There’s a belief among some conservative Christians that divorce is absolutely not an option. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, you made a vow at the altar and leaving your spouse is a form of rejecting God. The only possible exceptions to that rule are if your partner commits adultery or becomes an atheist.
That used to be the view of Calvinist theologian and staunch complementarian Wayne Grudem, a signer of the anti-LGBTQ Nashville Statement. But Grudem has finally realized the truth of what feminists have been saying for some time now: Christians need to start saying divorce is acceptable in additional situations, including when there’s domestic abuse involved.
Rebecca Randall explains in an article for Christianity Today:
After hearing examples of real-life couples whose Christian beliefs led them to endure abuse rather than separate, Grudem said he looked closer at Scripture to conclude that abuse may be grounds for divorce, provided pastors and elders seek discernment from God in leading a couple to this outcome.
This revises his long-held view, published as recently as 2018 in his textbook Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning…
Grudem, a co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, presented his new work on the topic at the Evangelical Theological Society annual meeting last week, in a talk entitled “Grounds for Divorce: Why I Now Believe There Are More than Two.”
That’s good news for Christians women who are in abusive relationships, who were led to believe there was no way out of that situation that would get a seal of approval from God. But it never should have taken this long to get there. It’s like people who oppose LGBTQ rights until they realize their son or daughter is gay. Why did it take that?
From both a theological and secular perspective, abusive spouses break their marriage vows to love and protect when they abuse, be it emotionally, physically, or sexually. Their part of the covenant has been dishonored, which permits the abused party to protect themselves by seeking divorce (and possibly a court order).
It shouldn’t take a sign from God, or whatever Grudem’s lightbulb was, to realize that some relationships need to end. He shouldn’t have needed testimony from women who have suffered. But when you’re part of a culture that treats women as inferior, no matter what you pretend otherwise, it’s no wonder Grudem took this long to admit the obvious.
(Screenshot via YouTube)