It is our clear conviction, based upon the teachings of Scripture, that the most God- honoring and joy-giving outcome in any struggling marriage is the restoration of that marriage to what God intended it to be… a reflection of the love of Christ for His bride, the church (Eph. 5.22-33). In light of that conviction, our elders and pastors at North Wake will counsel and pray and seek to be tools in the hands of God for the restoration of all struggling marriages that include members of the body of Christ at North Wake.
We are deeply convinced that God is able to soften the hardest of hearts (Ps. 51.10) and that it is our responsibility as elders and pastors to encourage and comfort the members of North Wake to trust in and live in light of that great hope. God is more than able to restore broken marriages (Ps. 71.20; Jer. 31.18; Zech. 10.6;1 Pet. 5.10) if we will but trust and obey him. We have seen many instances where he has done a great work and restored a marriage to a beauty and joy far greater than it had ever experienced before. It is our steadfast commitment to work for and encourage the restoration of marriages that are struggling in light of the great grace and mighty promises of our God.
Sadly, many who profess Christ abandon this hope and fail to seek the matchless resources of the promises of Scripture and the prayers of the elders and pastors of the church (James 5).
What about exceptions?
Some of our minds quickly run to the question, “But are there any exceptions when a divorce is acceptable or permissible?” While we understand that we must address this question, we want first to assert that this is the wrong question to begin with if our intent is to seek God’s heart about marriage and divorce. The better questions would be, “What would most please God in this particular marriage? What would honor and glorify Him most? What course of action in this circumstance would most loudly proclaim the Gospel of our holy and loving God?”
The answer to this secondary question is one where our elders and pastors at North Wake do not have complete agreement, as is the case in the broader evangelical Christian community as well. We also recognize that there are voices in the Church at large who advocate divorce for a variety of reasons. In light of the discussion above concerning the strong position the Bible takes against divorce, we believe that if the Bible does allow for exceptions to a “never divorce” position, then those exceptions are intended to be exceedingly rare and only in the most exceptional circumstances. We also believe that those “exceptions” are not intended to function as an automatic justification for leaving a difficult marriage. The Bible does not require us to divorce in any circumstance nor does any potential Biblical exception serve as an easy pathway to avoid taking the hard path of reconciliation and restoration. Once again, we believe that the most Christ-honoring position for a Christian to take is to trust God for great mercy and work toward reconciliation in their present marriage.
At North Wake, some of our pastors and elders hold to the position that there is no such thing as an acceptable or permissible divorce. They hold that the marriage bond is unbreakable, apart from death, and that therefore divorce is never an option for a believer (Rom. 7.1-3; Mark 10. 10-11; Luke 16.18). Others amongst our leaders would allow for divorce in the case of a prolonged, unrepentant adultery (Matt. 5.32), and particularly when there is no chance for restoration of the marriage because the adulterous spouse has remarried. Some of us would also allow for divorce in the case of