I recently had the pleasure of reading Ennis Pepper’s In Defense of Divorce: Why a Marriage Should Never Be Saved at the Expense of a Life (available in eBook format only). What I discovered was a series of thoughtful arguments to challenge the traditional Christian doctrine that says “divorce is forbidden.”
“Divorce is a solution, not a sin.”
The introduction relates a sad and complicated tale of a woman who sought Ennis Pepper’s assistance after her home church denied her both a divorce and a remarriage. From this real-life example, Pepper launches into many issues, including our blind adherence to traditions that don’t serve us, the relationship (or lack thereof) between marriage and church, biblical references to divorce (and adultery) and appropriate help for those who are suffering.
This easy read employs both a practical and scholarly approach to the defense of divorce. Conflicted Christians can find comfort in the ancient cited text which does not directly condemn the actions of modern-day couples. Throughout the book, we are reminded that marriage was created in a perfect environment, for perfect people. This is no longer the case, as imperfections abound on all levels in our society- therefore it’s necessary to reconsider the assumptions and rigid rules we’ve made along the way.
Through this text, Pepper provides an appropriate assessment of how the Christian attitude toward divorce has evolved. He also raises important questions to challenge the notions that some conservatives hold dear. And he reminds us to hold individuals in a higher regard than a marriage, not the other way around.