any reason other than (“except for”) sexual immorality, then the second marriage begins with adultery. Jesus is prohibiting divorce for the many trivial reasons that were used so frequently in the first century, leading to widespread injustice, especially for women whose husbands suddenly divorced them. (2) “And marries another” implies that the second marriage, though it begins with adultery, is still a marriage. Once a second marriage has occurred, it would be further sin to break it up. The second marriage should not be thought of as continually living in adultery, for the man and woman are now married to each other, not to anyone else. (3) If the exception (“sexual immorality”) occurs, then the implication is that remarriage to “another” does not constitute adultery and is therefore permissible. (4) Divorce, it must be remembered, is permitted but not required in the case of sexual immorality. Since God’s intention is that marriage should be for life (Matt 19:4–8), this provides good reason to make every reasonable effort to achieve restoration and forgiveness in marriage before taking steps to dissolve a marriage through divorce. This makes Jesus’ teaching fundamentally different from all of first-century Judaism, which required divorce in the case of adultery.”

    2. About 1 Cor. 7:15 let it be so. “Paul advises the Christian spouse not to create strife by trying to manipulate reconciliation with an unbelieving spouse who has left the marriage. not enslaved. This at least means that the believing spouse is not obligated to seek reconciliation to the unbelieving spouse who abandoned him or her (see v. 11); but the majority of interpreters now think that the phrase also implies the freedom to obtain a legal divorce (if that has not already happened) and the freedom to marry someone else. Jesus’ teaching on divorce also appears to allow remarriage when sexual immorality has prompted the divorce.”

      We should not base our beliefs on our own wisdom, or how we feel about an issue—whether we like it or not—but what the Bible says. Jesus and Paul clearly allow divorce, so who are we to contradict what they command?

  8. Divorce in Malta is not actually legalised yet. The referendum was a consultattive one… This means parliament still need to approve the law of divorce. The parliament got the last say. Although I am sure they will follow the people’s opinion.

  9. Eman Camilleri

    Malta is a small European Island, we did not legalize Divorce yet, although we are going to vote for it in a Referendum on the 28th May.

    Hope it will not pass.

  10. Malta has no divorce, but there will be a referendum next may to decide if divorce will be introduced

  11. Just for your general information, in the Island of Malta, divorce is not legal. However this year, in May, there will be a public referendum on the issue.

  12. as you have said, getting married in the philippines is already a problem ( too expensive as you mentioned) would you think this people can afford the divorce? there are a lot of reasons why these people never legalized divorce (which lots of lawmakers tried to pass). no 1 on the list is simply “filipinos dont believe in divorce” as their saying says, ” ang pag-asawa ay hindi parang kanin na isusubo. iluluwa kapag napaso” meaning marriage is not like eating boiled rice, where you can spit it out if hot.

  13. I do not think that people should get divorced. First of all, marriage is a big responsibility. They should know that from the beginning. Having a kid is too, but you cannot simply say that you want to “divorce” your kid. Those that do not get divorced are content.

  14. The Philippines previously had a divorce law but was subsequently repealed by the enactment of the 1950 New Civil Code, which then only provided for legal separation which is only a separation on board and on bed but the parties are nevertheless sitll considered married to one another thus are prohibited to remarry.

  15. hi ptr. nollie,

    i just want to correct the idea that a”psychological incapacity” is a ground for annulment.  Psychological incapacity is the ground for declaration for absolute nullity of marriage under Art. 36 of the family code, while the grounds for annulment are provided for under Art. 45 of the family code. both are different and produces different legal consequences especially with respect to property relations of the spouses.

  16. Christian Baptist

    Dear Pastor,

    If you read and understand thoroughly the Bible, well I must first recommend to you to use a King James Bible Version, because this is the most closest and most accurate translation of the 15th century English translated from the Hebrew Bible. What you are saying that from Matthew 19:8, God commanded to “divorce” Moses is wrong. Actually a clearer version is in the KJ Version and it says here to “put away”. Now there is a very big difference between divorce and to put away. God HATES divorce. But the Bible says that if the man had done wrong against the wife they might physically separate each other, but the marriage is untouch, until they can reconcile. Let’s not forget Pastor what God says about the basic structure of Marriage. The Scripture says, “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ: and the head of the woman is man; and the head of Christ is God.”   I Corinthians 11:3.” Thank you for spending time to read what the Scripture says.

    Your’s Truly,
    Christian Baptist

    1. Where did you get this idea that to “put away” and “divorce” are two different things in Matthew 19:8? Even your KJV says this in Matthew 19:7-8:

      “They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.”

      It says above “a writing of divorcement” and “put her away” is one and the same thing. Let’s go beyond your KJV and read the Greek. The verb used for “put away” is apoluo which means to “set free, let go, release, send away.” It’s the same word used when Joseph wanted to end her betrothal to Mary when she was found to be with child (Matt 1:19). And Joseph’s idea was not just temporary separation. In fact, Joseph wanted to quietly divorce her to save her honor and even her life, because the highest penalty against an adulterous woman is death.

      And the phrase translated “a writing of divorcement” is biblion apostasion, which means exactly as the English translation.

      God hates divorce: I agree. In fact, divorce occurs because of man’s sinfulness. But because of man’s hardheartedness, God allowed divorce. This is crystal clear in the New Testament. Do not prohibit all divorce for any reason just because “God hates divorce.” Understand–and accept–what the New Testament says. You could say a million times that you don’t believe these letters are white, but it doesn’t change the fact that these letters are black.

      And where did you get this idea that the KJV is the most accurate translation?

  17. Hi,

    Yeah, maybe you’re right. Divorce may be legalized. However, the law should clearly state the grounds for filing a divorce. According to your post, one could only have a divorce if the other party commits adultery. And eventhough the husband and wife had been divorced, they can no longer remarry, unless one dies. A divorcee then should never commit sexual immorality.

    Though it may seem unfair to the party whose husband/wife committed adultery that provoked the divorce, it’s not. Why? God gave you a freedom to choose whom you will marry. But you chose the wrong person.

    Well, we don’t have to worry. Because God will not allow that to happen to His children if we allow Him to take control over our lives – including our love lives.

  18. What everyone is forgetting is marriage takes two people. We are not perfect just forgiven. Many live in torment in marriages they either rushed into or really thought it was going to last forever. Just as people fail in life they can fail at marriage. Does God love them any less? If another person doesn’t want to stay married all the marriage counseling won’t make the situation any better. Its not who is at fault cause they both are. One thing the church has never been good at is restoring individuals who have gone through divorce and seperation. They feel like a duck out of water. Many will answer to God for their treatment of christians who have sinned. The bible says restore them considering yourself unless you be also tempted. Yeah God hates divorce he hates all sin. Since we have all sinned and fallen short I think you need to rethink your dogmatic position.

    1. I really don’t know what your point is. I’m not saying that divorce is good, but that God allowed divorce because of man’s sinfulness. So there’s no question that Jesus and Paul both allow divorce and set guidelines for the church in accepting or denying divorce.

  19. a proud filipino

    it doesn’t necessarily mean that a christian countrty would be a paradise. How sure are you that the Philippines is the worse in terms of sexual immorality?????? I think that’s a big thing to say. And corruption?  I thought we were talking about divorce here… it’s not a perfect country but it is trying its best to be one.

  20. Do you actually think that having divorce will solve the problems……???? Those same social problems you’ve mentioned also exist in other countries where divorce has been legalized. Don’t get married if you’re not ready to face the consequences.

    1. Notice that I didn’t say the Philippines would be a paradise if there’s divorce.

      Notice also that among Asian countries, only the Philippines doesn’t have divorce, but it’s also one of the worst in terms of sexual immorality, fragmented families, and corruption. And it’s supposed to be “Christian.”

  21. Horse Race Tipping

    Hi Nollie! It is not a good idea of being divorce not being in place. You can not go around the authorities and I am not sure what would happen to the children who are born from other relationships. Does it mean child is not legal if there is no divorce and other women with kids exist to face the truth? You need divorce in place, you can make it difficult to get but have there for people who want to go for it.

  22. I can’t think of any reason why you would want to outlaw divorce. I mean, come on, Phillipines isn’t Vatican City, and everyone knows it. By ruling out a legal way of separation, the country is doing a disservice to its citizens.

  23. Dear Reformed Filipino,

    I hope readers will read and respond to my comments above. I must point out that I also believe we should support MARRIAGE as a institution. We should pray for couples irrespective of race, religion or colour but as I said when marriages fail, divorce should be allowed as ALL countries including Catholic ones have divorce laws.

    On a different subject, I would be interested in getting involved in a outreach for people living on the streets and I witnessed this in the Malate area of Manila. Any suggestions for how I can give financial support and organisation as I couldn’t see any in the Philippine Star newspaper? Yours, PABLO

  24. Hi there,

    Well done for putting some common sense. Of course divorce should be legalised in the Philippines and I hope other readers will support the current bill being put forward by Rep Liza Maza of Gabriela’s women party. I am black Jamaican and I visited your country in March 2009 and loved it but noted the terrible social problems.

    Why should everyone be bound by this law and only muslims in the Philippines can get divorced? What about Methodists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, Anglicans and other living in your country? I am a Baptist Christian and if you examine the bible it says divorce is okay on some grounds(Read Matt 5) and couples are not bound if one suffers(read 1 Cor 7).

    Finally, what makes the Philippines a Catholic more justified than say Ireland, Brazil, Spain or Portugal which are Catholic countries and have divorce laws. Surely crimes such as child abuse(which is has caused scandals among catholic priests) and people trafficing are need punishing. This is 21st century so wake up to reality and give thousands of women their freedom! SUPPORT THE DIVORCE BILL AND MAKE IT AN ELECTION ISSUE IN 2010!

  25. You have a very vague understanding of the Gospel.

    This is what you said: unbelievers are not subject to God’s law. Then, if unbelievers are not subject to God’s law, how can God subject them to condemnation? God would be so unjust to condemn them to physical death and eternal hell if they are not subject to his law.

    Christ died to save unbelievers, from what? Why did he have to die? Because we are all sinners under condemnation by God. None of us are able to obey God’s law perfectly. If a person disobeyed just one of God’s laws in all of his life, he’s still under condemnation by God.

    How then are unbelievers saved, if they are unable and unwilling to obey God’s law? It is through Christ, who came into this world to fulfill God’ law perfectly. By his perfect obedience to all of God’s law, he was able to do what the first Adam failed to do: to obey God’s law perfectly. Remember that Adam represented all of mankind in his fall into sin; by his sin, the whole creation was plunged into sin, including all of mankind.

    So also, everyone who believe and trust in Christ as their Savior and Lord are saved from condemnation. This is so because Christ represented all who would believe in him. His perfect righteousness is accounted to us who are unrighteousness by nature (Rom 4:1-12). Thus, we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone. You can read all of these in Romans 5:12-21.

    I hope this answers your question if I’m saying that unbelievers can be saved by works.

    Again, you are mixing apples and oranges. You said that believers are no longer under the law. This is true, as far as salvation is concerned. We can never be saved by obeying the law. (You might even be thinking that Old Testament people were saved by obeying the law–this is completely unbiblical. No human being has and can ever be saved by obedience to the law, because no one is able and willing to obey).

    But when a person believes, good works is evidence of true faith. You cannot divorce salvation from its fruits, as James says, “Faith without works is dead.” In this way, a believer is under the law in a sense, because without evidence of good works, the faith that he professes is untrue (John 10:4; 2 Cor 5:17; Rom 6:4, 7:6; Eph 4:23-24; Col 3:10; 1 John 3:24, 5:2).

    However, an unbeliever is under the law. He chooses to work his way to heaven. But because of his sinful nature, he is already a sinner from birth. And because even one sin condemns him to eternal hell, it is impossible for him to be saved by doing even a gazillion good works, even if he did all the good works of all the “saints” (in the RCC understanding) combined.
     

  26. “Are you saying that nonbelievers can be unrighteousness, evil, covetous, full of malice, full of envy, murderers, deceitful, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless, and not be subject to God’s punishment?”  You missed my point.  Non believers are already subject to condemnation if they don’t accept Jesus Christ. What are you saying now…..that non believers can earn their way to Heaven thru good works and earn favor to God without Jesus Christ? We are no longer under the law.

  27. Why would non believers be subject to God’s law? They will be punish unless they receive Jesus Christ. They are subject to society’s law on every wrongdoings they do. Some of them might believe otherwise but isn’t it Matthew 7:21 -23 ” Not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will not enter the kingdom of heaven….23:” Then I will tell them plainly, I never knew you. Away from, you  evildoers”.  The Muslims, Buddists and Hindus can make they own doctrines but would it really matter?

    1. You’re confusing common grace and saving grace.

      “Why would non believers be subject to God’s law?” Read your Bible, e.g., Exodus 20 and Romans 1:28-32 (in fact, the whole Bible is full of God’s law). Are you saying that nonbelievers can be unrighteousness, evil, covetous, full of malice, full of envy, murderers, deceitful, gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless, and not be subject to God’s punishment?

      “They will be punish unless they receive Jesus Christ.” Are you saying that they will be punished for all of the above only if they did not receive Christ?

      So if India doesn’t have laws against murder, rape, stealing and perjury, it will be lawful for Hindus to do these things because they are not Christians? And if Saudi Arabia doesn’t have these laws, are Muslims free to do these things because they are not Christians?

      Read my previous comment. God put natural law into man’s hearts, and here it is: “For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom 2:14-15).

      Unbelievers who have never read the Bible, who have never heard the gospel of Christ, have no excuse, because God has “written” his law into their hearts. They know what’s right from wrong. And this is why in almost every nation, culture and tribe, murder, adultery, stealing, and lying are unlawful. This is part of God’s common grace, so lawlessness could be minimized.

      All human beings, whether Christians or non-Christians, are required by God to obey his laws. God “commands all people everywhere to repent of their sin” (Acts 17:30). No one is exempted from God’s laws, and the penalty for disobeying God’s law is death. This is why all of us die, whether we are Christians or non-Christians. Because all of us have disobeyed God’s law.

      If non-Christians are not required to obey God’s law, on what basis would God punish them? For not accepting Christ? Why did Christ die? Because man has sinned, and he paid the penalty for our sin. If a non-Christian is not required to obey God’s law, then it follows that God cannot condemn him to die as a sinner, and the death of Christ has no bearing on his salvation. This is why Paul says in Romans 5:13, “For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.”

  28. I think you are out of line here. The allowance for divorce in the Bible is for believers ( Christians) and not for non- Christians. Since The Philippines is 85% Catholics…….it’s fair to say that they are not considered Christians. Regardless of the sexual immorality of our fellow men….we shouldn’t even discussing this bec. it’s not relevant to Christian beliefs.

    1. So you mean to say that people who are not Christians are not bound by God’s law, so they can be idolatrous, disobedient to their parents, murderers, thieves, adulterers, liars and covetous?

      We should remember that God hard-wired all human beings with his law in their conscience so they have no excuse (Rom 2:14-15). And this is why the Decalogue is common to all cultures and religions. And this is also why divorce is common in the non-Jewish nations even in the ancient world.

      Also, are you saying that because Catholics are not evangelicals, that they also do not believe in God’s law? And are nations, especially democratic ones, going to enact separate divorce laws for evangelicals, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.?

  29. Do you think divorce would solve the problem? I don’t think so..I’m proud to say that we Filipinos have not legalized divorce yet, and I pray it would not. Modern or coservative, it doesn’t give you reasons to bore upon the public the mistake an individual.Moreover, those few unfaithfuls must make right the mistakes which they have made and for no reason at all should they blame a nation who is trying its best to keep the family together. We may not be a perfect nation but so do are the others.

    1. The close family ties that Filipinos are proud of are a thing of the past. There are more broken families today because of sexual immorality couple with the no-divorce situation. Are you saying that you oppose what the Bible allows just because you think that it is wrong? The problem is not a few unfaithfuls, but a huge proportion of the population. Only the blind cannot see the brokenness of the Filipino family.

    2. Agreed. Even in Malta we don’t have divorce. It is clear in the Bible that God hates divorce and has never been in his plan is clear. Anyone who for his own personal interests says otherwise is failing the word of God.

  30. filipinos are actually instilled with christian teachings; they have very conservative culture. Filipinos value their family and are greatly opposed to the legalization of divorce.

    1. In theory, they have a very conservative culture. But in reality, sexual immorality is actually rampant. The only reason why majority are opposed to divorce is because of the Catholic Church.

  31. I don’t think being liberal is the right word here. It’s not Biblical at all. The Bible says that God hates divorce…except when adultery is involve. I read one of your post that wisdom from men is evil and only true wisdom comes from God( I’m paraphrasing of course what you wrote). Is your reasoning comes from God or simply your own?

    1. I don’t know what you’re referring to here as “liberal.” Is it the view permitting divorce for any reason? As I wrote in the aritcle, the Bible says that divorce is permissible not only in case of sexual immorality, but also in case of desertion by the unbelieving spouse. I don’t see why that would be human wisdom, since it comes from Scriptures.

  32. It is not a good idea of being divorce not being in place. You can not go around the authorities and I am not sure what would happen to the children who are born from other relationships. Does it mean child is not legal if there is no divorce and other women with kids exist to face the truth? You need divorce in place, you can make it difficult to get but have there for people who want to go for it.

  33. In other words, does WCF 24:5, 6 represent the historic Reformed “consensus” (i.e., embracing Reformed churches in the Presbyterian tradition AND Reformed churches in the continental tradition) on the subject?

    1. Yes, I believe it is the historic Reformed position from the time of Luther and Calvin, who both rejected Rome’s Canon Law. I’m not familiar with the history of divorce, but I think even in the medieval times, and despite the Canon Law, most of Europe regarded a marriage dissolved on the two Biblical grounds: sexual immorality and desertion, and therefore, the offended party can remarry.

  34. Pastor,

    This comment is meant for clarification only. With the exception of Herman Hoeksema’s group, is the teaching of the WCF on divorce and remarriage universally accepted by churches or communions which hold to the Three Forms of Unity?

    In the recent Manila conference, Dr. Joel Beeke somehow implied that the position of Hoeksema’s group was novel. Sadly, I have no knowledge of the actual historical facts.

    Thanks.

  35. Pingback: W@W News Blog » Blog Archive » Divorce in the Philippines (in the Biblical context)

    1. Thanks for the link. I went to your Website and read your brief reflection on this post. You said, “What makes it an interesting read is because it favors it. It’s a refreshing to see bible verses cited while divorce is given a thumbs up.” I gave divorce and remarriage a “thumbs up,” but it’s a really sad “thumbs up,” knowing that it destroys families. This is a sort of a “lesser evil” view.

  36. Pastor,

    Thanks for this clear explanation of the Reformed position, and your assessment of the prevailing view in Filipino society. I do think that great numbers of people who oppose divorce in our country are not aware at all of the Biblical and Reformed teaching on this subject (WCF Chapter 24). Divorce in the minds of them is nothing but the immoral “no-fault” divorce practiced in other countries. Conversations with practicing Roman Catholics made me aware also that one of their reasons for rejecting Protestantism is the belief that any other view of divorce that is contrary to that of Rome is “liberal.” This misconception is made worse by the fact that the “Protestantism” known by many of these Roman Catholics is modern evangelicalism, and not the historic Protestantism of the 16th century.

    P.S. “Albert” (one of the top commenters) and I are one and the same. 🙂

    1. As I was writing this post, I was aware of the reactions from both Catholics and evangelicals that it might generate, possibly labeling me with the dreaded “L” word. I used to also have this no-divorce-for-ANY-reason view until I heard this view explained.

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