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According to Pentecostal doctrines, can a widower marry a divorced person without committing a mortal sin? Does it make a difference if that person was the victim of marital infidelity?

If there are significant differences between Pentecostal denominations, please give an overview of their different stances.

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    Most Protestants don't believe there is a distinction between mortal sin and venial sin. Protestant is also a very broad category; it includes almost all non-Catholics. Pentecostal is not too broad, so how about it's scoped to that? – 3961 Jul 9 '15 at 2:37
  • I know of some individual Protestant clergymen who would decline to marry you and your intended because of her divorces, but I do not know of a denominaton which makes this official policy. That said, this seems to be a question asking for pastoral advice, and as such is (at least in my view) outside the scope of the site. – brasshat Jul 9 '15 at 2:51
  • Thank you both for your comments. I would welcome a Pentecostal opinion on this. I know I would need to seek pastoral advice eventually, but wanted to get insight first. – Guest Jul 9 '15 at 2:59
  • The edits I've made to your question are based on the comments you've made and that in it's original form, the question was off-topic in this forum for being a pastoral question. There may be a variety of stances on this issue from Pentecostals, but here is some teaching from AoG on the subject: ag.org/top/Beliefs/topics/relations_09_div_remarr.cfm (they do allow remarriage in this particular circumstance). – bruised reed Jul 9 '15 at 6:48
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There are several questions here to be answered:

  • Are there special rules for a widower as opposed to someone who has never been married?
  • In what circumstances is it sinful to remarry after divorce?
  • Is it ever a "mortal sin" to remarry after divorce?

I will answer these questions using publications of the Assemblies of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination, and the writings of prominent Renewal theologian J. Rodman Williams. While there is likely some variation in pentecostal beliefs among the many dozens of small denominations, I have found no explicit disagreement between these two major expounders of Pentecostal/Charismatic thought.

Remarriage after being widowed

Neither the AG nor Williams explicitly cover the question of widows remarrying in their treatments of remarriage, which isn't surprising given that very few Christians believe that one who is widowed ought not remarry. However, the AG tangentially addresses the question of remarriage of the widowed in several places, in particular when analyzing the qualifications for church officers (1 Timothy 3). It rejects the idea that the literal rendering, "one woman man," refers to a prohibition of remarriage after being widowed. Thus, even widowed church officers, being held to a standard at least as high as others, may remarry.1

Remarriage after divorce

Remarriage among those who have been divorced, however, is a more complex question. Williams writes:

It is a tragic thing to see two people, having become "one flesh," trying to live separate lives because of divorce; but it is an evil thing to see either or both of them trying to contract another marriage. It is evil, indeed perverted, because the original marriage had made two people one.2

However, he makes an exception in the case of one who was the victim of adultery:

It may be asked, what if, in the marriage, only one partner proves to be unfaithful. Are there not Scriptural grounds for a legitimate re-marriage of the innocent party? The answer to that question is "Yes" [...] Re-marriage and not committing adultery is possible if the divorce resulted from "unchastity." The one who has remained chaste may re-marry without committing adultery.2

The same view is taken by the Assemblies of God:

One who has been divorced because of the repeated adultery of a partner is not bound by the former marriage and is free to remarry.3

Jesus clearly assumed that those who were divorced by sinful spouses, or those who divorced sinful spouses for “marital uncleanness” or abandonment, were free to remarry without any tinge of adultery.1

"Mortal" sin?

The term mortal sin, often associated with Roman Catholicism and contrasted with venial sin, appears in some translations of 1 John 5. In Protestantism generally, and Pentecostalism particularly, this sin is often seen to be the same as the sin Jesus called "unforgivable" or "unpardonable" in Matthew 12:31 and elsewhere. It is only with this understanding that we can make any sense of the question of "is divorce after remarriage a mortal sin," since Pentecostalism does not classify sin in the same way that Roman Catholicism does.

Turning now to Williams, we find that he does believe that Christians can commit a "mortal" or "unforgivable" sin, which will not be forgiven, he does not say that about remarriage after divorce:

if we have been divorced and re-married, but not on the grounds of the Scripture [...] if we are truly sorry, God, for Christ's sake, will always forgive.2

Rather, the unpardonable sin, quoting the AG, is "more descriptive of a spiritual state or condition than a single act of sin." It "involves a deliberate or willful act of unbelief," and is not "committed in ignorance" nor is it a "single momentary act."4

Williams writes:

By failing to abide in Christ, to continue in Him and His word, to persevere in the midst of worldly trial or temptation, to make faith firm and strengthen it—thereby allowing unbelief to enter—believers may fall away from God. Thereby they may tragically forfeit their salvation.5

Summary

Can those who remarry after divorce commit a "mortal" ("unpardonable") sin, according to Pentecostalism? Perhaps, yes, if they do so willfully and as part of a pattern of unbelief. However, grace is freely offered to those who truly repent of their sin.

Though remarriage after divorce is generally sinful, exceptions are made for adultery or abandonment: in such cases, the innocent victim may remarry without sinning.


References:

  1. AG, "Divorce and Remarriage" position paper
  2. Williams, The Ten Commandments, "The Seventh Commandment". Emphasis in original.
  3. AG, "Divorce and Remarriage" summary
  4. AG, "Unpardonable sin"
  5. Williams, Renewal Theology, Vol. II, 129
  • A "mortal" sin is not the same as an "unpardonable" sin. It might be good to look for questions about that and maybe ask one if needed. I recommend using the RC definition of "mortal" sin unless someone finds another consistent use by a large body of Christians. – bit chaser Dec 8 '15 at 18:41
  • @disciple Updated. Let me know if you still think this isn't sufficient. – Nathaniel is protesting Dec 8 '15 at 18:58
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There is nothing wrong in marrying a divorced person (pref born again) if you have no other bad intentions. Remember God would be looking at your heart.

The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.
(1 Samuel 16:7)

He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.”
(Luke 16:15)

I am a Pentecost beleiver and a divorcee and looking for a bride from the pentecostal circle.

Regarding your question about 'marital infidelity"- it does not matter her past,if she is in Christ right now.

"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.(Rom 8:1)

  • Though you may be right, there's no evidence (sources) that show this is a pentecostal belief or interpretation of these verses. If you have some sources, please edit those in. – 3961 Jul 9 '15 at 18:10
  • @ fredsbend - As you rightly mention, I am not able to make a direct contextual quote or proof from the bible. But a Pentecost believer can quickly comprehend or relate what i said. How one can prove 'Trinity' in Bible as nowhere in the bible mention this word but still all Christians believe in that. So we can call it a revelation. Just like that sometimes we have to act upon this revelation. – Ben-Pat Jul 10 '15 at 6:42
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    Quoting the Bible for a question like this doesn't actually help make your point. The question is asking what pentecostals believe, so appropriate supporting quotes would be pentecostal publications. I don't know much about pentecostalism, but if there's a confession of faith, a catechism, or prominent authors (current or past), then those are the kinds of things that would make this a stellar answer. – 3961 Jul 10 '15 at 18:22

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