Sharing God's Truth in Holland, MI

May one take back a spouse who has divorced and remarried?


I heard the message “Divorce and Remarriage,” and I had a question. Pastor Holstege says that Deuteronomy 24:4 is still binding and forbids a husband from taking back his adulterous wife who has remarried. What about a reverse situation where the husband is the adulterer and has remarried, but the wife has faithfully stayed true to her marriage vows. Does the same rule apply, that she may not receive her husband back into the marriage, because he has divorced her and then remarried? If you can point me to an article, sermon, or book on the PRC website (or can give me a simple answer), I would be very appreciative.


I just listened to that part of my sermon on “Divorce and Remarriage” to which you refer, the part talking about Deuteronomy 24. After listening to it, I can see why. The Mosaic law was binding in the Old Testament. But in the New Testament, I believe I can say confidently, it no longer applies. My proof is I Corinthians 7:10-11: “… But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband …” Paul stipulates that if a husband or wife departs from his or her spouse (implication being that one of them committed adultery, which is the only ground for divorce), then he or she must remain unmarried or be reconciled to the spouse. Thus, a husband may take back his adulterous wife, and a wife may take back her adulterous husband, if the guilty party is sorry. I believe this still holds true even if the adulterous wife or husband has remarried, and then divorced the second spouse. I apologize for the confusion in my sermon which you listened to. I should have been clearer about that.

For further reading, I direct you to a pamphlet by Prof. David Engelsma on our PRC website: The Prohibition of the Remarriage of the “Innocent Party.” He has also written a couple books: Marriage, Mystery of Christ and the Church and Better to Marry. The first of these explains Deut. 24 in some detail. The second looks at I Cor. 7. But both of them would be very profitable to you.


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