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If a man or woman divorces their spouse, would that be a sufficient reason to excommunicate them from the church according to any Christian groups? Does the fact of whether or not they remarry, or whether or not they repent, make a difference regarding excommunication?

  • 1
    Interesting question. All of the denominations that I know of that do not permit remarriage after divorce do it by literally not recognizing the validity of divorce - it's as if the divorce decree is literally a blank piece of paper that can't do anything, let alone change someone's marital status. This has the interesting effect that a "divorced" couple that want to get back together only need a civil remarriage (to "render unto Caesar", and for public propriety, etc.) and not a church remarriage. – Robert Columbia Dec 13 '17 at 19:42
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I can't speak for every Christian denomination, but in general, the answer to your first question is no. The answer to your second question is yes, with some qualifications.

My denomination is the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and the following is a summary of this resource: Report of the Ad-Interim Committee on Divorce and Remarriage to the Twentieth General Assembly.

The reason divorce itself is not a sufficient reason for excommunication is that scripture allows for divorce in some instances. So church leadership must first determine whether the desired divorce would be valid (scriptural). If the reason for divorce is found to be valid, then it may be allowed and not result in church discipline.

If it is found not to be valid, and the church member continues to want a divorce, then church discipline ensues. If during the process of formal church discipline, the person demonstrates repentance by pursuing reconciliation with the spouse, then church discipline may end. If the person continues in the sin of desiring a non-scriptural divorce and follows through, they have broken their membership vows to the church and are demonstrating continued unfaithfulness to Christ, and are therefore subject to excommunication. This would result in the church treating this person as a non-Christian and pursuing them accordingly.

So repentance does make a difference. Re-marriage would most likely be determined on the validity of the divorce.

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  • Welcome to Christianity.SE. For a quick overview, please take the Site Tour. For more on what this site is all about, see: How we are different than other sites. In particular, this site is about the beliefs and practices of various denominations, not about personal views of what should or shouldn't happen and who is or is not a Christian. See: We can't handle the truth. – Lee Woofenden Dec 15 '17 at 18:53
  • This is my denominations view, so I answered the question according to your rules and according to the actual question. – Brad Chappell Dec 15 '17 at 19:02
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    If so, then you need to identify the denomination, and, to make it a good answer, provide references or links to denominational statements supporting what you say here. Also, the "should" language should go, because it makes your answer sound like an opinion rather than church doctrine and practice. See: What makes a good supported answer? – Lee Woofenden Dec 15 '17 at 19:04
  • I provided a reference and removed the “should” language, even though the “should” was according to the view of the denomination. – Brad Chappell Dec 15 '17 at 20:22
  • Lee, just looked at your website. Now I know why you gave me a down vote. – Brad Chappell Dec 15 '17 at 23:21

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