(These resolutions on divorce and remarriage were adopted by Garden Park Mennonite Brethren Church, Denver, in 1990 and 1991 after a study process. They were also then submitted to the MB Board of Faith and Life with a request to reconsider the 1981 Conference resolution on this topic.)


Resolution: Marriage, divorce, and remarriage

The following sections were approved at a congregational meeting in October, 1990:

1. Marriage. We believe that scripture teaches the permanence of marriage. We also believe that marriage was created by God for the benefit of humans - for companionship, for the propagation of the species, and for pleasure. We believe that the sexual relationship within marriage is good and should be enjoyed. We believe that God intended the marriage relationship to be based on mutual submission to God and to each other, confessing our faults to one another, and forgiving one another with understanding and love. Finally, we believe that the marriage of a believer to a nonbeliever is not in keeping with the Word of God.

2. Divorce. We recognize that people often fail to live according to God's will, and marriage relationships are broken, often resulting in divorce and remarriage. The covenant commitment of marriage requires that spouses make every effort to make the marriage succeed. God expects spouses to deal with attitudes and actions that contribute to conflict, and expects us to endure and forgive in all our relationships.

Scripture indicates, however, that situations do arise that are either unbearable, or beyond one's control. Two are specifically mentioned: adultery and abandonment. In such cases, divorce, though hated by God, is nevertheless permitted in recognition of our sinful condition. This permission should not, however, be construed as license.

3. Remarriage. We believe that divorce may be an option to bring peace, in some extreme cases. This does not imply permission to remarry in every case. The Bible forbids remarriage, except in the case of adultery and abandonment. Remarriage should be delayed as long as possible in an effort to reconcile with one another. We therefore counsel divorced persons to refrain from remarriage, and to humbly pursue forgiveness and reconciliation as long as practically possible. Once a divorced person remarries, the new relationship should be considered permanent.

We do not feel that the Biblical teaching on this subject was meant to be exhaustive, and therefore do not feel we can state a policy that fairly responds to every possible situation. We commit ourselves, however, to review each case individually, and to be biblically confrontive and redemptive.

4. Forgiveness. We commit ourselves to extend the forgiving grace of God to those who have experienced divorce and remarriage. We commit ourselves to instruct the divorced and remarried to recognize the seriousness of their offense against God and the community, and that they allow the church sufficient time to accept their repentance.

We believe that divorce and remarriage, either before or after conversion, does not exclude anyone from church membership, except where there is a persistent unwillingness to conform to God's word.


The following sections were approved at a congregational meeting May 5, 1991:

5. Ministry. We urge divorce and remarried members to consider that service in the church is a privilege and not a right, and ask that they step aside for a period of time and allow the church to determine readiness for service. The services divorced and remarried persons may perform will largely be determined by what the congregation is ready to receive from them.

6. We also recognize our responsibility as a congregation to respect and honor the implicit and explicit commitments that we have made by being a part of the General Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches and its decision-making process. Where this statement differs from such commitments or positions, we respectfully submit it for consideration within the larger body.


The following resolution was also adopted at the May 5, 1991 congregational meeting, but as a separate resolution from the policy statement:

In particular, we ask for reconsideration of the 1981 resolution recommending that divorced persons "should not be eligible to serve on the diaconate or in the ministry."