Not Under Bondage

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Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion

Does the Bible permit divorce for domestic abuse? May a divorced Christian remarry? Christian teaching on divorce and remarriage has varied widely. Interpretation of the biblical texts on divorce and remarriage has been hotly contested and the debate is still very much alive.

Among those most hurt by the uncertainty and lack of consensus are Christian victims of domestic abuse. They often think they must choose between two unpleasant alternatives: endure abuse, or face condemnation by God and church people for disobeying the Bible.

Readers, please read the important note at the bottom of this page. 

Not Under Bondage, written by a survivor of domestic abuse,

  • defines domestic abuse as a pattern of coercive control (not just physical violence) 
  • explains the scriptural dilemmas of abuse victims
  • carefully examines the scriptures and scholarly research
  • shows how the Bible sets victims of abuse free from bondage and guilt.

 Some conclusions of Not Under Bondage are:

  • The Bible distinguishes between "treacherous divorce" and "disciplinary divorce".
  • Disciplinary divorce is permitted by the Bible. This applies in cases of abuse, adultery or desertion, where a seriously mistreated spouse divorces a seriously offending spouse.
  • Treacherous divorce is condemned by the Bible. It occurs when a spouse obtains divorce for reasons other than abuse, adultery or desertion.
  • If the offending partner was sexually immoral, the Bible allows the non-offending partner to remarry.
  • If the offending partner abused, deserted or unjustly dismissed the other, and the offender has been judged to be ‘as an unbeliever’, the Bible allows the mistreated partner to remarry .

NOTE: Since writing the book, I have changed my mind on the application of church discipline to the abuser and how that relates to the question of the victim's divorcing the abuser. So please read the book in conjunction with my article Church Discipline and Church Permission for Divorce — How my Mind has Changed.