Is Mercury Poisoning a Valid Reason for Divorce?
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
[July 26, 2022: There have been some changes made to this post. For more information, read the Editors’ notes at the bottom of the post. Editors.]
We have quoted numbers of leading evangelical pastors and theologians who teach that abuse is not a biblical reason for divorce. If you want to see their exact words you can go back and read them in previous posts here (search under MacArthur, Sproul, Grudem, and Piper). Remember, our goal here is not to make these men or others out to be devils. We are merely bringing what they teach about marriage, divorce, and remarriage out into the open. These four men vary from holding that divorce is only permissible for adultery or literal, physical desertion to Piper’s absolute no divorce for any reason at all position.
As I was walking around the store this evening, hanging out in the hunting and fishing section and trying to justify buying a new rifle (which I couldn’t — and I tried hard), my wife headed over to the gardening section to get some slug bait. Now, for you readers down there in Oz, and maybe even some of you in the more arid parts of the country here, let me tell you about slugs. A slug is a snail without a shell. There are small ones and some here that are up to 6 inches or so long. They are fat, slow-traveling, and I mean they are slimy. Big time. They leave a trail of slime as a matter of fact. And they are voracious. They can wipe out your garden overnight. So you have to buy slug bait and sprinkle it around. They eat it and they are dead.
But that has little to do with the main subject here, except that the slug bait made me think of this scenario — what would Christians who oppose divorce for abuse have to say if I told them that I know a woman whose husband is poisoning her. Let’s say he is lacing her food with mercury. Little by little, she is consuming it. Symptoms are starting to show. She doesn’t know what is happening to her, but she knows that her health is going away fast.
If she were to find out, does God permit her to divorce this man? Oh yes, I know they would all say (except for the really crazy ones, and believe me, there are a few of those out there), they would all say that she should call the police immediately, get away from him, testify against him, and he should go to prison for attempted murder. But that doesn’t quite take care of loose ends, does it? My question of these folks is — does God permit her to divorce the man? She would have, by the way, all kinds of pressure put on her by various Christian friends and possibly church leaders, to show him mercy. To not testify even. How can she be sure he was really poisoning her? He has some plausible explanations, after all.
Can she divorce him and move on with her life? As bizarre as it might sound, I know that John Piper would have to say, “no”? Right? Unless he has some other card up his sleeve I don’t know about, he is necessarily forced to tell this woman she cannot divorce her almost-murderer husband. And really the other three would have to do the same. He didn’t commit adultery. And he didn’t divorce her himself or desert her, right? (Somehow I think that murder is akin to some kind of desertion, and a pretty permanent one at that.)
Well, here is my main point. Abuse is a slow poison. And it is deadly. It kills. Many, many, many of the abuse victims / survivors that I know have serious health problems, many of them stress-induced immune system related type things. Others are having their lives shortened by lack of medical care and nutrition. Still others — well, a knife or bullet or strangulation is a pretty effective poison too. Abuse is poison. And when anyone says that God does not permit divorce for abuse, you may as well just say that He doesn’t permit divorce for mercury poisoning.
[July 26, 2022: Editors’ notes:
—For some comments made prior to July 26, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be an exact match.
—For some comments made prior to July 26, 2022 that quoted from the post, the text in the comment that was quoted from the post might no longer be found in the post.
If you would like to compare the text in the comments made prior to July 26, 2022 that quoted from the post to the post as it is now (July 26, 2022), click here [Internet Archive link] for the most recent Internet Archive copy of the post.]