Reviewed by John B. Youngberg, chairman, Department of Religious Education and Educational Foundations, Andrews University.

This book grew out of a pastor's Bible class at Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia, and became a cassette package with 140,000 copies sold.

Dr. Dobson has a profound respect for Scripture and does not try to get around or interpret it away. After dealing with the Old Testament, he surveys the teachings of Jesus. While the caviling Pharisees wanted to know the technical grounds for divorce, Jesus answered the real question: "How can I keep the marriage together?" Jesus was saying, "You are arguing over the causes of divorce, but you have missed God's original plan and will for marriage." The author interprets the Matthew 19 exceptive clause "except it be for fornication [porneia]," referring to illicit sex in general.

Dobson finds that there are two New Testament permissions for divorce: porneia and when an unbelieving spouse departs (1 Cor. 7:10-13). There is biblical permission to remarry if there are biblical grounds for the divorce. But divorce is not a right. "Even though God permitted divorce, God's ultimate plan and will is for people to stay together."

Those who divorce and remarry without biblical grounds can be reinstated to first class citizenship in the church after repentance, but not to leadership as elders or deacons. There is no such thing as an ongoing state of adultery.

Dobson shows sensitivity to human need and knowledgeability of the literature on divorce and the results on future marriages and children involved. Yet his primary authority source is biblical, not behavioral. The "how to's" make the book practical (e.g., "How can I maintain purity in an age of moral impurity?"). The author has not dodged any complex problem. His work is refreshingly simple, and some may feel his solutions are too simple. The chapters are well outlined and summarized.

Dobson sees himself in an intermediate position between the two extremes of (1) no divorce under any circumstances and (2) divorce for any reason. The counsel given has the ring of a pastor who has wrestled with these issues in real life situations with biblical redemptiveness.

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus
Reviewed by John B. Youngberg, chairman, Department of Religious Education and Educational Foundations, Andrews University.

April 1989

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

Who are(n't) we baptizing?

Market research can help us understand where the church is succeeding and failing in its work of preaching the gospel.

The Adventist pastor and the ordination of women

An Australian Seventh-day Adventist gives his perspectives on a matter that has worldwide significance.

Sometimes you should drop the load

What do you do when your spouse is in the wrong and the church members are asking you to straighten him or her out?

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up
Advertisement - RevivalandReformation 300x250

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)