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A Proposal on Ministerial Experiences in Divorce. A Case Study of Some Selected Clergy

Abstract

This study will be on Ministerial experience in divorce; a case study of selected clergy. Four objectives will be raised which included; To find out the biblical view of marriage and divorce, to assess the rate of divorce among clergies in Redeemed church of God, to analyze the effects of divorce among clergies in redeemed church of God and to  examine the church’s response to divorce among clergies in Redeemed church of God. The method of data analysis that will be used by the researcher is score and grand mean was used to answer the research questions.

Introduction

There could be several reasons for the rise of divorce cases in the world today. One of the reasons could be that society has accepted the issue today more than in the past. Another reason could be that fewer people belong to religiosity that does not directly oppose divorce, or many people have held onto church policies and doctrines but forgotten the real teachings of God concerning such matters. This gives some hint about why divorce is on the rise. O’Donovan notes rightly that: “There is probably no desire that is stronger for most people than the desire for the opposite sex. Sexual desire was given by God to be used for blessing in marriage and the procreation of children, it is probably both the most universal pleasure and the most universal problem in the world” (O’Donovan 2000, 74). Some are married because of desire, some wanted children, others were forced, yet others entered marriage either early or at a delayed age but more significantly in Africa, married men and women want names for themselves in the society. Occasions for divorce presented themselves once expectations were not met

According to John Stott, marriage is in all societies a recognized and regulated human institution but not a human invention. Christian teachings on marriage affirm that marriage is God’s idea not human. He further argues that, The biblical revelation identifies that God purposefully instituted marriage for the mutual society, help and comfort that one ought to have of the other both in prosperity and adversity, the procreation of children and their upbringing in an environment of love and discipline, and for reciprocal commitment of self-giving love which finds its natural expression in sexual union or becoming ‘one flesh’. The purposes for which God instituted marriage were all established at creation and must be seen as God’s provision for the institution of marriage. God designed marriage and the family to ensure that the world He created becomes a place of hope, happiness, love, friendship and peace. This makes marriage a vital establishment for a person’s happiness and contentment in life. The Christian view of marriage is a lifelong commitment (Ackah-Heman, D, 2004)

The beauty of marriage begins when a man and a woman fall in love and make preparation to live together as a husband and a wife. At this point in their lives, both put in much effort to make their purposes fulfilled. Unfortunately, as the case maybe now, a marriage which began with tender love and rich expectations now lies in ruins. The experience of divorce is very devastating with its challenges. It violates God’s will, frustrates His purposes, and brings to a husband and wife the pains of rejection, disillusion, guilt and the children of the marriage if there are any become vulnerable after divorce.( Bacchiocchi, 2001)

Divorce is a means whereby a legal marriage is dissolved publicly and the participants are freed from further obligations of the matrimonial relationship. Divorce has become an issue in our society as a result of the many consequences it brings on the parties involved, the children and the society at large. More than just affecting the immediate family, divorce can have a profoundly negative effect on society as a whole. Despite the sufferings accompanying divorce, the rate of divorce continues to be high. The wide range of negative effects is a drain on our society as a whole and the costs attached to them go far beyond just financial expenditure (Bourgeault, 2010)

Cases of divorce have become so rampant and widespread, even in Christian marriages, some Men and Women of God are not spared. Despite the series of counseling sessions that are held for ‘would be’ couples by their churches, divorce is still on the increase. Based on this background the researcher wants to investigate ministerial experiences in divorce. A cases study of some selected clergy

Statement of the problem

In spite of the suffering involved in divorce, the rate of divorce continues to soar high even in our Churches. There is no single and simple answer to the question of why marriages do not survive the ‘better or worse’, and the reasons for divorce vary from one couple to another even among clergies. In an extensive review of factors that account for divorce around the world, Lowenstein, identified various factors, including women’s independence; marriage too early and arranged marriages; economic factors; poor intellectual, educational, and social skills; liberal divorce laws; sexual factors leading to incompatibility; role conflicts; alcoholism and substance abuse or risk-taking behaviour; differences between the partners leading to acrimony; religious factors; attitudes toward divorce; and many other factors. No marriage is problem-free. Some endure the ups and downs while others unfortunately fall to one of the very many reasons for divorce. There has been a vast increase in the rate of divorce the highest percentage is in Christian marriages even among clergies

Today, marriages are no longer as stable as they used to be in our churches. There are indications that divorce rates have the potential to become a public health problem in Nigeria. There is an assertion that the family is the nucleus of society therefore the society becomes unstable when the family structure is shaken. It is against this backdrop that the researcher seeks to assess ministerial experiences in divorce. A case study of some selected clergies in Redeemed church of God

Objective of the study

The following objectives will be ascertained;

  1. To find out the biblical view of marriage and divorce
  2. To assess the rate of divorce among clergies in Redeemed church of God
  3. To analyze the effects of divorce among clergies in redeemed church of God.
  4. To examine the church’s response to divorce among clergies in Redeemed church of God

Research Question

The following research questions will be formulated;

  1. What is the biblical view of marriage and divorce?
  2. What is the rate of divorce among clergies in Redeemed church of God
  3. What are the effects of divorce among clergies in redeemed church of God?
  4. What is the church’s response to divorce among clergies in Redeemed church of God?

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