NY Times: W.A. Criswell considered “abuse” grounds for divorce


From the June 9, 1985 edition of the New York Times:

. . .Criswell says that the biggest change he has seen in his lifetime is the growth and influence of the electronic media. They have changed society and changed the ministry.

”The idea of a church when I came 40 years ago,” he said, ”was a cracker box with stained glass windows and George Truett” – his predecessor – ”preaching.”

The church now is an island in a vast un-Christian world, he said. It must minister to all of the needs of people, from fitness and health to psychological counseling and social activities.

”The church is a thousand times different from what it was. The preaching of the Gospel is just one facet of many, many facets.”

His own preaching has changed. He seldom preaches of the fire and brimstone that threaten the unbeliever, he says. Perhaps he should more, he reflects.

He has seen more divorce than he could ever imagine when he was growing up in a small west Texas town. His own daughter has been divorced twice. The New Testament is explicit about divorce, he says. The grounds for divorce are adultery. But he recalls a magazine article he read once in an airplane, whose message was about other kinds of infidelity than sexual. The writer had a good point, Criswell said. Maybe it is possible to be spiritually unfaithful: ”Here is a man who beats up his wife and is a terror to his children and doesn’t go out to a whorehouse. You can’t help but be sympathetic.”

Click here to read the full article.

“A bruised reed he will not break.” — Isaiah 42:3

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