The issue of divorce is tricky in the Christian belief system. There are certain rules in which a person may be released from marriage - if their spouse cheats, if the marriage was never consummated, or if a spouse denounces God (or in this case, the specific Oregon City FOC church) and leaves of their own accord. The problem with this is that the OC Group only allows men to be released from a cheating spouse. Also, the only people who know what really goes on behind closed doors are the husband, wife, and God. Another problem in this system is that, in order to be free, the spouses must prove themselves innocent by trashing their spouse - who is, in most cases, the mother or father of their children. Who suffers most from this? The children. Does God hate divorce? The bible tells us that He does. God hates all sin. And we have all sinned.
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
Please read these two letters from the preacher C.C. Smith on the subject of divorce.
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March 11, 1933
I read Brother George’s letter and was surprised that he would teach as he did. I think he needs a little teaching himself. Let us turn to the Sermon on the Mount: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: and he opened his mouth and taught them saying. This is very plain that where man and wife are both in the faith there is but two reasons for them to marry again, namely fornication or death of one or the other.
Now let us see what Paul was talking about 1st Cor. 7-15, he was talking to one that was in the faith which had an unbelieving companion in other words unequally yoked together. Now Paul says if the unbelieving depart let them depart: a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. And he didn’t say if the other has committed fornication.
First Cor. 5-5. This speaks of the spirit that was in the man when he was born into the world. The flesh would return to the earth as it was and the spirit return to God that gave it. If there is any in that body who wants to turn someone over to Satan., tell them to be sure there is not a beam in their own eye.
I believe it would do those good who are always contentious if they would read all of the sermon on the mount. Matt 5-6, in the prayer he taught his disciples to pray: and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.
I was glad to hear that Brother Walter had been preaching. I trust God will reward him. And now I charge you that this epistle be read among all the holy brethren.
May God bless you and yours, my earnest prayer.
Pray for us.
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The following letter was undated, but also addressed questions about the circumstances in which divorce is permitted in the church. Smith also exhorts the church not to remove members from their body, a practice the Oregon City group has taken up in recent years, by means of shunning and pressuring others to shun.
Dear Brother and Sister in Christ Jesus,
I just received your letter asking for information concerning certain scriptures. You did not mention any names. I have guessed that you refer to old sister Rogers as we used to call her.
Now Mr. Rogers left her. Answer: if the unbelieving depart, let them depart, a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases. If she was not under bondage she was free to marry.
Then she married an old soldier who seemed to me to be faithful. This brother died, she was no longer his wife but his widow. If her husband be dead she is at liberty to marry who she will only in the Lord. First Cor. 7-39.
The last man did not marry his father’s wife but his father’s widow, and one that was free because of his death.
As far as putting one out of the church is a Pharisee error. If our names are on the Lamb’s Book of Life, no man can take it off. Each one can take his own name off by evil conduct or disobedience. Remember the wheat and the tares must grow together until the harvest and God’s angels will separate them.
I charge that this epistle be read to all the Holy Brethren.
May the richest blessings from on high reside and abide with you all. Amen.
Pray for us,