Pat Robertson has said many unhelpful things over the years (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here), but this has to be the absolute worst. On yesterday’s edition of “The 700 Club,” he told a viewer that it would be okay for the viewer to divorce his spouse who has Alzheimer’s because Alzheimer’s is a “kind of death.”
There is nothing else to say about Robertson’s advice except that it is a gospel-distorting, soul-damning error. The Bible says it this way, “If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Timothy 5:8). Yet Robertson advises this man to take the very path that scripture says leads to apostasy.
The worst thing about Robertson’s flippant remarks is how they distort the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 5:28-32, the apostle Paul teaches that the innermost meaning of marriage is the gospel. The “mystery” of marriage from Adam and Eve until now is that it is meant to be a foreshadowing of Christ’s marriage to His church.
28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
The husband’s purpose in marriage is to love and care for his wife in a self-sacrificial way so that people will see an example of how Christ loves his church. Jesus says to his bride that no matter what, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) and “I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus’ devotion to his bride is a covenant-keeping love that cannot be overthrown by any calamity or evil in the world—not even Alzheimer’s. Husbands are called to love their wives in the same way. A husband who forsakes his wife in the hour of her greatest need is saying that Jesus might abandon his bride as well. In other words, such wayward men are distorting the gospel.
Pat Robertson has distorted the gospel, and he has given occasion for the enemies of God to blaspheme. He needs to repent.
See Christianity Today’s coverage of this story.