“Legalized Adultery”

By John McCort

The divorce rate in this country has almost reached the 50% mark. Last year more divorces were granted in California than marriage licences. In the next generation about 50% of the prospects we come in contact with are going to. be divorced. This is going to create problems in the Lord’s church.

Many of the people we baptize are going to be unscripturally divorced and remarried. The Bible teaches that these people are adulterers (Matt. 19:9; 5:32). Repentance demands that these adulterers cease committing adultery. It becomes a very difficult matter to instruct the adulterers to cease their adultery.

Many people in the church have twisted the Scriptures to allow and justify unlawful marriages. They have tried to say that the non-Christians are not subject to the laws of God and thus they are not guilty of adultery if they were divorced and remarried prior to becoming a Christian. John 3:4 teaches that all sin is lawlessness or a transgression of the law. If non-Christians are not subject to God’s law then they have not sinned and do not need baptism. They are already saved according to that theory. Others contend that since baptism takes away all sin that God forgives the couple of the unlawful divorce and remarriage. Even though baptism takes away sin it does not change a marriage relationship. God does not grant the adulterers the right to continue committing adultery (Rom. 6:1-2).

This problem with unlawful marriages has caused a great deal of .difficulty in the Lord’s church in California. I fear the rest of the country is going to experience the same difficulty in the coming generation. In fact I firmly believe the next major battle in the Lord’s body will be fought over this very question.

The fear of strife and division has caused some of our brethren to adopter compromising attitude. They have suggested a peaceful coexistence. They have suggested that we regard this question as being a matter of individual private conviction or opinion. I have heard it suggested by some that the adulterers be allowed to continue in full fellowship as faithful members of local churches and let the problem be between them and God. The church at Corinth was severely condemned by God for fellowshipping a fornicator (Cor. 5:1-13).

As for me, I cannot tolerate a doctrine of legalized adultery. I will oppose with vigor those who teach such even to the point of a breach in fellowship. Anytime the truth of God causes division then so be it. We cannot afford peace at any price. The price we will pay is that eventually local churches will be filled with adulterers who continue to sin with impunity. I cannot think of anything more repulsive in the eyes of God.

Truth Magazine XXIV: 15, p. 241
April 10, 1980