Divorce Rates

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Last fall I was doing a conference down in Florida together with Rob Rayburn. During the course of one of my talks, I mentioned something I had picked up from a famous Barna survey, which indicated that there are not any appreciable lifestyle differences between evangelicals and generic pagans when it comes to issues like divorce. Of course, a lot rides on what is meant by “evangelical,” but I had seen this factoid around a lot, and had done my share of passing it on. In his following talk, Dr. Rayburn (very graciously) challenged the point, and said that in his experience of marrying and pastoring couples, the divorce rates did not even come close to the national averages. That got me thinking, and a month or so ago, our church office did some researching and calculating, and came up with 64 weddings that I have performed. (There have no doubt been a number more, back before we started keeping records.) But these weddings have been conducted, overwhelmingly, within the evangelical community. Out of these 64 marriages, there have been 4 divorces, or around 9 percent. In other words, whatever phenomenon Barna is addressing, further qualifications should be made before any conservative evangelical appeals to this data.

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