Free Methodist clergy recognize that marriage is a covenant that is not meant to be broken. We also recognize, along with Jesus and Paul that there are circumstances from a “hardness of heart” that make a marriage abusive. To require a person to stay in such a marriage would be contrary to the intent of Scripture. Thus Free Methodist clergy also recognize that with the biblical explanation of abandonment and adultery destroying the covenant of marriage so does abuse. In this writing by Herb Vander Lugt with editor Martin R. De Haan II we are provided a detailed study of Scripture in support of this understanding.
In part De Haan says:
THE LAW OF MOSES
The apostle Paul reminds us that all
Scripture is inspired by God and full of wisdom for living in a fallen world (2 Tim. 3:16). With this reminder, let’s review some often-overlooked provisions in the law of Moses. While Jewish rabbis have seen significance in these passages, the church has often focused on the marital ideal rather than those conditions which, according to Moses, required protection for even the most weak and vulnerable women in Israel….
God’s ideal and intent formarriage has never changed. What has changed, however, are the conditions that occur when hard- hearted people break and are broken by the timeless principles of God. The same law that offers penalties for murder, theft, perjury, and adultery also provides consequences when the purpose and covenant of marriage are broken by contempt and abuse.