Concordia Theological Monthly

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Document Type



divorce, union, wife, marriage, husband, wedlock, betrothal, desertion

Submission Type

Bible Study; Lecture; Sermon Prep


No Divorce, Except It Be for Fornication.

Fornication constitutes the one and only cause for obtaining a divorce, for severing the marriage bond. However, before the Christian congregation may sanction a suit for divorce on the grounds of fornication, it must be manifest that the person accused has actually committed fornication. The offense must be proved de facto and de jure. It must be fornication de jure. A raped woman has not committed fornication; she has been the victim of a crime perpetrated against her will. Whether rape has occurred before or after betrothal or marriage, it will not afford the husband a cause for divorcing his wife or severing the betrothal. Unless the element of fraud enter, she is under no obligation even to reveal to her husband or betrothed the rape she has suffered before or after the marriage. Circumstances must decide whether it would be more advisable to reveal or conceal it.


Practical Theology

Scripture References in this Resource (separated by semi-colons)

Matthew 18:16; Matthew 12:37; Luke 19:22; Matthew 19:6; Matthew 19:9;

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Submission Audience

Laity; Ministers; Scholars