In the last couple of days, the article by Glenn T. Stanton from Baptist press has been appearing in some of our favorite reading spots including here at Crosswalk.com. The article asserts that the divorce rate in the church is not as high as the divorce rate among unbelievers. The message is that people who are committed to spiritual disciplines have a lower divorce rate than the rest of society. For a ministry with a focus on strengthening marriages for the sake of the Kingdom, one might think we would be overjoyed with the message of the article; but frankly, we aren’t. Here’s why.
Those of us who have been perpetuating the myth addressed in the article already knew this “new” news. WGHJ’s approach to healing and strengthening marriage is to lead couples to be hearers and doers of the word. When husbands and wives turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, forgive as they’ve been forgiven, and love their spouses as they love themselves, they tend to have super marriages. According to the “The Christian Divorce Rate Myth,” the surveys behind the numbers that support the “myth” include those completed by Christians who aren’t nearly so committed to these teachings. In other words, the numbers look a lot better for Christians if we will only consider the interviews of people who are committed. Strugglers make the rest of the church look bad.
You can’t exclude the struggler from the total church picture. Good grief, if we’re only going to include the “committed” in surveys, then only 10% of Christian men struggle with pornography, only 5% of Christian woman have spoken disrespectfully to their husbands, and only 0% of Christian young people have had sex before marriage!
Only 38% of committed Christians have been divorced. Really? Now, that number seems incredibly high! Even among committed Christians, nearly 4 out of 10 of our spiritual siblings have experienced divorce.