Marriage is both a civil and a religious contract for many Americans. We become legally connected with another person through the state, but we often turn to religious leaders to bless the marriage. The Southern Baptist Convention holds some specific views on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Southern Baptists see their beliefs as a commitment to God’s intended plan for human sexuality.
Southern Baptist Understanding of Marriage
Southern Baptists believe marriage should be between one man and one woman and last a lifetime. As such, the denomination opposes same-sex marriage legislation. In a Southern Baptist marriage, each partner has distinct duties. The husband's duties include providing for the family and protecting them from harm. The wife's duties include management of the household and rearing children. This doesn't mean Southern Baptist women are all stay-at-home moms, of course. Instead, Baptists view these roles as general functions of each partner.
Southern Baptist Understanding of Divorce
According to Southern Baptists, God hates divorce. The denomination has, in the past, issued statements lamenting the divorce rates in the United States, particularly among their own denomination. They don't condone divorce most of the time. In instances where one partner of a marriage has been unfaithful, some Southern Baptists suggest that divorce is a legitimate option, however.
Southern Baptist Understanding of Remarriage
Even in cases where a divorce takes place on biblical grounds according to Southern Baptist views, remarriage may be out of the question. As a denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention encourages divorced couples to seek reconciliation and reunion with each other and with God. If one partner dies while the couple is divorced, Southern Baptists believe the survivor is free to remarry. They encourage churches to offer counseling and mentorship to young couples and even make divorce and remarriage a matter of church discipline.
Southern Baptist Ministers
The Southern Baptist Convention holds its ministers to a high moral standard. At one time, the Southern Baptists automatically stripped a minister of credentials when he became divorced. The high-profile divorce of Dr. Charles Stanley, however, has many Southern Baptists rethinking the tradition. In practice, the church has allowed widowers and single men into the ministry, but not divorced or remarried men. This trend seems to be changing, however.
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