Question: Is it true that Christians and non-Christians have the same rate of divorce?
Some reporter called me a few months ago and said,
Reporter: There is a new study, a new survey that indicates that divorce among Christians is the same as divorce among non-Christians. This survey has been done, this poll has been taken and it has been determined that Christians are divorced at the same rate that non-Christians are divorced in America. What do you think of that?
John MacArthur: I don't believe it—I do not believe that.
Reporter: But this is what the survey says!
John MacArthur: I don't care what the survey says—I don't believe that.
I don't believe it, and in fact, I believe that is to dishonor the Lord, to say that the power of Christ is zero in a marriage—the power of the Holy Spirit in a marriage. I don't believe that. I do not believe that true Christians get divorced at the same rate that non-Christians do.
Well, it showed up in a newspaper and the guy who took the poll wasn't happy, because he thought I was questioning his integrity, so he wrote me a very, very strong letter. I have a large "strong letter" file—this is one, "How dare you question me! How dare you question the integrity of this poll!" Well, I said, "I'll question it on this basis: Who did you ask that question too? If you just surveyed the people who 'claimed' to be Christians—that doesn't count, and I might suggest to you that you don't know who the true Christians are."
So I didn't buy it at all. And what irritated me about it is that this is a dishonor to God! Because it denigrates the power of God in the life of a believer, with regard to the marriage! It wasn't a question whether you get your statistics right, it's a question of dishonoring God! You can't say that the power of God has no effect on marriages! I said, "You don't do that." Well, now it has become an evangelical urban legend—every time I turn around—I heard a secular news reporter say on the television the other day, "Well, now it has been proven that divorce among evangelical Christians or among Christians is the same as non-Christians." Now we are just another statistic. This is to say that God has no power in a marriage?
When divorces occur in our church [approximately 10,000 members] and they occur occasionally here—very often it is because somebody in the marriage who professed Christ—didn't know Him. If you go out and survey people in "churches" across the spectrum from Catholic to Protestant, and denominations, etc., etc., etc, who knows what you are going to get?
The same company that does the surveys is the company that surveyed the people who said, "We don't want Bible teaching anymore in the pulpit." Now what does that tell you about that crowd—if they don't love the Word of God?
It might be true that the divorce rate among nominal, cultural, so-called "Christians" is the same as those who don't claim to be Christians. But to assert that the divorce rate among true believers is the same as unbelievers—well, that's just preposterous.