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Studies & Actions of the General Assembly of
The Presbyterian Church in America


[7th General Assembly (1979), 7-42, p. 106.]

Recommendations of the Ad Interim Theological Committee on Divorce:

1. That the General Assembly reaffirm its commitment to the Biblical position as summarized in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXIV, regarding the integrity of marriage according to the Divine ideal as being for life.

2. That the General Assembly affirm that the integrity of marriage is founded upon God's Word, which declares that marriage is God's institution and should be God-centered, not man-centered. Both husband and wife are the Lord's servants and submit one to the other in terms of the Lord's purposes. They are, together, the Lord's creatures, called to serve Him, with one, the husband, exercising loving headship in that calling.

3. That the General Assembly declare that the Biblical idea for church office is exemplary conduct tot he highest degree possible with regard to all of the qualifications set forth by the Apostle Paul in I Timothy and Titus 1.

4. That the General Assembly affirm that the Bible teaches that divorce is permissible in the case of sexual immorality (Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Matthew 19:9) or willful desertion of a believer by an unbeliever (I Corinthians 7:15). The innocent party is therefore free to remarry, since he is no longer "under bondage" once properly divorced. (See Westminster Confession of Faith, XXIV-5). Any man who is divorced in accord with Biblical principles, whether remaining single or having remarried, may serve as a church officer.

5. That the General Assembly urge church courts to exercise special care in the cases of divorced/remarried persons who are considered for ordination, that where there has been divorce and remarriage on other than Scriptural grounds, guilt must be acknowledged and repentance for sin expressed.

6. That the General Assembly remind the Church that in order to be considered for church office the parties concerned in such cases must have been rehabilitated sufficiently in the confidence and respect of other Christians as to be able to fulfill in an exemplary way the requirements of church office with regard to marital and family relationships. The General Assembly reminds the Church and its courts that even when such care is exercised as is urged in this and the foregoing recommendation, there may be circumstances in which it would be inadvisable, even though technically permissible, for divorce[d]/remarried persons to serve as church officers.

7. That the General Assembly exhort sessions and presbyteries to follow Scriptural guidelines carefully in dealing with present or prospective church officers who have been divorced.

8. That the General Assembly answer Overture 12 from the Presbytery of North Georgia to the Fifth General Assembly, with regard to divorce and remarriage, by reference to the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXIV.

Note: See also Judicial Case #51, in PCA Digest, Part III.

Overture 12. From North Georgia Presbytery to the Fifth General Assembly. [M5GA (1977), 5-10, p. 32,]
Whereas, God's Word enjoins His people to recognize the legitimacy of divorce on the grounds of adultery, or desertion by an unbelieving partner only,
Whereas, our civil authorities have taken it upon themselves to recognize other than Scriptural grounds for divorce.
Therefore, be it resolved that the General Assembly appoint a committee to further investigate the practice of divorce and remarriage both within and without the P.C.A., to the end that specific conditions of divorce be incorporated in the Book of Church Order, as may be most conformable tot he Word of God.