From the off, there were Evangelicals challenging the research, on various grounds. Here, George Barna is quoted denying that the divorces of Christians occurred before their conversion, or because one partner was Christian and the other not.
The Gospel Coalition found new arguments. Evangelicals who worshipped regularly had lower divorce rates: the divorce rates were among those Evangelicals who did not go to church. The factor making the most difference is religious commitment and practice. Evangelicals who divorce are likely to be backsliders in other ways too. The article differentiates serious disciples from mere “church members”.
Post hoc propter hoc? Why would someone who does not go to church self-identify as an Evangelical? The researchers can only say a responder to their survey is Evangelical if they claim to be so. The answer is that they still believe. Perhaps they do not go to church because it is too much bother; or perhaps because they have been uncomfortable there, as a divorced or remarried person.
The reason these soi-disant Evangelicals divorce is that they are not “serious disciples” says the Gospel Coalition. This goes against Biblical teaching about what people are like: we would not need forgiven seventy times seven times if we could be Good all the time. Here is Open Bible on Compassion: a hundred verses like Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Here is Romans 3:10: No-one is righteous, not even one. Self-righteous, on the other hand…