Spousal Abuse Grounds for Divorce

At the blog, A Cry for Justice, Barbara Roberts made a transcription of soundbites from the podcast recently aired by Carl Trueman and Todd Pruitt, who are notable theologians that believe spousal abuse is grounds for divorce. At one point in the podcast, both Carl and Todd connect abuse with adultery. Here is an excerpt of Barbara’s transcription:

Pruitt  As we think about adultery, as we think about desertion, I would say they are grounds for divorce precisely because they are a profound violation of the covenant of marriage. . . .What bothers me is that there are prominent groups and prominent evangelicals who say that spousal abuse is NOT grounds for divorce and they do so on hermeneutical grounds saying that ‘the Bible doesn’t say that,’  but I think that’s a flawed hermeneutic. . . . it’s missing the larger principle of why divorce is granted in those cases, meaning a profound, breaking violation of the covenant of marriage.

Trueman  I absolutely agree. When you understand marriage in Christological terms, I mean, this could never happen but if Christ was no longer Saviour of the church, now it’s a tautology, He would no longer be the bridegroom! — I think if the husband is abusing his wife and is no longer trying to fulfill that Christ-reflecting role for his wife, he’s no longer the bridegroom, she’s released from the bond, and if she remarries I don’t think she’s committing adultery.

meditationsIn this, I believe my brothers are spot on. Biblical adultery is essentially impurity. It is uncleanness. Abuse in marriage, be it physical, mental or emotional is an impure, unclean, adulterated defiling of the holy institution God has ordained.

I’m grateful to Barbara for taking the time to highlight some substantial pieces of this podcast. You can read the entire article and link to the podcast from Barbara’s article at A Cry for Justice or copy and paste this link below:


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About Jon J. Cardwell

"The Spirited Speaker" - Pastor of Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Anniston, Alabama. Nationally recognized speaker and publisher. Author of several books, including the bestseller, Christ and Him Crucified.


  1. Bro Jon,

    Thanks for sharing this posting. I have to agree fully with the conclusion. Spousal abuse is a form of “fornication” (uncleaness) and is an act of desertion of the marital covenant. Lord bless you. My prayers continue on your behalf daily. I am trusting you are continuing to do well.

  2. I’m so glad Trueman and Pruitt are speaking out. An abusive marriage is no reflection of Christ and the church. To demand that a victim remains not only endangers her life and well being but makes a mockery of what true marriage should be.

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