You may have heard of Pat Robertson’s outlandish and ridiculously un-biblical comments stating that it was OK to divorce a spouse dying of Alzheimer’s Disease. If you haven’t, you can see them here.
I don’t think it takes a whole lot of biblical knowledge to know that this is not what God really says on the matter. Outside of sexual infidelity or abuse (some folks file this under “abandonment”), God just does not give us the green light (Matt 19; I Cor 7).
Instead of refuting a ludicrous claim, I’ll just let this lad speak for me. Never heard of him, but he does a great job of graciously refuting Robertson’s claim and couches the “until death due us part” in the context of sacrificial covenantal love.
But I do have one take on a question raised in this interview: whether or not “until death due us part” is actually in the bible. That specific wording is not, but that is irrelevant given the nature of covenantal love and vows.
We’re not to make ridiculous vows such as Judge Jepthah’s whopper, “The next thing who walks out of the house to greet me when I return from battle I will sacrifice (Judges 11).” Bad idea jeans. We’re also told it is better not to make a vow then to make a vow and not fulfill it (Eccl 5:5).
But when you do vow, and it’s not bad to vow-it can be part of your worship to God-you should take it seriously. God does.
Regardless whether or not some verbiage is in the bible, like “until death due us part” (it is nevertheless assumed in context of covenant and Ephesians 5), it is still a vow that needs to be honored.
I know most people don’t take their vows all that seriously, sometimes we see this in vows of church membership. But regardless, if you vow something before God, then you are accountable to that vow, regardless of whether you can find it in the bible. For instance, if I vowed, which I did, to make known any major changes in my theological convictions to the presbytery, then I’m responsible to do that. There is no verse needed to support that. I vowed it.
This is only really part of the issue, but I found it worth thinking about. The main part is the nature of covenantal love. What’s love got to do with it? Everything.