Nov 24

Updated: 26th 4:01pm
Introduction to McFall’s Research Paper
Leslie McFall has written an interesting 43-page paper called The Biblical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage. In his paper, he discusses an addition that Desiderius Erasmus added to his Greek-Latin New Testament (1516 1st ed) that [he claims] changed the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated.

McFall [offers evidence he says] shows how Erasmus’ addition of the Greek word εἰ in Mat 19:9 has lead to the incorrect translation of this verse. What should be translated as an exclusion to divorce, “not even for fornication” (McFall Translation), is seen by most to be a exception to divorce and remarry, “except it be for fornication” (KJV).

While the other scriptures (Mar 10:11, 12; Luk 16:18, Rom 7:2, 3; 1Cor 7:11, 39) are very clear on divorce and remarriage, many people find that Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:9 leaves them puzzled and uncertain as to what the Word of God teaches concerning divorce and remarriage.

The purpose of this article is to introduce you to the concepts that McFall discusses at length in his research paper. I have been in communication with McFall concerning his paper, and have made a number of suggestions to him. He has reviewed this introduction to his paper and has given me a number of suggestions, which I have implemented.

The concepts outlined by McFall clearly show that the so-called ‘exception clause’ in Mat 19:9 is an exclusion to divorce, not an exception to divorce and remarry. This will bring an understanding that Mat 5:32 is an exception to blame, not an exception to divorce and remarry; hence the divorce and remarriage issue fits together like a puzzle, and people can get peace for this difficult question.

History of the Textus Receptus
Many people that hold to the KJV and the Textus Receptus (TR) Greek manuscript are not even aware of the history of the Greek manuscript. They are surprised when you tell them that, for the most part, it was the work of a Roman Catholic priest. Let me give you a short history.

Erasmus (1466-1536) was a Dutch humanist who was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 1492, and stayed loyal to the Roman Catholic Church until his death. He became very popular in Europe for his satirical writings like “The Praise of Folly” (1509), which poked fun at the church and state. He also wrote many scholarly works, and held a debate with Luther on the freedom of the will.

Erasmus’ Greek New Testament (3rd ed) was the basis for the 1st edition of the Robert Stephens’ 1546 Greek New Testament. Stephens’ 1550 edition (3rd ed) was the well known “Royal” edition. Theodore Beza published a Greek New Testament in 1565 that was basically the same as Stephens’ 4th edition of 1551.

Then, in 1565, Bonaventure Elzevir reproduced the 1st edition of Beza’s Greek Manuscript – which is now known as the Textus Receptus (TR). The 1611 King James version of the Bible was based on this Greek manuscript and other translations from this historical era of manuscripts.

The Greek Manuscripts that Erasmus Used
When Erasmus put together his Greek-Latin New Testament, he used 7 manuscripts. Only 3 of them contained the Gospels. Using the Gregory-Aland numbering system, these manuscripts were MS1 (1200s), MS2 (1200s), and MS69 (1500s).

It is important to note Erasmus’ position on divorce and remarriage. Erasmus published his view of divorce in “Annotationes” (1519), which was that the remarriage of a divorced person was legitimate. He later developed a more elaborate defense of this position, which he published in the 1522 and 1527 editions of “Annotationes”.

Erasmus added the Greek word εἰ (if) before μὴ (not) into Matt 19:9, thus changing the text to read from “not” to “except”. There is no information on why Erasmus added εἰ. None of the manuscripts he used support this addition, and the marginal reading from manuscript MS69 with this reading appears to have been added post-Erasmus.

If you are interested in the Erasmus’ Greek-Latin New Testament is can be purchased for $34.69 or downloaded in PDF (296MB) for free.

Erasmus Changed the Latin Also
Erasmus’ New Testament was a Greek and Latin translation. He not only added this addition to the Greek manuscript, but his Latin translation was different from the Latin Vulgate, in that it included the exception clause and broadened the exception from “fornication” to “disgrace”.

The Latin word in the Vulgate was “fornicationem” and the Latin word Erasmus used in his Latin New Testament was “stuprum”, which is defined in the Oxford Latin Dictionary as “dishonour, disgrace, defilement, unchastity, debauchery, lewdness, and violation”

Vulgate and Erasmus Latin Compared
The following is a comparison of Matthew 19:9 in the Latin Vulgate and in Erasmus’ Latin New Testament (3rd ed). The Latin to English translations are from McFall’s paper.

Mat 19:9 Vulgate: And I say to you that whosoever shall put away his wife, such as for fornication,and shall marry another, committeth adultery.

Mat 19:9 Latin Vulgate: dico autem vobis quia quicumque dimiserit uxorem suam nisi ob fornicationem et aliam duxerit moechatur et qui dimissam duxerit moechatur

Mat 19:9 Erasmus Latin NT in English: And I say to you that whosoever shall repudiate his wife, unless it be for disgrace, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.

Mat 19:9 Erasmus Latin NT: Dico autem uobis quia quicunque repudiauerit uxorem suam, nisi ob stuprum, et aliam duxerit, is comittit adulterium.

Mat 19:9 Erasmus Latin:

Comparing McFall/KVJ and NA27/TR
The following is McFall’s translation of Matthew 19:9 with the Nestles-Aland (NA) Greek, and the KJV translation with the Textus Receptus (TR) Greek. Compare the Greek texts and you will see that εἰ is not in the NA Greek text.

Nestle-Aland’s 27th edition, the most popular Greek manuscript, has rejected Erasmus addition of εἰ to Matthew 19:9. However, translations continue to translate the Greek “except for fornication”, even though they reject the Greek word εἰ that Erasmus inserted.

McFall’s translation is based on the the Majority Greek. He has done a Greek-English Harmony of the four Gospels, but it is currently unpublished. In Appendex B of his paper The Biblical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage, he explains his process for translating Mat 19:9.

Mat 19:9 (McFall): Now I say to you that who, for example, may have divorced his wife–he may not have divorced her for fornication–and may have married another woman, he becomes adulterous by marrying her.

Mat 19:9 (McFall Simplified): And I say to you that who, say, may put away his wife—not even for fornication—and may marry another commits adultery; and he who did marry her that has been put away commits adultery.

Mat 19:9 (NA27): λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται

Mat 19:9 Alfred Marshall Interlinear Translation:

Mat 19:9 (KJV): And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

Mat 19:9 (TR): λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ εἰ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται καὶ ὁ ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσας μοιχᾶταιμοιχᾶται

Mat 19:9 Erasmus Greek 3rd ed:

Jewish Betrothal Explanation
I have never felt comfortable with explaining the so-called ‘exception clause’ of Matthew 19:9 with the Jewish betrothal explanation, but I had never found anything better. Even though I have done a lot of research on this passage, I had not been aware of the addition of εἰ to Mat 19:9 or of its implications.

I had looked at the position of removing the exception clause completely based on the Vatican manuscript (MS03), but as this is not supported by the majority of Greek texts, I stuck with the Jewish betrothal interpretation until I read McFall’s article.

In my view the Jewish betrothal interpretation has a serious issue that creates more questions than they answer. The Jewish betrothal interpretation takes Mat 19:9 and gives it a completely different meaning than Mar 10:11. Those that hold the Jewish betrothal interpretation would teach that Mar 10:11 is talking about marriage, not Jewish betrothal. Then when they go to Mat 19:9, they say that the same words that Jesus spoke now mean something else, as Matthew is written to the Jews.

If you hold that Mat 19:9 is dealing with Jewish betrothal, then you must hold that the same account in Mar 10:11 is teaching that same thing. But the problem is that there is no so-called ‘exception clause’ in Mar 10:11. With no ‘exception clause’ you now have Mar 10:11 teaching that Jewish betrothal cannot be broken even for fornication, and Mat 19:9 teaching that it can be broken.

As far as I can see, the Jewish betrothal interpretation raises more questions than it answers. For honest souls that are seeking truth, all scriptures (Mar 10:11, 12; Luk 16:18; Rom 7:2, 3; ICor 7:11, 39) other than Mat 19:9 are very clear that there are no exceptions for divorce and remarriage.

So, what we need is a clean way to deal with Mat 19:9 that does nott raise more questions that it tries to answer. Leslie McFall’s correction of the Greek gives us a clear way, and I see no reason not to take it.

What This Means to You
In closing, what McFall’s article provides us with is a proper way to explain the so-called ‘exception clause’ that Erasmus created by adding εἰ to Matthew 19:9. There is no information on why Erasmus added εἰ. None of the manuscripts he used support this addition, and the marginal reading from manuscript MS69 with this reading appears to be added post-Erasmus.

This addition changed the information phrase of “he may not have divorced her for fornication” into a conditional clause “except it be for fornication”. This introduced an allowance for divorce into the Bible translations that used Erasmus’ Greek. This addition has caused people to believe that if anyone divorces his wife for marital unfaithfulness, they are free to remarry and they are not committing adultery.

This means we need to warn those who are thinking of divorcing and remarrying that there is no exception (allowance) for remarriage. Those who are currently remarried who have a living spouse from a previous lawful1 marriage are in the state of adultery, and copulation in that union is adultery.

Those that are in an adulterous remarriage need to repent of this sin and separate and seek restoration with their rightful spouse, or remain single.

It would also be good if you bring this up with the leaders in the congregation you attend. When God shows us light and understanding from his Word, we are responsible to share it with others around us.

____________________________________
1The use of lawful is in respect to the New Covenant law (the law of liberty, the royal law), and is not referring to the law of Moses or the current marriage laws of any nation.
2Written on November 15, 2008.

Spread the word:
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Live
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • email

1,214 Responses to “Except for Fornication Clause of Matthew 19:9”

  1. 1. Mike Atnip Says:

    Interesting paper, but I would have to see how it stacks up to the Ante-Nicene Fathers textually. The early church did universally forbid remarriage after a divorce, but the reality is that there is some disagreement among them in that some did allow a separation from an adulterous companion, but never remarriage.
    I also have had a problem with the Jewish espousal view, and have come to believe that “except for fornication” is referring to the fact that divorce IS permitted is a couple are living in fornication, i.e. fornication is its broad sense of any illicit sexual activity. In other words, the man is 1 Co. 5 was in fornication for taking his father’s wife (incest). In this case he was permitted, in fact demanded, a divorce from Paul. The same would apply to remarriages while the first spouse still lives. The second marriages is an illicit sexual activity (adultery) and hence a divorce is permitted from the 2nd spouse.
    I have written a paper on this, but it is not on my Primitive Christianity website. I would be glad to send it to anyone for examination.
    Mike

  2. 2. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Mike; It is my understanding that addition of ει that Erasmus added is not found in any of the quotes of Mat 19:9 in the every church fathers. There is no reason to seek divorce instead of separation unless one of the parties wants to remarry.

    >>>The second marriages is an illicit sexual activity (adultery) and hence a divorce is permitted from the 2nd spouse.

    If we take Mat 19:9 with the exception clause “except for unchastity” then we are going to have to take what the exception clause is applied to. The exception clause is applied to remarriage in the case of divorce.

    I think applying the Mat 19:9 except clause to people in a double marriage is going to be more difficult to maintain than the Jewish espousal view.

    If you look at the same account in Mar 10:11, 12 it is not dealing with double marriage at all.
    The problems of both of these ways to deal with the exception clause is done away when ει is removed which changes “not” to “except”.

  3. 3. Michael Whennen Says:

    Thank you Bob, you have written a great summation of McFall’s article. I can recommend other books including those written by Dr. Joseph Webb, and John Tarwater.

  4. 4. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Michael; Thanks! I was very excited to find a better way to dead with Matthew 19:9 than the Jewish espousal.

  5. 5. Alice Says:

    That is interesting; however, this article begs the question of why you aren’t disturbed by the variations and contradictions and changes in the Biblical texts. I can only assume that you don’t believe that the Bible is the perfect word of God; and then I would have to ask, if you don’t believe that, why worry about what the Bible says in the first place? Even if it is inspired, it is still two thousand years old. Surely we have had more inspirations since then.

    Also, to clarify, would you interpret this passage to say that divorce itself isn’t as bad as re-marriage?

  6. 6. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Alice; Thank you for your comments. No the variations don’t bother me. Greek textual criticism has rejected Erasmus’ addition but the English translations have left the results of it in their translations. As far as contradictions I feel like they are apparent contradictions and you can always find an explanation if you want one.

    I would hold that the Bible texts when original given were the inerrant Word of God. Also I would hold that there have not been more inspirited scriptures produced since the Bible.

    I hold the Bible teachings there is grounds for separation due to unfaithfulness or verbal, emotional, or physical abuse but no grounds for divorce as that opens up the way to remariage.

  7. 7. Mike Atnip Says:

    Greetings:
    I had noted in my comment above that the article I wrote about the The Fornication Puzzle of Matthew 19:9 was not on my Primitive Christianity site. I had forgotten that I had put it on there some months ago. I find that this view makes all the various verses fit together without any straining, at least in my own mind.
    Peace, Mike

  8. 8. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Mike; I will take a look at it and perhaps get back to you.

  9. 9. David Instone-Brewer Says:

    Dear Bob

    Thanks for this summary – it makes Leslie’s position very clear.

    The Greek at Mt.19.9 is not easy, as you can see from Leslie’s literal translation: “Now I say to you that who, for example, may have divorced his wife–he may not have divorced her for fornication–and may have married another woman, he becomes adulterous by marrying her.”

    It is not clear whether the ‘not’ is an elipsis (as Leslie assumes) or an exception (as Erasmus assumed).

    The decisive verse for me is Mt.5.32 where Matthew translates the original Aramaic of Jesus sightly differently. He says “… who divorces his wife except for..” – the Greek here is ‘parektos’, which is unambiguously means ‘except’. This solves the ambiguity in Mt.19.9.

    Hope this is helpful.

    David

  10. 10. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi David; I am not sure why you would feel that the way the Greek is in Mat 5:32 would solve the ambiguity in Mat 19:9 unless you are applying the exception in Mat 5:32 to the second clause “and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery”. The second clause of Mat 5:32 is grammatically independent from the exception and states that the person marrying the divorced person is committing adultery no matter why the person was divorced.

    In these two scriptures the so-called exception is being applied to two different issues. In Mat 5:32 the exception is applied whether or not the one divorcing is causing the one divorced to commit adultery (if they remarried). In Mat 19:9 the so-called exception is applied to where the one divorcing is themselves guilty of adultery when remarrying.

    I think you would have a point if the Greek construction of the exception clause from Mat 5:32 was for example in Mar 10:12. Then the exception would then be applied to the same issue as Mat 19:9. But this is not the case.

    You can see clearly what the so-called exceptions are being applied to when you remove them from both scriptures. In Mat 5:21 the exception is being applied to “put away his wife… causeth her to commit adultery” where the so-called exception in Mat 19:9 is being applied to “put away his wife… and shall marry another, committeth adultery”.

    Have you read the article Divorce and Remarriage: Another Look at the Matthean Exception Clauses by Andrew S. Kulikovsky where to puts forth that the so-called exception clause of Mat 19:9 is a parenthetical clause? Kulikovsky holds that the clause is an editorial addition which functions as an explicit prohibition against divorce for sexual sin and translates it “(he may not divorce for sexual sin)”.

    I personally found both McFall’s and Kulikovsky’s articles a very interesting way to look the so-call exception clause of Mat 19:9.

  11. 11. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    Just a further note on Erasmus’ addition of ei in Matt 19:9, Metzger’s Textual Commentary lists 2 textual differences for this verse (1) the use of parektos as in Matt 5:32, and (2) the addition of “and he who marries a divorced woman commits adultery” ie. there are NO manuscripts that support Erasmus’ emendation. Erasmus obviously made the addition with a view to clarifying the text–but of course, the clarification was made in accordance with his understanding of what the text was trying to say. But Erasmus was not a theologian and would not have been familiar with the historical theological debate that had occurred between the Shammai and Hillel rabbinic schools. In other words, his view was not informed and counts for nothing.

  12. 12. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Andrew; I guess some have felt that a marginal reading of Mat 19:9 in MS 69 which had ei was used by Erasmus. Leslie McFall has gotten from Leicester Record Office scans for all the marginal corrections in MS 69. He will be going though the 200 scans to see if he can find another example of the same writing or ink color so he can determine if the margin reading of Mat 19:9 is post-Erasmus.

    Here is a scan of the margin reading with ei from Mat 19:9 in MS 69.

  13. 13. Michael Whennen Says:

    Thanks Mike (Atnip) for sharing your article, pretty straightforward.

    Thanks Andrew for clarifying that there are NO manuscripts that support Erasmus’ emendation/addition or the Erasmus’ Trap as Les McFall refers to it.

    I want to consider the consequences of the Erasmus’ Trap, as many have read it in good faith as truth, and have based decisions on this addition. If we examine this closely this addition has produced what sort of fruit?

    For the Fruit Inspectors amongst us I can recommend – Marriage and The Public Good: Ten Principals download free at http://www.wisereaction.org

  14. 14. Tom Brown Says:

    Bob said, “There is no reason to seek divorce instead of separation unless one of the parties wants to remarry.”

    This misunderstands (historical) family law. Divorce allowed a man out of his marital duties of support and cohabitation with his wife. Even in this country until into the 20th cent., divorce, where it was available, only meant a release from marital (legal) obligations, but was not a pure divorce that would allow remarriage. That would still have been considered polygamy, a crime.

    So there certainly was a reason to seek divorce even if that act did not empower one to remarry. To permit remarriage is to forever bar the possibility of reconciliation. This is contrary to the Christian model of Christ as groom and His church as bride. We have a God who will never bar reconciliation by finding a new spouse, nor One who would recognize our (occasional) finding of a new “spouse” as barring reconciliation. If we find a new thing to love, it would be illicit, and the permanent union with God would be our continuing duty.

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom

  15. 15. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Tom Brown;
    >>>Divorce allowed a man out of his marital duties of support and cohabitation with his wife.

    Legal separation will allow this also. You can get a legal separation in Canada with out getting a divorce where the issues of support and dividing of property are dealt with. I expect the case is the same in the US.

    >>>To permit remarriage is to forever bar the possibility of reconciliation.

    I wouldn’t agree with this but reconciliation is certianly going more difficult when one or both of the separated parties remarry. Personally I feel that divorce is the first step toward remarriage and as God hates divorce and doesn’t recognize it I still don’t see any reason for a Christian to want to get one.

  16. 16. Gustav Swen Says:

    Several have mentioned a hesitancy to accept the espousal interpretation. I had similar concerns until I read Tarwater’s book as well as the excellent and compelling article by David Jones, “The Betrothal View of Divorce and Remarriage,” which someone has scanned and posted here: http://www.wisereaction.org/ebooks/betrothal_jonesd.pdf. While I find McFall’s article plausible, and perhaps even compatiable with the espousal reading, the awkwardness of his translation, as well as the need to deal more thoroughly with the issues with Matt. 5:32 raised by Instone-Brewer above, make it a bit cumbersome to me. In this light, given the simplicity and cultural/conetextual support for the espousal reading, I don’t think I am ready to abandon it yet.

  17. 17. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Gustav Swen; I have a number of issues with the espousal interpretation. First if the Jewish espousal was a contract of marriage and was the same as being married then there would be no allowance for divorce or remarriage. Even if a marriage is not consummated it is still a marriage.

    The second issue I have with the Jewish espousal interpretation is it takes Mat 19:9 and gives it a completely different meaning that Mar 10:11. Those that hold the Jewish espousal interpretation would teach that Mar 10:11 is talking about marriage not Jewish espousal. Then when they go to Mat 19:9 they say that the same words that Jesus spoke now mean some thing else as he is addressing Jewish espousal.

    If you hold that Mat 19:9 is dealing with Jewish espousal then you must hold that the same account in Mar 10:11 is teaching that same thing. But the problem is there is no so-called exception clause in Mar 10:11. Leaving out the so-called exception clause now is a serious issue as now we have Mar 10:11 teaching that Jewish espousal can not be broken even for fornication and Mat 19:9 teaching that it can.

    So in my mind the Jewish espousal interpretation raises more questions than it answers. I feel to an honest soul the scriptures we have (Mar 10:11, 12; Luk 16:18; Rom 7:2, 3; ICor 7:11, 39) we have besides Mat 19:9 are very clear there is no exceptions to divorce and remarry.

    So what we need is a clean way to deal with Mat 19:9 that doesn’t raise more questions that it tries to answer. Both Leslie McFall’s correction of the Greek and Andrew Kulikovsky parenthetical clause give us a clear way and I see no reason not to take it.

  18. 18. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    David wrote:
    The decisive verse for me is Mt.5.32 where Matthew translates the original Aramaic of Jesus sightly differently. He says “who divorces his wife except for..” – the Greek here is “parektos”, which is unambiguously means “except”. This solves the ambiguity in Mt.19.9.

    David is correct in that parektos unambiguously means “except”. But what is it an exception to?

    The whole verse reads: “but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (NASB). Does this verse imply that a person may divorce on the grounds of marital unfaithfulness and remarry without committing adultery? In order to correctly understand the implications of this verse it is helpful to restate its propositions in a clearer form:

    1. Anyone who divorces his wife for any reason other than marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress.

    2. Anyone who divorces his wife for marital unfaithfulness, does not cause her to become an adulteress.

    3. Any man who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.

    Proposition (1) clearly states that the practice of divorcing one’s wife has the ultimate effect of turning her into an adulterer, given that she would inevitably remarry. Proposition (2), on the other hand, states that if a man divorces his wife because she has committed adultery, then he would not cause her to become an adulteress because she would already be an adulteress! Thus, her moral status would not change if she married again.

    This is the reason why Matthew specifies an exception at this point. If the exception was not present, Matthew’s statement that the divorced woman would subsequently be made into an adulterer given that she would inevitably remarry, becomes superfluous because her adultery was the reason for the divorce in the first place.

    Moreover, the second conjunctive clause in 5:32 (“and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery”), is grammatically independent of the exception (proposition (3)), and states that a man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery, regardless of the reason for her being divorced. This implies that any man who marries a faithful but divorced woman (i.e. a woman who was divorced for any reason other than marital unfaithfulness) commits adultery.

    Therefore, if Matthew 5:32 teaches that marital unfaithfulness is valid grounds for divorce, then it also teaches that a faithful but divorced woman who remarries, does not commit adultery, even though the man who marries her does! This is clearly absurd, and seriously calls into question the understanding that marital unfaithfulness is valid grounds for divorce.

    In other words, Matt 5:32 clarifies 19:9 by strengthening the argument that it is NOT a true exception and that sexual sin/marital unfaithfulness is not a valid grounds for divorce.

  19. 19. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Andrew Kulikovsky; It was not clear to me What David mean by “This solves the ambiguity in Mt.19.9.” I am guessing you have read David’s books where he may go over what he means. I did email my reply to him and I expect he will respond.

    I completely agree with you that the exception clause in Mat 5:32 addresses whether putting a lawful spouse away causes them to commit adultery if they remarry and has nothing to do with the second clause which is grammatically independent from the exception and states that the person marrying the divorced person is committing adultery no matter why the person was divorced.

    However I wasn’t able to follow your logic that “if Matthew 5:32 teaches that marital unfaithfulness is valid grounds for divorce, then it also teaches that a faithful but divorced woman who remarries, does not commit adultery, even though the man who marries her does”.

    While I agree that the teaching that the innocent party can but the guilty party can’t remarry is wrong and not logical, I wasn’t able to follow your jump from if Mat 5:32 is held to allow divorce that it also teachings “that a faithful but divorced woman who remarries, does not commit adultery, even though the man who marries her does”.

    Did you want to post a comment on what you hold the position of the Bible is when it comes to repentance and forsaking of the sin of adultery in the case of divorce and remarriage?

  20. 20. Joseph A Webb Says:

    After teaching on this subject for over thirty years I am amazed at all the confusion being spread because of; I think, or I believe phrases. The true acid test of truth is what did Jesus and Paul really teach? What did all of the earliest Church fathers teach? Who changed the teaching and when; and who wrote all of our theology books that have led the present-day Church astray?

    Paul clearly said to Timothy; “I received my revelation directly from Jesus Christ, and in that day we will be judged by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. If anyone teaches anything any different from what I have taught you, let him be accursed. If even an angel teaches something different; let him be anathmatized.” Once we find out today’s Church is not teaching what Jesus and Paul taught, healing and order can be restored.

    My newest book; “Divorce and Remarriage, The Trojan Horse Within the Church.” reveals all of these historic facts with direct quotations of all the persons involved in the original teaching and the actual quotations of those involved in changing the message.

    Bill Gothard said of this book: “O have been pleased to receive and review your manuscript…You have done an outstanding job on presenting the Biblical view on divorce and remarriage. The readers cannot help but be impressed with the scholarly research you have done on this subject…for those who sincerely want the truth, your book will be a valuable resource.”

    The book can be obtained through Xulon Press and Spring Arbor at any bookstore, or at Christian Principles Restored.

  21. 21. Cheryl Says:

    We cover the Matthew exception clause in our FAQ about Marriage Divorce & Remarriage.

    Hope this helps anyone studying this issue.

    Cheryl
    My testimony: Why I Repented of A Marriage God Called Adulterous!

  22. 22. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Cheryl; Thanks for the links. I have been on your site but have not taken the time to read much. I did go over the exception clause in your FAQ a few days back and noticed you hold to the Jewish Betrothal interpretation for the Mat 19:9 so-called exception clause. Have you looked at either of McFalls or Kulikovskys papers on the Mat 19:9 so-called exception clause?

    This thread you are posting on is McFall’s review. I plan on doing a review of Kulikovsky’s paper after I finish my review on Considerations On Divorce A Vinculo Matrimonii.

  23. 23. Tom Brown Says:

    Dear Bob,

    You had said in interpreting the passage in discussion: “There is no reason to seek divorce instead of separation unless one of the parties wants to remarry.”

    I replied: “This misunderstands (historical) family law. Divorce allowed a man out of his marital duties of support and cohabitation with his wife.”

    You replied to me: “Legal separation will allow this also.” This is an anachronism that presupposes the Jews at the time of Matthew’s writing had a construct known as ‘legal separation.’ I am aware of no such legal notion. My understanding of legal history is that the concept of a legal separation, and the concept of a kind of divorce allowing remarriage are very modern. I do not believe these concepts were present for the Jews of Matthew’s day.

    So my point remains, that there was a reason for what the Jews would have called ‘divorce’ other than seeking remarriage.

    You said in a separate comment: “First if the Jewish espousal was a contract of marriage and was the same as being married then there would be no allowance for divorce or remarriage.”

    This is a non sequitur, unless perhaps you believe that the Jewish marriage is a mere contract. But the Jewish marriage was a covenant, an exchange of persons (bodies). As such, and like all covenants God made with His people, it was permanent, irrevocable. So you could have a narrowly revocable contract to marry that, once consummated into a covenant, is no longer revocable under any condition. The two shall become one flesh. If a man bargained with a woman’s father to marry her, and he then discovers that she is not a virgin (because of porneia; i.e., she is not what he ‘bargained’ for), the contract to enter the covenant of marriage would have been broken.

    It seems that any interpreting of the Scripture on marriage should be founded on an understanding of Jewish law and the covenantal nature of their marriages. Otherwise we would be viewing an historically-based issue through modern lenses and definitions of very particular terms.

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom

  24. 24. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Tom; I think I missed what you were meaning by historical family law. You are thinking 1st century. My comments to Mike were referring to 20th/21th century. His view is that the so-called exception clause of Mat 19:9 is applicable to today for people have remarried (if I understood him correctly).

    >>>But the Jewish marriage was a covenant, an exchange of persons (bodies). As such, and like all covenants God made with His people, it was permanent, irrevocable.

    Perhaps in the beginning but Moses gave an exception in Deut 24:1-4 that allowed them to put their wife away and be remarriage. Now this changed with the teaching of Christ but still I am not sure what context you are saying the Jewish marriage was permanent and irrevocable?

    Also while you made a comment on the first point I made to Gustav Swen which I need to look into further, what was you take on my 2nd objection to the Jewish Betrothal interpretation?

    Here is my second objection:

    “The second issue I have with the Jewish espousal interpretation is it takes Mat 19:9 and gives it a completely different meaning that Mar 10:11. Those that hold the Jewish espousal interpretation would teach that Mar 10:11 is talking about marriage not Jewish espousal. Then when they go to Mat 19:9 they say that the same words that Jesus spoke now mean some thing else as he is addressing Jewish espousal.

    If you hold that Mat 19:9 is dealing with Jewish espousal then you must hold that the same account in Mar 10:11 is teaching that same thing. But the problem is there is no so-called exception clause in Mar 10:11. Leaving out the so-called exception clause now is a serious issue as now we have Mar 10:11 teaching that Jewish espousal can not be broken even for fornication and Mat 19:9 teaching that it can.

    So in my mind the Jewish espousal interpretation raises more questions than it answers. I feel to an honest soul the scriptures we have (Mar 10:11, 12; Luk 16:18; Rom 7:2, 3; ICor 7:11, 39) we have besides Mat 19:9 are very clear there is no exceptions to divorce and remarry.

    So what we need is a clean way to deal with Mat 19:9 that doesn’t raise more questions that it tries to answer.”

    Also can you give provide me with a couple of links where I can get up to speed on Jewish family law at the time of Jesus. I have read some about the betrothal period but according to your statements it appears I am missing some principles.

    Thanks!

  25. 25. Jim who is a follower of Jesus Christ Says:

    I agree with the way Andrew Kulikovisky has refuted the opinion that Matthew 5:31,32 has evidence for divorce and remarriage. The D&R crowd is grabbing for the proverbial straw, by forcing their pet scriptures, to agree with their presupposition ie., the bible allows for D&R in certain circumstances.

    What they fail to recognize (whether ignorantly or intentionally I know not) is their complete abandonment of the harmonistic principle, and the inductive method of investigation. They dogmatically presuppose the idea of D&R, and then abandon all the laws of investigation, to arrive at their predetermined conclusion, which also happens to be their premise; a mere begging the question.

    The accounts in Matthew do not outweigh, or correct, any perceived ‘incompleteness’ or ‘hidden implication’ in the other texts of scripture, on the subject of marriage. Jesus Himself gives the interpretation of His own teaching, when responding to His disciples in private. His words in Matthew 19 and Mark 10, are in perfect agreement with His own description of the marriage institution ie., (Creational one flesh for life).

    None of the ensuing discussions on the issue of marriage, can be interpreted in a way, that would overthrow the revealed model of marriage for all mankind. To do so, would create more than one standard, which is no standard at all. One simple example is this; If any marriage can cease to exist, (completely be dissolved) by any other means than death, we have 2 emphatically clear texts that are null and void, of their unequivocal meaning whatsoever, (Rom 7:2, 3; and 1 Cor 7:39).

    If one would assert that it is certainly Gods ‘ideal’ that all marriage is until death, but their are additional qualifications that would dissolve the marriage union, they clearly force an outright contradiction. We are right back where we started from; marriage is ‘not until death’ when another perceived qualification, has an equal effect on the marriage, as death does.

    But Jesus says that marriage is until death, which is the creational model that He revealed in the clearest terms. You can’t have it both ways, which proves the inference to be invalidated. If anyone wants to defend the imaginations of people in ’self-preservation’ mode, then stop appealing to the scriptures.

    The Word is the only way to the Kingdom of God, and that includes obedience to Jesus standard of Holiness. Jesus will not conform to our image, we must conform to Him, or perish.

    Jim II

  26. 26. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    Bob wrote:

    However I wasn’t able to follow your logic that “if Matthew 5:32 teaches that marital unfaithfulness is valid grounds for divorce, then it also teaches that a faithful but divorced woman who remarries, does not commit adultery, even though the man who marries her does”.

    While I agree that the teaching that the innocent party can but the guilty party can’t remarry is wrong and not logical, I wasn’t able to follow your jump from if Mat 5:32 is held to allow divorce that it also teachings “that a faithful but divorced woman who remarries, does not commit adultery, even though the man who marries her does”.

    1. You agreed that “the second clause which is grammatically independent from the exception and states that the person marrying the divorced person is committing adultery no matter why the person was divorced.”
    2. We know that those in favor of divorce and remarriage argue that divorce is allowable where marital unfaithfulness is involved.

    Therefore, those who favor divorce and remarriage in the case of unfaithfulness are forced to admit that–if their view is correct–a woman divorced for some reason apart from marital unfaithfulness is not committing adultery if she remarries, but–according to the Matt 5:32b–a man who marries her DOES commit adultery (as you rightly acknowledge)!

    cheers,
    Andrew

  27. 27. Craig Blomberg Says:

    David Instone-Brewer’s response above is the key one. David is an expert scholar on the topic of marriage and divorce in the Bible and in antiquity, knows Jewish backgrounds inside and out and can read Greek and Hebrew better than most on the planet!

    If you take Matthew 19:9 as McFall does then Matthew and Jesus contradict themselves between 5:32 and 19:9. The Erasmian epi merely clarifies what is already implied in the text without it. McFall fails to observe that a me by itself can have exceptive force. A look at the earliest textual variants confirms that this is the oldest interpretive tradition, as scribes regularly changed me to parektos to make the exception clause unambiguously exceptive.

  28. 28. Tom Brown Says:

    Bob,

    “Also can you give provide me with a couple of links where I can get up to speed on Jewish family law at the time of Jesus.”

    Try here: Jewish Marriage Customs.

    I can’t speak to the overall repute of this website, but the historical content on the marriage process seems to be based upon a well-studied source. Their use of the term covenant is interesting. They are saying the covenant existed throughout the betrothal period (the “engagement”) but was not yet consummated until the wedding day and intercourse.

    My understanding is that a Jewish covenant is not complete until it is consummated. This Jewish source notes that the “old” way to create covenants was to “cut” a covenant. From the Bible, we learn that this happens by cutting a sacrificial animal in two, with the covenanting parties passing between its carcass parts. Jeremiah 24:18 and Genesis 15 ff. Jesus is this dissected lamb for us, that we, God’s people, can be in covenant with God.

    So even if one uses the term covenant early in the betrothal process, I think all can agree that the covenant is at least incomplete (inchoate) until it is “cut” (this is where the expression “cut a deal” comes from, I believe). This passing between the animal, which could only occur when the animal had given up its lifeblood, symbolizes a permanent union of the parties to each other (in whatever their deal or venture or promise was). They would then eat the meat together (see the same Jewish Encyclopedia source) to commemorate their union which was made official through the sacrifice of the animal. “Originally the covenant was a bond of life-fellowship, where the mingling of the blood was deemed essential.” To break a consummated covenant required death, this source explains…

    Sorry if I diluted your conversation with Mike by jumping into 1st century family situations. I thought since all were handling and attempting to interpret the word “divorce”, it was important to keep it close to its contextual roots.

    I think this view of permanent covenants is not inconsistent with Deuteronomy 24:1-4. You can read it as “allowing” remarriage after marriage, but that is not the only way to read it. You’re viewing it as permissive language, but I view it as prohibitive language. It says *IF* a man divorces his wife and then she subsequently is taken to the marriage bed of another man, the first husband would commit an abomination to have her back. The passage is not permissive, but seems to make some concession for (i.e. a recognition and acceptance of) the weakness of the people.

    This matches what Christ later had to say (‘Moses said that because you were weak’). So it did not okay “X” (divorce), but said if you do “X” you certainly may not do the abominable “Y” later. Why was this an abomination if divorce and remarriage were permissible? How was wife defiled, even if husband 2 simply died? Well, that’s because with a covenant obligation to husband 1 permanently in place, she (illegally) broke it to be bonded to another man.

    Would it make sense if she could marry husband 3 after husband 2 died, but could not be reconciled to husband 1? I say not, which tells me any relationship subsequent to the covenant marriage with husband 1 is sinful (as long as husband 1 is alive). In this passage, I believe the post-consummation bill of divorce meant the husband ended his obligations of support and cohabitation with the wife. You would have to identify some other permissive language from Moses on remarriage.

    I think your comparison between Matthew 19:9 and Mark 10:11 needs more consideration. Matthew says “no divorce except in porneia” and Mark says “no divorce.” So we have “no A except when B,” and “no A.” You say there is a problem for those who think we’re talking about the same “A” when only one has the exception, “B”.

    You effectively read them this way: Matthew, “no A except when B” and Mark, “no A even when B” (“serious issue as now we have Mar 10:11 teaching that Jewish espousal can not be broken even for fornication and Mat 19:9 teaching that it can.”). But this is not what Mark says. Mark does not say “no divorce even when porneia.” Because Mark omitted the exception does not mean the Bible can’t give us that exception in another place.

    So to create the conflict for the Jewish espousal view, you are effectively adding exclusivity to Mark. Your opponent can simply say “I interpret scripture with scripture, and if an exception is only noted in one of two instances, I believe it applies to both.” If the exception applies to both, then it can easily be referring to the betrothal period.

    Ergo, the Jewish espousal interpretation does not raise any more questions than the opposite raises. Also, I disagree that a “clean” way to handle Matthew 19:9 is our duty. Sometimes Scriptures are hard and don’t yield easy answers.

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom

  29. 29. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Craig Blomberg; In what way would McFall’s translation of Mat 19:9 contradict Mat 5:32. The exception clauses are related to two different things. Mat 5:32 is related to “whosoever shall put away his wife… causeth her to committeth adultery” where Mat 19:9 it is related to “Whosoever shall put away his wife…and shall marry another, committeth adultery:”

    The exception in Mat 5:32 is related to causing the wife to commit adultery if she remarries where the exception in Mat 19:9 is related to the man remarrying and committing adultery.

    I don’t see your reasoning that when the exception clause in Mat 19:9 is changed to a parenthetical clause that this causes a contradiction between Mat 19:9 and Mat 5:32.

  30. 30. Craig Blomberg Says:

    Thanks for the clarifying question, Bob. Yes, there are those who have taken the approach that the adultery occurs only if there is remarriage. Thus Bill Heth, for example, in his book with Gordon Wenham, argued for years (before changing his mind) that divorce was acceptable in the case of adultery but not remarriage. But interpreters have usually taken the two as a package deal, especially since remarriage was uniformly permitted in Jewish and Greco-Roman backgrounds after a legitimate marriage.

    You can see my fuller views in my commentaries on Matthew (NAC from Broadman & Holman) and on 1 Corinthians 7 (NIVAC from Zondervan) as well as in my detailed article in Trinity Journal in 1990. Craig Keener’s and Bill Luck’s volumes on divorce and remarriage also give full details of the kind of view I would endorse. Put briefly, though, it is that the “adultery” that divorce creates is metaphorical for all wrongly divorced persons (just like in the OT, Israel’s infidelity spiritually is often likened to adultery against God) even before it becomes literal for those who remarry (after all not everyone did remarry, but Jesus says “whoever” divorces commits adultery or causes their spouse to commit adultery, depending on which passage you are looking at).

    In other words, each passage singles out one possible situation out of a total four to which the teaching would equally apply: (a) a man improperly divorcing his wife; (b) a woman improperly divorcing her husband; (c) a man remarrying an improperly divorced woman; and (d) a woman remarrying an improperly divorced man.

    Sorry I don’t have the time to go into all the detail here, but hopefully my fuller treatments elsewhere will make clear my views.

    Blessings on all of you wrestling with this tortuous issue!

  31. 31. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Tom Brown;
    >>>Matthew says ‘no divorce except in porneia’ and Mark says ‘no divorce.’

    I would see the so-called exception in Mat 19:9 to be a parenthetical clause not an exception clause. This way we don’t have Matthew saying one things and Mark another.

    >>>Because Mark omitted the exception does not mean the Bible can’t give us that exception in another place.

    Keep in mind that the Gospels had different authors, were written at different times and different places, they didn’t reference each other, and they were written to stand alone and to be used by congregation and convert with out being comparing to each other. When Mat 19:9 is translated as a exception clause instead of a parenthetical clause then it teachings something different than Mar 10:11.

    Mar 10:2-12 is the same historical account as Mat 19:3-12. My point was that when you take Mat 19:9 and put it into the context of Jewish betrothal you will have to do the same for Mar 10:11. You can’t say “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” (Mat 19:9) refers to the Jewish betrothal and then turn around and say “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” (Mar 10:11) is referring to marriage not betrothal. If one is referring to Jewish betrothal then they both are. If they both are then Matthew gave an exception to break the betrothal in the case of fornication and Mark didn’t.

    >>>So to create the conflict for the Jewish espousal view, you are effectively adding exclusivity to Mark. Your opponent can simply say ‘I interpret scripture with scripture, and if an exception is only noted in one of two instances, I believe it applies to both.’

    I am translating the clause in Mat 19:9 as a parenthetical clause. My opponent should feel free to move the parenthetical clause from Matthew to Mark as it doesn’t change anything only provides further information.

    >>>If the exception applies to both, then it can easily be referring to the betrothal period.

    I think you have missed my point. It is more than the exception clause that has to do with the betrothal period but it is also the clause you are applying it to. When you hold that the exceptional clause has to do with the betrothal period you must do the same to the clause you are applying it to. So now the phrase “Whosoever shall put away his wife” (Mat 19:9) must be read as “Whosoever shall put away his betrothed wife”.

    Your problem is that what ever you do with “Whosoever shall put away his wife” in Mat 19:9 you must do with “Whosoever shall put away his wife” in Mat 10:11. So when you change the meaning of wife to betrothed wife in one you must do the same in the other as they are historically the same accounts. When you do this you end up with an exception in one and no exception in the other.

    This is the problem with applying the Jewish betrothal interpretation to Mat 19:9.

  32. 32. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Craig Blomberg; So are you saying that while Mat 5:32 only states “whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication” that it means “whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, and shall marry another” as divorce and remarriage should be seen as a “package deal”?

  33. 33. Shandar7 Says:

    Well, this helps to shed a lot of light on a subject in which I have great interest. I am so satisfied to know that the person trying to speak to me about his marriage in a way that might have been more “acceptable” to God than mine because his wife’s divorce was based on a cheating spouse, where mine was not, is really just as misled as he said I was. It’s interesting.

    This article also brings me to a further conclusion–until we are face to face with God, and we ask him for full understanding of his word, we will never know exactly what he’s saying. We, as humans, claim to be intelligent beings, but, truthfully, we all fall short of understanding the glory of God…we are too dense to understand his word and its true intention, and we are always going to put our self-centered spin on the interpretations of the Bible because we have free will…because we are human.

    Thanks for the article!

  34. 34. Craig Blomberg Says:

    Correct!

  35. 35. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Craig Blomberg; So back to where we originally started.

    >>>If you take Matthew 19:9 as McFall does then Matthew and Jesus contradict themselves between 5:32 and 19:9.

    To that I would then answer only if you choose to add “and shall marry another” to Mat 5:32 which is not there. Just kind in mind when you do that in my view you are completely changing what the verse means.

    Would you feel that when you add the clause “and shall marry another” to Mat 5:32 you are changing the literal meaning of the verse to mean some completely different? And further do you think that it is possible to translate the so-called exception clause of Mat 19:9 as a parenthetical clause in the way that either McFall or Kulikovsky do?

    Also as a teacher whose views have a lot of influence over what others do has this issue weighed heavy on your mind or do you feel it is pretty cut and dry?

    Thanks for dropping in and sharing your view! I think it is important that we hear the best from both sides. In that way we can, with the help of the Lord, make a decision and not be tossed back by by hearing positions that we hadn’t heard or considered before.

  36. 36. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Shandar7;
    >>>Well, this helps to shed a lot of light on a subject in which I have great interest.

    I am glad to hear that. I have a resource on Divorce and Remarriage and the plan is to do reviews of the top articles and books on this subject and to make them available to the public.

  37. 37. Thomas Brown Says:

    Dear Bob,

    How is whether an exception is parenthetical or non-parenthetical relevant?

    “Keep in mind that the Gospels had different authors, were written at different times and different places, they didn’t reference each other, and they were written to stand alone and to be used by congregation and convert with out being comparing to each other.”

    Not that this settles our discussion, but this view seems contrary to the classical Protestant position which holds that Scripture, our sole inerrant authority, is to be interpreted with Scripture. We can discuss what certain texts were “written to” do, but that is a subordinate hermeneutic tool to the broader truth that the texts are Divinely inspired and form a seamless whole. So if Matthew says “no divorce (except in porneia)” and Mark says “no divorce” the classical hermeneutic would be to interpret Matthew with Mark and vice versa. To interpret Mark by Matthew in a way that says ‘no divorce is ever permissible’ is to call Mark into question as containing error, which would violate the Christian belief that Mark is infallible. To interpret Matthew by Mark in a way that says ‘there is one exception which Matthew simply did not list’ does not necessarily involve a Matthian error. And it is another interpretive method that says we should not find a contradiction in two related texts where another reading is plausible.

    I do think that Matthew and Mark are speaking of the same historical account. I do take Matthew in the context of Jewish betrothal and Mark in that same context. So I have no contradiction there. Perhaps you saw from the links I sent you (that you had requested) that “wife” was used to refer to a betrothed bride, not just a consummated-marriage wife.

    “You can’t say “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” (Mat 19:9) refers to the Jewish betrothal and then turn around and say “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery” (Mar 10:11) is referring to marriage not betrothal. I agree, they both are speaking of the same context, but I think you misquoted Mark there.

    Matthew 19:9: “I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

    Mark 10:11: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her.”

    So as I said before, we have ‘don’t do A (except for B)’ in one and ‘don’t do A’ in the other. At this juncture, you say to me, “If they both are then Matthew gave an exception to break the betrothal in the case of fornication and Mark didn’t.”

    Correct. One noted the exception (whether it was parenthetical or not is irrelevant), and the other didn’t.

    At this juncture, you seem to be saying to me: “So now the phrase “Whosoever shall put away his wife” (Mat 19:9) must be read as “Whosoever shall put away his betrothed wife”.”

    Again, there is only a problem here if we misunderstand the meaning of the word “wife” to the Jewish audience. If we called fiancees “wives” in the modern tongue, we wouldn’t be having this confusion. If the word equally meant married bride and betrothed bride in its original writing, then I am adding nothing — wife refers broadly to a betrothed AND a married woman simultaneously.

    “Your problem is that what ever you do with “Whosoever shall put away his wife” in Mat 19:9 you must do with “Whosoever shall put away his wife” in Mat 10:11.”

    I think you said this three times or so, though I have not disputed the point. I have merely said that there is no contradiction between Matthew and Mark even when these verses are read in the same historical context.

    “When you do this you end up with an exception in one and no exception in the other.”

    Agreed, but more carefully would I say, when you do this, you end up with a stated exception in one and no stated exception in the other.

    “This is the problem with applying the Jewish betrothal interpretation to Mat 19:9.”

    This is not a problem, and this is your error. You did not address my analysis of how *the non-statement of the exception does not exclude the possibilty of an exception* in the previous comment, so I’m hesitant to repeat too much of it here. Maybe an example would clear things up. If I stated to my young son, “Do not touch the stove!” at one minute and “Turn the stove light off for me” in the next, would I be contradicting myself? No. My non-statement of an exception in the first command does not exclude the possibility of an exception existing (in this case, that son can touch stove under supervision). If I had said in the former instance “Do not touch the stove under any circumstance,” or “Never touch the stove without exception!” then my second instruction would be a contradiction of the first.

    Let me apply my hermeneutic which *avoids reading contradictions where an alternate reading is possible* to another set of verses.

    James 1:13: “When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;”

    Mark 1:12-13: “At once the Spirit sent [Christ] out into the desert, and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan.”

    I think you can read this as evidence of contradiction (i.e., error) within Scripture, or you can avoid the contradiction two ways: by saying Christ was not God (which contradicts other Scripture and the Christian message in general), or by saying that the use of “temptation” has a broad and narrow meaning in these two verses (the narrow sense something of a ‘mere’ testing, and the broader sense being more of a general inclination to give in to desire).

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom

  38. 38. Primitive Christianity Says:

    Hi Bob, or whoever:
    I have not read all these comments for the lack of time. But I think I see what you are saying about a parenthetical clause, something I did not understand before.
    Would the following be an example of how Jesus might have said Mt 5:32, were he speaking in modern English:
    “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife – Don’t be a cause of fornication! – causes her to commit adultery.”
    Mike

  39. 39. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Thomas Brown; I have decided to just respond to one issue for now and that issue is that I would feel that when a person holds that Mat 19:9 has to do with a betrothal wife instead of a married wife it takes causes all of verse 9 to do with betrothal. To me it is clear the issue was about a married wife and the issues of divorce and remarriage. Not about a betrothed wife.

    For now perhaps it will be best to deal with that issue and we can get to the other issues later as the posts are getting to long to deal with more than one issue in my view. I have tried to keep this one short and to the point.

    >>>How is whether an exception is parenthetical or non-parenthetical relevant?

    My point was that the clause is not exception but was parenthetical and that it is descriptive and not excepting.

    >>>To interpret Mark by Matthew in a way that says ‘no divorce is ever permissible’ is to call Mark into question as containing error, which would violate the Christian belief that Mark is infallible.

    Well I have not done that so I am not sure how that is related here. I have maintained that there is no exception and that the so-called exception clause is a parenthetical clause that is descriptive and not excepting.

    >>>And it is another interpretive method that says we should not find a contradiction in two related texts where another reading is plausible.

    That is what I am suggesting.

    >>>I do take Matthew in the context of Jewish betrothal and Mark in that same context. So I have no contradiction there.

    So if you feel that both Mat 19:9 and Mar 10:11 are referring to Jewish betrothal do you feel like they are also referring to regular marriage? I would hold that it can’t be both. Either ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife” refers to the betrothed wife or to a married wife but not to both. And if the first clause in Mat 19:9 is concerning a betrothed wife then the second clause must be also.

    I hardly think the issue that the Pharisees were bringing up was completely concerning where one could put away a betrothed wife if she committed fornication. Nor do I think the disciple’s reaction “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” is referring to Jesus noting that you can only put your betrothed wife away for fornication.

    This is the problem with applying the Jewish betrothal interpretation to Mat 19:9. It makes the whole conversation to be about something that it is not about. In my opinion the issue is divorce and remarriage of a married wife not a betrothed wife and the same with Mar 10:11,12.

  40. 40. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Mike;
    >>>But I think I see what you are saying about a parenthetical clause, something I did not understand before. Would the following be an example of how Jesus might have said Mt 5:32…

    I think that with Mat 5:32 there is a exception clause but it is not dealing with “and shall marry another” as in Mat 19:9 but with “causeth her to commit adultery” (if she remarries). The Greek is different in Mat 5:32 than in Mat 19:9.

    In Mat 19:9 the Vulgate is “such as for fornication” and Erasmus’ Latin was “unless it be for disgrace”. Here he both changed a parenthetical clause that was descriptive and not exceptional to an exception clause and also lowered the exception that he did make from fornication to disgrace.

    Erasmus did the same thing with the Greek text in Mat 19:9 when he with no support added εἰ (if) before μὴ (not), thus changing the text to read from “not” to “except” thus making a clause that could be seen as parenthetical clause into a exceptional clause that has been used to make the exception for remarriage in the case of marriage unfaithfulness.

    There is not one known manuscript that supports this besides a 1500’s manuscript (MS69) that has this reading in the marginal and this marginal reading is in non-scribe writing and some hold it is post-Erasmus.

    McFall has exposed this and shown how Mat 19:9 should be translated as a parenthetical clause that is descriptive not exceptional.

    Now I say to you that who, for example, may have divorced his wife–he may not have divorced her for fornication–and may have married another woman, he becomes adulterous by marrying her.

    You can read McFall’s method in translating the above in An Explanation For McFall’s Literal Translation Of Matthew 19:9.

    Others leave the exception clause as it is in Mat 19:9 but apply the exception to put away a betrothed wife. But when this is done it hijacks all of Matt 19:9 and makes the whole issue of divorce and remarriage to be about a betrothed wife instead of a married wife which is what it is clearly dealing with.

  41. 41. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    Craig Blonberg wrote:

    “David Instone-Brewer’s response above is the key one. David is an expert scholar on the topic of marriage and divorce in the Bible and in antiquity, knows Jewish backgrounds inside and out and can read Greek and Hebrew better than most on the planet!”

    This sounds rather like an appeal to authority ie. trust me–I’m an expert!

    I have no doubt that David knows a great deal about this topic, but he is not the only one, nor is he the only one familiar with the Jewish background, or the only one who can read the Greek and Hebrew.

    How about we stick to substantive arguments about the text?

    David argues that Matt 5:32 determines/clarifies the meaning of Matt 19:9. However, as I pointed out previously, these verses say different things and the exception in Matt 5:32 is not an exception that allows divorce and remarriage for “innocent” parties.

    Neither you nor David have responded to this point.

    And speaking of Jewish backgrounds, I’d be interested to hear anyone’s thoughts on the following:

    In Matthew 19:9, Jesus was responding to the religious leader’s question about why Moses commanded that a certificate be given to a divorced woman. This command is given in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, and specifies a case law relating to the handling of a woman who had been divorced and remarried, and who’s second husband had either divorced her or died. The meaning of this passage had been hotly debated among the Rabbis, and at the time of Christ, two main schools of thought had emerged: (1) The school of Shammai taught that if a man discovered some (sexual) indiscretion concerning his wife he must divorce her. (2) The school of Hillel taught that if a man simply disliked his wife for any reason, he could divorce her. It appears the Shammaites emphasized the “something indecent” of v. 2, while the Hillelites emphasized the “dislike” of v. 3.

    Matthew makes it clear the Pharisees were not merely seeking Jesus’ opinion on the legality of divorce, but were actually testing Him. In light of the current Rabbinical debate, it appears they were trying to force Him into taking sides. In v. 3 kata pasan aitian can be taken as “for every reason whatever” (i.e. Hillel’s position) or “for any reason at all” but the context suggests the first alternative.

    As was His custom, Jesus did not answer their question directly, but appeals to Genesis 2:24, in order to deny the presupposition on which their question is based: that divorce is permissible in some circumstances. Jesus’ response could not have been more clear, or more absolute: His answer is an emphatic NO. God specifically created men and women for each other, and it had always been His intention, right from the beginning, for married couples to stay together. Divorce is completely contrary to His will.

    Note that if an exception is present in Matthew 19:9 then Jesus would have effectively been agreeing with the Shammaite view of divorce which he had just implicitly condemned.

    Craig Blomberg has argued in his paper on this topic that Jesus did go beyond the teaching of Shammai in that Jesus only permitted divorce for sexual sin, whereas Shammai commanded it. But the context makes it clear that Jesus was primarily responding to Moses’ teaching (see vv. 7-8) not Shammai’s. This means that an exception would imply that Jesus was actually agreeing with Moses’ teaching in Deuteronomy 24, which is not possible, considering His response in v. 8. Jesus pointed out that Moses allowed divorce and remarriage because of hard-heartedness, but this was not God’s original intention. Therefore, in vv. 8b-9, Jesus actually over-turns Moses’ concession.

    - McFall fails to observe that a me by itself can have exceptive force. A look at the earliest textual variants confirms that this is the oldest interpretive tradition, as scribes regularly changed me to parektos to make the exception clause unambiguously exceptive.-

    Although I don’t accept McFall’s position, I would take issue with your claim that mh by itself can have exceptive force. mh is a negative particle.
    It is generally rendered as “not” when it negates a verb, but the phrase mh epi porneia contains no explicit verb. In order to determine how mh should be rendered in this context, we must first determine what the author intended to negate when he wrote these words.

    According to BAGD (sv. mh III.6), in “abrupt expressions without a verb” mh can have “a prohibitive sense in independent clauses, to express a negative wish or a warning.” An example of this use can be found in Rom 14:1, where mh negates a prepositional phrase as is the case in 19:9. Thus, my translation of 19:9 is as follows (2 options):
    (1) Instead of assuming an ellipsis of ei/ean which is not found anywhere in the immediate context, it would be more appropriate to assume an ellipsis of the third person singular aorist subjunctive verb apolush mentioned in the preceding clause. Indeed, when mh is used with the aorist subjunctive, it often denotes a prohibition (see eg. Luke 1:15, 8:12). Therefore, 19:9 may be translated as follows:

    I tell you that any man who divorces his wife, ([he may] not [divorce] for sexual sin), and marries another woman commits adultery.
    (2) Even if the ellipsis of apolush was not a possibility, the negated phrase epi porneia would still convey a similar meaning. The phrase epi porneia communicates the possibility of divorce “on the basis of sexual sin,” which is then negated by mh. In other words, the possibility of divorce on the basis of sexual sin is being denied. This could be rendered as follows:

    I tell you that any man who divorces his wife, ([divorce] on the basis of sexual sin is not allowed), and marries another woman commits adultery.

    In addition, most of the textual variants containing parektos aren’t that early or that numerous. B and min. 33 are the only representative of the Alexandrian text type, but min. 33 is quite late and B is well known for its many corrections. The other witnesses (fam 1, fam. 13, and D) are late and all Western or Caesarean which are well known for the way tendency to harmonise similar texts. Therefore, the harmonisation of 19:9 with 5:32 is better understood as simply some (late) scribes attempts to clarify or simply a difficult passage, rather than reflecting “the oldest interpretive tradition.”

    cheers,
    Andrew

  42. 42. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    Craig Blomberg wrote:
    “You can see my fuller views in my commentaries on Matthew (NAC from Broadman & Holman) and on 1 Corinthians 7 (NIVAC from Zondervan) as well as in my detailed article in Trinity Journal in 1990. Craig Keener’s and Bill Luck’s volumes on divorce and remarriage also give full details of the kind of view I would endorse.”

    My paper deals in detail with both Craig Blomberg’s Trinity Journal article and Craig Keener’s book. Suffice to say I disagree with them both.

    cheers,
    Andrew

  43. 43. Tom Brown Says:

    Dear Bob,

    “I have decided to just respond to one issue for now”. Fair enough.

    “and that issue is that I would feel that when a person holds that Mat 19:9 has to do with a betrothal wife instead of a married wife it takes causes all of verse 9 to do with betrothal.” In thinking about it, I’m not sure I would say “instead of” but you get to this later, so I’ll take it up there.

    “To me it is clear the issue was about a married wife and the issues of divorce and remarriage. Not about a betrothed wife.” It may seem clear to you, but you have not made it clear to me. Consider this, which calls into question whether it is “clear” that the issue is about a married wife:

    “The verb for “divorce” in Matthew 19:9 is the same as that used when Joseph intended to put Mary away quietly, apoluo. We know they were not married [at that time], but betrothed. By way of distinction, 1 Cor 7:27 (“Are you married? Do not seek a divorce.”) . . . uses the different verb lusis for “divorce”.

    “The verse more literally says something like ‘whosoever shall release his woman, except in the case of fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery’.”

    We both agree that divorce is not permitted. I think changing the “except” here to “as” still leaves us with a betrothed wife, not a married wife. Under Jewish law, the penalty for marital porneia (adultery) was death. Deuteronomy 22:22. Therefore, if a man released (apoluo) his wife in the case of porneia, she would be stoned to death, meaning he could not commit adultery (because she was no longer alive).

    “Well I have not done that so I am not sure how that is related here.”

    I was going through the logical possibilities, not trying to put words in your mouth. Sorry for any confusion.

    “So if you feel that both Mat 19:9 and Mar 10:11 are referring to Jewish betrothal do you feel like they are also referring to regular marriage?”
    I think they may be referring to no divorce of betrothed *or* married wives.
    “I would hold that it can’t be both. Either ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife” refers to the betrothed wife or to a married wife but not to both. And if the first clause in Mat 19:9 is concerning a betrothed wife then the second clause must be also.”

    The second clause can refer to an occasion that is only possible with some of the women categorized in the first clause, so I disagree with your “must be also” conclusion. Consider a hypothetical: a sign at an amusement park says “all adults may ride this roller coaster except those who are pregnant.” Under your logic, it seems the first clause could only be referring to female adults, as the second clause is only applicable to female adults. In our case, there is no logical problem with Matthew 19:9 saying “no divorcing [married wives or betrothed wives] except in porneia,” and simultaneously maintaining that the porneia scenario is only possible with the betrothed wives (since the married wives would be stoned).

    “Nor do I think the disciple’s reaction “If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” is referring to Jesus noting that you can only put your betrothed wife away for fornication.”

    I think I am prepared to maintain that the wife refers to both married and betrothed wives, so I agree with your point here without contradicting my above comments on apoluo and on the death penalty for adulterous wives.

    Peace in Christ,
    Tom

  44. 44. Tracy Says:

    Thank you so much for the clarification. I am a woman who, over a year ago, left a second marriage having been convicted by the Spirit that it was adultery. Bringing these historical facts to light has helped me in my understanding … I knew it was wrong but the evidence seemed weak in the KJV. I am glad to know that it was not always so.
    I am grateful for God’s grace and mercy even to one such as I.

  45. 45. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Tracy; Well may the Lord bless you for that. Lord willing you should feel free to share your testimony how the Lord lead you that way. I would be happy to post it here.

    Also there are other articles on this site that I would encourage you to read. Especially the concept of freedom from sinning and practical holy living. Check back from time to time on this article as I am updating it regularly and adding new material.

    Today I have added a facsimile of Mat 19:9 showing Alfred Marshall’s Interlinear translation and the NA21 Greek text. This clearly shows the εἰ not inserted and the interlinear translation is “not of (for) fornication”.

    I am working not on getting another well known Interlinear translation with the TR Greek text where the translation is “if not for fornication”. This “if not” is taken as “except” and what should be a exclusion to divorce “not even for fornication” (McFall Translation) has been changed to a exception to divorce “except it be for fornication” based on Erasmus’ addition of the Greek word εἰ.

    Another thing that is good to keep in mind is the difference between Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:9. Mat 5:32 has an exception clause but it is an exception to blame not an exception to divorce and remarry.

    While the other scriptures (Mar 10:11, 12; Luk 16:18, Rom 7:2, 3; 1Cor 7:11, 39) are very clear on divorce and remarriage, to most people Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:9 leave them puzzled. But once you are clear that Mat 19:9 is an exclusion to divorce not an exception to divorce and remarry as it appears to me in the KJV and Mat 5:32 is a exception to blame not an exception to divorce and remarry it all fits together like a puzzle and people can get peace in this difficult question.

  46. 46. Michael Whennen Says:

    One reader of this blog commented to me that…

    I wondered why no one had referred to Michael W. Holmes, “The Text of the Matthean Divorce Passages: A Comment on the Appeal to Harmonization in Textual Decisions,” Journal of Biblical Literature 109 (1990) 651-64. His is the most thorough discussion of the variants in all the divorce texts, and he fairly conclusively shows that the “shorter” reading in our critical texts (UBS4 and NA27) for 19:9 is in error, and “that the original text of 19:9 . . . is found today almost exclusively among MSS of the Byzantine and (to a lesser degree) secondary Alexandrian traditions” (663).

  47. 47. Mrs Judith Bond Says:

    Greetings from Sydney Australia, the land ‘down under’.
    This dialoge has been good reading, very interesting and very helpful.
    To those who have contributed, thanks for standing Gods right and only way.
    It would be good to have a summary and conclusion.
    As a pastor’s wife I firmly believe and stand for marriage God’s way, married for life.
    Bob, keep up the good work. May God continue to bless you.

  48. 48. Ben Witherington Says:

    I have to say this discussion of Erasmus is irrelevant. Jesus did say this in Greek anyway. He said it in Aramaic. And the historical context has to do with incest. Jesus is probably commenting on the cause celebre of his day– the marriage of Herod Antipas to his brother’s wife, Herodias. In other words Jesus is ruling out divorce except on grounds of incest. This comports nicely with what Paul tells us was Jesus’ teaching (and the earliest evidence we have for it– in 1 Cor. 7), namely Jesus permitted no divorce of couples joined together by God.

    Lastly, porneia is not the technical term for adultery (that’s moixeia as the context in Matthew shows, see Mt. 5), nor is it a term normally used of fornication as a specific sexual sin. When it is used as a technical term it means incest, or when it is used more broadly it means all sorts of sexual abberations, not just fornication. The context of the discussion in Mt. 19.1-12 suggests that Jesus was offering a more restrictive view of things than normal, hence the disciples explosive reaction– “if that’s how it is between a man and a woman…”

    BW3

  49. 49. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Ben Witherington;
    >>Jesus did[n't] say this in Greek anyway. He said it in Aramaic.

    Yes but it was written in Greek.

    >>>And the historical context has to do with incest.

    I don’t think you can prove that.

    >>>Lastly, porneia is not the technical term for adultery (that’s moixeia as the context in Matthew shows, see Mt. 5), nor is it a term normally used of fornication as a specific sexual sin.

    Most people that are deal with this issue know that fornication is translated from porneia not moichao and that porneia has the meaning of porneia“1) illicit sexual intercourse a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc. b) sexual intercourse with close relatives;”

    >>>When it is used as a technical term it means incest

    I don’t think you can provide support for that.

    >>>The context of the discussion in Mt. 19.1-12 suggests that Jesus was offering a more restrictive view of things than normal, hence the disciples explosive reaction– “if that’s how it is between a man and a woman…”

    I would agree with that.

  50. 50. catercat Says:

    1. Human behavior in terms of sexuality, partnerships and love has its origins in the chemicals and hormones released in the body. The urges are often overwhelming to the extent that the some individual are unable to control themselves. These hormones and chemicals’ purpose is to ensure the existence of the human species creating the urge to procreate.

    Many individuals find it almost impossible to exist in solidarity and even though their initial judgment was flawed resulting in a divorce, it is impractical to expect such a person to continue his or her life in misery. If forced to live a life of solidarity such an individual will either fall into depression or engage in an illegitimate relationship as defined by the Bible.
    Despite the understanding of Matt 9:19 many people remarry a different partner both turning out to be well adjusted, stable individuals and loving parents. Often the second marriage is a great success.

    It is not clear if Erasmus made a mistake or corrected a mistake however despite his best intentions similar additions were made to other parts of the Bible e.g Mark 16:9-20. It is therefore not a unique case of additions made to the Bible and it is quite possibly not the last time it will occur.

    Finally and most importantly, one would expect that God will inspire the correct translation of the Bible to ensure His followers follow the true and correct path. Considering both Matt 9:19 and mark 16:9-20 one can ask why God waited until the late 1400’s before inspiring a correction of the this verse, if indeed it is a mistake.
    Or one could ask if Erasmus made a mistake (for what ever reason) why God has not inspired an immediate correction preventing many Christians from committing adultery in the past 500 years?

  51. 51. Hope R. Hamiltfon Says:

    Thanks–not read all; I always questioned that verse and felt the coma placement in KJ Eng. precluded even divorce, far less remarriage–to say nothing of all the others precluding divorce and certainly remarriage. Not knowing Greek and finding no one who could tell me, I typed into Google: “divorce except for fornication–Scripture” and this came up. Thanks! h

  52. 52. Eloquorius Says:

    Ok… I’m zooming past the comment here to simply note: “And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce…’ [Jer 3:8 NASB].

    Interesting that divorced His wife and yet some people still want to try to prove that divorce is always a sin and that God never really allows it. It’ll be interesting when we stand before a divorced God to give account for what we taught on earth about divorce. You’d think the thought of such would give some people pause. Apparently, it doesn’t.

  53. 53. Walter Moore Says:

    Thanks for this article.

    I’m not convinced the removal of ει changes the actual meaning of the text, especially since there is no verb in the prhase in question.

    For instance, I could say “You kids can play outside when it rains, NOT floods, and have fun.” Or I could say “You kids can play outside when it rains, except when it floods, and have fun.”

    The meaning is the same.

    As for Mark 10:11 and Matthew 19:9 not being in agreement with each other – I disagree. When two people report the ame thing, one will include details the other leaves out. This does not mean they contradict each other. For example, I could tell two of my children, “You can not go outside, except to take the trash out, until I come home.” One child might recount this to his sister (who never takes out the trash) as, “Dad said we can not go outside until he comes home”. The second child could recount this to his other sibling (who DOES occasionally take out the trash) as, “Dad said we can not go outside, except to take the trash out, until he comes home.’ Both are correct, but one is more accurate in the details, and this accuracy enhances understanding. But it does not change the overall meaning of the message.

    In this case under discussion, the audience of Mark would not know of the ‘not for pornea’, but this does not mean the qualifier was not present when stated by Jesus.

  54. 54. Thomas Says:

    I am a simpleton, in fact not worthy of being a student of Scripture; I say that to qualify myself for offending anyone here.
    Here is my point. In V8 of chapter 19 of Matthew, Jesus answers the Pharisees with this speaking of Moses:
    “8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.”
    then he gets into the meat of this blog topic:
    ” 9″And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
    for the sake of my argument, I will agree here and move on.
    Then the disiples say:
    10The disciples said to Him, “If the relationship of the man with his wife is like this, it is better not to marry.”
    Good point, but still not my piont:
    Jesus then says:
    11But He said to them, “Not all men can accept this statement, but only those to whom it has been given”

    Hhmm, one must stop to think of how a conversation is built and verbally how we speak to one another, moreso, how Jesus would speak of this in leu of the ultimate picture parable, Christ and the Church. Marraige is to be the magnificent glorification of Christ and the Church.
    Walk with me as I attempt to write what is in my mind:
    Christ address this first: “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.”
    Looking at this verse and looking at the others right after it, one must draw the connection of hearts being hard. This is profound, stay with me here for a minute: Moses understood his culture in that not everyone could show uncondition forgiven love; Jesus draws this conclusion as well, with the culture in His time, He too understood not everyone could show unconditional forgiving love, and He too gave an escape clause, something He knew no one could forgive…. fornication. Even in today’s society and inside of Christiandom today, there is no room for forgiving this sin against God and reconsile a marriage.

    Again I am no scholar, it is evident, but I am one who does not beleive divorce is acceptable between to beleivers. Here is why, even with the fornification clause excuse! Because if we apply the simple truth of two things:
    1. No sin is unforgivable by King Jesus
    2. Marriage is the glorification of Chrsit and the Church
    point one is self explanitory, point two might need some explination:
    How many times have we “whored” ourselves to things unclean in the sight of God or done the things Jesus says not to;but then we quickly run back to Him for forgivness, if He is the husband of the church and we are turning to anything other than God, then we too are an adulteress. But yet God still accepts us not based on us, but on the premise of Christ’s finished work on the Cross!

    So how much more should we hate divorce and only understand that Jesus was only talking to the Pharisees, understanding that they concept of forgivness based on furture grace of the cross would not be something they would embrase.

    Enough of my confusion, bottom line, inside Christiandom, forgiveness and reconsiled marriages is what it is about. This verse though, I would argue, as I did above, is for the unbeliving.

    Thank you for youe time and I beg of you to reproof if thisis incorrect.

    Respectfully
    Thomas

  55. 55. Allen Says:

    Dear sir,

    While I admit I have not read all of the items on this post (which is a lot of information), it seems that there is a concesus as to the Scripturalness of divorce and remarriage. Here is my issue: Legally, I had been married for a little over 6 years (1995-2002), until our divorce in about 2002. I then remarried in 2004, and am still married. My question is, how can someone come to the conviction that the second marriage is wrong? I had problems with it from the start, but did it anyway. My 1st marriage was not for adultery. There was an adulterous situation, but that was forgiven earlier on (but there was no assumption that I would have put her away upon finding out of the adultery). Now is a different situation altogether. For some reason, I still feel that I shouldn’t have filed for divorce (I never repented of it-or the remarriage).

    I understand that this post deals mainly with the textual aspects of the Bible verses used concerning divorce/remarriage, but where does someone go from realising (or even not having arrived at that conviction yet) that marriage/divorce is wrong. The church we attend has a different view of the remarriage part of it (do not seek reconcialiation with former spouse if they have not remarried-but I think she is remarried now anyway). I am sorry if this is a lot information here but you have hit something that I have been going through for few years. I’m not sure if this automatically posts (I guess I’ll find out after submitting this comment), but if not, you don’t have to post it since it doesn’t deal directly with this discussion.

    thank you

    allen f.

  56. 56. John Ensor Says:

    I greatly appreciate the principle behind this thread[i.e. truth over convenience]. I will not weigh in on the overall discussion at hand but will comment on one particular aspect. I find it a bit of a stretch to interpret Deuteronomy 24:1-4’s “uncleaness” as ‘previous marriage.’ I agree with Bob’s definition of the Greek equivelant. The Hebrew word here means “shameful disgrace.” It would seem to me that it should be more likely that this should be interpreted as any sexual deviance.

    Is it the case that people under the Law had more grace? That does not make sense to me. It seems that proponents of both sides of this discussion must have found some innovative ways of interpreting Deuteronomy or at least you have found a way to reconcile a problem of God giving instruction thorough Moses that is completley against his will. That seems problematic and confusing…

    I am interested in getting feedback about this from anyone. You guys do an excellent job of articulating your points and you’re always considerate; very refreshing. Mike Atnip…..great article

  57. 57. Graham Says:

    I think that if you spent the time to openmindedly look at the Jewish betrothal view you would find that there are no contradictions to other scriptures at all. People of who have defended this point of view may not have always presented a perfect explanation of it but I beleive that it is the truth. All I can do is point you to the truth which is here http://www.ndtime.net/different_views_points_theories_put_away_porneia.htm
    I am not being proud or trying to make myself better than anyone else I just love the truth and hope you do too.

  58. 58. Michael Whennen Says:

    New articles links added at http://www.WiseReaction.org

    Les McFall has done a critique on an article of William Heth.

    No-Divorce, No-Remarriage easy theology.

    Michael

  59. 59. anne cherney Says:

    I was so excited to find this site and this article! Just last November, when this article appeared, I was finishing up a term paper on the “exception clauses” here at the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family in Washington DC. I had judged that as the exception clauses were only Matthean, thus either added by Matthew or from Jesus but included only by Matthew, they were there because they were something that would only make sense to Matthew’s Jewish audience. The Hebrew or Aramaic word which would have been used, which the Greek “porneia” translates, is “zenut.” “Except fot zenut.” It could mean a whole slew of sexual misdeeds. But what we learned from the Dead Sea scrolls is that the word at the time was being used to refer to marriages which, according to Jewish law, weren’t really valid marriages…that of a king to his niece, for instance. Jesus was saying that a “divorce” of people who weren’t really validly married anyway…was an exception from his “no divorce” ruling. I didn’t take the time to read your blog comments…maybe someone else said the same thing. I think the thought process everyone needs to follow is the one Augustine finally came to: Jesus clearly condemns divorce in the other gospels, and this gospel therefore can’t be in disagreement…..there is something else about Matthew that we just don’t understand! The “erasmus lecture” was very interesting! God bless you…your work is blessing the Lord! Anne Cherney

  60. 60. trevor mcnamee Says:

    Hi to the owner and commenators of this Discusiion
    As a person who is in the midst of the questions at hand.
    I in no way find any of this Helpful.Divorce through relationalproblems,violence,and others Including sexual activity outside the Lawful marriage by either parties .
    IS AN EXTREMELY EMOTIONAL,hurtful,gut renching,violent experience of the Human Phycy.
    And to me to be argueing over two word s with 2 letters which may or may not have been introduced by a writter /interpretor of scripture several centuries ago is to me a work of futility.
    For Jesus was not about the action but the repentance of that action.
    And if we study the Word with regard to the word GRACE we will find that to repent of any action is to have that action to be forgiven of
    AND REMEMBERED NO MORE
    In other words If I repentand ask for the cleasing of the filthiness of the action I am to be be whiter than snow
    AND MOST importantly If I was to go to GOD and Repent again HE(GOD) would say “I (GOD) do not remember what you are talking about.
    For God Never repents on what he has forgiven .
    The Futility of the arguement is to forget what has been left behind not just in divorce and remarriage but any sin
    And it seems to me that this subject is being held up as a sin worse than any other.
    If I remember correctly James says If you say you are without sin then you are a liar
    Isnt Lying a sin in fact no different to any other Sin including Adultery!!!
    Are we not as the Pharasee’s sitting in the Temple argueing who is right and who is wrong.
    who is the most learned of this subject or another subject

    “With Tears” while all around us there are people are suffering from the results of thier sin regardless of what it is/was
    The Gospel is JESUS AND HIM CRUCIFIED by which we ,no matter what we’ve done may be Reconcilled to God in spite of Ourselves.And know the true Freedom that he gives us and declares us to be Saints,dearly Beloved,Sons of God By which we Call him
    ABBA FATHER my Father,My Father.
    I there fore exhourt you to Preach the gospel instead of arguing about the gospel
    May I finally say this in and with LOVE
    STOP being as Gnostics!
    In God s Love an the experience of being forgiven of what you argue about BecauseJesus Shed HIS BLOOD that I may walk and enter int the Holy of Holies with him

    Trevor From Down Under

  61. 61. Dean Wilson Says:

    Thank you for posting this. This is very helpful. I pray that this article receives wide circulation and will help many see the necessity of remaining married for life.

    Do keep up the good work Bob!

    DW

  62. 62. Showmethetruth Says:

    I have been looking into this for a few months because I recently found myself in this situation (remarried after divorce). I have looked at many views of the “exception clause”, and think the betrothal view makes sense except for one aspect. The no remarriage supporters frequently reference the early church fathers’ nearly universal ban on remarriage, yet the early church mostly seems to allow for divorce in cases of adultery. The “betrothal exception” would seem not to support that.

    I can see Dr. McFall’s rendering as a very real possibility, but again, that would not be supported by the ECF stand on the issue. The same can be said for the “incestuous marriage” explaination.

    There has to be a way to explain what Matthew, Mark and Luke said that doesn’t cause a contradiction, eith with Jesus Himself, or the other Gospel writers. I am definately not a Greek scholar, but have tried my best to make sense of this and look at the Greek. I know there is debate on whether or not the “exception” refers to the divorce alone, or the divorce and remarrige together. I can only see the harmonization with Mark, Luke, and the early church by placing it on the divorce only.

    Here is my thinking on the subject: The sin of adultery (in remarriage applications at least) is committed in the remarriage, not the divorce. Matthew 5:32 implies that divorcing a wife without her committing adultery will cause her to commit adultery due to the fact that she would most likely have to remarry to survive. If she had already committed adultery against her husband, his divorcing her would not make her an adulteress because she has already done so. Either way, a man marrying a divorced woman committs adultery, because she is another man’s “one flesh” covenant wife, whether she has committed adultery or not. I see Matthew 19 as a little bit more complicated, unless you see the exception as only applying to the reason of divorce, and not allowing remarriage. This is what gave me the most trouble, until I mentally constructed similar sentences in my mind, and then it became clear. I believe that is what is intended. For example, “A married man who goes to a motel, not for a business trip, and meets another woman commits adultery. This would clearly say that a man is wrong to go to a motel and meet up with another woman (Think Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18). It also says that while going to a motel for business purposes is acceptable, it doesn’t make it okay to meet another woman while on his business trip; his motive for going to a hotel is justified, his resulting actions are certainly not. Again, the sin is in the resulting action.

    Seeing the exception this way makes it clear to me in Matthew’s Gospel he is not making Jesus is contradict himself regarding the permanancy of the one-flesh relationship, it is the same message as Mark and Luke recount, and the early teachings of the church support it.

  63. 63. Penny Danvers Says:

    Wonderful article… Thanks for the resources.

  64. 64. jeff hildebrand Says:

    I don’t understand any of this. (I am slow). I didn’t want to divorce my wife…she divorced me, she was the guilty party…did Jewish Women divorce thier men at all? And because I had no choice in the matter, did I make her an adulterer when she was one already, especially because she divorced me?

    It was 20 years ago…I was a young man…she is remarried. Should I stop dating?? Would I be an adulterer if I remarried? Should I still try to get back with her even though she is married?

    Sorry about all the questions.
    Jeffy

  65. 65. Lisa Says:

    I have a few thoughts here. I believe that remarriage is wrong. I also believe it is wrong to break up a new marriage, so that you can go back to the first marriage.

    What do you think though about Esther in the Bible, she was “raised up for such a time as this” to save her people and obviously was doing God’s will in marrying a divorced man.

    I do not believe that God would Ever guide us to do something that although helping save some lives, would be against His Holy ordained law. God would never lead us into sin. So what is the answer here?

    Also I believe that God says He will always protect His inspired Word, and that it will always be maintained until He comes again. I cannot find this scripture reference right away.

    Are you saying though that only the original Greek and Latin manuscripts where the inspired Word of God? Is so, is it ever possible to make an inspired translation of the Bible?

    I would be afraid to attempt this myself! Rev. 22:18-19 It is not wise to Add to or Minus from God’s Word!

  66. 66. Cindy Says:

    Lisa,

    To be sure remarriage while one has a living spouse is wrong. Jesus and Paul both called the new relationship, not a lawful marriage joined by Him, but adultery (having unlawful relations with one who is not your spouse). To break up a “new marriage” as you say, is to REPENT from adultery……….to turn from an illicit relationship and to turn back to the Lord. Nowhere in God’s Word do we ever find where this relationship defined as adultery turns into a lawful marriage, joined by God as ONE FLESH. We do have evidence given us in the example of Herod/Herodias—neither a divorce, nor remarriage, nor adultery dissolves the original marriage. John told Herod that he had PHILIP’s wife (she didn’t belong to Herod no matter that she was “legally” his wife). New vow taking does not magically turn an adulterous/incestuous relationship into a God joined marriage.

    In regards to ANY OT practice with marriage, all bets are off. Jesus brought marriage back to the ORIGINAL creation intent for marriage—one man/one woman for life. Polygamy is no longer tolerated (which is a form of adultery against the original spouse), nor is divorcing one’s covenant spouse and marrying another—-again, a relationship Jesus deemed adulterous.

    You are correct in that the Lord said He would protect His Word. In Lk. 16:16-18 we find: 16 “Until John the Baptist, the law of Moses and the messages of the prophets were your guides. But now the Good News of the Kingdom of God is preached, and everyone is eager to get in.[a] 17 But that doesn’t mean that the law has lost its force. It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the smallest point of God’s law to be overturned.

    18 “For example, a man who divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery. And anyone who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

    See, Jesus said that to divorce and remarry is adultery, as is marrying a divorced person, yet much of the church today is practicing adultery—-they have “taken away” from the Word of God. They have joined themselves to other people’s spouses or have forsaken those God joined them to and have entered into adulterous relationships—-condoned by man and man’s laws. The days we are living in are very sad.

  67. 67. Dean Wilson Says:

    Hi Cindy,

    Thank you for your well thought out post. Sadly, it seems few take Jesus’ words seriously about divorce and remarriage. But Jesus’ words still stand for today.

  68. 68. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    In response to Lisa, a couple of clarifications, with support for Cindy’s response;

    1. Queen Vashti was unjustly judged for maintaining her modesty and decency. She was not divorced but reduced to the level of a common wife, and replaced by Esther, who was never asked to present herself for the sake of men lusting after her like Vashti was. The opinion that the King was a ‘divorcee’ is an unfounded assumption made popular by the opponents of creational marriage.

    2. The common error of talking about an adulterous and unlawful “re-marriage” in the same context of an existing covenant marriage, is what leads to false conclusions. One has to assume that a divorce decree actually dissolves a one-flesh union. Scripture everywhere plainly shows that it does not. A divorce does show that one or both spouses are doing what Jesus commanded them not to do ie,. (put space between themselves). Cindy’s posting of Luke 16:18 is a perfect example. Look at the facts that are revealed in this verse alone;

    Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery. (Luke 16:18)

    We have in the above verse the example of a man that “putteth away” (divorce, repudiate) his wife. The same man then “marries another”, stop right there. So far it is perfectly clear that the man in the verse has taken the necessary civil & legal steps to get rid of his wife, and “marry” another woman. However, Jesus calls this mans condition “adultery” not a marriage that is approved by God. Man calls it a marriage because the majority of mankind are living and judging according to the flesh (soulishly) and not the Spirit, which is “according to godliness.” The man in this verse would need to legally forsake this immoral union for the sake of the public, but not in order to reconcile to his wife. Even though he put her away, she is still called his “wife.” The divorce did not dissolve his marriage, and God will not be mocked by mans own inventions.

    The latter half of this verse when taken in it’s literal sense, literally forbids any man (whosoever) from marrying any woman that has been divorced from her husband. This makes perfect sense with the first part of the verse. Whoever would attempt to legally “marry” the mans wife in the verse would have to be entering into the sin of adultery because Jesus shows that she remains the mans wife in spite of his treachery (divorce).

    The same could be said of Romans 7 and 1 Corinthians 7. In both instances, the parties are still refereed to as the husband or wife of the one that has departed or been put away. That being said, it is impossible to conclude that Jesus would sanction the transgression of His own holy law. When Jesus says that marrying another is committing adultery against the covenant spouse, then His explanation forbids the possibility of recognizing a civil ‘re-marriage’ as anything but adultery. Jesus can’t contradict His own standard of holiness and purity.

    Lastly, and for the sake of illustration, please consider the outcome of justifying an ‘exception’ to the permanency of marriage other than the death of the spouse. For example, if Lisa is in a true covenant marriage, but believes that there is an exception to her marriage outside of death, then the necessary implications are as follows;

    1. Her marriage is a temporary agreement based on prudence and the current agreement between her and her husband to continue with the benefits of staying together.

    2. If Lisa’s husband walked into sin with another woman, and subsequently pursued the legal requirements to make the immoral woman his “wife”, Lisa would have to uphold and support the new “marriage” or she is guilty of the sin of partiality, which is excercising unjust judgment.

    3. Lisa cannot defend her own marriage based on the truth of Gods word. The fact that she and her husband are continuing faithful to each other, and committed to stay that way, doesn’t mean that you have bound yourself to obedience to the truth. Many can conform to things when there is no persecution that is beyond what they are able to endure, but when people turn toward evil, that’s when you find out what ground you are standing on.

    4. If Lisa doesn’t believe that marriage is binding til death regardless of the actions of one or both of the spouses, then no marriage is literally bound until death. In other words, every marriage could be dissolved (with Gods approval it is asserted) as long as one or both of the parties perform the proper legal requirements. This very idea self destructs when it’s really taken to it’s obvious conclusion. If a man divorces his covenant wife whom he vowed “till death do us part..”, how can he make the same vow to a 2nd woman? He is contradicting himself in word and deed while he is taking the vow with a living spouse as a witness. Living for the sake of righteousness is not based on happiness by this worlds standards, but by doing the will of God, even if it requires death.

  69. 69. Jake Wolfe Says:

    What are the legal requirements? I don’t read it in the Bible that says vow’s to oneaother is the legal requirements.

  70. 70. Ray Says:

    Thank you Bob. I really enjoyed Andrew Kulikovsky’s paper. The issues are very clearly presented. I was going to ask Andrew for his translation of Matthew 19:9, but I just saw two renderings in one of his posts above.
    Andrew, (or Bob or anyone out there) is there any other “me epi” occurence in the New Testament. If so, how are they translated into English. (Please bear with me. I don’t have a greek concordance with me.) Would appreciate very much the answer to my question. Thank you. Ray

  71. 71. Mike Gill Says:

    We know Erasmus added the exception clause in Matthew 19:9 and that his work was edited several times by others before they published their work. Does anyone know what manuscripts were used to edit his work or how the Erasmus text was edited? It would seem that if the work of Erasmus was edited so many times, someone would have caught the addition of the exception clause.

    I want to thank all of you who have posted questions and answers. I have learned more from this website than anyother source. Thank you.

    Mike

  72. 72. Mike Gill Says:

    Can anyone tell me where I can find documentation where Nestle-Aland rejected the exception in Matt. 19:9? I can’t find anything on the rejection and nobody believes me. Thanks.

    Mike

  73. 73. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    You need to consult Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the GNT. It gives the NA27 ranking a B grade (second from top) ie. realtively firm. All other variants appear to be assimilations to Matt 5:32.

    Andrew

  74. 74. Michael Whennen Says:

    Please refer to Les McFall’s website, go down to the section unpublished articles and click on link (1) DivorceMcFALLview.pdf

    within this article you will find further help on this matter under the
    APPENDIX D TEXTUAL NOTES ON MATTHEW 5:32 & 19:9

    Regards
    Michael http://www.WiseReaction.org

  75. 75. Michael Whennen Says:

    Les McFalls website http://www.btinternet.com/~lmf12/

  76. 76. Chris Donohue Says:

    Good discussions here. The early church allowed for no remarriage after divorce. Not one Father, who spoke the Koine Greek as his native language, understood MT as an “exception” for remarriage. The exception is for divorce in unrepentant adultery, Works like the “Shepherd of Hermas” require divorce to seperate from a unrepentant spouse, but requite remaining unmarried in hopes of reconciliation. It says that in these regards “men and women are to be treated in the same way.” This explanation of Erasmus’ error seems to be the best of why there has been confusion in the English translations. Mark and Luke are clear- no remarriage. Whatever Mathew says, it cannot be contradicting them.

  77. 77. Mike Gill Says:

    Thank you for all your comments.

    Mike

  78. 78. Chris Says:

    The real killer is this – if the remarriage is an act of adultery, who is that adultery against? It must be the first spouse. Then, in Gods eyes, even though there was a civil divorce, the two are still married. So, if the civil divorce doesn’t break the marriage in Gods eyes, is the second marriage a continual state of adultery? Are all the re-married people in our churches adulterers that will not inherit the kingdom of God?

  79. 79. David Says:

    RE: early church…

    Since I could find no recent author that finds the same intrepretation of the original greek (e.g. with out the EI the meaning is essentially reversed as McFall states), I did a little search on early church positions on divorce and remarriage and found the following:

    The early church’s view on divorce and remarriage
    Myron Horst
    http://www.biyn.org/divorce/earlychurch.html

    ‘Clement of Alexandria writing around A.D. 194 on the exception clause states that the only exception for divorce is for remarried couples to end their sinful marriage: “Now that the Scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law, ‘Thou shalt not put away thy wife, except for the cause of fornication;’ and it regards as fornication, the marriage of those separated while the other is alive.”‘

    If this and similar such discussions in that article are accurate, I think it’s safe to conclude that in whatever early texts these authors were quoting, those texts were intrepreted completely differently than McFall’s position AND, since those quotes precede Erasmus’ work by many centuries, McFall’s claim that Eramsmus is responsible for mistranslation of the “exception clause” is without merit.

    After all, how could have someone “written on the exception clause” if such a clause did not at that time exist?

    I wonder if any of the scholar’s here can verify or deny the validity of such early church writings?

  80. 80. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi David,

    I think you have a good point. Can someone that has good experience with what the early church taught address this issue please?

    Thanks!

    Bob.

  81. 81. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Chris,

    Some would hold that all persons [Christians] that are in a second marriage are lost. I think a more balanced view would be that sin is rated by light. If they don’t know it is wrong it is not sin.

    Thanks!

    Bob.

    [Bob: Comment changed to clarify original meaning.]

  82. 82. Primitive Christianity Says:

    Bro. Dean Taylor has a Booklet on Divorce/Remarriage in which he quotes extensively from the early church writings on the subject. This booklet is made of a series of articles that originally appeared in The Heartbeat of the Remnant.

    Mike

    [Editor: I fixed the link and deleted the other post.]

  83. 83. David Says:

    Thanks Mike. The article in the link you provided also contains (what appears to be the same) discourse by Clement, and I found similar quote attributed to him on another web page.

    Presuming these are valid quotations, the evidence strongly indicates that McFall’s attempt to blame Eramsmus for creating the exception cause and his alternate translation of the original text are both competely without merit.

    As to the proper interpretation of that clause, that is a completely different debate.

    But, it seems to me, if McFall has unjustly slandered Eramsmus while putting forth an unjustifiable mis-quoting of Mathew, he has commiteed a rather serious offense and he should withdraw his paper and issue an apology imediately.

  84. 84. Jim II Says:

    “I think a more balanced view would be that sin is rated by light. If they don’t know it is wrong it is not sin.”

    This statement should be rejected outright. The scripture states that the grace of God … has appeared unto all men, teaching us to say ‘no to ungodliness’. God has not left Himself without a witness. The view above is not balanced unless we assume that a person could be committing a sin which damns the soul and be excusable as an infant. Jesus said that the one that didn’t know that masters will is beaten with few stripes, which clearly shows they are rejected. It doesn’t state that such a person could not possibly have known, just that he didn’t. The scripture also states explicitly that all men will be without excuse, but according to the above opinion, some adulteres will in fact have an excuse ie. ignorance. There is no exception found among the sins of the flesh that are found all over Gods Word. They plainly state that “those who do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” There are Bibles available within reach of nearly all ‘westernized’ nations, so that removes any plea of ignorance for those nations. The rest of the world can be sure that they will be called by the gospel effectually and in such a way that Jesus will be vindicated when He judges, and we know that “the Judge of all the earth shall do right.” This type of fleshly reasoning above is what opens the door, or rather hinders the door of genuine repentance. I am curious how Bob would reprove a man that was found defiling the wife of someone he knew and the man pleaded ignorance based on his belief that the woman said she “loved” him. Would Bob confirm the fact to this same man that he is not presently sinning, but will be after he informs him of his adultery? Couldn’t such a man claim to have a legitimate covenant, since he wasn’t sinning before he knew about it and “married” another mans wife? Taken to it’s inevitable conclusion, you could not truly reprove anyone for any sin unless you could show unequivocally that the person knew beforehand that they were sinning in the way that God describes sin. This isn’t possible without applying the standard of God holy commandments to the past conduct of every person. If ignorance were a legitimate excuse, what would an ignorant person repent of, their sins, or their ignorance about sinning? Jesus says that all souls belong to Him, and “the soul that sinneth it shall die.” That is the balanced view of sin.

  85. 85. Jim II Says:

    Just wanted to confirm the fact that a legal divorce does not dissolve a covenant marriage, and a “re-marriage” cannot be binding in light of the fact that God will not confirm a sinful oath. He would have to nullify His own commandment to do so. Luke 16:18 is just one of the clear examples about the binding nature of the covenant marriage. That text clearly shows the probable case of a husband that divorces his wife. As far as society is concerned, he had the signed pieces of paper that showed him divorced and subsequently “married” to his pretend wife. Nonetheless, he “is continually committing” adultery, which shows he must necessarily still be married. The latter part of the verse literally forbids the marriage of any divorced woman by any man at all.

  86. 86. David Says:

    BTW, a competely different greek textual analysis and intrepretation of Mathew 19:9 and 5:32 is available here for those interested:

    http://www.bibletruths.net/archives/BTAR260.htm

    I assume most here will disagree with it’s conclusions :D

    dvc

  87. 87. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi Jim II,

    I post that you think the following position should be rejected outright — “sin is rated by light” and “if they [Christians] don’t know it is wrong it is not sin”

    Just to clarify I was speaking about a Christian couple that were in a second marriage. I made that a bit clearer by striking out persons and adding [Christians] to the original comment.

    It now reads as follows.

    Some would hold that all persons [Christians] that are in a second marriage are lost. I think a more balanced view would be that sin is rated by light. If they don’t know it is wrong it is not sin.

    Let me first answer your direct questions and then put together a list of your objections to the position I take and try to answer them.

    In response to your questions:

    I don’t think a woman telling a man that she loved him as anything to do with the position that I take that for a Christian sin is rated by light and understanding. Nor do I think telling a person that they are sinning when they are ignorantly disobeying a scripture mean now that they are sinners. Where something is sin to you is rated by your light not my light.

    No a man can’t claim to have a legitimat covenant since he didn’t know he is disobeying the scriptures when he took a second wife. I would disagree that you can’t reprove a person for sin unless you can show they knew what they were doing is sin. I don’t think ignorance is a legitimate excuse to sin and I have not implied that. If a person finds themselves breaking a commandment in the scriptures they should repent both for their ignorance and for the act they have committed.

    Here is a list of your objects:

    1. Jesus said that the one that didn’t know that masters will is beaten with few stripes, which clearly shows they are rejected.

    2. The scripture also states explicitly that all men will be without excuse, but according to the above opinion, some adulteres will in fact have an excuse ie. ignorance.

    3. There are Bibles available within reach of nearly all ‘westernized’ nations, so that removes any plea of ignorance for those nations.

    I will address these objections later. I need head off to Wed night Bible study.

    Christian love and prayers,

    Bob.

  88. 88. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    David,

    This is what McFall actually said:
    “Who was the first to add EI to the inspired Word of God? We do not know who did it, but the earliest Greek manuscript to contain the addition does not date earlier than a thousand years after Christ.
    How did it get into the Reformers’ Bibles? This we do know. It was through Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), the Dutch humanist3. He was not a Reformed Christian. He was brought up in the Catholic Church but, like the Reformers, he became disillusioned with the Catholic Church’s teaching on a number of issues, one of which was their insistence that Jesus did not permit divorce or remarriage.”

    Contra your claim, McFall did not say that Erasmus created the exception. In fact he clearly states that we do not know this! The oldest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain EI, and it is only found in very late manuscripts known for their scribal editing. The editors of the UBS4 GNT gave MH EPI PORNEIA a B rating (very reliable). The only evidence we have for EI being there is indirect like the quote from Clement. But note that Clement was the founder of the Alexandrian school which was well known for eccentric interpretations, and the the allusion to Matt 19:9 is not a direct quotation anyway so we have little idea of what the text actually said or where it came from.

    What we do know is that Erasmus added it to his published Greek Text. That is clearly McFall’s point.

    May I suggest that it is YOU who needs to immediately apologise for unjustly slandering McFall by attributing to him something he did not say. This is, may I suggest, a rather serious offence.

    Andrew

  89. 89. David Says:

    Andrew,

    I did not say that McFall’s claim that EI was added by Erasmus was the point of slander. It is, rather, the claim that Erasmus’ actions caused a mis-translation of the Reformers bible as well as the following confusion and contention over the meaning of Mathew 19:9, along with the strong inference, by focusing so much attention on Erasmus’ sympathy for an alternate interpretation of that clause, that Erasmus must have done so on purpose.

    McFall claims that MH EPI PORNEIA (without EI) translates to an EXCLUSION, not an exception … however, this is not supported either by other modern translators, nor, apparently by Clement of Alexandria writing around A.D. 194, over 800 years prior to the claim of the earliest known manuscript to contain EI.

    It’s easy to see that Clement could not have interpreted his text to mean an EXCLUSION, as did McFall, since his comments would no longer make any sense with McFall’s translation …. E.G.:

    “Now that the Scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law, ‘Thou shalt not put away thy wife, except for the cause of even in the case of fornication;’ and it regards as fornication, the marriage of those separated while the other is alive.”

    So, McFall sure seems to be guilty of trying to do exactly that which he is implying Erasmus did purposefully and successfully: change the translation to suit his belief of what the meaning SHOULD be.

    Apparently, the addition of EI is simply a red herring that had essentially no impact in the translation of the reformer’s bible (or any others.) It certainly could not have impacted Clement’s interpretation unless Clement’s text of around 194 A.D. also contain EI.

    dvc

  90. 90. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi David,

    I took the corrections from you last post and added them to your second last post. Please check your last post and verify that the corrections were added correctly.

    Thanks!

    Bob.

  91. 91. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    David,

    You said:

    McFall claims that MH EPI PORNEIA (without EI) translates to an EXCLUSION, not an exception … however, this is not supported either by other modern translators, nor, apparently by Clement of Alexandria writing around A.D. 194, over 800 years prior to the claim of the earliest known manuscript to contain EI.
    :
    Apparently, the addition of EI is simply a red herring that had essentially no impact in the translation of the reformer’s bible (or any others.) It certainly could not have impacted Clement’s interpretation unless Clement’s text of around 194 A.D. also contain EI.

    No! The addition of EI is everything! If EI was in the original text then there is definitely an exception. Case closed.

    However, there is virtually no evidence that EI was in the original text! Clement’s reference/translation is not a direct quote so this is indirect evidence at best.

    The reformers used Erasmus’ text as the basis for their translations so the presence of EI MH made it clear that this was an exception and so they translated it as such. If MH by itself was in the text then it is likely that they would have translated it differently. Admittedly, the the use of MH by itself is most unusual and is not specifically discussed in the standard grammars. Smythe’s classical Greek Grammar has the most comprehensive discussion and it offers no support for an exception. It suggests a prohibition (my view).

    Modern translators–unless the project has a specific translational goal–always tend to favour traditional renderings. Most modern translators assume that there has been an ellipsis of EI so they always translate it as an exception. The ellipsis view has a number of problems which I have discussed in my paper.

    Andrew

  92. 92. David Says:

    Andrew,

    RE: Smythe’s classical Greek Grammar has the most comprehensive discussion and it offers no support for an exception. It suggests a prohibition (my view).

    I am more inclined to accept a view that the evidence indicates, which is that either a) scholars of greek text of AT LEAST A.D. 194 translated MH EPI PORNEIA as ‘except…” or b) EI must have existed in an greek text accepted by church elders as early as A.D. 194, which would therefore give inclusion of EI far greater authority than ANY currently existing text that does not.

    Regardless of that, NO current english translation of the bible that I can find, including those that claim to have used texts other than, or in addition to Erasmus’ translation contain text that agrees with McFall’s translation.

    http://www.biblegateway.com contains the full text of 22 english translations, only one of which is remotely close to McFall’s .. The Wycliffe New Testament:

    And I say to you, that whoever leaveth his wife, but for fornication, and weddeth another, doeth lechery [doeth adultery]; and he that weddeth the forsaken wife, doeth lechery [doeth adultery]. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mathew%2019:9&version=WYC

    Further, of the discussions of on the translation of MH EPI PORNEIA I have found on the internet, most find the exception clause as a reasonable translation. For example, Don Martin’s very detailed translation which I posted previously (http://www.bibletruths.net/archives/BTAR260.htm)

    I don’t see you posting any supporting evidence to your arguments, btw.

    dvc

  93. 93. David Says:

    Some additional comments…

    RE: But note that Clement was the founder of the Alexandrian school which was well known for eccentric interpretations, and the the allusion to Matt 19:9 is not a direct quotation anyway so we have little idea of what the text actually said or where it came from.

    Actually, in what I quoted, there IS a (claimed) direct quote by Clement of (the first part of) Matt 19:9. As to what he is quoting, where the text came from or how eccentric or mainstream his position might be, I see that as insignificant compared to the DATE from which this quote comes.

    But, let’s look further at the claim of eccentric intrepretation. Note that the view expressed in that quote is essential the same as the current official RCC church stance on marriage and divorce… eg. no divorce, no remarriage, any time, for any condition.

    How similar this stance is to the current position is particularly obvious when one looks at the current (and very recent) english translation of the bible that is officially accepted by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops … the New American Bible (http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/index.shtml) which translates Matt 19:9 as:

    I say to you, 7 whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.”

    So, apparently, at least this particular position of Clement’s is not quite so controversial.

    I can (and will) provide further evidence to support my claims if you wish to continue this debate, btw. But ONLY, if you provide compelling evidence to support your claims, otherwise I see not point in bothering.

    Saying “Case Closed” is hardly a compelling argument.

    dvc

  94. 94. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    David,

    1. I checked the quote in Schaff’s ANF, and yes, the first part is a purported quotation. Nevertheless, this is still indirect evidence. We don’t know what manuscript was used and what it actually said. If it did contain EI (or EAN) then that rendering was clearly not deemed worthy enough to be preserved in copied manuscripts since no other early manuscripts (from any of the 3 text types) contain EI/EAN.

    2. Re Clement’s view matches RCC position, I’m not so sure. Clement could be taken to mean that one could divorce/separate for sexual sin, but separated people could not remarry. But alternatively, it could be taken to mean no divorce and no remarriage UNLESS one partner commits sexual sin.

    3. I cannot see how the NAB translators can get “unless the marriage is unlawful” from MH EPI PORNEIA. Theology is driving this that translation, not the Greek text.

    4. My reference to “case closed” was in relation to the translation “except…” If the Greek text said EI MH (or more likely EAN MH) then the translation “except…” is absolutely correct. Case closed. If you don’t believe me check any intermediate Greek Grammar (Wallace, Young, BDF, Robertson, Smythe) or the lexical entry for EI/EAN in a standard lexicon (BAGD, BDAG).

    5. I haven’t made any claims apart from defending McFall’s original propositions. YOU are the one claiming that McFall slandered Erasmus. I don’t think you have any grounds for doing so. McFall has made a fair proposition and has put forward a reasonable argument in support. He may be right, he may be wrong, but he has NOT acted dishonestly or slandered anyone.

    Andrew

  95. 95. Kerry19Hm Says:

    On this web site only some people have to see great thing close to this good topic. Thanks to you the the best sides of make an order are evident. We think that now used to be easy to have well composed buy custom essay at essay writing service.

    [Editor: More comment spam from primewritings.com, I removed the links.]

  96. 96. David Says:

    So to recap your argument then: in the hundreds of years since Erasmus did his translation, EVERYONE prior to McFall has got it wrong, including all those RCC defenders who viciously attacked Erasmus during his lifetime and all those people and groups that went back and re-translated the bible, including those who do or did not support the view that Mathew 19:9 allows for divorce and/or remarriage.

    And, ALL people who claim that a translation that allows that MH EPI PORNEIA (literally “not for fornication/whoredom/lewdness/whatever”) can be reasonably intrepreted as an exception MUST be either uniformed or are purposely mis-translating the greek, because thier translation does not fit your (and McFall’s) opinion?

    Hardly convincing.

    As per Clement (and similar statements attributed to early church elders), the evidence certainly appears to exist and should be checked by reputable scholars on BOTH sides of the debate, since it may offer the only hope of actually answering this question.

    Further, McFall should publish his paper to jurried journal, so that it is properly scrutinized and debated publicly by other scholars.

    As for apologizing… I said ….

    But, it seems to me, IF McFall has [done the things my analysis seems to indicate he did] THEN he should apologize.

    In my opinion, the evidence casts McFall’s conclusions in grave doubt. But, regardless, I have nothing to apologize for.

    dvc

  97. 97. Michael Whennen Says:

    Thank you Chris for asking the following critical question on the 21st of December…”Are all the re-married people in our churches adulterers that will not inherit the kingdom of God?”

    Personally I can see that scripture is very clear on this, and the answer is yes. Much has been written and debated on this very topic. All I can recommend is that each person continues to seek, read, pray and ask God for help on this topic, as their eternal destination depends on it.

  98. 98. Michael Whennen Says:

    Thankyou Mike (Primitive Christianity comment on 29th December) for recommending the booklet written by Bro. Dean Taylor. It is the best booklet I have read on the topic of Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage (Adultery) it has been an answer to my prayers..

  99. 99. Michael Whennen Says:

    David,

    I have read articles written by Les McFall and Andrew Kulikovsky, I am very impressed with both men and the efforts they have made and what they have written. They are both extremely knowledgable, and extremely gracious men.

    It would be great if you too David can share with us any work you have done in this area. Do you have a website, or can you provide links to your work?

    Thanks
    Michael

  100. 100. Jim II Says:

    In the exchange between David & Andrew, I wanted to make one fact perfectly clear; The clearly defined model and standard of marriage, accoding to Jesus Himself, is the creational example of Adam & Eve, not the 5 word phrase found in Matthew 19. Even if Les or Andrew were 100% wrong on thier conclusions, we can be sure that whatever it means, it does not have a meaning that would permit the overthrow and repeal of Gods own law concerning marriage. We know that the ‘word of fornication’ phrase does not and cannot be applied in such a way that would modify the latter part of the vers. Context forbids it, language construction forbids it, and non-contradiction forbids it. All this debate over this seemingly difficult phrase has the appearance that one is searching for the secret key of knowledge concerning Gods will on marriage, but not so. Jesus said “therefore they are no longer two but one flesh.” He clearly delivered this revelation while knowing that this command, along with various others, would be despised, profaned, and made of none effect by mans traditions. God respects no mans person, and that which is highly esteemed among men, is an abomination in the sight of God. Would anyone knowingly venture the destiny of their soul and body to even a doubtful interpretation? I think not. If the rioghteous scarcely be saved, where will the ungodly and sinner appear? The 5 word phrase is plausibly explained by either Les McFalls view, or betrothal. Any other interpretation violates the unchangeable decree of God with regard to marriage. Why not just accept Jesus own commentary where He explained His teaching in private to His followers? His words clearly allow no release from the vow except by death, which is a reasonable ending of a marriage, even to the ungodly.

  101. 101. David Says:

    Micheal,

    I have claimed no expertise in any particular subject area. I simply see holes in the arguments put forth by McFall on this particular subject that, as of yet, have not been accounted for.

    Einstien’s expertise and intelligence has never been questioned either, however he was still completely wrong in his discussions about Quantum Physics. Expertise and a body of correct writings in any particular subject do not prove the correctness of any particular writing.

    I also haven’t put forth any view as to the proper intrepretation of God’s law concerning marriage or divorce. While Jim II’s view may be correct, there are very many that disagree with his analysis. But, until such time as one can prove a particular point beyond a reasonable doubt, no one will ever know for sure and the arguments will continue. Contray to the claims of this article, I don’t believe that McFall has done so.

    dvc

  102. 102. Michael Whennen Says:

    Agree totally with what Jim II has written.

    With the thousands of books articles and sermons produced about Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage it can be seen that confusion exists, exactly what satan wants! If we all had a covenantal attitude rather than a contractual attitude (Good Shepherd verses a Hireling attitude) we would fight to uphold marriage as a moral absolute, and not look for justification for people to separate and divorce. Two become one in marriage, one spirit, one body, one flesh an analogy of Christ and the Church. Satan wants to destroy the analogy by confusing us.

    May I recommend a brillant book titled Covenantal Relationships by Asher (Keith) Intrater http://www.revive-israel.org/books.php

    What is our attitude towards the marriage covenant? What value do we put on marriage? Can will liken divorce to abortion, that is marriage and life are disposable? I certainly make a stand against divorce and abortion. I also make a stand against same-sex marriage, in the same way I also make a stand against adultery (remarriage of divorced persons).

    We always over complicate matters, the Gospel and God’s requirements must be simple and straightforward so that even children can understand…

  103. 103. Jim II Says:

    I must correct one assertion from David that attempts to marginalize my last post, which I don’t believe was intentional. Although I can’t entirely discredit the charge of my last post being “my analysis”, I can address the valid context of my post, along with the issue of ‘reasonable doubt’ in the sense that David uses it ie, the issue still stands within the bounds of reasonable doubt.

    Firstly, my ‘analysis’ is not a personal opinion that would seem to enrich my own life in the eyes of the world. I came to the knowledge of the truth about 2 weeks after my conversion in 2004. At that time I recognized the childlike faith that was working in me by grace, and I believed wholeheartedly that Jesus standards, (the spirit if the law) were immovable, and at the same time loved and esteemed by His sheep. One fact that struck me with a sense of the wisdom which is from above is that Jesus doctrine is “according to godliness”, which I have never let go of, and by grace never will. The point I made in the last post about the model and standard of marriage (as expressed by Jesus Himself) is irrefutable regardless of how many multitudes can be assembled in concenses against it. The reason being is that creational marriage, which is indissoluable except by death, is in fact “according to godliness.” Now we know that whatever God says cannot and will not be abrogated or repealed in order to accomodate the violation of that very same word. All other opinions, that would allow for the dissolving of a marriage by sin, do in fact imply the establishment of a sin tolerant standard, that virtually overthrows the pure standard set forth by God Himself. That is the wisdom of man and the basic principles of fleshly centered philosophy. By this type of wisdom “man knew not God” for the simple reason that it always accomodates the flesh instead of deny it. God set forth all His standards of holiness with the understanding that most would violate them through their love of pleasure rather than God, and to thier own destruction. Nonetheless, the holiness of the moral laws of God have not been altered, but shown to be eternal and unimpeachable by those that disobey, as well as by those that “continue in well doing.” The contrary consequences show that the law is upheld in the strictest sense. If the conclusions are inconsistant with godliness, we must necessarily reject them as being opposed to true righteousness and holiness.

    On the issue of reasonable doubt, the very statement is missing the essential perspective that it deserves from scripture. Paul said that even doubting the lawfulneess of a rightful act, or something that would fall under things of indifference, (foods, holy days), should not be done when the conscience is accusing. Thus the statement that “blessed is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he allows…” Now to assert that a marriage can somehow be dissolved by the refusal of one or both parties to glorify God through this one flesh covenant, does not bring the truth about their accountability before God into any doubtfulness whatsoever. ONe or both of the spouses are sinning against and violationg their vow before God, and the unchangeableness of the standard continues to hold them accountable to it. There is not only the absense of reasonable doubt through Gods decree, there is no doubt to be found whatsoever, if we maintain the standard of godliness as the scale of measurement and judgment. Wha I seem to hear within this discussion is the idea that a secondary and subprime standard exists that God will affirm and uphold, even though it defiles His holy standard entiresly, and especially the thing it typifies. That is mans invention, and always will be. It goes without saying that all the world will see whose word will prevail in the end. Now that we have taken all doubt away, we can talk about the plausibleness of what Matthew 19 is saying, as long as it doesn’t seem to repeal the standard set forth in verse 6, unless one wants to imply that Jesus overstated the case in the first place, a frightening proposition indeed.

  104. 104. David Says:

    I apologize to Jim II if I marginalized his post. That wasn’t my intention. I certainly realize that there are many who hold to the same point of view.

    My point was simply that there are many different, sometimes commpletely opposing viewpoints held by differing peoples and each of those people justify thier beliefs with as much conviction and strength, also quoting scripture to show how the gospel supports what ever that view is.

    RE: We always over complicate matters, the Gospel and God’s requirements must be simple and straightforward so that even children can understand…

    Only if God chose to make these matters so simple and straightfoward. Unfortunately He chose not to do so. If things were so simple and straightforward, there would only exist on Christian church. Indeed, if it was so clear and obvious, there would be only one religion in this world. However, that is not the case.

    A simple clarity of Mathew 19:9 would help matters greatly. Unfortunately, any such clarity must actually be undeniably true, or it is worthless, regardless of what we wish for.

    dvc

  105. 105. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    You wrote:
    ——-
    So to recap your argument then: in the hundreds of years since Erasmus did his translation, EVERYONE prior to McFall has got it wrong, including all those RCC defenders who viciously attacked Erasmus during his lifetime and all those people and groups that went back and re-translated the bible, including those who do or did not support the view that Mathew 19:9 allows for divorce and/or remarriage.
    ——-

    Wrong! You don’t seem to have much idea at all about what what McFall is actually arguing.

    McFall’s point has nothing to do with the translation of the text. McFall contends that Erasmus added EI to his published Greek text, against all the manuscript evidence. Thus, assuming that EI was in the original text the translators were quite right to translate “EI MH” as “except”. But the point is that EI was NOT apparently in the original text. And NO ONE, I might add, including those who advocate that Matt 19:9 allows for D&R for sexual sin, argues that it did!!!

    ——
    And, ALL people who claim that a translation that allows that MH EPI PORNEIA (literally “not for fornication/whoredom/lewdness/whatever”) can be reasonably intrepreted as an exception
    ——

    Wrong again. MH does not literally mean “not”. MH is a negating particle. It only means “not” when it negates a verb which is not the case here.

    ——
    MUST be either uniformed or are purposely mis-translating the greek, because thier translation does not fit your (and McFall’s) opinion?
    ——

    Wrong again. They mistranslate the Greek because their translation does not fit:
    1. Established Greek grammar.
    2. The teaching of Luke.
    3. The teaching of Mark.
    4. The teaching of Paul.
    5. The teaching of the OT.
    6. The immediate context in Matthew.
    7. The wider context of Matthew.

    —–
    Hardly convincing.
    —–

    Agree or disagree, David, but at least do McFall the courtesy of getting his position (and mine) right!

    ——
    As per Clement (and similar statements attributed to early church elders), the evidence certainly appears to exist and should be checked by reputable scholars on BOTH sides of the debate
    ——

    It already has been. The results are in the NA27/UBS4 and the accompanying textual commentary by Metzger. These results (at least in relation to the texts in question) are not controversial and are not disputed by anyone that I know of. No one seriously believes EI was in the original text.

    ——
    In my opinion, the evidence casts McFall’s conclusions in grave doubt. But, regardless, I have nothing to apologize for.
    —–

    You should apologise for going off half-cocked without even bothering to understand McFall’s argument.

  106. 106. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    David wrote:
    ——–
    I am more inclined to accept a view that the evidence indicates, which is that either a) scholars of greek text of AT LEAST A.D. 194 translated MH EPI PORNEIA as ‘except…” or b) EI must have existed in an greek text accepted by church elders as early as A.D. 194, which would therefore give inclusion of EI far greater authority than ANY currently existing text that does not.
    ——-

    Textual criticism doesn’t work like that. It is a much more sophisticated process. See Metzger’s Text of the New Testament or David Alan Black’s introductory work on textual criticism. We have many early manuscripts and NONE contain EI.

    ——
    Regardless of that, NO current english translation of the bible that I can find, including those that claim to have used texts other than, or in addition to Erasmus’ translation contain text that agrees with McFall’s translation.
    ——

    Indeed, beacuse the earliest ones used Erasmus’ or derivative texts, later ones were mere revisions of the earlier translations, and modern translations in 20th century that used the WH and NA critical texts adopted the traditional renderings and rationalised the translation in the ways I discuss in my paper.

    ——-
    Further, of the discussions of on the translation of MH EPI PORNEIA I have found on the internet, most find the exception clause as a reasonable translation. For example, Don Martin’s very detailed translation which I posted previously (http://www.bibletruths.net/archives/BTAR260.htm)
    ——-

    His translation follows all the other modern translations, but like them, it is grammatically dubious not mention contextually dubious as well. He doesn’t even discuss the grammatical problems. Is he even aware of them?

    ——
    I don’t see you posting any supporting evidence to your arguments, btw.
    ——

    That’s because I haven’t posted any of my arguments, btw.

    If you want to look at my view and the problems with the “exception” in Matt 19:9, then please read my paper which is linked above on this discussion board.

  107. 107. David Says:

    Well, this discussion is getting boring so this will probably be my last post. Heck, I don’t even really care all that much about this issue, I just happened upon this while doing some research for a friend.

    But I sure am surprised how quick people here have been to just accept what is essentially a major re-write of history (and your divine writings of God), founded on claims of what could only be considered some kind of vast conspiracy created by one man. A man who didn’t even support the side that supposedly benefited by his duplicity and was viciously attacked by both conservative Catholics AND reformers alike. Geez, he must have been the devil incarnate!

    For a nice brief history of this man, wikipedia has a good page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desiderius_Erasmus

    Personally, I think anyone who could write something like “The Praise of Folly” back in those days is hero to me :D

    Anyway, I’ll just finish up with the following notes…

    Andrew said:
    Wrong again. They mistranslate the Greek because their translation does not fit:
    1. Established Greek grammar.
    2. The teaching of Luke.
    3. The teaching of Mark.
    4. The teaching of Paul.
    5. The teaching of the OT.
    6. The immediate context in Matthew.
    7. The wider context of Matthew.

    Twice you criticized translations as based on theological ideology. Now you are stating theological ideology as 6 of the seven points above? Really?

    RE: On checking early church quotes / Clement It already has been. The results are in the NA27/UBS4 and the accompanying textual commentary by Metzger. These results (at least in relation to the texts in question) are not controversial and are not disputed by anyone that I know of. No one seriously believes EI was in the original text.

    That wasn’t the issue.

    RE: Indeed, beacuse the earliest ones used Erasmus’ or derivative texts

    Not quite …

    Wycliff New Testament, translated from the Latin Vulgate and published in 1380:

    And I seye to you that whoever levith his wyf but for fornicacioun and wed ditli an oother doth leccherie and he that wed dith the forsaken wyf doth leccherie

    McFall also provides a slightly different text for Wycliff (from a later revision, I suppose) in a section, which claims “The object of this section is to show that while the majority of English translations are based on a Greek text which has thrown out Erasmus’ unsupported addition of EI in Matthew 19:9, they have not thrown out his unbiblical teaching on divorce and remarriage.”

    “JOHN WYCLIFFE BIBLE (1395) (Wycliffe) And Y seie to you, that who euer leeueth his wijf,
    but for fornycacioun, and weddith another, doith letcherie; and he that weddith the forsakun
    wijf, doith letcherie.”

    And also McFall’s claims (earlier): “And that is exactly what happened in the case of Matthew 19:9, where a scribe in the 15th century added to his copy of the Greek text …”

    But… Erasmus’ first translation was performed in 1516, 163 years AFTER the Wycliff translation was published.

    Also, McFall says: “Everyone took on trust that Erasmus had been faithful to the handwritten Greek copies that he used to produce the first published edition of the Greek New Testament in 1516.” Really?? I don’t think so!

    According to many sources, Erasmus’ work was intently scrutinized and often criticized, for example:

    “James Lopez de Stunica, the editor of the forthcoming Complutensian Polyglot, criticized Erasmus’ text for various faults, and for the omission of the clause in 1 John 5:7-8. The influential scholars of France followed Stunica in denouncing the edition, although most of their criticism was directed not against the Greek text, but against the innovative Latin translation.” http://www.bible-researcher.com/bib-e.html

    I’m sorry, but this article should be properly published in an appropriate journal and given the full evaluation of respected biblical scholars before any of its conclusions can be accepted, if at all.

    And, no, I don’t apologize.

  108. 108. David Says:

    oh, gosh, one more thing….

    Since I’ve been referred to Metzger so many times, might as well include his take on the subject as well…

    As quoted from: http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/biblical-prophecy/BP0909W1.htm
    “The ‘excepting clause’ in the Matthean account of Jesus’ teaching on divorce occurs in two forms… parektos logoi porneias (‘except on the grounds of unchastity’), and me epi porneia (‘except for unchastity’). It is probable that the witnesses… which have the former reading have been assimilated to 5:32 where the text is firm” (Metzger, Bruce M. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, United Bible Societies, London, 1971, pp. 47-48).

    So…. Metzger translates me epi porneia as ‘except for unchastity’? How very interesting!

  109. 109. David Says:

    Oh, one more (hopefully minor) issue …

    RE: Bob’s comment
    19. Bob Mutch Says:

    November 24th, 2008 at 12:40 pm
    It was not clear to me What David mean by “This solves the ambiguity in Mt.19.9.” I am guessing you have read David’s books where he may go over what he means. I did email my reply to him and I expect he will respond.

    I do hope everyone realizes I am NOT the same Dave as refered to above?

    Just wanted to make this very clear.

    While I’m at it, I guess I should make very clear why I have this interest in this paper.

    Fundamentally it’s simple. I thought this was the MOST unChristian paper I’ve read recently. It accuses a long dead person (Erasmus) of being just a horrible Christian (to say the least!!), but also, EVERY BIBLICAL TRANSLATOR who followed (and apparently up to and beyond 163 years prior) of being either incompetent (e.g. didn’t really understand how to intrepret me epi porneia because they were apparently too stupid) or (worse) PURPOSELY mistranslated it to further a theological idealogy-based goal. Excepting only a small number (4 to be precise) of recent translators, of which McFall (the author of this paper) is included… oh my :O :D

    McFall says this rather clearly in his paper.. read it.

    I find this paper highly offensive. I find this paper very unChristian. I find this paper poorly researched and undefensible. I find this paper just plain badly written.

    That’s me and my position.

    Bob:
    I really would like to encourage you to re-cast your review of this article in a bit more neutral light, such as including phrases such as the author “claims such and such” and “presents evidence that may show” and so one. For example…

    “In his paper, he discusses an addition that Desiderius Erasmus added to his Greek-Latin New Testament (1516 1st ed) that he claims changed the way Matthew 19:9 has been translated.”

    .. and …

    “McFall offers evidence he says shows how Erasmus’ addition of the Greek word εἰ in Mat 19:9 has lead to the incorrect translation of this verse.

    … and so on …

    thanks

    [Editor: Edited out a slang term.]

  110. 110. Bob Mutch Says:

    Hi David,

    Thanks for those points on “he claims” and “offers evidence he says”. I have added both of them.

    Thanks!

    Bob.

  111. 111. bob Says:

    Hi Jeff Hildebrand,

    >>>It was 20 years ago…I was a young man…she is remarried. Should I stop dating??

    If it was your and her first marriage then yes you should stop dating as you are still married to her in God’s eyes.

    >>>Would I be an adulterer if I remarried?

    Yes you would be an adulterer if you remarry.

    >>>Should I still try to get back with her even though she is married?

    I am not sure how to answer this one. I would hold that the scriptures teach that she is your wife and you are married for life.

    Perhaps instead of working on trying to get your wife back the Lord may want you to work on your walk with him.

    Thanks!

    Bob.

  112. 112. John Says:

    In Matthew 5 & 19, if what Jesus said was interpreted by the Pharisees and others as saying that adultery was a legitimate grounds for divorce and remarriage, doesn’t it seem like they would have jumped at the chance to make a case that Jesus was contradicting Moses by His apparent disregard that the law said the adulterers were to be stoned rather than just divorced?

  113. 113. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Hi to Everyone

    Trevor Here

    My First Comment Is This

    Good grief ….are you Fellows still on this Subject???

    To Jeff,I can understand Your Concern and I Feel Great Compassion For You.

    Jeff You need to understand This

    Its for Freedom that Christ Has Set You Free
    Yield not again to the Bonds Of Slavery.

    I.E If Christ has set you Free You are Free Indeed.

    Jeff in the light of This. You Now Must Go by and Trust The Holy Spirit

    For It is only The Holy Spirit That CAN Convict us of Sin

    and When HE does and not the arguements of Men

    He brings us to TRUE Repentance…..Only the Holy Spirit Can Do That

    Jeff You need only to Yield unto God and In His Time He Will Exalt You

    i.e Bring you into the Freedom and Liberty That is OURS/YOURS JEFF, IN CHRIST

    So in Answer to Your Questions

    Draw near to God and I promise You He WILL Reveal To You At The Right Time

    The Answers You Need

    God Bless You Jeff

    Simply the Fact You are seeking is the Most Important

    Brcause God Will Reward You For That By Answering You

    Trev
    trvmcnamee3@gmail.com
    - Show quoted text -

  114. 114. Stephen D Says:

    The logical fallacies in this thread are out of control. But, pressing on… David is right (not I-B), the McFall paper does seem to lean on a grand conspiracy theory. Has it been peer-reviewed yet?

    I do have some other questions though:

    What do we make of grace in light of the remarried? Must they divorce from an “invalid” marriage? Why doesn’t grace cover them IN their new marriage?

    What about haggadic (is that right?) commands? Are they absolute? Is Matthew 5 and 19 part of them?

    What about the legalism that we are supposed to free from?

    I am just an immature Christian, people. Please don’t crush me! Just info gathering. Or is this the wrong place for these questions?

  115. 115. lastblast Says:

    Stephen D,

    Those are all valid questions. I think one point that many pastors today do not take to heart is: there are multitudes now who are the so called “innocent” ones in a divorce and are praying for the restoration of their marriages—even after the wayward one remarries (enters into adultery). Most pastors have nothing to say to them. If they take a stand, they will be called to the matt to provide scripture for such stand—which they do not possess. Usually what happens (that I have seen/heard about) is that pastors will say “grace abounds” for the couple living in adultery, yet they will say nothing about God’s Grace towards the faithful one praying for repentance of their wayward spouse and the restoration of their marriage. The reality is that one party will be in sin—–the couple who Jesus and Paul said are in adultery…………or the faithful one because they are now praying to have someone else’s “spouse”.

  116. 116. Michael Flowers Says:

    I don’t know if anyone’s mentioned this yet but the particle “me” does not require “ei”. Standing alone it can and often does mean “except for”. It can mean “except”. If it meant “not even” we would expect “ou kai” + dat. Also, the translation given above of the Vulgate is wrong. “Nisi ob fornicationem” does not mean “such as for fornication” but “except for fornication.” I didn’t really read much else because the author doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about.

  117. 117. Lisa Says:

    I have a question for anyone here who would be kind enough to respond.

    After reading the Scriptures and all that has been written here, I think I have my own answer, but confirmation from some of you is what I’m looking for.

    I have been married twice; now I’m divorced.

    It’s obvious to me that I cannot remarry, however, I’d like to know where I stand with my two previous husbands.

    Husband #1: He was previously married to a woman who had been divorced. Therefore, I was his second wife.

    Husband #2: He had never been married.

    I’d like to know where I stand, Biblically, so that in the event an opportunity arises to reconcile, which one should it be with? The one who had been previously married, or the one who had never been married?

    I am thinking it should be the first husband. He had been married previously, but his first wife had ALSO been married previously. At first, I thought because he had been married that my marriage to the second husband was the marriage that was recognized by God. But now, considering that my first husbands first wife also had had a husband prior, that would have made his first marriage an adulterous one, would it not?

    Any advice on this would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks in advance!
    Lisa

  118. 118. bob Says:

    Hi Lisa,

    You would need to find out if Husband #1 first marriage was lawful according to the Bible. If it wasn’t then he is not your husband.

    If Husband #1 marriage was lawful according to the Bible then Husband #2 is your husband.

    To find out if Husband #1 had a lawful marriage according to the Bible you will need to find out if the other women he married was a lawful marriage or not. If she had be lawfully married before then her marriage to your Husband #1 was not lawful and your marriage to him was lawful.

    So you have to trace it back. Say Husband #1’s first wife had been married before you will need to find out if her husband was married before and whether his married was legal.

    Here is an example.

    Lisa
    Bill – Sue
    - – - – Joe – Ann
    - – - – - – - – Jim – Eve
    - – - – - – - – - – - – Bob – Kay
    - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – Tom – Avy

    –If Bill and Sue’s marriage were legal then Lisa and Bill marriage was unlawful.

    –If Joe and Sue’s marriage was legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage wasn’t legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage was legal.

    –If Ann and Joe’s marriage was legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage wasn’t legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage was legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage wasn’t legal.

    –If Jim and Ann’s marriage was legal then Ann and Joe’s marriage wasn’t legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage was legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage wasn’t legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage was legal.

    –If Eve and Jim’s Marriage was legal then Jim and Ann’s marriage wasn’t legal then Ann and Joe’s marriage was legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage wasn’t legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage was legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage wasn’t legal.

    –If Bob and Eve’s marriage was legal then Eve and Jim’s marriage wasn’t legal then Jim and Ann’s marriage was legal then Ann and Joe’s marriage wasn’t legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage was legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage wasn’t legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage was legal.

    –If Kay and Bob’s marriage was legal then Bob and Eve’s marriage wasn’t legal then Eve and Jim’s marriage was legal then Jim and Ann’s marriage wasn’t legal then Ann and Joe’s marriage was legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage wasn’t legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage was legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage wasn’t legal.

    –If Tom and Kay’s marriage was legal then Kay and Bob’s marriage wasn’t legal then Bob and Eve’s marriage was legal then Eve and Jim’s marriage wasn’t legal then Jim and Ann’s marriage was legal then Ann and Joe’s marriage wasn’t legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage was legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage wasn’t legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage was legal.

    –If Avy and Tom’s marriage was legal then Tom and Kay’s marriage wasn’t legal then Kay and Bob’s marriage was legal then Bob and Eve’s marriage wasn’t legal then Eve and Jim’s marriage was legal then Jim and Ann’s marriage wasn’t legal then Ann and Joe’s marriage was legal then Joe and Sue’s marriage wasn’t legal then Sue and Bill’s marriage was legal and then Bill and Lisa’s marriage wasn’t legal.

    So you can see from the above that if Tom and Avy had a legal marriage then Bob/Kay, Jim/Eve, Joe/Ann, and Bill/Sue had good marriages. But if Tom and Avy marriage was not legal then Bob/Kay, Jim/Eve, Joe/Ann, and Bill/Sue massages were not legal either.

    So your marrage to Husband #1 is not legal if his other marriage was legal, but if Husband #1’s others marrage was unlegal then your marriage to him was legal.

    So you can see you have to trace it all the way back to know what you standing is. It can get really confusing where some people had more than one unlawful marriage.

    So find out if your Husband #1’s first wife was ever married before, and if she was, was the person she was married to ever married before, and if he was, was he ever marriaged, and if he was, was she ever marriaged before, and on it goes.

    All the best!

    Thanks!

    Bob.

  119. 119. Michael Whennen Says:

    Listen to Dr. Leslie McFall – Debunking the Mat 19 “Exception Clause” via the Greek!

    Recorded with interviewer Jason Smith.

    Link to the interview can be found at http://www.WiseReaction.org

  120. 120. LMT Says:

    Why make it complicated at all?

    What do other verses say about the matter?

    1) There is not such thing as divorce…it is a man made institution:

    Moses “allowed” divorce due to their hardness of heart. It is never sanctioned by God, although God himself uses the analogy of divorce because they would understand the serious nature of it.

    Matthew 19:8 He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.

    2) Erasmus seems to have missed this verse…Jesus gives NO exception here.

    Luke 16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

    Last time I checked, everyone meant EVERYONE.

    3) Marriage IS a covenant between a man and woman before God as their witness (either that or Adam and Eve were fornicators and are in Hades). What did Paul have to say about covenants:

    Gal 3:15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.

    4) Betrothal can only be revoked if a man finds sexual immorality in his wife while they are betrothed and before the covenant is ratified. Once you take her to bed…she’s yours until one of you dies.

    Matthew 1:18-19 … Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

    Really nothing too difficult to figure out…the real problem is the Roman law and culture that became incorporated into the early Christian (Roman Catholic) church and eventually became codified as doctrine by the sixth century. The flawed theology of both the modern Christian and Catholic churches lives on and is enforced with a vengeance…anybody smell anything Satanic about that?

  121. 121. Jason Smith Says:

    I would love to hear someone address why Clement used the word “except” himself.

    Was he referring to Mat 5 or 19 ?

    Also, there is no problem with the betrothal view when you look at Mat 19:9 as a parenthetical.

    We speak like this all the time when our audience knows the subject.

    “Any pilot who uses maximum thrust for takeoff (not for hot days)…”

    We all know what the parenthetical means.

    Same with Mat 19.

    “Any man who divorces his wife (not for fornication)…”

    The writer is saying. In effect, “This doesn’t apply to a betrothal so relax.” This in no way contradicts Mark.

  122. 122. Jason Smith Says:

    Sorry for the typos. Blackberry keyboards are too small!

    I wish the text said “except.” My wife hates me and is determined not to come back… But I don’t see how Mat 19 authorizes a remarriage without contradicting the entirety of the NT teaching on MDR.

  123. 123. Jason Smith Says:

    Also…could Clement have been referencing the corrupt Egyptian Sinaiaticus (sp?) Text that had “EI MH” in it?

    As McFall has noted, this text was highly localized and riddled with errors. Clement could have cited this one not realizing its limitations.

  124. 124. Margaret Says:

    http://morechristlike.com/except-for-fornication-clause-of-matthew-19-9/#comment-1610

    This post [*above comment 1610 by Bob] alone shows the ludicrosity of interpreting Jesus’s word on divorce and remarriage as referring to contiunous adultery. The adultery, on plain reading, is an overstatement for treachery in divorce and remarriage, which, like lust, breaks the spirit of the law.

    If one comes to Christ in a situation where they may have been married many times before, and their first spouse was a divorcee married to a divorcee, but we cannot trace back their history (depending on where they live), does it not sound odd and convoluted that this person would have to do all this running around to determine whether their marriage was ‘adultery’ or not? Adultery is a frame of mind as well as extramarital sex;marriage is not sin in itself. What leads up to a marriage may be. Again, would you counsel someone to wreck their marriage if they had come from a mixed up marriage history, even though they could well be in a legitimate marriage? Would Paul counsel that? (1 Cor.7:10) No! Where does Paul address this kind of situation? He does not; he simply says to those who are presently married not to leave their spouse. He also says to those married to unbelievers not to leave them, but never tells those married to previously divorced unbelievers to leave their spouse.That’s telling. These people had come from a very crazy, immoral background most likely, but Paul never does expessly tell remarried people (no doubt there were, including those with unknown and untraceable marital histories) to separate.

    John 4 gives us a clue: Jesus absolutely recognises that she has had five husbands…not lovers and one husband..five husbands. Now, lets think about this for a moment. At the time Jesus spoke, there will have been men and women remarried under the law of Moses. Was Jesus saying that they were living in adultery at that time and needed to split, even though the very law of Moses said they were married?? Jesus could not have been dismissing the law in Deuteronomy 24 as that would be blasphemy (as it is blasphemy today when people deny that the law in Deuteronomy was from God, and that Moses made it up).Any theology that rests on positing that Jesus was opposing the Deuteronomy law of divorce and remarriage, thereby saying it was an evil law which meant that those then remarried weren’t any longer married, is a very shaky and damaging theology. I have read it in Joseph Webb’s book, and other materials which claim that remarried couples must split. It all comes down to a strange assertion that Jesus was doing what Pharisees would have killed him for, which is denying that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is the law of God.

    Any theology that, by implication, puts all legitimately remarried (though the motives for the divorce and remarriage were wrong) people at the time of Jesus into an adulterous situation in a matter of 24 hours or less after hearing the words of Jesus,is wrong.

    Any theology that puts many times divorced and remarried people (or people who have married previously divorced with difficult to ascertain history) into a position of unrelenting confusion and bondage and fear is very, very suspect.Just look at the post I quoted,which actually is exactly what came to my mind in thinking about how this would impact others from the other aspect, if they could not trace former divorcees and know who they were divorced from and whether their divorce was a ‘repentance’ divorce and so on.

    *Note: added by editor

  125. 125. Margaret Says:

    Lisa,

    I’m so sorry that you have to be put into such terrible fear, confusion and bondage; your case is exactly the kind of case that gives the perpetual adultery teachers issues to confront. As your first husband was married and his first wife was married and divorced, if it was impossible to find out whether her first divorce was ”righteous’ or not, then you would certainly be uncertain. If you could ascertain whether your previous marriage was ‘lawful’, then these teachers might actually be guilty of causing you to stumble, which carries a very severe warning to them from the Lord (Luke 17:2) by telling you to dissolve a legitimate and God honouring marriage, or to go back to a ‘non lawful’ one. Daft, isn’t it?

    In my view, they are wrong and on shaky ground, and I feel for you. I know that whatever you decide about this issue, your conscience will be forever hurt by these people. I personally believe that Paul doesn’t take into account what happened before our conversion, nor does he hold believers to marriages which unbelievers end. I don’t believe God does either, and that we are at moral liberty to decide to marry or not marry as a Christian no matter our history. (1 Corinthians 7:8, 27, 28).

    However, you are free in good conscience to remain single and devote yourself to the Lord’s work. I’m here for you, no matter what.

  126. 126. Margaret Says:

    Some ethical issues to ponder:

    If Jesus says that adultery occurs when someone divorces and remarries (two actions which result in adultery), what if there is no sex in the following marriage, say, it was a convenience marriage of no love? Doesn’t that seem to point to the concurrent acts of divorcing and remarrying being the adultery, not the thereafter?

    Why is the woman an adulteress if she is divorced by a treacherous husband, even if she doesn’t remarry, on the plain reading of the text? Who says she had to remarry? Even if she does, couldn’t the ‘adultery’ be the covenant breaking which should have been avoided (by her husband not divorcing her), as she can’t return to her husband now, as per Deut.24?

    If a person marries someone who has been divorced, either against their will or of their own will, the adultery could refer to the act of making the former marriage irreparable, as per Deut.24, it is covenant breaking in a passive sense. If no one had hard hearts and we all loved our spouses, this imperfect situation would not need to arise.

    What does someone do who remarried 25 years ago after being abandoned, and later becomes a Christian but cannot trace their former spouse? What if that spouse HAS died, leaving them theoretically ‘free’ to remarry? Is it right to counsel them to dissolve their marriage ‘just in case’ (fear), contrary to 1 Corinthians 7:10 and enforce celibacy

    ( (Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, 2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, 3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.)?

    1 Timothy 4:1-5
    People who have been widowed have the right to remarriage!

    Would it be ethical to counsel someone in Lisa’s situation to leave a spouse if it was unclear and impossible to work out who was married to whom? What if you are enforcing celibacy upon a woman who may be legitimately married according to this rigid theology? If she is counselled to dissolve any present marriage, wouldn’t this be sin? It would be based, not on wisdom, liberty, and love, but fear and doubt.It wouldn’t even be based on common sense. For children to be damaged for the sake of a ‘what if’, and a person’s peace to be destroyed and life limited for the sake of a ‘what if’?

    Shouldn’t Paul’s counsel to abide where one is be heeded? The past is irreparable, as it was for the woman at the well. Shouldn’t Paul be obeyed when he says that all marrieds (no qualification or discussion of ‘unless you were divorced, and your previous spouse was divorced,and so on and so on, go and check the census!) should stay together?

    Shouldn’t the prior divorced be offered grace and the priviledge that seems to be given to them amongst the ‘unmarried’ if reconciliation is not possible any longer or their former spouse/s have disappeared, or if there is no way to tell who was married to who?

    I wrestled with these things long before I came across Lisa and bobs’ posts, and reading them confirmed my concerns about legitimate real life problems this doctrine can’t apply grace to correctly. If the fruit is bad, the root is bad, to me.

  127. 127. Margaret Says:

    Well, I keep coming back to this page as I can’t help but mull over seriously this issue of whether marriage is an ontic, indissoluble union, or an ethical one.

    Here is another possible scenario.

    A man has been married before. He divorces his wife, and moves to another country where records are not as well kept as other places, or some remote area.

    He wants to marry a woman there, and she marries him. She divorces him. She then later comes to Christ. She has remarried since, and the minister finds this out. He does not know, nor does she, that her former husband lied to her and did not disclose a marriage in his previous history(which happens, like bigamy). Now, this minister, if he holds to asbolutely indissoluble union, will tell her she must divorce from this current fellow. Actually, she IS married to him, because she was never really joined with the first guy, though she is still unaware of that.

    So, the minister has advised her to dissolve her marriage and stay single forever more.Sin has occurred on his part (unwittingly) because he told her to do that.

    Now, lets assume that she was divorced from this first fellow ( who was dishonest, never told her he had been married before), but they had decided to remarry at some point. The whole time, she would be ‘living in adultery’! Come on! She doesn’t even know about his first marriage. Any divorce from him would, as far as the minister is concerned, mean she had to stay single and not remarry, though in fact she would be right to not be married to him!

    This is why marriage cannot be an ontic union, and why the adultery in the gospels is probably not referring to sex, to my mind, but betrayal.

    Thanks for reading my thoughts, and I would appreciate any response, as I’m not satisfied that the permanence doctrine is right.

  128. 128. Lisa Says:

    Margaret, I only wish the scriptures up front, directly addressed the issue of remarriage after divorce. But after searching diligently, it’s not addressed. Not even once. (Remarriage after a divorce). I have searched and searched.. read it, and re-read it. It’s just not there. There are only two instances that even come close.

    1. Herod Philip married a woman called Herodias. When Herod Antipas visited his brother, he wanted Herodias for a wife for himself. So Herod Antipas divorced his own wife, and married Herodias. She, of course, had to divorce Herod Philip first. The Jewish law does not permit such behaviour (Leviticus 18:16 and 20:21). John The Baptist said this was wrong. When he did this, he made Herodias very angry. So Herod Antipas ordered John’s arrest.
    Then, shortly thereafter, he had John the Baptist executed.

    2. The woman at the well: Jesus told the woman all about her past. The “woman at the well” is a woman whose sins are apparent. If this woman was married and divorced five times, then five men divorced her. (back then, men could divorce women, but women couldn’t divorce men) This woman was “put away” five times. And the man she is now living with is NOT her husband. She isn’t even married this time, but just living with (or sleeping with) a man, perhaps another woman’s husband. In the end, Jesus tells the woman: “Go, and sin no more”. He doesn’t in detail address any issue of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. He simply says: “Go, and sin no more”. So… what does that mean? My initial thoughts are to do as Paul says… and remain single. What else could it mean? Because the scriptures don’t even deal with the question of remarriage, except to state that it’s wrong.

    Paul never addresses remarriage. It IS telling. Could it be, that this is a subject that doesn’t need to be addressed, because it’s obvious that it’s not even supposed to occur? I only WISH he HAD discussed it in detail. Paul only states what is right and wrong in relationships. He says not to leave your spouse. He does state you can separate, but he emphatically states that you are to remain single after that point. So my question is.. why WOULD he address the subject of remarriage when he’s already stated that you are to remain single if you DO separate? This leads me to the only conclusion I can possibly come to: If you MUST separate / divorce your spouse, to be right in the eyes of God, you MUST remain single, or either reconcile. There are no other instructions regarding this. I’ve looked high and low.. I was all stressed out at first, but I’m now content that this is the way it’s supposed to be.

    However, I can do what I want. I can remarry if I like. (For the third time).. I can find a nice man at a nice church, and no one I know of will condemn me for it. Preachers this day and time, don’t bat an eye at this. Most that I know will marry two people who have lived in adultery for years, while cheating on their spouses. I was just recently witness to this. For this is how our society lives…. but my heart and soul will always know that this is wrong.

    The words of Jesus are so clear and concise for me here.. when he says ” if you marry another you are guilty of adultery”. And he’s simply stating plain facts. I’ve looked at it every possible way it can be looked at. I’ve taken it back to the Hebrew / Greek, trying to make something else out of it. But when it all comes down to it.. it’s so simple, so easy to understand.. and so … well… “blunt”.

    Every man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and a man who marries a woman divorced by her husband commits adultery.
    Luke 16:18 How much clearer could he have been?

    Of course this is repeated in Mark, word for word. Matthew is the only “exception”.. and this is the main thing that has puzzled me.. However, after long, tedious hours of looking into this, I did find the answer, and it has to do with the customs of the day, (and Matthew having been written TO and FOR the Jewish people).

    I film weddings for a living. So you can imagine.. I have listened to the vows over and over. Catholic churches, Protestant churches… I’ve heard them all. They all say the same thing. You are making a covenant with another person. This is a binding covenant.

    “Till Death Do Us Part”. What is that saying?
    “For Better or For Worse”… What is that saying?

    I’ve never been in a ceremony, where an “out” is given as an option. “If this person doesn’t turn out to be what you expected, this is the way you get out of this contract”… I’ve never heard that one. It’s always the same.. and the couple always agrees. Do they really know and understand what they are agreeing to? I don’t think they do. Our society is a “throw away” society, to the point, of now making our own spouses disposable at the drop of a hat.

    “I don’t like you anymore, so I think I’ll find a new one”.

    And it always happens that the one seeking the divorce can come up with all sorts of rationalizations as to “why” this is OK.. why in “their” case, it’s all A-OK. For some reason.. (usually a really good one).. the “Till Death Do Us Part”, and “For Better or For Worse” just doesn’t seem to matter any longer. Is it really so easy to dissolve a marriage, and call it “wrong” if the other person doesn’t believe the way you do, or if the other person constantly hurts your feelings, or even if the other person is a violent person, and has physically hurt you? There are answers to all of these.. and Paul states you can leave that person.. but he emphatically states that you must remain single. There is simply no other way to see this, unless you are trying to read between the lines, and create something that’s not there.

    As for the Mosaic Law, Jesus told how he felt about that also, just as plainly as could possibly be stated.

    Jesus answered those who had asked about the divorces allowed by Moses, and he said to them: “Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because your hearts were so hardened. But this is not how it was at the beginning. ”

    note that it says only that “Moses” permitted them to divorce their wives. It doesn’t say he permitted a wife to divorce her husband, nor that he permitted a divorced person to marry someone else during the life of their spouse.

    Right after this, one line that REALLY caught my eye was what the disciples said to Jesus right after he told them this: “If that is how things are between husband and wife, it would be better not to marry!” 11 He said to them, “Not everyone grasps this teaching, only those for whom it is meant.

    So what do you make of THIS?

    If that is how things are, then this is really a hard saying.. we will have a hard time doing this… and then, Jesus tells them.. that “not everyone grasps this.. only for those it is meant”.

    Obviously.. what he had just told them about marriage and divorce was not easy to hear. It was not obviously that the Law of Moses was a good one.. and everything is just A-Ok.. go get your divorces if you feel the need to do so, and then go get another wife.

    Malachi 2:14, says: Because ADONAI is witness between you and the wife of your youth that you have broken faith with her, though she is your companion, your wife by covenant. And hasn’t he made them one flesh in order to have spiritual blood-relatives? For what the one flesh seeks is a seed from God. Therefore, take heed to your spirit, and don’t break faith with the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says ADONAI the God of Isra’el, “and him who covers his clothing with violence,” says ADONAI . Therefore take heed to your spirit, and don’t break faith.

    He states how much he hates divorce. It’s allowed but He HATES it.

    ———————————————————————————–

    I hope and pray, that those who have been divorced and remarried, against what Jesus taught will be OK in the end. But as for myself, after reading and studying for hours, weeks, and months, I would not have a bit of comfort in remarrying, and knowing all of this. I have asked for peace with my life, as well as guidance, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. When I began to pray this, the scriptures started opening up to me and coming alive on the page.. speaking to my heart and soul like never before. I did not need to ask anyone any longer.. for the answers were in black and white, right in front of my eyes.

    What people have searched for, is an “out”. An “out” to do what their flesh wants to do. A way to get around what the Word says. A way to do what “they” want, and not what God wants. A way to rationalize to themselves and those around them, that this is OK. God doesn’t mind…he’s a forgiving God.

    But all through the Scriptures, He says: If you love me, keep my commandments. .. and then.. you will know them by their fruit. (speaking of His people).

    Are they following His commandments and going by His guidelines, or are they following a set of rules they created for themselves? Rules that allow them to satisfy their flesh….?

    These are the things that are most important to me. That I satisfy God. Not myself. That my actions will separate me from the heathens who surround me on all sides. That I will truly be set apart. That others will see what I stand for, beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    After all, these are the children of God, are they not? A peculiar people. A people not of this world, only travelers through it.

  129. 129. Margaret Says:

    Lisa,

    I understand your convictions on this, and if my husband left me I would probably stay single myself, but I do take Paul’s concession that the spouses who are abandoned in 1 Corinthian 7:15 are not morally bound to their marriages.

    See, I married a divorced man. He was married to a woman divorced, and it was their first marriage. Therefore, based on the permanency argument, my husband and I are lawfully married. However, this topic has had me so fearful and confused at times, that I’ve been very close to separating from him until his former wife dies.The traditional teaching causes so much confusion that anyone caught up in remarriage ends up thinking they are in sin when they may not be…or are we?

    Maybe God does expect everyone married to a divorcee to just split, suck it up and live singly? That doesn’t sound like it’s fair to me, but the fear and doubt has been put there, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to shake it.We have 4 kids, too, plus 2 from his former marriage.If I left him based on a ‘what if’ I would be between a rock and a hard place: guilty over wrecking a marriage and hurting my kids, and feeling as if I then had to consign myself to singleness too, just in case. If I am truly married, I would wreck my marriage because of fear and a ‘doctrine of demons’ I’ve embraced.If not, then I’m living in sin right now and going to hell (even though, rationally, I know that if the permanency thing is true, then I’m technically ok). I prayed and fasted about this,and I couldn’t come up with a good reason for leaving…guilt and fear seized me either way I went. If permanency isn’t absolute, then I still sinned in marrying a divorced man who had a chance to be reconciled to his adulterous wife; if permanency is absolute, then I’m ok but there is still that worrying tome….whoever marries a divorced person commits adultery.I wasn’t counselled from the scriptures on this before I got married and I was ignorant of them; had I known about this controversy I would never have married my husband, purely because I have a tender conscience.

    As I said, though, the weight of the NT seems to point to a new start in Christ; Paul does seem to say ‘’stay where you are” whether married or unmarried.He also seems to allude to former divorcees before conversion, in 1 Corinthians 7:27-28, but some would say he was talking only to virgins. I’m not convinced about that. He switches back and forth, the primary theme being ‘’stay as you are” but you don’t sin if you marry.

    Based on Jesus not abrogating the clause in Deuteronomy 24, I would say that it strongly suggests that one cannot go back to a former spouse,which would imply that remarriage precludes reconciliation with a former spouse.Jesus never abrogates that clause. I also cannot see Jesus meaning that everyone was suddenly living in adultery who had remarried then.Where is this imaginary line where their marriage stopped being okay?

    I personally think that when Jesus speaks of the saying that not everyone can receive, it is referring to being a eunuch (never marrying). His disciples were shocked because no man had ever been seen as an adulterer for marrying another woman.I think Jesus was pointing to an ideal, in hyperbolic style (like when he says gouge your eye out if it causes you to sin), not saying that divorce does not end a marriage.

  130. 130. Margaret Says:

    Re your question about why Paul said that the woman who has separated from her husband should stay single. I think it is to promote reconciliation, clearly. These are two believers who should be able to work out their differences, and stay together. Paul is not expecting this reconciliation NOT to happen.A remarriage would preclude reconciliation.

    Paul addresses a different situation for the believers married to those not willing or likely to obey Christ in their marriage. He knows there would be nothing the believer could do once the other one has made their mind up; he can’t tell the unbeliever to reconcile or remain unmarried!

    I personally think that the idea that Paul is exonerating the believer from the marriage is implicit in his use of words: he uses the imagery of slavery to refer to marriage throughout by saying that we should remain where we are and not become slaves of men…probably a reference to marriage in some way, though he knows marriage isn’t evil per se. The same terminology is used in 2 Peter 2:19, in contrast to the word ‘liberty’. It is another context, but the contrast between ‘liberty’ (which the widow has to marry again or stay single) and being ‘enslaved’ is there. By saying the believer is not ‘enslaved’ he is implying the opposite: their liberty.

    However, I feel that it is somewhat confusing when he says that marriage is a binding for life…yet that word ‘bound’ can refer to an ethical duty in a general sense, not a literal tying to someone inseparably.

    I also think, based on Paul’s admonition that a believer cannot marry an unbeliever, that it would be wrong to try to reconcile with a former spouse who is not a believer. It violates two commands:

    to not marry an unbeliever

    to let an unbeliever go if they are not willing to be with you. That seems to give weight to Paul’s statement the believer is not under bondage. It seems wrong and contrary to scripture to ’stand’ for a marriage which cannot be because the other is not saved and may never be…probably never will if they have remarried or emigrated.

    It just doesn’t sit right with me.

  131. 131. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Hello to all and especially Margaret and Lisa,
    I knew it would come to this point where there is a lot of confusion and hurt bought about by, as the word says the tickler of ears.Thrown around by every wind of doctrine.
    Margaret and Lisa.
    My heart goes out to You.
    As a born again Christian the over riding principle is this
    And I para phrase Romans 6,7 and 8
    You are righteous in the sight of God NOW.
    Your sins have been forgiven
    You are dearly beloved of God
    You can cry out ABBA Father for He is Your Father
    You can claim Your position at the Right hand of the Father
    How???….Because Christ is in You the HOPE of Glory and
    You are in Christ.
    Now where is Christ Jesus…..Seated at the right hand of His father.
    So if Christ is In You and you in Christ then Positionally speaking
    You Lisa and Margaret and anyone else who is born Again are
    SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND OF THE FATHER
    You have been made white as Snow
    Your sins Your Father Remembers NO MORE

    The Principle of Being Washed by the BLOOD of Jesus over ride any
    debate over words that may or may not be relavant to any subject of Sin.

    Sinners and thats all of us are as Christians WASHED CLEAN.

    Why are these people arguing like this and treating this subject as if it were the
    Worst sin of all.
    SIN is SIN is SIN no matter what form it takes.

    And I say this very strongly if We say we have no Sin Then we tell a Lie
    and Guess what Lying is a SIN

    So why dont the doctrine so called start atacking yhe issue of lying as they are attacking the current issue of the rights and wrongs of divorce,adultry etc

    Lisa and margaret and any one else reading this.

    I WILL SEE YOU ALL IN HEAVEN ONE DAY
    How can I say that so Confidently.
    Because My Salvation WAS Determined by the Work of Jesus on the CROSS
    He Shed His BLOOD for You and Me

    And It FULFILLED ALL THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW
    Past ,Then, Now and Forever MORE

    We have A GOOD God Dont We

    Bless You all and Ill see You In Heaven

    Trev
    trvmcnamee3@gmail.com

    PS go and Read Romans 6,7 and 8 and let the LOVE of God Fill Your Heart and Mind and Give You rest in this situation
    .

  132. 132. Margaret Says:

    Lisa,

    I’ve just re-read your comments regarding the woman at the well with the five husbands. She is not the one he told to ‘go and sin no more, as that was the woman who had been caught in the very act of adultery (not remarriage).

    I imagine she wouldn’t be living with the man any more after she was saved, but one thing is certain: she had no husband. If both she and Jesus affirmed that she had no husband, and her first husband was her true husband, or even her second if the first had died (there’s very little likelihood that they’d all died, probably been some remarriage in there, seeing as Jesus tells her everything she ‘ever did’), then why isn’t she recognised as having a husband? I thought the permanency- without -possibility -of -dissolution -doctrine teaches that Jesus was saying anyone remarried with a living spouse still had as their spouse the first one who is still alive?? Hmmm. I see the pernanency laws referring to the intention, morally, for the marriage to be permanent, not an ontic permanency.

    Any more thoughts yet? I’m just wondering whether you’ve had any success finding out who your former husband’s wife was married to. I did some research like this myself, to find out for sure that my husband’s former wife was married to a never married man. They were married young, so it was a first for both of them. I don’t believe the Bible commands us to go and look at marriage records at the registry office to find out if we are married or not, it just states that we are to stay married when we come to Christ.

    Blessings.

    As for Herod, their marriage was disgusting on two counts: she was his brother’s wife, and I believer his niece, too? Not good. It wasn’t really about the remarriage, that is just a commentary on what happened to facilitate this unlawful union, as far as I can tell.

  133. 133. Margaret Says:

    Trevor,

    Hi..,yes, I agree that there is confusion sown when we try to unscramble the egg so legalistically. It is not possible without more sin ensuing, which points to the teaching as bad, not good.

    Either way you turn if you’re in a situation like Lisa’s (let’s say she was still married to #2), if you heed this doctrine, you end up either loaded with guilt by staying in your marriage, or if you divorce the person out of fear, you could be sinning by violating Matthew 19, and Matthew 5 in putting that put away spouse in a position whereby they MAY be in an adulterous remarriage, according to the literalistic interpretation of Jesus’ sayings.That would only put the put away spouse in confusion and fear if they got saved, and then they would be bound to a life of enforced celibacy from abject fear.

    A doctrine of demons, possibly?

  134. 134. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Absolutely Margaret,
    Doctrine of Demons indeed.

    For God has NOT given a Spirit of Fear but of Power and Love and a Sound Mind
    Timothy
    Its for Freedom We have been set free yield not again to the Bonds of slavery

    Doctrines as discussed through people in situations of which they have no control
    are being sold into slavery again.
    I would exhort those who are discussing this issue to start bringing a message
    of Gods Grace, the Unreserved Forgiveness of ALL SIN instead of leaving people in a state of Fear and Uncertainty.

    God Bless All
    Trev

  135. 135. Margaret Says:

    I very much think and agree that Christians must strive to holy as God is holy, and take an extremely high view of marriage.
    However, all doctrine must not be just academic assent, it must also be rightly applied to real life in such a way as to not break other commands which are just as important. Good doctrine must not put a person into sin, and must not restrict someone’s conscience so much that they are condemned.

    Any law that God gives may have exceptions, depending on the ethics of a situation. It is wrong to lie, but I would tell a lie to protect fellow believers from being slaughtered. It is wrong to kill, but it is not wrong if it is for the sake of justice (the government).

    It is wrong to divorce and remarry, but there may be times when it is even more wrong to do it again. I believe a second or more marriage fits this principle.

    When Jesus said that anyone who marries a divorced person is committing adultery, I would see an inference that the person marrying a divorcee had something to do with the divorce. This is implied from the previous principle of lust.

    Adultery is not something one does without knowing about it.

    Perpetual adultery is a self refuting doctrine. It leads to a dead end of sin in too many cases, and cannot apply in all cases, so is therefore wrong.

    Joe and Paula marry. Joe leaves Paula and divorces her. Paula, being aggrieved, marries Tom. Tom later divorces Paula, which in effect means he is free to marry a non divorcee (in spite of his treacherous mindset, this will be viewed as some sort of repentance by perpetual adultery teaching).
    Tom, however, marries Lola, who is divorced from her husband. Tom is not really married to Lola, either, unless her husband was divorced too previously, but it would depend on whether he was in a wrong marriage.

    Later, Tom marries a third time, to Suzanne. This time, as far as we know, his marriage to Suzanne is valid as he wasn’t ‘really’ married to Paula or Lola. A remarriage adultery teacher will probably tell Tom upon coming to the Lord that he MUST divorce Suzanne as he was divorced from Lola.However, Tom was never married to Lola as far as we know, and she is no longer traceable. She lives in a far away country and could be deceased.
    We cannot ascertain whether Lola is (i) alive (ii) his true wife (iii)willing to reconcile (iv) deceased.

    If Tom divorces Suzanne and tries to find Lola, he may discover that he was never married to her anyway, as she was divorced wrongly. He will violate the synoptic texts on not divorcing, as he will have divorced his true wife, Suzanne, so as to be reconciled to an unbeliever, violating another scripture to not marry an unbeliever, and to ‘let them go’.
    If he stays with Suzanne, he will be lead to believe he is hellbound and will suffer irreparable and inescapable guilt. If he divorces Suzanne, who COULD be his wife based on the literal perpetual adultery model, he will be wracked with guilt and will sin by ‘causing her to commit adultery’ literally, should she also remarry.

    If Suzanne is an unbeliever, by divorcing her he will violate yet another scripture which commands not to divorce an unbeliever who is willing to stay with the Christian spouse. She will be heartbroken and not understand what is happening or why.
    If she is a Christian, she will now also be affected and be wracked with guilt and fear, wondering whether she is free to marry. She may be told she must stay celibate, just in case, which violates yet another scripture and accounts sin to the perpetual adultery teachers.If she marries, and it is adultery (which it would be, accoring to the teachers) they will be accountable to God for her sin, along with poor Tom, who is supposed to be forgiven and cleansed, walking in joy and forgiveness.
    Enforced celibacy and forbidding to marry is a doctrine of demons, according to the scriptures. If Suzanne did not know that Tom was divorced before she married him, she is further vicitimized and is sinned against by the church.Tom is also victimized and a doctrine of demons enforced upon him, though all along he should have stated with Suzanne and any children in that marriage.

    Self refuting logic. We must understand Jesus the way he meant, which is not an absolute law, it is a higher principle, and the adultery is not in sex in the next marriage, but in the treachery of divorce and not reconciling.

    I believe that this is why God, in His wisdom, instituted the no-return clause of Deuteronomy 24, for times such as these. I believe that this is why the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that we should abide as we are and not try to undo the past, because it only leads to sin and bondage, especially in this case.

    Truth applied never leads to sin or confusion.Never.

  136. 136. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    ‘truth applied’ does lead to “Taking up the cross” and “denying yourself” though. Your opinion inevitably does lead to sin, because it supports the dissolving of marriages by a number of different ways except death. If you continue to cite Deut 24, please attach this caveat; it’s for the “hard hearted” which is a disposition that precludes one from inheriting the Kingdom of God. Jesus said that those that love Him, “keep His commandments” and He also stated that those who DO NOT love Him, do not obey

  137. 137. Margaret Says:

    I don’t believe you have considered what I was saying. I clearly showed you how the perpetual adultery doctrine applied to those who were divorced and remarried before conversion, leads to sin on the part of those who teach it, as it would cause *actual marriages* to be dissolved, and lead to further adultery…surely a terrible sin.Did you see that? How can you deal with that? Teachers who teach that remarrieds must split are leading people into sin, and they sin themselves by doing so. It is very serious. That is why the 7th chapter of 1 Corinthians must be read very carefully.
    I never argued that Deuteronomy 24 gives encouragement to divorce, never argued that. What I did argue, and I feel you missed, is that the caveat that a remarried woman cannot go back to her former husband was never abrogated by Jesus. Those remarried under the law of Moses could not have been required to divorce as that would have been Jesus saying that the law against returning to a former spouse was sin.That is God’s law we’re talking about!

    Do you think hard heartedness has disappeared off the earth? People without Christ are still divorcing; the Deuteronomic law is to regulate the damage from that. Of course sinners are going to divorce from hard heartedness, that will not change, never has changed. How can they undo what they have done? If you force them to try to, you wickedly cause them to sin and end up in terrible confusion and guilt, even if they were an innocent victim to start with. Madness.

    Yes, we are called to deny ourselves, but only when it is placed on us to do so, not for the sake of asceticism or self punishment, or a false sense of guilt,nor out of fear.

    Romans 7 is just not *possible* to adhere to retrospectively, if you have to apply it to all who divorced and remarried before conversion. I also do not think it has anything to do with divorce and remarriage in the concessions given, as it speaks of a woman who has a husband. She marries again, bigamously.Or, she simply sleeps with another man; the word used is ambiguous and can refer to marriage or living with.

  138. 138. Margaret Says:

    Other ethical problems which would be easily solved if we simply adhered to Paul’s express commands and concessions in 1 Cor.7 (for the married to stay married, regardless of history, and the unmarried to stay as they are but can marry if need be):

    A man and woman are married for 30+ years. One was previously divorced, but the former spouse may be dead. Would Paul, based on his own stated counsel in 1 Cor.7, counsel that couple to split? The former spouse could be dead, anyway! It is nonsense.

    A woman was married to a man before knowing the Lord. This man was divorced, so the woman is counselled to stay with current spouse, as the whereabouts of the former man is not known. We don’t know who he was divorced from. Would Paul counsel this woman to dissolve her marriage, contrary to his counsel in 1 Cor.7:10? if she stays married, she may be committing adultery if this former man was actually free to be married to her, according to the bizarre ‘literal binding’ theory of marriage.

    When Paul speaks of a bond in marriage, he is talking of an ethical bond, not a literal, inseparable one with no concessions. An example is the one where he does not hold a believer ethically to an unbeliever who abandons them. The two cannot be reconciled after divorce if the former unbelieving spouse is an unbelievr still, as Christians are not permitted to marry unbelievers. This is the major mistake exegetes seem to make with understanding that Paul was definitely giving different counsel and concessions to those married to unbelievers who are hard of heart.

    If they are not under bondage after 10 years of being abandoned, what does it mean? Not under bondage to keep the spouse there? Nonsensical, they have already left. Not under bondage to feel bad they left? Nonsensical, why should they? Not under bondage to go with them? Just silly, how can they when that person has already left? If one is not under bondage, then one is at liberty, its opposite. By extension, a believer is not enslaved to a former spouse who will almost certainly be an unbeliever.

    Christians are called to a higher principle in their marriages to one another.

  139. 139. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    Not so Margaret. Your argument is simply begging the question due to a number of false assumptions;

    1. marriages of the unregenerate are recognized as covenant marriages, and this is a universal truth that is plainly evident to mankind in general ie. (Abimilech, Potiphar)

    2. The divorec that God hates in Malachi, is seperating oneself form a covenant spouse (the wife on ones youth.) Divorcing an unlawful spouse would be good, as it is consistent with forsaking sin, and publicly denouncing what God says is an abomination. Are you implying that the ungodly of this world are not truly married, and would necessarilly be cmmitting fornication until they are converted, at which point they would then need to get legitimately ‘married’ for the first time? Joseph said that touching Potiphars wife (a heathen) would be a great sin against God.

    3. Staying in the place that you are is a reference to civil duties and circumcision, and have nothing to do with advocting a state of sin that this very chapter warns against.

    4. To say that Romans 7 is not applicable ‘retrospectively’, is nothing more than torturing the scriptures to make them say what we want. Based on this assumption, any divorce that has taken place prior to a subsequent unlawful marriage, would not be subject to the judgement of Romans 7. That would be all divorces Margaret, since they all happen at a point in time, before the next ‘union’ can take place. Therefore, according to your opinion, this verse has no application whatsoever, and cannot even apply to one that claimed to be a christian, since they would cease to be so, if they sought to “work ill toward their neighbor”, of which a spouse is certainly a part.

    5. David took his wife back after she was with another man. David is the example of the priciple that says, “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
    (Act 13:39)

    6. Jesus commanded that when one is born from above, they are to “live for the sake of righteousness”, and follow Him. Jesus doesn’t lead anyone into even a “hint” of immorality, but enables them to persevere through many sufferings and afflications.

    It’s not Gods doing that we fall under the consequences of living a loose and immoral life. The primary desire of the saints is the rescuing a soul from death, even at the expense of out physical life. As Paul said; “how do you know O wife, weather you will save your husband..” Notice that the man who obstinately departed is still referred to as her husband. Why, because they are ‘no longer two, but one flesh.”

    Your reasoning is based on a private interpretation Margaret. The scriptures are not subject to equivocation, but conform strictly to godliness. You essentially have Jesus authorizing the transgression of His own law, by the very sin that He forbids! Nonsense.

  140. 140. Margaret Says:

    I don’t believe that marriage IS permanent, literally. You are the one arguing in circles, and, ironically, advocating divorce, not me.

    This whole notion of indissoluble marriage is refuted by Jesus’ very own statement: that man *should not* put asunder. To say that man *cannot* put asunder is contrary to that statement.

    In Malachi, God hates the frivolous divorce of a man who divorces his Jewish wife under covenant with God,who was commanded NOT to marry a non Jewish woman. There is a huge difference in that divorce, and the woman actually being divorced (what crime has she committed?).God Himself divorced, metaphorically, for adulteries. To call that sin is dangerous ground; you are attributing a sinful action to the Lord.

    I completely disagree that Paul’s reference to staying as you are cannot refer to marriage; the entire chapter is in response to questions about marriage and singleness, and Paul merely intercepts that discussion with another ‘by the way’ thought on the status of slaves. Paul uses language throughout which implies a ’stay as you are’ mentality (abide wherein you are called? Echoes that, doesn’t it?). ”Are you bound to a wife?Do not seek to be loosed”…and so on, all have to do with exactly what Paul says in application to the position of a slave. Paul also says not to be ’slaves of men’ and implies that being married is a form of enslavement in the sense that it involves being burdened with extra responsibilities in life. Surely Paul was not referring to someone wanting to become someone’s latest slaveboy when he said ‘do not become slaves of men’ ! He was referring to marriage.Your position is untenable.Marriage is NOT a state of sin. Where does Paul say anything about remarrieds needing to split? Why does he not address this if it is so important?

    Romans 7, according to *your* view of it, cannot apply retrospectively, because you cannot answer for *what you would do with Suzanne in her case*, or Tom. How can you possibly advocate wrecking a marriage? How can you advocate a doctrine of demons, by contrast, to a free man and woman, by enforcing celibacy? The only doctrine of demons here is not *allowing marriage* it is forbidding it…and also promoting divorce I would add. Who is sinning here?

    David was not divorced from the woman, so this law has nothing to do with that at all.

    Paul refers to the ‘husband’ and the ‘wife’ simply because he isn’t going to call them by specific names! What else should he call them? It is from the perspective of the current status quo, before divorce is final.

    I’ve heard all the arguments, but they make no sense and come across as fearfully legalistic, they victimise the innocent, and they bring sin (as I showed you, scripturally) if you counsel someone to go one way or the other, in the case of a complex past.

    Again, Jesus recognised the marriages under the law of Moses, for if not, that would have meant many women would have, once again, been cast out on the orders of Jesus (the very thing he despises). You can’t fool me with hardline, repetitive statements.

    It just doesn’t make sense at all in the real world, and disproves the logic of the perpetual adultery proponents. I think anyone who teaches this is in serious error.

  141. 141. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    “I don’t believe that marriage IS permanent, literally. You are the one arguing in circles, and, ironically, advocating divorce, not me.”

    Irrelavent. Your opinion does not nullify what Jesus said, and the apostles repeated, ie, death alone parts the husband and wife.

    This whole notion of indissoluble marriage is refuted by Jesus’ very own statement: that man *should not* put asunder. To say that man *cannot* put asunder is contrary to that statement.

    My wayward wife used the same excuse Margaret. This is equivalent to saying that Jesus is actually supporting the sin of violating His command, rather than stating the fact as a revelation of His will, which He knows will be transgressed. Let’s apply this to all sins forbidden by Jesus, including lust, and you implicitly nullify and make void every express prohibition that Jesus uttered. You make void the law, which is contrary to grace which establishes the law. Your own words show the danger of what you believe, at least implicitly, ie, no marriage is binding until death, unless it be a happenstance. This type of reasoning is consistent with the oldest lie “you won’t surely die.”

    By the way Margaret, all reasoning is necessarily ‘circular’ based on an assumed premise that one believes is infallibly true. The conclusion that I am making agrees with Jesus own words and the Spirit of His commands, which is consistent with godliness. Your reasoning is consistant to subjectivism, which is the same as a ‘private interpretation’ based on the individual. Your opinion therefore is erroneous becasue it is mixed with error. As to advocating sin, thsoe that believe in the necessity of forsaking all sin, and adhereing to the ‘ministry of reconciliation’ can judge for themselves. It is never unlawful to break a promise that requires unlawfulness in order to fulfill it ie. Herod. Cherry picking the law is also very telling Margaret. If you live by Deut 24, then you must also bring in stoning of those that committ adultery, which would preclude the possibility of those very persons to attempt to sanction their uncleanness through a civil marriage license. You clearly believe that Jesus advocates perpetual divorce & ‘re-marriage’ simply because He does not forcibly bind a husband & wife to the point that they cannot transgress His command. Jesus said that “he who doubts is damned if he eats…” The saints are commanded to forego things that are doubtful, and even lawful things for the sake of a brothers conscience for whom Christ died. I can’t stop you from twisting 1 Cor 7, but you violate non-contradiction by doing so. If something is expressly commanded, then nullified at the same speaker, then no command is binding except by chance. Jesus forbids me to lust in my heart after a woman, so how do you make the leap from this revelation to actually indulging in the act, as long as I have a licensed permit from the state to do so? This is your opinion of the holiness that Jesus speaks of, and wtihout whcih “no man will see the Lord”?

  142. 142. Jeff Hildebrand Says:

    This is insane. I am going to go crazy. I think some of you enjoy putting burdens on people secretly. Thanks Trevor, I will do it that way…at least you took the time to give me some hope instead of some short formulaic answer. This is too much. I have been so alone all my life since my divorce (20 years)…it is unbearable and yes I have asked to be helped through this and sought Godly counsel. I really have the feeling that some people on here enjoy telling me that I can’t get remarried and you don’t speak out any love, but just a cold hard intellectual ascent to what might be doctrinal truth. Who knows?!?

  143. 143. Margaret Says:

    Like I said, if you tell Tom and Suzanne they must divorce, you will be guilty of causing either the dissolution of a marriage, and the enforced celibacy(doctrine of demons for married or single people) of both when they ought to stay married to one another, or you will cause Tom to cause Suzanne to sin by divorcing her, BECAUSE they are married. That would violate Matthew 5:32.

    So, what do you do? You sin by counselling them one way, and you may sin by counselling them to stay together, based on your tortuous, bondage-making doctrine.

    I’m sorry your wife excused whatever she did by stating that marriage can be broken. Like you, I do believe that divorce is wrong, but I don’t deny that it sunders a marriage. Murder is wrong, God hates it, but it does happen and it does kill a person. If a murderer said,”I know that once I kill this person, I can be forgiven if I ask forgiveness” that wouldn’t mean it was okay. It would be a presumputous sin, right? Just because murder is evil and God doesn’t accept it in principle, doesn’t mean that a person isn’t dead. God allows it, but it is still sin.

    You have to think about how this theology applies to people in real life, like the situation Lisa was in. There are others with much more complex cases, with even more divorce histories. To write them all off, and say ”well they’d all better just lump it and stay single, it’s their own fault” is ridiculous and unbiblical.God is not like that.

    How can you not understand Paul to be saying that the believer is not bound to a marriage, and accept that the marriage principle is a higher principle with exceptions, such as when someone kills someone accidentally they are not to blame? He uses the same exact terms to describe one bringing themself into bondage (slavery) by getting married (not in a negative way). Peter uses the same contrasting words of ‘bondage’ and ‘liberty’ in 2 Peter 2:19, as those terms Paul uses in regard to liberty of a widowed woman, and the one not under ‘bondage’ in 1 Cor.7:15. It’s nonsensical to understand it any other way.

  144. 144. LMT Says:

    Personally what I read in the scriptures leads me to believe that Biblical divorce is man made and not sanctioned or recognized by God. If God recognized divorce as being legitimate the scriptures would not refer to it as adultery (the breaking of a covenant)

    Malachi 2:14 But you say, “Why does he not?” Because the LORD was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your [i]wife by covenant[/i].

    Galatians 3:15 To give a human example, brothers: even with a man-made covenant, [i]no one annuls it or adds to it[/i] once it has been ratified.

    What usually gets me into trouble is that I have been unable to find a prohibition in the scriptures against a man taking more than one wife.

  145. 145. Margaret Says:

    JimII says that anyone who is unfortunate enough to be caught up in a web of divorce and remarriage should lump it and live singly, wreck their marriage and damage their children for a’ what if’. That’s rather different, and has bigger things at stake, than deciding whether to eat pork or not.

    Lets say Suzanne didn’t know Tom was divorced before she married him (this sort of dishonesty goes on, people). Is she to be consigned to celibacy, being further wronged, not only by her husband, but by the church? How did she do wrong or commit adultery in marrying him? Why ought she pay for his sin?

  146. 146. LMT Says:

    She simply becomes his second wife by covenant if they are believers. If not then it is a civil union and biblical principals do not apply.

  147. 147. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    Comment:
    Like I said, if you tell Tom and Suzanne they must divorce, you will be guilty of causing either the dissolution of a marriage, and the enforced celibacy(doctrine of demons for married or single people) of both when they ought to stay married to one another, or you will cause Tom to cause Suzanne to sin by divorcing her, BECAUSE they are married. That would violate Matthew 5:32.

    False. The forced celibacy that is warned against in scripture has nothing whatsoever to do with forsaking an unlawful union, that God calls adultery. It’s the popish doctrine, that claims it to be a holier state than legitimate marriage, which would contradict the express will of God.

    So, what do you do? You sin by counselling them one way, and you may sin by counselling them to stay together, based on your tortuous, bondage-making doctrine.

    Here we have a conundrum, which means that the premises you have put forth are erroneous, on account of the fact that the scripture cannot, and does not contradict itself. An appeal to emotion is falacious as you know. I can give countless examples of situations where a covenant spouse and children are stand for the righteousness of Gods command regarding marriage, but that would not necessarily prove the truth of their position, as is the case with your hypothetical or real life scenarios.

    I’m sorry your wife excused whatever she did by stating that marriage can be broken. Like you, I do believe that divorce is wrong, but I don’t deny that it sunders a marriage. Murder is wrong, God hates it, but it does happen and it does kill a person. If a murderer said,”I know that once I kill this person, I can be forgiven if I ask forgiveness” that wouldn’t mean it was okay. It would be a presumputous sin, right? Just because murder is evil and God doesn’t accept it in principle, doesn’t mean that a person isn’t dead. God allows it, but it is still sin.

    I’m more sorry for my wife for the fact that she believes your opinion, which implicitly allows one to ‘marry’ their paramour, with Gods blessing. The example above is apples to oranges, and does not justify the commission or continuance of any sin. Can the murderer keep killing on the bases that he can’t bring back his dead victimes? Adultery can be forsaken, and reconciliation can be made, though it is so rare that God says “none that go into her, return to the paths of life. Amazing Margaret; neary 1/3 of the wisdom in Proverbs warns of the danger of going near the hous eof an immoral wife, and it is talking about a wife, yet you have Jesus literally sanctioning that which He says is a cause for astonishment in the Heavens, and saw fit to like the Idolator to a ’spiritual harlot’. Surely you make Christ the minister of sin, at least implicitly. The opinion that a divorce dissolves a marriage is so clearly opposed by Jesus, that a child can see it. ie;

    (Luke 16:18) Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

    Here is what is illustrated;

    1. The man puts away (divorces) his wife, and subsequently marries another woman. The result is that he is committing adultery, which shows he is still bound to his wife, whom he ‘divorced’.

  148. 148. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    2. The woman that was divorced from her husband, is considered to be off limits to any man on earth, which shows she is still the wife of her husband, who divorced her.

    You have to think about how this theology applies to people in real life, like the situation Lisa was in. There are others with much more complex cases, with even more divorce histories. To write them all off, and say ”well they’d all better just lump it and stay single, it’s their own fault” is ridiculous and unbiblical.God is not like that.

    “some are eunuchs for the kingdom of Heaves sake”. Grace enables one to bear the cross with joy unspeakable, becasue even though we don’t see Jesus, we love Him. Sin is our fault Margaret. If I live the life of a thief and then invest my stolen money into legitimate business, can I keep the rewards after I am regenerated, or must I ‘bring forth fruit worthy of repentence’ like Zaccheaus did and return all that I stole, even if it leads to poverty?

    How can you not understand Paul to be saying that the believer is not bound to a marriage, and accept that the marriage principle is a higher principle with exceptions, such as when someone kills someone accidentally they are not to blame? He uses the same exact terms to describe one bringing themself into bondage (slavery) by getting married (not in a negative way). Peter uses the same contrasting words of ‘bondage’ and ‘liberty’ in 2 Peter 2:19, as those terms Paul uses in regard to liberty of a widowed woman, and the one not under ‘bondage’ in 1 Cor.7:15. It’s nonsensical to understand it any other way.

    It’s nonsensical according to your presupposition only, not the truth which is according to godliness. The bondage that I am not under in 1 Cor 7 would be the duties that I cannot perform due to my wifes immorality ie. defrauding her of my body, dwelling with her according to knowlege, etc. I am commanded to live according to righteousness, and not return evil for evil, in hopes that she will come to repentance and a knowledge of the truth. The doctrine Jesus taught makes “mo provision for the flesh” which you implicitly do with your opinion. The saints are called to make the good confession, like Stephen did when being stoned. I know I have to be living in righteousness and true holiness in order to be found among the sheep at the last day. My wife believes that grace enables one to sin and confess, but not forsake, which the Bible defines as “covering you sins.” If I am permitted to find a girlfriend, since my wife ‘dissolved’ her vows of purity and faithfulness, then no person is bound to stand and live for the sake of righteousness at all. That is a mind set on this present age, and not the age to come. At least 1/3 of the wisdom in Proverbs, warns against going near the door of an immoral wife, yet you have Jesus actually sanctioning the very thing He considers to be unclean, and a cause for astonishment in the Heavens! I won’t concede any point that implies the right to sin under a so called ‘grace’ that denies the power of godliness. It’s a small cross to bear for me to continue faithful to my vow to God and my wife, in hope that she may come to a knowledge of the truth. I knew with the first 30 days of being born from above that I could not be involved with any woman while my wife is living, unless I willingly forfeit my soul.

  149. 149. Margaret Says:

    Well, Jesus does not mention anything at all about sex in a remarriage. That is an error. On plain reading, and in the context of hyperbolic statements which were intended to point out the true standard we should be striving for, which the Pharisees were not, Jesus says that whoever divorces his wife and marries…and marries…two acts which constitute adultery. Jesus is talking about marriage. He was asked about divorce, but he brought it back to what was the real issue. He was saying ”You know, instead of using the law to support your treachery, why not actually look to being faithful to your marriage”? What if there IS no sex in the next marriage? Certain exegetes try to say that Jesus was talking of an adultery which happens AFTER a second marriage, but Jesus plainly says that the adultery is constituted by divorce and another marriage.It is betrayal. Even gramatically, it is not tenable that Jesus was pointing to some sort of persistent sexual adultery, as the two verbs ‘divorces’ and ‘marries’ are both one time actions. Any verb following that is most likely a ‘punctiliar’ or one time act.

    No, friend, I disagree. A wife who has been abandoned and is standing for a marriage to deny herself is not the same as a person destroying a valid marriage to deny themselves. That is an oxymoron. They are destroying a valid marriage which is *sin*. Staying single and hoping a spouse comes back is not sin.That doesn’t harm anyone else.That’s their choice.

    In the situation I gave, there is sin either way, which cannot be right.

    It’s not just about an appeal to emotion,it is an appeal not to heap sin upon sin by causing someone else to stumble and then someone else linked to them.If Tom divorces, and he is married to Suzanne, he destroys a marriage. He will ’cause’ Suzanne to passively commit adultery by divorcing her (or to stay celibate even though she is actually free to marry), based on the perpetual adultery idea, if she happens to be an unbeliever.

    If Tom never disclosed to Suzanne that he’d been divorced before, and she married him in good faith, then it later came to light that he was divorced with the same question marks over his history, why should Suzanne suffer a life of celibacy because of him? That doesn’t add up.

    Even if that were true, this union may not be unlawful!! That is what I’m trying to tell you. You can’t tell someone to sever a union that is possibly lawful, especially for an unbeliever who has no interest in reconciliation, and who may not even be his wife! That is wrong, wrong, wrong!

    We must abide where we are when called. There is no command in this detailed teaching on marriage for ANYONE to divorce their spouse. Paul, dealing with people such as the Corinthians, would have had to mention it to them. I believe he gives permission for those divorced prior to conversion to marry in verses 27-28. He is not talking to virgins, as he switches back and forth. He is clearly referring to those who are married and those who have been ‘released’. How could Paul forget about those divorced, if they are not included in the ‘unmarried’?

  150. 150. Margaret Says:

    Jim,

    do you truly believe that Jesus wanted all those remarried at the time of his ministry to divorce and speak of the prohibition of remarriage to the first spouse as an obsolete and sin-enabling law? Did Jesus want all those women who had been divorced and remarried to be kicked out? Was Jesus really saying that they should disobey the law of Moses? Remember, Jesus had to keep that law perfectly; he could not speak against it.

  151. 151. Margaret Says:

    To Jeff;

    brother, I’m so sorry for your situation. I’m sure you’ve read and heard all the debate under the sun about this topic (I’ve studied and prayed, even fasted in anguish about this for many months now), and it is personal for you. I sense anguish and confusion, and, yes, loneliness. If your conscience is hurt, you’re not going to be able to remarry without the doubt and fear that has been infused into you by the hardline traditional teaching. I would never tell someone to remarry because of what I thought; I’m simply pointing out the logical and ethical fallacies of the perpetual adultery teaching.

    I believe that our past, is the past. I believe that Paul says a believer is not under bondage to an unbeliever, and by extension that would include anyone from the past. However, not everyone agrees, and so it’s for you to decide. If you stay single and give your all for Jesus, you don’t do any wrong.

    Peace to you

  152. 152. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    We are at an impass here. You believe that Jesus teaching allows the very sin it forbids. God respects no mans person, and Jesus doesn;t need to specifically detail how to forsake every instance of sin. Jesus sayd nothing directly about how to abandon a homosexual ‘marriage’ but the implication is is there based on the standard of Gods holiness. It’s futile to contend against raw calvanism, which essentially subjects every command to the subjective reasoning of the carnal mind. These links have already soundly refuted every scenario, and ‘what if’ that you have brought up Margaret. The saints at Corinth would have gladly forsaken their unlawful ‘marriage’ upon the revelation that God in times passed ‘winked’ (passed by) these transgressions. but now commands all men everywhere to repent (confess and forsake)… You see things from a soulish perspective, which is what we are commanded to deny, if ever we are going to enter into eternal life. Here you are;

    http://wisereaction.org/ebooks/considering_divorce.pdf

    http://trueconnection.org/DivorceAndRemarriageBook.com/index.html

  153. 153. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Jeff if you are still reading this,Man I feel the Hurt ,the pain,the anguish,the confusion,the loneliness.
    This is the Bottom line as it is for all sin.
    If You have repented You are Forgiven
    If You keep going to God and continue to repent about the same particular sin
    You know what Jeff…..God does not Remember what You are talking about.
    He does not remember sins that are repented.
    Again I say to The legalistic,Pharisaical .He who is without sin,let him cast the first stone.
    Again….Not one of those accusing men picked a stone up.
    Which is more than i can say about what is going on here in this unrelenting
    discussion.
    That in my humble opinion Give absolutely No place to the FINISHED worl of the Cross
    It should be remembered that in the OT the act of sacrifice and the shedding of Blood bought the children of Israel back into a right relationship with God.
    And as Paul says….How MUCH MORE the shedding of GODS OWN SON
    does that for Us and our sins.
    White as snow
    We have a Great God….For Goodness sake people,focus on the Grace of God,council the Grace of God and I tell You,People will be drawn into the relationship with God that will lead them into the Truth for thier own situation.
    For If I be Lifted Up i will DRAW all men to Me Says The Lord.

    Jeff and all those who are in this situation being discussed.
    Take delight in Your God,Your Father in heaven who LOVES YOU SO MUCH HE GAVE HIS OWN SON FOR YOU AND ACCEPTED HIS OWN SON AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR YOU AND YOUR SINS.
    Look up the word Propitiation….Thats what Jesus was

    Bless You All

    Trev
    Jeff God Loves You

  154. 154. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    Propitiation;

    A mercy-seat – כפרת capporeth, from כפר caphar, to cover or overspread; because by an act of pardon sins are represented as being covered, so that they no longer appear in the eye of Divine justice to displease, irritate, and call for punishment; and the person of the offender is covered or protected from the stroke of the broken law. In the Greek version of the Septuagint the word ιλαστηριον, hilasterion, is used, which signifies a propitiatory, and is the name used by the apostle, Heb_9:5. This mercy-seat or propitiatory was made of pure gold; it was properly the lid or covering of that vessel so well known by the name of the ark and ark of the covenant. On and before this, the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of the expiatory sacrifices on the great day of atonement: and it was in this place that God promised to meet the people, (see Exo_25:22); for there he dwelt, and there was the symbol of the Divine presence. At each end of this propitiatory was a cherub, between whom this glory was manifested; hence in Scripture it is so often said that he dwelleth between the cherubim. As the word ιλαστηριον, propitiatory or mercy-seat, is applied to Christ, Rom_3:25, whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation (ιλαστηριον) through faith in his blood – for the remission of sins that are past; hence we learn that Christ was the true mercy-seat, the thing signified by the capporeth, to the ancient believers. And we learn farther that it was by his blood that an atonement was to be made for the sins of the world. And as God showed himself between the cherubim over this propitiatory or mercy-seat, so it is said, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself; 2Co_5:19, etc.

    Notice that it is for PASt sins that are repented of, which would exclude any sin that is not forsaken. The calvanistic creeds that Trevor quotes are self refuting, and have nothing to do with what Jesus said. He also is recommending a false grace, that is not the grace of the bible, defined by the apostle so clearly here;

    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (Titus 2:11-14)

    Adam Clarke does as good as can be done on the truth of the atonement, while refuting the error of the lawless.

    This doctrine of the imputed righteousness of Christ is capable of great abuse. To say that Christ’s personal righteousness is imputed to every true believer, is not Scriptural: to say that he has fulfilled all righteousness for us, or in our stead, if by this is meant his fulfillment of all moral duties, is neither Scriptural nor true: that he has died in our stead, is a great, glorious, and Scriptural truth: that there is no redemption but through his blood is asserted beyond all contradiction; in the oracles of God. But there are a multitude of duties which the moral law requires which Christ never fulfilled in our stead, and never could. We have various duties of a domestic kind which belong solely to ourselves, in the relation of parents, husbands, wives, servants, etc., in which relations Christ never stood. He has fulfilled none of these duties for us, but he furnishes grace to every true believer to fulfill them to God’s glory, the edification of his neighbor, and his own eternal profit. The salvation which we receive from God’s free mercy, through Christ, binds us to live in a strict conformity to the moral law; that law which prescribes our manners, and the spirit by which they should be regulated, and in which they should be performed. He who lives not in the due performance of every Christian duty, whatever faith he may profess, is either a vile hypocrite, or a scandalous Antinomian. (Calvanism and most organized religion today advocate lawlessness as being consistent with a state of justification/sanctification.)

    As to God loving a person that is continuing in sin, that too is deceiving, as indicated by the following;

    The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.(Psalms 11:5)

    The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
    (Psalms 5:5)

    For certain it is not a wicked revengeful hatred, but a righteous hatred against those that continue to reject the means of salvation and live by the power of godliness (grace) which is of infinite price. Don’t take the broad road of justifying the flesh friend. Need I state the obvious, and remind everyone that Hollywood and the entertainment world have the science of adultery down to an art. The divorce and unlawful marriage is vile, but not nearly so much as those that play the hypocrite, and use religion to cloak their sins. These present sufferings are not worthy to be compared to the glory of Jesus eternal kingdom. The ‘re-marriage’ crowd supports my wife entirely as she joins herself to whoever she please under grace. Therefore, either she is correct in believing that she is not obligated to honor her vows and reconcile to her husband, or I am correct in believing that my wife is bound to me as long as I am living (have the vitality of breath), and must continue to uphold the truth of the Word, in thought and deed, as long as I am living. I won’t concede to a doctrine that is opposed to genuine godliness and holiness. Remember the apostle James exhortation;

    Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
    (James 2:24)

  155. 155. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Well I think we should just read scripture in context
    So I have included eph 1: 9 and 10
    Salvation is through Faith Not Works

    Romans 6 through 8

    And will just say after Paul goes through the struggle of life in chapt 7

    His statement He concludes with:
    7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

    7:25 Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself serve the law of God, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin

    Who will rescue me from this struggle,Thanks God through our Jesus Christ OUR Lord

    Then onto the Magnificent Statement of our Position in Christ

    For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do

    ROMANS Chapt 6 through 8

    .6:1 What should we say, then? Should we go on sinning so that grace may increase?

    6:2 Of course not! How can we who died as far as sin is concerned go on living in it?

    6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into union with Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

    6:4 Therefore, through baptism we were buried with him into his death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too may live an entirely new life.

    6:5 For if we have become united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.

    6:6 We know that our old selves were crucified with him so that our sinful bodies might be rendered powerless and we might no longer be slaves to sin.

    6:7 For the person who has died has been freed from sin.

    6:8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him,

    6:9 for we know that Christ, who was raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has mastery over him.

    6:10 For when he died, he died once and for all as far as sin is concerned. But now that he is alive, he lives for God.

    6:11 In the same way, you too must continually consider yourselves dead as far as sin is concerned, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

    6:12 Therefore, do not let sin rule your mortal bodies so that you obey their desires.

    6:13 Stop offering the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness. Instead, offer yourselves to God as people who have been brought from death to life and the parts of your body as instruments of righteousness to God.

    6:14 For sin will not have mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace.

    6:15 What, then, does this mean? Should we go on sinning because we are not under law but under grace? Of course not!

    6:16 Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey-either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?

    6:17 But thank God that, though you were once slaves of sin, you became obedient from your hearts to that form of teaching with which you were entrusted!

    6:18 And since you have been freed from sin, you have become slaves of righteousness.

    6:19 I am speaking in human terms because of the frailty of your flesh. Just as you once offered the parts of your body as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater disobedience, so now, in the same way, you must offer the parts of your body as slaves to righteousness that leads to sanctification.

    6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free as far as righteousness was concerned.

    6:21 What benefit did you get from doing those things you are now ashamed of? For those things resulted in death.

    6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God’s slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life.

    6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in union with Christ Jesus our Lord.

    7:1 Don’t you realize, brothers-for I am speaking to people who know the law-that the law can press its claims over a person only as long as he is alive?

    7:2 For a married woman is bound by the law to her husband while he is living, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning her husband.

    7:3 So while her husband is living, she will be called an adulterer even if she lives with another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from this law, so that she is not an adulterer if she marries another man.

    7:4 In the same way, my brothers, through Christ’s body you also died as far as the law is concerned, so that you may belong to another person, the one who was raised from the dead, and may bear fruit for God.

    7:5 For while we were living in the flesh, sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies to bear fruit for death.

    7:6 But now we have been released from the law by dying to what enslaved us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit, not under the old written code.

    7:7 What should we say, then? Is the law sinful? Of course not! In fact, I wouldn’t have known sin if it had not been for the law. For I wouldn’t have known what it means to covet if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”

    7:8 But sin seized the opportunity provided by this commandment and produced in me all kinds of sinful desires. For apart from the law, sin is dead.

    7:9 At one time I was alive without any connection to the law. But when the commandment came, sin sprang to life,

    7:10 and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

    7:11 For sin, seizing the opportunity provided by the commandment, deceived me and used it to kill me.

    7:12 So then, the law itself is holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good.

    7:13 Now, did something good bring me death? Of course not! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used something good to cause my death, so that through the commandment sin might become more sinful than ever.

    7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am mere flesh, sold as a slave to sin.

    7:15 I don’t understand what I am doing. For I don’t do what I want to do, but instead do what I hate.

    7:16 Now if I do what I don’t want to do, I agree that the law is good.

    7:17 As it is, I am no longer the one who is doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me.

    7:18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but I cannot carry it out.

    7:19 For I don’t do the good I want to do, but instead do the evil that I don’t want to do.

    7:20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am no longer the one who is doing it, but it is the sin that lives in me.

    7:21 So I find this to be a law: when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me.

    7:22 For I delight in the law of God in my inner being,

    7:23 but I see in my body a different law waging war with the law in my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin that exists in my body.

    7:24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?

    7:25 Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I myself serve the law of God, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

    8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in union with Christ Jesus.

    8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.

    8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to deal with sin. He condemned sin in the flesh

    8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

    8:6 To set our minds on the flesh leads to death, but to set our minds on the Spirit leads to life and peace.

    8:7 That is why the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile toward God. For it refuses to submit to the authority of God’s law because it is powerless to do so.

    8:8 Indeed, those who are under the control of the flesh cannot please God.

    8:9 You, however, are not of the flesh but under the control of the Spirit, since God’s Spirit lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to him.

    8:10 But if Christ is in you, your bodies are dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

    8:11 And if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, then the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive by his Spirit who lives in you.

    8:12 Consequently, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.

    8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die, but if by the Spirit you continually put to death the activities of the body, you will live.

    8:14 For all who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children.

    8:15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery that leads you into fear again. Instead, you have received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

    8:16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

    8:17 Now if we are children, we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if, in fact, we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

    8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us.

    8:19 For the creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his children,

    8:20 because the creation was subjected to frustration, though not by its own choice. The one who subjected it did so in the hope

    8:21 that the creation itself would also be set free from slavery to decay in order to share the glorious freedom of God’s children.

    8:22 For we know that all creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.

    8:23 However, not only creation groans, but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit also groan inwardly as we eagerly wait for our adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

    8:24 For we were saved with this hope in mind. Now hope that is seen is not really hope, for who hopes for what can be seen?

    8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.

    8:26 In the same way, the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself intercedes with groans too deep for words,

    8:27 and the one who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to God’s will.

    8:28 And we know that he works all things together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

    8:29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

    8:30 And those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

    8:31 What, then, can we say about all of this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

    8:32 The one who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for all of us-surely he will give us all things along with him, won’t he?

    8:33 Who can bring an accusation against God’s chosen people? It is God who justifies them!

    8:34 Who can condemn them? Christ Jesus, who died-and more importantly, who has been raised and is seated at the right hand of God-is the one who is also interceding for us!

    8:35 Who can separate us from Christ’s love? Can trouble, distress, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, or a sword?

    8:36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long. We are thought of as sheep to be slaughtered.”

    8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through the one who loved us.

    8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

    8:39 nor anything above, nor anything below, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Now I put it to You All.
    Regardless of our position on the subject being discussed.

    Does these scriptures Lift you up and Place You in aposition that You want to Please God in all that You Do.
    And in this light would seek God With Regard to your present position in Life what ever it may be.
    Into wanting to do things For His Good Pleasure

    So Its From Our position of Grace that we work,rather than from a position of Condemnation.

    Regardless of all the arguements Each of us have to appropriate the Word of God according to the light that He Given to Us.

    As we are all at different stages of our walk with God.

    We need to be seen to building and encouraging each other in faith

    That way we are not Condemning People but encouraging them to walk according to The leading Of the Spirit of God who leads us into ALL truth.

    The Truth Will Set You Free

    And if you are convicted of any Sin by the Holy Spirit and It Is ONLY Him that can Truely Convict and Therefore lead Us To True repentance.
    Regardless of The Sin.

    In the Truth of Conviction and The Truth of repentance

    You Will Be Set FREE.and be able to Walk according to His Word

    We Have an Awesome,Loving and Compassionate Lord

    Bless You All

    Trev

  156. 156. Jeff Hildebrand Says:

    Joseph A Webb…are you trying to sell me a book our help me/us? Who is Bob Gothard??? Why should you need any man to approve your work if it is from God? This all stinks….excuse me for not being polite….this is ridiculous. I can see both sides very clearly….but it’s not helping me at all……it’s like being at a stinking high school debate club meeting….it’s everyone trying to one-up the next guy. Some of these responses…whether right or not…..the ain’t Godly…and I am not sure why…..they just aren’t.

  157. 157. Margaret Says:

    Jim,

    yes, we are at an impasse, because I don’t think you can see the absurdity and folly of trying to unscramble egg without causing more damage. As I said, you would be responsible for the wreckage of a marriage, and the binding of the conscience of a woman who should not be in that position.

    To deny oneself doesn’t involve denying others a husband or wife, or children a father. I reject this notion that I am the one who is arguing for the condoning of what God hates; remember, you are the one advocating divorce for every and any marriage, even if it hurts others who don’t deserve it,and who would be ‘damned if they do’ and’ damned if they don’t’. That is not a work of the Holy Spirit.

    It is the most bizarre thing. I heard of an elderly man on his deathbed being told by a Church of Christ minister that to go to heaven he had to divorce his elderly wife of more than 50 years, and he did so in panic, leaving her broken hearted and with nothing.

    Absurd! You do as you see fit, but please do not tell others to dissolve their marriages.

  158. 158. Margaret Says:

    By the way, to argue that I’m coming from a soulish standpoint is just ad hominem, and is incorrect.

    To argue that someone should not dissolve what may well be a legitimate marriage (and is, from God’s perspective in Tom and Suzanne’s case), is not soulish. It is based on the very teaching of Christ.

    To argue that one should not be placed into a position of condemnation, or pushing someone else to sin, or to diovrce an unbeliever against Paul’s express command, is not soulish. It is based on scriptural principles and common sense.

    I’m not a stranger to repentance, as I’ve been a believer for 13 years; I have faced a situation where I needed to repent and forsake, involving a relationship. I left that relationship and the home I shared with the person, within a couple of hours. I am not ’soulish’. I do fear God..however, I also understand his mercy and I do not see truth causing one to come to a dead end, or cause someone else to stumble. Truth never does that.

    That is why I see the adultery that Jesus refers to as simply a *violation* of the command ‘thou shall not commit adultery’, and not literal adultery, in the same way lust comes short of actual adultery.

    If we try to see it as perpetual, sexual adultery (even if there is no sex in the next marriage) we take away the force of what Jesus was saying, which is that divorce and remarriage, though legal, is a violation in principle of the command against adultery.

    Paul applies this principle in 1 Corinthians 7:15 for the abandoned believer. The believer is not to break the principle (initiate divorce) but if offended is not held in guilt and is exonerated. There is nothing they can do about an unbeliever’s heart. There has to be an honest examination of Paul’s intention when he says ‘To the rest, I say, *not* the Lord’. This is an apostolic concession, and application of the principle he just taught to two believers.

    There is clearly a dichotomy between the end result of the divorce between two believers and that between an unbeliever (who initiates) and the believer. Paul does not forbid the believer from remarrying.To say Paul wasn’t talking about remarriage when he WAS regarding the believers is just nonsensical.If he needed to, he would have said so.

  159. 159. Trevor McNamee Says:

    To those arguing the pros and cons of adultery/divorce/remarriage which started out about whether( i think) 2 greek letters were omitted in translations of scripture or not

    and then further what the true meanings are

    then even further the context
    .
    To You I same Shame on You.
    You Dont deserve to be “teachers of the Gospel”.
    Can You Not see what You are doing to some of these readers.
    Especially Jim at this stage.

    You have and are alienating Him from the very One he should be Turning to
    God His Loving Compassionate Father in Heaven.

    For it is there He will find the answers He needs
    Not the teachings of doctrines,FALSELY SO CALLED

    He as a person like any person Who is a Born Again person has
    THE RIGHT AND PRIVILEGE TO ENTER THE THRONE ROOM OF GRACE

    Hebrews 4:15-16 (King James Version)

    15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need

    Full stop,no questions asked Not by God at Least.

    But it would seem,you People think You have the right to determine as to whether that Right and Privilege should be extended to the people Like Jim or Not.

    How Dare You assume the Position of Juror and Judge

    It would appear that there are some sins to be repented of and its got nothing to do with Adultery od Divorce Remarriage.

    Jesus said of us all (refering to us as Children) to come unto Him.

    And to anyone who Prevented it,it would be better if a milestone was put around there neck and thrown into the depth of the sea.

    Matt 18….

    1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
    2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

    6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

    Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
    35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

    Its about time we accept The People as they come and LET (as i have been saying
    )
    Let the Holy Spirit Do His Work

    As Margaret has Bravely Revealed

    The Holy Spirit Is Quite capable of doing that
    Thank You very Much
    and if We/You allowed that Holy Spirit Work to happen in the Lives who dont Live upto OUR expectations(whether based on Thier interpretation of scripture or Not)
    We would Find there being a far Greater Crowd in Glory than not.

    Because let me tell you,You fellows it arguements like this of doctrine Falsely so called that cause people to leave the Church in thier droves.
    Its this sort of thing that the world looks at and Says what a Bunch of…

    Jim and any one who is reading this,who are grappling with these issues in yours or others lives.

    Go Back and Read Romans Chapt Eight and see what Is RECKONED TO YOU BECAUSE OF THE FINISHED WORK OF THE CROSS.

    And again If any of you think I am Watering down or giving liscence to people to continu e in thier Sin.
    Absolutely NOT.
    Youn Teach the Gospel in it entirety and You Will see people repent of thier Sin before YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT whether You should point it out to them.

    Hows That….Because When you Lift HIM higher HE will Draw Men/Women Unto Himself
    Note Not lifting the sin higher for a person to see

    Gut Lifting Jesus Higher

    Again if You have at any time in Your Life Given Your Heart To The LORD

    I’ll see You in GLORY

    Trev

    Jim if you want or anyone else I am willing to talk to You

    The Internet is amazing and we can do Video calls for Nothing

  160. 160. Margaret Says:

    I do apologise if I’ve come across as harsh or mean; I don’t intend to. I feel strongly that the perpetual adultery for pre conversion especially, doesn’t hold up. As I said, the man in the hypothetical would be between a rock and a hard place. If he stayed with his wife, he would be looked at with suspicion and condemnation from those who think he should divorce ‘just in case’. If he divorced his wife, he would then find himself loaded with guilt at the thought of whether it was right to do so, as she could be his wife. His condemnation would never end; everywhere he turns there is a violation of scripture.

    It is self refuting, and not in accord with the forgiveness of God, so I do feel upset about it all. I’ve cried and fasted about this, asking God to show me the truth and whether it is truly right to ostracise remarried people, and whether it is right to demand they separate. I can’t find a basis for that in the NT, or the OT, at all. That means there’s something wrong with the perpetual adultery understanding of the NT teachings on divorce and remarriage.

    I’m not advocating divorce, not even for adultery. If it were me, I’d want to make sure I’d done what I could. I’d rather the other spouse divorced me before I divorced them. However, I can’t advocate separation of people for the ‘fait accompli’, as it just isn’t there.

    I almost left my husband over this, because some teach that even single people who married a divorced person should stay single after they ‘repent’ from marrying them, by leaving them.It gets so crazy and fear-drenched. No one escapes.

  161. 161. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Dont worry about the Video Just listen to the words
    Not keen on the video either but i couldnt find song any where else

    Trev

  162. 162. Margaret Says:

    I also think the paper in question is suspect without proper peer review, as this is a novel way of looking at it, even for the traditional side.Even the earliest writers didn’t see it that way.

    I don’t put mucn stock in what the early writers said anyway, as they got a lot wrong on other important things. Some forbid marriage to widows, most taught some sort of baptismal new birth.Tertullian claimed that those who were born again before baptism were ‘miscreants’.

  163. 163. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Ok that didnt work

    Go to http://YouTube.com
    Search these 2 songs
    or just copy and paste the links below into your browser and hint the send

    Chuck Girard……dont shoot the woundedNot keen about the video,just close your eyes and let the word speak to you by the HS

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NepFhl2ngU8

    Chuck girard…….lay your burden down

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrTyrzaAktE&feature=related

    Let Holy Spirit speak to your heart

    Then You will be able to sing with this old Hymn which
    by the way I sung at my mothers funeral last year.

    I dont know how i did it except to say it Was a Glorious Day sad Yes
    but I knew Where Mum was Going and I knew i would see her again One Day.

    JIm You need to have the same confidence in Your Lord and savior

    The Hymn is

    Then sings my soul with Elvis singing it(that may not go down to well but other than George beverly Shae at Billy Graehams) its My favourite

    Hope these songs bring Peace to Your Hearts

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEeqAgbCMwg&feature=related

    and One more Praise and Worship from Chuck Girard

    Bless You All

    Trev

  164. 164. Trevor McNamee Says:

    Margaret,You didnt address your last 2 entries to any one so I am assuming you may be thinking You as being harsh.
    Nothing could be further from the Truth in fact
    i believe You have bought some sanity and insight into the whole debate.

    Here is another song to listen to

    Bless You Margaret
    You are Dearly beloved of God

    And for every ones Info I have gone Through all this in My life as Well.

    and you Know What it doesnt matter to me any more because I took it To the Cross and Lay it Down.
    I AM FREE and how Good It Is
    He has Forgiven Me and he will if You need it Forgive You also
    AND WILL NOT REMEMBER IT ANY MORE.
    He will not Hold You To Account For it Any More
    In Fact as We Speak He chooses to Forget and doesnt Know what we are talking about.
    I know You are going to say god Knows Every Thing
    Yes He Does But He CHOOSES TO FORGET
    He Sovriegn So He Can

    Oh I could Go on so Much about the Freedom We Have In Christ
    lol

    Trev
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlhU8CVjrFI

    Trev

  165. 165. Margaret Says:

    Jim,

    just reading over some of your comments again; I have to say, you appear to be labelling me as ‘Calvinist’. I’m actually not a Calvinist, and I don’t believe in licentiousness. I think most Calvinists disbelieve grace is a licence to sin, actually, to be fair. To most, holiness is the mark of the truly born again believer.

    I sense that the discussion has come to an end, but the more I think on this the more the assertion that doing something wrong to try to right a previous wrong, seems untenable. No matter how we look at this, God IS concerned with our wellbeing, and not just with a law. There are times when laws can be broken, to effect greater good.

    Paul has this heart towards believers when he intimates that if an unbeliever is ‘pleased’ to dwell with the believer, they should not divorce. He has in mind the wellbeing of the believer AND the possible salvation of the unbeliever.

    He later reiterates his concern for the wellbeing of the believer by telling them that God has called them to ‘peace’..a further comment on his introduction to his counsel to mixed marriages. To assert that God is only concerned with holiness, and not our wellbeing, is imbalanced.That would be like saying a virgin who was then raped could not marry, to fulfill the higher principle that one must be a virgin when one marries.

  166. 166. Chelle Says:

    quote: To assert that God is only concerned with holiness, and not our wellbeing, is imbalanced.That would be like saying a virgin who was then raped could not marry, to fulfill the higher principle that one must be a virgin when one marries. (end quote)

    Well, she can marry according to Deuteronomy, a virgin who is raped is to marry the rapist after the rapist gives her father fifty sheckles, and he can never divorce her.
    22:8 If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, 29 then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.

    This is absurd in today’s society, and nobody (including christians) would force a raped women to marry her attacker.

    So, for those of you who cling to the Deuteronomy 24 quotes about not being able to go back to the original spouse if you or the other spouse have been remarried, I challenge you to uphold the above Deuteronomy laws….and many, many more that Deuteronomy states. You can’t pick and choose.

    Margaret, you seemed to have hijacked this comment section to get your point across. Your point has been taken. You don’t believe marriage is necessarily permanent and that God doesn’t expect us to remain with our original spouses or remain single if that marriage fails. And that there are “special circumstances” that allow for remarriage, even if the previous spouse is still alive.

    I don’t need to post my responses since Jim and others have already posted what I would say. The allowances that you speak of are just not there. They are only there because you want them to be.

    I know you won’t agree and that’s okay. I hope you have worked out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    Lisa and Jim,
    God bless you and stay close to God.

  167. 167. Margaret Says:

    Chelle, you know, I could argue that you are seeing a no exception basis in Romans 7, which never mentions a divorcee, because you want it to be so.

    That you would say I’ve ‘hijacked’ the comment section to put an opposing view across is unfair.Do you know how many websites and pages have had this link posted to them in a ‘drive-by’ manner? I’ve noticed a real censure towards people who do not take the traditional view, and have first hand experience of it. I won’t go into that.

    I have said all I wanted to say, and no one has anything to say to the possibility of causing sin in the man and woman in the hypothetical; to stick to a hardline rule and not see how it cannot account for real life situations acceptably, and how it contradicts Paul’s express commands and advice, is somewhat odd to me. If Paul had wanted to separate remarried couples, he would have explicitly addressed that. There were no doubt couples like that; his letter was the perfect platform to address it.

    As it stands, I would have difficulty fellowshipping with someone who counsels others to divorce their spouses, I’m sorry to say. Only one side can be right.The other is in error, serious, life-destroying error.The traditional theology is based on a blasphemous claim that Jesus was disowning part of his own word as from him, even though he pointed to the higher ideal of no divorce…shaky ground to start with.

  168. 168. Margaret Says:

    Just for the record, I wouldn’t marry again if my Christian spouse left me. I don’t see an allowance for two Christians to divorce or remarry.That’s because they shouldn’t have hard hearts.

  169. 169. Margaret Says:

    I meant to wrie ‘censorship’ not ‘censure’ in my first response…I must slow down a little when I write, lol.

  170. 170. Trevor McNamee Says:

    I,m out of here.
    I cannot any more and will not continue to give some sort of assent to this argument any more.
    To do do so is to keep people in bondage one way or another.
    As it seems that No One is or will address the fact of forgiveness,
    which as I have said before is appalling.
    Do you exhort a women or a man for that matter to remain in a Violent,Abusive marriage?
    Do you require a victim of rape to marry that person….because they have in fact no matter how it happened had intercourse, to Marry that person who raped them?

    Oh no i’m getting involved again!!!!

    These are some of the REAL LIFE situations that are No where addressed in the Bible.
    We have to be real.
    We have to give hope to people not take it away from them.
    We need to bring people into and understanding of the Forgiveness that MY GOD affords us.

    It abhors us to be the one who can be the instrument that God uses to Bring
    the person or persons into the Freedom and Liberty that God wants for us to enter into.

    You cannot do it by debating points of so called Doctrine….Doctrine so called

    You can only do it by Pointing people to The Cross and the Shed Blood of Christ
    For the Remission of Sin/s

    Bless You all
    I will see You all in Heaven,including the Women caught in the act of Adultery
    if She Repented

    Trev

  171. 171. Margaret Says:

    Trevor,

    I do have respect for those who would not marry a divorcee against their conscience, but where I have trouble is the damage that would be done by trying to undo past damage. I don’t believe the Bible, especially not the NT, gives a precedent for that. If they want to use Ezra 9 to condone it, then they contradict their assertion that we shouldn’t use Old Testament principles to guide decisions; it appears that an obscure, irrelevant text in Ezra has more clout than a specific command with a caveat, including an abomination (very strong language from the Lord), in Deuteronomy. As Chelle said, we can’t pick and choose, yet those who disagree will indeed choose what suits.

    As yet, I have not heard an admission that to counsel Tom to divorce Suzanne would lead to sin on the counsellor’s part and on Tom’s part.The same mantra is repeated instead. This is why we must heed Paul when he says to stay where we are.I offered scriptural principles, not my own conjecture, as to why dissolving that marriage would be wrong.We must agree to disagree.

    Blessings, Trev.

  172. 172. Chelle Says:

    I apologize to you Margaret for the comment about hijacking. You’re right, it was unfair of me to say that. We are obviously viewing this topic with an interest in seeking truth, or learning what is truth, even though our opinions and interpretations may differ, we are still seeking….which is a good thing.

    Trevor…I am most certainly not advocating a raped victim to marry her attacker. I was quoting scripture from Deuteronomy. Are you aware of this scripture? This was just a point I was making to those who quote Deuteronomy 24 as a basis or excuse for not going back to their original spouse. My point being that if you pick out (one) of the laws of Deuteronomy as something you must abide by, then you must abide by all. And there are MANY….including the scripture regarding the rapist and the victim. You may want to re-read Deuteronomy.

    Margaret. Besides the obvious scriptures against doing it…I don’t condone divorce, and I don’t condone re-marriage as it is a product resulting from divorce (unless the spouse has died). Neither I, or anyone else can unscramble the marital messes that some have made of their lives, believers and unbelievers alike. Which I why Jesus kept it simple and took it back to the beginning. Stay with your husband/wife, don’t divorce, and if you do, remain single or be reconciled. God can change hearts, ya know. We choose our spouses and they choose us. We say the vows for better or worse til death do us part in front of God and witnesses. Some years pass and things are not as great as they used to be. Maybe some infidelity or too much drinking, or abuse.. or we feel they just don’t “do it” for us anymore. So we choose the ever popular way out of divorce instead of forgiveness and prayer and move on to the next one, forgetting the vows we made to the first…kind of like kids in high school breaking up and finding new boyfriends and girlfriends. And we say the exact same lifelong commited vows to another person in front of God and witnesses, but this time we mean it, right? Well, sometimes not even then. Some go on to number 3 or even number 4! Does this sound like something God would advocate? Not to me. God left us a very wise book with instructions to learn how to live righteously and have a happy and healthy life and still get to see Heaven. Unbelievers choose to be unbelievers. They are not ignorant of His possible exsistance, they just choose not to believe, or to ignore His exsistance. If they do things that while in an unbelieving state that they later find out is not acceptable to God when they become believers, then like any other sin, it would require repentance. At least, here in this country, I would guess that most homes have a bible somewhere, whether it be sitting on a table or in a dusty closet, and as yet unread for many. There are many sins we commit as unbelievers and as believers. But believers, at least believers who want to please God and follow His way, will not do what we know is unpleasing and sin to God. Converts will have to read, study and repent, just like John The Baptist told those in his day. Contrary to popular current day church belief, repentance is more than just saying sorry…I’m sure you know it requires turning from the sin. Sin never, ever becomes Un-sin if you do it long enough. If it was sin when you did it, it will remain that way until you stop and turn away.

    I don’t have anwers for your hypothetical situations Margaret, and not many will. My advice to them would be to read and study the scriptures and let the holy spirit guide. We are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Fear and trembling….that’s a little scary. It suggests that some who think they may have salvation, may not. Jesus says, there a two roads, one is wide (that’s the one that most will take which leads to death) and a narrow, harder to travel road (that’s the one that leads to Life). Then He says FEW there be that find it. So apparently we are not all going to heaven in a little row boat. In otherwords….isn’t it safer for the sake of one’s salvation to accept clear scripture and then weigh the unclear, more ambiguous scripture against that? Ruining lives as you call it, may just be saving souls. There is no sin in doing what the Bible says if you divorce….remain single or be reconciled. But it’s a whole new ballgame if you end up marrying someone else’s husband or wife. I choose the narrow road.

    I’m not sure what you are talking about in Romans 7 that doesn’t mention divorcees.

    By the way, your way suits my situation better as my husband left me after 17 years of marriage after he met a woman (twice divorced and apparently looking for husband number 3.) He moved out and moved in with her. He refused reconciliation, divorced me and married the other woman. This woman coveted my husband. Now how would you council them if they came to you seeking answers if they are okay to remain together? Would you tell them they are fine and stay where they are? Maybe just say sorry? What happens to me as I stand in the gap and pray for my husband to be saved and come back home to his covenant wife? Can I just go eat dirt? Should I start shopping for husband number 2 when I don’t want another husband? There are 2 sides to look at.

    blessings

  173. 173. Chelle Says:

    I realize I am not telling you something you don’t already know as you seem to be a compassionate and loving person who loves God and knows her Bible. I’m simply stating things from the heart and from spiritual knowledge of my studies on this subject as you have done in some of your posts.

    Chelle

  174. 174. Chelle Says:

    I would like to share a poem I wrote that I believe to be inspired and given to me by God on a very painful and prayful night 2 days after Christmas of 07. I am not a writer and have never written anything before this.

    This is what The Lord gave me…

    The Tearing of the Flesh

    It was all very beautiful the day we were Wed
    We stood before God and our vows had been said
    For richer or poorer, for better or worse
    Til death do us part, what a beautiful verse

    We meant what we vowed and started our life
    With him as my husband and I as his wife
    We felt very blessed with the life that we had
    The trials and triumphs, both happy and sad

    And as the years passed, what we both didn’t know
    Is love can’t be felt if you don’t let it show
    You settle for comfort instead of life’s joy
    Then in roars the lion to steal, kill and destroy

    You’re not sure what happened, you try at all cost
    To win back his heart, but your loved one is lost
    His soul has been stolen, one flesh torn apart
    You cry out to God for his soul and your heart

    Then God whispers softly, “My child, come here
    Put on your full Armor, for battle is near
    Pray and have faith that the devil’s been beat
    Go wait in the light, lay your pain at My feet

    This battle is mine, your prayers have been heard
    My victory is certain, you know by My Word
    So walk by your faith, and not by your sight
    My Word is my promise, all wrongs will be right

    It may take some time, our ways not the same
    Keep love in your eyes and try not to blame
    Satan will shoot you with fiery darts
    To try to confuse you and harden your hearts

    Don’t let him fool you with lies and deceit
    Keep your eyes fixed on Me and don’t think of defeat
    For I AM the Lord, there’s none stronger than Me
    And I will build hedges your eyes cannot see

    So fear not my child and take up your Sword
    And walk right with Me, your Savior and Lord
    His hearts’ like a river that turns in My Hand
    Just wait for My Promise while taking your stand

    Remember Beloved and rest while you sleep
    Your tears in a bottle forever I’ll keep
    I AM the Restorer, I’ve spoken, it’s done
    The Flesh torn apart will again become One”

    God is a God of reconciliation…..He always has been.

    blessings

  175. 175. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    The following is a snippet from a treatise by William Gladstone that defends the permenance of the marriage covenant. This analogy solidly refutes the common error of trying to use the ‘5 words’ found in Matthew as support for the right to marry another person while ones spouse is still living. The Greek language forbids this application. The example he uses is a perfect apples to apples comparison.

    (William Gladstone – 1857)

    It would be surely enough to throw the burden of reply on those whose construction of St. Matthew would place him in conflict with two other Evangelists and with an Apostle. But we need not shrink from adducing positive ground to show that no permission of re-marriage is here given.

    In the first place, the exceptive words ” saving for the cause of fornication” (chap, v.), and “except it be for fornication” (chap, xix.), are in both the passages of St. Matthew connected by the laws of syntax with the putting away, and not with the re-marriage. Let us illustrate this by a parallel case. Suppose we found this precept: ” Whosoever shall flog his son, except it be for disobedience, and put him to death, shall be punishable by law.” What should we think of the interpreter who founded upon this sentence the position that a father might, for disobedience, flog his son to death ? If the lawgiver intended to give this Draconic permission, the rules of speech would inevitably lead him to a different arrangement of his words ; and he would say, ” Except it be for disobedience, whosoever shall flog his son and put him to death shall be punishable by law;” or else, “Whosoever shall flog his son and put him to death, except it be for disobedience, shall be punishable by law.” And yet St. Matthew, avoiding (on the showing of these torturing expositors) both these natural and regular modes of expression, adopts a method which, by the laws of syntax, defeats his own intention, and this not on one only, but on both the occasions when he deals with the subject.

  176. 176. Margaret Says:

    Chelle (and anyone else in a similar situation),

    I didn’t mean to come across as harsh; this is a very difficult subject and what you have been through is so distressing to read. I know that, were my husband to leave me for another, the pain would be unbearable after all the love we’ve shared.

    Marriage is not something to take lightly, or for granted; it has to be worked at, as we have found out. I’m so sorry your husband didn’t want to do the right thing and value your marriage as it should have been. I believe this is what Jesus was hitting out at when he talked so strongly about the wrongness of divorcing to marry another especially.

    Your situation does bring up questions of ethics which show one thing at least: there are sometimes no black and white answers. Is/was your husband a Christian? I’m astonished and sad that he would leave a 17 year marriage for what he thought was the greener grass.If he was not a Christian, and you were not at the time, or you were a Christian and he was not, then I admit that my understanding is that Paul does not wish believers to be tied to their past in such a way that they are enslaved, in the case of a marriage which is rejected by an unbeliever, or one from the past which failed. I understand that you feel strongly against that view, but I do see it as a concession from Paul.I believe that a Christian should, within reason, obey their conscience if they are not limiting another. You are well within your rights to remain single, and I don’t judge you for that.You sound like a courageous and loyal lady!

    The way I see Paul’s approach is that whatever happened before salvation, whether undoable or not, we are in a position to know better. Now, we can live in such a way as to not surrender to the sad hardness of heart that pervades our society. Our marriages can be conducted according to God’s will, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

    As regards allowing someone who has divorced in the past to remarry; are they truly, now they are born again, going to presume upon God’s grace and repeatedly violate their marriage? All of us sin again after conversion, sometimes knowingly. Does this mean we should not teach that God’s mercy and forgiveness is available? The way I see Paul’s command to the believers who are married, and especially to the woman who has wrongly left her husband, is that there is just no room for a serious Christian to walk out on their spouse and call it quits! We are to love one another, and how much more so in the arena of marriage! A true believer will respond to discipline in this area, as any other.Paul just doesn’t anticipate that the woman in question will NOT reconcile. He’s trying to stop it going any further, precluding reconciliation.

    My comment about Romans 7 is that it doesn’t mention divorce. It seems to allude to a woman who has a husband and marries another (bigamously). Women under the law of Moses could not divorce so that was not an option. Divorce would not fit into the analogy of something good, which is that the Christian marriage is meant to be for life. That is the norm. Paul’s rule for remarriage after widowhood is that she can marry again, but only to a believer; does that mean unbelievers are under that law to only marry a believer?This is specific counsel for believers, the higher principle.

    Paul only seems to allow a concession for when an unbeliever is the aggressor.I think this is the key; the believer is not to be the aggressor.

    As I said, I would not presume to tell someone to remarry; that is up to their conscience. However, I do see that God requires us to to start fresh from where we are,and not try to undo the past.I think this is part of the heart of Deuteronomy 24’s caveat about not returning.

    I know that not all of the specific laws of the OT are binding in a specific sense, but their principles are helpful and wise, and especially some of the ethical principles.I don’t see Jesus specifically abrogating that aspect of the law, so I approach the idea of counselling returning to a former spouse who has remarried in the intevening time with great caution.

    Just on this note, I read an interesting interpretation of Jesus’ words on divorce, which has crossed my mind before. When Jesus says that whoever marries a divorced woman, he may be intimating at someone who, like the divorcer, has coveted another woman.Even though he is technically able to marry the divorced woman, Jesus knows the motive, and says it is heart adultery even if he legally marries her. The woman who marries him may have wanted that, and got the ‘out’ from the husband divorcing her, even though she had not committed adultery physically necessarily.In a sense, he is causing her and the new lover to commit adultery, because the motives are wrong even though it is legal. I’m not sure I agree completely with that analysis, but it does fit the flow of the Sermon on the Mount, which is all about true, inward integrity.

    What else can I say? May God bless and help you as you walk with Him.Thank you for sharing some of your story, it gave me something to ponder.

    Jim, I will look into that further.

    Thanks to the blog owner for allowing me to post my musings.

  177. 177. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    Chelle,

    Here is the counsel of God Himself concerning your battle (and mine). I trust that you often sense that “joy unspeakable and full of glory’, thogh now you see Him not, yet you rejoice that you have been counted worthy to suffer with Him, knowing this, that if we suffer with Him (for righteousness sake) we shall also reign with Him. Here you are;

    That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Tit 2:4-5)

    Your testimony prevents the Word from being blasphemed, and prevents the enemies of God from speaking reproachfully.

    For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. (1Pe 2:21- 3:6)

    Your husband cannot condemn you for being unclean like he is at this time, when you continue to walk after the Spirit, in righteousness and true holiness.

    But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1Co 7:15-16)

    While you walk in the “peace that is beyond expression” you may save your husband, who in the verse above, is an unbeliever that has ‘departed’. The world can take away your life and that is as far as it can go. They can’t take away your love for Jesus, who was “despised and rejected of men” and was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

    Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: For there is no respect of persons with God. (Rom 2:6-11)

    Continue to seek for glory, honor, and immortality, Chelle. Keep building up yourself on your most holy faith, and after having done all to stand, stand therefore with the whole armor of God. Run that you may obtain. God gives strength to run, but we must use that strength and keep running. Farewell friend, and the Lord give you a prosperous journey.

    Jude 4

  178. 178. Jeff Hildebrand Says:

    I know I am not real smart…but why is this and other things so hard…one guy says
    he knows it God’s will for this or that and another equally smart brilliant guy says the same thing. And with no disrespect towards God, why isn’t the bible more concise or rather, why doesn’t he give us better tools for interpreting it? I am very tired….one man tells me one thing and says if I don’t believe like him I am probably not not born again….another says the same. If his sheep hear his voice…are half of you wrong or a third of you or….I am not trying to be disrespectful at all,,,but I have been alone a long time…I have sought God too…maybe not the right way…but the best I know how…and I am so confused. One of the only things I had hoped for in this life besides a relationship with God was a family…and now..because I have read all this stuff(and being divorced for 20 years) I am truly vexed. Things like this shouldn’t be so hard….really. Help me…..God help please help us.

  179. 179. Jeff Hildebrand Says:

    another says the opposite is what i meant to say twice….sorry…

  180. 180. Margaret Says:

    Jim,

    Paul is not saying that the spouse will save their husband or wife if they leave, by waiting for them. He is actually posing the opposite;let them go (that is the command). He is not requiring the Christian to be responsible for saving their spouse if they leave, hence his comment that they are not enslaved. We shouldn’t speculate either way, but that should not be taken as a *command* from Paul to be enslaved to the unbeliever who has left when he has just said they are not enslaved.

    As I said, I believe anyone in this situation is free to not marry according to their conscience.

    Jeff, I can understand why you would feel tired and frustrated, and I too wish that some statements were more simple and addressed different situations directly and concisely.We have to use principles given to us to do what is wise. Paul prayed a prayer for the Phillipians:

    ‘And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.’

    Phil.1:9-11

    I read this the other day when I was thinking over and praying about this issue again, along with others.

    I don’t believe that you’re in the wrong if you stay single,so don’t worry about what people say about that. I don’t want to say anything that would cause you to stumble, but I do pray that you will be greatly encouraged and just know God’s nearness right now.

    I honestly believe that the only sense we can get out of 1 Cor.7:15 is that those abandoned are at liberty (which is the very opposite of bondage). The only liberty that makes sense is the liberty which is denied the believing woman who leaves her husband, being told to reconcile, in the previous group Paul addresses, seeing as Paul does not put the same limitations on the believer wo is abandoned by an unbeliever.

    Likewise, Paul addresses the unmarried and widows; how come he forgets to mention those who are single through divorce prior to conversion? Could it simply be that they are amongst the unmarried? Why would he forget to tell them to stay unmarried if that was essential, no matter how long they had been single, no matter whether their former spouse could be dead or not? it makes no sense that he is not including them here.

    That’s my conviction, as I pointed out; trying to undo damage is impossibly fraught with absurdities,and I don’t believe that’s the mind of God.It really is awful that this brings such a division in the body of Christ. If people would simply heed Paul and have people start fresh from where they are when they get saved, things would be simpler, to my mind.

    Peace to you,

    a sister in Christ.

  181. 181. Jim II (Jude4) Says:

    Margaret said: “Paul is not saying that the spouse will save their husband or wife if they leave, by waiting for them. He is actually posing the opposite;let them go (that is the command). He is not requiring the Christian to be responsible for saving their spouse if they leave, hence his comment that they are not enslaved. We shouldn’t speculate either way, but that should not be taken as a *command* from Paul to be enslaved to the unbeliever who has left when he has just said they are not enslaved.

    As I said, I believe anyone in this situation is free to not marry according to their conscience.”

    The above is an example of wresting the text to fit ones presupposition. It’s being ‘wise beyond and against what is written’. It is indisputably clear that the Apostle refers to the departed spouse as the “husband/wife” of the one left behind. There is no evidence whatsoever in this verse that Paul is saying to the one called to peace ‘Let your spouse go and move on with their life. There is nothing you can do about it. They divorced you and they don’t love God, so you can either stay single. or go find someone else to replace the one that left, that will hopefully want to stay and not depart. If the next partner does the same, then simply apply the foregoing instructions all over again with number 3 etc.’ Thus you have effectively nullified the command that marriage is indissoluable until death, and the creational model is simply an idealistic goal to shoot at, but is optional in the strictest sense of the terms. Paul even confirms the creational order of marriage in this chapter with the words in v. 39. The idea that this text is a permission to contract another ‘union’ during the life of ones spouse, is bizzare at best. The implication is that Jesus overstated Himself when He referred to the first pair as the model for marriage that must be followed, although He knew that most will refuse to obey the command. The opinion above essentially does away with all marriage until death, unless it be by chance, not because it is a positive command.

    Adam Clarke on 1 Cor 7:16)
    You that are Christians, and who have heathen partners, do not give them up because they are such, for you may become the means of saving them unto eternal life. Bear your cross, and look up to God, and he may give your unbelieving husband or wife to your prayers.

    I could post more evidence from some of the esteemed observers of scripture, but it is most likely lost on Margarets opinion. This is for those with a heart and mind that is firmly convinced of the necessity of godliness and holiness.

  182. 182. Margaret Says:

    Well, Jim, that last comment was a nice ad hominem attack. I have never questioned the sincerity of those who take the view that remarried couples should divorce, but you would not return that courtesy.I’ve been saved for years, I love the Lord and desire to grow in holiness.Your attitude is what really causes me to question the other side.

    Paul said that the unbeliever is ’sanctified’ in the case they *stay* with the believer. That is the hope of salvation. If they go, it is not possible to force their conversion nor to feel responsible for it. It would be trite of Paul to tell a woman with several children, abandoned by a husband, that she is only not under bondage to feel bad that he left.

  183. 183. Margaret Says:

    By the way, Jim, you might want to consider that demanding remarried couples to divorce upon conversion is going beyond what is written.

  184. 184. Margaret Says:

    Re Adam Clark…I’ve read his commentery on this, as I have many others. They do not all agree.It makes sense that a sinless perfectionist would understand the text in such a way, in any case.

    And, yes, many scholars understand Jesus to have overstated himself somewhat, as he did when he recommended gouging out eyes for sin.You go beyond the word when you assume that Jesus refers to sex in a marriage, rather than reading the Matthean text as it is. What to do with someone who divorces his wife and marries another so he can have a political advantage, but never has sex with the next one? Is it still a sin which breaks the spirit of the law against adultery, or is it not adultery? Jesus said it is, sex or not.That should tell us something.

  185. 185. Margaret Says:

    I think it is best if I withdraw completely from this discussion, and I wish you the best.

    Take care everyone.

  186. 186. joanne Says:

    Bob, thank you for posting this … I will pass it on to a few brothers here. Maybe one or more of them has read this paper already?

    I’d like to have time to read through all the comments, however I don’t! Maybe some day soon.

    Lord bless you,
    Joanne in MO

  187. 187. bob Says:

    Hi Joanne,

    Ya, I think it brought up interesting discussion that I have enjoyed reading.

    Bob.

  188. 188. AJ Says:

    I don’t have a commitment to a particular position, but I wanted to posit that I don’t think ει makes a significant difference in the meaning of Matthew 19:9:

    1. With ει, you get a parenthetical insertion: “So I tell you that whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, and marries another commits adultery.”

    2. Without ει, I would translate it like this: “So I tell you that whoever divorces his wife for something besides fornication and marries another commits adultery” (more literally, “… whoever divorces his wife not on [grounds of] fornication…”).

    There’s a rhetorical difference between the two, but they’re pretty much in meaning:

    1. Unless for reason Y, whoever does X commits Z.
    2. Whoever does X without reason Y commits Z.

    The first is worded as an exclusion to the rule, and the second is worded as an exclusion from membership to a hypothetical group of people (the rule itself narrows the group it applies to).

    Analogous grammar is found in Romans 14:1 (pardon the Modern-leaning punctuation):

    τόν δέ ασθενούντα τή πίστει προσλαμβάνεσθε μή είς διακρίσεις διαλογισμόν

    “Welcome the weak in faith without arguments of opinion” (more literally “not in arguments of opinion”). The negation of μή only has scope over the prepositional phrase in both cases.

  189. 189. bob Says:

    Hi AJ,

    Could you provide us with a link to your language degrees please.

    Bob.

  190. 190. AJ Says:

    I’m not pretending to be an authority in the field, but I’m definitely qualified to at least challenge the translation that has been put forward. I graduated in May with a BA in Linguistics from Yale, and I had Ashwini Deo as my advisor for my senior thesis on a topic in Koine Greek semantics.

    So I wasn’t posting as the final word on the subject, rather I wanted to challenge the idea that ει makes or breaks the meaning.

    As another example of μή negating a prepositional phrase, take 1 Cor 5:8:

    ώστε εορτάζωμεν μή εν ζύμη παλαιά μηδέ εν ζύμη κακίας και πονηρίας αλλ’ εν αζύμοις ειλικρινείας καί αληθείας

    “Therefore, let’s celebrate not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”

    This verse, like Romans 14:1, is an instance of μή only having scope over the prepositional phrase, not over the verb phrase (the celebrating and the welcoming aren’t negated… coincidentally, I used a similar construction in this sentence). Since these are syntactically parallel to Matthew 19:9, I think the most straight-forward way to interpret Matt 19:9 is as an non-negated verb and a negated prepositional phrase: “whoever divorces his wife not on grounds of fornication.”

  191. 191. mia Says:

    I’ve been struggling w/ this issue for months now. I broke up w/ my fiance because of this dilemma. I’m so fed up w/ all these arguments and w/ the bible scholars/pastors/theologians’ opposing interpretations.

    After months of reading articles written by people, I came up to one conclusion. It was my reading/listening to mortals’ words that made so confused. Instead of listening to these things, I suggest that we should just read our bible,pray and pray and listen harder to the holy spirit talking to us.

    I stand firm on my decision not because of what others say but because of what I feel is right based on my understanding of the bible as I ask for God’s guidance.

  192. 192. Stephen Says:

    I don’t see why Jeff can’t get remarried. There is no law against a man having more than one wife. His first wife left him and remarried so she is now off limits to him acording to law. So what’s the problem? I am in the same predicament by the way.

  193. 193. Damian Says:

    Thanks for your article. I agree completely that there is no exception to Jesus’ and Paul’s clear teaching that remarriage is only possible after the death of one’s spouse and NOT when the spouse commits adultery. How can my spouse’s sin be a justification for me to sin in adultery?
    We also wrote an article about this question based on the Bible passages which cover this topic. The Biblical Perspective of Divorce
    We’d be glad to hear from others who want to follow Jesus without compromise.

  194. 194. Allan Schwarb Says:

    Thank you, Bob. Great points made.

    Sent following to a leading theologian for his reivew. Perhaps he will provide feedback on this important matter:

    Subject: Tiny Word “If”: Cause of 16th Century Evangelical Divorce Scandal?

    Dear Dr Mohler,

    In your excellent “Divorce — The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience”

    [http://www.albertmohler.com/2010/09/30/divorce-the-scandal-of-the-evangelical-conscience/]

    you mentioned, “[Dr. Mark A.] Smith makes a compelling case that evangelicals began their accommodation to divorce even before [the 1970s no-fault divorce] laws took effect.”

    Didn’t the inadvertent Evangelical accommodation to divorce and remarriage start with Erasmus’ (16th Century) erroneous Bible translation/interpretation of Matt 19:9?

    In it, he apparently added the Greek word “if” to “not” in his manuscript, changing the text to read “except” instead of “not.”

    Then, didn’t the Reformers inadvertently copy this error into their Bible(s)?

    To correct the error, shouldn’t his erroneous “if not”/”except” be cut out of my Bible?

    Also, if removed, wouldn’t this impact our understanding of and doctrines (i.e., adultery, abandonment, divorce and remarriage) related to Matt 19:9?

    The following message from Pastor Richard C. Caldwell Jr of Founders Baptist Church clarifies these concerns regarding Erasmus’ error:

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1200312549

    Thank you.

    In Christ,

    Allan

  195. 195. Emma Says:

    Including even the possibility offered by AJ, I found that these two well reasoned papers by John Piper, have resolved all my ambivalences about the two passages in question: from Jan 1, 1986 -

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/on-divorce-remarriage-in-the-event-of-adultery

    and from Jul 21, 1986 -

    http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/articles/divorce-remarriage-a-position-paper

    To extract a apt phrase from Bob Mutch “…you can always find an explanation if you want one.”

  196. 196. Chris Says:

    I have two comments regarding Dr. McFall’s article.

    1) Dr. McFall seems to be making the assertion that a forgiven, repented Christian spouse who has committed adultery is beyond the redemption of Christ and will not be allowed into heaven. I find this distressing.

    2) I am personally grateful for the paper; there is much foundational truth here that could be a significant part of renewing a relationship that was considered, for all intents and purposes, dead as a doornail.

  197. 197. bob Says:

    Hi Chris,

    >>>Dr. McFall seems to be making the assertion that a forgiven, repented Christian spouse who has committed adultery is beyond the redemption of Christ and will not be allowed into heaven.

    Could you post the quote that makes you think he holds his view. I am very sure he doesn’t.

    Bob.

  198. 198. Chris Says:

    “But once such ignorant Christians have been fully informed (by someone speaking the truth in love) of the grave danger that they are in;namely, that no adulterer will enter heaven, then they have a decision to make, which is tobreak off the remarriage relationship immediately as regards its sexual side. Not to do so would grieve the spirit of Christ within him, and His subsequent withdrawal from abiding in him, because he no longer loves Him.”
    -McFall, Page 15

    I took this by extrapolation that *all* adulterers would lose their Salvation and that goes against nearly every understanding of His grace, mercy, and forgiveness for my sins.

  199. 199. Margaret Says:

    Hi there,

    I also got from the McFall article that he believes that knowing, willful sin means no forgiveness ever.

    ”However, if the marriage with the non-Christian is done in full knowledge of the teaching of
    Jesus, and against the explicit warning by the Church, it is a deliberate sin which requires a second
    crucifixion of Jesus to atone for it (Heb 6:4-6), But Scripture teaches that “it is impossible for those
    who were once enlightened . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again to repentance seeing they
    crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb 6:4-6).” (under section 2:6)

    This is referring to those who knowingly marry an unbeliever. He believes they cannot receive forgiveness, based on a faulty view of the context of Hebrews 6. It should follow that he must believe that all knowing sin is unforgivable for the Christian, and he assumes that no forgiveness is possible. I cannot take this man’s teaching seriously because he ignores many scriptures which address the forgiveness of even willfull sinners in the church who do repent.

    Mr. McFall is teaching falsehood, and an extreme ‘Novatian’ view of sin and the Christian.

  200. 200. WmTipton Says:

    awww. isnt that sweet.
    The owner is afraid someone might see the truth and so theyve set it up so we can post without their approval.
    If the coward wasnt afraid of the truth he’d let us say what we wanted to.

  201. 201. bob Says:

    Hi WmTipton,

    >>>The owner is afraid someone might see the truth and so theyve set it up so we can post without their approval.

    I pretty well approve all link drops on matter which side of the argument they come out on. If you took time to read over the comments you would have seen that.

    The reason most blogs set up post approval is to stop spammers from doing link drops that are not relevant to the subject of the blog post.

    >>>If the coward wasnt afraid of the truth he’d let us say what we wanted to.

    However it’s the above comment that caused me to delete your first post and remove the link out of this one. If the “truth” you claim to have produces the mocking attitude that you have shown in your post (ie. calling me a coward because your posted didn’t get displayed with in the same hour) — I have no interest in that kind of “truth”.

    Christian love and prayers,

    Bob.

  202. 202. David Says:

    I’ve been staying out of this, since I felt my point was made and needed to make no further argument, but, I have to take exception to WmTipton’s attack against Bob..

    I have posted (as you can surely see above) harsh disagreements with McFall’s article and, one must suppose, am therefore in sharp disagreement with Bob on this issue, yet, Bob has not EVER, even once, censored or restricted my postings in any way.

    I may not be in agreement with Bob or others in this discussion or this web site, but they have been very generous in allowing me to voice my concerns and opinions. And for that, I hold the greatest respect and admiration for them.

    Indeed, as you may note above, I challenged Bob to modify his blog on McFall’s paper to at least reduce the implied acceptance of McFall’s conclusions by including statements such as “the auther claims” other than restating those conclusions as fact, until such time as a reasonable panel of experts can study and verify / deny his claims. And Bob, in fact, did do exactly that! Bravo Bob!

    For these reasons, I believe WmTipton is totally off-base and wrong in his negative comments against Bob and this web site and general.

    Thanks and love to everyone with an open, tolerant mind and a willingness to consider opinions that may be contrary to your own. THAT is the true Christian spirit! Christ would have gotten nowhere without it :)

    dvc

  203. 203. Margaret Says:

    Hello,

    I do think that the blog author has been gracious in allowing the discussion to flow as it has, and I’m going to ask that a link I’d like to post be permitted, for reflection and prayer. It’s a short, non-scholarly book written by a pastor Mark Bullen, a very conservative brother whom I feel has a few pertinent things to say about this topic of MDR, and in particular the status of remarried people. He does disagree of course, by default, with Leslie McFall and all those who hold to the traditional view of marriage, divorce and remarriage, because he does not hold that remarried couples should have to separate in order to be a part of the body of Christ.

    As my previous posts show, I take the same position, though I’m not for divorce if it is avoidable. I think that the perpetual adultery view leads to absurdities in practice, as I pointed out, and multiplies sin and injustice if taken to its logical conclusions. I believe this is an important issue for the churches to think through carefully, before we condemn those we shouldn’t or condone that which we shouldn’t.

    http://www.thefaithoncedelivered.info/Divorce.htm

    Many thanks for letting me participate.

  204. 204. David Says:

    Well, I’ve stated my piece, so I have little to add, except, perhaps, it’s time to say where I’m coming from and why:

    As I’ve stated previously, my main reason for involvment in this convversation is that I believe that McFall (and some others) have unfairly and unjustly attacked a person whom I can only admire: Erasmus. Erasmus, from all I’ve read (some conflicting on both sides, but overall), *tried* to take a middle view between the Lutherans and the Catholics and find points of agreement, ways to settle differences amicably … a VERY christian attitude I do believe.

    For this attempt at mediation, it seems, Erasmus was critisized harhly by BOTH sides. Not very Christian, IMHO! And, it seems to me, McFall is simply trying to revive that harsh critisim from the Luthern perspective. I don’t like that.

    However, why should I care? My wife is a good christian catholic and I love her. I’m divorced for exactly the reason in the exception clause, hence why I found this (via google). Personally, I wouldn’t care if not for my wife. I am an atheist.

    However, I DO have great respect for Jesus and his teachings; I do believe that Jesus was one of the great philosphers and moralists of all time; I do love Jesus, but I don’t believe he was (nor anyone else) THE great savior / prophet / son of god.

    I’m sure that will make a huge difference to many reading this, but, quite frankly, what *I* believe should make little difference. Either McFall makes a reasonable and compelling case, or he doesn’t.

    I’m completely convinced he does not. Further, I believe he simply makes a vindictive, self-serviing attack upon an inocent believer of the same faith he professes to adhere to. I beileve he offers hypocritical views that Jesus would have been horrified to read if he were around today to read them.

    But, that’s just the views of this heritc (me).

    Love and best wishes to all,
    dvc

  205. 205. Margaret Says:

    I have a question relating to whether Leslie McFall is correct or not, based on his idea that all our translations are basically wrong and misleading, because of a correction by Erasmus.

    The writings of the Shepherd of Hermas seem to reflect an understanding of the ‘exception’ to be just that; an exception…or at least, it is alluded to, because he recommends divorcing as a discipline for adultery. Obviously, one could speculate that he understood Jesus’ words to mean an exception, or perhaps he simply had a disgust for a man staying with an adulterous wife while she continued in such behaviour.

    However, does it not lend credence to the idea of an early understanding of the Matthean text to contain an ‘exception’, whether one believes it is only for divorce for adultery/immorality, not remarriage, or only for betrothal/unclean marriages?

    I don’t really buy into the idea that it has never been understood to be an exception of some sort.

  206. 206. AJR Says:

    Exception Clause Wrecking Havoc

    Because most Evangelical leaders assume the “exception” clause allows divorce if one’s spouse has been engaged in sexual immorality (pornea), isn’t this a leading cause for the divorce tsunami flooding every denomination?

    By this reasoning, when a Christian husband is guilty of sexual immorality through Internet pornography use (or even by his inadvertent exposure to a pornographic pop-up), doesn’t it follow that his Christian wife may divorce him and marry another?

    How many Christian homes and pulpits are being wrecked – even this very moment – by this scenario?

    Who will stem this devastating riptide and save the little ones hurt by divorce?

    “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42).

    ATTENTION ALL TRANSLATORS AND PASTORS:

    Therefore, if by illogic, production of faulty translations, misinterpretation or misapplication of the Greek or English texts, you have thereby allowed divorce and remarriage, you are complicit in the injury of these little ones (regardless if by the sin of commission or omission), you are guilty and repentance is required.

    This IS the issue of our day in the Church.

    Who has the guts to fix this defect in forthcoming English translations?

    Perhaps in generations to come they will refer to our “exception” clause English Bible as the “Divorcer’s Bible”: A translation that’s permitted a reported 50% divorce rate in the church.

    Meanwhile, the “exception” clause will continue to wreck havoc.

    Christ have mercy upon us.

  207. 207. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    AJR wrote:
    “By this reasoning, when a Christian husband is guilty of sexual immorality through Internet pornography use (or even by his inadvertent exposure to a pornographic pop-up), doesn’t it follow that his Christian wife may divorce him and marry another?”

    Indeed. I made this very point in my paper on the so-called exception clauses. See the link to my paper at the top of this page: Divorce and Remarriage: Another Look at the Matthean Exception Clauses[1] (PDF) by Andrew S. Kulikovsky

    Editor: [1]Link added.

  208. 208. bob Says:

    Hi Margaret,

    Let me address your question which I think is a good one.

    >>>Your Question: However, does it not lend credence to the idea of an early understanding of the Matthean text to contain an ‘exception’, whether one believes it is only for divorce for adultery/immorality, not remarriage, or only for betrothal/unclean marriages?

    There are two exception clauses in the TR/KJV new testament. One in Mat 19:9 and one in Mat 5:32. In Mat 19:9 Mr McFall maintains that the current TR/KJV conditional clause “except it be for fornication” should be a parenthetical or information clause which he translates “he may not have divorced her for fornication”.

    While both McFall and Kulikovsky dispute whether the Mat 19:9 is an exception clause, neither dispute whether there is an exception clause in Mat 5:32.

    McFall disputes the exception clause in Mat 19:9 based on what he considers the unsupported addition to Erasmus’ Greek text. Kulikovsky takes the Mat 19:9 Greek text as it is and disputes the exception clause through exegesis by considering grammatical options, context of the verses, and Matthew’s redaction[1] of the Mat 19:9 text.

    In Mat 5:32a TR/KJV the exception clause “saving for the cause of fornication” refers to the main clause “That whosoever shall put away his wife… causeth her to commit adultery”. In Mat 19:9a TR/KJV the exception clause “except it be for fornication” refers to the main clause “Whosoever shall put away his wife… and shall marry another, committeth adultery.

    In Mat 5:32a reading it the way it stands in the KJV translation the conditional cause is dealing with whether a husband is responsible for causing his divorced wife to commit adultery. If he put his wife away for fornication (immorality) he is is not responsible as she has already committed adultery. If he puts her away for anything other than immorality and she commits adultery by having relations with another man, the husband is responsible for causing her to commit adultery.

    As the text reads in Mat 19:9a KJV the conditional cause appears is be dealing with whether a husband commits adultery if he remarries. If he put his wife away for fornication (immorality) he can remarry with out committing adultery. If he puts his wife away for any other reason that fornication (immorality) he commits adultery when he remarries.

    The early church fathers in general allowed for divorce but not remarriage. They would all have had access to the Mat 5:32a exception clause.

    You may want to read Kulikovsky’s article Divorce and Remarriage: Another look at the Matthean “exception” clauses. Kulikovsky takes a fresh look at both Mat 5:32 and 19:9 and presents grammatical options that many times are not considered, he re-evaluated the context of the verses, and gives Matthew’s redactional[1]
    concerns due weight.

    I hope this helps some.

    Bob.

    [1] Redaction — “In the study of literature, redaction is a form of editing in which multiple source texts are combined (redacted) and subjected to minor alteration to make them into a single work.”
    Wikipedia: Redaction

  209. 209. Jude4 Says:

    >>>In Mat 19:9a TR/KJV the exception clause “except it be for fornication” refers to the main clause “Whosoever shall put away his wife… and shall marry another, committeth adultery.[1]

    Bob, could you explain what you mean by the above statement? Are you coming from the context of betrothal? If not, explain how the fornication of a wife, would dissolve a covenant marriage, and subsequently allow both parties to legally commit adultery. Thanks in advance.

    [1] Edited.

  210. 210. bob Says:

    Hi Jude4,

    >>>Are you coming from the context of betrothal?

    No.

    >>>If not, explain how the fornication of a wife, would dissolve a covenant marriage, and subsequently allow both parties to legally commit adultery.

    I don’t hold that fornication by the wife will dissolve a covenant marriage or allow either to remarry.

    >>>Bob, could you explain what you mean by the above statement?

    First let me provide the context of my comment you asking about.

    In my comment to Margaret I was addressing her question that as the Shepherd of Hermas appears either to quote from or be aware of the exception clause in Mat 19:9 TR, wouldn’t this stand against McFall’s efforts to prove that Mat 19:9 “except it be for fornication” shouldn’t be a exception clause but a information clause as he translates it “he may not have divorced her for fornication”.

    My answer short answer was that there is an exception clause in Mat 5:32 that McFall doesn’t dispute.

    Then I when on to note what the main clauses were that the exception clauses in both Mat 5:32 and Mat 19:9 refer to. The reason I did this as some people seem to think that because Mat 5:32 makings an exception clause for divorce that this same scripture makes an exception clause for remarriage in the case of fornication

    With the above context now let me explain the following statement you are asking about.

    >>>In Mat 19:9a TR/KJV the exception clause “except it be for fornication” refers to the main clause “Whosoever shall put away his wife… and shall marry another, committeth adultery.

    If we accept the TR Greek text as it stands and the KJV translation of that text and we don’t consider any other scriptures and just apply English grammar rules we have a main clause and a exception clause.

    The reason I pointed this out is to clearly show the difference between the Mat 19:9 exception clause and the Mat 5:32 exception clause.

    Sorry if my purpose was not clear.

    Bob.

  211. 211. bob Says:

    Hi Jude4,

    Your post is not clear to me.

    >>>I just wanted to clarify a common misapplication of the “saving for a word of fornication’ phrase, where it is erroneously asserted that the phrase actually modifies the words “and shall marry another” because of the English word “and”.

    I think if we leave all other scriptures off and just look at the English in Mat 19:9a that it is very clear that you can divorce and remarry for fornication.

    “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery:” — Mat 19:9a

    But I don’t think the Greek scriptures means that as the Greek Mat 19:9a has either be translated incorrectly as Kulikovsky holds or that the Erasmus modified the Greek leading to such an English translation as is maintained by McFall.

    Bob.

  212. 212. Jude4 Says:

    I think I am clear on your meaning Bob. I just wanted to clarify a common misapplication of the “saving for a word of fornication’ phrase, where it is erroneously asserted that the phrase actually modifies the words “and shall marry another” because of the English word “and”. If such a meaning were applied to Matthew 19, then you would have Jesus advocating the dissolving of a marriage, by the very sin that He mentions. This would essentially remove the very definition of fornication, or even adultery if one insists upon it. The foundation of immorality is the ‘desire’ to committ an act which God forbids. Jesus calls this an unclean heart, and states unequivocally that such a person is “defiled.” If we approve of not only the thought, but the act that reveals the thought, then the sin itself becomes non-existant. We need to remember that obedience is better than sacrifice. Jesus calls all men to repent and live for His will from that moment on. Gods grace, through the gospel, is able to save even a wayward spouse, and also give a faithful spouse the strength to use self-control, while the wayward spouse is doing all they can to torment and deceive. It comes down to either living for Jesus by following after the Spirit, or living for the so-called benefits we might receive in this present world. Jesus said that we must “deny ourselves”, which sometimes requires standing for the purity and exclusiveness of covenant marriage.

  213. 213. Jude4 Says:

    Bob,

    If you hold the position that the ‘fornication’ being spoken of is referring to the betrothal practice, then you would be correct in stating that one could marry another. I don’t know how to word it in clearer terms. I suppose I could simp[ly say that they ‘fornication’ referred to in Matthew, cannot mean ‘adultery’, due to the blasphemous implications that I mentioned in the post that you are referring to.

  214. 214. Margaret Says:

    Even Tertullian, long before Erasmus, was aware of an exception to at least divorce.
    Tyndale also translated the Bible with the exception ‘clause’.

    What we are looking at here are three unlikely hypotheses:

    that the clause was never an exception (in spite of the understanding of very early writings), and Erasmus is responsible for meddling with the Bible.

    that the sayings were never even uttered

    that it is for ‘betrothal’ fornication (which does not fit at all with the context of Deuteronomy 24, a wife who was living in the house of the man who divorced her)

    This is starting to look like grasping at straws to cling to the traditional view, instead of perhaps considering whether Jesus was misunderstood, and he was overstating the issue, and that there is an exception clause, actually. Could it simply be that the woman improperly divorced only commits adultery in the same way the woman in the lustful man’s imagination’ commits adultery’ with him as he thinks of her?Is she actually complicit? No. It’s not ideal, but she’s not really sinning.

    The traditional view looks less and less ethical the more it is examined, with all its crazy implications.

  215. 215. X X Says:

    What even is the traditional view?

    Doesn’t it allow the following?:

    (A.) Violation of God’s overarching precept: He hates divorce (Malachi 2:16).
    (B.) Violation of Jesus command to forgive (Matthew 6:15): Millions of Christian spouses not forgiving one another.
    (C.) Violation of God’s command to not sue each other (1 Cor 6:7): Millions of Christian spouses sue out a divorce in secular court.
    (D.) Breaking of the “one flesh” bond of holy matrimony: Handing the “keys of the kingdom” to the civil magistrate to “put asunder” Christian marriage?
    (E.) Violation of Jesus’ command to protect “the least of these” (Mark 9:42): Millions of covenant children in great spiritual peril.
    (F.) Through divorce one becomes a disciple of schism and scandal: Divorce is communicable — it leads others into divorce (Luke 9:23).

    Why has Jesus left us confused about divorce putting millions of dear children in harm’s way?

    Who will lead us out of this pit?:

    (A.) Pastor Voddie Baucham (No divorce or remarriage).
    (B.) Pastor John MacArthur (Divorce and remarriage permitted by “sexual immorality or desertion”).
    (C.) Pastor Richard Caldwell Jr (Exception clause in error: No divorce or remarriage).

    Perhaps OPC Pastor and leading broadcaster, Kevin Swanson, summarizes it best:

    “Divorce puts a bullet in the head of the family.”

  216. 216. bob Says:

    Hi Jude4,

    >>>If you hold the position that the ‘fornication’ being spoken of is referring to the betrothal practice, then you would be correct in stating that one could marry another.

    The betrothal theory never ever sat well with me. While McFall’s and Kulikovsky’s positions produce some objections their position is more believable and their objects much easier to answer. I hold that the betrothal theory will give people a reason to reject the conservative divorce and remarriage position and stay or go into a second marriage which is adultery.

    Here are a few of issues with translating porneia in Mat 19:9 to fornication alone and applying it to Jewish Betrothal.

    1. Can Todays Formal Engagement Be Broken — This position creates a pre-marriage relationship in which it is adultery to break and marry anyone else. If this is the case with Jewish Betrothal then this may also mean today when a formal engagement is made, broke, and one of the two parties marries they are in adultery.

    2. Two Account Of The Same Discussion Can’t Mean Two Different Things — It appears that the Mathew 19 and Mark 10 are two accounts of the same occurrence. With the Jewish Betrothal theory we now have Matt 19:9 teaching on an engagement issue and Mark 10:11 dealing with a marriage issue. It can’t be both, it must be one or the other.

    Clearly Mark 10 is dealing with marriage. If Mark 10 and Matthew 19 are the same accounts then Matthew 19 must also be dealing with the very same issue that Mark 10 was dealing with. You can’t take two accounts that are the same and make one mean one thing and the other mean something different.

    3. Out Of Context — The context of Matthew 19:9 is found in Mathew 19:3-12. The context of the first question Jesus is asked (vs3) was about marriage not about Jewish Betrothal. The reasoning Jesus uses in his answer (vs4-6) is concerning marriage not Jewish Betrothal. The second question (vs7) that Jesus was asked deals with Deut 24:1-2 which has nothing to do with betrothal. To apply his answer (v8-9) to Jewish Betrothal is to take verse 9 completely out of context.

    4. Creates Insurmountable Objections — While the Jewish Betrothal theory is one way to try to bring Mat 19:9 into agreement with Mark 10:2-12 , Luke 16:18, Rom 7:1-3, and 1Cor 7:11,29; it also creates additional difficulties of its own as does McFall’s and Kulikovsky’s positions. I would hold that the difficulties created by either McFall’s or Kulikovsky’s position are easier to overcome than the objections that the Jewish Betrothal theory presents.

    Further I would hold that the Jewish Betrothal theory creates insurmountable objections to the degree that it will cause people to reject what the new covenant scriptures teach on divorce and remarriage in Mark 10:2-12 , Luke 16:18, Rom 7:1-3, and 1Cor 7:11,29. They will instead add the exception clause from Mat 19:9 to all the other scriptures. Both McFall’s and Kulikovsky’s positions bring all new covenant scriptures into agreement and the objections to their positions are fewer and easier to explain.

    5. Porneia Translated Immorality Not Fornication — As the KJV has become less used and less relevant the Jewish Betrothal theory has taken on a second object to overcome. Most new translations translate Porneia in Mat 19:9 as immorality (NIV, NASB, NKJV) or unchastity (AMP). Out of 22 modern English translations that Bible Gateway offers only 4 (KJV, ASV, NJ21, DT) translate porneia as fornication.

    The King James Only position is very hard to maintain and the position to translate porneia in Mat 19:9 as fornication is equally difficult to maintain. This has made the Jewish Betrothal theory much more difficult to maintain as the KJV translation is used less.

    If there are other objects or articles that deal with other objects to the Jewish Betrothal theory could some one please post them.

    Bob.

  217. 217. Paul Says:

    I thought I would mention this. Margaret is right that the Early church Fathers such as Clement of A, and Tertullian. quote an exception clause. But what is interesting is, to my knowledge, they never quote it Matt 19:9 style, but always, to my knowledge, it is quoted Matt 5:32 style, which obviously never specifically allows remarriage.

    I said that to say this.

    There is another theory on 19:9 about mistranslation. I do not know all the facts on this, but here is what I know. Some people think that the read of 19:9 should be a repeat of 5:32 because of some ancient Greek manuscripts reading this way. This is mentioned in the footnotes of the RSV, NRSV, and ESV. I think this would line up with the early church fathers teachings and quotes, such as Justin Martyr, as well as Mark and Luke.

    —————————————-

    Another view similar to the betrothal view is the incestuous marriage view (Lev 18). Matthew was written to Jews and addressed Jewish law, Mark was written to Romans and addressed Roman law, a woman being able to divorce. When considering this view, a big thing is to look at John B condemning Herod for unlawfully marrying his brother Philip’s wife (unlawful incestuous marriage, etc).

    Some thoughts.

  218. 218. bob Says:

    Margaret,

    >>>Even Tertullian, long before Erasmus, was aware of an exception to at least divorce.

    As noted before there is an exception in Matt 5:32 that no one is contesting.

    >>>Tyndale also translated the Bible with the exception ‘clause’.

    Tyndale used Erasmus Greek text.

    >>>What we are looking at here are three unlikely hypotheses: that the clause was never an exception (in spite of the understanding of very early writings), and Erasmus is responsible for meddling with the Bible.

    You have not made a case for “in spite of the understanding of very early writings”. As noted there is a exception clause in Mat 5:32 that is NOT referring to divorce and remarriage being adultery.

    There are three ways it can be view.

    1. It is an exception to divorce and remarriage in the case of immorality.
    2. It is an exception to break off a betrothal in case of fornication.
    3a. The translation of the Greek is incorrect and it should read as a information clause instead of a exception clause. The Kulikovsky Position.
    3b. The translation of the Greek is incorrect due to Erasmas changing the Greek and it should read as a information clause instead of a exception clause. The McFall View.

  219. 219. bob Says:

    Margaret,

    >>>Even Tertullian, long before Erasmus, was aware of an exception to at least divorce.

    As noted before there is an exception in Matt 5:32 that no one is contesting. I noted this in my last post to you.

    >>>Tyndale also translated the Bible with the exception ‘clause’.

    Tyndale used Erasmus Greek text.

    >>>What we are looking at here are three unlikely hypotheses: that the clause was never an exception (in spite of the understanding of very early writings), and Erasmus is responsible for meddling with the Bible.

    You have not made a case for “in spite of the understanding of very early writings”. As noted there is a exception clause in Mat 5:32 that is NOT referring to divorce and remarriage being adultery.

    There are five main ways Matthew 19:9 is viewed.

    1. It is an exception to divorce and remarriage in the case of immorality.
    2. It is an exception to break off a betrothal in case of fornication.
    3. The translation of the Greek is incorrect and it should read as a information clause instead of a exception clause. The Kulikovsky Position.
    4. The translation of the Greek is incorrect due to Erasmas changing the Greek and it should read as a information clause instead of a exception clause. The McFall View.
    5. The complete exception in Matthew 19:9 is an addition to the text.

  220. 220. Jude4 Says:

    Bob.

    It may be the way I worded my last comment, but you miss the point I attempted to make. I am only maintaining the logical fact which is; whatever the ‘except for…’ phrase means, it cannot in any way modify the portion that states ‘and marries another’ unless you conclude either of the following;

    1. The betrothal view (which you don’t prefer)

    2. The unlawful union view (you are legally married to a sister, daughter, near of kin, another mans wife etc..)

    Both of these position do not end up in a contradiction with Jesus command that all covenant marriages are binding upon both parties until one physically dies. As you stated in your response to me; Jesus points to creation as the model that is binding upon everyone in these ‘last days.’ That is all I was tring to point out. The whole focus of those that attempt to excuse a ‘remarriage’ based on some imaginary interpretation of the phrase imn Matt 19, is fatally flawed. You bind yourself until death when you marry your covenant spouse. The death clasue in scripture can only be voided by death. It is noble to attempt a clear and plausible definition of the ‘escept for’ phrase, but the death clause binds both parties to conform themselves with the creational model. Could anything but death, dissolve the union of Adam and Eve? No. There you go.

    By the way Bob. Although I am not a stauch adherent to the betrothal view, you made a number of assumptions that are questionable, and you omitted important facts that pertain to this positon. Jeremiah 2 & 3 is most certainly applicable to any discussion about marriage. Both positions above are consistant with the binding nature of covenant marriage. If one can find a justification for a divorce from a covenant spouse, it won’t have the effect of dissolving the marriage as long as both spouses are living. The divorcing of an unlawful partner is only a public necessity and formality. Your not truly ‘married’ to the degree that you are one flesh, which is why Jesus calls it adultery and fornication. Thanks for responding.

  221. 221. wbmoore Says:

    Has anyone looked at codex families which do not depend upon the Greek, such as the Aramaic?

    The Aramaic is supposedly dated to at least 165AD and has the exception clause.

  222. 222. bob Says:

    Jude4,

    >>>I am only maintaining the logical fact which is; whatever the ‘except for…’ phrase means, it cannot in any way modify the portion that states ‘and marries another’ unless you conclude either of the following;

    How did you come to that conclusion?

    “And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery:” Mat 19:9a

    I think it is pretty clear that if for a moment set aside the other verses (Mark 10:2-12 , Luke 16:18, Rom 7:1-3, 1Cor 7:11,29) that refer to the issue what the meaning of the Mat 19:9a is.

    Anyone that puts away his wife for any other reason than immorality and marries someone else commits adultery.

    Ask a English teacher and they will tell you the same thing.

    >>>1. The betrothal view (which you don’t prefer)
    2. The unlawful union view (you are legally married to a sister, daughter, near of kin, another mans wife etc..)

    I reject both these views and I posted 5 reasons above whey I reject them. In my blog post Divorce And Remarriage And Jewish Betrothal I came up with one more.

    >>>Although I am not a stauch adherent to the betrothal view, you made a number of assumptions that are questionable, and you omitted important facts that pertain to this position.

    Again there is no sense telling me that I am making questionable assumptions and omitting facts if you don’t tell me what they are.

  223. 223. USA Says:

    “A Christian marriage racked by divorce devastates like a reactor in melt-down.”

  224. 224. Jude4 Says:

    Bob,

    Did I not make it clear, that I reject the notion that a covenant marriage can be finally dissolved based on an interpretation of “except it be for fornication? It is not wise to give so much weight to our English translations. They are certainly an imperfect representation (though sufficient) of a perfect language which God Himself has authorized. The suggestion to set aside all the verses that you listed, only results in an erroneous conclusion. You cannot ‘fragment’ and isolate a text when there are seemingly unclear statements within that text. We can confidently assert that Paul had the wisdom from the Holy Spirit, which provided the inspiration of his letters. Paul has come to the conclusion, based on Jesus doctrine, that “the wife is bound to her huiband as long as he liveth.” Now we know beyond all doubt, that Paul had full and complete knowledge of the doctrine of marriage, which he unequivocally states to be until death.

    All I am maintaining, with the full revelation of scripture as my support, is that the phrase under consideration, cannot, and does not, allow for the divorce of a COVENANT spouse, with the subsequent right to marry another person. The apostles made it crystal clear that a lawful marriage is bound and indissoluable until the death of one of the spouses. In this sense, ‘it doesn’t matter what the pharse in Matthew 19:9a means. It is just as valid and applicable to point out what the phrase does not mean. Whatever your explanation is, I can accept it as plausible, aslong as it does not contradict the ‘death clause’ which is binding upon the spouses while they are physically alive. Hope this helps.

  225. 225. bobmutch Says:

    >>>Did I not make it clear, that I reject the notion that a covenant marriage can be finally dissolved based on an interpretation of “except it be for fornication?

    No not at all.

    Bob.

  226. 226. FSA Says:

    Like a thief’s cutting torch on a bank vault lock is the “exception clause” on the iron bond of holy matrimony.

  227. 227. JW Says:

    I have an honest question.

    According to my research, I am informed by several reliable sources that the “earliest manuscripts” of Matthew 19:9 read:

    “And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, MAKES HER COMMIT ADULTERY, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery”

    Thus, Matt 19:9 reads almost identically to Matt 5:32 in the Sermon on the Mount. The conclusion to both being that the “exception clause” refers only to the husband’s guilt-worthiness in regards to CAUSING THE WIFE to commit adultery (presumably when she remarries). In other words, if the wife is already an adulteress, the divorcing husband is not responsible for making her an adulteress (when she remarries). Otherwise, he not only bears his own guilt, but some of hers as well. In either case, remarriage would be viewed as adultery. It is just a matter of the divorcing party being responsible for only his own gulit, or for the guilt of both parties should remarriage occur (and it was presumed that it would).

    I did not see this addressed here (or did I miss it?) and what do you think?

  228. 228. Jude4 Says:

    Inreference to ‘JW’s point, I thought it wise to re-affirm (and I’ll continue to often, Lord willing) the foundational principle of covenant marriage.

    God holds every man & woman personally accountable to uphold and affirm the righteousness and purity of marriage as defined by the creational record. Paul uses the perfect analogy of the indissoluble bond of marriage, in Romans 7, to show that you can’t be joined to the law, and also be ‘married to Christ’. One must die in reference to the law, in order to be married to another; Christ Jesus. The principle isupheld with the law of the husband, that the wife is bound to, as long as the husband remains alive. We might refer to this as the ‘death clause’. This ‘law of the husband’ precludes the possibility of any ‘exception’ (whatever it means) of dissolving the covenant marriage. If the husband is physically alive, the ‘law’ remains in effect. This is perfectly consistant with Jesus repeatedly saying that ‘whoever marries a woman divorced from her husband, committs adultery.’ If we consider Adam & Eve, the picture is clear; For a strange man to have joined himself to Eve, (literally impossible of course), he would, be lying with Adam also, since she was taken form him literally; (woman – from or out of the man). God does not continue to put males to sleep, and perform the same creational miracle, but He does perform the same ‘one flesh’ bond with every covenant marriage, just as if the same procedure was performed again. That is why death alone will dissolve the one flesh bond. Only death ended the union of our first parents, and Jesus says that the same principle is in effect for all subsequent covenant marriage in these ‘last days’. As a side note; the wife of a man is said to be the mans ‘own body’, and Paul even states that the spouse do not retain exclusive rights over their own body, but they do have exclusive claims to each others body. The distinguishing priciple of the woman being taken from the man is also maintained during the time preceeding Jesus coming. When God tolerated some men having multiple wives, He never tolerated a woman multiplying husbands to herself. A king may have 3 wives, but they were his wives exclusively, and no other man could defile any of them, for that would be an obvious violation of the law against coveting, which includes ‘thy neighbors wife.’ Just some thoughts. In conclusion; take a look at the way the EMTV renders Romans 7, and keep in mind the idea of crational marriage.

    Or do you not know, brothers (for I speak to those knowing the law), that the law rules over a man as long as he lives? For the woman who is under a man has been bound by law to the living husband. But if the husband should die, she is released from the law of the husband. So then, while the husband is living, she will be called an adulteress if she becomes married to a different husband; but if her husband should die, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, having become married to a different husband. (Rom 7:1-3)

  229. 229. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    JW, the “makes her commit adultery” clause appears in a few early witnesses but they are mainly of the Western text type which is well known for harmonising parallel passages. Thus, Matt 19:9 has been edited to match 5:32 (where the text is firm). No serious text critic considers the harmonised reading of 19:9 to be genuine.

  230. 230. MichaelWon Says:

    I think the scripture should be interpreted as “no man shall divorce his wife except for marital unfaithfulness.” Any other interpretation just doesn’t make sense. If clergy told those getting married that under no circumstances would they be able to divorce, who would marry? Marriage is love, adultery is the farthest thing there is from love. It’s easy to sit in an Ivory Tower and force false doctrine on people, but how many of you have been subjected to an adulterous marriage? I’d like to see how you would interpret the scripture? It says what it says. It’s as simple as that. The covenant was broken. If your spouse committed adultery, they did not live up to the agreement. It was broken. The person is biblically entitled to remarry. As far as I know it is an agreement to live by the vows, it’s a 2 way street. If one person decides to not live up to the agreement, then by their selfishness, it’s over. Jesus would never tell someone they were stuck with an adulterer because they didn’t read the fine print. Look at these broken lives, these people are hurting and when the Lord gives them the gift of a second chance, “high and mighty so-called Christians” condemn them for a for a crime against them and make them feel like they are in a constant state of sin. It’s ridiculous and absurd. If what people are saying here is true, then it’s better to murder your ex then divorce them, forgive them, find peace, and move on. As least the murder would be a one-time sin that could be forgiven, but the remarriage would be a sin that goes on comtinually until the biblically unlawful marriage was dissolved. How is being in a biblically unlawful marriage any different than blasphemy of the Holy Spirit or taking the “Mark of the Beast.”. I know many people’s intent here is to save marriages and thus protect the family unit at all costs, but if even one person feels hopeless and loses their chance at salvation because of your judgement, isn’t there blood on your hands? I believe God is more merciful than anyone could comprehend and wants all to return to his ever-loving hands. I’m glad he will be on the throne on Judgement day and not any of you folks.

  231. 231. bob Says:

    Hi MichaelWon,

    How do you feel about John telling Herod post-marriage that it was not lawful for him to have his brothers wife (Mk 6) or when the Israelis according to the counsel of Ezra (Ezra 9 and 10) put away there unbiblical wives.

    >>>I think the scripture should be interpreted as “no man shall divorce his wife except for marital unfaithfulness.”

    This was the law in the Old Testament (Deut 24) and God allowed this because of the hardness of their hearts but from the beginning it was not so and Jesus told them that a man was not to put away his wife. Mk 10:2-12, Lk 16:18, Rom 7:2-3, and 1Cor 7:11, 39 clearly state that if you divorce and remarry it is adultery. So the question at hand is what does Mat 19:9 teach.

    >>>I know many people’s intent here is to save marriages and thus protect the family unit at all costs, but if even one person feels hopeless and loses their chance at salvation because of your judgement, isn’t there blood on your hands?

    This of course goes both ways. If there is no allowance for divorce and remarriage and you teach people it is okey then isn’t there blood on your hands also?

    >>>It’s easy to sit in an Ivory Tower and force false doctrine on people, but how many of you have been subjected to an adulterous marriage? I’d like to see how you would interpret the scripture?

    Many that have a spouse that has left them hold to this view of the scriptures and have not remarried.

    >>>I’m glad he will be on the throne on Judgement day and not any of you folks.

    Here we agree, AMEN!

    Bob.

  232. 232. Trevor Says:

    Hello every one,as the Apostle Paul would say
    “To the church of God , to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours:

    3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    To those arguing the pros and cons of adultery/divorce/remarriage which started out about whether( i think) 2 greek letters were omitted in translations of scripture or not

    and then further what the true meanings are

    then even further the context
    .
    To You I same Shame on You.

    Can You Not see what You are doing to some of these readers.

    You have and are alienating them from the
    very One they should be turning to
    God Their Loving, Compassionate Father in Heaven.

    For it is there they will find the answers they need
    Not the teachings of doctrines,FALSELY SO CALLED

    They as people like any person Who is a Born Again have
    THE RIGHT AND PRIVILEGE TO ENTER THE THRONE ROOM OF GRACE

    Hebrews 4:15-16 (King James Version)

    15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

    16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need

    Full stop,no questions asked Not by God at Least.

    But it would seem,you People think You have the right to determine as to whether that Right and Privilege should be extended to the people who find themselves in a dilemma that brings confusion,conflict into
    their lives.

    Surely it is at such a time, when a person is confused,conflicted and unsure of their position that they should take God up on His Promise.

    After all,He knows all about what it is that we/you are struggling with cause he was tempted in all points as we are,Yet without Sin.

    So I say to all…
    BOLDLY GO INTO THE THRONE OF GRACE and Find and receive the Help
    Your Father has for You.
    Allow your High Priest (JESUS) intercede for YOU and RECEIVE THE MERCY and GRACE You Deserve.

    Jesus said of us all (refering to us as Children) to come unto Him.

    And to anyone who Prevented it,it would be better if a milestone was put around there neck and thrown into the depth of the sea.

    Matt 18….

    1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
    2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them,
    3 and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
    4 Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
    5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

    6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

    7 Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

    Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
    34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.
    35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.

    Its about time we accept The People as they come and LET (as i have been saying)

    Let the Holy Spirit Do His Work

    The Holy Spirit Is Quite capable of doing that
    Thank You very Much
    and if We/You allowed that Holy Spirit Work to happen in their Lives ,
    who dont Live upto OUR expectations(whether based on Thier interpretation of scripture or Not)
    We would Find there being a far Greater Crowd in Glory than not.

    Because let me tell you, its arguements like this of doctrine Falsely so called that cause people to leave the Church in thier droves.

    Its this sort of thing that the world looks at and Says what a Bunch of…

    Any one who is reading this and are grappling with these issues in yours or others lives.

    Go Back and Read Romans Chapt Eight and see what Is RECKONED TO YOU BECAUSE OF THE FINISHED WORK OF THE CROSS.

    And again If any of you think I am Watering down or giving liscence to people to continue in thier Sin.
    Absolutely NOT.
    You Teach the Gospel in it entirety and
    You Will see people repent of thier Sin before YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT whether You should point it out to them.

    Hows That….Because When you Lift HIM higher HE will Draw Men/Women Unto Himself.

    Note Not lifting the sin higher for a person to see

    But Lifting Jesus Higher

    If You have at any time in Your Life Given Your Heart To The LORD

    I’ll see You in GLORY

    Trev.

    Reckon Your Rightful place in the Throne Room of God
    Sitting at the right hand of the Father with Jesus

  233. 233. Michael Whennen Says:

    David Pawson has just released his new book
    REMARRIAGE IS ADULTERY UNLESS…

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Remarriage-Adultery-Unless-David-Pawson/dp/B0050B5KVS

    Scroll down in the link to the Divorce & Remarriage video
    http://www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID=1000104085

  234. 234. jake Says:

    who was God,s first love left becauce of what, and went were

  235. 235. jack Says:

    While I disagree with this pastor’s opinion on what to do if one is in a remarriage situation, this teaching series is one of the best I have heard on this subject.

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?sourceonly=true&currSection=sermonssource&keyword=smbconline&subsetcat=series&subsetitem=Divorce+and+Remarriage

  236. 236. Mathew Says:

    Hi,

    The following is a response from Leslie McFall to what AJ had said in blog entry 188 and 190.

    *****************************************************************************************
    In reply to your query concerning the objection of “AJ” to my literal English translation of Mt 19:9, which does away with the “exceptive clause,” his two examples in Rom 14:1 and 1 Cor 5:8 actually support my view that the verb “put away” must be repeated after the negative MH in Matt 19:9. My translation reads, “Now I say to you that who, for example, may have divorced his wife—(he may) not (have divorced her) for fornication—and may have married another (woman), he becomes adulterous (by marrying her). And the (man) having married (a) divorced (wife), he becomes adulterous (by marrying her).” The words in italics (in brackets) are not in the Greek, but are required to bring out the sense of the Greek.

    You will notice that it is necessary to repeat the verb “have divorced” after the negative MH to capture the significance of the negative. AJ has brought forward two texts from Rom 14:1 and 1 Cor 5:8 in which he claims the negative MH does not relate to the preceding verb, but this is incorrect. I give below the correct way he should have translated these two texts.

    Rom 14:1, “And the one weak in the faith receive you—not [receive you] in determinations of reasonings.” By adding “receive you” after the negative, this brings out the force of the postive imperative. But there is a negative imperative implied after the particle MH, so the verb should be repeated to bring out the sense Paul intended his hearers/readers to get.

    1 Cor 5:8, “. . . so that we may keep the feast—not [we may keep] with old leaven, not [we may keep] with the leaven of evil and wickedness, but [we may keep] with unleavened food of sincerity and truth.” To get the full sense of what Paul wrote we need to re-supply the verb “we may keep” three times in this one verse. There is a positive and a negative “keeping.” This AJ has overlooked.
    *******************************************************************************************

  237. 237. bob Says:

    Hi Mathew,

    Thank you for posting Leslie McFall’s take on Rom 14:1 and 1Cor 5:8 as it relates to the way he has translated Mat 19:9!

    Bob.

  238. 238. Sarah B. Bright Says:

    Wait, it makes no sense to translate it as this website shows in one part: whoever divorces his wife not even/being for fornication/unfaithfulness
    and marries another
    is committing adultery.

    . . .so to me it makes sense now, the idea: “Whoever divorces his wife, not being for fornication, …” to mean “Whoever divorces his wife except for. . .”, the current translation. . .if she would be sincere and really want him back he would have two choices (remarry/remain with her).

  239. 239. Michael Whennen Says:

    Please find at this link a critique that Les McFall has written on David Pawson’s new book “Remarriage is Adultery unless…”

    http://www.wisereaction.org/ebooks/mcfall_pawson_critique.pdf

  240. 240. Jeremy W Says:

    The liguistic case is certainly interesting and has been thoroughly explained. It seems obvious that the clause in question is at best ambiguous. The word ‘MH’ in similiar constructions is never rendered ‘except’. The word ‘EI’ would certainly clean this up, but it is not found in any manuscripts before the life of our friend Erasmus. Context, then, should be used to clear up ambiguity. No where else does Jesus appear to give an out for remarriage. The verse in chapter 5 is a different issue. “Anyone who divorces his wife, except for unfaithfulness, causes her to commit adultery.” Yes, because if she was unfaithful she was already an adulteress. This phrase by Jesus seems to have been intended to show the men in his audience how important their decisions were. To take the exception clause from chapter 5 and photocopy it into chapter 19 is bad Bible.

    I would like to point out a thematic issue. Jesus is not in the habit of lowering standards. In fact, he teaches quite the opposite. He places a charge of murder on any one who hates and a charge of adultery on anyone who lusts. Jesus is the great standard raiser. Thus, it makes no sense that Jesus would would make such an eloquent case for men to honor their wives and then throw in an exception clause. Further, the Disciples’ reaction is interesting. They react by declaring that it would be better not to marry. Why would they react so strongly if Jesus had just given them an exception?

    Translating the clause as an inclusion clause makes more sense. So, the phrase becomes, “…anyone who divorces his wife, not (even) for sexual unfaithfulness…”. This would explain why the 12 reacted so sharply.

    This also fits more with the testimony of Jesus’ life. Christians’ don’t have rights. If my spouse wrongs me by be unfaithful I do not then have the right to marry someone else. I may need to leave her, but I do not have the right to marry another. I will wait for her in case she changes her ways and comes back to me. If she never changes, I will still be waiting. That happens to be what God through Jesus does for all of us.

  241. 241. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    Jeremy, I basically came to exactly the same conclusions as you in my detailed exegetical paper:
    http://morechristlike.com/documents/mdr_kulikovsky.pdf

  242. 242. Burrell Bristow Says:

    Hi Mike. Thank you for your concern for the truth. I was studying Wycliffe’s version which was written before Erasmus’ version it says, “that whosoever leaveth his wife, but for fornication.” How do you interpret that statement?

  243. 243. Mark Bullen Says:

    Sorry fellas, but God preserved His Word, and Erasmus was right about the “exception clause”. It is gnostic heresy to have Jesus teaching contrary to Moses, whom He inspired — He was the Word made flesh, and He came to vindicate God’s Law and clear it of misconceptions. Deut. 24 are the words and sentiments of Jesus Christ – the same yesterday, today, and forever. This quote from Tertullian shows what his Bible said. Tertullian (160-230 AD), a Gentile Christian, who is faulted with being radically strict in the area of marriage, said this of the words of Christ when contending with Marcion (a heretic who taught the creator was an evil God, and not the Father of Jesus):

    “But, observe, if this Christ be yours when he teaches contrary to Moses and the Creator, on the same principle must He be mine if I can show that His teaching is not contrary to them.  I maintain, then, that there was a condition in the prohibition which he now made of divorce; the case supposed being, that a man put away his wife for the express purpose of marrying another.  His words are: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, also committeth adultery,” — “put away,” that is, for the reason wherefore a woman ought not to be dismissed, that another wife may be obtained.  For he who marries a woman who is unlawfully put away is as much of an adulterer as the man who marries one who is undivorced.  Permanent is the marriage which is not rightly dissolved; to marry, therefore, whilst matrimony is undissolved, is to commit adultery.  Since, therefore, His prohibition of divorce was a conditional one, He did not prohibit absolutely; and what He did not absolutely forbid, that He permitted on some occasions, when there is an absence of the cause why He gave the prohibition.  In very deed His teaching is not contrary to Moses, whose precept he partially defends, I will not say confirms.  If, however, you deny that divorce is in any way permitted by Christ, how is it that you on your side destroy marriage, not uniting man and woman, nor admitting to the sacrament of baptism and of the eucharist those who have been united in marriage anywhere else, unless they should agree together to repudiate the fruit of their marriage, and so the very Creator Himself? Well, then, what is a husband to do in your sect, if his wife commit adultery? Shall he keep her? But your own apostle, you know, does not permit “the members of Christ to be joined to a harlot.” Divorce, therefore, when justly deserved, has even in Christ a defender.  So that Moses for the future must be considered as being confirmed by Him, since he allows divorce in the same sense as Christ does, if any unchastity should occur in the wife.  For in the Gospel of Matthew he says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery.” …The Creator, however, except on account of adultery, does not put asunder what He Himself joined together….He prohibits divorce when He will have the marriage inviolable; he permits divorce when the marriage is spotted with unfaithfulness.” Tertullian 3.404,405

    There is no doubt his Bible had the exception clause just like my KJV. He knew that only gnostics pit Jesus against God’s inspired Law from Moses. You must interpret the NT in consistency with the OT, or you have a God who changed his mind. Jesus was giving God’s view of Deut. 24 in Matt. 19 to straighten out the Jew’s misconceptions. Moses’ Law was the church standard for everyone for the first 12 years after Pentecost, and continued to be authoritative on matters of morality, as the basis of the New Covenant was God’s Moral Laws written on our hearts. The ritual law was what was done away, the moral aspects were preserved and written on our hearts — not discarded. I would encourage you to prayerfully consider this. God bless you as you seek Him.
    Mark Bullen

  244. 244. theostein Says:

    Praise the Lord!

    This topic is further explained by Augustine of Hippo (Saint).

    Source:

    On the Sermon on the Mount (Augustine) – Book 1 [Chapter 16]
    URL: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1601.htm

    Here is a small excerpt:

    Chapter 16
    43. Here there arises a second question, when the Lord allows a wife to be put away for the cause of fornication, in what latitude of meaning fornication is to be understood in this passage—whether in the sense understood by all, viz. that we are to understand that fornication to be meant which is committed in acts of uncleanness; or whether, in accordance with the usage of Scripture in speaking of fornication (as has been mentioned above), as meaning all unlawful corruption, such as idolatry or covetousness, and therefore, of course, every transgression of the law on account of the unlawful lust [involved in it]. But let us consult the apostle, that we may not say rashly. “And unto the married I command,” says he, “yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: but and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.” For it may happen that she departs for that cause for which the Lord gives permission to do so. Or, if a woman is at liberty to put away her husband for other causes besides that of fornication, and the husband is not at liberty, what answer shall we give respecting this statement which he has made afterwards, “And let not the husband put away his wife”? Wherefore did he not add, saving for the cause of fornication, which the Lord permits, unless because he wishes a similar rule to be understood, that if he shall put away his wife (which he is permitted to do for the cause of fornication), he is to remain without a wife, or be reconciled to his wife?

    …continued

  245. 245. Jamie Says:

    One thing that has always puzzled me in this whole debate (and there are many things, but I will simply bring one up here) is this whole issue of Jesus’ remark in (apparent) response to Deuteronomy 24. The thought I have is this: I have to wonder if, when Jesus said, “Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of your hearts, and I tell you this – anyone who divorces his wife and remarries is committing adultery” if what Jesus was saying was that Moses made an allowance that actually put women into adulterous situations, but it was a necessary “lesser of two evils” because otherwise, many helpless women would have had no other way to fend for themselves. Now, I know that many are quick to write this off as untrue “that couldn’t be – the penalty for adultery was stoning” and I understand that. But that might have been different because if a man was sleeping with another man’s wife, the real husband still had an interest there, which is different than if the husband had divorced her.

    Let me give an example of another situation that strikes us as strange but in the days of Deuteronomy was apparently a tolerable situation (unless I have this wrong somewhere). If a man died, leaving his widow with no children, the man’s brother could go in to her and impregnate her on behalf of the deceased brother, in order to raise up seed on his brother’s behalf, so the widow would not be left childless, and presumably, so she would not be left childless in her old age. There is no stipulation about the man having to marry her, no charge that this was adultery if the man was currently married to his own wife, no charge of fornication or anything of the like.

    In other words, was Jesus really saying, “Moses allowed you to divorce your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but I’ll tell you something else here: every time any of you has done it, you’ve actually entered into a state of adultery” and therefore, though, also with the implication that the new marriage is something that should be kept intact, even though it is adulterous? I believe this is John Piper’s position on the remarriage. I know Voddie Baucham tries to say that the remarriage is merely an act of adultery (see my post):

    http://knowinghisways.blogspot.com/2011/01/voddie-baucham-and-permanence-view-of.html

    but my understanding of John Piper on the issue is that it is not merely an act of adultery but a state of adultery, yet we must remain in that state of adultery, because there is a legitimate new marriage covenant. And if, in fact, that is the point that Jesus was making – that Moses allowed it, even though it really all along has been entering into a state of adultery. And if that is His point, then is it possible that Jesus was not directly and automatically implying that the second marriage should be undone, even though it is a state of adultery? Just a thought.

  246. 246. Jamie Says:

    Something that always troubles me in this whole debate is the silences of scripture on this issue. For instance, Jesus says remarriage after a divorce is adultery. And I understand from the greek He was saying it is an adulterous state, not an act. But he doesn’t specifically say that the adulterous marriage should be undone. (He acknowledges Moses’ concession, and I don’t know if he is saying it is an invalid concession, but simply that one of the results of allowing it is that people end up in marriages that are adulterous.) Voddie Baucham says it is an act of adultery, but this doesn’t jive with the text. John Piper agrees it is a state of adultery, and yet people should stay in it because of the new covenant.

    Also, Paul seems quite clear that there is no legitimate reason for a divorce, and that if there is a separation, you should remain single or be reconciled. But he doesn’t specifically speak to the issue of “what happens when a new couple shows up in the congregation, married, and one or both spouses are divorced and now remarried.” It is a strange silence. He says nothing of it. He speaks to the issue that if an unbeliever departs, stay single. But he says nothing about this idea of an “adulterous remarriage” needing to be taken apart.

    There are varying opinions on this whole issue of whether an adulterous marriage should be undone or not. I don’t see any cast-iron argument that says the adulterous marriage should be taken apart. There are arguments that say you should, but I am troubled by the silences in the scripture that would make it more obvious and clear. I wonder, for example, why Paul only speaks to situations about what people should do, but not about what they should now do if they did the wrong thing in the past.

  247. 247. Ashkenazi Jew Says:

    In order for the “divorce and remarriage law” in Matthew 19:9 or any other law to have any legal effect it must be relevant to the situation.

    First of all, we must define all semantic components in the clause. Example:
    1. I, what is the exact definition of “I”
    2. you,
    3. whosoever, who are Jesus referring to?

    so far this may annoy someone, but I ask you to be patient and read the following very patiently..

    5. divorce, what is the definition of divorce.

    In order to have this or any Biblical/civil law to bind anyone, it must fulfill the definition of the clause in its entirety.

    If the “divorce” is not really THE “DIVORCE” which Jesus was saying to the Jewish people, then the law in Matthew 19:9 is not relevant.

    In order to define what is “THE Divorce” found in Matthew 19:9, we must first define marriage. What is the marriage which Jesus was referring to?

    We need to study this website very carefully: http://www.aish.com/jl/l/m/48969841.html

    We must pay particular attention to WHAT constitutes a marriage, and what cannot be missing in order to solemnize a marriage?

    You then need to ask yourself is a marriage really the marriage Jesus was referring to without these criteria?

    Read this: “the marriage may not be solemnized until the contract has been completed.” Found in http://www.aish.com/jl/l/m/48969841.html.

    You then need to ask yourself, does it really constitute a divorce if the marriage was not really “THE Marriage” which Jesus was speaking unto the Jews at that time.

    Keyword we must pay attention, Jesus did mention “whosoever” which MAY or MAY NOT implies ethnics beyond Jewish culture.

    I am not trying to make any conclusion. Please do your own research.

  248. 248. Robert Waters Says:

    I have written a book called “Put Away But Not Divorced”. It contains three chapters that deal with th exception clause. While the teaching is not what is traditionally taught, you will be surprised how simple it really is once you see the Bible examples that illustrate the position I hold. If it is simple why the need to write so much? That would be because it is such an important passage due to the interpretation people have put on it and the unhappy application that denies some very important truth set forth in the Bible, one being that divorce, as defined by Moses (Deut. 24:1,2), ends a marriage.

    http://www.TotalHealth.bz The book can be ordered from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, the publisher (Tate) or me, the author.

  249. 249. AJ Says:

    I had forgotten about this thread, but I should say something in response to Matthew/Leslie McFall:

    For the sake of argument, I will grant that the verb phrases have to be repeated in translation when it comes to negated prepositional phrases. There’s a lot of evidence against this, but let’s grant it for the sake of argument.

    The problem seems to be a misunderstanding of the Greek subjunctive. Leslie McFall’s translation seems to equate the English “may” with the Greek subjunctive. This is problematic for several reasons, but I will only deal with the most significant issue that arises.

    Like most modal auxiliaries in English, “may” is modally ambiguous. In some contexts, it takes on an epistemic meaning, and in others, it takes on a permissive meaning (usually considered a sub-type of deontic modality). Here are examples:

    Epistemic:
    John may be out golfing, but I’m not sure.
    Permissive (deontic):
    You may eat dessert, but only after you finish your peas.

    English “may” has this flexibility. The Greek subjunctive does not (it’s flexible in other ways). You can’t understand the Greek subjunctive as conveying permissive modality. The closest it comes is prohibitive modality, but for obvious reasons this is confined to the second person. Look at all the Greek grammars out there; there is no such thing as a Greek permissive subjunctive.

    Thus, the translation “he may not divorce her for fornication,” in the sense of “he is not allowed to divorce her for fornication,” is ruled out. Again, granting that the verb from the prior VP needs to be repeated, the only possible sense would be, “and let’s say he doesn’t divorce her for fornication.” It’s conditional, a well-attested category in reputable grammars like Wallace. The subjunctive takes on this conditional meaning because it falls within the scope of ὅς ἄν, but apparently Erasmus inserted εἰ because it seemed natural to him in this conditional context.

    There is no linguistic ambiguity on this point.

  250. 250. Sean Goodwin Says:

    A few years ago I felt compelled to leave a Church because the Pastor there was encouraging a man who was married to a divorcee to take on the office of Pastor. The man said he did not feel he was in a state of adultery because the marriage took place before he was saved. His wife however was saved before the marriage took place. We went back and forth through the scriptures to try and resolve the situation but we could not agree with the each others view on scripture. The Pastor said the couple in question were not in any error because the previous marriage was covered by something he called a ceremonial death certificate. Also another point the Pastor made to try and scripturally legitimise the marriage and thus the Pastorate was the loosed issue in 1 Corinthians 7:27 which reads. Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. 28 But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. The Pastor believed that the word loosed referred to being in a state of divorce.

    Another point the Pastor raised was the fact that God had divorced Israel so it would be permitted for people in Church now to do the same.

    Another point I raised at the time was that the perceived fornication clause was only found in Matthew for an obvious reason perhaps, that is here we see Jesus Himself speaking to the Jews. The book of Mark was written for the Romans (gentiles).

    All this seems a largely modern liberal view on the doctrine of marriage. I see this as a compromise in modern Churches, this being one common compromise to take hold along with many others for the sake of numbers and filthy lucre etc. More seriously as I tried to communicate to my Pastor at that time that could we be encouraging an unrepentant atmosphere in the Church helping people to understand that adultery is allowed in the flock.

    Personally I don’t believe that Divorce has a place in the Church age. I believe this was a Jewish permit but only in the case where one found they had married a close relative, this was a common error amongst the Jews as they were instructed to marry only Jewish partners, not to be unequally yoked. I see the picture of the Bride and Groom. The Church and Christ Jesus being eternally bound, a union never to broken only by death itself, two soundly saved Christians that truly would die for one another.

    And one last thought, God came to Earth to die for the sins of all men. Also now that He had died he could take a new Bride that Bride of course being the New Testament Church.

    Any thoughts would be gladly taken.

    All the very best.

    May the Lord bless all those that truly follow.

    Sean.

  251. 251. Adam Says:

    “Avoid foolish controversies and geneologies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:9. God is not the author of confusion. His will concerning the marriage covenant is clear if you look at God’s word as a whole. But man has a unique ability to twist the scriptures to his own destruction. In 2 Peter, we are warned of taking the way of Balaam, which is basically doing what we want and expecting God’s will to bend to accomodate us. If our heart is right we should not be looking for scriptural “loopholes”.My heart goes out to the innocent victims of divorce and those who have been misled by their church leaders. Separation or celibacy seems like a radical step to take, but Jesus said it was better to enter heaven missing a hand or eye than to enter hell with your body intact. God never asks us to do something without making a way and giving grace to accomplish it.

  252. 252. larry Says:

    There exists no problem with the betrothal explanation for the exception clause. I am able to clear up any confusion that someone may have concerning it. I would like to discuss this with someone. There is no need for the confusion concerning 5:32 19:9.

  253. 253. larry Says:

    Jeremy and Andrew, the reaction of the disciples showing recognition that Jesus’ words were in fact prohibiting post marital divorce, are fully supported under the betrothal model. Due to the hearers’ familiarity of the betrothal divorce, the effect was the same as saying, ‘the only way a man can divorce his wife is if he does it before he marries her”. This bombshell mesaage, like others in Matt 5, completely supports the obvious across the board prohibition of divorce and remarriage as seen in Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18. There is no reasonable argument against the betrothal divorce.

  254. 254. larry Says:

    It is a fact, that if a sentence can function after a certain manner, then another similarly structured sentence can be presented as an example of such a function.
    The basic structure of 5:32 is that a person does something which causes something. An exception is in the middle indicating in that case, the cause does not occur.

    It is impossible for an exception clause introduced into that general format to pertain directly to the topic under discussion.

    Please someone just try it. Your exception clause will in every case, no matter how many attempts are made, jump out of the context to touch on something on the side.

    Seeing that it is impossible for a sentence, after the same general construction, to possess such an exception clause that pertains to the actual topic under discussion, it is therefore impossible for Jesus’ sentence to have had an exception clause that pertained to the topic under discussion. The topic under discussion was the post marital divorce.

    True to form, as is necesary under such sentence structure, Jesus’ exception clause pertained to the PREMARITAL divorce, as an aside, while the topic he was directly addressing was the POST marital divorce.

  255. 255. S. M. Says:

    Margret, my wife is abandoning me with a divorce and it is killing me. My soul in constant torment and anguish to the point of dying and we have 4 children from 4-14 years old, who are suffering immensly as well. We have been married 15 years. I have in the past viewed pornography and she caught me and was hurt by it, But she is actually upset about something I said in anger when she threatened me with divorce. I have since repented of all of this behavior and am leading a holy life by the power of the Holy Spirit, and am living an amends for my past, although I must be honest I am in constant pain, to the point of it manifesting itself physically in my chest, and still tempted to contemplate thoughts of suicide should she marry another man, which is why I listen to Jesus and worry about today only, and trust he will get me through it. So to me Paul’s command to remain single or reconcile and Jesus’ stand against remarriage gives me hope that my prayers for reconciliation are in God’s will. Although we were both married as believers, she is living in unbelief. But since she has this technicality, all she has to do is call out the “grace” card and the “exception clause” and it will be OK to ruin all 6 of our lives (mine for the remainder of our days on earth, and my children permantly damaged and made to stumble in the faith as well, with a constant example of unforgiveness as the way to handle things? Her’s because it is more than likely she will be consumed with bitterness, resentment and guilt for the rest of her life, if not guilty of adultery.) Would I be in error to hope and pray for reconciliation once she crosses the line into another relationship? Please advise – the depths of my love for her and our beautiful children tell me she will always be my wife and the scripture seems to confirm that. Then what happens when my two daughters divorce their husbands and my grandchildren are affected, and the cycle continues? When does it stop? Is your answer is basically “get over it, move on, and if you feel so inclined, jump into the adultery crowd and join in since everyone is doing it – just play the “grace card” yourself and you’ll feel ok?”

  256. 256. S. M. Says:

    Moderator – please remove my previous comment. It is too personal. Pray for my situation if you will, however!

  257. 257. ricardo arvizu Says:

    hello all, i really enjoyed the debate here. i have not read all of it so i may be repeating something already said but if , and i am not orthodox greek, one uses the peshitta text matthew 19:9 is very clear “but i say to you, whoever leaves his wife without a charge of adultery, etc. I believe this coincides with the parenthetical argument .

  258. 258. Mark Says:

    Can someone explain to me why the NIV version of the Bible in Matthew 19:9 does not have the last phrase given in the KJV: “and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

  259. 259. Mark Says:

    I need some clarification.

    For those who believe the “betrothal view” for the exception clause, does that mean once the betrothed wife is divorced for her unchastity (sex with another man during the betrothal), would only her betrothed husband be free to remarry since she was the one guilty of unchastity during the betrothal?

    Or would it be a “package deal”, i.e. if the betrothed wife was unchaste by having sex with another man during her betrothal, are all parties absolved from any adultery? Or to express it differently, would the betrothed husband and a woman he would marry later, the unchaste betrothed wife and any man she would marry later all be free from sin in their future marriages?

  260. 260. Devin McKean Says:

    I see the people who disagree with this research. But I have a question to ask: How do you explain the woman in Luke 16:18. Here was a wife left by her husband. He’s now “Husbanding” with another woman. Surely he had committed sexual sin. The Bible calls him an adulterer. Surely then Jesus would say she could remarry. Surely he would go on and spell out the innocent party theory. But why didn’t he. He clearly says if she marries again, she’s an adulteress (but to be exact it says the man who marries her is an adulterer).

    People like to turn to these exceptions. But here was the perfect test case. She qualified…. but here’s your exception, she was no exception. Why? What can you take from Matthew that would help this woman? You can’t. Luke 16:18 is either a bold faced lie or you have to come to terms that Jesus was quoted as saying that a woman who had a husband committing adultery was not what Jesus was addressing in Matthew 19:9.

    I realize there is a gender difference in the way these verses are laid out. But is that all you have? That men can cheat on women and they can’t remarry but if a woman cheats on a man he can remarry? Do you really think that’s what Jesus was saying? None of the Apostles mentioned a difference.

    Matthew 5:32, Just to be clear, in Young’s Literal Translation:
    32 but I — I say to you, that whoever may put away his wife, save for the matter of whoredom, doth make her to commit adultery; and whoever may marry her who hath been put away doth commit adultery.

    Still not clear…? Let’s use The Message and see if it opens your eyes:
    If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself.

    So going back to the Young’s Literal you see if you put a faithful wife away you are co-resposible for any future adultery that occurs. The exception was if she was already involved with her whoredoms. Then she is solely responsible.

    Again Quoting Young’s “but I — I say to you, that whoever may put away his wife, save for the matter of whoredom, doth make her to commit adultery;” Do you see anything in there that even remotely says he can remarry without it being adultery?

    Once you allow yourself to see Matthew 5:32 as saying: If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity) you will be able to read it in the NIV or KJV and it won’t throw you off. It is of no help to the woman in Luke 16:18.

    And then Matthew 5:32 is on NO help to Matthew 19:9. They are different words covering different topics.

    So is it a head to head competition between Luke 16:18 & Matthew 19:9? Yes it is. If you want to say Matthew 19 allows for the remarriage of a put away spouse who has had their partner commit adultery it is! Why did the principle in Matthew 19:9 not help the Lady in Luke? You have to have an understanding of Matthew 19:9 that is consistent with Luke 16:18.

    Possibilites:
    1). Different rules for the different genders.
    2). Porneia is illegal sexual activity such as insest or prostitution but not leaving a spouse for another partner.
    3). The exception clause was added and not a statement original to Jesus.
    4). That is was talking about infidelity during the Betrothal period.
    5). What this author suggests, that the word except is being used where the word not belongs changing the whole meaning of the verse.

    You do have to pick one. If you want to believe all the other scripture and explain Luke 16:18 to an intellectually honest person you do. Why was she not able to remarry? So many of the descending opinions on here have no explanation to offer that poor lady. You have to explain that lady or you are just kidding yourself.

    The fact that “me” in the Greek means “not” is a great first clue to this puzzle. “If not for fornication” is a totally different statement than “Not for fornication”. Anyone using Matthew 5:32 to understand this verse just because it shares the word Porneia is making a huge mistake. The words proceeding the word Porneia are completely different, they have a different meaning and are addressing a different subject.

    But that doesn’t mean that early translators didn’t fall prey to the mistake. And one by one, like lemmings they have all been falling off the same cliff… not having an answer for that poor woman in Luke 16:18 asking “Why, if there is an exception, why can’t I marry again?”

    Here’s a simple way to test McFall’s theory:
    Go to: http://biblos.com/matthew/19-9.htm

    The 3rd column is English. Go to the word except. It will show the word “me” in the Greek. Click on it. Read how in never means except but almost always means not. Now go back and read it in the English and put the word “not” where the word except is. Very convincing!

    Now I have read another site who disagreed with McFall to hear their argument. To quote:
    “Now there are hundreds of Greek manuscripts, including some of the oldest in existence, that read me epi porneia—“not on the basis of fornication”

    This substantiates McFall’s findings (he may need better decentors).

    The article went on to quote what they called “The Church Fathers” and how they used the word except. Two problems. The earliest writer was Clemet of Alexandria. He was no PAF. He came from the Apologist period. Clemet of Rome he was not. The Post Apostolic Fathers did not allow any exceptions. They might not have had canonized scriptures but they did have the mouths of Peter, Paul & John. Surely the subject came up. I’m not as concerned as that author as to what they were saying at 200 AD, but more that there was a change in practices from 35 AD. That’s the alarming part.

    Second, the “Fathers” they were quoting wrote in the same language as Matthew. No doubt translated in much the same manner. Showing me a quote in English does not tell me what existed in the Greek. The question is, where did the “ei” come from and that was no help in answering that.

    So until someone can show me it truly is most original as “If not” instead of plain “not” I’ll have to agree with the McFall theory. But even if they could, it just leaves that poor woman in Luke 16:18 and I in having one of the other 4 explanations I laid out to believe in. You have to answer the Luke 16:18 question. Why was she not a candidate for remarriage?

    Drop all your views of Matthew 19:9 that can’t explain the the woman in Luke 16:18. They aren’t real.

  261. 261. larry Says:

    Mark,
    The betrothal explanation does not mean she had to have sex within the betrothal period. He could put her away within the betrothal pèriod for sex she may have committed prior to becoming betrothed if he became aware of such activity.

  262. 262. larry Says:

    Why is there such an uncertainty on what is extremely easy to understand. Jesus made no provision to terminate a marriage by divorce as is very plain in Mark 10;2-12 and Luke 16:18 and 1 Cor 7:39 and Rom 7:2,3.
    My god is not incompetent. he did not leave us in the dark and in confusion concerning this heaven and hell issue. The plain truth is found in the above mentioned scriptures. They mean exactly how they appear to mean. The exception clause was merely an interjected side point making it “non restrictive/non essential”. That is why it can be omitted altogether in 5:32 and 19:9 and the sentence functions perfectly without it.
    You who are stuggling, supposing that the exception must relate to adultery, are making unfounded assumptions, thus bringing the unnecessary confusion upon yourselves.
    ONLY death terminates a lawful marriage. Not adultery, not anything.

  263. 263. Jeremy W Says:

    Greetings

    Many views and much evidence can be stated in the linguistic case of the exception clause.

    The use of Wycliffe in this discussion should be tempered. He did live before Erasmus, but he translated directly from the Latin Vulgate, not Greek. The Latin Vulgate was famously lacking in linguistic integrity.

    The linguistic determinations of Matt 19:9 are vague at best. A direct translation would read-”…divorces his wife not for sexual immorality…” The debate centers around the English clarification. Should it be- “… divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality…” or “… divorces his wife not even for sexual immorality…”? The major test here should be the greater testimony of Scripture. The context should be allowed to decided this ambiguity of language.

    So, placing Matt 19:9 aside, we should consult the rest of the Bible. In every other instance, Jesus and Paul consistently declare that divorce and remarriage is wrong. The supposed conflict between Abraham and the majority of Jesus’ commits is a non-factor; Jesus himself clears this issue with his reference to Moses and the people’s hard hearts. Jesus is always raising the standards of the Old Testament.

    Jesus and Paul’s statements are extremely interesting considering the fact that polygamy was generally accepted in the cultures of the Bible. Monogamy is supported as the better way, but no passage in the Bible directly forbids polygamy. What should we make of this? It seems that Jesus was more concerned about the well-being of the woman being divorced. A divorced woman had a considerably more difficult time surviving in the New Testament world than a never-married or married woman. It should also be noted that nothing is said of a woman divorcing her husband; such a thing was nearly unheard of in this context. Our American understanding of marriage is not being referenced here in this passage or ever in the Bible. We should remember that our assumptions about sex, marriage, and family are vastly different than those of the 1st century world. And, of course, simultaneous polygamy is illegal in our culture. Nonetheless, Jesus does refer to the act of divorce and remarriage as adultery.

    We should act like Christ. At what point would I do something so terrible that he would divorce me? Husbands should be faithful to the wife that they have choosen to marry.

  264. 264. larry Says:

    Mark, in reply to 259.
    The betrothal divorce took place BEFORE what Jesus described as that state acquired where God declares “let not man put asunder’. Since the divorce in betrothal does NOT put asunder what God has joined together, they are both free to marry since they have retained their single status having becomed divorced BEFORE the leaving and cleaving. Look in Matt 5:32, she is NOT caused to commit adultery by being divorced for fornication (not adultery) because she was never married to begin with! The exception clause is merely an interjected side point referring to the betrothal divorce as an aside. The effect it creates is to say, unless a man divorces his wife before he marries her, forget it. What God has joined, let not man put asunder.
    Those who have entered into remarriage have entered into adultery, and like any other sinful lifestyle, whether thieving, idolatry or whatever, the sinful lifestyle must be abandoned. The adulterous couple must terminate their adulterous relationship. No ifs ands or buts. Adulterers, like idolaters or thieves, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    I am surprized to hear that Piper endorses adultery. I haven’t read his writings but assumed he stood for the truth since i heard he defended the betrothal explanation of the exception clause.
    For someone truly knowledgable of the betrothal explanation, there exists not a single question that cannot be very practically answered.

  265. 265. Jamie Says:

    I have to chuckle when I read statements like “for someone truly knowledgable on the betrothal explanation, there exists not a single question that cannot be very practically answered.” REALLY? Not a SINGLE question? There are people with Ph.D’s in Greek and Hebrew who differ on these issues, based on the complexity of processing all the required understanding of the texts and contexts involved. It is not simple, it’s not bulletproof no matter which argument you present. It might be in your mind, but it’s not that clear that you can absolutely obliterate every objection raised by those on the other side of the debate.

    It’s the kind of statement that reminds me of someone saying something like “compared to the Mercedes, the Cadillac is a piece of crap.” While it might be debated (well debated, maybe even?) that the Mercedes is a better car, it is not even reasonable to say, by comparison, the Cadillac is “a piece of crap.”

    I find these discussions frustrating for the people who are often caught up in them, because I often see people speaking of the Greek in the original text, but supporting their arguments with quotations of Greek based on Strong’s numbers and the like. That is not a fluid knowledge of the Greek. It is helpful, but it is not enough to speak with AUTHORITY and ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY regarding these issues which have so much cultural background, linguistic nuance and historical context to be considered in the whole discussion of the various Hebrew and Greek texts used in the debate.

    There was a good point raised, earlier today or yesterday in this discussion, and for those of you who advocate leaving an “adulterous marriage” to go back to a previous one, I have to ask what you do with what might appear to be a contradiction between what Jesus said was adulterous (implying, in your mind, the need to undo the adulterous marriage and return to the previous one) and what Moses allowed – even regulated, although granted, it was reluctantly. But elsewhere in Deuteronomy, they were plainly told if they took gentile women, and didn’t like them, they should let them go, but couldn’t sell them as slaves. Is this not the same as divorce?

    For perspective, you need to know for sake of the discussion that I left a second marriage with the hope of restoring the first, but the more I “live” this, the less it feels like this is God’s heart in the situation, and the more it feels like a rule.

    There are thinking people on all sides of this issue, but for those of you advocating what I already actually did, please tell me what you make of the apparent contradiction between Moses and Jesus on this one?

  266. 266. Lisa Says:

    I do not see this as a contradiction, as divorce is obviously spoken of in scripture. The question is the “remarriage”. Moses never brings this up, does he?

  267. 267. larry Says:

    Jamie, the only question you asked was concerning Deut 24. The answer is quite simple like everything else concerning this doctrine. But without the keys of knowledge, people will continue to languish in confusion and contradiction.

    We are complete in Christ. To assume that childlike faith in what Jesus plainly revealed in Mark 10:2-12 must first seek permission from Moses in Deut 24, reveals bondage to the law. Such an attitude reveals the person so under bondage is not free in the faith that is in Christ Jesus.
    There are numerous things that if obeyed, which Moses commanded or allowed, such obedience would now ensure wrath from God. In other words, those things are directly sinful now as the NT truth reveals. Divorce from a joined marriage for any reason whatsoever is simply one of those things that are forbidden now but were allowed under Moses.
    Yes, there is a direct contradiction between what Moses allowed on this compared to what Jesus revealed God’s original intention was, and is now clarified and upheld, as per the correct meaning of Gen 2, which meaning has never changed.
    What is laughable is the “wise”, so wise, as to think that a childlike faith in the sections of Mark 10:2-12 Luke 16:18 1 Cor 7:39 and Rom 7:2,3, which sections do not possess the complication of the exception clause, cannot be accepted in their apparent intended meaning. What is laughable is that after such a emphatic statement of “let not man put asunder, the “wise” are so wise as to interpret Matt to mean Jesus contradicted himself to say man may, in absolute fact, put asunder.
    If your first marriage was lawful, meaning neither of you had been previously married or any previous lawful spouse was dead, then she is decreed by God as part of your very own body. Either reconcile with her or stay single. Involvement with another woman is adultery and adultery promises non entrance into eternal life. I welcome questions.

  268. 268. Mark Says:

    Larry, I am still somewhat undecided on what the exception clause means. I am leaning toward the no remarriage allowed belief. However, I would like to just throw something out for your input.

    My understanding of the society in Paul’s time was that it was very sexually immoral. I don’t have any specific historical reference to back it up, but heard in a Bible class one time that divorce was so rampant in Corinth during Paul’s letter to the Corinthians that the government was actually paying married couples to stay married. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul lists those who would not inherit the Kingdom of God and he includes “fornicators” and “adulterers” in that list. And in verse 11 says “and such were some of you”.

    Based on the corrupt historical background of the Corinthians during this time, it would seem to have been very likely that at least some of the new Christian converts during Paul’s letter might have been divorced and remarried prior to their conversion.

    Why do you think in 1 Corinthians 7 that Paul would have not addressed those who might have been divorced and remarried as to what they may need to do prior to their conversion, such as going back and reconciling with an original spouse, as an act of repentance prior to becoming a Christian?

  269. 269. larry Says:

    “Such were some of you”, in and of itself, makes it a foregone conclusion that they had turned from those things listed. Adultery was one of the things listed. These were Christians that had been taught by apostles. It behooves us to give the apostles a little bit of credibility that the Corinthians knew very well what constitutes adultery. Since the 4 main references in the Gospels, spoken by Jesus, all have as their last clauses unmistakeable definitions of what constitutes adultery, what grounds do you have to suppose that when Paul said “such were some of you”, that there were still among his audience those who had not accepted this part of the Gospel message? Isn’t the assumption that some of his hearers had not turned from adultery, in effect, the same as saying the apostles and teachers under whom the Corintians were, were incompetent? Adultery in all its forms would have been well known as what, among all other sins, is to be acknowleded and turned from.

    The background story you present strengthens my position since if adultery by remarriage was so rampant and commonly understood as something that must be repented of, the need for Paul to focus on that particular sin would be that much less necessary.

    I liked your analogy between the two cars because I like analogies and grammatical parallels as effective ways of examining a thing more closely.
    The message of that analogy was as if to say that the various explanations of what the exception clause means, have somewhat equal validity, and therefore to trash one would be as foolish as equating a high end luxery car to a piece of dung.
    Obviously you are not aware of the facts showing the extreme superiority of reason and practical application of basic meanings of words the betrothal explanation enjoys when compared to the assumption that the exception clause pertains to an allowable post marital divorce. The betrothal explanation finds the grammar and sentence structure of Matthew 5:31,32 to be completely grammatically perfect. On the other hand, the exception clause assumed to allow a post marital divorce for a sexual offence makes the grammar and meaning of matt 5:31,32 a grammatical quagmire.
    Let me use you idea of cars as a way to illustrate the true comparison that should be made between the two positions.
    Two cars, one a Porsche, high end racing engine, hydraulic-operated doors fully fitted out with whatever is possible. The other a cardboard constructed imitation of a 60s volkswagon-bug held together with duct tape. It has a lawnmower engine that is all rusted out and doesn’t even work, not to mention it has no connection to somehow turn the cardboard wheels even if it worked.

    To this extent is it available to prove the complete bankruptness of the idea that Jesus allowed a post marital divorce for a sexual offense. I would not make such a bold claim if I could not back it up.

  270. 270. Robert Waters Says:

    Greetings,
    I’ve been reading various articles posted (not near all) and have observed that each person has had something to add that is beneficial to the discussion regarding the question “who has a right to a marriage?” Nevertheless, some specific comments are in contradiction to what others had said and/or what the Bible says. And, I’ve not seen any position presented that really harmonizes with what the Bible teaches which surprises me because the truth is being taught by a lot of people.

    I fear many have settled on a conclusion as to what the Bible teaches on MDR because great men they know teach it. Or, maybe they are convinced that a certain passage is just so plain that it cannot be any other way. But if a position has hermeneutical problems then it MUST be some other way because truth does not contradict itself. One should not draw a conclusion at all until he is certain it has no hermeneutical problems. Traditional MDR teachers present Matt. 19:9 to those whose marriages are questionable, and tell them God, not me, tells you your marriage is adulterous and you must break up your marriage and live celibate. But they NEVER mention the following passages: 1 Thes. 4:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:1,2; 7,8, 27,28. These are passages where Paul has shed some light on the matter. But for some reason this light must be covered up with a bushel. The teaching must be ignored because Jesus was so plain, they think.

    I once believed the traditional position but set my mind to learn the truth. After being informed of some hermeneutical problems with the traditional position I set out to find the truth. The truth is, Jesus never said a “divorced” person commits adultery when he/she marries another. While many of the newer versions do say “divorce” – translated from the word “apoluo,” many of the more reliable older versions never say divorce. The position I hold cannot be described by noting the man who started it, because no man started it. It has always been the truth. We might refer to it as the “apoluo does not = divorce” position.”

    Before you dismiss this position as unworthy of your consideration consider that it does not have any hermeneutical problems, which means it must be the truth. The only problem this position has is the same problem the truthful position on any important doctrine has—people who are determined to defend tradition will say and do anything to defeat it and/or cause others to not see it, as well as seek to destroy the messenger.

    What preacher would not like to learn that he does not have to break up legal marriages and impose celibacy on the divorced? All would, unless there is something seriously wrong with him. This is because we have seen so much division and so many people turn away from Christ and the church because they are not willing to do what just does not seem right—but up a legal loving marriage and subject two persons to the temptation of fornication outside marriage. Yet tradition keeps slapping them in the back of the head saying, “Accept that Jesus tells the divorced they commit adultery in marrying another; then preach it and practice it. Do listen to anybody that seeks to teach something different.” Many preachers insist they are right in requiring celibacy for the divorced. To support their assertion they say we have to accept what the text says. Well, yes, we do have to accept what the text says, but if we accept what the text says then we have a totally different teaching by our Lord than what traditional teacher teach. The text is not properly translated divorce; that is a word used by scholars who are influenced by tradition in teaching what Jesus could not have taught, as it would have had him contradicting Moses, which would make him a sinner. The Lord said (paraphrasing and combing various passages) “Who ever puts away his wife commits adultery against her and whoever marries her that is put away commits adultery.” Now, is it not a clear fact that a woman could be put away by her husband yet not legally divorced? Put away (send away) was merely part of the divorce process found in Deut. 24. Thus, it CANNOT POSSIBLY be the same as a legal divorce since it requires the presentation of a certificate or “bill of divorce.”

    Divorce ends a marriage. That is what God designed it to do. It was designed, not for the men, who could have more than one wife, but for the women so they could be released, rather than be merely “put away” or “sent away” with no right to marry another and no means to support themselves (Deut. 24:1,2). The text does not say the divorce is not effective if not done for a certain reason. The men determined whether to give the certificate or not and it was not questioned. The unfortunate women who were “put away but not divorced” by men who refused to obey Moses’ command (see Mark 10:3) were generally caused by their husband to commit adultery. They “committed adultery against her” (Mark 10:11) by their treacherous actions in breaking the covenant with her, but the text does not say the men commit adultery in marrying another, or with the woman in the subsequent marriage. Nevertheless, tradition says both involved in a divorce are ineligible for marriage unless the divorce is “for adultery,” which is not what Jesus said either. Now, the man who married the woman did commit adultery because she was not released and free because a true divorce had not taken place.

    The “exception clause” was not about adultery, specifically, it was about “fornication” and it was not fornication committed by a legal spouse that Jesus had in mind. A faithful Christian does not have the right to divorce a spouse merely because she/she committed adultery. That is not what Jesus said. This is a teaching of human tradition. Christians are taught to forgive and must do so if the spouse repents and seeks forgiveness. God divorced Israel because she would not repent (Jer. 3:8). People have misunderstood the exception clause because they have misunderstood what practice Jesus was condemning. He was condemning a practice of the Jews that is much worse than divorce and one that continues to this day among Jews and in other cultures as well. When one understands that a “put away” woman is not necessarily a divorced woman, he is in a position to understand what the exception clause referred to. The “exception” (where adultery would not be committed against her) was applicable to a case where a man merely sent his wife out of the house (APOLUOed) because of an “illegal marriage” as is so translated by some versions. The “illegal marriage” would include incest as well as being married to certain people of certain countries that were condemned. Herod marrying his brother’s wife is an example. The law did not allow it as long as his brother was still living (Mt. 14:4). Barnes comments on this text are as follows: IT IS NOT LAWFUL FOR THEE TO HAVE HER. The marriage was unlawful for these three reasons: (1) The former husband of Herodias (Philip) was still living. (2) The former wife of Antipas was still living. (3) Besides, the Jewish law did not permit a man to marry his niece. . (The text does not teach that one may not marry someone who was divorced, as it is often misused to teach.) The man who “had his father’s wife” (1 Cor. 5:1) is also an example of an illegal marriage that needed to be ended and would not be sinful action against the wife.

    Paul is clear about who has a right to marriage and he is the one that answers questions asked by Christians. Jesus dealt with a specific evil practice of the Jews. Paul says to let every man and every woman have a wife (1 Cor. 7:1,2). Regarding the “unmarried” which includes those who are divorced, obviously, Paul commanded to “let them marry” (1 Cor. 7:7-9). Those “loosed,” which is done by divorce, or death, are told they do not sin if they marry (1 Cor. 7:27,28). It is important to observe that nowhere in any of Paul’s teaching is there even a hint that a divorce must be for some particular reason before it frees the parties so they may marry. Verse 10,11, is often used as a proof text to have Paul teaching celibacy, but that would have him contradicting what he had previously taught. (I have a chapter on this text in my book.) Actually, the traditional position has Moses teaching what God did not want, Jesus teaching contrary to Moses, Paul contradicting Jesus and himself and Christians teaching an unjust doctrine while claiming God said to do it. Yes, this doctrine that forbids marriage for people who need it to “avoid fornication” (1 Cor. 7:2) is not highly spoken of by Paul. He puts it into the category of “doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1-3). It particularly important to note and obey Paul’s command to “let them marry.” Unfortunately, the eyes of many are closed by tradition and these will be twist Paul’s to try to them harmonize with Jesus’ teachings. Once one learns that Jesus did not teach contrary to the Law that allowed divorce, i.e., he did not change it; then it is easier to see the truth as to what he taught and Paul’s teaching becomes harmonious, clear and emphatic.

    There is much free stuff on my web site that relates to MDR: http://www.TotalHealth.bz and I have a book called “Put Away But Not Divorced” that is published by Tate Publishers that puts it all out there in one neat easy to understand package.

  271. 271. Robert Waters Says:

    I’m trying to post to this list. Tried yesterday but failed and thought I lost what I wrote. Wrote again and posted . got a massage saying “dupicate message. It appears you have already said that.” I have not been able to find my post.

  272. 272. Robert Waters Says:

    Okay, it posted. Sorry.
    rw

  273. 273. Jamie Says:

    Larry, you said….

    Such were some of you”, in and of itself, makes it a foregone conclusion that they had turned from those things listed. Adultery was one of the things listed.

    No one is disupting this point. The question in dispute here is whether remarriage after a legitimate divorce is living in a state of adultery. The error you have made here is that you have used your conclusion (remarriage is adultery) to prove your argument (these people therefore must have ended these remarriages because they were adulterous). This is bad logic and it doesn’t solve the problem. While your point might otherwise be valid (remarriage is an ongoing condition of adultery) you can’t prove it from this verse. If your premise is wrong (and therefore remarriage after a legitimate divorce is valid) then you are drawing a conclusion from this verse that isn’t really there at all. So if you’re going to show up in your Porsche to knock the cardboard wheels off the competition, you need to make sure you are careful not to make these errors in logic; otherwise, what might be clear to you may well still not be clear to others, because you’ve not made as CLEAR a case as you think you did.

    Also, you said….

    It behooves us to give the apostles a little bit of credibility that the Corinthians knew very well what constitutes adultery.

    Larry, this is exactly the point that was made for you to address. You see, if divorce and remarriage were rampant in Corinth, then it seems the necessity is on your side to give a reasonable idea as to why Paul DIDN’T EVEN GO NEAR THAT PROBLEM in this letter to the church. Surely you can imagine that if he is writing to the church to give advice on the matters of immorality in marriage, divorce and remarriage, he would have made SOME mention in this book – at least to clarify for any who would later join that church in Corinth, let alone to clarify for all generations to come – that if people come to Christ, and they are in one of these adulterous marriages, they need to undo it and remain celibate. Yet Paul doesn’t do this.

    What he does say is that a married couple should remain married; if they separate, they need to remain separate or be reconciled. And then he stops talking about it. He later discusses the situation of what you are to do if someone leaves, what single people are to do who have never been married. But there is NO SPECIFIC AND CLEAR mention to anyone here that if they are in an adulterous marriage, they need to break it up. Surely you can imagine that Paul is writing here to a church where he would assume there are new believers who would need this information since he last visited there, right?

    Again, I think my analogy fits, though perhaps you might not be able to see it even while most others can. For you to speak of the “complete bankruptness of the idea…” or “the extreme superiority of reason and practical application of basic meanings of words…” leaves me wondering how well you’ve tried to think this through from all sides of the issue before coming to your conclusions.

    Your analogy of the Porsche compared to the 60s volkswagen with cardboard wheels is not fair or realistic to the facts that need to be weighed here. As much as you would like to make the issue that simple, it won’t be made as simple as you want it to – unless, as you have done with some of your arguments here, rather carelessly dismissed the ideas from the other side without the adequate responses they deserve.

    I know you believe your position is true. But the problem is that until you explain it well enough that others can understand your point, you’ve not made it that clear to them, the persons you are trying to help.

  274. 274. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    I read your post with some interest, and if you are right about this, then perhaps your view needs some consideration, and it might, in fact, answer these apparent contradictions. The question I would ask is this: on what basis do you make this distinction that Jesus us condemning the “putting away” rather than the “divorce?”

    The reason I ask is that in the Greek, I see the same word used in these different contexts – apoluo, in its different forms – no matter the passage. So when Jesus says, “you have heard it said, if a man wants to “apoluo” his wife, let him write her a certificate of divorce…. yet I say…” it is the same word where Joseph wanted to “apoluo” Mary his betrothed. Looking at it consistently, there needs to be some compelling reason why your interpretation needs to be seen as the most accurate one – where the word (perhaps somewhat arbitrarily) is either taken to mean “divorce” or “sent away without the benefit of a certificate of divorce” and your translating it into these two meanings needs some linguistic or cultural support to allow you to take this license with the translation; otherwise, fair “rules of engagement” would more likely require you to translate it the same way in every instance, and it seems to be better fitting when it is consistently translated “divorce” instead of “put away,” don’t you think? I might be wrong, but perhaps you could elaborate on this a little? Thanks

    Jamie

  275. 275. Lisa Says:

    Robert,
    You mentioned this scripture: Regarding the “unmarried” which includes those who are divorced, obviously, Paul commanded to “let them marry – Can you please explain how this includes divorcees?

    Unmarried means to me, someone who has never been married before. Not a previously married person. Is there a clear cut answer to this that indicates this could really include previously married people?

    Thanks,
    Lisa

  276. 276. Scarecrow Says:

    Marriage is a covenant which is a contractual agreement. When the terms of that covenant (contract) are broken there are grounds to dissolve (divorce) the agreement. God himself “divorced” the nation of Israel and not long after Judah for breaking their covenant with Him. An unmarried woman may or may not be a divorcee, and is eligible to marry.

  277. 277. Robert Waters Says:

    Hello Lisa,
    Thanks for your question.
    I just now went to Google and asked for definition of “unmarried.” Of course I have done it before but wanted to confirm it. Here is the first definition I found: “not married; having no spouse.” If divorce does what God designed it to do, then those who are divored have no spouse.

    When a divorce is done God’s way, even though both parties might not have wanted it, the divorce is ended. When men do not do a divorce God’s way, like the case of a man merely “putting away” (look up this phrase in the dictionary) it is not legal or scriptural and if the “put away” person marries another adultery is committed. Is this too simple for some to grasp? Is the good news that preachers and elders are not required to break up marriages and impose celibacy merely because one has made a mistake in who they married and has been divorced to much to take all at once?

    There is no doubt that Paul included previously married people when he spoke of the unmarried?
    rw

  278. 278. Jamie Says:

    Robert, Lisa;

    A little note on “unmarried,” for what it’s worth. In the greek, there is no word for “widower” and so the context must dictate whether, when referring to a man, the word means “unmarried” or “widower.”

    I believe in this case, it seems most sense in this particular verse that it is better to translate it as “now to the widowers and the widows, I have this directive.”

    It seems to flow more logically with what Paul’s intent of the chapter is about – he deals first with those who have lost a spouse to death, then to those who are currently married, and then those who are married but their spouse leaves them, and then with the freedom of those who are unmarried (ie, young who have never been married) to marry if they must, but would still be better off, in Paul’s eyes, if they can remain unmarried “due to the current crisis.”

    So in this case, this PARTICULAR verse doesn’t really define anything in the discussion at hand, because here, “unmarried” is likely referring to widowers (and widows – “to the widowers and widows,…”)

    The question, “does a divorce end a marriage” is not addressed in this particular verse. And we must keep in mind that to read our english definitions into the context of ancient Greek and Hebrew documents will sometimes skew the intended meaning in the original text. We have to let Greek and Hebrew terms define themselves and let the original language’s definitions of the words dictate their application to us. Just a thought…

    Anyway, Robert, I am still curious as to your different meanings you read into the same word “apoluo” depending on context, and how you come to the conclusions you did about how it has these different meanings (again, assuming by context, but) if you could explain, please.

  279. 279. Robert Waters Says:

    Jamie,
    Thanks for your thoughtful relevant questions. Evidently, you want the truth rather than to defend tradition, which is highly commendable.

    > I read your post with some interest, and if you are right about this, then perhaps your view needs some consideration, and it might, in fact, answer these apparent contradictions. >

    While I’m used to getting comments from people who say thing like “I read your article, or book, with great interest” I’m pleased that you read it with at least “some” interest. :-)
    As pointed out in a previous post, the truth is determined by using good hermeneutics. That is what led me to the position I now hold. I have had to make two major changes to get where I am.

    > The question I would ask is this: on what basis do you make this distinction that Jesus is condemning the “putting away” rather than the “divorce?” The reason I ask is that in the Greek, I see the same word used in these different contexts – apoluo, in its different forms – no matter the passage. >

    Actually, the only word that could reasonably be used to refer to a legal divorce having taken place would be (lusis) which is translated “loosed” in 1 Cor. 7:27. Paul said, if you are loosed from a wife…you do not sin if you marry. This harmonizes with his teaching in verse 7-8, where he gave the command to allow the “unmarried” to marry. Those who are divorced are unmarred and also loosed. (Yet some say one may be married but not loosed. I have a chapter in my book in which I deal with this argument.) Defenders of tradition insert things between the lines to avoid the force of Paul’s teachings that flatly contradict their teaching and practice.

    > So when Jesus says, “you have heard it said, if a man wants to “apoluo” his wife, let him write her a certificate of divorce…. yet I say…” >

    The original question (Mt. 19:3) was designed to entrap Jesus in his words. His enemies evidently wanted Jesus to take sides on the issue of what Deut. 24:1,2 meant, but he did not fall for the trap. Instead, he used their comments against them to the point that they shut up. He was completely successful in his reply. Now, they first asked about putting away for every cause. They may have meant legal divorce, but that is not what they said or asked about. Jesus dealt with what they said, and his statement evidently was a blow to them because of their guilt of sending away wives, which was a far worse sin against them than divorcing them (see Mark 10:11). It was treachery, Mal 2:14.

    > So when Jesus says, “you have heard it said, if a man wants to “apoluo” his wife, let him write her a certificate of divorce…. yet I say…” >

    I am assuming you statement is a paraphrase of Matt. 5:30-32. Note that in verse 17 Jesus made it perfectly clear that he wasn’t intending to change the Law at that time. The law allowed men to divorce their wives, and the Law did not say it could be done only if the wife committed fornication. The Law had other provisions for anyone who committed adultery (death). Also, in verse 20, note that Jesus makes it clear who are in opposition to the Law because of their unrighteousness, which obviously included taking stands on issues that were contrary to the Law. Well, rather than make comments that have been interpreted by “friends” of Jesus as being contrary to Moses, Jesus was merely condemning the evil practice of putting away. Then he dealt with their evil practice of putting away LEGALLY—as Moses prescribed. Even though it was a command for them to give the certificate if they wanted a divorce, this did not justify their breaking their covenant with their wife regardless of the cause.

    > it is the same word where Joseph wanted to “apoluo” Mary his betrothed. >

    When Joseph thought that Mary had been with another man (before they were married) he had a mind to “repudiate” her, which is a meaning of apoluo-the meaning that Weist gives to this word. Apoluo should not be translated “divorce” here because they were not married and no divorce is needed where there is no marriage, at least the Mosaic Law did not require such and Joseph was a just man who would follow the Law of God rather than some man-made tradition. Defenders of tradition have gone to great lengths to prove that these two were married, but they were not. The word “husband” is merely the same word that is also used for “man” and is no evidence at all they were married. They could not have been married because the scripture tells us that they were married later. When scholars define apoluo they never give divorce as the first definition. Based on their misunderstanding of the context and facts of the case of Joseph and Mary some might say “used of divorce” and give this text as a reference.

    > Looking at it consistently, there needs to be some compelling reason why your interpretation needs to be seen as the most accurate one – where the word (perhaps somewhat arbitrarily) is either taken to mean “divorce” or “sent away without the benefit of a certificate of divorce” and your translating it into these two meanings needs some linguistic or cultural support to allow you to take this license with the translation;

    There are a myriad of factors that when considered together (the big picture) leave no doubt that the “apoluo does not = divorce” position is true:

    1) There is no other position that is believable—they all have hermeneutical problems—some very serious ones.

    2) The context of the “MDR” texts indicates Jesus was mainly dealing with the Jewish men’s evil practice of putting away but not divorcing, although he also let them know that even giving the certificate to divorce a wife was not God intention. In God’s divorce of Israel (Jer. 3:8) he made it clear that he had not merely put away but also gave the certificate, which made for a legal and final divorce or end of the relationship.

    3) Put away, or send away, was merely PART of the divorce process (Deut. 24:1,2). One can send away a spouse yet not divorce. This facts makes it evident that it would be unacceptable to arbitrarily translate apoluo as divorce.

    4) There is every reason to believe that there was indeed, among the Jewish men, the practice of sending away their wives without giving them a certificate, because Jesus said they were committing adultery against their wives by sending them away and marrying another (Mark 10:11). Giving them a legal divorce so “they may go be another man’s wife” would not be adultery against them. This is what the woman wanted so “they could go be another man’s wife.”

    5) The Jewish men had a motive for NOT giving the certificate. If they gave the certificate, as commanded by Moses and confirmed by Jesus (Mark 10-:3), they would have to pay back the dowry they received from the parents of the woman they married.

    6) Jews in Israel are to this day refusing to give a certificate of divorce. See “Jewish Women in Chains” on my web site or my book.

    7) The position I’m contending for allows Moses to be in harmony with God’s teaching (rather than contrary to what God wanted), Jesus to be in harmony with Moses, Paul in harmony with Jesus and himself. This position also does not require punishing the unjust, such as one divorced but who did no wrong. This position does not cause men to feel the need to ascend to the bench, make inquires and become judge over people.

    8) There are no passages of scripture that contradict the position that I hold, nor are there any moral principles violated.

    9) This position does not promote divorce (as some have charged) because Paul clearly taught for men to love their wives and for women to obey their husbands. To the contrary, the most widely accepted position does indeed promote divorce as it encourages a race to the courthouse so as to not be the one that is made “ineligible for marriage.” According to tradition, only one who divorced the spouse “for fornication” may marry another.

    10) The position I espouse does not break up marriages that often causes the affected to turn from the Lord.

    > otherwise, fair “rules of engagement” would more likely require you to translate it the same way in every instance, and it seems to be better fitting when it is consistently translated “divorce” instead of “put away,” don’t you think? I might be wrong, but perhaps you could elaborate on this a little? Thanks >

    No, it is inexcusably unscholarly to translate apoluo as divorce in every place it is used because in many places the word has nothing to do with marriage. And, as previously noted, one can “put away” but not divorce.

    I have a lengthy chapter called “Dissenting Scholars” in my book http://www.Put-Away-But-Not-Divorced.com . It contains quotes from many well respected scholars who say things that lend support to the position I have taken. There are 38 chapters in the book but this chapter alone is worth the purchase price.

    Thanks again for your questions.,
    Robert Waters
    http://www.TotalHealth.bz

  280. 280. larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Look at the last clauses for these 3 verses spoken by Jesus:

    Matt 5:32 … “and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery”.

    Matt 19:9 … “and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”

    Luke 16:18 … “and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”

    Now look at the two verses in Mark.

    Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
    Mark 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

    If remarriage is not adultery, then you must give some meaning to the above.

    I am defending the betrothal explanation, which according to you must be either the equivalent to a Cadillac or a Mercedes. But since the betrothal-divorce explanation forbids terminating a joined marriage for any reason whatsoever, (which is directly opposite to what you are supporting, that a legitimate divorce exists) it is impossible for both positions to be given equal respect. Either both positions are nothing more that cheap cardboard non functional pieces of junk, or one is true and the the other is false. They cannot both be true.
    I said I wouldn’t make the claims I have made if I could not back them up. Yet you did not respond to such an invitation of scrutiny.

    Jesus said “let not man put asunder”. The betrothal explanation functions perfectly with this statement. In fact it reinforces its apparent plain meaning. But the idea that a legitimate divorce exists to terminate what God has joined together is directly contradictory to those actual words. The idea of an existing legitimate divorce changes Jesus’ words to say that man may in very deed put asunder what God has joined together. You see, I have kicked that cardboard tire and it fell apart all over the street. This is just one of numerous self-contradictions afflicting the idea that divorce is allowed.

    If the last clauses mean something other than what the plainness of their words appear to indicate, then provide a grammatical parallel starting with “whosoever”, wherein the real meaning of the sentence is something other than what the words themselves appear to reveal.
    Let me give you an example:
    Whosoever willfully takes into their possession what they know belongs to another, commits theft.
    Your parallel must start with “whosoever” and then refer to an act, and then identify what is being committed if someone were to do that act. Remember, it must be seen that the real meaning is very different than what the words themselves plainly appear to reveal.

    By denying the plainness of the meaning of the last clauses and all of Mark 10:11,12, you are at a minimum declaring thoses verses to have been incorrectly written. Since you must ascribe a meaning that differs from what their words themselves plainly appear to reveal, a couple more cardboard tires just fell off your car and are spread out on the street for the wind to blow away.

    The grammatical function of both Matt 5:32 and 19:9, (The two verses which have the exception clause) is drammatically changed when viewing the exception clause to be simply a reference-on-the-side to their cultural premarital divorce, identified by the common reason for such a divorce; fornication, not adultery. The grammatical function is greatly simplified and able to be looked on as straightforward and simple in meaning as Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18, both which do not have the exception clause

  281. 281. robert waters Says:

    Larry, it seems to me that your main concern in your recent post was over the phrase “let not man put assunder.” First, this does not say man CANNOT put assunder. Many have tried to make it say that, but it does not. The question is, what does it mean? Obviouisly, man can at least have a part in putting assunder. This is done through the divorce process that God has set in place and which he used, giving us an example of HOW to do it. Thus, when a divorce is done God’s way it is NOT man, doing it by himself, which is condemned. Now, how, specifically, might a man “put assunder” in such a way as to be contrary to God’s command “let not man put assunder”? Well, I don’t know if you have been reading my posts or not, but if you have you know my position. Man puts assunder HIS own way when he merely apoluo’s or repudiates a woman and refuses to give the certificate of divorce as Moses commanded and Jesus confirmed should be done (Deut. 24:1,2; Mark 10:3).
    Something to think about….
    rw

  282. 282. Yvonne Margaret Says:

    Hi,

    I posted a while back as Margaret (my middle name).

    I was drawn to Jamie’s posts, as he has mentioned that he left a second marriage having been convinced that he should, so as to reconcile with his former wife.

    He brings up a valid point, one which I think I brought up before, which is why would Paul not specifically deal with adultery in remarriage, since most people would not have even considered that remarriage was adultery in an ongoing sense, as some interpret it to be.
    What strikes me as odd about this teaching that a person has to leave a second marriage in order to be saved, is that it is just too simplistic, too wooden, and, as Jamie suspects, too much like a ‘rule’. I think it is indeed, and all those who think it is as straightforward as just leaving a second marriage have not thought through the pastoral ramifications of advising a person to do what Jamie did.

    I now have a blog about MDR, and I unashamedly stand against the teaching endorsed at this blog and other internet sites.I have had women (and a couple of men) write to me, some in dire spiritual states. Women who have been so spiritually decimated that they cannot function; on meds, some on the verge of leaving their desperate families for the sake of a person who is long remarried and is unlikely to ever want them again; depressed and in torment. I do not think the conviction of the Holy Spirit ever brings a person to this place of confusion. It is always hopeful even if the way seems difficult. Yet these folks are distraught, and know that something isn’t right about the teaching.

    My objection to the teaching of leaving a spouse because the marriage, according to some, is deemed to be adultery, is that quite simply, this advice does not fit with real life. It doesn’t fit with real situations where people have been redeemed while in various marital situations. There are some marriages which cannot be defined as adulterous or non adulterous because it is not possible to know the history of previous divorces.What does Paul say to this impossibility? The only scriptural answer is to abide.Abide.
    I understand that the main objection to what I and others are arguing by remaining as one is at conversion, is that Paul would not counsel to remain in sin. According to the traditional view, Paul is only addressing circumcision and issues of slavery versus freedom. May I point out that in verse 26 of 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is continuing the very same line of reasoning, and clearly intends it to be understood in the context of marital status! It is not that Paul is digressing from his main point of addressing marriage to another principle of abiding, rather the points he makes about circumcision and slavery are brought under the umbrella of the very principle of abiding which he is dealing with throughout the passage.

    The fact of the matter, and what gives the lie to this grievous teaching (if I may say so out of concern), is that there are remarriages where one or both parties have been married and divorced so many times to others divorced and remarried, and quite simply it is not possible to put them into the neat little category of ”Oh, that’s an adulterous relationship because they were married once before”. Well, who were they married to? A divorcee? What kind of divorcee? One like Jamie, from a ‘true’ marriage, or one like someone else, who was ‘divorced’ from an ‘adulterous relationship’ (making them never married if they were single). If Paul issues a blanket statement that all remarriages are now adultery, then he is saying that some of those that break up will actually be ‘first time’ marriages in the eyes of God because they were genuine one flesh (though, somehow, only God knew it, not the confused parties involved), and he is therefore endorsing marriage breakup. So Paul doesn’t command this, because it isn’t true that remarriage is continuous adultery. It just doesn’t make sense.What, does Paul intend for a believer to abandon his home of 20+ years because of a woman who disappeared years before and may no longer be around? How would you even know if you were in adultery? That is bondage.

    I know I seem as though I’m being facetious, but to tell the truth I think it takes a certain degree of vulnerability, gullibility, coupled with a genuine fear of God and a desire to please Him, to do what Jamie did. I almost panicked and left my husband because he was divorced, but his first marriage was to a divorcee ( from a true marriage, so called).

    I’m sorry, McFall’s argument just doesn’t wash.

  283. 283. Yvonne Margaret Says:

    Sorry, I just wanted to ask a question: do you think that a person who desired to please God initially, would be lead to suicide by this teaching if it were true? Does the Holy Spirit put such burdens on people?

    Just to clarify: people have committed suicide at having been told they must leave their spouse and no longer be a parent at home to their children because of a former divorce, if they wanted to continue with the Lord. I’m just a bit skeptical that this fruit is to be expected if the teaching in question were correct. I always thought that conviction always carries hope and clarity with it, not confusion and depression.

  284. 284. larry Says:

    I want to give an oportunity, for those who believe that Jesus allowed a post marital divorce, to defend their position.
    I am asking for a grammatical parallel of the first 3 main clauses of Matt 5:32

    1) whosoever shall put away his wife,
    2) saving for the cause of fornication,
    3) causeth her to commit adultery:

    Notice the basic mechanics.
    1) “whosoever” does something
    3) that action causes something
    2) an exception, between 1) and 3), making the doing cited in 1) to NOT cause what is cited in 3).

    Here, I will give you an example, but I am not going to provide the exception clause. That is up to you to think of an exception clause that will make sense.

    1) Whosoever places an apple on the hood of his car
    2)
    3) causes a passing child to commit theft

    Let me put it in sentence form leaving a blank for you to fill in.

    Whosoever places an apple on the hood of his car, ____________________,
    causes a passing child to commit theft.

    The challenge is to provide an exception clause, using “saving for”, “unless”, or “except”, that will perform in the same manner that it is asserted that Matthew 5:32 performs.

    Here is how the 3 clauses in Matt 5:32 look, first with the exception clause missing, and then when present:

    Whosoever shall put away his wife, _______________________, causes her to commit adultery

    Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery

    Do you see that a wife put away for fornication is not caused to commit adultery?
    Likewise, the exception clause about an apple will show that a passing child, under the circumstances referred to by the exception clause, will not be caused to commit theft.
    Please provide an exception clause for the parallel which functions the same way it is asserted that the exception clause in Matt. 5:32 functions.
    Let me inform you right now, it is impossible.
    But please try.

  285. 285. larry Says:

    Robert,
    You have made some uninformed assumptions that have led you to believe that the exception clause is referring to a wife joined in marriage. Please be upfront and reveal the deductive processes that have led you to the conclusion that the exception clause must certainly be referring to a wife joined in marriage.

  286. 286. robert waters Says:

    > (Slightly inflammatory remark cut) Please be upfront and reveal the deductive processes that have led you to the conclusion that the exception clause must certainly be referring to a wife joined in marriage. >

    Larry,
    Thanks for your good question.
    First, let me see if I can help make your point, or question, more clear. My position is that the exception clause that Jesus speaks of, i.e., a situation where the man sending his wife away and he marrying another, would not be adultery against her, according to Mark 10:11, is where the marriage is not legal or scriptural and thus results in fornication.

    1. Jesus could not have been changing the law that allowed men to divorce their wives as prescribed by Moses who taught what God wanted (Deut. 24:1,2). See Matt. 5:17-32. To have done so would have been sinful and contrary to what he promised before he ever said a word about the Jewish men’s evil practice of putting away but not divorcing. When we consider that the Jews did not charge Jesus with contradicting the Law on this matter we must accept that they did not understand that he was teaching what men today are saying he taught, i.e. that a legally divorced person commits adultery in marrying again, unless the divorce was initiated because of adultery. This does not even fit into the context of the situation because the Jewish men did not divorce women for adultery. The Law taught that they were to be stoned. So, there must be a logical explanation for what Jesus taught–one that is in harmony with Moses and with what Paul taught.

    2. When Jesus spoke of men “putting away” their wives he used the word “apoluo.” This is only part of the divorce process. When a man did this, without giving the certificate of divorce that was required, it would leaves the woman in bondage to the man. She may not marry another. But if she does both she and the man she marries commits adultery. This is reasonable and logical. But such did not happen where there was an actual divorce, according to the Law. Jesus was teaching the Law to Jews who had turned away from it on virtually every issue.

    3. Since Jesus was not teaching that a divorced person, one who had been released because her husband did as Moses commanded so “she might go be another man’s wife,” then the exception clause must mean something else. Thus, the position that apoluo means “divorce” and its resulting troubling doctrine is not reasonable, logical, scriptural or in any way hermeneutically sound.

    4. It is not logical that the entire text, including the exception clause, means what traditional MDR teachers say it means for a number of reasons. Here are a few:
    1) Such teaching has church leaders breaking up marriages and imposing celibacy on people who are innocent of marital sin. It is not unusual for one who is innocent of marital sin to be divorced against their will. These are told they commit adultery if they marry. This does not harmonize with the Justice of God. It does not harmonize with Paul’s teaching who says “let them marry” (1 Cor. 7;1,2; 7-9). It does not harmonize with the suggestion that “forbidding to marry” was placed into the category of “doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1-3);
    2) Divorce was actually designed to end a marriage, not make one have to live celibate. Therefore the misapplication is the text results in men doing opposite what God intends.
    3) The traditional interpretation has Moses teaching what God did not want, Jesus contradicting Moses, Paul contradicting Jesus, Christians teaching an unjust doctrine while claiming it is by the authority of Jesus when Jesus actually condemns the practice.

    5. The word for fornication that Jesus chose is a word that would apply to “incest” and also being married to someone contrary to the Law in other ways. Had Jesus mean “adultery,” which is the traditional application and teaching, he would have used a different word.

    6. Those who apply the text to a legal divorce insist that a person who is divorced may only have a marriage if they go back to the person that divorced them. This is contrary to the Law that was in effect at the time of Jesus’ teachings. It did not allow the man to take the woman back (Deut. 24:3,4). And, when we look to the teaching of Paul who answered specific question that Christians asked, we find no hint that a divorced person had no right to marry.

    Bottom line: The position that I have set forth here has no hermeneurical problems. The only problem it has it that it does not harmonize with tradition. But that is an obsticle that must be removed.

    http://www.Put-Away-But-Not-Divorced.com

  287. 287. larry Says:

    Robert,
    You have indeed made numerous uniformed assumptions. The word “fornication” cannot be pinpointing the particular sexual sin of incest without helping words to do so. So at a minimum 5:32 and 19:9 are both incompetently written if Jesus meant incest when he could have simply said incest. The word “fornication” alone cannot mean specifically incest unless context indicates. You have a chain of deductive reasoning to support your claim while Jesus’ actual words do not support your claim.
    You appear to be unaware of the premarital divorce exercised in their culture, wherein the betrothed were also titled as “husband and wife”. When the exception clause is viewed as referring to that type of divorce, this causes the exception clause to function in an entirely different way than when it is assumed to mean “adultery”. Under the betrothal-divorce explanation the exception clause becomes merely an interjected side point not directly related to the subject at hand, which was the post marital divorce as per Deut 24:1-4. When the exception clause is thusly viewed, the word fornication takes on a very literal meaning. Also the exception clause becomes detached from answerabilty to the last clause, something that cannot occur under the divorce for adultery position, which creates the extreme self contradiction under that model. Under the betrothal model the exception clause becomes a totally diffent part of the sentence: it is identified as “non restrictive / non essential”.
    Under the divorce for adultery model, the exception clause functions as “restrictive / essential”.

    When you allocate a definition to a word, which the word itself is used without context to specify that definition, you have a problem.
    I appreciate you being against the divorce for adultery notion but your understanding of the exception clause doesn’t accomodate Jesus’ own words.

  288. 288. robert waters Says:

    Larry,
    I did not say the word translated fornication means incest, as you suggest. Why don’t you read what I actually said and go from there. Look up the word in various places and you will see that I am not uninformed about how Jesus used this word. Some versions translate it “illegal marriage.”
    rw

  289. 289. larry Says:

    What you write is not at all easy to understand.
    What exactly does the exception clause pertain to. Make a list.
    you also appear to completely uphold the remarriage of someone who divorces his wife for adultery. You also appear to completely support whatever Moses wrote.

  290. 290. robert waters Says:

    Hello Larry,
    > What you write is not at all easy to understand. >

    My book is much better, as I had a great copy editor helping me even before it went to Tate Publishers for more editing.

    > What exactly does the exception clause pertain to. Make a list. >

    It would refer to any situation where if one sent away a spouse it would not be adultery against that person, but would in fact be the right thing to do. For example, homosexuals marry and later want to become a Christian. They would need to “put away” which separation would accoomplish. We have the example of a man who “married his father’s wife” (1 cor. 7:1). Herod who married his brother’s wife while his brother lived, whcih was contrary to the Law. Also God had forbidden Israelites to marry people from certain nationalities. The priests “put away” those wives that they had taken that were not pleasing to God. There is no mention of any need for divorce papers in that case, nor any of the other cases.

    > you also appear to completely uphold the remarriage of someone who divorces his wife for adultery. >

    That is between the man and woman. But I will say that adultery does not automatically give one the right to divorce a spouse. In some cases it could be wrong, as the marriage could be salvaged. God divorced Israel, not just because she was unfaithful but because she would not repent.

    > You also appear to completely support whatever Moses wrote. >

    The only Law we have regarding divorce is what God had Moses write. Thus, the definition of divorce (Deut. 24:1,2) iS evidently is universal and for all time.

    rw

  291. 291. larry Says:

    I am genuinely thankful for your making the effort to provide a grammatical parallel of the first 3 main clauses of Matt 5:32. Here are your submissions:

    1. Anyone who takes a space walking spaceman’s spacesuit from him, except in the case where he’s already dead, will cause him to die!
    2. Anyone who touches a leper, except if they are already infected, will beome leprous themselves.
    3. A political candidate who withdraws from contesting an election, except if it is because he has been shamed through embarassing media revelations, will be considered a shamed man for his withdrawal.

    Since I specifically asked for a parallel of Matt 5:32, then only the first one meets that requirement because in Matt 5;32, in the first main clause, a person does something to someone else, which in the 3rd clause is shown to cause the recipient of that action to do something negative. An exception clause is between the two showing the situation wherein the action is done so the negative result is not caused. So number one, about the astronaut, qualifies as an attempt to meet what I sought.
    The first 3 main clauses of Matt 5:32:
    1) whosoever shall put away his wife,
    2) saving for the cause of fornication,
    3) causeth her to commit adultery:

    So I agree that your parallel makes perfect sense and fulfills the parallel of
    1) The action done
    3) what that action causes the recipient to do (something negative)
    2) with an exception in the middle revealing the circumstances wherein the action is done and the recipient of that action is NOT caused to do that negative thing.

    What you apparently are not aware of is that your grammatical parallel failed the test. Please keep reading, this will prove educational.

    It failed because the exception clause in Matt 5:32, under your understanding of it, functions in an entirely different manner than how the exception clause in your sensible parallel functions. Your astronaut parallel functions after the manner that MY understanding of the exception clause functions, as you will discover if you will read further.

    In order for me to clearly demonstrate that the exception clause in your sensible astronaut parallel does NOT function in the same way the exception clause is made to function under your understanding of the exception clause of Matt 5:32, it must be recognized that Matt 5:31 establishes what the topic of discussion is. Matthew 5:31 establishes the context, which is the post marital divorce. This is irrefutably established by the fact that Jesus, in Matt 5:31, references Deut 24, which, without any doubt, refers to the post marital divorce as per “send her out of his house”. So I expect you to definately agree with me that under your understanding of the exception clause, the topic of discussion established by Matt 5:31 is the post marital divorce and the exception clause of Matt 5:32 pertains directly to that type of divorce. Agreed?

    So in order to make your sensible parallel about the astronaut conform to that basic format, please now provide a parallel of Matt 5:31 to clearly establish a context that shows the exception clause pertaining directly to the topic under discussion. You are granted full imaginative licence and can establish as elaborate a background story as is necessary to perform the feat of making the exception clause pertain directly to what your parallel of 5:31 establishes the topic of discussion to be.

    Let me go first with an attempt:
    Here is your parallel for which I will make a parallel of 5:31 to clearly establish a context reinforcing your parallel as grammatically sensible and not in any way self contradictory:

    “Anyone who takes a space walking spaceman’s spacesuit from him, except in the case where he’s already dead, will cause him to die!”

    Let’s say a discussion and difference of opinion is occurring among a group of distressed astronauts who are in space. These astronauts under their conditions must wear their protective spacesuits for most of 24 hours of every day. There is a small bathroom where they can also sponge-bathe and change suits if necessary. Small oxygen containers connected into these suits must be replaced periodically. The re-supply shuttle was destroyed on take off and therefore the dire situation exists that some of the astronauts will probably die due to running out of oxygen before the next shuttle can arrive. The remaining oxygen containers have been counted in the presense of all and evenly distributed. A group of younger astronauts have discussed among themselves that unless some astronauts are willing to sacrifice their lives so there will be more oxygen for those who remain, then the chances are that all will die. This group therefore propose that the spacesuits from older astronauts, who have lived out most of their years, should be taken, forcefully if necessary, so that the remaining oxygen in each suit can be saved and used to make it more likely that some will survive the ordeal. This proposal of sacrifice is solemnly presented before all. The captain, after serious meditation stands up and declares the decision (the parallel of Matt 5:31):

    You have heard it said that the spacesuits of our older comrades should be taken from them,
    But I say to you that
    “Anyone who takes a space walking spaceman’s spacesuit from him, except in the case where he’s already dead, will cause him to die!”

    By this parallel of 5:31 to establish context, I have been able to thereby retain your parallel of 5;32 as being sensible. It remains a grammatically competent sentence. By my parallel of 5:31, your parallel of 5:32 is not in any way self contradictory.

    Oh, but wait, how can this be? I failed!!!!
    I retained your sentence as sensible, making my parallel of 5:31 compatible with your parallel of 5:32 but I did not fulfil the objective of making the established topic to specifically pertain to the exception clause!! Oh no!!

    Remember, the topic established by Jesus in 5:31 is the post marital divorce and your position says the exception clause of 5:32 specifically pertains to the post marital divorce? So I was supposed to make the established topic of discussion to pertain directly to the exception clause! My parallel failed because it establishes the topic to be the taking the suits from living astronauts, while the exception clause clearly refers to taking suits from dead astronauts!!
    Please try to make a parallel of 5:31, establishing the topic of the discussion so that it pertains directly to the exception clause. In other words, your parallel of 5:31 must establish that the topic under discussion is the taking a space suit from a dead astronaut!

    Can you now see how your parallel functions exactly as does the exception clause under the betrothal explanation of the exception clause?
    The betrothal explanation, agrees with, and has in its favour that the topic under discussion, as established by 5:31, is the post marital divorce. That serves in its favour because like your parallel, and as you may discover, the ONLY kind of exception clause which that type of sentence construction can logically support is the kind of exception clause that does NOT pertain specifically to the topic under discussion. Hence, under the betrothal position, it is agreed that Jesus establishes that he is speaking of post marital divorces in Matt 5:31 and the exception clause touches on something somewhat opposite, the divorces that were done premaritally, as we see was about to occur between Joseph and Mary.
    Likewise, by what I have provided, which allows your parallel to continue to make sense, the topic is established as taking the spacesuits from living spacemen while the exception clause pertained to something somewhat opposite; taking spacesuits from dead spacemen.
    You see, under your understanding of 5:31,32 the exception clause is claimed to possess a function that the sentence construction itself cannot sensibly support. Under your model the exception clause is identified as “restrictive /essential”, while under the betrothal explanation it serves a totally different function identified as “nonrestrictive/nonessential”.
    In your parallel about a spaceman, like under the betrothal explanation, the exception clause can be totally omitted without effecting the main point being made.
    Leaving out the exception clause concerning taking a suit off of a dead spaceman doesn’t change what the sentence centrally asserts; that if you take the spacesuit from a spacewalking spaceman, you cause him to die. Do you see how omitting it does no damage, hence “nonrestrictive/nonessential”? Likewise, omitting the exception clause altogether, while holding to the betrothal explanation, does not effect in any way the central point the sentence is making because under the betrothal explanation the exception clause only refers to the side-point of their culural divorces that only terminated their strict version of engagement called betrothal. (The betrothed were also labeled as “husband and wife”).

    The ball is in your court.
    In order to vindicate your understanding, you are obligated to provide a parallel of Matt 5:31 that can maintain the sensibleness that your astronaut parallel of 5:32 possesses, while at the same time showing that the exception clause pertains directly to what your parallel of 5:31 establishes the topic to be.
    My attempt made the topic to be taking a suit from a living astronaut and therefore it failed because the exception clause clearly referred to taking the suit from a dead astronaut. See if you can succeed and therefore demonstrate that your understanding of Matt 5:32 is thereby defensible.

  292. 292. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    I appreciate the charitable spirit that you have as you dialogue with people on this forum; it is possible for a person to be right, and yet so offensive in their attitude to others that people can’t hear what they’re saying. You come across with patience and kindness, and I commend you for your willingness to respond well, even when the responses from others are not so, uh, nice….

    Now, having said that, I have to say that I’ve read your posts with interest regarding your concept of “putting away vs. divorced.” But I have a problem with your approach, and perhaps you can provide some input regarding my problems with your approach.

    Your position does feel good – and when I say that, I recognize the need to develop a proper theology, not based on what we like or don’t like, but based on the truth as God declares it, whether we like it or not. But when I say it feels good, it seems somehow to ring true with the justness of God in some ways, and so it seems a theology which is comfortable for those in these devastating situations of divorce.

    But having said that, I have to question whether your approach is realistic or not. I guess, in a nutshell, I would say that it seems your reasons for translating this word “apoluo” are theological rather than textual, if you know what I mean – in other words, it seems you are drawing your conclusion about how that word must be translated “put away (without the benefit of a legitimate divorce certificate)” rather than “divorce” is a conclusion you come to because it seems you can’t see a better way to deal with this apparent inconsistency between Moses allowing divorce and Jesus calling it adultery; and so, if you change the meaning in the context to the more literal application of the word “put away” rather than “interpreting” it to mean “divorce” in the places it is used, it seems to clear this difficulty up for you. (And if you’re right, it would clear it up for me, too, perhaps.) You can correct me if I’ve misunderstood your reasoning here, but I will state my objection to this view, now, on the basis of my understanding of what you’ve said. So again, I say, “correct me if I’m wrong, but based on what I THINK you’ve said, this is what I would say to what I am getting from you….”

    Here is my problem with my understanding of your position: if this word really should be understood to mean “put away” then Jesus really had no point to make at all in the beattitudes in Matthew 5. I will write this as I’m thinking you would translate the passage, and then explain where it seems to fall short.

    Jesus said to them, “you have heard it said, ‘whoever wants to put his wife away, let him write her a certificate of divorce.’ But I say to you, that whoever will put his wife away, if not on account of fornication, causes her to commit an act of adultery.” If Jesus was, in fact, only objecting to the act of putting away without the benefit of the certificate, then what is his point in this beatitude?

    Now, having said that, I can understand that sometimes the same word in one language will be translated into several different words in the other, and visa versa; but I’m wondering how you would translate this passage I’m looking at here in Matthew 5 that in any way would make it “a saying worth saying” on Jesus’ part. In other words, either it becomes meaningless as a point, or it seems (more likely, don’t you think?) that Jesus was saying here something to the effect that if you think that simply writing a certificate of divorce makes everything “hunky-dory” before the Lord, and you can simply drop one spouse for another, you’ve missed something very important….

    Your thoughts would be welcome, if you could. Thanks very much. Waiting to hear your thoughts on this…

  293. 293. robert waters Says:

    Hello Jamie,

    > I appreciate the charitable spirit that you have as you dialogue with people on this forum…>

    rw: I’ve been impressed with this forum. Don’t know how I got on it and I don’t know anything about it, but I like it. I have been on many lists where it is literally impossible to have a profitable discussion for any length of time on MDR.

    “…I have to say that I’ve read your posts with interest regarding your concept of “putting away vs. divorced.” “Your position does feel good – and when I say that, I recognize the need to develop a proper theology, not based on what we like or don’t like, but based on the truth as God declares it…”

    rw: You say that the position I have set forth “…seems somehow to ring true with the justness of God in some ways, and so it seems a theology which is comfortable for those in these devastating situations of divorce.” Yes, indeed. But also think about church leaders responsibilities. Many think they are duty bound to tell people who have been divorced that they must break up their marriages and live celibate. This seems to be opposite of what Paul wrote (1 Tim. 4:1-3). It is very difficult for preachers and church leaders to take this action because some, upon whom the action is directed, did nothing at all to deserve the punishment. Of course, they argue that the reason the divorced must live celibate is because they are still married “in the eyes of God.” But there are at least two things wrong with this:
    1) God designed divorce to end the marriage (Deut. 24:1,2; Jer. 3:8);
    2) When Jesus was teaching among the Jews the men were allowed more than one wife; thus, the idea that they would commit adultery in a subsequent marriage is out of the picture. Yet traditional teachers today (mis)apply the text to both men and woman. The only men that Jesus spoke of as committing adultery were the men who married the woman that was merely “put away.” Had she been legally divorced it would not have been adultery for either the man or the woman. At any rate, it is comforting to know we do not have to do something that drives people away from Christ and the church and divides the church. The traditional teaching also discourages evangelism because nearly half the people we teach have been divorced.

    > But having said that, I have to question whether your approach is realistic or not. I guess, in a nutshell, I would say that it seems your reasons for translating this word “apoluo” are theological rather than textual, if you know what I mean – in other words, it seems you are drawing your conclusion about how that word must be translated “put away (without the benefit of a legitimate divorce certificate)” rather than “divorce” is a conclusion you come to because it seems you can’t see a better way to deal with this apparent inconsistency between Moses allowing divorce and Jesus calling it adultery; and so, if you change the meaning in the context to the more literal application of the word “put away” rather than “interpreting” it to mean “divorce” in the places it is used, it seems to clear this difficulty up for you. (And if you’re right, it would clear it up for me, too, perhaps.) >

    rw: You seem to have a good understanding of my position and I’m amazed at open-minded you are and how well you have assessed the situation. Your questions are very pertinent and could not have been asked by someone that had not been struggling to find the truth. But one thing I disagree with that you said is the suggestion that I would “change the meaning in the context…” I have no desire to change anything. The change was made many years ago that resulted in the doctrine that is widely accepted–so widely accepted that most of the new versions translate apoluo as divorce in the “MDR” texts. In view of the fact that the literal interpretation it has no hermeneutical problems, why not accept it? On the other hand, forcing the word “apoluo” to mean “divorce” (as we understand it) has many unacceptable problems.

    Now, the context is very important. Matt. 5 is the first recorded place where Jesus spoke of the putting away issue. But he first made it very clear that what he was saying, or about to say, was not contrary to the Law (Vs 17).

    > Here is my problem with my understanding of your position: if this word really should be understood to mean “put away” then Jesus really had no point to make at all in the beattitudes in Matthew 5.>

    rw: In this instance Jesus was referring to the teaching of the law that clearly indicated a divorce, if done as prescribed, would end a marriage. But, the Lord then speaks of their errant practice that was a departure from the truth, though they had not forgotten as is evident in Matthew’s account. The Jewish leaders had strayed from Moses’ teaching on virtually everything MDR was no exception. They had basically disregarded the word of God and had long been in the practice of following their own traditions that Jesus said caused their religion to be vain (Matt. 5:20; Mark 7:7).

    > If Jesus was, in fact, only objecting to the act of putting away without the benefit of the certificate, then what is his point in this beatitude? >

    rw: Paraphrase of Matt. 5:31,32: “Anyone who sends his wife away, except in the case of an illegal marriage, causes her to commit adultery and whoever marries her that is not legally divorced commits adultery.”

    One rule of hermeneutics is to not draw a conclusion that has unacceptable consequences.
    1) How can giving a woman a divorce cause her to commit adultery in view of the fact that Moses said she could “go be another man’s wife.” Did Jesus say something that makes no sense and was contrary to the Law?
    2) The idea that Jesus was telling one who has been divorced that he/she must remain celibate, whether she did anything wrong or not, is simply contrary to the justice of God and the very intent of Moses’ in giving the law regarding divorce.

    The meaning of the text could be that when a man sends away a wife he causes her to commit adultery, not in fact but in reality as most would likely be forced to take up with a man, one way or another.

    You wrote wasn’t Jesus “… saying here something to the effect that if you think that simply writing a certificate of divorce makes everything “hunky-dory” before the Lord, and you can simply drop one spouse for another, you’ve missed something very important….”

    rw: That is a point that Jesus made when the Jews addressed him (Matt 19:7), but I don’t think that is clear here. I can’t imagine why anyone could logically draw the conclusion that Jesus was teaching that a divorce does not do what Moses designed it to do, regardless of the reason (the men made the determination and it was not policed not questioned) when there is a hermeneutically sound explanation for this passage and all the ones that have been deemed MDR texts.

    Here are some versions that lend support to what I have said above:

    The New Jerusalem Bible

    Matthew 5:32: But I say this to you, everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of an illicit marriage, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    New American with Apocrypha

    Matthew 5:32: But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

    Also, George Lamsa was on the right track, but failed to consistently translate apoluo:

    George Lamsa’s Translation of the New Testament

    Matthew 5:31: It has been said that whoever divorces his wife, must give her the divorce papers. 32 But I say to you, that whoever divorces his wife, except for fornication, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is separated but not divorced, commits adultery.

    I look forward to your response on this as well as that of others on the list.
    Robert Waters
    http://www.Put-Away-But-Not-Divorced.com

  294. 294. larry Says:

    Jamie,
    In reference to my post of 287. It was a post prepared for another discussion that I mistakenly posted here. But it is useful for this discussion because the person I was responding to provided a parallel of the first main 3 clauses of Matt 5:32, which no one here has yet provided that I know of. So if you agree that the parallel provided concerning the astronaut is a practical grammatical parallel, then that post 287 should be of interest. The bottom line is that the sentence construction Jesus used in Matt 5:32 makes it impossible for the exception clause to relate directly to the specific topic which the sentence is covering. Jesus’ sentence is covering post marital divorces and the exception clause pertains directly to that kind of divorce under your understanding of the exception clause.
    All you need to do, to prove that the sentence construction Jesus chose to use can indeed have its exception clause pertain directly to the central topic of the sentence, is to demonstarte such a function with a grammatical parallel. Full imaginitaive license is granted, along with as elaborate a background story as is necessary to establish factors involved etc so that the final product is grammatically competent and sensible.
    The reason why such a parallel sentence is impossible is because in order for an exception clause under that basic format to make sense, it must function as a “non restrictive/ non essential” part of the sentence. If not, there will be a grammatical breakdown evidenced by logical contradiction. Under the betrothal explanation the exception clause does in fact serve as “non restrictive/ non essential” thereby rendering the sentence literally sensible and grammatically competent. But under the assumption that Jesus allowed, by the exception clause, a post marital divorce, the exception clause must serve as “restrictive/essential” thus creating the logical fallacy and grammatical incompetency that Matt 5:32 literally possesses under that interpretation.
    Please provide a grammatical parallel to prove that the exception clause can indeed sensibly pertain directly to the specific topic of the sentence under that kind of construction.

  295. 295. Jamie Says:

    Larry;

    With all due respect, you don’t even really know what my understanding of the exception clause in Matthew 5:32 is. I think it is fair for me to say you have been making some uninformed assumptions about my position.

  296. 296. larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Isn’t it true that you believe the exception clause allows for post marital divorce on the grounds of a sexual offense committed by the joined married wife? By things you have written I have concluded you believe that. Please clarify then what you understand the excep[tion clause to be referring to.
    I had earlier declared that no question pertaining to the betrothal explanation exists that cannot be very practically answered. I am very aware of the numerous seemingly difficult questions concerning the betrothal explanation and they all have very practical and easy to understand answers. By not presenting any questions, am I to understand then that you are already aware of the practical answers to those questions and therefore it is unnecessary to ask them?

  297. 297. Jamie Says:

    No, Larry, that’s not true. I never said that on this forum, and for the record, I’ve not believed that for a long time. At least now you’re asking me rather than assuming.

    As a matter of fact, I think you also missed, though I said recently in this forum, that I ALREADY DID what you advocate people need to do in this situation – leave a second marriage because it is “living in adultery.” Ironically, though, although I’ve received much positive fruit in my life from walking away from this second marriage, and although I’m now quite sure God directed me to do that (it has been confirmed by Him in the fruit in my life since I did) what I’m NOT so sure about now is that this remarriage is a “continuing state of adultery.” And so I’m still working through some of this stuff.

    But at this point, I will say that until some of my dialogue with Robert Waters here, I had held firmly to your position on the “exception clause.” In fact, I think even Robert Waters agrees with your take on the exception clause, for practical purposes. I think Robert would agree with you and me here (and I invite him to correct me if I’m wrong) that the exception clause is not for adultery at all. It seems Robert thinks it pertains to an illicit marriage, which doesn’t really need a divorce certificate in the first place, because it was NEVER a legitimate marriage; whereas you would say it was for premarital sex during the betrothal period. But in any case, neither of you see it as an exception to justify putting away after marriage.

    Where Robert seems to disagree with you is on how the “apoluo” needs to be translated – whether God hates divorce, per se, or if God hates slimy, shifty, irresponsible divorce that hurts and damages the weak, the innocent, the ones who have to put themselves into compromising positions to survive and be labelled as adulterous women, for example, as opposed to the husband taking fair responsibility for admitting he divorced her because he simply didn’t want to live with her anymore, and letting her hang in the wind to have to fend for herself, and risk being labelled an adultress because he wouldn’t admit it was partly him, and it was a legitimate divorce.

    And I guess for all of the beating to death of the analogy of the Cadillac vs. the Mercedes, the issue I might want to take with you is how (sorry, but I’ll just say it and you can think about it, and let me know if you don’t like what I’m saying here… but) it seems to me that you tend to assume people are uninformed when it may simply be that they disagree with you, but are, in fact, very well informed, and can tell you EXACTLY how and where they disagree with you, and why. And the tone you take feels rather condescending, for the most part, though I’m sure you don’t think you are doing that to people at all. But I bet if you put a challenge out here, like you did looking for the sentence construction, you might get a few people here who would actually admit that they find your approach legalistic, condescending, and perhaps a little self-righteous. (And unfortunately, I found this feeling from many in the camp that you are in, and that I found myself in when I left my second marriage. I felt it was the right thing to do, but very much alone in doing it, as it feels to me that many of this position really have that feel about them. I hope I’ve not been this way…)

    I think that in my vast travels and studies of this issue, I’ve come to see that there isn’t any position out there that doesn’t have to stretch at points to cover all the bases. Of course, you might think your position is bullet-proof and air-tight, but the fact of the matter is that it’s one thing for your position to stand up to your own scrutiny, but yet an entirely different matter for your postion to stand up to my scrutiny, or anyone else’s scrutiny that you’re trying to convince. And when people post comments on here, or disagreements with your postion, based on different presuppositions they bring to the discussion, and you talk to them here with terms like “your uninformed opinions would tell me that….” or when you make assumptions about what they do or don’t believe, based on what you think they must be thinking from bits and pieces they have said, it leads me to think that you maybe are not giving as much benefit of the doubt as you need to do regarding how informed or uninformed, how well thought-out or not, how prepared or unprepared their positions are….

    Larry, I have to assume your heart is in the right place, and that you have a passion for holiness, and for removing sin from the camp. But it’s easy to slide into a legalistic and self-righteous frame of mind when doing so. And so I guess I’m tossing this out as a reminder to everyone in these debates: I think it’s always wise to assume, until it is CLEARLY proven otherwise, that we’re all thinking people in here, and we’re ALL interested in doing God’s will, no matter the cost. But we have different ideas of what that means. If I come here and always automatically assume that when someone disagrees with me that it’s because it’s ALWAYS THEY who are misinformed, and that it can NEVER be ME who is uninformed, I may run the risk of not learning something very important that I need to know. And in the end, each one stands or falls before the Lord. I need to state my thoughts clearly, but charitably, because if I judge a brother or sister as uninformed or careless, or wanting to justify sin when I don’t know that, I’m judging someone that Jesus died for. And I think that just plain bugs Him sometimes.

    Anyway, perhaps I’ve been too harsh, here, Larry. I’m not judging your motive. I’m simply asking you to check it and make sure it is seasoned with love, compassion and patience for those who might not see it the same way.

  298. 298. robert waters Says:

    Larry,
    I’m confused about your position on the “bethrothal period.” Would you put it in a nut shell? Where does the Bible say one is married that is betrothed? I know the Bible speaks of those who are betrothed getting married. How can one be married before he is married? Does tradition change God’s teaching on this? Are you aware that the word for “husband” is the same word for “man” and therefore the use of that word does not indicate there is an actual marriage?

  299. 299. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    If I can run the risk of “jumping in” here and maybe “answering over” Larry, I don’t know that advocates of the betrothal position on Matthew 5 or Matthew 19 would necessarily say it is “scriptural.” (And Larry, maybe you can correct me on this if you do see it as a SCRIPTURAL thing, but) I do believe, at least as I have understood it, that betrothal was a Jewish CULTURAL thing, and was seen as binding as the marriage vow; the idea being that the betrothal was binding, provided that on the wedding night, the marriage was sealed by “a blood covenant” of sorts – signified by the taking of the woman’s virginity, and her purity to that point being demonstrated by the blood.

    My understanding of it is that, according to what is found in the Torah about this, the woman could be stoned if on the wedding night, she was proven to have committed fornication before the wedding, because part of the process was the covenant established in that culture at the time of the betrothal.

    I think, in fairness here, it seems to me (you guys might disagree with me) that every culture has it’s dating, courtship and engagement customs and norms; and to negate this from the cultural understanding that Jesus was speaking into in Matthew 5 simply because there is no chapter and verse in the old testament to establish it is not fair to normal handling of scripture. We all do this often – and sometimes we can only interpret the real meaning of something that was said in the scripture by looking at it through the lens of the cultural context where it was written or spoken.

    I think, Robert, that this position doesn’t really fall down simply because those who hold it can’t point to chapter and verse. There may (may) be other reasons it is not valid, but I don’t think the absense of a direct reference to it in the old testament is one of them.

    And Larry, you might well be more familiar with all of the intricacies of the “betrothal” view than I am, so I’m not answering for you here, believe me. I’m just tossing out some of my own thoughts spurred by the question here. I’d like to know what your thoughts are, please….

  300. 300. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    I see that you are very much devoted to doing the Lord’s Will with respect to your understanding of what the MDR controversy involves. I am getting ready to do similar to what you have done to try and satisfy my conscience on this whole matter. I married a woman who had been divorced from her husband. He was adulterous during their marriage and ended up marrying the woman he was having an affair with after he divorced my wife.

    Having previously believed my wife had a “scriptural divorce” because of her husband’s adultery, I felt it was right for me to marry her. However, since my marriage to her 10 years ago, I have done much research on the MDR controversy and have decided I can never know with complete confidence what the exception clause means and how it is to be practically implemented. Based on that fact, I have decided I will divorce my wife (her having previously been married with her ex-husband still living). I’m not sure anyone this side of heaven can know with absolute certainty what the exception clause means. I know I certainly cannot and therefore, assuming… “except it be for fornication”… in Matthew 19:9 may not mean post-consummated marriage adultery, and me having married a divorced woman, I have decided I will divorce her as an act of repentance. I have been praying the Lord will lead me to the right decision here and I trust he has. If I subsequently decide that my decision was wrong, I will deal with that later.

    My wife does not want me to divorce her but I cannot commit to a marriage that I am not 100 percent confident I should be in. My wife says she had a “scriptural divorce” based on the adultery of her first husband and a subsequent right to remarry. But I’m not sure I believe that anymore.

    This issue has been debated for centuries and I feel if there is no consensus within the Christian community with any certainty, how am I supposed to understand it with confidence.

    What it comes down to is each person has to do what they feel is right based on their own personal prayer and study of God’s Word. As long as they are confident in their belief, even if in the final analysis they may be wrong, I believe God’s grace will handle it. He knows their heart and that they are seeking truth and my belief is we will all be judged on that basis. Not to sound as if that is a cop-out because we must search the Scriptures for ultimate truth that exists. But none of us are perfect and will probably misintepret scripture in many ways. Hebrews 10:26 says… “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, their no longer remains a sacrifice for sins”…. That means to me as long as we are diligently seeking the truth, even if we interpret it erroneously, our misunderstanding can be forgiven. However, once the Lord reveals the truth to us, he expects us to abide in it.

    Just wanting to express my heartfelt feelings. I’m pretty much done researching the debates on the MDR issue and this is where I stand now.

    May God bless you with an understanding of the truth and the peace that that will bring,
    Mark

  301. 301. larry Says:

    Mark,
    If I may I would like to say I believe you have made the right decision. If that wife had been lawfully married meaning both she and he had not previously been married then as long as they are both alive remarriage by either one regardless of the reason is adultery. Therefore if that was the case and you married into adultery, your conscience should be bothering you. Adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    Jesus said we will know the truth if we continue in his word. On such a fundamental heaven and hell doctrine, are we to give up and say the truth of this very important doctrine cannot be had in absolute assurance?
    I have that absolute assurance. The truth is very clearly seen in the plainness of Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18. What those verses plainly appear to mean is exactly what they do in fact mean. No divorce. Remarriage is adultery. The exception clause enforces that plainness of meaning. You can have this same doubtless assurance. The scriptures say, “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”.

  302. 302. robert waters Says:

    Mark,
    Please hold off a bit before you divorce your faithful wife. She is a person and you have an obligation to her.

    There may be ONE MORE position you have not considered. Divorce was designed to end a marriage and God does not fail in what he does. If she was legally divorced and not merely “put away” then she was “free to go be another man’s wife.” If it was true then it is true today because that same law on divorce if the ONLY law that defines divorce. Jesus did not change that Law nor did Paul, who answers questions for Christians, give so much as a hint that divorce must be for some particular reason before it ends the marriage and frees the parties.

    Please take a look at the article on my web site that deal with virtually every conceivable question that one might ask pertaining to this position, i.e. that Jesus was dealing the practice of evil Jews putting away but not divorcing. This is really the only thing that makes sense. Since under the Law divorce ended a marriage (Deut 24:1,2) what sense would Jesus have made to say that a woman that was divorced would commit adultery in a another marrriage and the man as well? None. If the Jews (enemies) had understood Jesus in the way people today (“friends”) insist he taught they would have charged him with sin in teaching contrary to the Law. The fact that they did not speaks volumes.

    Your no doubt have had Matt. 19:9 thrown at you many times, but go back and think about how many times someone gave you some of Paul’s teaching to consider? 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 1 Cor. 7:1,2,7-9, 27,28, 36

    Here is my website link: http://www.TotalHealth.bz
    If you can’t afford my book (link below) send me a note and I’ll send you a free e-book.
    http://www.Put-Away-But-Not-Divorced.com
    rw

  303. 303. Jamie Says:

    Mark;

    I have some things I would like to share with you, and some things I would love to ask about your situation if you would care to do so, but I’m not sure this forum is the place to do that, and rather than putting emails up here (unless you are comfortable doing so, could I suggest that, if you’re interested, you might want to drop by a blog I’ve been writing in, and send a message or a post or something and I could get back to you privately. (Again, if you’re interested…)

    http://knowinghisways.blogspot.ca/

  304. 304. larry Says:

    Jamie
    With regard to post 295.
    The doctrine you explain is not the betrothal divorce explanation. That doctrine you describe is another doctrine, which some call the “found her not a maid” explanation of the exception clause. It is derived from Deut 22:13-21, hence the phrase “found her not a maid”. In that case he terminates the marriage the next morning after the marriage and hence after they have literally left and cleaved. [This doctrine replaces the stoning with divorce and has "fornication", to enjoy its available premarital-sex definition].
    The proponents of this explanation, while correctly deriding as heresy the divorce for adultery position, are often unable to grasp that theirs is not any different from the divorce for adultery explanation by virtue of the fact that they both permit the putting asunder what has already been joined together. Whether after the first night of marriage or whether after ten years for her adultery , both explanations fail miserably the command, “what therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder”. The betrothal explanation does not fail that command but rather reinforces it as absolutely true. Only death terminates a lawfully joined marriage. Remarriage is adultery, as the last clauses of all 4 major references spoken by Jesus assert.
    Jamie, you have misunderstood what the betrothal explanation is, and therefore also have assumed incorrectly that there is no scriptural support for it.
    Four scripturally supported meanings of words is all that is required to read the exception clause as being an interjected side point referring to their premarital divorces. Since it is difficult for us today to accept in faith their usage of three of these words, that is why I try to get people to make a parallel of the basic grammatical function of Matt 5:32 using a topic that does not pose that difficulty. They are then more easily able to experience an exception clause that serves as an interjected side point.
    The premarital divorce existed as per Matt 1:18-24
    The definition of “put away”, used to mean divorce, was also used in regard to terminating betrothals as per Matt 1:18-24.
    The usage of “wife” was not restricted to a married woman. A betrothed woman was also titled as “wife”. [The word "husband also functioned in this manner]. While we may say “wife to be” they simply said “wife” indicating that the circumstances when hearing the word ‘wife’ would determine whether she was a joined-in-marriage-wife or simply a betrothed-wife. This usage is seen in Deut 22:23-24 and Deut 20:7 and Matt 1:18-24.
    Having this reality of their usage of these words (which we don’t use that way) opens up the very practical possibility of viewing the “wife” the exception clause refers to, as merely the betrothed wife. Hence also the word “fornication” may then be legitinmately viewed after its available premarital-sex definition, (the word fornication alone needing no helping words to adopt that meaning). Hence also the sentence construction of 5:32, which forbids the exception clause to pertain specifically to the main topic of the sentence, is also satisfied: The main topic is the post marital divorce and the exception clause pertains exclusively to the premarital divorce, thereby not creating the logical fallacy and grammatical quagmire inherent in the divorce for adultery model.
    The husbands and wives which God has joined together, which man is not to put asunder, are those husbands and wives who have left and cleaved, as per Jesus’ clarification. Therefore the termination of a betrothal also clearly fits the grammatical function of both Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 whereby she who is divorced premaritally is NOT caused to commit adultery and the man who divorced her can marry afterward and it is not adultery.

    Jamie, Mark or Robert, Please take on the challenge of trying to produce a grammattical parallel of 5:32 whereby the exception clause pertains directly to the main topic of the sentence.

  305. 305. Jamie Says:

    Once again, Larry, it seems you are putting words in my mouth. You said, “you have misunderstood what the betrothal explanation is, and therefore also have assumed incorrectly that there is no scriptural support for it.”

    Larry, I’m not sure how you keep doing this, but once again, you have made (in your terms) an “uninformed assumption” about my position. I never said I believe there is no scriptural support for the ‘betrothal’ position on Matthew 5. It makes sense to me. Always did since I heard it, still does.

  306. 306. robert waters Says:

    Greeting to the list–not anyone in particular,
    Some on this list honestly believe that Jesus teaches that the divorced have no right to a marriage. I used to believe it myself, but I would not write on the subject nor preach a sermon on it because of my doubts. After many years of diligent study, having changed twice, I now have confidence that not only is the traditional teaching error, it is an exceedingly sinful doctrine. Paul cataloged “forbidding to marry” as doctrines of devils. Of course, the traditional teachers often satisify their minds regarding this by saying Paul was talking about Priests or something. Well, even if he was, one who does the same thing today is guilty of doing what Paul condemned.

    To divorce a faithful spouse is wrong for a vow is broken, and perhaps other resons could be given. But Jesus dealt with a much greater sin. The sin was so great that he referred to it as “adultery against her” (Mark 10:11). To understand this you must understand what Jesus was dealing with. He was dealing with a common practice of men “putting away” a woman (the motive could have been hate, or it could have been so as not to have to pay back the dowry to her father) and leaving her destitute and not free to marry. As Jesus said (Matt. 5:31,32) she would commit adultery if she married another. The ONLY reason this could be true is because she was still married, and that is simply because a divorce had not taken place. Friends, this makes sense. People all over the world are seeing it. But there are a number who will make an absolute fool of themselves on a list like this to keep you from seeing it. So, beware.

    The truth can be determined ONLY by using good hermeneutics. You CANNOT justify the traditional MDR teaching with good hermeneutics, but the “apoluo does not = divorce” doctrine has not hermeneutical problems. The only problem the truth has is that traditional teachers who will not or cannot see it will fight to their last breath to defeat it by all tactics in the book. All I ask is that you apply good hermeneutics in your study.
    rw

  307. 307. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    I appreciate your heart in this, and as I said before, there is something about this postion that you hold that sits well with a biblical understanding of the compassionate heart and the justness of God.

    But I am wondering here if you might have any references, or other textual data (extra-biblical, for instance) that might show a common usage of the greek “apostasion” as the common term of the day for “divorce?”

    Here is the issue (and I realize that you well recognize the uphill battle you face presenting your position with what the translations do these days, and I very much appreciate your patience in explaining your position here – as I do Larry also, by the way) but as you must well recognize that just because a word can be translated literally, it doesn’t automatically rule out the possibility that in it’s context, it’s pretty much always an idiom for something else. I am trying to do some research on this whole issue of how common this “putting away” was in that day and culture. But the term “apostasion” is only used once in the new testament. Was it a commonly used term in greek that referred to the act of officially divorcing? I’m not sure how well I’m even asking the question, and maybe you can try to rephrase for me to see if you understand what I’m trying to ask.

    But the reason I am working on this is because, especially for Mark’s sake tonight, I can appreciate his heart in wanting to do the right thing, but if there is freedom in this, then it should be known. What are your references, if any (I assume you must know of some) for how common this “putting away” was back then? Was the term “apostasion” the typical term used to refer to the act of “properly” filing for divorce, and if so, how do you know this, aside from the one use of the word in this part of Matthew chapter 5? Thanks. By the way, I invite you, or Larry, or anyone else, if you wish, to drop by the blog I was writing about above, and drop an email or a post, if you wish to have some direct access by email.

    Thanks, Robert (and Larry, and all others who are passionate about truth) for your patience. This is obviously an important issue.

  308. 308. robert waters Says:

    Jamie,
    I know exactly what you are talking about. I’ll briefly address this, but all these questions are addressed in my book http://www.Put-Away-But-Not-Divorce.com I’m not just trying to see books. I did not write it for the money and I don’t need the money. I just believe it is the best means of teaching on this subject. It is the result of over 10 years of daily (about 3 hrs/day) debate and study on various websites and several formal debates with seasoned MDR debators.

    You ask about the common usage of apoluo. They did not have a single word that referred to divorce, unfortunately, which is probably the reason for the confusion regarding what Jesus was dealing with. But this does not mean people could not communicate nor does it mean Jesus was dealing with divorce when he spoke of the sin of putting away a wife…. Here is a link to a sermon on my website. Part VIII. deals with this particular matter of communication regarding “put away.”
    http://www.totalhealth.bz/divorce-and-remarriage-truth-put-away.htm

    Also, you asked about the practice of putting away–what evidence outside the Bible is there…? Well, several good scholars understood that Moses gave the Law on divorce because of men sending away their wives–leaving them to fend for themelves. They could have more than one wife so it was not a big deal to an evil man to put her out. Moses suffered it–there was no punishment for it. There is no reason to conclude they would not continue this practice after Moses’ law on divorce was given. One motive to not give the certificate…would be because they would have to give back the dowry if they divorced her. Put away (apoluo) is not divorce, even if some misused it to refer to divorce. Why, preachers today do the same thing even though they know better. They say “put away” when referring to divorce even though that is only part of the divorce procedure. To the informed “put away” does not, nor never did, mean divorce in any language, particularly English. At least not divorce as God defined it. Here is a link to a short article dealing the matter of why Deut. 24:1,2 was given:
    http://www.totalhealth.bz/divorce-and-remarriage-willis-exegesis.htm

    Here is a link to an article that is strong evidence that the Jews are STILL practing the same thing: Putting Away But Not Divorcing:
    http://www.totalhealth.bz/divorce-and-remarriage-jewish-women-in-chains.htm

  309. 309. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    Thanks for your concern. I would be glad to do that.

    Mark

  310. 310. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    I went to your website. However, I need some assistance as to how to place comments on the website.

    Thanks,
    Mark

  311. 311. Jamie Says:

    Mark;

    I will have to look into that! I never bothered to look myself, except that you can post if you have a gmail account.

    Don’t worry about it. just email me at this address:

    hwmnbn.67@gmail.com

    and I will follow up with you from my email. Thanks Mark.

  312. 312. Jamie Says:

    I appreciate the interest from some of you in wanting to post to my blog. It looks like you have to have a gmail account to post there! Didn’t know that. Apparently, though, there are other ways to do it – not sure. I will have to investigate this. Sorry about that.

  313. 313. larry Says:

    Jamie,
    In post 295 you describe a doctrine that is not the betrothal explanation. Hence I have not put words in your mouth. I recently had a discussion with someone in Oregon who also assumed that the betrothal explanation was the “found her not a maid” explanation. So I am aware of how the two very different positions can become mixed up.

    The betrothal explanation is described by the example of what Joseph was about to do with Mary. This kind of PREMARITAL divorce has nothing to do with the wedding night or with evidence of virginity by blood, it was a termination upon knowledge of her fornication prior to the wedding night as exemplified in Joseph and Mary’s situation. The scenario you describe is called by some the “found her not a maid” explanation, from the phrase, “I found not thy daughter a maid”, in Deut 22:17. So the major difference between the two is that the knowledge of her fornication under the “found her not a maid explanation” is acquired by having sex with her on the wedding night and the termination (divorce instead of stoning) occurs after the sexual union of their wedding night, making this a post marital divorce for “fornication”, not for adultery.

    Under the betrothal explanation, on the other hand, the knowledge of her fornication is NOT acquired by having sex with her and hence it is NOT a post marital divorce. Joseph had what he thought was absolute evidence that Mary had fornicated (give the guy a break, I mean, she was pregnant) and he was going to “put her away”, (the same term used for post marital divorces).

    Jamie, Please explain how what you said in the following does not at a minimum strongly suggest that the betrothal position has no scriptural support:
    “I don’t know that advocates of the betrothal position on Matthew 5 or Matthew 19 would necessarily say it is “scriptural.” (And Larry, maybe you can correct me on this if you do see it as a SCRIPTURAL thing, but) I do believe, at least as I have understood it, that betrothal was a Jewish CULTURAL thing, and was seen as binding as the marriage vow; the idea being that the betrothal was binding, provided that on the wedding night, the marriage was sealed by “a blood covenant” of sorts – signified by the taking of the woman’s virginity, and her purity to that point being demonstrated by the blood.”
    [In reality however, what you seem to have meant is that the "found her not a maid" explanation is questionable concerning having scriptural support since that is the position you mistakenly understood the betrothal explanation to be. But even that is not completely fair because that doctrine uses scripture very much (Deut 22:13-17) to establish the practice you describe except the termination by stoning is replaced with divorce.]

    In the following, by citing that the OT does not refer to the premarital divorce, this subtilly effects the reader that no scriptural support exists for the premarital betrothal divorce:
    “I think, Robert, that this position doesn’t really fall down simply because those who hold it can’t point to chapter and verse. There may (may) be other reasons it is not valid, but I don’t think the absense of a direct reference to it in the old testament is one of them.”

    Is not a direct example of such a divorce in Matt 1 sufficient evidence that such a divorce was understood to exist and practiced? I find it edifying that the only author to include the exception clause, happens to have in his first chapter, an example of such a divorce about to occur. I see that as divine providence as a reinforcement that Jesus’ complete prohibition of divorce and remarriage as plainly declared in Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18 would be safeguarded from future generations that may lose understanding of the premarital divorce in betrothal and be led to mistakenly believe that “fornication” in 5:32 and 19:9 is a reference to a post marital sexual sin committed by the “wife”.

    In light of the difference that I have shown between the found-her-not-a-maid and the betrothal explanations of the exception clause, and under your misunderstanding that the “found her not a maid” explanation is the betrothal explanation, is it too much to ask for an acknowledgment of that very understandable mistake? And is it too much to ask that you retract your following statements?

    “Once again, Larry, it seems you are putting words in my mouth. You said, “you have misunderstood what the betrothal explanation is, and therefore also have assumed incorrectly that there is no scriptural support for it.”
    Larry, I’m not sure how you keep doing this, but once again, you have made (in your terms) an “uninformed assumption” about my position. I never said I believe there is no scriptural support for the ‘betrothal’ position on Matthew 5. It makes sense to me. Always did since I heard it, still does.”

    Since you apparently have not even known until now what the betrothal explanation is, how can you say it has always made sense to you since you heard it? Do you mean it has made sense to you since I have recently explained it to you?

  314. 314. Jamie Says:

    Larry, you are exhausting. You really are. It is everybody’s lot in life to be misunderstood once in a while, don’t you think? Larry I retract every false accusation I have ever made about you; I apologize for every time I said you misunderstood what I meant, when, in fact, you understood me better than I did myself; I apologize for every time I said you were putting words in my mouth when, in fact, you were merely thinking so much more clearly than I was that you were taking what my mixed up words were saying and explaining how I was contradticting myself.

    There. That should do it.

    Now, Larry, here is my point.

    Robert had asked you to give an example for a scriptural basis for betrothal (item 294). Robert was asking where betrothed meant married, or if man’s tradition was dictating the definition of marriage. I was speaking to the betrothal as not being a scriptural mandate but a cultural thing for the Jews. And the point I was trying to make, in your defence, was that the betrothal period was considered binding in that culture.

    What I was trying to say (in defence of those who hold to the betrothal view of what Matthew 5 is all about) is that just because there was no specific textual mandate in the old testament for the betrothal period being binding, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t seen that way in their culture, and it was a big deal to have to break it off, even though God gave no clear directive that they had to have a betrothal period.

    Larry, my point in that post was that I was agreeing with you that Matthew 5’s exception clause is NOT an allowance for a couple splitting up because, 10 or 15 years into the marriage, the wife has an affair on the husband. BEFORE I EVER SAW YOUR NAME in this forum, I had long held that view of Matthew 5, and still do: it is NOT an exception clause for adultery, and it gives US, in the 20th century, NO OUT for “putting away.” And so, I guess, no, Larry, you didn’t change my mind.

    So now, I’m sure you can pick through what I’ve said here, and find a whole bunch of stuff I’ve stated correctly about betrothal, about whether there is a biblical mandate for it, or that you might still feel the driving need to beat to death the point about the two different views you are trying to distinguish here. But for my point of view, it seems irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Sorry if this bothers you, but it is. We are talking here to people in the 20th century, where there is no betrothal period, and we are talking here to people who are all well past their wedding nights.

    So for the practical issues we are addressing here with peoples’ devastated lives, the nitpicking about whether every point I have made or you have made here has been understood or not, it misses the greater issue. And I guess it is the feeling that you have when you say things like “your uninformed opinions tell me that….” There have been many times in here where you have been right regarding what you have said to people, but you still leave them bleeding and bruised by the side of the road. You win the battles and lose the war, because if the points are not seasoned with grace and the willingness to let it go when you are misunderstood, you get people annoyed with you to the point where they might not hear what are very important points you are trying to make.

    Quite frankly, it seems Robert Waters has hit the nail on the head about what might be a greater issue here. Because you and Robert and I can all agree that Matthew 5 is not an exception for adultery, and yet you and Robert still have much different views about what is allowed to happen if a couple who was never betrothed, doesn’t give a rat’s rear end what betrothal meant, has been married for 15 years of their life to the love of their life, and then finds out this woman they love has fallen in love with another man.

    If Robert is right (and I’m not saying he is, but notice, I’m also not saying he is wrong) but if he is, then the far larger implications here are from the difference between his position and yours. His position allows divorce if it is done properly. Yours does not. Perhaps you could speak to some of his questions because they are valid and need to be considered and addressed here, rather than worrying so much that I missed your finer points, even though I was still agreeing with you.

    Larry, all I’m saying is you don’t need to go on about how vastly superior your position is to everyone else’s position. If it is vastly superior, the facts will show it. The fact that God-fearing, bible-believing people come up on all sides of this issue shows that we all need to speak with a lot of patience, understanding, humility, and a chance to let go of offences to get to the more serious issues to be addressed here, because the implications of whether you, as compared to, say, Robert Waters, are right or wrong are HUGE. There are more important things than winning arguments and saving being misunderstood. There are people with huge aching hearts with their lives ripped apart. Perhaps you could speak a little to your understanding of how your position verses his speaks well to the father-heart of God, or to his compassion or his justness.

    Thanks, Larry.

  315. 315. Jamie Says:

    I’ve gotten a bunch of emails from some of you that follow this post, asking how to post responses on the blog that I mentioned that I’ve been writing over the last couple years regarding MDR….

    http://knowinghisways.blogspot.com/

    And to tell you the truth, I never paid much attention to how that worked, but now that I checked, it seems that you have to have a gmail account or some other website or something to post comments to the blog. But in any event, gmail is easy to sign up for, and you can post there after you’ve logged into your email account. Feel free to offer an alternative suggestion as to how to post a comment on a “blogspot” blog page – you might be able to teach me something useful about it.

    I just wanted to say that as you check it out, please keep in mind that my thoughts have evolved over the last couple years, and I’m interested in using it as a place to chart my journey, explore the issue as I journey, and to let people respond to some of my thoughts as I go.

    Particularly, my concern/passion is to explore this issue from the father heart of God – how his heart is seen in his principles of this issue. So feel free to stop by, I guess, and particularly if you are interested in sharing what you feel is God’s HEART on these matters. I think that’s the most important part of the discussion.

    God bless all. And if there is another way for people to post without a gmail account, please enlighten us all. Thanks.

  316. 316. Mark Says:

    With regard to my post 296 and for the record, as to my quote about deciding to divorce my wife as an act of repentance, I want to state that I am still undecided as to what I am going to do in my marriage. Contrary to what I stated in that post, I currently have no plans to divorce her but am prayerfully continuing my study of the divorce and remarriage controversy with hopes the Lord will give my wife and I full assurance of His Will in this matter.

    Thanks to those expressing their thoughts and concern. Your prayers will be greatly appreciated.

    Mark

  317. 317. larry Says:

    Robert, in post 294 you wrote:
    “Larry,
    I’m confused about your position on the “bethrothal period.” Would you put it in a nut shell? Where does the Bible say one is married that is betrothed? I know the Bible speaks of those who are betrothed getting married. How can one be married before he is married? Does tradition change God’s teaching on this? Are you aware that the word for “husband” is the same word for “man” and therefore the use of that word does not indicate there is an actual marriage?”

    Robert,
    I am aware that you do not know what the betrothal explanation is. If someone will make the effort to learn what it is and how it makes Matthew 5:32 to be read very literally and make complete sense without adding a lot of outside ideas, it becomes obvious that there can be no other intention made by the author than this most straightforward literal rendering. This “literal” rendering becomes so by acknowledging and respecting the proof the scriptures provide concerning how they used the words “husband” “wife” and “divorce”. The available meaning that the word fornication has, that is, its available premarital- sex definition, plays a major role and therefore also becomes very literally valid.

    The betrothal position has NOTHING to do with Deut 22:13-17. For a Christian to actually utilize the scenario there, but instead of stoning they would divorce for fornication,, this would be a SIN under the NT. That explanation based on Deut 22:13-17 is just one scenario of many derived from the OT, that if followed, is sin under the NT.

    Concerning your questions:
    1) “Where does the Bible say one is married that is betrothed?”
    2)”I know the Bible speaks of those who are betrothed getting married. How can one be married before he is married?”
    3)”Does tradition change God’s teaching on this?”
    4) “Are you aware that the word for “husband” is the same word for “man” and therefore the use of that word does not indicate there is an actual marriage?”

    Answers:
    1) It is difficult to understand your motive for this question. It appears that you must mistakenly believe that the betrothal explanation makes it necessary to equate being betrothed with being married. Would your uncertainty concerning the betrothal explanation be better served if you had asked if the betrothal explanation makes it necessary to equate betrothal to being married? If that question better addresses your uncertainty, I assure you the answer is no; the betrothal explanation makes no attempt at making betrothal equal to marriage.
    2) A person is not “married” by being betrothed. The fact that they used the terms “husband” and “wife” with regard to their betrothed unmarried state, (as well as the word divorce to describe the termination of that state) this in no way equates betrothal to marriage. It was simply an issue of expanded usages of those words.
    3) The betrothal explanation has no respect whatsoever to any tradition whatsoever that does not coincide with what Jesus taught from Gen 2, which was always God’s intention from creation. Betrothal was a cultural practice that has no power whatsoever to change the reality of what constitutes what God has joined together:
    a) God made them male and female
    b) by virtue of that reality a man leaves father and mother and cleaves to his wife (not girlfriend or sex partner)
    c) therefore, what God has joined together, (a joined-in-marriage husband and wife) let not man put asunder.
    The natural occurance for a man and woman to so marry is God’s intention from creation. When a man and woman do so, that constitutes in and of itself “what God has joined together”. And since God places his approval of such an occurance by the declaration that HE has joined them together, he also declares that therefore man is not to put it asunder.

    So, no, the tradition of betrothal does not in any way change the truth of what God has said through his Son revealing God’s intention from creation, which intention is clarified and upheld under the NT. The betrothed couple have not left and cleaved together as a joined-in-marriage husband and wife, therefore for whatever reason that kind of “husband and wife” divorce is of no importance since God’s declaration “what God has joined together” has nothing to do with them.
    Therefore for the exception clause to be pointing to that type of premarital divorce, the effect of the exception clause, (to his knowledgable hearers), was as if Jesus said that the only way a husband may acceptably divorce his wife is if he does it BEFORE he marries her. In other words, no provision for divorcing a lawfully joined married couple exists under the NT.
    So the exception clause’s reference to that type of premarital divorce, which does NOT put asunder what God has joined together, was simply an available and useful tool to emphasize complete prohibition of divorce. Quite a bombshell for those thinking that Moses’ provision for divorce reflected “truth”, as if God sanctions certain divorces. Moses in Deut 24 was only making a law to deal with the evil among an unregenerate people. Among the regenerated in Christ, the actual truth spoken in Genesis and clarified and reinforced by Jesus is what is respected; not a temporary law allowing divorce (Deut 24) that was necessary at the time to help control evil. That law ensured the lesser of evils, and therefore it was wise and responsible under the circumstances. In this case of Deut 24, as in other cases, a law is not the truth, it is merely a law.

    Jamie and Robert, how about we agree to answer any question posed by any other? In other words, if in question form, who that question is addressed to, is obligated to answer that question.

  318. 318. Jamie Says:

    Larry, I don’t see the point in making some agreement to be obligated to answer any questions that are posed; it feels like a contest. I’m not here for that. I hope you’re not either.

    I think people come to these forums either because they’re looking for answers, or perhaps because they’ve come up with some and they’re vetting them to see if they hold up, or perhaps they’ve found answers and for any number of reasons they feel compelled to share what they’ve learned. But if the purpose is merely to agree to debate so someone can be seen as the victor, I’m not interested in that.

    I guess when I first found this forum and posted to it, I was searching for some answers; now that I’ve found them, it interests me to see what comes up here, and I get a blurb in my email when it does. And when I see a guy like Mark popping in here, my heart goes out to them for the complex struggles they face. It’s not just about being “right.” It’s about being Godly, and sometimes it’s about who is going to get hurt when we might realize we have to necessarily do the “right” thing. I believe God is concerned about that too.

    If you ask a question that I think is worth answering (if, for instance, I feel that contributing my thoughts will add more light than confusion) I will post a response. But I’ve grown far beyond needing to see that people know I’m right in a theological debate. To me, the theology is a means to an end of deepening my relationship with the Lord and loving the people around me as Christ loves me. If I can prove that my theology fits together well like pieces of a puzzle, but I don’t have pieces that deal with people’s hearts in the struggle, it’s not a theology that serves well. It might win a debate, but it leaves victims everywhere.

    I could say more, but I’m tired. Larry, I ran questions past you in my last post, and you’ve not responded. But I don’t expect you should have to answer every question that I ask. You answer to God, not to me. You might have missed them, you might be too busy, you might feel it is too difficult to address them for all the false assumptions you think I’m making as you speak to the questions. I don’t know why you didn’t address them, but I’m not interested in trying to get you to commit in some pact that you do that.

    If you ask a question I am interested in spending my time to answer, or I feel it contributes to the process of others getting to the heart of what they need to do in their lives, I will address them. But I think the purpose of the forum here is better served if we feel it’s a friendly place without expectation, don’t you think?

  319. 319. larry Says:

    Jamie i answered Roberts post of 294, which questions he raised were what you referred to. So I answered those. I checked your last post. I did not see any questions that I missed.
    The reason why I propose that we agree to put the things we want addressed in question form and that we agree to answer anything in question form is so that neither can claim the other is not reasonably cooperative. The motive is not a vain glory attempt at winning a debate, as you appear to have wrongly surmized. The motive is to ensuire a meaningful discussion. Being dismissive is more difficult if everyone has agreed to answer each others questions and questions are a very effective way of getting each other to be transparent about our reasoning that supports what we believe. The motive is to allow the scriptures to determine what the truth is by finding what explanation fits with the words the scriptures use to express the doctrine.
    We should expect reasonable responses from each other so I disagree. Your last sentence suggests that the agreement to answer each others questions somehow creates an unfriendly atmosphere. I believe it creates an atmosphere of agreed respect and responsibility to be reasonable. That is what makes up part of what it means to be friends.

  320. 320. larry Says:

    Mark,
    You wife has totally misunderstood what the exception clause is about and therefore she is wrong. She had no biblical grounds for divorce. You are involved with another man’s wife.
    This is of course taking for granted that her marriage to him was the first marriage for them both.
    People will try to persuade you that her first marriage has been forgiven. Do you see the folly in that statement? SIN is what is repented of and forgiven. If it was the first marriage for them both, then it was not a sin and therefore lumping the divorce along with the marriage as if both are an indivisible single sinful act whereby BOTH can be repented of is blasphemous and ignorant. Mankind has no such authority to re-label as a sin what God has labeled what he has joined together. Don’t fall for Satan’s subtilty whereby he deceives the hearts of the simple by good words and fair speeches.
    The heart of God is to deliver you out of the mouth of the lion and that your conscience will not be seared with a doctrine of a devil. To say man may in fact put asunder what Jesus said “let not man put asunder” is very clearly a doctrine of a devil.

  321. 321. robert waters Says:

    So, Larry, you are just going to ignore the following facts and give advice that can reck lives, churches and cause souls to be lost:

    1. That fact that God designed divorce to end a marriage, t
    2. That Jesus could not have contradicted Moses’ law without sin, and therefore there must be some other explanation for what he did in fact teach.
    3. Paul classifed “forbidding to marry” as doctrines of devils.
    4. He said to let every man and woman have a spouse (1cor7:1,2)
    5. He said, regarding the “unmarried” which includes the divorced, LET THE MARRY ( vs 7-9) and that the “loosed” which is what divorce does, do not sin if they marry.
    We could go on and on with the problems with the position you are pushing on people. The truth is too simple for most people, apparently. Many are grounded in tradition and will not or cannot hear. One way to help one arrive at truth is to reject all those things that cannot be the truth, then, hopefully, the truth will be among the choices that are left. The only thing that makes any sense at all, as it has no hermeneutical problems, is to take the text for what it actually says rather than make it mean something else. Apoluo does not mean divorce. Jesus never contradicted Moses on any issue. It was the fase notions of the Scribes and Pharisees that he contradicted. This position is not new. I know of about 8 book that hold this position, including my own, and I know of a lot of people that came to the same conclusion through their own study.

  322. 322. larry Says:

    Jamie,
    You wrote:
    “…rather than worrying so much that I missed your finer points, even though I was still agreeing with you.”

    Other than agreeing that Jesus does not allow divorce for adultery, our positions are at serious odds with each other.
    Your positions has at it’s foundation the scenario described in Deut 22:13-21from which your position derives how a man may divorce for fornication, (the termination of the marriage being by divorce instead of stoning.)
    According to the betrothal explanation, if there exists a culture today that allows a divorce following the wedding night, as per the pattern and explanation derived from Deut 22:13-21, that would be a direct sin against “what God has joined together, let not man put asunder”. So the betrothal explanation takes the scriptural foundational for your “found her not a maid” explanation and declares it to be false and sinful. The betrothal explanation declares your explanation how a man may divorce for fornication (not adultery) as completely wrong and absolutely not what Jesus intended by his exception clause.
    Your position, though allowing divorce only the day after the marriage, still allows a man to put asunder what God has joined together. It is therefore false.
    Please make an effort to be more responsible with what you choose to write. You have taken major contradictions between two very opposing positions and made out as if your position were basically in agreement and that the differences were merely “finer points”.

  323. 323. larry Says:

    Robert, you wrote:
    “1. That fact that God designed divorce to end a marriage, t
    2. That Jesus could not have contradicted Moses’ law without sin, and therefore there must be some other explanation for what he did in fact teach.
    3. Paul classifed “forbidding to marry” as doctrines of devils.
    4. He said to let every man and woman have a spouse (1cor7:1,2)
    5. He said, regarding the “unmarried” which includes the divorced,”

    Answers:

    1) Jesus threw out Deut 24:1-4. It was written soley for the hardness of their hearts. By allowing divorce from a lawfully married couple makes Jesus to endorse hardness of hearts. You are in bondage to the law and are not free in Christ to simply accept in faith the things the NT has revealed as truth which many kings and righteous men before Jesus desired to hear and did not.

    2) Jesus changed many things from the OT. He flatly contradicts “eye for eye” He aslo flatly contradicts the OT command to swear by the Lords name as opposed to swearing by other Gods. He contradicts it by forbidding to swear at all. Just two clear examples showing your assertions as mistakes in judgment and erroneous deductive reasoning.

    3) Then Jesus according to you must have taught a doctrine of a devil since he clearly forbade REMARRIAGE. He does not in any way forbid lawful marriages.

    4) He was speaking to those eligible for marriage. The divorced, by the last clauses in Matt 5;32, 19:9 Luke 16:18 and Mark 10:11,12 are clearly NOT eligible for REMARRIAGE. You are switching out the word marriage for remarriage

    5) The context clearly indicates he was speaking to those eligible for marriage. His hearers were also stable in the basics of Christianity so they did not get things mixed up.

    Your points are not facts.
    The plain and simple facts and all that is necessary to understand can be obtained by simply accepting in childlike faith the straightforward apparent clear message of Mark 10:2-12.
    The remarried, basing their divorce and remarriage either on their misunderstanding of 5:32 and 19:9 or their unstable rendering of 1 Cor 7: must face an impartial God who has declared that adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
    You are at war with that God. Your love is not the same as his. His love will warn of hell. His love may hurt, but that is a faithful and necessary hurt in this sinful world.

  324. 324. Jamie Says:

    Larry:

    What, in your opinion, does “put asunder” mean? It seems, if it means divorce, Jesus would have to have said, “what God has joined together, man CANNOT put asunder.” Is your understanding of that word something other than ending the marriage?

    I thought it might mean “drive space between” as in “what God has joined together, let not man try to act as if it is taken apart.” Because if it means “ending it,” then why would Jesus warn us not to do something that cannot be done anyway? We are commanded not to murder, but that is because WE CAN but should not. Why would we be commanded not to do something that we cannot do in reality anyway?

    What is your understanding of “put asunder?” Thanks.

  325. 325. Jamie Says:

    By the way, Larry, I’m trying to be VERY responsible with what I choose to write. That isn’t even a reasonable thing for you to say. You might think I made a logical error; but that doesn’t imply irresponsibility. Not everyone is as smart as you are, apparently; but for you to label that as irresponsibility is being an intellectual bully.

    And by the way, for all practical purposes, the aggregious error you point to that makes for this “irresponsibility” on my part – that business about whether divorce is allowed only for discovering that on the wedding night the contract was not valid, or whether it’s already too late right from the instant they say “I do” – from a practical standpoint, it really DOESN’T make any difference for people who have been married for 15 years, does it? No one is coming here because they are considering divorce the morning after the wedding, having discovered their bride was not a virgin. From a 21st century standpoint, and from the perspective of the people you and I are trying to help, it does seem to me to be straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

  326. 326. robert waters Says:

    Robert replies to Larry
    Comment:
    Robert, you wrote:
    “1. That fact that God designed divorce to end a marriage, t
    2. That Jesus could not have contradicted Moses’ law without sin, and therefore there must be some other explanation for what he did in fact teach.
    3. Paul classifed “forbidding to marry” as doctrines of devils.
    4. He said to let every man and woman have a spouse (1cor7:1,2)
    5. He said, regarding the “unmarried” which includes the divorced,”

    Larry Answers: (See my reply below each answer, rw)

    1) Jesus threw out Deut 24:1-4.

    rw: Really? Would you then explain why the Jews, who sought reason to kill Jesus, did not say one word about this charge you (“friend” of Jesus) have made?

    It was written soley for the hardness of their hearts.

    rw: Is that what the text says? And is there some point in history when men quit having hard hearts and divorce to free the woman was no longer needed? You have God making a law and then determing he made a mistake? God don’t make mistakes. You, however, are mistaken to make such a charge, but then you have heard others make it and it seems to you to be a better argument than nothing.

    By allowing divorce from a lawfully married couple makes Jesus to endorse hardness of hearts.

    rw: No it doesn’t. That is absurd. God inspired Moses to write….so if your argument is applicable to Jesus then it is applicable to God and Moses.

    You are in bondage to the law and are not free in Christ to simply accept in faith the things the NT has revealed as truth which many kings and righteous men before Jesus desired to hear and did not.

    rw: Not true. It just so happens that Deut. 24:1,2 is the on definition of divorce that we have. Jer, 3:8 is the personal example God gave. By the way, consider Romans 7:4 that tells us that Jesus married Israel whom God divorced. Note in the text that he did not merely put her away, he gave the certificate of divorce that made it legal, final and freed her to marry another.

    2) Jesus changed many things from the OT. He flatly contradicts “eye for eye” He aslo flatly contradicts the OT command to swear by the Lords name as opposed to swearing by other Gods. He contradicts it by forbidding to swear at all. Just two clear examples showing your assertions as mistakes in judgment and erroneous deductive reasoning.

    rw: You seem very cocky in your effort to pin sin on Jesus. Even the enemies of Christ did not go there. I suggest that you read Albert Barnes relating to the “but I say unto you texts.” Jesus was an O.T. prophet. While he was living he lived under that law and followed it perfectly. (To have broken it would have been to sin and would have disqualified him as savior.) The Jews, however, had strayed from it on virtually every issue. He spoke of the interpretation of the Jews and then taught what the Law really taught–the real intent. I would not want to meet Jesus having publicly argued that he contradicted the Law on anything. Didn’t happen and the charge will not be taken lightly.

    3) Then Jesus according to you must have taught a doctrine of a devil since he clearly forbade REMARRIAGE. He does not in any way forbid lawful marriages.

    rw: Would you quote the text that clearly says Jesus forbade remarriage? Use the word “apoulo” instead of “divorce” when you quote him. The word does not mean divorce. For it to mean divorce a certificate must also be implied. Jesus did not. Obviously one can “put away” (apoluo) but not divorce, which was a sin against the wife that was worse than divorce. But you seem not to want to acknowledge that the sin ever happened, ever will or that Jesus said a word to condemn it.

    Yes, we agree, Jesus forbad unlawful marriage. But you are simply wrong to insist that one who has been divorced cannot lawfully marry another.

    The “unlawful” marriage was the very thing Jesus was saying resulting in the men committing adultery against their wives (Mk 10:11) and it was the very reason she would commit adultery if she married another–it would not be lawful. Why? Because the man had not divorced her. He merely sent her away. Saved himself from having to pay the dowry back to her father. If the divorce had been in accordance with that proscribed by Moses “she could go be another man’s wife.”

    4) He was speaking to those eligible for marriage.
    Paul speak regarding who is “eligible” for marriage and it is contrary to the tradition that many today believe. Just read 1 Cor. 7:1,2; 7-9, 27,28. Basically, one is eligible for marriage if he/she does not have a marriage. If one is divorce he does not have a marriage. That, of course, is not accepted as fact by those who have been deceived by traditional teaching.

    The divorced, by the last clauses in Matt 5;32, 19:9 Luke 16:18 and Mark 10:11,12 are clearly NOT eligible for REMARRIAGE. You are switching out the word marriage for remarriage

    rw: No, Jesus was speaking of those “put away” which is only part of the divorce process. Those merely put away are indeed not eligible for marriage. If they marry they commit adultery. Simple. The exception clause merely speaks of the case where a man DOES NOT commit adultery in sending a woman away without doing a legal divorce. That’s all. If God wanted us to conclude what you are saying would not Paul have at least given us a hint? What you are teaching has no foundation anywhere except tradition.

    Marriage is marriage, whether one has been married before or not.

    5) The context clearly indicates he was speaking to those eligible for marriage. His hearers were also stable in the basics of Christianity so they did not get things mixed up.

    rw: Jesus was speaking to Jewish men who to this very day are refusing to give a woman a divorce and free her, even though the marriage is dead. This “eligible for marriage” phrase is foreign to the scriptures. It is tradition who says who is “eligible” and you are trying to enforce it. You seem to want to ignore the fact that when Jesus was teaching, men could have more than one wife, therefore the idea of men not being able to marry after a divorce does not fit the context at all. Yet you insist on applying it to both men and women. You err in applying it the way you do whether to woman or man.

    Your points are not facts.

    rw: You speak of “unstable rendering” of 1 Cor. 7. You know that this chapter gives you great problems with the interpretation of Jesus’ teaching, as it does all others who seek to defend tradition. Paul dealt with questions that Christians asked pertaining to who has a right to marry, yet all you can do is charge that those who over and over quote the clear text are making an “unstable rendering.” Some are so ignorant and so determined to defend tradition they argue that Jesus’ teaching override Paul’s. Surely you understand that BOTH are the word of God and that YOU and I must study them and arrive at a conclusion that allows all the word of God to be in harmony. You seem not to give much consideration to the importance of using good hermeneutics. I’ve seen it over and over among defenders of tradition. Tradition is THE authority, just like among Catholics, and nothing else matters.
    rw

  327. 327. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    This notion of “putting away” vs divorced” as being the issue is something I am still looking at. And I wanted to share a couple thoughts here about it. And if you would be so kind as to share your thoughts on my thoughts, it would be greatly appreciated.

    First of all,  I want to say again that I can appreciate the idea that the Greek word “put away” might do well to be “translated” as “put away” rather than “interpreted” as “divorce,” and you have the argument of “words should mean what they say unless compelled otherwise” on your side in this one, I have to say. 

    Having said that, I want to toss two points into the discussion here; one for you to consider and see if you can beef up some support for your idea in light of an apparent textual difficulty with NOT translating “apoluo” as “divorce”; the other is a thought about a difficulty that I have ALWAYS had with “apoluo” being translated “divorce” which VERY NICELY clears up translating it as “put away.”

    First, to my problem with your take on the “apoluo” always as “put away” and never as “divorce.” It seems like the word “apoluo” almost HAS to be implying a legal and proper divorce in some places as compared to the idea of it ALWAYS meaning putting away WITHOUT a proper divorce, or some passages do become confusing. So I recognize the real possibility that the “apoluo” might be taken to mean divorce OR the shifty practice that you are speaking of. There are times a word has different meanings depending on the context. But do you see this? And again, I guess I’m asking if you have any references from the time, cultural or historical or anything that sheds light on the use of these words, with “apoluo” ALWAYS being seen as something LESS than a proper divorce, like the way you are describing it? Or do you, too, see that perhaps it could mean one or the other, depending on context? Just curious what your take is on this. And if you want, I can dig through and elaborate on a couple examples I am thinking of that seem to require this word might indicate one or the other, depending on context. But your thoughts first, if you would…..

    And now to an observation I made the other day looking at Luke 16, considering the text with “put away” and your concept of what putting away actually means being read into the text.  

    I never quite knew how to read Luke 16, due to the fact that it seed so “out of place.” The confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees about them approaching him about divorce was told differently in Matthew and in Mark – presumably for the different audiences. So if I am reading Matthew or Mark, I always had a way to understand the two passages differently – the “exception” in Matthew not really being an exception, for all practical intents and purposes, after it is understood properly. But that passage in Luke always seemed so “out of place” as any kind of a direct teaching on divorce and remarriage, per se.

    It seems apparent from the context that Jesus was speaking there of divorce and remarriage as an illustration of the inappropriateness of holding to the law, and grace; but what the point was, I was not quite sure. 

    You see, if I translate that “apoluo” as “divorce” there, then Jesus would have apparently been condemning the Pharisees for leaving the Law to try to ride on this new concept of grace and the kingdom of God. 

    But if I translate “apoluo” there as “put away” and your understanding of what that means, all of a sudden a different and clearer meaning jumps out at me: the idea seems then, to be that you can’t MIX law and grace – you can’t tack onto grace when it suits you, and yet not do the proper thing of making a clean break with the law; to try to latch onto grace when it pleases me, yet keep the law in my back pocket for when its conveniences suit my ego or my self-righteousness or for justifying my sun with works  is to not deal fairly with God either by law OR by grace. And so in this context, it seems MUCH more appropriate to see that what Jesus was saying here to the Pharisees is they can’t have it both ways – they need to let go of their righteousness by law COMPLETELY if they are to truly be able to benefit from the righteousness of grace. Not sure if I’m explaining it well or not.

    Just a thought. As I said, I would be curious your thought on both points, Robert. Thanks 

  328. 328. robert waters Says:

    Hello Jamie

    > First of all, I want to say again that I can appreciate the idea that the Greek word “put away” might do well to be “translated” as “put away” rather than “interpreted” as “divorce,” and you have the argument of “words should mean what they say unless compelled otherwise” on your side in this one, I have to say. >

    rw: Many of the older more reliable versions do not translate apoluo as divorce. The KJV was inconsistent in doing it one time (Matt. 5). I have argued with people seeking to defend traditional MDR beliefs who say, “We have to accept what Jesus said.” But then the question remains,” what exactly did Jesus say?” and are we going to refuse to use good hermeneutics and accept and contend that he said something that would be rejected if we used good hermeneutics? We use good hermeneutics when studying other subjects–why not MDR?

    > Having said that, I want to toss two points into the discussion here; one for you to consider and see if you can beef up some support for your idea in light of an apparent textual difficulty with NOT translating “apoluo” as “divorce”; the other is a thought about a difficulty that I have ALWAYS had with “apoluo” being translated “divorce” which VERY NICELY clears up translating it as “put away.” >

    > First, to my problem with your take on the “apoluo” always as “put away” and never as “divorce.” It seems like the word “apoluo” almost HAS to be implying a legal and proper divorce in some places as compared to the idea of it ALWAYS meaning putting away WITHOUT a proper divorce, or some passages do become confusing. >

    rw: I recognize the possibility that some might have said “apoluo” in Jesus’ day referring to divorce without saying anything else to indicate it was a legal divorce that included the “bill of divorcement.” But such is a failure to communicate. I ran into and old girl friend of mine a few years ago. I had not seen her in over 20 years. She had gotten married but at that time she was “unmarried” (divorced). She said to me “I had to get rid of him?” What did that mean? Did it mean she killed him? Did it mean she just sent him away resulting in nothing more than a separation? I took it that she had actually divorced him, but that is not what she said. Now, had she said “I put him away” would that have been clear? No. She could have meant that he went crazy and she put him in a mental institution. In English, “put away” does not mean divorce.

    To illustrate the problem further, consider what preachers are saying in their writings. It is very common for a preacher to say “A put away woman has no scriptural right to marry.” Of course, they are right but the problem is they are meaning “divorce” and therefore are “speaking the language of Ashdod,” if you will. A married person who is “put away” has no scriptural right to a marriage, but a divorced (unmarried 1 Cor. :7-9) person does. And to those who might think otherwise Paul says “LET THEM MARRY.”

    > So I recognize the real possibility that the “apoluo” might be taken to mean divorce OR the shifty practice that you are speaking of. There are times a word has different meanings depending on the context. >

    rw: Indeed, context can determine the meaning. But the WAY something is said can help in communication. In addition, gestures can help in communication. I work for an agency. I once was complaining to the landlord about some problems with the building. He (jokingly, I suppose) gestured with his foot that he would just “kick us out” if I did not stop complaining.

    When Jesus retorted to the Pharisee’s question about whether it was “lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause” by using various communication helps he could have easily conveyed the idea that he was condemning their practice of putting away. And he evidently was successful because his enemies didn’t think Jesus had said something they could use against him. They would loved him to have said: “Moses said such and such because of such and such, but I’m telling you something different.” Had Jesus gone there it would have been a different story.

    > I’m asking if you have any references from the time, cultural or historical or anything that sheds light on the use of these words, with “apoluo” ALWAYS being seen as something LESS than a proper divorce…” >

    rw:
    Quotation from India Law
    The Mosaic Law never allowed the practice of putting away and not divorcing, although it was suffered or tolerated. But India law actually, at least at one time, allowed it. And it is interesting that these people clearly understood the difference in being divorced and put away.

    A wife who is barren may be “put away” but not divorced, and then another wife may be taken without fault…Separate residence merely affords a presumption, which however may be rebutted that such a woman is a concubine and not a wife. The All India Digest Section II (Civil) 1811–1911 by T.V. Sanjivi Row

    See also: http://www.totalhealth.bz/divorce-and-remarriage-jewish-women-in-chains.htm

    Or do you, too, see that perhaps it could mean one or the other, depending on context?

    rw:
    The Priest’s were to “put away” their wives. The context indicates there was no need for divorce. These were not legal/scriptural marriages.

    (Ezra 10:19) “And they gave their promise that they would put away (yatsa’ H3318) their wives; and being guilty, they presented a ram of the flock as their trespass offering.” NKJV

    It is worthy of note that in the text there was no indication that the priests did anything other than “put away” or separate from their foreign wives according to the will of God. They did not need to actually divorce them because these were women that they should never have married – women who God had said they could not marry. Thus, they were committing sin in living with these women, which is the same type of thing as “fornication” (porneia), which includes “incest”, according to STRONG. The fact that they did not formally divorce their wives is in perfect harmony with Jesus’ “exception” – “except for fornication”, i.e., the “putting away” and marrying another would not result in adultery being committed.

    > SNIP >

    rw:
    I’m not sure I follow everything you said but maybe part of it. Below is the text you noted:

    Lu 16:17 And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail. 18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

    First, Jesus makes a statement that evidently was intended to assure his listeners that what he was to say next was not contrary to the Law. (Matt. 5:17 is more detail.) These people were not told of any exception to what is said in verse 18. Now, if divorce was meant we have Jesus immediately doing what he just said he would not do, or that would not happen, i.e. the Law being taken away before “all is fulfilled.” Also, it becomes apparent that the “exception clause” may not be all that important–because it does not mean what so many have interpreted it to mean. And this idea seems feasible in view of the fact that Paul never even hinted of an exception. But if we view the text as Jesus saying “you men who are sending your wives away are committing adultery against her” (See also Mark 10:11.) then, contrary to the traditional view, everything makes sense. The exception is just too simple for many to believe: If a man APOLUO’s his because of “fornication” or an “illegal marriage” he does not commit adultery against her–it is the right thing to do for both him and her. The traditional view has Jesus doing opposite of what the Law was intended to do–protect women who were being treated treacherously. Are church leaders today not doing the same thing and therefore guilty of that which Paul clearly condemned (1 Tim. 4:1-3)? Paul speaks very clearly to church leaders who might think someone who is unmarried but has been married is “not eligible” for marriage: “LET THEM MARRY.”

    Scenario:
    A faithful wife is divorced by her husband who found someone he likes better. The church tells her she should have divorce him “for fornication” and that because she is a “put away woman” Jesus says she must remain celibate.

    Friends, you have to FORCE apoluo to mean divorce before there can even be a foundation for this traditional doctrine, and then you have to disregard good hermeneutics to believe it.

    rw

  329. 329. Scarecrow Says:

    If divorce is not allowed how could a woman have five husbands? Jesus states that the man she is with now is not her husband so obviously being with/living with a man does not make you his wife, and therefore she must have been legitimately married and divorced a number of times for Jesus to acknowledge them as husbands.

    John 4:16-18 Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband. In that you spoke truly.

  330. 330. larry Says:

    Robert,
    In spite of the extensive reasonings you have, your position simply cannot agree with the words Jesus chose to use.
    It is adultery to marry a woman who has been divorced from a lawful marriage.

    Please insert the necessary words into Jesus’ sentences where the last clauses of all 4 main references spoken by Jesus clearly show that remarriage is adultery. Such an insertion of words, which you do mentally when you read those verses, will reveal how desperate your position is.

    By repeating over and over that Jesus’ words don’t mean what they plainly appear to mean does nothing to prove that Jesus’ words don’t mean what they appear to mean.

    Also, to support your view, make a parallel of the basic mechanics of what you believe the grammar performs in Matt 5:32.
    Put away and divorce are simply used as synonyms. Your position has forced you to go to these insanely elaborate measures to evade that remarriage is adultery.
    Having a spouse is not a basic ‘right’ as if everyone is entitled to a spouse no matter what their circumstances. Having a lawful spouse is a privilege, which we are entitled to at least once in our lives. If the first and lawful spouse has died, then we may marry again, but not before their death. To marry before their death is simply adultery. Adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Neither will those who encourage adultery by remarriage.

  331. 331. Scarecrow Says:

    “To marry before their death is simply adultery.”

    Wow. I would have to say you are the one that is stretching things beyond imagination. Please give me the chapter and verse where the Bible states that it is adultery for a man to have more than one wife. Of the approximately 40 men in the scriptures with more than one wife not one of them was ever accused of adultery other than David’s clear case of taking another man’s wife. In fact God praised many of them for their godly character.

    2Ch 24:2-3 And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada got for him two wives, and he had sons and daughters.

    http://abiblicalfamily.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=42

  332. 332. Lisa Says:

    I’d like feedback on this situation:
    I’ve been divorced for about 10 years now. I’ve filled my life with lots of things, and projects to get my mind off of the fact that I’ll be alone for the rest of my days.
    I have fought myself over this subject ever since my divorce, struggling to find someone who could convince me that remarriage was in fact acceptable. But no one has convinced me of that yet. I continue to follow this thread.

    I have purposefully removed myself from any potential of meeting someone new, at all costs, so I wouldn’t have to deal with the emotional issues of having to end up really liking someone and then going through the fact that it wasn’t possible.

    A few months ago, I found myself so lonely, and ended up saying a prayer to God, asking that if it be possible that I could have companionship of some kind other than just a friend, to bring that person to me, and to make it 100% clear what kind of relationship that would be.

    I will spare you the details, but someone appeared out of nowhere, seemingly. We are so likeminded, we could be twins, in just about every way. It is truly uncanny.

    The thought of not being able to have this person as a husband is not that traumatic for me, but the thought of not being able to know this person for the rest of my life IS.

    I don’t believe it would be okay for me to marry again, but I want to be with this person for the rest of my life, and they feel the same.

    I am not the kind of person who is into “shacking up” or living immorally, but we both desire to live in the same home. We are basically stuck to one another like glue, having the feeling that we belong together and that the circumstances that brought us together were totally unbelievable.

    Anyway, the thing I’d like feedback on is this:

    How do you all feel about two people, who are extremely in love with one another, just living together for the rest of their lives, without a marriage certificate? Let’s say there is no sexual relationship, past kissing and hugging, and just generally being together.

    What do you all think about that scenario?

    My ex husband is gone forever. He remarried immediately after our divorced, and now he is raising children he has had with someone else. Not only that, but he despises me.

    I am so lonely on this earth with no one. I have friends, and I have lots of things to keep me busy, but that can’t replace the emotional bond you have when you really love someone with all your heart and want to share your life with them. It’s all about companionship and likemindedness.

    Is there any way this can be done? Is the scenario I presented acceptable in any way?

  333. 333. Chelle Says:

    Hello All,

    If I may just jump in here, as I have been reading the recently added posts.

    Robert, a quick question.
    It seems you’re saying that Jesus was simply addressing legalities regarding divorce and remarriage.
    If so, then the heart of God is somehow concerned, and bases his judgement on whether or not a certain “legal document” was obtained to sever the marriage in His eyes. And if that document was not obtained then whoever married again, (even if a poor abandon wife did it to survive) God would be backed into a corner with no choice other than to send this abandoned wife to hell for adultery?
    This makes no sense to me as to God’s design for marriage. He clearly tells what He expects for marriage to be. He expects it to be forever, until death parts you. You make it sound as if all God needs from us is a good enough reason and some legal paperwork to divorce and remarry someone else. Then we’re good to go. After all, we have the paperwork and it’s all legal.

    Sorry, I don’t mean to sound like a smart alec, but when put this way it sure sounds silly.

  334. 334. robert waters Says:

    Thank your Lisa for telling your situation. This is a good example of what evil results from the traditional teaching, which I shall now address.

    First, let me be clear in answering your question. Living together, like you proposed, is wrong. You will give the appearance of evil, which Paul said to avoid (1 Thes 5:22). No one will believe you are not having sexual intercourse. And you might not, at first. It seems to me you want a “marriage” without calling it that because you were taught that it would be adultery if you were to marry. But if you use good hermeneutics in studying this subject you can have complete confidence that the preachers not only are incorrect to teach you that you may not marry, but are teaching a doctrine that is so evil God puts it into the category of “doctrines of devils” (1Tim. 4:1-3). Of course, the traditional MDR teachers have their answer for this passage, but last I looked it was still there and it applies to whoever would do what is clearly condemned.

    How you not noticed how the traditional MDR teachers go about promoting their doctrine? They usually show Matt. 19:9, and it helps them if they use a new version, and, without much to say let you decide. But how many of the preachers show what Paul says? It is somewhere between 0 and nothing. You would get the “wrong” idea if you were shown what Paul says. “Let them marry” would just be too hard to explain.

    First, Paul says to let every man and every woman have a spouse (1 Cor. 7:1,2). Why? “To avoid fornication.” Do you have a spouse? I believe I read where you said you were divorced and he has married another. That answered the question for everyone that is not looking at the situation through traditional lenses. Your situation is the very type situation that Paul apparently had in mind when he tells preachers “let them marry.” I’m willing to do as Paul said. Many preachers will not, but you do not answer to them. Your problem may be you have listened to them to long and put too much truth in them. Can you study this objectively? I don’t know what you are looking for but don’t you think “let them marry” is pretty clear. And we will look at another text later where he make it clear that you do not sin if you marry.

    > 1 Cor 7:1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. >

    Second, look at Paul’s teaching regarding the “unmarried.”

    > 1 Cor 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. [celibate because of the present distress] But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. [some are able to resist sexual needs, but some are not] 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, [those divorced are unmarried] It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, [meaning some cannot and therefore NEED marriage] let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. >

    Paul says, “let them marry.” As a preacher of the gospel, I am going obey what Paul clearly commands rather than stay in lockstep with what tradition says Jesus taught, and at the same time reject Paul and falsely accuse Jesus of contradicting Moses and therefore being a lawbreaker.

    But that’s not all. Paul evidently knew this “forbidding to marry” issue would be a problem so he hits it hard at least four times in his writings.

    > 1 Cor 7:27 Art thou bound [married] unto a wife [woman]? seek not to be loosed [divorced]. Art thou loosed [divorced] from a wife? seek not a wife. [Best not to because of "the present distress"] 28 But and if thou marry, [even though you have been divorced] thou hast not sinned; [regardless of what tradition says, you who are divorced do not sin if you marry] and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you. >

    You are having trouble in the flesh right now. God has made provisions to help you. But traditional MDR teachers will not “spare you.” They insist you don’t deserve to enjoy a marriage because you had your chance and messed up. But how do they explain that to the faithful woman who was divorced against her will? What did she do to deserve the punishment? Nothing, and no man has the right to impose such punishment. God certainly does not tell them to do it—he authorized divorce for a reason and he has choice specific teaching to those who would teach to the contrary.

  335. 335. robert waters Says:

    Hello Chelle,

    > It seems you’re saying that Jesus was simply addressing legalities regarding divorce and remarriage. >

    No, that is not what I’m saying, although I have been accussed of it many times. Jesus addressed something that was worse than divorcing a faithful spouse, it was sending her out and causing her to commit adultery due to the fact that she not only was no longer able to do her duties as a wife she could not marry another.

    Jesus also faulted the Jews when they brought up the fact that Moses allowed divorce if a certificate was given. He reminded them of God’s ideal from the beginning.

    Robert

  336. 336. Larry Says:

    Lisa,
    Marriage is just a temporary thing compared to eternity. To sin in that area of our lives is not worth it from an eternal perspective.
    Paul, in this perspective exhorted the married to view their married state as temporary:
    1 Cor 7: 29-31
    But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; … for the fashion of this world passeth away.

    In the resurrection there is no marriage. The level of fulfillment will dwarf our most pleasurable or comforting or fulfilling experiences as humans.

    What comes to mind is that you are in effect trying to reverse Paul’s exhortation. Instead of “they that have … be as though they had none”, what you are attempting is to let yourself, as one who has not, to be as one who has.
    Both Jesus and Paul warned strongly against the deceitfulness of sin. Sin effects the persons indulging in it. The sin is at the root of their becoming deceived.
    There is a way that seems right but the ends thereof are the ways of death.
    Because it seems right the power of that sin will deceive you so that you will begin to believe that it truly is right. In reality, however, you will be awaiting wrath from a just God who must judge all justly, who cannot be a respector of persons.

  337. 337. Larry Says:

    Robert,
    The apostle Paul had some very strong words for some at his time who were doing what you are now doing.
    While you accrediting a meaning to Matt 5:32: 19:9 which the words therein cannot be made to support (“fornication” used alone cannot be defined as “sex that is done in an illegitimate marriage”), you, at the same time fully support divorce using Moses as your final authority.
    Since when should Christians abandon “ye are complete in him” (speaking of Jesus) for the idea that childlike acceptance of the things Jesus taught is dangerous? According to your assumed “good hermeneutics” things that Jesus taught, before being taken at face value as if if he really meant what he plainly appeared to mean, must be checked with Moses, since you believe Jesus had to agree with Moses.
    At the beginning of my communication with you I tried to get you to dig deeper and lay out the most basic chains of deductive reasonings that lead you to your conclusions. Unless the most basic deductions are made transparent, then no one should take seriously anything you write.
    Concerning your view of Matt 5:32: Isn’t it correct that your basic deductions for your conclusion of what the exception clause means include the following:
    1) Since Jesus is speaking of husbands divorcing their wives, (as per the context established in Matt 5:31), then the putting away for “fornication” cannot pertain to anything premarital.
    In other words, since the word “fornication” has the capacity (alone, without any clarifying helping words) to describe premarital sex, in the context established by Matt 5:31, (which references Dt. 24:1 “send her out of his house”), therefore the allowable putting away, which the exception refers to, must of necessity be referring to that kind of putting away where the man sends her out of his house.

    Though in my own words, would not the above reflect what you believe?

    Now provide the chain of deductive thought that results in your believing that the exception clause must be referring to “sex, which is sin, due to the fact that the marriage is illegitimate such as an incestuous marriage”. Those are my words but I am being very careful to reflect in a succinct and accurate manner what I understand you believe.

  338. 338. Larry Says:

    Robert,
    You wrote:

    “Jesus also faulted the Jews when they brought up the fact that Moses allowed divorce if a certificate was given. He reminded them of God’s ideal from the beginning.”

    He reminded them but did not intend to establish that as the NT standard?
    In the beginning, we have a couple who were literally “one flesh” due to the reality that Eve was literally made from Adam’s literal rib. Since this status of “one flesh” is transferred to all subsequent lawfully married couples (either both were single before they married or any previous spouse is dead) then, like Adam and Eve’s situation, only death is able to terminate such a status. So while referencing God’s ideal from the beginning you are denying it as the Christian standard, using the lower standard permitted under Moses as if that were the truth.
    The law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
    You don’t recognize the difference between Moses’ law and Jesus’ truth. You appear to assume that Moses’ law was “truth” after the NT designation of the word. You avoided answering my previous question concerning the direct conflict between the command to Swear made by Moses and Jesus’ and James’ command to swear not at all. You avoided the question concerning “eye for eye” as opposed to Jesus’ disallowance of that under the NT. You dismissed these two points citing some book that is supposed to correctly address the “but I say to you” verses.
    You must also answer concerning if the NT allows polygamy. Will you reason that since David was a man after God’s own heart and since he had many wives, therefore polygamy is OK under the NT? What about in a country whose laws or culture allow parents to execute capital punishment on their wives or children: wouldn’t a Christian then be justified using Moses’ provision for stoning a son for being a drunkard and a glutton?
    You appear to not be aware of even the most basics of Christianity.
    “No man is justified by the law”.
    Yet you justify your position by Moses’ law whereby Jesus’ pronounced changed, better and more perfect way, which is declared by the NT to be a changed law, is set aside, promoting Moses above Jesus.

  339. 339. Larry Says:

    Robert,

    You appear to not be aware that Jesus has more honour than Moses inasmuch as he who builds a house has more honour than the house.

  340. 340. Neal Doster Says:

    For hundreds of years God had not forced perpetual singleness on His people even though remarriage was adulterous. He had responded to divorce by giving subsequent legislation that prohibited the reclaiming of a wife if she had entered another covenant of marriage (Deut. 24:1-4) proving that He saw the second marriage as binding and the first one invalidated. Larry and others expand the teachings of Christ to make Him to say He is overruling this tolerance. They tend to interpret Deut. 24 as Moses will and not God’s, but the text reads otherwise. This text is discussed by all views so it is important to understand it’s intent. Which view is interjecting their beliefs into it? Read the text yourself and you will see,
    * it is a revelation of God’s will about the matter of remarriage.
    * that it allowed for remarriage even though adulterous.
    * that remarriage was a binding marriage.
    * His response was specific and measured.
    * He didn’t call for perpetual singleness.
    * He prohibited the reconstitution of a first marriage after remarriage.
    These facts should not be easily dismissed because it strongly suggest that God saw marriage, not forced singleness as the best state for the human condition. These facts help to answer the rhetorical question, If remarriage constitutes adultery, do you then believe God wants you to enter into sin? The obvious answer is no, but according to His Old Testament response, neither was forcing singleness His will.

    Jesus’ answer for stopping adulterous remarriages was not focused on depriving divorced people of this wonderful relationship forever. It focused on keeping the relationship intact. Matthew 19:6b….“what God has joined together, let not man separate.” This is a pre-divorce solution. We must be careful not to add laws that places heavy burdens on those that may follow our teaching, as did the Pharisees.
    Phil Johnson speaking on legalism writes “ If we add rules that Scripture doesn’t make—especially if we try to impose our manmade rules on other people’s consciences as a standard of spirituality—we are guilty of the same sin as the Pharisees and worthy of the same harsh rebukes Christ leveled at them.”
    No one has the right to over state or over step the Word of God. To one-up the prohibition of Christ in order to secure the outcome of no adultery may fit our rationale but it requires adding to the Word of God. If Jesus did not forbid remarriage neither should we. We need to take all the scriptures at face value and provide a resolution for all post-divorce situations. To those who may be contemplating a divorce we would warn them not to disregard the Lord’s solution to avoiding adultery. No one should use grace as a license to sin, but we all need grace to get on with our lives when we have.

    Lisa, covenant loyalty survived divorce (in most cases) but did not survive remarriage. If your previous husband has remarried, you are no longer bound by covenant obligation. Don’t shack-up, Marry.

  341. 341. robert waters Says:

    DID JESUS CONTRADICT MOSES’ TEACHINGS (GOD’S TEACHINGS)?
    Larry,
    I generally don’t get too excited about replying to someone who does not take the time to actually make sure he understands my position. It wastes my time to have to deal with false charges and misapplications of texts. But I trust that you are a victom of traditional MDR teachers and hope that you are truly interested in getting free from it–one of the most harmful doctrines taught by church members. I cannot immagine anyone actually wanting to be closed minded so as to continue breaking up marriages and imposing celibacy on people who need marriage to avoid fornication.

    A fundamental truth to understanding MDR is to understand that Jesus did not contradict Moses. I noted that Barnes explained the texts you had in mind, but you didn’t seem to care about understanding the truth but rather wanted to defend your position and keep others from acceping what I’m trying to teach, which is the truth. I am impressed with people, like Jamie, who appears to actually want the truth. At any rate, here is my reply regarding your charge that Jesus contradicted Moses:

    One of the most tragic misunderstandings that people have of the word of God is whether Jesus taught contrary to Moses. While on the surface it might at first appear that Jesus was contradicting Moses, a careful study will reveal that in no instance EVER did he contradict Moses, whose teaches were from God. Do we really want to take a position that makes Christ a transgressor of Moses, during his time. The Jews only on a couple of issues accused Jesus of teaching contrary to the Law. One was regarding getting food on the Sabbath and the other was healing on the Sabbath. They (enemies of Christ) did not accuse Jesus of changing (breaking) the Law regarding divorce, and a number of things as do some today who claim to be friends of Jesus.

    Albert Barnes is one of the greatest of all commentators. Although I occasionally disagree with him he is the commentator I look to most as it is the deepest and the most reasoned, sensible, logical and practical help to understanding the New Testament. Here are his comments regarding some of the issues wherein Jesus is charged with teaching contrary to Moses:

    Mat 5:33
    Thou shalt not forswear thyself – Christ here proceeds to correct another false interpretation of the law. The law respecting oaths is found in Lev_19:12, and Deu_23:23. By those laws people were forbid to perjure themselves, or to forswear, that is, swear falsely.

    Perform unto the Lord – Perform literally, really, and religiously what is promised in an oath.

    Thine oaths – An oath is a solemn affirmation or declaration, made with an appeal to God for the truth of what is affirmed, and imprecating his vengeance, and renouncing his favor if what is affirmed is false. A false oath is called perjury, or, as in this place, forswearing.

    It appears, however, from this passage, as well as from the ancient writings of the Jewish rabbins, that while the Jews professedly adhered to the law, they had introduced a number of oaths in common conversation, and oaths which they by no means considered to be binding. For example, they would swear by the temple, by the head, by heaven, by the earth. So long as they kept from swearing by the name Yahweh, and so long as they observed the oaths publicly taken, they seemed to consider all others as allowable, and allowedly broken. This is the abuse which Christ wished to correct. “It was the practice of swearing in common conversation, and especially swearing by created things.” To do this, he said that they were mistaken in their views of the sacredness of such oaths. They were very closely connected with God; and to trifle with them was a species of trifling with God. Heaven is his throne; the earth his footstool; Jerusalem his special abode; the head was made by him, and was so much under his control that we could not make one hair white or black. To swear by these things, therefore, was to treat irreverently objects created by God, and could not be without guilt. It is remarkable that the sin here condemned by the Saviour prevails still in Palestine in the same form and manner referred to here. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. ii. p. 284) says, “The people now use the very same sort of oaths that are mentioned and condemned by our Lord. They swear by the head, by their life, by heaven, and by the temple, or what is in its place, the church. The forms of cursing and swearing, however, are almost infinite, and fall on the pained ear all day long.”

    Our Saviour here evidently had no reference to judicial oaths, or oaths taken in a court of justice. It was merely the foolish and wicked habit of swearing in private conversation; of swearing on every occasion and by everything that he condemned. This he does condemn in a most unqualified manner. He himself, however, did not refuse to take an oath in a court of law, Mat_26:63-64. So Paul often called God to witness his sincerity, which is all that is meant by an oath. See Rom_1:9; Rom_9:1; Gal_1:20; Heb_6:16. Oaths were, moreover, prescribed in the law of Moses, and Christ did not come to repeal those laws. See Exo_22:11; Lev_5:1; Num_5:19; Deu_29:12, Deu_29:14.

    Mat 5:34-35
    But I say unto you, Swear not at all – That is, in the manner which he proceeds to specify. Swear not in any of the common and profane ways customary at that time.
    By heaven; for it is God’s throne – To swear by that was, if it meant anything, to swear by Him that sitteth thereon, Mat_23:22.

    Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool – Swearing by that, therefore, is really swearing by God. Or perhaps it means:
    1. that we have no right to pledge, or swear by, what belongs to God; and,
    2. that oaths by inanimate objects are unmeaningful and wicked.
    If they are real oaths, they are by a living Being, who has power to take vengeance. A footstool is that on which the feet rest when sitting. The term is applied to the earth to denote how lowly and humble an object it is when compared with God.

    Mat 5:38-41
    An eye for an eye … – This command is found in Exo_21:24; Lev_24:20, and Deu_19:21. In these places it was given as a rule to regulate the decisions of judges. They were to take eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, and to inflict burning for burning. As a judicial rule it is not unjust. Christ finds no fault with the rule as applied to magistrates, and does not take upon himself to repeal it. But instead of confining it to magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves justified by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Saviour remonstrates against this. He declares that the law had no reference to private revenge, that it was given only to regulate the magistrate, and that their private conduct was to be governed by different principles.

  342. 342. Larry Says:

    Neal,
    I am writing as to someone who believes that the exception clause was intended to allow divorce for adultery. Therefore this may not apply to you in part. What do you believe the exception clause allowed?
    (DA represents the Divorce for Adultery position)

    Let not man put asunder happens to mean exactly what it says. Don’t do it.

    DA is what must read things into the text. Jesus brought to completion the purpose of the OT law. It served its purpose up until Jesus came to introduce a NEW covenent, not a reinforcing of the OT. The OT was a schoolmaster and it is clearly declared that we, under the NT are no longer under the schoolmaster.
    Robert has no understanding of this, apparently.
    The betrothal explanation allows Jesus as final authority so that the plain impression that Mark 10:2-12 and Luke 16:18 and 1 Cor 7:39 and Rom 7:2,3 give, stands unchallenged and sure.
    Under the DA mixture of disrespecting Jesus as final authority, into whose hand all power is given, even over Moses, NONE of the texts spoken by Jesus can be taken literally. DA stumbles with answers concerning Matt 5:32 and 19:9, unable to see the grammatical disaster created when “fornication” is changed to adultery and hence a totally different function the exception clause serves when the text is so butchered.
    How can it be that what DA deems to be the correct explanation of the exception clause makes the grammar a disaster, but when the betrothal explanation is held the sentence is perfect?
    If someone holding to DA would commit to answer a few questions concerning the texts containing the exception clause it will be easily apparent the bankruptcy that position faces.

  343. 343. Larry Says:

    Robert,
    You must also answer concerning if the NT allows polygamy. Will you reason that since David was a man after God’s own heart and since he had many wives, therefore polygamy is OK under the NT? What about in a country whose laws or culture allow parents to execute capital punishment on their wives or children: wouldn’t a Christian then be justified using Moses’ provision for stoning a son for being a drunkard and a glutton?
    You appear to not be aware of even the most basics of Christianity.
    “No man is justified by the law”.
    Yet you justify your position by Moses’ law whereby Jesus’ pronounced changed, better and more perfect way, which is declared by the NT to be a changed law, is set aside, promoting Moses above Jesus.

    Your “Christianity” that must seek permission from Moses before attempting to believe what Jesus’ words appear to clearly state, and that must desperately find ways to make Jesus enforce Moses’ law, is what Paul was referring to when he spoke of those who troubled Christians with their fleshly desire to go back under bondage to Moses:
    “I would that they were even cut off that trouble you”

  344. 344. robert waters Says:

    Larry,
    The Law was made inactive at the death of Christ, at which time his Law went into effect. Paul said if you try to be justified by the law you fall from grace. Gal 5:4. You false accuse me. I have said NOTHING that hints at what you have charged me with. Nevertheless, Deut. 24;1,2 is God’s definition of divorce, and there is no other in the entire Bible. In Jer. 3:8 we see that God confirmed the definition. We also see in Romans 7:4 that Israel, who was divorced for unfaithfulness, was allowed to marry another. And note who the marriage was with. This text knocks the props out from under the traditional position that says a :”divorced” person may not marry. If you accept that Jesus was speaking of the evil practice of putting away as being what results in adultery (and that is what he said) then you can believe what Romans 7:4 says. Otherwise, you might want to try to think of something rediculous meaning for this text and all the other teaching of Paul to try to make it all hamonize. But it is all in vain in you don’t understand that Jesus could not have contradicted Moses and that he did not change the Law regarding divorce at the time he did the teaching on it. And, of course, we don’t find any change in the Acts of the Apostles or the Epistles do we.
    rw

  345. 345. Neal Doster Says:

    Larry,
    I agree we are not under the theocratic system of the Old Testament, but looking back gives us a rational for understanding our immutable God. If my logic or your logic differs from scripture then it would be in error.
    The structure of Matt. 5:32 and 19:9 should be read and understood like any other statement that has a proviso. The conclusion Jesus makes, that remarriage will result in adultery, is based upon the rule having excluded the exception (infidelity) from consideration. There is no need to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel here. Luke and Mark are not at odds with Matthew in their recording of the teaching of divorce and remarriage by Jesus. All three men are affirming the same judgment that Jesus taught, that adultery would result from remarriage, while Matthew explains that Jesus had excluded infidelity from His conclusion.
    Mark and especially Luke’s account is more abbreviated and they merely state the rule taught by Christ while Matthew’s account explains how Jesus qualified the rule. Matthew gives the fuller text in which Jesus drew His conclusion, being that, remarriage will result in adultery unless the divorce has grounds in fornication.

    Fornication is a comprehensive term for sexual immorality, illicit sex (whether before, during, or after marriage).
    Matthew 19:9 – extramarital affair I Corinthians 5:1- incest Jude :7 – homosexuality
    The text determines the type of sexual immorality as in Matt. 19:9. Adultery results from sexual immorality if it happens within covenant bondage. In other words fornication may or may no be adulterous.
    It should be pointed out that illicit sex alone was not grounds for capital punishment (Deut. 22:28,29), but when coupled with covenant obligation it exacerbated the sin resulting in adultery – the grounds for execution (Deut. 22:22-24). Fornication + covenant obligation = adultery. Its also worth noting that both premarital and extramarital affairs warranted the same thing. Those that justify divorce for infidelity at one point (premarital) and turn around and deny its legitimacy at another (extramarital) do not show the same biblical consistency. These verses prove the betrothal theory to be false.

    Notice with me a couple of paragraphs written by a permanence view advocate to persuade the reader that divorce was the acceptable recourse for betrothal unfaithfulness while death was the recourse for marital unfaithfulness. Keep in mind this is a key point (I assume) in your defense in rejecting the exception clause as allowing for marital divorce. What he says is not in dispute, it’s what he doesn’t say that misleads. By omitting a key factor he is able to maintain a logical conclusion that seemingly validates his claim. I want to point out several facts that would reveal a different conclusion if not omitted.

    Mike Gorrie writes,
    “Betrothal among the Jews in Biblical times took place nine to twelve months before marriage. The bride being in all respects bound as a wife, she could be freed only by death or divorce, under the same divorce laws as the married woman. During the espousal period of between nine to twelve months before the marriage proper took place, the woman who was betrothed or espoused was regarded as the man’s wife, and he as her husband, even though they had not sexually come together or made their marriage vows.
    Deuteronomy 22:23 (Sleeping with a betrothed/espoused damsel was regarded as sleeping with another man’s wife).
    Matthew 1:18-21 Mary was only betrothed/espoused to Joseph when she was found pregnant. They were not properly married and thus, according to Hebrew custom he could put away his espoused wife by giving her a writing of divorcement.
    Death (not divorce) was the penalty for adultery in Old Testament times.
    Leviticus 20: 10 (A man committing adultery with another man’s wife must be put to death).
    Leviticus 18: 20 (Adultery defiles a man and makes him ritually unclean)
    Deuteronomy 22: 22 (A man and a woman committing adultery: both must die).”

    Notice the sentence and the scripture references given by him to emphasize that death was the recourse for marital infidelity or “adultery” as he would term it, while implying divorce was the recourse for infidelity when betrothed or “fornication” as he would term it. Look up his reference to Deuteronomy 22:23 and see what the biblical recourse was for “Sleeping with a betrothed damsel.” If his conclusion is correct we will find that divorce was the recourse there. If it’s not, his whole point has mislead the reader because he intentionally lead us to believe that there was different biblical recourse for one case of infidelity than there was for the other. So, first of all notice that his reference to Deuteronomy 22:23 omits the biblical recourse for “Sleeping with a betroth damsel”
    Secondly, if the relationship between the betroth couple was as stringent as he describes (and I believe it was) and if “Sleeping with a betrothed/espoused damsel was regarded as sleeping with another man’s wife,” then adultery would result from “Sleeping with a betrothed damsel.” If sleeping with a betrothed damsel is adulterous we would expect the same retribution for it as we would within marriage itself (Deuteronomy 22:22,23). That is what we do find, therefore, there is no reason to maintain that adultery only occurs within marriage. Nor to lead others to believe that fornication is not adultery.

  346. 346. Larry Says:

    Robert,
    We find lots of changes in Acts as well as in the Epistles.
    You totally twisted Rom 7:4.
    The definition of divorce being a termination of a marriage has no power to negate the NT declaration that only death terminates a lawful marriage. You are getting a lot of things all mixed up.

    You wrote:
    “The Law was made inactive at the death of Christ, at which time his Law went into effect.”
    What on earth can that possibly mean?

    It was Jesus who indicated clearly that a divorced person may not remarry. This is clear because HE declares that remarriage is adultery. In order to contradict what his plainness of speech indicates, you need to give an explanation for the meaning of the last clauses of all 4 places where Jesus declared remarriage to be adultery.
    You are not communicating:
    Does the NT permit polygamy?
    Can a parent stone their drunkard and glutton son?
    Is it OK to swear by the name of the Lord as an oath of confirmation of truthfulness?

  347. 347. robert waters Says:

    Hello Larry,

    > The definition of divorce being a termination of a marriage has no power to negate the NT declaration that only death terminates a lawful marriage. You are getting a lot of things all mixed up. >

    You did not deal with the problems I posed for your position–not at all. You merely engage in circular reasoning. The defininition of divorce that we find in the O.T. is not overturned by the N.T. You appeal to a passage from Jesus that was directed to the Jews under the O.T. Thus, you are guilty of what you charge me of being guilty of, but more. You are not using good hermenetics, and it appears you have no concern for doing so. Jesus did not say only death terminates a lawful marriage. I think I’m wasting my time discussing this with you because it is apparent that you are going to dance around my arguments and ignore the problems I’ve point out with your position.
    rw

  348. 348. Larry Says:

    You have not pointed out a single problem that the betrothal explanation of the exception clause has. Jesus’ clear declaration that remarriage is adultery is not where the problem lies. The problem lies in your inability to believe what he plainly declared.
    It is you who are dancing around and evading direct questions and using circular reasoning.
    Explain the last clauses of all 4 places where Jesus clearly declared that remarriage is adultery. If those last clauses have a hidden meaning that differs from what the words themselves declare, then you should be able to reveal what that meaning is.

    You write:
    “The defininition of divorce that we find in the O.T. is not overturned by the N.T.”

    Who ever said that the definition of divorce from the OT was overturned? Did you mean you believe the proof that God allows divorce in the NT is established by the fact that the word divorce is defined as a temination of marriage as per what Moses allowed for the hardness of their hearts?

    It is impossible to communicate with someone who is incapable of expressing themselves in a coherent manner.

  349. 349. Larry Says:

    Neal,
    You wrote:
    “The structure of Matt. 5:32 and 19:9 should be read and understood like any other statement that has a proviso.”

    You got yourself in trouble now, because I totally agree with that statement. And if you agree with what you wrote then you should be willing to provide a parallel of the basic mechanics of the sentence in Matt 5:32.
    Under the Divorce for Adultery explanation (hereafter DA), the exception clause functions in an entirely different way than how it functions under the Divorce in Betrothal explanation (hereafter DB).
    All I ask is that you provide a grammatical parallel of the first 3 main clauses in Matt 5:32 after he says “But say to you”. If you are up to the challenge, providing a grammatical parallel for all 4 clauses will serve even better.

    I assert that Matthew 5:32 is grammatically perfect WHEN the exception clause functions as it does under DB. Therefore it is easily possible to produce a parallel that is grammatically competent, which functions in that way.
    I assert that your attempt to produce a grammatical parallel wherein the exception clause functions after the way DA causes it to function, will fail. It is not possible to do so and have a sensible sentence.

    It is natural to doubt me, but I can assure you that if you try to present a grammatical parallel wherein the exception clause functions as DA says it functions, you will fail the exercise.
    This a good challenge. Prove me wrong. Back up your own words whereby you accredit the same validity of grammatical function to Matt 5:32 to a similarly constructed sentence providing for an exception to the rule.

    The sentence construction Jesus chose in Matt 5;32 serves as an irrefutable witness that defies any notion that the exception clause can support DA.

    I will give you an example of a parallel that was submitted by someone who accepted the challenge and who went further and even provided a parallel for the last clause, clause 4.

    1) Whosoever shall leave his apple on the hood of his car,
    2) saving for the cause of rottenness,
    3) causeth a passing child to commit theft:
    4) and whosoever taketh an apple found sitting on the hood of another’s car, committeth theft.

    Notice that it fulfils the grammatical function of
    1) an action done
    3) what that action causes someone to do, (something negative)
    2) an exception in the middle, indicating in that case the person then is not caused to do that negative thing.
    4) a third party’s involvement making them guilty of doing the negative thing identified in clause 3.

    Would you not agree that this fairly represents the basic grammatical-mechanical function of Matt 5:32?

    1) whosoever shall put away his wife, (an action done)
    2) saving for the cause of fornication, (an exception in the middle)
    3) causeth her to commit adultery: (what that action of clause 1 causes)
    4) and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (a third party’s involvement)

    If you believe the provided example, concerning the apples, serves the purpose and parallels the grammatical function of Matt 5:32 under DA, then we can use that. But I reckon you are able to produce a better grammatical parallel.

    You are in for a surprise.

    As far as your effort concerning the words fornication and adultery, this simple sentence shows you are misunderstanding.

    “Jane and John, both 15, were caught committing adultery with one another,”

    As their age indicates, neither are married, they are both single. Is the sentence grammatically competent?

  350. 350. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Please accept the challenge presented in post 341.
    I mean, put yourself in the position of someone who believes that the exception clause provides for a man to divorce his wife for committing adultery. Can you make a grammatical parallel where the exception clause can perform the way it is claimed to function under DA ( the Divorce for Adultery explanation)?
    There is an amazing lesson to be learned by partaking in this exercise.
    The primary lesson being that the sentence construction Jesus chose to use FORBIDS that the exception clause can be referencing divorce for adultery.

  351. 351. Neal Doster Says:

    Larry, you write
    “Jane and John, both 15, were caught committing adultery with one another,” As their age indicates, neither are married, they are both single. Is the sentence grammatically competent?
    According to Deut. 22:23,24 If either Jane or John are betrothed to someone else they are committing adultery. The sentence would then be grammatically competent.

    31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
    32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

    This seems simple enough to me, but I may not understand your point. Possibly because you limit the definition of these words.
    Jesus is telling a man that he will be at fault for his former wife’s adulterous remarriage unless he has grounds for divorce in fornication.

  352. 352. robert waters Says:

    Larry wrote to Jamie,
    >…put yourself in the position of someone who believes that the exception clause provides for a man to divorce his wife for committing adultery. Can you make a grammatical parallel where the exception clause can perform the way it is claimed to function under DA ( the Divorce for Adultery explanation)?
    There is an amazing lesson to be learned by partaking in this exercise.
    The primary lesson being that the sentence construction Jesus chose to use FORBIDS that the exception clause can be referencing divorce for adultery. >

    I don’t really understand your argument but Jesus never spoke of divorce for adultery. First, APOLUO, alone, does not mean divorce. Second, he did not use the word that is translated “adultery.” Adultery is “the exception” that traditional teachers give as THE ONLY reason for divorce and remarriage. But had Jesus meant to use the word for divorce he would have. At the time of his teaching there was a law that dealt with adulterers so this assures that Jesus did not even have adultery in mind.

    I might also add that traditional teachers say that the only way one who is divorced can have a marriage (eligible fo rmarriage) is for him/her to go back to his/her spouse. And this is supported (?) by teaching that was to Jews under Jewish law, which forbad this practice in no uncertain terms (Deut. 24:4). How many red flags does one have to see before he determines it prudent to reject a teaching?
    rw

  353. 353. Jamie Says:

    Neal;

    Welcome to the fray (or should I say welcome to the shrapnel)? I’ve dialoged with you on other forums, and I have to say I appreciate your interactions with people. You do well making your points without being offensive, even when you disagree with people, and that is always commendable.

    Having said that, I did want to ask you something that I was wanting to ask you about in another forum, but it was a while back, and since this is fresh, I thought I’d throw it out to you here. Actually, I will toss out the one question from before, and an additional question I would be interested in getting your thoughts about while we’re on the topic.

    First off, you mention Matthew as a principal “with a proviso.” (or something like that – you will catch my drift). One day, as I was reading Mark 10, I read the part where Jesus was speaking to his disciples, and he was telling them that “any man who puts away his wife and marries another is commiting adultery, and any woman who puts away her husband and marries another is committing adultery.” And in my spirit, God said to me, “did you notice there’s no exception clause in Mark?”

    In that instant, I saw a picture – two first century congregations, and, unlike us, who have all 66 books in one binding, I saw one congregation with only Mark’s gospel; I saw the other congregation with only Matthew’s gospel. And then in that instant, I saw one of the men from the group with Mark’s gospel stand up, and say (in a Homer Simpson voice, believe it or not) “wow. This sucks. If THEIR wives commit adultery, they get to dump theirs. But if OURS commit adultery, we’re stuck with ours like a bunch of suckers.”

    In that instant, I realized something in that picture. It seems to me that the “exception” in Matthew can’t really be an exception for adultery, can it, without being contradictory to Mark? (Or somewhat with Paul in 1st Corinthians, too, for that matter, where Paul specifically introduces an exception but does not offer adultery as an exception – he doesn’t mention it, anyway). How do you see the first century church who only got Mark’s manuscript not being misled into “erroniously” thinking they could not divorce for adultery if Matthew was, in fact, making a claim about a “proviso?”

    In light of this apparent contradiction, it seemed to me that Matthew’s exception had to either mean divorce during betrothal (pornea being used specifically seeming perhaps to contrast with moichetai, and so being better understood as something different from adultery in the context) or perhaps, as Robert has said, that Matthew was making a statement here with a clarification for the Jews – specifically, that the concern was breaking the thing up unless it was never a legitimate marriage in the first place – incest, for example, I suppose. In other words, Jesus’ point was not to be taken as contradicting old testament law, thereby confusing a Jewish audience. Just curious how you deal with this otherwise apparent contradiction. It seems Larry’s and Robert’s scenarios, though different, both seem to offer explanations for the exception clause that leave them consistent with the other verses they consider in their arguments. But I’m curious what you do with this apparent contradiction between Matthew and Mark.

    Also, in an earlier post here, you made mention (if I understand you correctly – feel free to correct my take on your position if you think I’m not getting it right) but it seems you would not try to take the present tense in Matthew 19 or Mark 10 “is committing adultery” and interpret it to read like an aorist “commits an act of adultery.” I don’t believe you are proposing the argument that remarriage is a single act of adultery, are you? Do you see it, somehow, as an “ongoing condition” of adultery? If so, how is it right to stay in that condition? Or is your position more that divorce doesn’t end the covenant obligation, but because the covenant is still in place even after a divorce, then entering into a new covenant is adultery, because it violates the obligation of the first covenant, and so the making of the new covenant is what violates the original one? If so, is this, then, in your opinion, when the first one is broken? If so, why do you think Jesus speaks of it in the present tense, rather than the aorist?

    I have to say, again, that looking at the problems with these verses in this light, Robert’s take on this does seem to clarify some issues – his position seems to translate “apoluo” as “put away” rather than interpret it as “divorce.” And it does seem if the word literally translates as “put away” then the force of the argument to interpret it as “divorce” has to come from the side that says “interpret” rather than “translate.” But Neal, I would welcome your thoughts on this. Thanks.

    Jamie

  354. 354. Jamie Says:

    Larry

    With any due respect, I don’t have time to try to play the “construct a sentence” game. It seems to beat the point to death, don’t you think? Realistically, as I’ve said before, it seems the issue here is getting an understanding of God’s heart toward people in these situations. Quite frankly, it seems so often in here that you’re thriving a little too much on debate and not looking to see God’s heart in these situations, maybe? I don’t know. I don’t want to judge your motives, Larry, because I don’t know what they are. But I do have to wonder.

    As a curious note, and I guess I’m just tossing this out as an observation – really not looking for an “answer” because it’s not a question. It’s just a curious observation – but I find it to be a most curious irony in these discussions to see a pattern in them. On the one hand, you see covenant theologians, and those who hold to the doctrine of “eternal security” typically promoting the idea that the marriage covenant can be broken; and so, even though the covenant God makes with us is something that He has determined never to break once he has made it toward us, these same people hold to the idea that a marriage covenant can be broken. And then, on the other side, it seems so often that the ones who hold to the idea that a marriage covenant is totally indissoluble except by death – to the point that remarriage is adultery and it must be undone so the first marriage can be restored – are the ones who treat the covenant that God makes with us in salvation as CONDITIONAL – we stay saved provided we are not living in a state of adultery when we die, in which case we lose our salvation and so God’s covenant is conditional, even though our human marriage covenants are unbreakable. Do you see the irony in that?

    It makes me wonder about what God’s heart is in all of this, and how much He might be thinking we are missing something in all of it.

    And Larry, back to you now. I think (I THINK) I asked before, but I don’t remember seeing you respond to the question. And that is OK, by the way – I don’t think you should feel compelled to answer any question in a forum like this. I think if our questions simply stimulate others to think thru the issues more clearly, then perhaps the questions have served a valuable purpose. I guess the question I have is that I’m wondering what your thought is about Jesus saying “what God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” What exactly did He mean by that. For example, in the 10 commandments, God said “thou shalt do no murder.” He commanded that man should not do that because man COULD do that. What, in your understanding, does “put asunder” mean? In other words, why would Jesus command us not to do something if we really can’t do it anyway? (Or maybe the question is, why do you think Jesus did not say, “what God hath joined together, man CANNOT put asunder” since that would have much more clearly conveyed the reality that you believe He was speaking about?) Your thought on this is welcomed. But please don’t feel compelled to answer. Only if you feel like it. I’m not interested in pinning anyone here; I’m simply interested in understanding. Thanks.

  355. 355. Neal Doster Says:

    Grace to you, Jamie
    Because of other responsibilities I won’t be able to respond as quickly as might be helpful. I appreciate the thoughtfulness you demonstrate, striving to have a congruous position, one without self-contradictions and without stretching the words of Christ. An observation that understands that a prohibition can’t prevent the forbidden action is good discernment.
    I’m just reminded that no one can come to the same conclusion as long as they have a different definition for the key words that’s being debated. You, me, Larry, Robert all will be thinking in a different vein, not only being confounded but confounding those who might be looking for God’s will in this matter. I hope that we all are willing to yield to the most congruous position on this issue.
    While defending a certain eschatological view Marshall Entrekin makes this objective statement. “No one should be so unswervingly devoted to a highly problematic view, that when a better one presents itself, he stubbornly defends his old view. Even if one has devoted much valuable time to developing his view, he must lay it all on the altar of truth for Christ. We must remember who we are fighting for! We should not be fighting for a cherished opinion, but for Christ!”
    It would be very beneficial that when a indiscretion is pointed out to one another, that we not merely push on without acknowledging it. It would be helpful to ask and answer specific question as simple as possible. The bottom line is I hope we want God’s will and not our own.

    Jamie I’m not an advocate for divorce if there is adultery, I’m merely saying that it’s justifiable in that case. That was what the question was about in regard to the Pharisee’s confrontation with Jesus. “is it lawful” is to ask, is it justifiable from God’s perspective. There is a lot of places in the New Testament where one writer says something that another didn’t. I consider it a complement to the whole, not a contradiction.

    A proviso modifies the intension. Like Genesis 9:6 in not a contradiction to Exodus 20:13, both are true.

    There was a lot of confusion in the early Church because of not having full revelation, the problem is, full revelation has not eliminated the confusion.
    It wouldn’t be a godly quest for Christians to be arguing for the right to dump their wives.

    Read my comments at 337 for proof on the inconsistency of the betrothal theory.

    The adultery that Jesus spoke of in the gospels was not focused on sex but rather the formation of the second marriage relationship itself. Marriage is predicated in an inviolable covenant that is prohibited from being broken. Jesus is saying that remarriage itself is adulterous. Adultery can result in remarriage even if sex is not part of the equation.
    The quilt of any sin last until it is forgiven.

    My question to you three is, define adultery, fornication, and divorce by a definition you will be bound to.

  356. 356. Jamie Says:

    Neal;

    I appreciate your thoughts. I think part of the problem, as you say, and from what I have seen much of here is the “talking past each other” when person A reads his definitions into person B’s statements and visa-versa.

    Another problem that needs to be weighed carefully is the reality that words don’t always translate in lock-step from one language to the other. In other words, the understanding of love is more clear in Greek, as there are many different words in Greek but they are all translated love in English. Conversely, woman and wife are two different words in Englush, but usage and context dictates the same Greek word be translated into one of two different words in English depending on context. Same with man and husband. Interestingly enough, there was also no commonly used word back then for widower, so when Paul spoke in Corinthians to “the unmarried and to widows” it could fairly be argued that he was speaking there to widowers and to widows, not to unmarried (as in never married, or to divorced, but merely in THAT ONE sentence to widowers). And if that is the case, then this passage doesn’t automatically say remarriage after divorce is allowed. I’m not
    saying that other passages might or might not allow it; I’m merely saying this text is not useable as a proof-text for either Larry’s OR Robert’s positions, and it was not the point that Paul was trying to make in this sentence anyway. He was speaking about remarriage in this sentence after the death of a faithful spouse, and that is all.

    So, in reference to our request for definitions, pinning down a definition of fornication might be tough – the answer is “it depends.” which verse, which context, etc, will determine whether pornea requires fornication including adultery, or as opposed to adultery, or more strictly to recognize illegal marriages, and unfortunately, without an intimate knowledge of the language, context and culture, sometimes the best we can do is come up with a healthy guess based on the body of scripture as a whole, trying to develop a systematic approach to the whole which can ten be read back into the individual passages, trying to make sense of it all. And I do believe (sorry, Larry) that there is no position that stands so far head-and-shoulders above the rest that it simply overcomes all honest obstacles.

    Neal, I guess the problem I have with your understanding (Luke seems to me to be spoken in an entirely different context, and so is almost not necessary to bring to the conversation – it sheds no light not already shed by Mark) but that Mark is simply a trimmed down version of which Matthew is a fuller example seems to me to fall down pretty quickly. Mark’s original audience didn’t HAVE Matthew as a cross reference to “fill out” their understanding of what looks like, if it were NOT for Matthew, a PLAIN and SIMPLE rule, that has no proviso. For me to read Mark and see a proviso, even WITH what i know is in Matthew is a real stretch. So the original audience for the gospel of Mark would, ironically, been the most deceived, because they wouldn’t have had an awareness of this proviso.

    Doesn’t it seem to make more sense to allow for the likelihood that Larry’s or Robert’s explanations for this “exception” make more sense? I’m sure you must be familiar with what their respective arguments are in this regard, and, ironically, though their positions are much different, they both seem to be more congruous to their overall approaches to their respective positions than this is.

    Why didn’t Paul mention the exception for adultery? He was SPECIFICALLY MAKING exceptions, yet did not mention this one. If the adultery is a proviso, why do you suspect Paul didn’t mention THIS BIG ONE when he was addressing the other issue of desertion?

    I’m all for one gospel filling in parts the others might not have covered. But your approach to this one really skates right past what really HAS TO be seen as a contradiction and not a mere embellishment, unless Larry is right, and it doesn’t count after marriage, or if Robert is right, and it has to do with (what in this case, context might demand to be the proper interpretation of pornea to be illicit marriage) something such as incest. Either of their positions seems to add an elaboration that is pretty much required for the Jew so as NOT to contradict Moses and confuse the Jew; to write this part into the text in Mark would have confused the gentile. But your blending, in my opinion, blows right past what is an obstacle that has to be dealt with in a better manner than you are doing.

    Just my response to what you said, and your thoughts are welcome, as you are a very thoughtful guy. Does my objection to your position here not cause you at all to realize a simple blending of texts here misses a HUGE problem of contradiction if your take on it is correct?

  357. 357. robert waters Says:

    Robert to Jamie,

    Regarding the “unmarried” who Paul said “let them marry” that you spoke of…

    > I’m merely saying this text is not useable as a proof-text for either Larry’s OR Robert’s positions, and it was not the point that Paul was trying to make in this sentence anyway. He was speaking about remarriage in this sentence after the death of a faithful spouse, and that is all. >

    First, where do you get the idea that Paul is speaking of the death of a spouse. In Romans 7:1-4, Paul speaks of a woman being free after her husband is dead, but the text does not say she is not free if she is divorced. In fact, verse four in this very context speaks of Christ marrying Israel whom God divorced, therefore it can’t possibly be saying that.

    Second, how can yo say this text is not usable to prove my position. Look up the word “unmarried.” Those who have been divorced fall into this category. Paul clearly commands that the unmarried be allowed to marry. There is no hint in any of Paul’s writing that indicate one who is unmarried is anything but no longer married, for whatever reason, nor is there any hint that a divorce had to be for fornication before a person would fall into that category.

    If it were not for the false assumption that Jesus taught that a divorce must be for adultery before it does what God intended it to do people would not try to twist Paul’s teachings to mean something that else than what is rather obvious. Look back at verse 1 & 2 of this same chapter (7). Paul starts out his response to questions asked by Christians regarding who may marry by commanding to let every man and every woman have a spouse and to drive home the importance of the command he gives the reason for his command: it is “to avoid fornication.” People who refuse to obey Paul’s commands to “let them marry” are contributing to the fall of those who sucumb to temptation to commit fornication because they don’t have a spouse (not allowed to) where sex is within the realm of what God allows.

    Divorce, since the definition of it and the command to do it (rather than just send away), has always done what God intended it to do – end the marriage and, it O.T. times freed the woman. The men could have more than one wife. God said “let not man put assunder.” If a man merely sent a woman out of the house he would be guilty of doing a “divorce” his own way. But if he followed the command of Moses and confirmed by Jesus (Mark 10:3-5) it would not be man putting assunder–it would be God doing it. Since divorce was designed for the benefit of the woman there was not required “reason” before it was considered a divorce and Jesus did not, contrary to Moses make one up and say adultery is committed if the divore was not for a particular reason. Jesus taught that the putting away, or sending away, was what resulted in adultery when the woman married and that the man who married her would also commit adultery. Who can deny that this makes perfect sense of the texts? But many will dismiss it because it just can’t be true because it contradicts traditoin, which is what many consider authoratative, or truth.
    rw

  358. 358. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    Please don’t lose sight of the fact that I think your position is worthwhile. I think you should first take a bit of a step back and realize I’m not opposed to your position, and when I look at it, and considering the possible nuancing of definitions of the words in the Greek texts and how to most accurately render them for an English audience, I have to say that your position seems to be the most reasonable one I have heard. I am inclined to see the merits of it, the more I look at it.

    Having said that, ironically, I think maybe I need to state again what my point was about THIS ONE VERSE and this verse alone. You see, the proper meaning of the words and the proper way to translate them is exactly the reason for my statement here.

    The only point I was making is that, in the context here, I don’t believe Paul had unmarried in mind here (as in “to the unmarried men and to the widowed females.”) I think context likely would mean that Paul, here, was saying “now I the widowers and to the widows…”

    Again, there was no commonly used word for widower in Greek. So if you see unmarried in the FEMININE gender it means unmarried (and as you would argue, divorced would mean unmarried too. Larry would disagree with you at this point. This is partly where definitions need to be heard from each other I guess). Similarly, if the term “widow” is used, it plainly means a woman who lost her husband in death and is now single.

    But the problem with the term “unmarried” in the MASCULINE gender is that it is used for unmarried (and again, this is where you and Larry disagree because of definitions of words you read back into the texts) but it is also used to refer to a widower – a man who lost his wife to death. THERE IS NO WORD FOR WIDOWER IN GREEK, so it needs to be determined what the word is intended to be addressing in the original context.

    So now, in this context, when the term “unmarried” in the masculine is used in this sentence with “widows” the question, in all fairness, needs to be asked: was Paul, in this sentence, referring for some reason, to unmarried men through singleness and divorce and women who had lost their spouses to death, or is it more likely that he is speaking to men and women who both have had spouses who have passed away, and so they are free to remarry?

    I think, when examining 1 Cor. 7 as a continuous flow of thought, it makes much more sense, in all fairness, to see that Paul is speaking to a series of situations: 1) those who have lost a spouse to death, and are free to remarry but are probably better off, in Paul’s mind, if they remain single; 2) he then speaks to those who are married, saying they should remain married. Again, this is where I assume you and Larry would disagree: you would see this as a statement of an ideal to strive for, whereas he would likely see it as an absolute (which I think also goes beyond the text).

    Then 3) Paul makes some remarks to a new situation – what to do with all these marriages that are splitting due to this new religious belief that is rocking the pagan world. He says if someone wants to leave, let them. His principal is to learn to remain in what stay you are in, but of a situation presents itself to improve your lot in life, take it.

    4) he then addresses the issue of those who have never been married, and says they are better not to, but do not sin if they do marry.

    So in light of the context, and the absence of a word for widower in Greek, context requires an interpretation of whether “unmarried” in the masculine should be taken to mean unmarried man or widower. It looks to me like he is speaking to three groups of people: 1) men and women whose spouses are dead and whether it is wise for them to marry again; 2) mem and women who are currently married and are told they should remain that way; and 3) men and women who have never been married before.

    While I am not disagreeing with your position, I am pointing out that it is not fair to use this verse to prove it. And that is ALL I was trying to say about this one verse.

    Robert, I think your position is well presented by looking at “putting away” being translated “putting away” and not being interpreted to mean “divorce.” you don’t need to do what I believe is misinterpreting this verse to prove your case. And when I say misinterpret, perhaps you can be sympathetic to my point: your whole position shines through when the meaning of the word “putting away” is properly understood, is it not?

    I was simply pointing out that, in context, when the absence of a word for widower in Greek is understood, that context seems to require an understanding about whether the implication is all unmarried including widowers or is it implying widowers and it seems best to see Paul to be speaking HERE, in THIS verse, to widowers and not to single men because of divorce or having never been married.

    Please be open to the possibility that this verse might not have any particular application as a proof-text for your position, but that your position can stand on its own, JUST AS WELL without this verse to hold it up.

  359. 359. Neal Doster Says:

    Jamie
    Please refer me to a post in this thread where you are defending a position as truth. It seems that the bible is so ambiguous to you that you can’t come to a position. Larry and Robert are defending one, but it seems you have doubts
    for them all.

    Robert
    Are you advocating that divorce will circumvent adultery?

  360. 360. Jamie Says:

    Wow, Neal. I don’t know that I can “refer you to a post in this thread where I am defending a position as truth.” Quite frankly, I didn’t know that already having a clearly defined position before I start discussing the issue here was a requirement for being able to do so.

    If the only way to have discussions here is to already be showing up knowing why you already know why you are right and everybody else is wrong, what is the point of discussing? Robert and Larry are defending positions that are totally at odds with each other. Is that better? Do you really think that either of them is going to convince the other of what is right or wrong here when everybody is talking past each other all the time?

    Is it wrong to ask questions or point to possible flaws in a position? I believe you yourself made mention here before about the need to listen to each other’s terms when we discuss points, or we will just go in circles. Quite frankly, this, coming from you, is quite disappointing. I thought you were better than that.

    Neal, is it ok to ask some honest questions and point out some things that maybe need to be thought about? Why the attitude? Would you somehow think it better if I blissfully held one position or the other, tenaciously without wavering, even in the face of some honest challenges from a different side? What is the good in that? Don’t you think it’s better to withhold “deciding” on a position rather than just “picking one” if none of the positions presented answer all the questions?

    I don’t know that it’s ambiguous to me; just complicated. It seems you have this all sewn up in your mind. Congratulations. But then, if there are questions that I have that are not yet answered to my satisfaction, including by you, I’m going to keep asking. Quite frankly, I don’t know that it helps me to try to articulate “my position” when I’m not quite settled that I have one. That is why I keep asking questions, keep pointing out things that I think might be getting overlooked. I’m not sure what you were driving at when you said “It seems that the bible is so ambiguous to you that you can’t come to a position.” What did you mean by that statement, exactly? It’s not a simple book, or a simple process to work through these issues, now, is it? So I come here, I post thoughts, I respond to things that are said, I ask questions, I compare ideas one against the other. Is that such a bad thing?

  361. 361. robert waters Says:

    Robert

    Jamie,
    Better to have doubts than to jump onto the band wagon of tradition and be guilty of “forbidding to marry” and of ignoring clear commands to “let them marry.” I had doubts as a preacher for over 20 years. Then long after I got a secular job and was therefore able to objectively study the issue, I learned a position that was close–studied it 10 more years diligently with doubts before learning the truth that has no hermeneutical problems.

    I have debated this issues constantly for quite a few years but have never heard the comment below asked:

    > Are you advocating that divorce will circumvent adultery? >

    Neil,
    What have I said that gives you this idea? Divorce, if properly defined and done his way, does what God intended it to do. Human tradition says divorced people commit adultery in a second marriage, not God. Proof is that Israel married Jesus (Romans 7:4). The teaching of Jesus didn’t even apply to the man, except the man that might marry the woman that was sent away. This is because when Jesus spoke men were allowed more than one wife. Do you not think it strange that Jesus would change the Law regarding the divorced being free yet not say a word about men having multiple wives? It seems to me that you have it so implanted in your head that divorce and remarriage is adultery that you cannot hear or consider another view. That foundation must first be discarded. It has too many hermeneutical problems to be worthy of consideration.
    rw

  362. 362. robert waters Says:

    Robert to Jamie,
    (First, are you a woman or man? I know a man that has this name. I dare not say you make the sense like a ____ or are kind like a ______. LOL

    [Most of the posts are going into my spam box, so I missed this one previously.]

    > I think, when examining 1 Cor. 7 as a continuous flow of thought, it makes much more sense, in all fairness, to see that Paul is speaking to a series of situations: 1) those who have lost a spouse to death, and are free to remarry but are probably better off, in Paul’s mind, if they remain single; 2) he then speaks to those who are married, saying they should remain married. Again, this is where I assume you and Larry would disagree: you would see this as a statement of an ideal to strive for, whereas he would likely see it as an absolute (which I think also goes beyond the text).

    Jamie, I’ve studied this issue with a number of people who have degrees in Greek but have yet to hear the arguments made you have made that I misuse the word “unmarried.”

    The whole gist of Paul’s teaching in ch 7 is that it is best, because of the “present distress” to not be married, but because of the needs of people, that can be satisfied in marriage, leaders in the church must “let them marry” i.e. any who do not have a spouse. In presenting this message he covers all the bases. If there are any who didn’t get “covered” that were mentioned he included them when he said “unmarried.” In verse 11, where Paul said “let them remain unmarried” people apply it (unmarried) to generally being without a spouse after being loosed. But of course, they don’t consider that Paul is speaking to a couple that is separated, rather than divorced and it is all to be considered in view of the present distress. I think the word must be taken in its context in both places. Some versions say “remain as you are” i.e. in the separated state rather than make a decision to divorce an/or marry another.

    I think Paul was intending “unmarried” to be taken as including those who have been divorced. But, if he didn’t in this spot he did in verse 27, 28. But if he didn’t do it in this passage, as traditional teacher insist, using their circular reasoning with their charge that Jesus changed the Law to say a divorced person commits adultery in marrying, then he didn’t clearly deal with whether a divorced person may marry. And that was evidently the main question that Christians wanted to know. Why can’t Christians look to Paul, who was inspired of God to answer these question, instead of looking to the teaching of tradition that have Jesus teaching something that one cannot believe if he uses good hermeneutics.
    rw

  363. 363. Jamie Says:

    Robert;

    I am a man. Glad we cleared that up! ;-))

    I appreciate your thoughts and the efforts you have put into this issue. I want to say a couple things here “all in one” because I have to get out the door.

    First of all, keep an eye on that Neal guy. He’s a crafty one! Seriously, In my discussions with him here and moreso elsewhere, I have to tell you that what I can tell of the man, he truly has a good heart, and would never intentionally hurt anyone. I can also see he is a very bright fellow, and, like you, has thought his positions through quite well. He will throw some things out that you’ve maybe not heard or been asked before. Personally, I think it’s great, because I might think I am right simply because everyone agrees with me. Quite frankly, I can’t know how well my ideas hold up, or how many problems they may have, until they are challenged by the best from the other side. I guess that is also why I’m throwing my own questions out here (and thoughts, when they seem to add to the discussion rather than just stir the pot). I need to see how these ideas all stack up.

    Having said that, I will leave this one for him to interact with you on; it seems to me that you may have missed the question he was asking, based on the answer you gave, and although I might be able to rephrase the question, I think it might do well for Neal to do it. That way, I will also be able to see if I was following his train of thought or not. But watch him! He’ll get you twisted into a pretzel! (But he does it all in Christian love, so it’s all good.) Seriously, I respect Neal for his ability to articulate his ideas and to dissect well. I do believe he can recognize when he has misunderstood someone, too, and if you challenge him with an idea he’s never thought about before, it’s my experience he’ll tell you that, too. You guys will benefit from each other, as will the discussion as a whole.

    Now, regarding the 1 Cor. 7 issue, I would say two things: first of all, I think that Paul DOES address the issue of remarriage, perhaps a bit indirectly, but later in chapter 7. I would have to go thru it again to find it, and I can clarify further if you wish. But I think he covers it indirectly (only) in the section talking about people remaining in the state they are in (the ideal) but then tells them if they can better their state, to do so (the real). I lean toward the idea that he does allow it. When I was at a place where I held firmly to the “return to the original spouse” view, 1 Cor 7 was always the passage that gave me the least comfort that I was right; not for verse 4 (which I still contend, in context, was saying what I believe it does and spoke to before). But later in the passage, when Paul speaks of a believer not being bound when an unbeliever departs, there is not a very good argument here to see that Paul is merely saying they are “free to not have to drag all over God’s creation to make a marriage work” and NOT saying “but you are NOT free to remarry because you are still in covenant.” That never made sense to me very well. I think in this situation he spoke of here, the point was that 1) they were free of the obligations of the marriage, and 2) that they should remain in the state they were in (the ideal). But then he elaborates about everyone remaining in the state they were in, but if they could better it, do so. (I believe his thought was remarriage was unfortunate, acceptable, was realistically going to happen, and when it does, it needs to be taken seriously).

    I guess the question I would have you pose to the people with degrees in Greek is: what is the word for widower? Can you give an example of it’s use? Can you see any case in common Greek usage where it is used like “widow” is used, and conversely, can you see any instances where “unmarried” in the masculine is used alongside “widows” in the feminine and see this as a legitimate translation of the the word, depending on context? And by the way, when you say people with degrees in Greek, are we talking biblical Greek or the common Greek of the culture, of which Christian (biblical) greek was a subset? There are many words in the bible that can’t be understood just from their usage in the bible; it would be like me claiming to have earned a degree in Technical German. There are classes in Technical German, but if I don’t have a good working ability with German already, then to walk out of a class in Technical German thinking I’m learning German is really offbase. I would only be able to speak German to the waitress in idioms about microprossors and system cycle times. You know what I mean?

    Look at the passage again, being aware of the problem of the Greek word “unmarried” in the masculine gender, knowing that it meant “never married” or “previously married and now divorced” or “widowed” as opposed to the feminine gender which commonly used a word for “widowed” and see if that pattern emerges as a legitimate way of looking at the passage.

    Like I said, I think your position stands well even if this particular verse does nothing to support it, and in THIS verse, Paul is ONLY speaking to widowed people. Just a thought. I appreciate your thoughts Robert. Chew on this a bit, and see if it looks like a possibility you need to consider. I’m interested in your thoughts about it.

    And Neal, I do appreciate your heart. You are a good man. I can see that. (Jeeez, I hope you realized I was playing….)

  364. 364. Neal Doster Says:

    Jamie
    I’ve not gone back and read this long thread. It was a serious inquiry, not a sarcastic one. I’m playing catch up. I would really like to know if you have come to some conclusions on this issue and where, why etc. I’ve commended you before so please don’t take it so hard if I cut to the chase so to speak. You pick up on things quicker than me, God has given you a good mind and I agree with Robert that you shouldn‘t take a premature position. If we can understand what one believes at one point we can better assess if it correlates at another. The congruency factor will bring to light the right position. Scripture is the best interpreter of scripture.

    Robert
    Jamie is right. I don’t think you understood my question or maybe it‘s me who doesn‘t understand why you answered it the way you did. I fully agree with you that divorce means divorce and dissolves marriage. We will never come to the right conclusion if we invert what’s being said. I whole heartedly share your conviction that the remarried should remain married and I oppose perpetual singleness. Where I think I disagree with you is in understanding you to say, that remarriage is not adulterous if there has been a divorce. Is that what you are advocating?

  365. 365. robert waters Says:

    Hello Neal,
    Sorry about misspelling your name, but glad you didn’t mention it.

    > Where I think I disagree with you is in understanding you to say, that remarriage is not adulterous if there has been a divorce. Is that what you are advocating >

    YES! Absolutely. That word “circumvent” was what made me think you were a traditional teacher just being, well you know. Before the above is true the divorce must be AS GOD DEFINES IT, not how man has, and does today, define it. Separation IS NOT divorce.
    rw

  366. 366. Jamie Says:

    OK, Neal. We’ve kissed and made up. Sorry about that. Sometimes with email it’s hard to miss the facial expressions and stuff, so it’s hard to know what people mean when they say things. I think sometimes we even hear things that trigger thoughts in our heads and it is not at all the intention. I know one woman that I had to be very careful with not to say, “do you understand?” I meant it to say, “am I speaking my idea well, or should I try to rephrase it because I’ve not communicated it clearly enough that you get what I’m trying poorly to say?” And in the meantime, she is hearing “DID YOU GET THAT, STUPID, OR DO I HAVE TO BREAK IT DOWN FOR YOU?”

    I already knew you mean well. Not a problem. Thanks for explaining.

    By the way, I think, as I’ve read some of your stuff here and elsewhere, that I’m getting an idea of what you are saying, and I hope you can elaborate a little more on the concept – this idea (and I’m sure I’ve missed some in the translation and remembering of the details) of the covanental obligations that do not end with remarriage? (Not sure if I got that right…)

    If I understand the heart of what you are saying (my take on your take, so let’s see how good my signal to noise ratio is) but my understanding might be something like this: God’s ideal is one man, one woman for life. Divorce ends the marriage, but not the “covenantal obligations?” Is that what you were saying?

    I guess what I am really looking for is what God’s HEART is in all of this. I think it sounds like you believe in some sense, even in the case of a legitimate divorce and subsequent remarriage, there is still, somehow, in some sense, adultery that is taking place (not an act, but an ongoing condition – as I brought up before in a previous question to you about the verb tense in the Greek) and yet there are possibly some things that seem worse in God’s heart than this “adultrous condition.” The ideal and the real is perhaps a better way to put it? In other words, yes, it is an adultery of the heart, somehow, in God’s eyes, though a necessary evil that He allows because it is better than the alternatives of perpetual lonliness or constant cause for stumbling into fornication because of some rule that would prevent remarriage? Am I getting you at all on this?

    I will tell you why I’m asking this, too, and maybe this will give Robert some insight into what I am processing here (both for me and for MANY whom I am now dialoging with on this issue, who have had similar struggles and backgrounds as I have).

    While I do have some questions or red flags, so to speak, about Robert’s position regarding the “putting away” compared to “divorce” in the translation of “apoluo – put away” in Greek – I have to say that at a HEART level, it seems to clear up so many difficulties in the real picture of the real lives that are affected by this. To KNOW exactly what Jesus was saying there, there is a lot of cultural stuff to have to understand, and without knowing all the dynamics of the culture, it is impossible to know all of what the manuscript is trying to say.

    What “works” for me in the processing of this stuff, when I read what Robert is saying here (and I do want to buy his book – I want to explore the concept more) is that I think it is hard to simply blow through what Moses wrote in the old testament, where he said you could divorce A, and B was free to marry her, but then if B died, A could not take her back; and then, in a quantum leap, hear Jesus say that if A is divorced, and B marries her, they are entering into adultery, meaning it is a state of sin that needs to be undone and put the original back together. That diametrically opposes so much of what appeared to be God’s HEART in the old testament.

    Those, like Larry, who state that this is exactly what Jesus was saying, can chop all the verses out of the bible, glue them on a piece of bristol board and make a flowchart, and with a few exceptions, tie everything together to point to this picture. But it look’s like Robert DeNiro in Shelley’s Frankenstein when they are all done with it – it just doesn’t smell right somehow, and it seems to lack LIFE or any feel of the fruit of the spirit in it. It makes for seemless RULE OF LAW but seems so badly to miss so much of GOD’S HEART in the whole process. Something makes that fall down, to me.

    Neal, would you be so kind as to take some time to explore this concept a little (when you have time) to look at this from the perspective of GOD’S HEART in what your concept is? If I understand what you are saying, it seems like you see the ideal is one man and one woman for life; and that remarriage is “somehow” adulterous, because of covenant obligations that don’t cease even though divorce ends the marriage, and how this is “somehow” adulterous in the sense Jesus was saying, yet not “adulterous” in the sense it is a sin that needs to be repented of? Could you explain, if you can, what your thought is about this idea that (not to put words in your mouth) God hates divorce, but maybe there are things he hates worse? That remarriage is adultery but maybe a lesser evil than the perils of living with someone in a new marriage?

    Again, this is not to put words in your mouth, and if I have missed it here, straighten it out, please. But I know there are A LOT of people struggling with this. I can’t begin to tell you how often this has come up in discussions with others. It seems to me that Robert’s position speaks to THE HEART of this problem in this way – I am sure Robert, as everyone else here, sees divorce as tragic when it occurs; that it is never God’s ideal. But I think Jesus may well have been speaking to treachery and bullying in a male-dominated society. I know Robert’s idea is MUCH MORE than simply saying it’s all good if the paperwork is filed. That is not his point at all. But his point DOES SEEM TO BE that Jesus WASN’T saying people are not allowed to remarry. And especially, Jesus WASN’T making the point that you have to climb back in some cage and make a marriage work with a previous spouse, even if it kills you, because you are stuck on a technicality.

    It seems to me God’s heart is that he recognizes these things don’t always work out; that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, but that sometimes it WILL kill you; perhaps, if it’s that bad, the injustice is not always the divorce – perhaps sometimes the divorce is the justice to deal with the injustices in a marriage (and therefore the lesser of the two evils).

    And then I have to wonder, in terms of God’s HEART in this, if you and/or Robert are right in an important way here: if Robert has this right, then Jesus’ REAL problem was with cruelty of men toward women in a society that set them aside and treated them like property at times more than people; if Robert is right, then Jesus wasn’t minimizing the damage that comes from divorce, but had a particular problem with men being cruel in the process of dumping them, but without the dignity of allowing them the right to live without having to live as second-class citizens.

    If you are right, it really is, somehow adulterous, but not in a way that it should never happen; tragic, though it is, it is the lesser of two evils, and the point that Jesus was making was to get people to see how tragic it really is, and what is at stake. His point wasn’t to tell people that for the previous thousands of years, Moses’ law was permitting people to be living in adultery all the time when this seemed to violate one of the 10 commandments that Moses gave. His point was something more in line with the Father’s heart. Please expound, if you could, on what you think that might be in this situation.

    I am also mulling over a thought about what Jesus meant, but I don’t know that I can articulate it well enough that it’s worth putting out there; and at this point, since you guys seem to have more settled conclusions as to your rightness in this, I am more interested in seeing how your positions stand up to scrutiny than I am in throwing more noise into the mix. Robert, your comments are welcome on what I’ve said about my understanding of your position. If I’m missing it somewhere, please straighten out what I’ve messed up. I have to say to both of you, I think God loves your hearts in this. As J. I. Packer said, “just one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.”

  367. 367. Jamie Says:

    See? It’s like Rodney King said it best….

    “C… Ca…. ca ca caan’t we all just get along?”

    (Sorry. Had to lighten things up a bit).

    :-))

  368. 368. Jamie Says:

    CORRECTION

    In post 358, I wrote:
    “Could you explain, if you can, what your thought is about this idea that (not to put words in your mouth) God hates divorce, but maybe there are things he hates worse? That remarriage is adultery but maybe a lesser evil than the perils of living with someone in a new marriage?”

    What I MEANT to say was:
    “…That remarriage is adultery but maybe a lesser evil than the perils of NOT BEING ABLE TO LIVE with someone in a new marriage?” (And what I meant was having to deal with the realities of the constant struggles against fornication and the like).

    Thanks, everyone.

  369. 369. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    You wrote:
    “That diametrically opposes so much of what appeared to be God’s HEART in the old testament.”

    Jesus revealed God’s heart in the OT concerning divorce.
    He revealed that Moses’ provision was in direct conflict with Genesis two. Jesus revealed the motive behind Deut 24:1-4. Moses, through the wisdom and decision making power given by God, allowed divorce for the hardness of their hearts.
    You are misunderstanding God’s heart by not believing what Jesus revealed the motive was for God allowing Moses to write Deut 24 1-4.
    If you are intent on supposing that all of the allowances in the OT are a reflection of God’s heart and intention for us now, then perhaps you will answer the questions that Robert has, to my knowledge, refused to answer. Like the allowance to stone to death a gluttonous and drunkard son. Or law and examples that condone polygamy.

    You seem to acknowledge the wisdom in the allowing of the lesser of two evils. But you don’t seem to apply that to how it was wise for God through Moses to provide allowance to divorce as oppsed to the greater evil of not having the provision among an unregenerated and carnal-minded people.
    You seem to think that what Jesus taught should be applied to all people as absolute law whether they have been born again or not. That is not the case. The Christian nation has a law which is the truth, which they are able to receive by the heart-changing power of the Holy Spirit. Those not part of that nation cannot help themselves by virtue of their weak and darkened state, to submit themsleves to laws, some of which may not be “true”. You have a foot in each camp. Hence your confusion.

    The NT makes self denial and crossbearing prerequisites for being a Christian. You are pandering to the flesh concerning the difficulties a person will have whose cross includes staying celibate for as long as their spouse is alive.
    Instead of “playing by the rules” that the very truth itself has made, you are double-mindedly seeing if there is any way to change those rules. “Constant struggles” is something that a Christian is required to come to grips with. You should be encouraging those who have such a cross that God’s grace is sufficient.

  370. 370. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    In regard to 346.
    Questions are very useful to get answers and go forward in a discussion. That is why I proposed an agreement that we both agree to answer questions of each other. Even if it is to say, “I have no answer for that question right now”.
    This serves a number of purposes, such as a clarity that the person chooses not to answer. It encorages honesty to admit that a particular position has no answers to certain questions thus exposing it as faulty.

    The motive for the request for a parallel is because a parallel brings us back to the most basic and literal meaning of words and functions of sentences. Matt 5:32 has a very literal meaning when it is respected how they used the words “wife” and “put away” or “divorce”. Under the “divorce for adultery” model, Matt 5:32 is grammatically nonsensical, which an attempt to parallel the basic function under that model will expose. Don’t believe me, just try it.
    By calling this a word game you insult Jesus who chose words to plainly speak to uneducated people. Therefore the most basic request to see if a sentence is even capable of performing as ap particular interpretation claims it functions should be of very high importance to you.

    Concerning your question.
    If you will look in a concordance where “let not” is used in the many places where it is used that could parallel what Jesus said about divorce, You will not find one place where the phrase “don’t let” is not very naturally fitting.
    It would be foolish for Jesus to have said man “cannot” because man has free will and he has that ability, especially since even under the OT the provision for divorce was made. So “don’t let’ or “let not” clearly shows it to be wrong. Though the sin is literally able to be done, Jesus was very clearly forbidding it. Whether or not a person is capable of getting a divorce, is an entirely different point that Jesus was not addressing. The Pharisees, as recorded in the beginning of Matt 19 and Mark 10, did not ask whether or not people are physically able to get divorces if they so choose. By suggesting what you did concerning how Jesus did not say “cannot”, you simultaneously suggested that he could have answered in an entirely inappropriate manner.
    I didn’t answer the first time you presented it because it is not really a question to take seriously.
    Will you agree that we answer each others questions?

  371. 371. Larry Says:

    Neal,
    Concerning your post of 337

    In light or your claim that Matt 5:32 makes perfect sense as any other sentence with a proviso, then you should be able to make a sentence that performs the same way.
    It cannot be done.
    Jesus’ choice of the basic construction of his sentence in Matt 5:32 makes it impossible for the exception clause to be pointing to adultery. Don’t believe me? Just try to make a parallel. Jamie is blinded to the value of the exercise.

    Your underlying assumption in 337 is that the exception clause cannot pertain to anything other than the sexual sin she commits after marriage. Are you willing to explore and be transparent concerning the deductive process that has led you to that conclusion? Make a sentence paralleling the basic construction of 5:32 wherein its exception clause pertains directly to the main topic of the sentence.

    I would like you to reveal to me how I am wrong. To make that easy for you, I make myself vulnerable by committing to answer any questions you have. Questions are very useful to draw out what others believe and also their deductive processes behind their conclusions. So put in question form in a manner to expose what you see as shortcomings in the betrothal model and I will answer it. In post 337, your statements were not in question form opening invitation for response, suggesting you are not looking for response. Do you suppose all those points are not able to be reasonably contested?

    Would you be willing to be as transparent by also agreeing to answer my questions concerning the divorce for adultery (DA) model?

    If either model is true, either DA or DB, wouldn’t that model be able to answer tough questions?
    My motive is not to debate. My motive is to show that the truth of this is very simple and something God wants everyone to know. As we are saved by knowledge, we may also be destroyed for the lack of it.
    This is a heaven and hell issue. Jesus never made difficult, things that are so eternally important.

  372. 372. Jamie Says:

    Larry;

    I’m not “blinded to the point of your exercise.” I’m busy. I already agree with you that the “exception clause” is not an exception for adultery. I’ve told you this repeatedly and yet you still insist I play this game for you to see that you are right when I already agree with you but you don’t seem to respect me enough to stop harassing me about it or making insulting quips like “Jamie is blinded to the point of the exercise.” Perhaps you might want to pray about this and see if maybe you need to try harder not to talk down to people.

    By the way: don’t feel bad if people don’t answer your questions on this forum. It happens all the time. I’ve asked a number of questions here of people, and don’t always get answers. In fact, I’ve asked you a few that you’ve not yet answered, but it shouldn’t be that big a deal. Perhaps you’re just not interested in answering them; perhaps you think they are too far from the main point which needs to be considered; perhaps you just missed that I asked you questions. That’s ok. I know I’ve not answered all of yours too, for various reasons; and quite honestly, I just don’t feel the need to answer every question you ask. Sometimes it feels like you start with such a different set of assumptions and concepts for what words mean when they are used that it just gets to be such a labored exercise and I just don’t have the time to try to go over it and over it. Perhaps you feel the same way. I don’t know. Just try to give people the benefit of the doubt that they are not avoiding you because their positions are bankrupt and they have no answers for you. Sometimes it might be the way you ask.

    But since you are interested in answering questions, based on what you’ve said today, I want to ask you a question. I’m not trying to bait you with this or set you up or anything; I just really am trying to get a radar fix on what your thoughts are about some things. So for now, I will ask one question, and I really would like to know what your thought is.

    When Jesus was speaking in Matthew 5:32, and stating that remarriage after “putting away” is adultery, was he making a new rule or simply stating a truth that had always been a reality since the time of Moses?

    In other words, was Jesus saying, “that remarriage you guys have been committing all along because Moses allowed it, he allowed it because of the hardness of your hearts, but that has really always been adultery. And you need to see this reality in it and stop doing it because of what it really is and always has been.” Or was Jesus saying, “from now on, no more adultery; that adultery you guys used to be able to get away with because Moses allowed it in the old rules, you can’t do it anymore. From now on, That’s no longer a different marriage. From now on, the rules have changed, and from now on, that will be considered adultery.”

    Just curious which you think it is. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. Feel free to answer or ignore. But I would be curious which you think it is. Thanks, Larry.

  373. 373. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Concerning post 364.
    You called a very reasonable and practical exercise “a word game”. When you so label the reasonable request to cooperate in an exercise that is so foundationally simple and sound, which exercise establishes whether or not a certain kind of sentence construction can be literally read in a certain manner, that clearly indicates that you simply don’t get it. This exercise offers conclusive proof of whether or not an exception clause inserted within such a construction can be read to directly pertain to the topic of discussion. Does the construction of Matt 5:31,32 permit that the exception clause can directly pertain to the topic of discussion? Or does the basic sentence structure itself dictate that it is impossible for the exception clause to relate directly to the topic of discussion? If the latter is conclusively proven by way of practical examples, then the divorce for adultery explanation has been dealt a very heavy and irrefutable blow. Since you side against DA, then it boggles the mind why you are not eager to get this vital evidence against that position.

  374. 374. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Concerning post 364:

    The purpose for agreeing to answer each others questions is so that we can have a pre established understanding of each others motives.
    It helps to eliminate the ‘personal’ side of the discussion.
    Let’s put aside the ‘personal’.
    In reality, a discussion between, let’s say Neal and myself, DA opposed to DB, is not about me against him. It is about two separate positions that are, in a way, totally disconnected from who we are as individuals. He has reasons to believe that DA fits with what Jesus said and reasons for why DB does not fit. I have reasons vise versa.

    You wrote:
    “Perhaps you’re just not interested in answering them; perhaps you think they are too far from the main point which needs to be considered; perhaps you just missed that I asked you questions”.
    “Perhaps”, “perhaps” and “perhaps”. That is exactly why I request that we agree to answer each other’s questions. It is an issue of respect. If you ask a question, I will take it as a question you sincerely desire to be answered, and I can then have the same assurance of cooperation on your part. If it is agreed beforehand that we agree to be transparent and accountable, then we both have the right to respectfully require the other to answer for the sake of continuity and cooperation. Perhaps a particular question was simply overlooked and we can point out that the other did not answer that question, after which we have confidence that the other will in fact answer the question. If understood that we are both willing to admit that our respective POSITION has no answer to certain questions, then we are approaching the discussion in honesty with the understanding that a lack of answers does not reflect on us personally but on the position itself that we are seeking to represent. For example, if I am unaware of an answer for a tough question, I can simply admit that as far as I know, there is no available answer which my POSITION possesses for that question.
    Can you agree that this mutually respectful agreement is useful to go forward and avoid 2 parties continually talking past each other and not making any real progress?

  375. 375. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Concerning post 364.

    You wrote:
    “Feel free to answer or ignore.”

    So do you like the uncertainty of what I will do?
    So you are unsure of what I will do.
    Wouldn’t you prefer that if you ask me a question, I have committed to answer your questions, no matter what it might be?
    It is not pleasant to feel that we are perhaps being ignored. It has a scent of disrespect. And the natural reaction is, “since the other party appears to be ignoring me by not answering my questions, which I regard as important to make progress in the discussion, then why should I answer their questions?”
    So the agreement I seek means we know of a certainty that neither of us are ignoring each other. If a question is not answered then the only reason for that, is that we honestly overlooked it and we are not offended by being informed that we missed it. Yea, we will even appologize for missing it and answer it.

    So to answer your question:
    You wrote:

    [When Jesus was speaking in Matthew 5:32, and stating that remarriage after “putting away” is adultery, was he making a new rule or simply stating a truth that had always been a reality since the time of Moses?
    In other words, was Jesus saying, “that remarriage you guys have been committing all along because Moses allowed it, he allowed it because of the hardness of your hearts, but that has really always been adultery. And you need to see this reality in it and stop doing it because of what it really is and always has been.” Or was Jesus saying, “from now on, no more adultery; that adultery you guys used to be able to get away with because Moses allowed it in the old rules, you can’t do it anymore. From now on, That’s no longer a different marriage. From now on, the rules have changed, and from now on, that will be considered adultery.”]

    Answer:
    If we are to take Jesus’ words very literally, then it is reasonably seen that the Pharisee’s question concerning divorce in Matt in 19:3,7 and Mark 10:2-4, had as it’s focus, Deut 24:1. In reaction to that question, Jesus does not in any way expound on the validity of Deut 24:1 as if he came to uphold it. Instead he goes straight to Gen 2, giving every indication that the answer they sought is to be found there as the final authority on the topic. Jesus explains what Gen 2 means. He projects what was said, concerning Adam and Eve’s marriage making them ‘one flesh’, onto all subsequent marriages. The question then for you is: could this section in Genesis 2 have been spoken so that it had a different meaning then, (before the law of Moses) than to what Jesus revealed its meaning to be? In other words, when spoken in the garden, did the phrase, “and they twain shall be one flesh” have a different meaning and conclusion than what Jesus said it means now? The literal intention by Jesus, when he explained Gen 2, plainly appears to reveal what it has always meant.

    To illustrate the point, highlighting the differences between the OT and NT, suppose that the Pharisees had come and asked Jesus concerning Moses’ provision to stone a rebellious son or concerning Moses’ law that accomodates polygamy. What could Jesus say then? If a person stumbles or is conflicted by such a question, this indicates a lack of understanding of the some of the most basic foundations of Chistianity. There should be no hesitation in confidently asserting that “the law came by Moses but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”. There should be no uncertainty concerning the law of Moses having been introduced long after creation and long after the promise to Abraham and hence “the law” is incapable of cancelling “justification by faith” (simply believing what Jesus taught).

    You wrote: “When Jesus was speaking in Matthew 5:32, and stating that remarriage after “putting away” is adultery, was he making a new rule or simply stating a truth that had always been a reality since the time of Moses?

    The question was not asked knowledgably since the truth Jesus was stating, by assuring us that remarriage is adultery, was not “a reality since the time of Moses”. It was a reality established at the very first lawful marriage, after which, according to Jesus, all subsequent marriages are patterned and answerable. From Adam until the present, that truth has been a reality as seen in Paul’s accrediting the same status of ‘one flesh’, which A&E enjoyed, onto all marriages since.

    Why did God not require submission to that truth before Jesus?
    Why did God not require submission to other truths that the NT reveals?

    I answered these questions, in part, in a former post. I am willing to persue this further if you like.

  376. 376. Jamie Says:

    Larry;

    Regarding this thing of making up a sentence (such as the apple on the hood of the car, for instance, which is a flawed example before it starts – for instance, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with putting an apple on the hood of a car, rotten or otherwise, whereas when a man divorces his wife, there is already something that might or might not be wrong, depending on the loophole, and your point of view about what the loophole might be or might mean, maybe? I could go on from there, but it points to all the difficulties in this exercise you propose) I guess I can see the point in the exercise, but a) the signal-to-noise ratio for what understanding would come of it seems so high, as in the example I just gave about the apple on the hood, when it’s better just to look at the sentence in question, and b) it’s a waste of time for me, since I already agree with you. Why would I try to prove something that I already agree with you about? I appreciate your zeal to pursue the exercise with people who might benefit from it. But it would be like you and me going to a course on English as a second language. You already speak English. I already get the point.

    But now, to this response to my question (and thank you for your answer, by the way).

    Before Jesus pointed them back to Genesis 2, he DID say that Moses allowed divorce (because of the hardness of human hearts, yes, but he DID allow it) even though from the beginning, it was NEVER GOD’S INTENTION for that to happen. We ALL agree on that.

    But I guess my question, rephrasing it, is this: was Jesus saying Moses DID A WRONG THING in allowing the concession of divorce because of the hardness of human hearts? Or was He simply ignoring the “rightness” or “wrongness” of what Moses did altogether? Because Jesus DOES say that MOSES ALLOWED it.

    While I realize that Jesus was pointing to the ideal for marriage instead of the loopholes that allowed divorce, do you think that Jesus was saying the allowance Moses made was a RIGHT allowance to make or a WRONG allowance to make, considering this reality of the hardness of human hearts? That is what I’m asking.

  377. 377. Neal Doster Says:

    Jamie, responding to 358/360
    Your sentiments express very closely what occurred in the Old Testament.
    We find no biblical history of Moses having ever conceded to allowing divorce as a single event. It appears in scripture that divorce was a privilege that the people of Israel had taken for themselves. The permission in Matthew 19:8 worded “permitted” is best understood as Moses not stopping or being able to stop what the people of Israel obstinately insisted on (v. 8 “ because of the hardness of your hearts”). Jesus does not condemn or criticize Moses whatsoever, but rather places the blame squarely on the shoulders of the obstinate Israelites. The absents of criticism for Moses strongly suggest that the “permitting” is of the same nature as that of God Himself.
    In 1 Samuel 8:4-7 the sovereign right of God over Israel was down played by their desire for an earthly king. We find God acquiescing to their obstinacy, “permitting” that which did not represent His divine will, allowing them to suffer the consequences of their choice.
    The obstinacy of God’s covenant people caused a dilemma.
    dilemma – a situation in which somebody must choose one of two or more unsatisfactory alternatives.
    Would He, did He step in an impose perpetual singleness on those that He had created for companionship in order to circumvent adultery.
    The obviously answer is no. Nothing Jesus said should be construed to make people believe that He wants them “now” to remain perpetually single and even more so, to abdicate their present role in their family. Divorcing one’s spouse will not absolve them from sin, only God’s grace can do that.

  378. 378. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    If I may just add one thing to that question about the concession of divorce by Moses. Deuteronomy 24:4 “….then her former husband who divorced her must not take her back to be his wife after she has been DEFILED….”. I have always wondered about that and even read some commentators to interpret the “defilement” in verse 4 as a type of adultery, even though the Jews of the Old Testament were not being judged for this type of adultery because real adultery required stoning. It has been interpreted as the result of her being divorced by her first husband and joining herself to another man, she has become “defiled” (adulterous). And when Jesus came on the scene he called it for what it really is “ADULTERY”. Now, I want to make it clear that other commentators have different interpretations on the defilement in verse 4, for example the defilement may have been some type of “uncleaness” her first husband discovered, thus being the reason he divorced her.

  379. 379. Larry Says:

    Jamie you wrote;

    [Regarding this thing of making up a sentence (such as the apple on the hood of the car, for instance, which is a flawed example before it starts – for instance, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with putting an apple on the hood of a car, rotten or otherwise, whereas when a man divorces his wife, there is already something that might or might not be wrong, depending on the loophole, and your point of view about what the loophole might be or might mean, maybe?]

    You are missing some great opportunities to see how beneficial it is to approach our discussion by way of asking straightforward questions of each other in order to chrystalize what we wish to reveal to each other what we believe to be flaws.
    Under the extreme liberality of requiring only the most basic parallel along with permission to use imaginative licence, even then a parallel mimicing what DA says the exception clause does is impossible.
    If you had asked the following question, you would have been able to understand concerning the apple parallel.

    Since the apple parallel makes a parallel between putting an apple on a car and divorce, can this parallel do justice since divorce MAY be wrong (depending on why it is done) while putting an apple on a car is not wrong?

    You are wrong in your assumption. You did not seek clarity of the background and context for the parallel of 5:32. The parallel of 5:31 that establishes the context and chrystalizes what the topic of the parallel of 5;32 is, shows that the question at hand was whether or not students should put apples on the hoods of cars in a school parking lot. The answer to that (the parallel of 5:32) determines that the answer is no, it is wrong to put out apples because it will cause a passing child to commit theft.
    So putting out good apples and making them vulnerable to be taken is paralleled with a man divorcing his wife causing her to commit adultery. All that is required is that the parallel functions to perform only the most general function of Matt 5:32.

    There is a huge difference between a straightforward grammatical parallel (of the most basic function) and the much more difficult ANALOGOUS parallel that covers all the various aspects that Matt 5:31,32 covers.
    The objections you pose for the apple example is because you suppose a higher expectation is necessary as though it must also be fully analogous in all the aspects that the topic possesses.

    This exercise does not require full analogy. Even under the much easier task of providing the basic [1) action done, 3) what the action causes and 2) an exception in the middle making the action to NOT cause that result], it is STILL impossible to create a parallel that can cause the exception clause to function after the manner that DA says it functions.
    The grammatical parallel, (not a full analogous parallel) doesn’t even have to be something negative concerning 1) the action done. Therefore also, what is caused for 3) what the action causes, also does not even need to be negative in order to demonstarte the point of the exercise. (but the parallel is easier to follow if the parallel is analogous concerning negativity.)
    So even under drammatically easier expectations than a full analogous parallel, it is still impossible to produce a parallel wherein the exception clause can perform the very general function claimed to be performed by DA. The sentence construction forbids that the exception clause can pertain directly to the topic of the discussion. Once it is identified clearly what the topic of the sentence is, then it is absolutely certain that the exception clause can only function in one way. Due to the construction of the sentence, If it does not perform in that one way, it cancels out its own meaning creating self contradiction within the text.
    Similar to saying something like, “you shouldn’t do a particular thing, unless you do it in a manner that you shouldn’t”. The principle I am saying exists under DA is a conflict of negatives that cancel themselves out from being able to make sense
    I can explain that now, but you will not be able to appreciate the utter simplicity of it until you experience it by applying yourself to either make or examine a previously attempted parallel.
    Full imaginative liscence is given, and even then, under such liberality, a parallel cannot be produced where the exception clause can function the way DA says it functions.
    The apple parallel functions well to show that it is impossible to produce a parallel that can make the exception clause function the way DA says it functions. The apple parallel makes perfect sense and does NOT cancel out its own meaning because it does NOT function after the manner DA says the exception clause functions. Notice that it jumps to something opposite (rotten apples) to what the topic of the sentence is talking about (good apples).

    So even under much easier guidelines for a parallel (compared to a full analogous parallel, which would require the inclusion of all the various aspects of the actual topic) it is STILL impossible to create a parallel to vindicate DA.
    Full imaginative licence is granted the writer of the parallel in order to establish the situation, even if imagined. The objective is to make the parallel (of just the basic function) to make sense and at the same time the exception clause must perform the way DA says it performs under that model. It is impossible to do under a very liberal and easy guideline. How much more impossible if a full analogous parallel were to be required?
    Seeing that even given very liberal allowances, not a single sentence can be produced, this is hugely important as evidence against DA.

  380. 380. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    Concerning 368.
    You wrote;
    “Before Jesus pointed them back to Genesis 2, he DID say that Moses allowed divorce (because of the hardness of human hearts, yes, but he DID allow it)”

    Didn’t Moses allow a lot of other things as well?
    You are not facing the obvious conclusion to your assumption.
    “Whatever Moses allowed must be reverenced as what the NT upholds.”
    Is this what you are saying?
    You appear to be refusing to answer my questions concerning polygamy and stoning a rebellious son.
    The truth of the matter on all 3; divorce, polygamy and stoning, is that they are all categorized as historically factual cultural things that partly defined the ancient Hebrews. Like betrothal or many other cultural things recorded in the OT, anything not in accordance with what Jesus taught as absolute truth is not to be observed as required. Circumcision for Jewish males for example.

    Why can you not simply believe what Jesus said about divorce in Mark and Luke?
    The implication is chrystal clear. Divorce was not recognized in the beginning and it is not recognized now under the NT. Paul reveals that the OT law was intended to serve a purpose UNTIL Jesus came. We are under the NT now which is a changed law, a better and greater covenant.
    There were 1st century teachers who troubled those who held a childlike faith in what Jesus taught. Such were spoken of very negatively by Paul. They were said to be false brethren who brought believers into bondage to the law.
    It is not of the Spirit, but of the flesh to seek ways to get out from under the cross that the truth of the NT requires of us. “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die”.

    Jamie,
    you wrote:
    [But I guess my question, rephrasing it, is this: was Jesus saying Moses DID A WRONG THING in allowing the concession of divorce because of the hardness of human hearts?]

    This will be about the third time I am answering this.
    So I will try another way.
    Let’s say a man has a son who is already 8 years old. The son wants to suck his thumb like when he was allowed to do when only an infant.
    The father says no. The son says, you say you don’t change and that you are the same always. You are a liar. You changed. You allowed me to suck my thumb before, but now you say no.

    Under the circumstances as an infant due to the nature of infants and their under developed state (lack of maturity) it was reasonably allowed and therefore not wrong under the circumstances.
    We could make a similar analogy of an 18 year old who at a crosswalk seeks someone to hold his hand before crossing the street. Was it wrong for the parents to make it a commandment that as very young he get someone to hold his hand? Yet as a young adult such behaviour is very unseemly and out of place.
    It was wise and responsible under the circumstances for God to give Moses the wisdom to allow divorce as a lesser of two evils. That is often the role that law plays to restrain the works of the flesh. The Holy Spirit and new birth came with Jesus, bringing maturity and ability to rise above our old spiritually immature nature.

    In short, what was acceptable and wise and even responsible under one set of circumstances, becomes unwise and irresponsible under a different time and totally different set of circumstances.
    The Apostle Paul expresses this concept in the beginning of Gal 4. This answers well the reasons for allowances under the OT, which allowances are forbidden under the NT. Mankind is likened to children under a schoolmaster before Jesus came under the OT. They are clearly declared to not be under the schoolmaster after being made partakers under the NT.
    Some folks on this forum really should stop pushing adherence to things of the OT that are in direct opposition to what the NT declares to be truth.

    The 18 year old has gone to greater things at the crosswalk than when he was very young. Likewise, the NT establishes a higher moral standard.
    FORGIVENESS and suffering with Christ is the mandate, not an outdated concession to the flesh given temporarily to those having no power or knowledge of the greater things of the NT.
    It is a cruel insult to Christ to cite Deut 24:1-4 as a reference to what Christ stands for.
    It had been better to not have ever come to Christ than to commit such a crime of misrepresenting him.

  381. 381. Larry Says:

    Neal,
    You wrote:
    ["Would He, did He step in an impose perpetual singleness on those that He had created for companionship in order to circumvent adultery."]

    Since Jesus plainly said in 5 places that remarriage is adultery, then your sentence would need to be read as, Jesus could not have been opposed to what he defined as adultery in order to prevent people committing adultery.

    So does your position require that all 5 places where Jesus declared remarriage to be adultery as without meaning and totally inapplicable?

  382. 382. Neal Doster Says:

    Larry
    I hope Jamie does’nt read into my words as much as you do. If so I have miscommunicated. It will be interesting to see if he does. I don’t believe that the Father nor the Son approved of divorce, my point was neither did they approve of breaking up families, imposing singleness, the things you see in the white spaces.

  383. 383. Jamie Says:

    Neal;

    The white spaces. THAT IS IT. Once again, Neal, that is the most succinct way I have yet heard to phrase a huge problem I have long had with so much of what seems not right somehow about the position represented by so many in the NDNR camp.

    A word picture I have used before to describe this is that they can (so well) take all the verses out of the bible that directly pertain to this issue, cut and paste them on a large piece of Bristol board, connect all the dots and lines, and come up with this seedless, tightly integrated picture of what all the divorce and remarriage rules look like, with a big flow chart to show who can be with who, who needs to I back to who, and yet this finished product somehow looks strangely like Robert Di Niro in Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” it just feels so far from God’s heart in all of it.

    This really started to hit me about 4 or 5 months ago. I had dialoged with a fellow starting about 2 and 1/2 years back, who had long held the position that Larry does. We dialoged a long time, and in the course of this back and forth, I came to the frightening conclusion that if I did not leave my second wife, I could compromise forever my ability to hear the Holy Spirit speak to me. Now, Neal, I tell the story here because Larry knows this (if he’s been paying attention) but you do not. What had happened is that I eventually came to the distinct conclusion that God was telling me I needed to end this relationship with my second wife. And I did. Over the next 6 or 8 months or so, I had come to the clear realization that there was no realistic way that marriage could have ever survived anyway. The reasons why, I could articulate, but they are totally secondary to the story.

    What I had recently come to see in the last several months, is that, while I wasn’t sure that God would ever put me in or allow me a situation of having another marriage, there were two things I did see: 1) I realized that the marriage to the second one was not something that ever was workable, and that 2) if ever I were to get involved in another relationship, the woman would have to – HAVE TO – be alright with the fact that I don’t hate my ex-wife. I still have concerns for her welfare and for her well-being, and any woman I would ever get involved with would have to be good with that.

    Anyway, several months back, I was discussing things with this fellow who walked me through this process, and we were discussing this idea of remarriage as a state of perpetual adultery. I said to him (keep in mind I was holding firmly to Larry’s position at the time, which I can’t say I hold firmly to anymore) but I said to him that even though these people are living in perpetual adultery, I do not believe they are all destined to hell; there is something in me that recognizes that there are things we may do with good intention that are very wrong, but God in his grace sometimes overlooks them because he knows our motives are to please the Lord. He agreed with me. But we did discuss the difficulty of how to process this seeming contradiction between adulterers going to hell and believers in good conscience feeling free to remarry when it could not possibly be God’s intention that they ever do so…

    A couple days later, he emailed me back, and said that he did a study of this in scripture and discovered that nowhere in the new testament does it say that these people would not inherit eternal life; it only said they would not inherit the kingdom of God!! And so now he is on a quest to try to distinguish the difference between inheriting eternal life and inheriting the kingdom of God – of which those remarried will receive the former, but not the latter!! That is when I saw in my mind’s eye this picture of Robert Di Niro…. There seems to be something wrong with this whole picture of dissecting the chapters and verses down to microparticles (and sometimes, without proper due regard to context, language, cultural considerations and the like – as if the book is primarily a 21st century english book) and dissecting it to the point where both the original texts and contexts are missed along with the heart of the God who inspired it. Neal, it is SO true that we have to be careful not to read beyond the text without some honest and careful caution. If we are not careful to see what it DEFINITELY SAYS and what it MIGHT SAY only, we can head off a cliff like a freight train to some scary conclusions. But your expression is priceless.

    The white spaces. That’s a good word Neal.

  384. 384. Jamie Says:

    Larry;

    I think we really have to give that “parallel sentence construction” thing a rest, OK? I picked that example because I thought YOU had used it as an example someone gave and YOU thought it was a good one. I didn’t, and I was trying to show the problem with the exercise. I guess you didn’t, either. I guess I missed that. Then again, I can imagine others reading this blog might understand why I did. You spent a lot of time explaining to me what I was already trying to explain to you. I appreciate that this is important to you. But it just doesn’t seem like something that I want to spend time on, and I’m not sure anybody else does either. Maybe you need to come up with a better approach. I got partway through your explanation of the problem with the example I used (which I thought you had used) and gave up reading it. Like I said Larry, it feels like sitting in a class for students of English as a second language. I already agree with you.

    It reminds me of a “Leave it To Beaver” episode, where you see Wally standing behind the Beaver, and Wally is cutting Beaver’s hair. It’s falling everywhere. And after a while, the Beaver says, “are ya finished, Wally?” And Wally says, “Gee, Beev. I don’t know if I’m finished, but I think I better stop.”

    Larry, I’m not interested in the exercise. Please just respect my desire not to bother with it and let it go, OK?

  385. 385. Andrew Kulikovsky Says:

    The discussion between Larry and Jamie is starting to get quite tiresome, not least because many of the issues being argued over are discussed in detail in my paper and in McFalls to some extent.

    If you haven’t read it yet, please see:
    http://morechristlike.com/documents/mdr_kulikovsky.pdf

  386. 386. Jamie Says:

    Mark;

    This business of Deuteronomy 24:4 has long been of interest to me and if you care to explore it on a personal basis with me I can, but as far as what I will discuss on the forum here, I will say that there are many takes on this passage, as you say, and many of them spring from the possibilities of how, exactly, the Hebrew should be translated there: for example -

    - should it read, “… then let him write her a bill of divorcement…” or should it read, “… and if he writes her a bill of divorcement….” – the concern being whether this is a prescription for a procedure to follow, or whether it is, instead, a mere description of recognizing what has transpired, but was never sanctioned;

    - should it read, “… after that she has been defiled…” or “…after that she has been made to be defiled….”

    - of course, the debate about what “some uncleanness” means (some sexual sin, or even something as trite as burning the toast).

    Obviously, it was obscure enough and frought with enough possibilities for speculation that even by Jesus’ day, there was much dialog and debate about what “some uncleanness” meant.

    The things that I have wrestled with regarding this passage are many, and in the New Testament, the only part of this that seems to have been discussed in any direct way is the part about “writing the bill of divorcement.” And regarding the first point I mentioned above, depending on whether you look at Mark or Matthew, there might be reason to see that it would have been translated one way or the other (“if he writes her a bill of divorcement” or “let him write her a bill of divorcement.”)

    The OTHER things, though, that have to be considered are many. Has she been defiled, or made to be defiled, and what does this mean? Most in the NDNR camp that I have discussed this with (and Larry might perhaps have a different opinion on it, based on some other things he has written here, but in my experience, he is in the minority of those in this school of thought) would want to say that she had been defiled by an act of incest, in that the only reason Moses was here allowing for a divorce was because it was an incestuous relationship, and was never a valid marriage in the first place. And so the reason he could not take her back was because he was declaring the relationship was “unclean” by reason of the fact that it was incestuous, and he couldn’t later take her back. (In other words, he couldn’t later say, “I guess she was never my cousin after all!”)

    A fellow by the name of Westbrook wrote a paper that seems to be well worth considering, and it actually seems to line up with Robert Water’s position on this issue somewhat. Westbrook says, essentially, that you can’t think of this passage as “if the first guy marries her, and then later dumps her, and some other guy later marries her, and he dumps her, the first guy can’t decide to marry her again.” His take on this (based on extensive study of divorce decrees from ancient Mesopotamian documents thru documents in Hebrew and Aramaic in Jesus’ day) is that these terms “divorce for uncleanness” and “hates and divorces” are almost technical terms. His point is based on the fact that his studies led him to see that a “subjective” divorce required the repayment of the dowry and a support agreement, whereas “divorce for uncleanness” allowed the man to kick her out WITHOUT any repayment or support – giving her a reputation with this charge of “divorce for uncleanness” gave him an ability to discharge the wife but KEEP THE DOWRY.

    His argument was that this charge in Deuteronomy 24 was dealing with an ancient legal principal called ESTOPPEL – the idea that you cannot make a charge against someone in court that will personally benefit you, and then later change your mind and give testimony that recants your former testimony because it will now benefit you again to do so. And so he sees this as a legal principal put in place to protect a woman against treachery – in that a man would charge her with uncleanness to avoid repayment of the dowry; she then married another man who would have been required to leave her a settlement in the estate, or pay her alimony if he “hated and divorced” her; and then the first man would again marry her, seeing her loaded up again financially, and so now a good catch. He sees it as treachery against the females in that society who were relatively weak and defensless as compared to the men who frequently saw women as property as much as mates and confidants. In other words, the man found a way not only to dump her, but do destroy her reputation in the process, defiling her in doing so by giving her the reputation of being “unclean” – as not worthy to be marriage material, and by doing so, got to keep her money as he kicked her to the curb.

    From my experience, the things I struggle with in this verse are these:

    - what happens if the man (as in my case, for instance) never found any uncleanness in her, and there was never anything in her that displeased him, but he filed for divorce to free her to get out a marriage that, at the time, she just could not do, due to personal issues she was working through? Does this injunction about remarrying the origina spouse still apply?

    - What do you do with this passage if the husband divorced the wife, married a second one, later divorced her, and the first had never remarried? Was the man able at this point to take the first wife back, as she had never, in the meantime, become another man’s wife, and so she had never been “made to be defiled?” What if the wife filed for divorce, but the husband never approved of the divorce? Was it divorce or adultery? Could the first husband disallow her vow when she vowed a marriage with the other man because it was never his desire to lose her?

    - If Westbrook is right, then what happened if the first husband didn’t divorce her for uncleanness, but “hated and divorced” her, as the second later did, so that he dealt fairly with her at the time of divorce, and so (as per Westbrook) she would not, in this case, have been “made to be defiled.” Could he take her back then, after the second husband also “hated and divorced” her, as he had dealt fairly with her, and so was “worthy” to be her husband again, since he had not been treacherous with her before?

    I guess the difficulty I have with this verse is that even by Jesus’ day there was much debate among those who spoke the original language it was written in about what it meant, with much more heat than light in the discussion. I think we need to see this as an issue with a lot of “white space” around it (thanks, Neal) and be careful not to read too much implication into it and clubbing others over the head with it, telling them what they must or must not do before the Lord in their individual situations. Those who claim to know clearly the “why” behind this passage have to be aware there are thinking, God-fearing men and women on all sides of it, and allow a place for the Holy Spirit to speak to people in their own situations, and not be so quick to judge. At least this is something I’ve had to come to see over the past several years of my journey…

  387. 387. Jamie Says:

    Andrew;

    An interesting paper. Thanks for posting the link. One question comes to mind, although perhaps it is not your interest to answer it here (and if not, do you speak to this question elsewhere, but if you would)… your last sentence in the paper says, “Yet, in all these circumstances there should be forgiveness, love and acceptance for those who remarry.”

    What, if you don’t mind, does this acceptance look like? In other words, if a couple does choose to marry, though one or both of them have an “ex” still living, is this something that should remain intact if it has already been done?

    Not trying to pull you into a barrage here, but with such a well-researched and thought-out position paper on the issue, I would be curious to know what “forgiveness, love and acceptance” look like to you in terms of dealing with these very real issues in the lives of people in the church.

    Thanks.

  388. 388. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    First of all my understanding of Deuteronomy 24 is that it was a concession (not a command) by Moses under the Old Law to allow divorce, but regulate it so as to prevent its abuse by a treacherous first husband.

    Now there are many who use Deuteronomy 24 to defend their position to not break up a second marriage in order to return to their original spouse. However, under Jesus divorce and remarriage is considered adultery contrary to what it was in Deuteronomy 24 (at least it was not explicitly called adultery, even though the implication may have been there, i.e.”defiled”).

    I believe that Jesus abrogated the practice of divorce and remarriage that was allowed in Deuteronomy 24:1-3, as clearly shown to us in Matthew 19:9, stating divorce and remarriage to be adultery. If he abrogated Deuteronomy 24:1-3, why would it be a stretch to assume he also abrogated Deuteronomy 24:4 about the woman not be able to return to her first husband.

    Furthermore, if I understand Larry’s previous comments on this issue correctly, I think I am in agreement with him the whole issue with Deteronomy 24 is really of no significance. The Old Testament (OT) has been taken away, nailed to the cross, replaced with the New Testament (NT) under Jesus Christ. On numerous occasions, Paul had to reprimand the Jews for trying to enforce OT practices, usually circumcision, on the newly converted Gentiles. Examples are Acts 15, Galatians 5 to name a couple. Also, Romans 7 clearly shows that the Old Law is dead to us. We are “married” to another that being Jesus Christ. And yet why do people keep going back to Deuteronomy 24? My feeling is that verse 4 calls the return to the first husband an abomination before the Lord. The question is: Is it still an abomination? I think probably not. The rules have changed under the NT. I believe God would prefer reconciliation to the first spouse rather than staying in an adulterous marriage to a second spouse. In 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 Paul told the divorced couple to remain unmarried or be reconciled. Those were the only 2 options.

    There are no easy answers to this whole controversy. It’s easy to read what is said and take it at its face value. But usually to apply these principles in practical, pastoral situations in the church, it can be quite complex and difficult. How do you tell someone who has been married 20 years to a second spouse they must return to their first spouse who they married when they were only 18 years old and may have only been married to for 6 months. From a practical perspective, it does not make sense. But what does God expect? Does he really expect that person to try and return to that first spouse under such circumstances? Under the strict letter of the law, I would be tempted to have to say he does expect them to return to that first spouse. But this would certainly not be easy counsel to give.

  389. 389. Jamie Says:

    Mark;

    I can understand Jesus abrogating some (most) of the old testament law, as many were types and shadows; many were sacrificial, as they atoned for sin until the time when Jesus atoned for sin as the final and sufficient sacrifice.

    But Jesus seemed to be clarifying the reality of what was actually already occuring when this divorce and remarriage was taking place, wasn’t he? This is why I posed a question to someone else recently as to whether Jesus was making a “new rule” or whether he was simply stating a reality of what was actually already occuring by this point for hundreds of years now, each and every time they were putting away and marrying another.

    It seems to me he was not making a “new law” at this point – this conversation with the pharisees occurred while they were still “pre-atonement,” and therefore, for Jesus to simply state that “from now on, it’s adultery” seems to simplify a difficult problem here: on what basis was Jesus, before the atonement on the cross, able to state that what was previously an abomination to God (remarriage to the original spouse in this case) was now a legal requirement, and if not followed, it could lead to the loss of someone’s soul?

    The old testament laws that Jesus abrogated, he did by the basis of his shedding of his blood on the cross. That hadn’t happened yet when he made this declaration.

    In his sermon on the mount, he was speaking to the heart of the law, or refuting traditions that had usurped the place of importance over the law. But he wasn’t turning any over; he was explaining the heart of each one to his audience. But in this case, he would be taking something that Moses declared was an abomination to God, and either saying it never was (in which case, Moses had missed it) or saying it was now the POLAR OPPOSITE – which seems hard to understand, when it was spoken before his death and resurrection made any such thing possible, let alone the desired thing.

    Not sure if I’m explaining my thought well, but do you see what I mean?

  390. 390. AJ Says:

    I’ve been casually following the discussion between Larry, Robert, and Jamie for a while now, mulling over a few things on my own independently.

    I want to throw an idea out there to see if anyone’s considered it: What exactly is the paratactic relationship between the coordinated clauses/verb phrases of Mark 10:11 (or the parallels, for that matter?).

    We have two clauses coordinated by καὶ:
    1) ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ
    2) γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται ἐπʼ αὐτήν

    The question is, what is their relationship? Is the second clause merely a subsequent event? Is it a subsequent component of a single event? Or, is it the purpose of the previous clause?

    Parataxis is a cross-linguistic phenomenon. The semantic connection between clauses in a paratactic construction can range from cause to result. Let me give some examples in English:

    A) He jumped off the bridge. He died (result).
    B) I believe him. He seems honest (cause).
    C) He got up and left the room (purpose).

    More pointedly, let me ask: what if the paratactic relationship in Mark 10:11 is that of purpose? To paraphrase, it’d be something like “Whoever divorces his wife in order to be with another woman commits adultery.” That is, what if our Lord’s point is something like, “If you’re lusting over a woman who isn’t your wife, and you divorce your wife in order to marry this other woman, even if the world gives you a pass, you have sinned before God”?

    Let me know what y’all think. I also have some reasons for thinking that this is very harmonious with 1 Corinthians 7, and this also could make sense of why the exception clause was inserted in Matthew.

  391. 391. Jamie Says:

    AJ;

    I have, for a while now, wondered that very thing. In other words, “if you’re dumping A because you’ve already got B lined up and waiting, you’re really just entering into adultery. Just because you file the paperwork, it doesn’t mean you’ve dealt with the issues of the heart; A doesn’t stand a chance if B is already lined up and waiting as your theoretical model.”

    If I am divorcing A because I’ve already become emotionally and/or physically involved with B, then A has been pretty hard done by; she’s been chopped out of the picture. This would be different (as a heart issue) from A having to call it quits with the first because of irreconcilable differences, and then, only later, meeting and marrying B.

    I have long wondered this, particularly in the context of Matthew 5, where it would fit with the flow of the beatitudes and what Jesus was trying to teach there; it would also flow (as I think I was trying to articulate to Robert recently) with Paul’s intention in 1 Cor. 7. He speaks first to widowers and widows, saying they can remarry, but are better off if they don’t; he speaks to those who are married and says they should remain married or if they separate, work toward reconciliation, and he speaks to the youngsters who have never yet been married, saying it would be better to wait, but if they can’t stand it, they have not sinned if they marry.

    Sandwiched part way into this chapter, he speaks of people remaining in the state they are in as a general principal, but if they can improve their lot in life, they should do so, but always with the focus on how it will perfect and improve their relationship with the Lord. Perhaps this is the concept? I’ve not lobbed it out there, though I’ve been wrestling with it for a while. I have not felt comfortable doing so due to a lack of having thought it all through to be able to articulate it well, considering all the passages it affects. I, for one, think the idea may well encapsulate the heart of God, and it does seem (in my opinion, though I look forward to their comments, if they will) to harmonize with both Robert’s and perhaps Neal’s positions.

    I, too, am interested to hear some feedback on that one. Interesting thought, AJ

  392. 392. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    I understand what you’re saying. And it does make sense especially as Jesus had said he did not come to destroy the Law but to fulfil it. I agree that the complete fulfilment did not take place until after his death and resurrection.

    There are even those, and I just heard about this recently, that believe the 4 Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John belong in the Old Testament, not the New Testament. And even go so far as to imply that the teachings of Jesus do not apply to us today because they are part of the OT. I believe this is incorrect. In Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus said…. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

    The things he taught His disciples were to be preached to everyone after His resurrection beginning on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 1. So we cannot exclude everything Jesus taught from application to us today. But I see your point that there were probably teachings, especially in Matthew that may have been directed primarily to a Jewish audience living under the Old Law. I can only think of one instance right now of something to do with bringing sacrifices to the altar that would not apply to us today.

    I see your point that it’s not an easy thing to have discernment enough on certain other teachings to decide if Jesus was clarifying an Old Testament Law for the Jews to which we are currently not bound under the NT and those teachings that apply to all mankind, past, present and future.

    With respect to MDR however, Jesus was not making a new law. He was taking them back to the original design for marriage, before Moses Law was even written. And I do believe what he told them was within direct conflict to Moses concession (not commandment) for divorce and remarriage and Jesus knew it was.

    However, I see your point from Deut 24:4 as to those in Jesus’ day who had divorced and remarried, how an attempt by wives at that time to return to their original husband would probably have been a sin. But Jesus did not address that issue specifically. It makes sense to me for those in Jesus’ day who had divorced and remarried that they would still be bound to their remarried partners because, like you said, they were still under the Law of Moses, which did permit remarriage. And therefore they would not be condemned for those remarriages.

    I think the woman at the well in John 4 is a good example. Jesus told her to go call her husband. She replied “I have no husband”. Jesus replied that she was entirely correct in saying she had no husband for she had had 5 husbands and the man she was currently living with was not her husband.

    If this woman was living today, I would assume most preachers would tell her you’re wrong, you actually do have a husband. He is the first man you married. the other 4 men were adulterous marriages and now you are just shacking up, committing the sin of fornication.

    Hope this helps. Please feel free to respond.

  393. 393. Showmethetruth Says:

    AJ,

    You wrote:

    >>>let me ask: what if the paratactic relationship in Mark 10:11 is that of purpose? To paraphrase, it’d be something like “Whoever divorces his wife in order to be with another woman commits adultery.” That is, what if our Lord’s point is something like, “If you’re lusting over a woman who isn’t your wife, and you divorce your wife in order to marry this other woman, even if the world gives you a pass, you have sinned before God”?

    I myself have wondered about that question. The hurdle I have every time is what to do with the second half of those verses. If a man divorces his wife in order to marry another, and does so, why is it then still considered adultery for that “innocent” wife to be married to someone else? All of the objections are in play… she did not seek the divorce and she has ALREADY been divorced and her husband has ALREADY married another. She is called by some “the innocent party” and by some “unmarried”, yet her subsequent marriage to another is called a sin by Jesus.

  394. 394. Neal Doster Says:

    Grace to you, All

    How should we understand the legislation given in Deuteronomy 24:1-4
    Those within the NDNR view who teach “Marriage is a lifelong covenant that will never be invalidated by God while both parties live” either disregard the realities here or are left to acknowledge that a marriage covenant here was invalidated. If the first marriage covenant is still valid it would be a self-contradiction on Moses part to prohibit remarriage in this case. This for them necessitates the need for more eisegesis explanation.
    To oppose biblical truth in order to sustain one’s own supposition does great harm to the divorce and remarriage issue. These ideas become part of one’s reasoning. All will have to reason from this passage of scripture because all views discuss it. Your conclusions are paramount to where your logic will go from here.
    * Does this passage teach that this legislation (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) comes from Moses and not God?
    * Does it teach that “Death alone terminates the marriage covenant”?
    * Does it teach that “Marriage survives remarriage and precludes it”?
    * Does it teach perpetual singleness?
    * Does it teach that a remarried individual should repudiate their present marriage if their former spouse still lives?
    * Does it teach that a remarried individual should divorce and remarry their first spouse?

    These Teachers have to oppose the legislation given in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 because it instructs the very opposite of what they teach. If you remember these men teach that the divorced and remarried should vacate their marriage with the view of returning to their first spouse. The grounds for their rejection of this legislation comes from their belief that only death invalidates the first marriage. Therefore they conclude that Moses gave this legislation apart from God’s will. They speculate that Jesus was repelling the concession made by Moses (*). These interjected beliefs allows them to conclude that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was annulled in Christ teachings.

    (*) Stephen W. Wilcox in reference to Jesus in Matthew 5:31,32 “He has in this passage of Scripture, abrogated the Moses allowance for divorce and remarriage, which allowed the woman to remarry after divorce if she wished to do so (Deut. 24:1-4).”

    They justify this conclusion by pitting Jesus against Moses. Moses becomes the villain because he went against God’s will by allowing divorce. Whatever concession Moses made, it wasn’t done with his approval. It’s unnecessary and unbiblical to suggest that Moses opposed God on the issue of divorce. What we do find in scripture is Moses issuing legislation to stop further defilement in certain cases of divorce (Deut.24:4). Its obvious from the text that this legislation is not given by Moses at the exclusion of God, which is an extremely important point. Secondly we have a brief mention of the historic legislation referred to by the Pharisees in Matthew 19:7 (but not found elsewhere in scripture) that instructed the certification of divorce. These Laws helped control further abuse and mitigated the potential for greater sin.
    Because most men have failed to differentiated between these two Laws, as well as having deviated from there Just purpose, it has lead to confusion. A careful reading will show the two to be different. The confusion comes from Moses summary recitation of part of the procedure or original legislation that had previously been given for divorce (vs.1-3). That legislation referred to in Matthew 19:7 that commanded “to give a certificate of divorce” provided legal protection for the woman being divorced. Her relationship with another man (husband) was not to be seen as adulterous it’s primary sense exposing her to the threat of capital punishment, the Old Testament penalty for adultery. This certificate was a legal document that afforded her the safeguard from this vulnerability and was commanded for such purposes.
    Because Moses iterates that part of the procedure, the giving of a certificate of divorce and because the phrase is not found anywhere else in the Pentateuch, many have concluded Deut. 24:1-4 to be the legislation that the Pharisees and Jesus was referring to. But the legislation of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is clearly a prohibition against the reclamation of a wife after they have entered a second covenant of marriage. Read it again without the presupposition and you will clearly see that Moses is giving a hypothetical example based on the original legislation, where remarriage to one’s first wife is being prohibited and where divorce is already a reality.
    John MacArthur writes “A careful reading of the Deuteronomy 24:1-4 text shows that, far from commanding divorce, the passage does not teach about divorce at all. Moses was giving a command with regard to a particular case of remarriage. That passage neither commends nor condemns the reason and procedure for the divorce mentioned there. It states that the reason was “indecency.” without detailing what that might involve, and it then mentions the giving of a certificate of divorce, without commenting on the propriety of that procedure. The only command in the passage relates to the issue of remarriage, not divorce. The command is simply that, if a divorced woman remarries and that husband divorces her or dies, her first “former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled” (v. 4). Matthew 16-23 commentary, page 168.
    The present reality of divorce in this law affirms that the permitting of divorce predates this legislation. Secondly, divorce is mentioned earlier in the Pentateuch as an already present reality, that most likely dates back to Egyptian captivity and law. Those references also affirm that divorce was already a reality.

    The Deuteronomy 24 passage is not the original legislation spoken of by the Pharisee’s in Matthew 19:7 that commanded the giving of a certificate, but has one thing in common with it. Both laws result to counteract a people who are bent on liberal divorce. Both laws ensue because of the potential of further abuses. The sequence would be Israel insisting on divorce, next the legislation that certified divorce, then the legislation that prohibited remarriage to a former wife who had become the wife of another man. One was given to regulate divorce and the other to regulate remarriage.
    Several facts should be noted to affirm the distinction and purpose of the legislation and to show that Moses never commanded them to divorce.

    * The permitting or concession occurrence is not found in scripture.
    * The “permitting” spoken of in Matthew 19:8 was a relinquishment that tolerated divorce and not a prohibition against remarriage as is Deuteronomy 24.
    * The concession allowed divorce but did not command it. The original legislation commanded the giving of a certificate.
    * The command to give a certificate of divorce (Matt. 19:7) was not a command to divorce.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 did not command divorce.
    * The original legislation that commanded the “giving of a certificate” is not referred to in Deuteronomy 24 as a command but rather as a known (predated) guideline of what is expected.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 is a reaction to the concession of divorce that preceded it.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 is a prohibition extension to the concession of divorce.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 restricts further abuse of the concession of divorce.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 is a prohibition against the remarriage of a former wife having became the wife of another.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 gives a probable case that the earlier concession would allow for, for the purpose of prohibiting that which would be “an abomination before the Lord.” In other words it is stated as a description of divorce and not a prescription for one.
    * The phrase “an abomination before the Lord” reveals that the legislation of Deuteronomy 24 transcends Moses and affirms God’s disproval of such remarriage.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 is given to express God’s displeasure with the remarriage of a former spouse if one had already entered into a second marriage covenant.
    * The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 reveals that this case of remarriage ( to a former wife) would only lead to further defilement and abomination.
    Therefore!
    The legislation of Deuteronomy 24 reveals that remarriage, entering a subsequent covenant invalidates the first one. Consequently, this legislation affirms that a second covenant of marriage is acknowledged by God and that it supersedes the first one.
    A correct understanding of this verse shows that those men within the NDNR view are exacerbating immorality by instructing those that have divorced and remarried to now divorce and return to their former spouse. The biblical principle of rectifying past wrongs is limited to doing that which is proper or moral, no one should follow the advice of those whose counsel would lead to even greater sin. Some things cannot be undone, but by God’s grace they can be forgiven and consequently experience His restoration.
    These men erroneously believe that “adultery is perpetual within a second marriage while the former spouse lives,” because they erroneously believe that “Marriage survives remarriage and precludes it.” Their conclusion that a second marriage after divorce is not a biblical marriage and should be vacated comes from an eisegesis interpretation of scripture. There’s not one verse in the whole bible that instructs one to divorce and remarry a former spouse. Conversely, it was expressly forbidden for the Nation of Israel. Why? Because it would be “an abomination before the Lord.”
    It’s important to understand the context of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 because it reveals that a covenant can end not only in man‘s sight but God‘s also. A divorced and remarried individual is no longer bound to or by their previous marriage covenant. It is evident in this text that the first covenant has been supplanted. God here forbids the reconstitution of a previous marriage when one has entered into another. In this case the first marriage should not have been dissolved, but it was. Consequently it lead to an adulterous second marriage, nevertheless one that should be sustained.
    Secondly because divorce and remarriage supplants the first covenant of marriage there is no polygamy as some have suggested. This is important because of the sexual obligation involved in marriage. The remarried have no sexual obligation to their former spouse as would be the case if polygamous or if they were “still married in God‘s eyes.”
    Thirdly, there is no remaining obligation to the former covenant that causes adultery to be perpetual in the next sexual union. The truth is, the only thing that can absolve adultery is God’s forgiveness. Not some stringent, extra-biblical instruction to break another covenant. Because one is no longer bound to their previous spouse after remarriage the consequent guilt of adultery ends when there is true repentance. The consequent adultery can be forgiven through repentance, thereby having a marriage that is no longer sinful and therefore can be blessed of God. True repentance often requires the undoing of a past wrong, but in some cases the wrong can not be rectified either because it will exacerbate the sin or the past actions can not be undone. In these cases God will judge the heart and grant forgiveness accordingly.
    It should be noted that in a case like this, Jesus states the fault of adultery lies squarely on the individual who initiated the divorce (Matthew 5:32). When divorce is initiated on grounds other than sexual infidelity, the resulting sin (adultery) of the other party in remarriage was caused by the initiator. Consequently the one who broke this marriage union should be the main one frowned upon as Christ implies.
    This is the kind of circumstance we find Moses describing in verses 1-3, a man divorcing his wife for something less than sexual immorality. This is a key to understanding why the prohibition is issued. The prohibition comes in verse 4, “must not take her back to be his wife”. Two factors in this verse explain why God would detest the reconstitution of a former marriage in this case.
    1) “former husband who divorced her”- Repudiation.
    2) “after she has been defiled”- Adultery (caused by the repudiation).
    A third factor to keep in mind is the liberal divorce policy reiterated in verses 1-3 that Israel had insisted on (Matt. 19: 8). Retain these factors and we will come back to them in a couple of paragraphs.

    Can the holy be desecrated?
    God is Holy and we should never profane His name. If we do, then does God cease to be Holy? Absolutely not, no matter how negligent we are, it will never change the character of God! So where does the desecration lie? It lie’s with and within us personally. We can desecrate God in personal representation while not changing God personally. Again the desecration lies in us. I make these observations to help us understand how the Holy institution of marriage is desecrated and the point of desecration in which God would not have it reconstituted.
    Question, if someone desecrates a marriage, is marriage no longer sacred? Does infidelity desecrate marriage? The God ordained institution remains unchanged, while the specific marriage involved does change. Infidelity does indeed desecrate a marriage, one spouse has violated the sacred institution. This is the reason for the retribution that is given in Duet. 22 in regard to covenantal infidelity. All Christian positions maintain that recourse / retribution is a just response to desecrating the sacred. The proviso view see’s no inconsistency with Jesus giving recourse for fornication within marriage (Matt. 19). Desecrating the sacred is a major violation that has consistently brought retribution from God and recourse by Him.
    Can marriage be desecrated in some other manner? The Deuteronomy 24:1-4 legislation is in response to the broader grounds for divorce. Those who wanted to terminate a marriage on lesser grounds where not revering the sacredness of marriage. A man and his wife are to be sanctified unto one another. To disregard this sacred duty is a triviality that is the very antithesis of God‘s will. Divorce for broader grounds was itself a desecration of marriage. This legislation did not prohibit remarriage altogether, but rather a specific case of remarriage. This prohibition of remarriage was directed at the man, not his former wife, who was not relegated or instructed to a life of having no companion. If we understand the specific intention of this legislation we will not apply it where it was not intended and thus avoid confusion.
    In Matthew 5:32 Jesus in like manner is charging the man in that case of divorce with the consequent adultery of his former wife. V.32 “But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” Notice that the indictment is directed at the man and the fault is placed on him when he divorces for any other grounds than sexual immorality.
    The Deut. 24 prohibition strictly forbids the reclamation of a former wife after a divorce caused her to be defiled in remarriage. In verse 4 “that is an abomination before the Lord” is a direct reference to remarrying a woman that was defiled in a subsequent marriage caused by the former husband’s repudiation of her. A man is to protect his wife from defilement not cause it. A man who releases his wife to another and then wants to remarry her would perform “an abomination before the Lord.” This phrase bespeaks that which is so detested as having no reconstitution value. It is unconscionable to trivialize the sacred union of marriage in this manner and then want to restore it.
    Grace, mercy, and forgiveness can restore but God here put’s a limit of no return for the Nation of Israel for not taking a marriage covenant gravely. God prohibited a man from reclaiming a former wife if his actions caused her to be defiled in a subsequent marriage. Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is in harmony with the teachings of Christ and does not contradict it as some in the NDNR view teach. Reconciliation was allowed after divorce but not after remarriage. To a degree this prohibition was also punitive in nature. The legislation would cause a man to be more thoughtful and less hasty before pursuing a divorce as well as restricting him for not honoring this sacred union.

  395. 395. Larry Says:

    AJ
    Concerning 382
    Two events, one following the other and the latter naturally able to be done as the result of the first.
    Straightforward and literal; in order to remarry a divorce would first occur, yet a remarriage may not at all have been the motive for the divorce. The remarriage is what constitutes adultery while a divorce would first take place.
    It is irrelevant whether or not the motive for the divorce was to remarry. Jesus is plainly informing us what the act of remarriage amounts to. It amounts to adultery.
    Whoever remarries while the first lawful wife lives commits adultery.
    The reason why it appears that that is what Jesus meant is because that is indeed what he meant.
    He told us we would know the truth: so are we to grovel in confusion around plainly spoken words and say what they plainly appear to say cannot be true?

    Using Deut 24:1-4 to contradict the plainness of speech of the 5 places by Jesus declaring remarriage to be adultery and the 2 places by Paul declaring the same thing is totally bankrupt and inconsistent.
    Why do we not see the same effort to uphold Moses’ accomodation of polygamy or capital punishment on rebellious sons?

  396. 396. Larry Says:

    Mark
    Concerning 380 the last paragraph.

    The NT teaching reverencing marriage as intended from creation is not the letter of the law. That is NT spirit and truth spoken by Jesus.

    To suppose that Dt 24:4 has ANY requirement to be observed is an absolute denial of what Jesus taught. To apply 24:4 today is a Christ-denying sin as many other things commanded under the OT are now Christ-denying sins.
    Some are confused supposing that they are obligated to follow Moses rather than Jesus.
    If a man sees the error of his previous divorce and gets out of an adulterous marriage, he should be commended for his love for truth. Forget what the fickle world thinks. His obligation is to try to restore the fiirst and lawful and still-binding marriage before God. To take her back is NOT a sin. It is his responsibility.
    Anyone daring to cite 24:4 should then also fully defend polygamy and a bunch of other stuff. They wanted divorce? He gave it to them in full fashion.
    Come on folks, lets get stable.

  397. 397. Scarecrow Says:

    “Why do we not see the same effort to uphold Moses’ accomodation(sp) of polygamy or capital punishment on rebellious sons?”

    First Moses didn’t “accommodate” polygamy; he practiced it. It was in practice long before Moses came on the scene and most of the men with more than one wife were spoken highly of by God. Following the same rules you apply to other verses we must conclude that Moses had two concurrent wives as well as the evidence that his wives were from different geographical areas which counters the argument that the women mentioned were one and the same.

    2Ch 24:2-3 And Joash did what was right in the eyes of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest. Jehoiada got for him two wives, and he had sons and daughters.

    Second the punishments listed for sins were MAXIMUM sentences. God did not put David to death for his adultery, nor did Jesus condemn the woman caught in adultery to death.

    God is full of grace and mercy. If a man is able to take more than one wife (should be consenting adults in my opinion) he should be allowed to; likewise if a person is divorced they should not be sentenced to a life of solitude…remember the first time God said something was not good…”it is not good for man to be alone”. That applies to all of us, men and women alike.

    The culture of the Romans that ruled Palestine at the time practiced serial monogamy (divorce/remarriage) and kept mistresses on the side…the exact opposite of what the Bible shows should be done. Jesus was teaching the Jews to not emulate the Roman culture. Rather than divorcing and/or keeping a mistress on the side like the Romans did Jesus was telling them to maintain the practices of their forefathers – that is marry…and if you have another woman take her to be a wife as well…no fornication and no divorce so that you can marry another woman.

  398. 398. Showmethetruth Says:

    What should we tell a man, if he should come to faith in Jesus Christ, that is living with multiple wives (women) as a part of his previous faith, and believes that he is not wrong in doing so? Let’s use Joe as an example. Joe married his first wife, Sue, when he was 21 years old. Two years later, he added to his family when he “married” Sally as well. He had children with both women. At the age of 27 he “married” Sarah and fathered a child by her. Finally, at age 30 he “married” Sophie and had a child with her a year after that. He remained in his situation until, at age 36, he believed the true gospel and came to saving faith in Jesus.
    The new testament, to my knowledge, does not specifically address the repentance that must take place in this case. Some might say that Moses allowed it in the Old Testament, so its practice was acceptable to God all along, and He has always recognized it. Some might remind us that the Mosaic law even regulated the practice and it was never specified as wrong, so God must have thought that way about it as well (Deuteronomy 21:15 for example). Some might say that Jesus would be violating the Law of Moses had he suddenly come up with some new teaching that said that what Moses allowed was not allowed any longer. Some might say that no word from Jesus on that issue means that advising such a man that he must cease living with multiple women as wives is adding to scripture. Some might say that his most recent “marriage” to Sophie is the one he must continue in, since that “marriage” is the one in which he most recently made covenant promises, which supersedes previous promises and are the ones that are the most binding.
    If “It is imperative that the Church and for Christians in general not to offer solutions that add to God’s Word”, what would be the solution one would offer to Joe? Would one be able to offer any solutions that are specifically addressed in scripture?
    I would think that, regardless of viewpoint, Sally (wife 2) and Sarah (wife 3) are suddenly without a husband, unless one supports the view that all of these “marriages” are if effect concurrently. Otherwise, either Joe either a) entered a life-long one flesh covenant with Sue (wife 1), and all subsequent “marriages” were not recognized by God and are considered adulterous relationships against his marriage to Sue, or b) Joe’s most recent “covenantal bondage” took place when he married Sophie, and he is held to those obligations. While wrong to enter this situation, and even adulterous towards one wife or another, they are his current obligations and he should remain in a marriage relationship with her. He must cut off all relations with Sarah, Sally, and Sue.
    Again, if this man came to you and asked what he should do, what would be your response? Please qualify that response with solutions that are specifically provided by the Word of God.

  399. 399. Mark Says:

    Larry,

    Concerning my comment 380 and your response, I thank you for the clarification and I apologize for the confusion it may have caused.

    When I said “under the strict letter of the law”, in reference to a remarried person returning to their original spouse, I was just using this as a colloquial expression and not referring to any law in particular, Old Testament or New Testament. My point was to follow what Jesus said as “law” so to speak.

    I can see where this was a poor choice of words and could have caused confusion.

    Thanks again,
    Mark

  400. 400. Larry Says:

    Neal
    374

    What makes you think God does not approve of breaking up what he calls adultery?
    Love breaks up what will destroy people.
    Adulterers shall not inherit the kingdom.
    You are mixing humanism with truth. It doesn’t work.
    Jesus really meant exactly what he said. Remarriage is adultery.
    Matt 5:32 is a grammatical disaster when fornication is assumed to mean adultery.
    The same verse is literally grammatically perfect when the divorce in betrothal explanation is applied.
    Care to answer some simple questions concerning the text itself in 5:32 that will manifest its grammatical incompetency under DA?

    You previously made a very false statement concerning the word adultery being used to identify the sin of a couple who are both still single.
    Deut 22 does not apply “adultery” to the betrothed sexual sin.
    Since your answer conceded that sometimes “fornication” alone has a strict premarital definition, you have not given any reason why under DB such a definition for “fornication” cannot stand.

  401. 401. Larry Says:

    Showmethetruth,
    You wrote:
    [a) entered a life-long one flesh covenant with Sue (wife 1), and all subsequent “marriages” were not recognized by God and are considered adulterous relationships against his marriage to Sue,]

    To be true that the first lawful marriage is binding til death as the NT declares, then in order to be faithful to Jesus, your point a) is true.
    Twice in Acts it is shown that things before Jesus were “suffered” or “winked at”, as in turning a blind eye to. Due to not having regeneration, such turning a blind eye then was understandable.
    The NT does not operate in that way, accomodating fallen human nature, because the new creature is available now in Christ.
    The NT requires self denial and submission to the truth’s higher standard which will require suffering.
    The ultimatum to either accept His terms under the NT or to NOT profess Christ, is what should be heeded by those pushing for outdated OT allowances.

  402. 402. Larry Says:

    Scarecrow in 397 shows the effect of the leaven of not believing Jesus and instead following Moses.
    At least he is consistent.
    Neal, you should be that consistent.
    So does Neal also follow through with his own line of logic and thereby fully support polygamy?

  403. 403. Jamie Says:

    Larry;

    I think we all know it is UNWISE to have more than one wife, and in the pastoral epistles, Paul says anyone wanting office in the church must be “the husband of but one wife.” But as far as it being sinful, where DOES the New Testament EXPRESSLY condemn polygamy as sinful and something that will keep someone out of heaven?

  404. 404. Neal Doster Says:

    Larry

    A reference to Deut. 24 is not to say we are under the theocratic system of the Old Testament, but to demonstrate that a remarriage was acknowledged by God even though adulterous.

    This is what I have said, “They stumble at the fact that remarriage can be both binding and adulterous. An adulterous remarriage for them necessitates the belief that remarriage has no covenant bondage. Only one’s first marriage now is a covenant marriage. For them remarriage is merely a legal procedure that needs to be undone.”

    This is what I understand your view to represent, making Jesus to say that a remarriage can’t be binding if adulterous when if fact it had been in the Old Testament (acknowledged by God). Adulterous remarriage does not mean that a binding marriage can’t follow, making it contradiction the Old Testament.

  405. 405. AJ Says:

    @ Showmethetruth regarding post 393:

    When you say, “The hurdle I have every time is what to do with the second half of those verses,” are you referring to Mark 10:12?

    Here’s what I see:
    καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς γαμήσῃ ἄλλον μοιχᾶται.
    and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.(CEB)

    So it doesn’t sound like the wife here is so innocent; presumably, the same paratactic relationship that exists in v 11 would also exist in v 12.

    What do you think?

  406. 406. Showmethetruth Says:

    @AJ ref #405

    I might agree with you on Mark, but I was also refering to Matthew 5, Matthew 32, and Luke 16. Also, Paul in Romans 7 makes it sound like marrying another during the life of her first husband would cause a state of adultery as well, not just marrying another shortly after divorce from her first.

  407. 407. Larry Says:

    AJ,
    you wrote:
    [Here’s what I see:
    καὶ ἐὰν αὐτὴ ἀπολύσασα τὸν ἄνδρα αὐτῆς γαμήσῃ ἄλλον μοιχᾶται.
    and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.(CEB)]

    Why can’t it literally mean what it says?

    That is the problem with changing “fornication” to adultery. The verse becomes a grammatical disaster and then there is nothing literal about it. It then creates the confusion that the plainness of Mark and Luke and Paul in 1 Cot 7:39 can also not have any literal value.
    That “‘non literal’ but that’s the best we can do” approach is the same as giving a warning to anyone who reads Mark and Luke: “Beware that you do not take the plainness of their words as though it were trustworhty; you will then become deceived if you do”.
    That is in effect the message being promoted by DA.

  408. 408. Showmethetruth Says:

    I think everyone should be able to discern that if God intends marriage to be a reflection of Jesus Christ and the church, He is not ok with polygamy or polyandry

  409. 409. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    403

    You are assuming that they respected polygamy.
    Jesus’ answer to the pharisees concerning marriage establishes as absolute, the standard of 1 plus 1 = 1.

    Paul, I believed wanted those holding office to be married, for obvious reasons. And the designation of “one wife” is practically understood to mean someone without the history and baggage of a prior wife, whether lawful or not. So that their married state and qualification for office could not be doubted or questioned.
    It is a huge leap and contrary to what Jesus established as a final answer concerning marriage from Gen 2, to think that the first Christians were accomodating polygamy.
    How has Christianity fallen so that this is even contemplated!!
    So to be consistent ANY and EVERY thing that Moses allowed is OK for Christians to do, saving any law of the land that contradicts it.
    That appears to be what you must agree to.

  410. 410. AJ Says:

    @ Larry regarding post 395:

    Could you explain your reasons for concluding that the paratactic relationship is that of mere sequence, and not purpose? Deciding that the paratactic relationship is sequence rather than purpose is just as much of hypothesis as the contrary view.

  411. 411. Jamie Says:

    Larry

    “the designation of “one wife” is practically understood to mean someone without the history and baggage of a prior wife, whether lawful or not” (Post 403) introduces a concept of “practical understanding” to the way you are now discussing the issue. You are the only person I have heard say that this requires them to be married; a far more common understanding of this verse says no one who has been divorced and remarried is qualified for office.

    Robert makes the point that “apoluo” in Greek should be translated “put away” in English, because that is what it SAYS in Greek, not interpreted to mean “divorce.” Yet you insist on using the “plain” meaning of the ENGLISH translation. Is it an accurate TRANSLATION or an INTERPRETATION based on COMMON UNDERSTANDING?

    It seems you argue for the meaning of the word “divorce” to be substituted for the translation “put away.” Robert’s “Practical understanding” of this verse dictates it be translated to say what it says in the Greek, not what you insist it really has to mean by common understanding.

    Whos practical understanding wins? If more people “practically understood it” his way rather than yours, would that make him right?

    It sounds like more white space interpolation to me. Perhaps there should be room to be a little less dogmatic. While you may see it your way, please at least acknowledge this is not as simple, and clear-cut an issue as you would like to think it is.

  412. 412. Showmethetruth Says:

    The arguments used in this put away / divorce debate are based on the Greek language. We cannot look at the Greek from the perspective of English. In English, divorce can be either a verb or a noun, but in Greek “apostasiou” is a noun and is not used as a verb such as “whoever divorces his wife”. “Apoluo” is a verb and is not be used as a noun. The word, “Apoluo”, found in the two Matthew passages is the verb form (like: “Whosoever divorces…”), and “Apostasion” is the noun “a divorce” In Matt. 19:9 “biblion apostasion” is “a certificate of divorce”. There are two different Greek words used because “apostasion” is a noun and “apoluo” is a verb, not because they refer to two different things. Matthew could not use a noun #647 where a verb was needed.

    I believe that scripture is our authority. That said, we can learn from teachers that were taught from the disciples themselves, or at least within a few generations. For several hundred (over a thousand, actually) years, the leaders of the church that directly received it from the careful transfer from the disciples were of the understanding that put away meant divorce; that remarriage after divorce was a state of adultery, not an act; that the subsequent marriage was a sin against God, not a new covenant. Some of the men that held these beliefs were alive closer in time to when Jesus and Paul walked the earth than we are to when the founders of the US signed the Declaration of Independence. They understood what was taught from the beginning and were charged with keeping that truth. Yes, they disagreed on some issues, but virtually never on this one.

  413. 413. Neal Doster Says:

    If adultery can be explained outside of marriage or other than copulation, we could eliminate much of the NDNR argument and the ensuing confusion.
    The problem in part arises from how we in the West define adultery – “sex between a married person and another not the spouse.” Western culture has traditionally placed the weight of bound-ness within marriage, while historic biblical/Jewish culture placed it in covenant relationship.
    Covenant relationship preceded marriage in biblical/Jewish culture so that a couple was already bound to each other. This is a key fact that will expose which view departs from this mutual premise that both views acknowledge. Although the NDNR view acknowledges this in their teaching they mentally default back to a Western rationale for explaining the potential for adultery.
    Fidelity was an obligation that came before and was not dependent on marriage itself. The fact is, the potential for adultery is not predicated on marriage per se, but rather marriage is predicated in a covenant. Adultery is not principally unfaithfulness in marriage, but rather infidelity within the covenant. You don’t need marriage in order to commit adultery. So, if the marriage is terminated at divorce then their premise “that divorce does not terminate a marriage in God’s sight” is wrong and there is another and better answer as to why a second marriage is adulterous.
    To improperly define or redefine biblical words or language will lead to a rationale different than the writer intended. This is the error of the NDNR view, they don’t accept the exception clause as within the context it’s found (marriage) and so they have to define fornication as something other than adultery. Consequently, the biblical rationale is changed. Fornication is not adultery so Matthew must be talking about premarital sex, so goes the logic. The problem with that is there is no reference to premarital infidelity in the text to single it out, nor is there different biblical recourse for premarital infidelity than that of marital, as the permanence view persuades. Consequently, their limiting definition for fornication and adultery is deceptive.
    This error comes from restricting these terms to a preconceived idea and Larry understands that to yield here would cause his view to implode. Both terms are broader than they are defined by most NDNR view advocates. They define these words merely by the circumstance in which they are well known, consequently limiting them and missing the intent of the Lord. If you follow the flow of thought in scripture you can see that covenant obligation is preceded by the promise of the covenanter. In biblical culture the agreement between the framing parties formed a covenant and if it was a marriage covenant it began the engagement period, followed by a betrothal ceremony and then sometime later (often lengthy) a marriage ceremony. Covenant obligation (fidelity) preceded the marriage and bore the same retribution for infidelity as within marriage itself (Deut. 22:22-24). Marriage is predicated in a covenant and a covenant is predicated on an agreement, and this constitutes a moral obligation. It is the violation of this moral obligation of fidelity that results in adultery. Covenant obligation precedes marriage, survives divorce but not remarriage. The fact that marriage is predicated in a covenant gives us a comprehensive perspective on what constitutes adultery.

    adultery – is covenantal infidelity, unfaithfulness, disloyalty. Behavior that violates covenant exclusivity. More specifically, adultery is activity outside the covenant relationship that was reserved solely for those within it.

    Adultery is used in Jeremiah 3:6-10 in reference to worship (idolatry) speaking of the unfaithfulness of God’s covenant people Israel. There, their idolatry was worship, worship that was to be reserved solely for God. Israel was to have an exclusive relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Any relationship with a false deity or idol would be adulterous.
    In regard to human sexuality, adultery is not merely fornication, but fornication with someone outside the primal marriage covenant of which that exclusive privilege was not intended.
    adultery – (Cause and effect) fornication is an act which results in infidelity for those under covenant obligation.

    A distinction to note in sexual relationships is, adultery is fornication (sexual sin) but not all fornication is adultery (Deut. 22:28,29).
    Sexual immorality can result in adultery in three ways.
    1. Premarital – fornication with a person betroth or engaged to someone else. Deut. 22:23, Matt. 1:18 (Supposed)
    2. Extramarital – fornication between a married person and another not the spouse. Deut. 22:22, Leviticus 20:10
    3. post-marital – fornication with one who’s divorced but still under obligation to reconcile with their former spouse.
    Adultery would result in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 if either one gets involved with someone else sexually.
    Remarriage by itself is adulterous.
    Deut. 24:4, Matthew 5:32,19:9, Mark 10:10-12, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:3,

  414. 414. Jamie Says:

    Regarding post 412:

    You can’t even GET to the English without looking at the Greek.

    The verb in Matt 19:8 is “απολύο” – “put away” – not “αποστασίον” – which is a noun, yes, coupled with the noun for certificate, translates into English as “a divorce certificate” or “a certificate of divorce.” The verb the pharisees used was the verb δούναι which is translated “give” – as in give a “βιβλίον αποστασίου” – a “certificate of divorce.” You can’t even translate those two nouns into English in the same sentence without turning one into the noun and the other, the adjective modifying the noun. But it misses the point completely.

    Comparing thought against thought in Greek, the idea is to compare the act of “putting away” aginst the act of “giving a divorce certificate.”

  415. 415. Mark Says:

    Jamie,

    regarding post 414:

    Just want to know where you stand on the putting away/divorce debate. Are you agreeing with Robert Waters that they were committing adultery in remarriage because their wives were not legally “divorced” just “put away” or are you stating, what seems to me to be the obvious, that a legal divorce had occurred but Jesus still considered the remarriage adultery?

  416. 416. Showmethetruth Says:

    re 415:

    I understand the position Robert (and now maybe JamIe?) are taking to be that Jesus said, something like, “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you… they’re right”

  417. 417. Jamie Says:

    Mark;

    A fair question, to which, at this point, I can’t say that I could say for sure.

    Interestingly enough, though, I do have to say that if I had to articulate the best place I could say I am at regarding the whole thing is probably somewhere between Neal and Robert; perhaps there is brewing in my mind a “synthesis” of the two, as I think at heart, they might be more at odds philosophically rather than so much practically.

    First of all, I think no one here would consider divorce easy, or desireable. I think God hates divorce; what I question is whether there are things He hates worse. This was the question I had asked the Lord the day before He spoke so clearly to me that it was almost audible that I had to let her go. (At the time, she was suicical with thoughts of having to make a marriage work, and feeling trapped in something she just could not stomach.) Where I missed it was a couple years later, where I now firmly believe He was telling me to see about trying to put it back together, but by that time I was engaged to wife number 2, and so co-dependent I could not see that I should have walked from that second engagement whether she was hurt by it or not.

    I also believe God was trying to tell me before I entered into the second marriage that it was a VERY bad idea, because of huge issues between us, but again, my codependency got in the way of seeing this. About 3 years into the second marriage, I had eventually come to the inescapable conclusion (at that time) that I was in an adulterous situation, and needed to end this second marriage (Larry’s position). That was 15 months ago. About 9 months ago, after several talks with my ex, and her coming firmly to the conclusion that the Lord was telling her to make her new marriage work, though she and I would have LOVED to put it back together, I had to rethink the whole thing again, realizing that God wouldn’t have been telling us two different things, and so one of us, at least, had missed it.

    The conclusion I had come to was that I was unsure if I ever could remarry (or that if I could, whether I actually would meet someone who could live with the realities I had to process). But I recognized that part of the reason I personally had wrestled so deeply with this was because of the feelings I had for her which did not seem to go away, and so I had to wonder if the feelings were there because my first wife and I were, in fact, still husband and wife in God’s eyes.

    What I had to come to terms with within the last few months was the reality that the second one and I were a VERY bad match, and much to most people’s ability to comprehend, God showed me very clearly, about 18 months before the second one came undone, that HE was going to take this one apart, because of the horrible difficulties that were so destructive in my life, in my children’s lives, because of what I was having to do to make this thing “work” with the second one. I felt like Peter in the book of acts, because I just automatically assumed once I was married to the second one, that BECAME God’s will for my life – the vow, the covenant, made the reality; the thought was that, though it was not his will before we said “I do,” it BECAME His will in that instance.

    The best I can say is that I am not sure, at this point; but I find, the more I look at it, that there are HUGE holes and “white space” in Steven Wilcox’s take on the early church history regarding their take on “all the early church fathers agreeing on this one issue.” That just has SO much that leaves room for legitimate alternate takes on the documents we have in light of history, culture, etc, that it just doesn’t support much for me anymore. It leaves FAR more questions than answers.

    My feel of the situation is that While it is always a sign of failure that divorce occurs, it may be that sometimes the failure was entering into a covenant that is not able to be lived out without it killing someone – trust issues, incompatibility, hardness of heart on one or both parties, unforgiveness – so many issues that can kill people in the course of trying to keep the relationship “alive.” They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But it only makes you stronger if it doesn’t kill you, too.

    I have to wonder if at heart, Jesus was communicating in the exchange with the Pharisees, and in the sermon on the mount, the concept that dumping the reality of one for the nostalgia of another, or the fantasy of the possibility of the other. Divorce always results from the hardness of the human heart; I think Neal may be right, but am not sure. I do believe Robert is right in this much – I think that in the day, there was a lot of mistreatment of women as property, and it was convenient, and I believe not uncommon, to deal treacherously with women. The “putting away” that Robert is making the case against was something that I believe did happen frequently, and was tragic when it did. If a man decides he wants to dump a woman because he is tired of her is bad enough; to do it in a way that is cruel and doesn’t at least provide for her and give her a legitimate freedom to move on and be with someone else who will cherish her is even more cruel yet.

    I think I understand Neal’s thoughts on this, and while I’m still processing it, I think I understand that he may be getting a fuller picture of what really Jesus was speaking against; and yet, even Neal (if I understand him correctly) is not saying someone once divorced is banished forever to a life of celibacy. Remarriage is not the ideal; reconciliation is. And yet it might not always be realistic. And so, in this sense, I have to wonder if God, in His mercy, sees the allowance of remarriage, even though it does violate a previous covenant, as a state that is better than the loneliness that would otherwise result.

    I wish I could give you a better answer, and say for sure that I can hold firmly to one position or the other; but at this point, quite frankly, I have more problems with any position than I have unquestioning agreement with any of them. And yet, at the heart of it, I do think I have to recognize that, at least, it reads more into the text than is intended to say that God’s intent is to take apart a current marriage to put a previous one together. And I also think that God might actually lead some to remarry someone else, though it might, in fact, be adulterous as Neal says.

    I hope that helps, but it’s the best I can do right now. Just being honest.

  418. 418. Jamie Says:

    “I understand the position Robert (and now maybe JamIe?) are taking to be that Jesus said, something like, “It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce. But I tell you… they’re right” ”

    That is funny, but you’ve not really addressed the issue Robert has brought up – you are jumping right OVER the point he makes which you need to wrestle with, into your point based on interpreting “apoluo” – “put away” as “divorce” rather than translating it as “put away.”

    Your point makes a nice little Bill Maher moment, but you still have to deal with the reality of the text. If the Greek speaks of the putting away, the responsibility is on the side of those who want to argue that the “practical understanding” argues to interpret “put away” as divorce rather than to translate it as “put away.” That is what I am looking at. You need to do the same, and if you come to a different conclusion, then please explain the weight of reasoning that compels interpretation over translation. And please do it with clear reasoning (as Neal has done, for example) rather than in a sound bite. It has more staying power than it deserves if the sound bite has no real teeth.

  419. 419. Jamie Says:

    By the way, “showMeTheTruth,” for what it’s worth, please keep in mind that I’ve been digging into this, like many here, for years; I have ALREADY done what Larry advocates people in my circumstances need to do. It has cost me dearly. I have taken great steps to honor the Lord with my obedience, no matter the cost. I’m just not convinced now, looking back, that it was the right thing.

  420. 420. Neal Doster Says:

    Marital Hope for the divorced
    The proviso view advocate’s that God does not desire for unmarried individuals to enter into an adulterous relationship. But it focus’s on the prohibition of Christ ( Matthew 19:6b) to stop the violation not the interjected prohibition of the permanence view of no remarriage ever. Divorce is the first cause that results in an adulterous remarriage. Jesus’ answer for stopping adulterous remarriages was not focused on depriving divorced people of this wonderful relationship forever. It focused on keeping the relationship intact. Matthew 19:6b….“what God has joined together, let not man separate.” This is a pre-divorce solution. We must be careful not to add laws that places heavy burdens on those that may follow our teaching, as did the Pharisees.
    Although the NDNR view gives a rational for “perpetual singleness,” we must keep in mind that God never instructed it, not even for those who didn’t have justifiable grounds for divorce. I’m talking here specifically of not ever having an option to remarry and not some passage that restricts remarriage. They are a few passages that has factors that makes the situation unique, but even they allow for marriage. The prohibition given by the Lord (in the gospels) is in reference to divorce not remarriage. What He does teach is, adultery will result when there is liberal divorce, therefore man should not separate what God has joined together (Matt.19:6b).
    Paul’s post-divorce instruction in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 should be understood to whom it was given. Reconciliation is the right solution there, but it is not the answer for all divorce cases. Remarriage should be a possibility for all that has been effected by divorce in it’s proper time (v.9). Jesus taught that adultery is the consequence of remarriage (in most cases) but did not prohibit remarriage altogether. Read all the text where Jesus address the subject of divorce and remarriage and you will not find where He ever advocated perpetual singleness as a solution.
    Congruously the original Old Testament divorce legislation was given (at least in part) to protect the woman who remarries when divorced. She was not to be seen as an adulterer in the same sense as the Duet. 22 laws were meant to punish. In like manner Jesus shifts the weight of guilt for this case of adultery from the woman who remarries, to the former husband who initiated the unjustifiable divorce (Matthew 5:32). This would be the perfect time for the Lord to advocate “No Remarriage” or that He was repealing the “Duet. 24 Law” as the NDNR view persuades, but He doesn’t. By interjecting their own convictions they have muddied the water and confused the Church.
    Divorce for many causes a dilemma when reconciliation is no longer an option, perpetual singleness or a perpetual struggle for intimacy and the many other things marriage supplies. To perpetually struggle with sexual temptation is not God’s desire for the human state either (1 Cor. 7:8-9). Outside of the two provisions for remarriage, perpetual singleness as God’s mandated will should also be refuted.

    ESV 1 Cor. 7:1 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote. “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. 7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. 8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

    Should the Church have a live and let live attitude? Should it be passive and allow it’s members to divorce and remarry at will? Absolutely not, the Church has a responsibility to intervene. The Matthew 18 principle / procedure given by the Lord is extremely relative in resolving these very issue. That why it’s important to know when reconciliation is expected of the Lord. This knowledge allows us to instruct those divorced or contemplating a divorce with God’s expectations on the matter. We should come alongside struggling marriages to keep them intact. We should restrict divorce and only allow remarriage when reconciliation is no longer expected.
    I realize that many divorce individuals face the prospect of being single for a lone time. Most maintain hope that there is someone out there that God could bring into their lives. I want to affirm again that those that are obligated to reconcile should, so that they may avoid an adulterous remarriage. On the other hand I believe it to be a terrible thing for a divorced Christian to find themselves under the counsel of those that have left them without hope of ever having an intimate relationship with a spouse. Being told that there is no recourse for them. That they should remain single the rest of their life. As mention earlier it’s worse when the remarried are counseled to leave a marriage.
    God’s Word is so congruous that when we follow the veracity of it’s intention it gives recourse for the innocent party and the penitent sinner. God can reestablish their life and give them the godly desires of their heart. By using both the instruction of Christ and the Apostles we have New Testament instruction that will allow the divorced individual to eventually remarry. These principles may restrict remarriage for a time but allow for it as did the Old Testament. It is an effort to take the whole of scripture into account and provide the best solution. The answer lies in knowing when the obligation to reconcile ends.

  421. 421. Showmethetruth Says:

    Jamie,

    I don’t want to argue with you, so I apologize if my comments seemed harsh or uncaring. I too have been digging into this for a long time (see post 62 above), and have wrestled with every explanation I have heard from MANY different viewpoints. My beliefs on this have cost me many nights of tears and anguish, best friends, you name it. My “Bill Maher moment” was not intended to make fun of or gloss over a point, but only to make it as plain as it can be and see if it makes sense.

    Mat 5:31 “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away (apolus) his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement (apostasion)” Why did Moses command this? Because it is wrong to just put her out of the house. If she marries someone else, she will be committing adultery against her first husband since she has not been released.

    Mat 5:32 “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away (apolus) his wife, …” What did Jesus say would occur if they “put away”? The husband would “…causeth her to commit adultery.” (Yes I left out the exception to make things flow better)

    Unless I am missing something, Robert’s point is that Jesus did not say anything about divorce – only the harmful practice of putting away without the legal certificate – because divorce was always allowed by God and always meant the end of a marriage. If that is what Jesus said, then His understanding and those of his questioners would be the same. That is – It is wrong to merely put a woman away and think that ends the marriage. You must give her a certificate of divorce for it to truly be a divorce.

    I think if we are looking for the “Heart of God” in this, we won’t find it in making sure legal documents are filed correctly. That is what the Pharisees were doing all along; making sure they were able to check off all of the boxes and had things in order, all the while missing the point altogether. He always rebuked them for following the letter of the law but never understanding what God truly wanted. I don’t think what God truly wanted was their checklist completed. I think it is much more likely that Jesus was telling them that even if they did do things “legally”, like giving them certificates as they were putting away their wives, it did not change the fact that God had joined the two into one flesh and that they we no more two, but one, regardless of what the paperwork said.

  422. 422. AJ Says:

    @ Neal on #413:

    Your comment reminds me of the words of one of my seminary professors, Jeffrey Gibbs. I have tremendous respect for him and he has some good things to say on Matthew (in fact, he’s writing the Matthew commentary of the Concordia Commentary series).

    You can check out his commentary or look him up on iTunesU (Concordia Seminary Lectionary at Lunch). Here’s a link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/itunes-u/lectionary-at-lunch-matthew/id451153090?mt=10

    What I heard you saying, Neal, was that while our Lord’s locution may seem like a harsh rule, his illocution, that is, the point he wished to convey, is that divorce is evil and divorce papers don’t make it all better. I believe that Dr. Gibbs says at one point that our Lord may have been slightly “hyperbolic” in achieving this illocutionionary force.

    Anyway, I’ll let you guys check this out yourselves, but I would summarize that one shouldn’t get Pharisaical/legalistic about this passage, because that would be self-defeating (also, not everyone who calls someone an idiot is going to hell, and you probably shouldn’t literally gouge your eyes out if you are aroused by looking at another woman). Our Lord is putting things in the starkest possible terms to get men to stop divorcing their wives (the perlocutionary force).

  423. 423. Larry Says:

    Jamie,
    419

    You did the right thing.
    I see how the lack of assurance that comes from the lack of knowledge is having a discouraging effect on you.
    There must be doubts within you concerning whether a divorce really does invalidate a lawful marriage. By being assured that only death can terminate a marriage, that should cause you to see the correctness of your decision to honour “til death do us part”.
    The absolute evidence that Jesus’ own words cannot have been allowing divorce for adultery or for ANY post marital sin should have been of very great interest.
    But you were blinded to its value inasmuch as you were not even able to see that there is a huge difference between a mere termination of an engagement and an actual divorce.
    You have shot yourself in the foot by not cooperating in the discussion that proves that Jesus’ own choice of words in Matt 5:32 makes it impossible for the exception clause to have been allowing a post marital divorce.

  424. 424. Larry Says:

    Jamie
    418

    What difference does it even make whether or not a certificate is given? How can that possibly effect whether or not she is caused to commit adultery?
    If they are one flesh by lawful marriage and he either divorces her or merely chases her out of his house, how can the one event NOT cause her to commit adultery while the other DOES cause her to commit adultery?
    Robert’s focus on “put away” as contrasted with “divorce” (as if that approach could somehow provide a solution), only creates the same kind of logical fallacy created by DA (the divorce for adultery explanation of the exception clause). Matt 5:32 is in both cases a grammatical quagmire.
    Doesn’t the fact that Matt 5:31,32 is grammatically and logically perfect under DB (the divorce in betrothal explanation of the exception clause) mean anything?
    How can someone continue to defend an explanation of a verse, which explanation renders the author as incompetent, while a rational explanation of the situation exists which vindicates him as competent to the point of having written perfectly?

  425. 425. Neal Doster Says:

    AJ

    I believe that’s the whole point. Jesus was addressing the mentality that, 1) if you could find fault with your wife you could divorce her (exonerating yourself). 2) A legal dissolution circumvented adultery. As Dr. Gibbs points out Jesus was addressing long held beliefs past down from one generation to another. Jesus whole point was simple, those of you who think you have escaped sin, didn’t. Blaming your wife, doing the paper work doesn’t exonerate you from adultery. His point was not to say this is a new thing, so I’m changing divorce ability, but rather to inform His people that they had been unfaithful all along. The NDNR view turns this into Frankenstein’s monster, especially by making divorce salvific.

  426. 426. Scarecrow Says:

    Many of my comments (276, 329, 331) were waiting moderation for a long time so probably were missed by most. I will repeat one of them here adding a bit to it.

    Marriage is a covenant which is a contractual agreement. When the terms of that covenant (contract) are broken there are grounds to dissolve (divorce) the agreement. God himself “divorced” the nation of Israel and not long after Judah as well for breaking their covenant with Him. Interesting that God shows himself with more than one “wife” (Jeremiah and Isaiah), and divorces them when they break their covenant with him. Does this make God an evil adulterer?

    Divorce is allowed if the covenant is broken, Jesus was teaching the Jews to not emulate the Roman culture. Rather than divorcing and/or keeping a mistress on the side like the Romans did Jesus was telling them to maintain the practices of their forefathers – that is marry…and if you have another woman take her to be a wife as well…no fornication and no divorce so that you can marry another woman/man like the Romans were doing. Interestingly enough monogamy was strictly enforced by the Romans which is another cultural adaptation you see the early church making. Josephus (and many others) wrote of the Jews having multiple wives at the time Jesus walked the Earth yet Jesus never addressed it as sinful or evil in any way.

  427. 427. Mark Says:

    It seems to me that either the “betrothel view” or the “unlawful marriage view” (incest for example) would best explain the meaning of the the exception clauses in both Matthew 19:9 and 5:32 and bring these passages into consistency with the rest of the New Testament of no remarriage after divorce, no exceptions.

    However, I am confused as to the teachings of the early church fathers (ECF) on the meaning of the exception clause. For the most part they seem to have believed the exception clause to refer to adultery during the marriage (after betrothel, fully consummated). However, Clement of Alexandria did state the exception clause to refer to “adultery” committed as an adulterous remarriage.

    As most of us here are aware, almost all, without exception, of the early church fathers consistently forbid remarriage. But believed a husband could separate (or divorce???) from an adulterous wife with the hopes of reconciliation after her repentance from her adultery.

    Does anyone have an explanation for the ECF’s position on the exception clause. It appears to me that the “betrothel view” and the “unlawful marriage view” for the exception clause may have come much later several centuries after the ECF writings, although I am not sure when.

    The Catholic Church has two recent biblical translations, the New Jerusalem Bible and the New American Bible, that translate the exception clause “except for sexual immorality” (NKJV) as “unless the marriage is unlawful” (NAB).

    It just bothers me that we put so much emphasis on the ECF’s doctrine of no remarriage, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t, but it puzzles me as to why their writings did not seem to even hint at the “betrothel view”. Even though it could be accepted they understood an interpretation related to “unlawful marriages”.

    I have heard explanations that the ECF’s were so close in time to the Apostles and spoke fluently and fully understood the New Testament Greek, having an understanding of the language and context much better than modern translators do, and that is the reason they interpreted the Matthew MDR passages the way they did, interpreting no allowance for remarriage. Although very controversial and open to much debate it would seem that Matthew 19:9 as translated in our modern English versions of the Bible, could possibly suggest not only allowance for divorce, but also remarriage, if the exception clause refers to marital infidelity (post consummated adultery).

    I would welcome any thoughts any might have.

  428. 428. Jamie Says:

    Larry;

    Regarding posts 423 and 424

    First of all, it is not a lack of cooperation with the exercise, but a lack of need. I already recognize the “exception clause” is not an “exception for adultery after the marriage.”

    What causes difference and the need for thought here is not whether there is an exception after marriage for adultery or not; the differences are:

    a) whether the objection Jesus gave was over “divorcing” rather than “putting way,” in which case, the problem was not over later marrying another unless a former had not been justly dealt with (as in the position Robert has described), or else

    b) whether Jesus was speaking of adultery in a way that required undoing of the new marriage vow, or, as Neal would suggest, it is an adulterous condition, that, nonetheless, requires faithfulness to the new marriage covenant.

    The first thing I would say is that, if Neal is in fact correct, I can still disagree with his position that adultery in the marriage is a “proviso” that allows for divorce, but still recognize the other point he would make, which is that a new marriage requires faithfulness to the new marriage, though adulterous. (I am not yet saying I do agree, though his points are well thought out and need to be considered prayerfully, particularly in my own life).

    So I can still hold to the position (and I do) that the exception clause is not an excuse to be able to “divorce with God’s blessing.” I can still hold to the idea that it is not something that applies, in any practical sense, as a license to divorce a spouse in our 21st century culture.

    But the reality is that even though (as I believe) that there is no exception clause for “putting away,” the issues that still have to be dealt with are what “putting away” really means in context (whether to translate as “put away” or INTERPRET as “divorce”) and if a divorce and remarriage have occurred, what the responsibility before God is in that situation. That is the issue that is not so plainly discerned simply by reading the text at face value, without due regard to context, culture or grappling with the difficulties of proper translation of terms from Greek to English.

    The second point is that no “working through any exercise” to try to prove to myself what I already know to be true about the exception clause will in and of itself answer these other issues which need to be answered from other considerations. And speaking of considerations, I (and you, Larry) need to be considerate of post 385, where Andrew Kulikovsky (the owner of the website) says:

    “The discussion between Larry and Jamie is starting to get quite tiresome, not least because many of the issues being argued over are discussed in detail in my paper and in McFalls to some extent.”

    I know you have a serious concern on my behalf Larry, but in deference to Andrew and the others reading these posts, I will not any more discuss this issue of the exception clause in Matthew in the context of constructing sentences to prove what I already know regarding what it means. I have mentioned before that I think it’s time to drop this one point and give it a rest, and now, so has the moderator.

    So, in fairness to his patience and all the other readers here, this will be my last remark in this regard, as it would be disrespectful to do so any more in the future. If you need to make further remarks about it, I will have to let you have the last word about it. This was mine. Sorry Larry, but I think it’s only fair to everyone else. And sorry, Andrew. I will not respond to a point about this particular issue anymore. Thank you all for your patience.

  429. 429. Neal Doster Says:

    Jamie
    What has impressed me all along is, I believe you are indeed an honest seeker. What I admire about where God has you right now is, you have an objective mind on this issue. I have enjoyed reading your responses because it helps clarify how and where the views disagree. I believe the Lord has helped your post as much as any to bring distinction to a view and clarification when a view was being misrepresented. That means a lot to productive discussion. God has you in my heart and I hope you remember that I said I was praying for you, I still am.

  430. 430. Mark Says:

    With regard to my post 427:

    For those interested, here’s a link to an article by Gordon Wenham that may help provide some clarification to my concerns over the role of the early church fathers in the MDR issue:

    http://www.sbts.edu/media/publications/sbjt/sbjt_2002spring3.pdf

  431. 431. robert Says:

    First, I’m on vacation and have not had much opt to reflect on comments and respond. I’m in Silverton Colorado doing 4×4. It is so beautiful here and COOL. 100 + at home.

    Mark, the church fathers were not very trustworthy on doctrinal matters. Think how far people have strayed in the last 50 years.

    Showmethetruth,
    The main thing Jesus was teaching against (in the “MDR”) texts was the evil practice of men putting away and marrying another. This was a far more evil (treacherous) act than divorcing. Now Jesus was not saying divorce was okay if made legal. This becomes apparent when we observe Jesus’ response to the Pharisee’s comments.
    rw

  432. 432. Larry Says:

    What a shock everyone will face when it is revealed in Judgment that the straightforward wording in Mark and Luke is shown to mean exactly what the words say. And that the correct understanding of the exception clause only reinforced that plain prohibition.
    The attitude of many here is that somehow Jesus’ words don’t amount to anything when it comes to the issue of whether or not a remarriage can take place and be acceptable in time. In order to maintain that the adultery of remarriage can be sanctioned, it takes an attitude that at some point a sin becomes no longer a sin.
    Just try to pull that one on a person whose lifestyle involves skimming money off of others’ bank accounts. What makes the stealing a sin no matter how long it is done but adultery has some kind of statute of limitations? The other instability of the “acknowledging it to be adultery but allowing it anyway” position is that it assumes that the initial lawful marriage can somehow be forgiven. Sin is what is forgiven, not an institution by God, which he deems as belonging to him and holy. By allocating forgiveness to what is not a sin, that is appointing what God says is holy as “sinful”, when convenient, as a way to sear the conscience and justify the work of the flesh;adultery.
    God is not mocked. Adultery is adultery. Remarriage is adultery as Jesus indicated 5 times and Paul twice. By, in effect, fabricating a statute of limitation on adultery, whereafter it becomes no longer adultery, not only is God’s authority being usurped, but those committing the blashemy are establishing a place for themselves in outer darkness, where will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Repentance is the solution.
    The pretended acknowledgement of “one flesh” is head-shakingly amusing. Seeing that Adam and Eve’s status of ‘one flesh’ is accredited to all lawful marriages, that by itself establishes marriage to be binding till death as was the case with Adam and Eve, by whose situation that status is established and defined. The inability to accept that great mystery, Eph 5:28-33, as it applies to all lawful marriages, can be analyzed as simply from not believing.

  433. 433. Neal Doster Says:

    Mark
    I’m in the process of reading the article (good one) and hope to respond later. Other obligations will not allow me to be timely here.

  434. 434. Neal Doster Says:

    Robert, you write
    “Now Jesus was not saying divorce was okay if made legal.”
    I’m understanding you to advocate that divorce was sinful, but that sin doesn’t carry over into remarriage.
    Can you explain why adultery occurs after divorce in Matt 32b …whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

  435. 435. Larry Says:

    I expect that if the adultery sanctioning position had in its advantage that Jesus’ words LITERALLY endorse it, they would be all over it as a major point to support their claim.
    The truth is that LITERALLY, Jesus’ words and context cannot support either divorce for adultery or a sanctioning of adultery after the initial acknowledgement that it is adultery and somehow being given special privilege to engage in it.

    Literally, allowing remarriage is allowing an ongoing state of adultery. Since “one flesh” is to be accepted in as literal a manner as it was acknowledged for Adam and Eve, therefore ONLY death can terminate a lawful marriage, therefore remarriage while the other is alive is adultery for as long as they are alive. It is therefore impossible for a popish declaration that contradicts the obvious to have any weight to alter reality.
    We will be judged after the plainness of Jesus’ words, which he spoke so that the poor and uneducated can see their validity. Lovers of truth are not offended at suffering that truth demands they accept. It is a sign of the times where the Christian hope is placed in this life at the expense of the opportunity to faithfully suffer with Christ.

  436. 436. Michael Whennen Says:

    I just noted Andreas J. Köstenberger, David W. Jones have referenced and comment your blog and the work of Leslie McFall in their second edition…

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=xKgkX1ylzBkC&pg=PT259&lpg=PT259&dq=matthew+19:9+mcfall&source=bl&ots=cm1M24DM2y&sig=7D8OM051vnXNmcH_R62YmzT3kuY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=enoRUIu_CYWUiQfmjYCIAQ&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=matthew%2019%3A9%20mcfall&f=false

  437. 437. Neal Doster Says:

    Larry said
    ‘The attitude of many here is that somehow Jesus’ words don’t amount to anything when it comes to the issue of whether or not a remarriage can take place and be acceptable in time.”

    The problem is not with what Jesus said Larry, but with what you add to it.

    You write “The other instability of the “acknowledging it to be adultery but allowing it anyway” position is that it assumes that the initial lawful marriage can somehow be forgiven.”

    Are you saying that God didn’t allow remarriage in the Old Testament?
    Are you saying that remarriage was not adulterous in the Old Testament?

  438. 438. Jamie Says:

    Neal;

    If I can venture a guess for what Robert would say (since it seems he is out in Colorado playing with 4-wheelers or something, while I am stealing time from my employer to answer posts throughout the day) his position would agree that divorce is considered sinful if, as is usually the case (again, reading some of my understanding here) and the reason it is sinful is when it is due to hardness of heart. But divorce is allowed.

    Again, keep in mind that Robert’s position (and the part it seems some simply do not hear – not you, but others, maybe?) the point he is making is that divorce is the end of the marriage; what Jesus was condemning was “putting away” which would be the literal translation of “apoluo.” If you read these passages of Jesus, looking at where he uses the word “apoluo” as “putting away” and see that as a trecherous act that Jesus condemned, then the thing that Jesus is condemning is putting away WITHOUT PROPERLY DIVORCING and thereby freeing her to marry another.

    If you see that (Not yet sure that I do, but it needs to be considered) then Jesus is silent on these passages about remarriage being adulterous after divorce, because Jesus never spoke directly to that; He spoke directly to marrying someone else after only putting away WITHOUT a proper divorce. If there was a legitimate divorce (with a settlement to support her, a certificate to declare her right to remarry without reputation as an adulteress, etc, etc) then, in Robert’s position, the point Jesus was addressing was the real trechery that occured supposedly all the time back then, and not the act of divorcing.

    Robert has never advocated here that divorce should be entered into lightly, or that it doesn’t ever come as the result of a hard heart acting for whatever reason. He does seem to recognize it is a failure somehow, somewhere, but is forgivable. Remarriage is not sinful, if there is a proper divorce (with the attendant provision for the one being divorced, a legitimate freeing her up to marry someone else without reproach, etc) then, though it might have resulted from sinfulness, the divorce does not create an adultress condition into the second marriage, because the first no longer exists.

    For those who insist the “plain words of Jesus” speak of divorcing and marrying another do not allow it because it is sinful (such as Larry), I have repeatedly brought up a point here, since Robet introduced the concept, and it just keeps getting completely talked over as if the point isn’t even out there. If we insist on taking the “plain words of Jesus” to mean exactly what they say, and nothing else, then please explain how the “plain words of Jesus” where he says “apoluo – put away” are more properly rendered in the English as “divorce” rather than “put away.” If you keep hammering the point of the plain words of Jesus to be “divorce,” then it seems you have to at least explain how divorce is a more accurate rendering of the concept here than “put away.” It SAYS put away in Greek; please explain why it is MORE PROPERLY INTERPRETED here as “divorce” rather than simply TRANSLATED as “put away.” If you wish to condemn me to hell, could you please at least explain this concept to me in terms that make sense regarding this translation issue? To hammer the point do death while simply blowing past the translation issue that needs to be addressed is expecting me to take your word over his, when his seems (perhaps?) to be the more reasonable translation.

  439. 439. AJ Says:

    @ Jamie on 438:

    Let me address the translation question with some scholarly sources I have at my disposal here:

    The first definition (usually the most basic or widespread one) BDAG lists for ἀπολύω is: “As legal term, to grant acquittal, set free, release, pardon” (as in a prisoner). So it seems that the basic idea behind the verb is to release someone from an obligation (already this sounds more like divorce than “putting away”).

    Under the 5th definition it has: “to dissolve a marriage relationship, to divorce τὴν γυναῖκα one’s wife, or betrothed.” It lists 1 Esdras 9:36 (LXX) as an example. It also lists as an example Mark 10:2ff, in which ἀπολύω is apparently the only verb used for divorce in the entire section, as in v 4:

    ἐπέτρεψεν Μωϋσῆς βιβλίον ἀποστασίου γράψαι καὶ ἀπολῦσαι
    “Moses allowed [you] to write a certificate of divorce and to divorce.”

    Louw-Nida lists these definitions:
    a. dismiss
    b. send
    c. set free
    d. divorce
    e. forgive

    So consider those for what they’re worth. I agree with you that nothing is accomplished by repeatedly insisting that one particular translation is “literal.” Even defining a concept such as “literal” is more difficult than it seems, and those who desire “literal” translations often slip into tautology when they explain their preferences and reasoning when they are really pressed.

  440. 440. Showmethetruth Says:

    Can someone more proficient in Greek tell us what word they would have used for divorce – a “lawful” divorce, not merely a kicking out with out a legal certificate? It may be up there somewhere, but I can’t find it. I am guessing it must be different than the word for “put away”.

  441. 441. AJ Says:

    I don’t know if they’re more “lawful” terms, but in 1 Corinthians 7:27 we have λύομαι (mediopassive of λύω) with από for something that apparently means “be [maritally] released from” (whether you take that as divorce or something else):

    λέλυσαι ἀπὸ γυναικός;
    “Have you been released from a woman?”

    And earlier in vv 10-11 we have ἀφίημι:

    παραγγέλλω [...] ἄνδρα γυναῖκα μὴ ἀφιέναι
    “I command that a man not divorce [his] wife.”

    So similar terms, but not quite the same. I should say one shouldn’t assume that the difference is something like legality. Oftentimes words just differ in register, such as the difference between “shack up” and “move in together,” or between “fire” and “let someone go.”

  442. 442. Jamie Says:

    And I guess this is where I still have some reservations about Robert’s position.

    However, one issue I have with some of the theological references (and I’m not saying this is the case with the ones quoted) is that their definitions often get established based on English theology that is learned before the greek is studied in seminary, at which point, there is great potential for reading back into the greek what we already find in the English, thereby perpetuating the anolalies and the drift which can occur throughout history. On top of that, humble translators will often show some deference to the previous translations, as they expect some wisdom from the Lord in previous translation efforts by Godly men and women who also have tried to be faithful to conveying the concepts from one language to the other…

    I asked Robert about this before, and I actually saw issues such as the one you raise with the passage in Mark as an example, trying to see if he could at least recognize that the word might, in fact, be more properly translated “divorce” instead of the literal “put away” or else, there could end up being times where Jesus ended up almost making “a point without a purpose.” (see posts 274, 278, 292)

    Robert did acknowledge that there is theological weight that drives a translation of “put away” compared to an interpretation of “divorce.” (post 293) Also, that at times, it might be appropriate to see it (determined by context) as implying divorce. (Post 279)

    I think we can all think of times in translation between Greek and English where one word in one language needs to be translated into different words in the other, or where multiple words get translated into the same word in the other:

    “The PNEUMA(wind) blows where it will… so is everyone born of PNEUMA (the spirit)”

    or the other way, where “agape, phileo, eros” all get translated (depending on version) to LOVE.

    This is where I am left wondering about the rightness or wrongness of the whole concept; Neal’s position seems more complicated to sort out due to all the cultural considerations required to grasp all of what it means, and more importantly, what it requires of people.

    What I would be interested in knowing is what someone would see in this who is “fluent” in Greek – and NOT fluent in biblical greek taught at seminary – which might be perpetuating tradition and deference to previous generations, rightly or wrongly. I know of a few out there, and I do want, when time permits, to try to contact some of these people and see what their thoughts are.

    Another reference worth looking at (as someone just did here somewat) is to see how, and how consistently, there might have been correlation between these ideas between Hebrew and Greek in the septuigant.

    But for me, the jury is still out.

    While Robert’s position is appealing in its simplicity, simple isn’t always accurate enough; otherwise, medical school could be a two year college course.

    Incidentally, the Greek in 1 Cor 7:10-11

    παραγγέλλω [...] ἄνδρα γυναῖκα μὴ ἀφιέναι

    might more fairly be translated
    “I command that a man not LEAVE [his] wife.”

    This is what appears to me to be a CLASSIC case of the possibility that a translator first learns the theology, then learns the original language and reads his or her English theology back into the Greek before translating. Paul doesn’t mention DIVORCE in this verse. The CONCEPT might be there, but the LANGUAGE is LEAVE. What does it mean? I guess this is part of the problem, right?

  443. 443. AJ Says:

    Jamie,

    I appreciate what you’re saying about reading things back into the text. We have to constantly monitor ourselves when we read a text so as not to inappropriately project foreign ideas into the text; we have to read as much as possible like the original audience.

    That said, I didn’t translate ἀφίημι because of my pre-existing theological categories. The first definition listed by Louw-Nida is “dismiss” (“divorce” is at number 5). It’s true that “leave behind” or “leave in a place” are listed also though.

    BDAG also includes definitions like “to move away, w. implicatino of causing a separation, leave, depart from,” but the very first definition it lists is “dismiss,” under which we find “in a legal sense divorce γυναῖκα.”

    I’m just using the tools I have available to me.

    Now, if you’re looking for Modern Greek, Google Translate gives us two verbs:

    1. χωρίζω (the verb in 1 Corinthians 7:10f used with a woman as a subject, although in the passive)
    2. διαζευγνύω (not in the NT)

  444. 444. Showmethetruth Says:

    Ref 442
    Jamie wrote:
    “However, one issue I have with some of the theological references (and I’m not saying this is the case with the ones quoted) is that their definitions often get established based on English theology that is learned before the Greek is studied in seminary, at which point, there is great potential for reading back into the Greek what we already find in the English, thereby perpetuating the anomalies and the drift which can occur throughout history”

    And this is why I think it is important to not live by, but at least learn by the earliest church leaders. They might not have been “very trustworthy on doctrinal matters”, but examine the writings and you will have a hard time finding one that didn’t agree on this subject. They knew Koine Greek better than the seminary professors of today, and it is evident that they understood Jesus to be talking about DIVORCE, not kicking out. There was not much “English theology” influencing their thoughts.

  445. 445. Mark Says:

    ref 442 showmethetruth:

    This is the same explanation I have heard about the early church fathers (ECF). They spoke and understood the Biblical Greek fluently and would have better understood the context and interpretation of scripture better than modern Greek translators.

    However, at the risk of causing greater confusion, I emailed Dr. Leslie McFall about the ECF and he replied to my email with the following:

    (Begin McFall reply email)
    “Dear Mark,
    When you say:
    “It appears the early church fathers saw an exception clause to allow divorce for adultery (fornication) in Matthew 19:9 but did not consider remarriage an option.”
    I have a real problem with the use of ‘divorce’ here.
    The problem with consulting the writings of early church fathers [= ECF] is that they were written up in the light of Erasmus’s Greek text. Erasmus popularised the idea that Jesus permitted divorce for anything that was considered a disgrace, not just fornication/adultery. Erasmus changed the Latin for ‘fornication’ into ‘disgrace’, which brought it into line with Rabbi Hillel’s view.
    However, the practice of the Roman Catholic church in not recognising divorce, but recognising Paul’s pragmatic situation of ’separation’ is what you should be guided by. It has an unbroken tradition in this regard.

    Once the idea, and then the practice, of divorce had taken root in Europe following the Reformation, then the writings of the EC fathers were, very likely, translated in the light of this new development. It is very easy to translate some of the 40-odd Greek words referring to ‘separation,’ as referring to divorce, but there is no legal term for ‘divorce’ in Greek as there is in English. Under what circumstances the many words referring to ’separation’ can be translated by the technical term ‘divorce’ is a matter of interpretation.

    My point is that once ‘divorce’ became a legal procedure due directly to the Protestant Reformation (misled by Erasmus’s faulty Gk text of Mt 19:9), then the danger of translating or reading back the legal term ‘divorce’ into the writings of the EC fathers is a real one, because the Reformers would have believed Erasmus’s Greek text, and assumed that the EC fathers were in agreement with their, and Erasmus’s, interpretation!!

    The other problem we have is that all the remnants, i.e. extant mss of the EC fathers, are hundreds of years later than they wrote. We have no original documents. Did the later transmitters of their texts substitute the Greek text they had learned by heart, or which they were more familiar with, which may not have been the same as that written by the individual EC fathers? In other words, how certain are we that the original wording of the EC fathers was not altered in transmission, in the same way that the NT text was altered in the course of its transmission?” (End McFall reply email)

    So now you may even be more confused than before, as I was. It doesn’t seem it would be the Lord’s desire for us to have to be Greek scholars to understand what the Bible says, and more importantly, what it means. But at some point in time, we do have to accept some English translation that we feel best translates what the inspired writers actually said and more importantly what they meant from what they said. But you know the translators are going to have preconceived theology when they do translate and this could affect the way the words are translated. Many times the explanatory footnotes in a study Bible is where there real preconceived theology comes out. For the most part, I believe most translators try to be as accurate as possible in their translations. That’s why translations are periodically updated. The current translation of the New International Version (NIV), for example, has changed their translation of the exception clause from “except for marital unfaithfulness” to “except for sexual immorality”, much closer to the original Greek where “porneia” is translated “sexual immorality” (fornication).

    With regard to 1 Corinthians 7:10-11, there has always seemed to be uncertainty as to whether the couple is legally divorced or just “separated”. I’m inclined to believe it within the realm of possibility that they were divorced. And the reason being is in verse 11 it states, “But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband”. The Greek word “agamos” I believe is correctly and literally translated here as “unmarried”.

  446. 446. Michael Whennen Says:

    ### Hi Bob, hope you are well… Here is a copy of most of the Note 21 from Köstenberger’s book, can you edit it and check it and put in links to the comments in this blog. Kind Regards Michael

    Leslie McFall (“The Bibical Teaching on Divorce and Remarriage,”, who argues that a portion of the exception clause-namely, the Greek word ei-was added by Erasmus in the publication of his Greek-Latin New Testament in 1516. McFall contends that this interpolation changed the meaning of the exception clause from “not even for porneia” (no exception) to “except for porneia” (exception for adultery/sexual immorality) However, as Craig Bloomberg right obverses, McFall fails to observe that the Me by itself can have exceptive force. Thus the Erasmian epi merely makes explicit what is already implicit in the text. That this understanding is the oldest interpretive tradition is confirmed by the earliest textual variants, which show that scribes regularly changed mei to parektos in order to make the exception in Matthew 19:9 explicit. Also as David Instone-Brewer aptly notes, while the Greek in Matthew 19:9 is indeed difficult, in Matthew 5:32 there is no such ambigiguity. There the Greek Parektos, which unambiguously means “except” Thus as Blomberg (ibid.) correctly points out, Matthew 19:9 as McFall does would mean that Matthew and Jesus contradicted themselves between Matthew 5:32 and 19:9

  447. 447. Showmethetruth Says:

    Ref 445
    I can understand, even if I don’t know that I fully support, the point being made here. What is beginning to bother me the most is where we will stop with this speculation that what we read in the bible today isn’t really what was being taught, but rather how the translators infused the text with their thoughts.
    I am no Greek scholar. I haven’t been to seminary. I didn’t even finish college. I do know that in doing what I consider very deep research into this subject, I personally have rarely come across any significant or weighty commentary that examines these scriptures and concludes that Jesus was not really talking about divorce where the bible says divorce. I won’t say I’ve never heard it, but I would think that if there was substantial evidence to that effect, it would be discussed more than it is. It is almost like an “underground” teaching that very few have ever heard or at least discussed.
    At some point we need to have faith that the bible is God’s word for all of us. I know He wants us to search the scriptures and seek the truth. I don’t think He has allowed His word to be so modified by people and time that we have to wonder if every verse might have been tainted and the message changed. It would almost get to the point where we would be in a conspiracy theory mode, always suspect of some deviation made to throw us off and keep us from knowing what He wants, whether it was done innocently or not so innocently.
    If God is ok with us breaking vows and covenants, calling twain what He says is no longer twain, putting asunder what He said let not put asunder, provided we follow all the legal requirements, maybe this “divorce and remarriage is allowed if it is done properly” point is valid.
    The bible also says (at least I thought it did; maybe it really doesn’t) that our marriages should be a reflection of the relationship between Him and us. Does that then mean that we can feel free to seek other gods and saviors if we feel He has wronged us, provided we do it legally? Does that mean that if someone has done so, and sinned in the process, that He wants that person to remain as they are, because they have made new commitments to this new god and they need to honor them? I really don’t think so. In Jeremiah 3:8, God said”, concerning Israel, He “put her away”. He also says He “gave her a bill of divorce”. Apparently He did it properly. However, according to verse 14, He said to Israel AFTER the divorce and AFTER the certificate, “I am married unto you”. If that is really what God meant (it has been translated many times), then maybe Jesus was truly saying in Matthew 5 that even though they had been told that they must give a certificate when they divorce, the certificate didn’t change anything in God’s opinion.

  448. 448. robert Says:

    Neal,
    Do you believe that the word translated “fornication” in Matthew 19;9 can refer to an illigitimate or illegal marriage? The situation would be people having sex without marriage and would seem to me to accurately describe the exception clause if granted that when one understands that Jesus was not changing the Law of Moses regarding who can marry, but condemning the evil practice o putting away but not freeing the wife.

    By the way, some dismiss this because they don’t see it in the context. But the Jewish men are doing it to this day. see http://www.TotalHealth.bz and/or search for “Jewish women in chains.”
    rw

  449. 449. robert Says:

    Neal,
    I meant to note that some versions clearly support the idea that “fornication” in Matt. 19;9 refers to illegal marriage. This supports the idea that the exception clause does not refer to a situation where a woman is divorced. Thus, there is no justification for forbidding a person who has actually been divorced from marrying another. This, of course, would have Moses teaching what God did not want, Jesus contradicting Moses, Paul contradicting Jesus and Christians teaching an unjust doctrine while claiming it is from God.

    It amazes me that many have no problem overlooking the many problems with the traditional view on MDR and they hang on to it while rejecting a view that they might have some doubt about because of one thing they can’t get into their head.

    Have you noticed that in the verses that traditional MDR teachers use to teach that a divorced person commits adultery in marrying another do not apply to the MAN? It doesn’t, yet they apply their misapplied text to both men and women, which indicates something is wrong with their idea of what Jesus taught. Now, it does apply to a man who would marry an APOLUOed woman. This is obviously because she was not free. She was not free not because Jesus changed the Law but because she was not given the certificate of divorce that is required before “she may go be another man’s wife.”

    It would make no sense for JEsus to change the Law at that time. One, it would have him teaching contrary to Moses and give the Jews a reason to kill him. Two, it would indicate that he fell for the Pharisee’s trap. THree, Jesus would be teaching New Testament doctrine that was obviously left for the apostles to do in answer to the questions that CHristians had (1 Cor. 7:1,2).

    If Jesus changed the Law why did the Jews have to fabricate things at his trial? Why would they not bring up the charge that Jesus did not acknowledge Moses as the authority and in fact put himself above him. This would never have been acceptable for Jews who did not believe Jesus was God.

    What Jesus did teach was applicable to the hearers. There is no indication that what he said was meant to apply after the cross. See my debate with J.T. Smith, editor of Gospel Truths on this. It can be found on my website http://www.TotalHealth.bz

    rw

    rw

  450. 450. Neal Doster Says:

    Mark
    I enjoyed reading the article/ link by Gordon Wenham
    He says something very close to what I advocate, but with a difference in purpose intent.

    Gordon Wenham writes,
    According to Jewish law “the essential formula in the bill of divorce is ‘Lo, thou art free to marry any man.’ The implication of Jesus’ pronouncement is that the essential declaration in the divorce formula does not work. A woman is not free to marry any man after divorce: if she does, she commits adultery. In other words she is still bound by the vow of exclusive loyalty to her husband. (end quote)

    This is the same reason I use to explain adultery after divorce, the obligation of exclusive loyalty survives divorce, consequently causing remarriage to be adulterous.
    Why remarriage is adulterous
    Morality (a moral obligation) is based on the principle of right conduct rather than the legality of a matter.
    Remember, the Jewish Law had been subverted down through the ages by the traditions of men. Christ did not answer the Pharisees question (Matthew 19:3) from the present interpretation of the law of the land, but rather from God’s original expectation. The debate between Jesus and the Pharisees was not about the legal legitimacy of divorce but rather the lawful grounds for one. Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” The word “lawful” is used throughout the bible to refer to that which is justifiable from God’s perspective. Lawful here is not in reference to the various interpretations of the Law at that time (or now) but rather to that which is consistent with God‘s will.
    The question Jesus was responding to was, Is divorce justifiable for any reason? The Pharisees divorce policy was liberal, conversely Jesus taught that sexual infidelity was the only grounds, thereby indicting and exposing many as adulterers. This is an important distinction, their divorce was legally legitimate while the moral grounds for it were not. Moral obligation is an important key to understanding what constitutes adultery before, during and after a marriage.
    Outside of infidelity or when infidelity is not a factor for the divorce such as described in Matt. 5:32 we need to understand the reason why a subsequent marriage is adulterous. It is not because they are “still married in God’s eyes” but because both parties remain under the moral obligation of covenant loyalty. The marriage was dissolved but the moral obligation of fidelity was not for it precedes and survives the marriage. Covenant responsibilities are not negated merely because a marriage has been. A legal severance (divorce) will not annul the moral obligation of covenantal faithfulness, consequently a subsequent intimate relationship results in adultery.
    That truth reveals why the one being divorce “innocent party” will enter into an adulterous relationship when remarried (Matt. 5:32 ) and why Paul instructed the Christian couple to remain unmarried or be reconciled (1Cor. 7:10-11), and why the woman was defiled in her second marriage (Deuteronomy 24:1-4). You can be legally unmarried (1Cor. 7:10-11) but still bound by covenant obligation to remain faithful. Marriage and divorce are events that reveal the legal marital status of a couple in society. A marriage can be terminated as they were in both Old and New Testaments while not terminating the moral obligation of fidelity.
    Covenant annulment
    I have endeavored to demonstrate that divorce terminates marriage, while not necessarily terminating covenant requisites. When does covenant obligation end for those who didn‘t have biblical grounds for divorce? Having shown that covenant obligation endures divorce (in most cases) it’s imperative to understand what it does not endure. What terminates the marriage covenant? When does it end? Is there something that invalidates the residual obligations? What is the point of no return? Is there something that desecrates the relationship to the extent that the retained bondage is no longer valid?

    Post # 394 was intended to reveal the answer to these question.

    Although the Lord never gave permission for divorce in the Pentateuch, He did permit (allow) it. That is, we see remarriage acknowledged and binding after divorce. He allowed remarriage even though adulterous. Perpetual singleness was not imposed and I agree with Robert that Jesus is not opposing Moses nor biblical legislation that came through him. Gordon believes that Jesus now wants individuals to remain single after divorce because it results in adultery, but the truth is, that‘s always been the case. I simple believe that Jesus point was to reveal to the Jews that they should remain married because their schemes didn’t absolve them of guilt. Again I believe the Church has a responsibility to intervene when their members are violating Gods will in regard to divorce. I’ll post some thoughts later.

  451. 451. Neal Doster Says:

    1 Cor. 7:10-15 The Proviso given through Paul, why remarriage in this case would not be adulterous.

    The expression in verse 10 “yet not I but the Lord” and in verse 12 “I, not the Lord, say” is not to be interpreted liberally. It’s important to capture Paul’s intent here, He begins in verse 10 “yet not I but the Lord” simply acknowledging that what he is about to say was the same thing the Lord had taught during His ministry to the nation of Israel. He is reiterating and reaffirming the Lord’s position on divorce and remarriage. Marriage should last until death. In verse 12 “I, not the Lord, say” speaks to a dimension of divorce that Jesus had not addressed. Consequently Paul fills that void with Spirit inspired instruction (verse 40b “I also have the Spirit of God”). Paul is addressing New Testament believers while Jesus was addressing the Jews. Both these categories of people were those in covenant relationship with God.
    There is not an ongoing attempt in either Old or New Testaments where God is trying to govern those that are in spiritual darkness. God does not expect them to subject themselves to His government. He does expect those in covenant relationship with Him to submit to His revealed will. In verse 10 and 11, Paul is instructing the Church and a Christian couple what to do in regard to the restrictions of divorce and remarriage.
    We know the first couple are believers because in verses 12-15 he then addresses the New Testament enigma of a Christian being married to an unbeliever. Consequently in verse 12 “I, not the Lord, say” is not Paul’s opinion about the matter but rather we see him giving instruction about this dilemma that Jesus had not addressed. That being, what do you do about a couple who are in covenant relationship with each other, but one of them is not in covenant relationship with God?
    Consistent with the Lord’s teaching he instructs the Christian not to divorce the unbeliever (verses 12-13) and to continue to be a godly testimony to them (verse 16) (also 1 peter 3:1-2). But in verse 15 he includes a proviso in the case where the unbeliever desires to divorce the believer. He concludes that this act of repudiation would exonerate the Christian from further marital obligation (v.15 “a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.”) The allocation “ a brother or sister” differentiates them from the unbelieving spouse unlike the previous situation and consequently releases them from the residual obligation to reconcile.
    Paul is differentiating here and discriminates between these two categories of divorce situations. The first couple is still under covenant bondage and should reconcile. Conversely the believer in the second situation will be absolved of covenant enslavement. Remember adultery would only result when there remains the obligation of loyalty to the former spouse such as the Christian couple of verses 10 and 11. Being relieved of covenant obligation absolves the believer, they are set free. Verse 15 “not under bondage” or “no longer enslaved” carries the same idea as verse 39 “at liberty”, subsequently and consequently remarriage will not result in adultery.
    Compare the situation in verse 15 with that of the previous two scenarios (Christian couple of verses 10 and 11, and the situation with the mixed couple of verses 12-14) and ask, was there a one size fits all command? The obvious answer is no, so we shouldn’t force fit the same conclusion as the permanence view tries to do, being that none of them has the right of remarriage. If that were the case then Paul would not have issued a proviso. One of the most important things about godly discernment is to know when additional factors are relevant or if they are relevant in altering the conclusion of such questions. Discernment is all about discriminating when God discriminates and not discriminating when He doesn’t. The permanence view misses the significance of Paul’s change of address in verse 12 “But to the rest” which clearly speaks to and instructs differently than He did in the circumstance in verses 10 and 11.
    Because the permanence view advocate’s that “not under bondage” (verse 15) only means that a believer is free to yield to a divorce but is not free to remarry, it’s important to keep in mind that Paul is addressing dissimilar situations. He is not instructing the same solution in verse 15 as he did in verse 11. The expression “not under bondage” follows in logic by contrast, the admonition to “reconcile or remain unmarried” (verse 11). The admonition to “reconcile or remain unmarried” reminds the Christian couple that they, although unmarried, are still under covenant bondage and that this bespeaks the obligation to reconcile. Conversely, the expression “not under bondage” instructs the individual there that they are free from such obligation. It is the contrast of being under the bondage of the marriage covenant that Paul is referring to. He conveys here the same idea as he does in v.39 “at liberty to be married”.
    Yielding to divorce is found in the expression “let him depart,” while “not under bondage” conveys the consequence of this case of departure. The believer experiences freedom by the unbelievers act of repudiation. Following the flow of Paul’s thinking we see Him reversing the instruction to “remain unmarried” to that of giving freedom to do so. The expression “not under bondage” is the freedom an individual has from the previous covenantal bondage that is normally retained when divorced, such as the unmarried Christian couple. The retention of covenantal obligation is key to understanding when and why remarriage is adulterous. This is the main point Jesus is making on His teaching about divorce. The obligation of exclusive loyalty remains even if unmarried.
    This retention is also key to understanding when the Church should allow for remarriage after divorce. Three things in scripture potentially frees a married or previously married individual from covenantal bondage. Fornication, repudiation by an unbeliever, the remarriage of an ex-spouse. If these things have occurred a divorced individual is “not under bondage” to reconcile and should no longer be expected to remain unmarried.

  452. 452. Jamie Says:

    Neal;

    Your position sounds like there is some merit to it, and I follow along until I keep choking on one issue that you somehow seem to be able to gloss over. Maybe “gloss over” is not the right way to say it, but for me it feels like that is exactly like what you are doing.

    I think Larry has the right idea with this whole “exception clause” in Matthew, or maybe Robert is hitting it right. But the one thing I CANNOT really accept is this concept that Matthew is clarifying a concept about adultery being an exception.

    Neal, it’s all well and good to try to blend the gospels together and say that Matthew is just expanding on what Mark is saying briefly. But I don’t buy that without great difficulty – because the ORIGINAL audience for Mark didn’t KNOW that THEY were reading the Reader’s Digest version of the COMPLETE message. The original audience for Mark was given a short message that was short enough to be inaccurate if it needs Matthew to fill it out. THEY DIDN’T HAVE Matthew.

    If I look at it as Matthew written to Jews (where the “exception” is given to satisfy the understanding in the Jewish mind that he is NOT violating the old testament law) and Mark is written to gentiles (where he makes a point about a woman putting away a man and marrying another – which might well be a foreign concept to the Jew, but necessary to mention to the gentile, to make more emphasis of the idea that it swings both ways) then the differences make sense. As an exception for adultery after they are married makes no sense when you explain it this way.

    Paul doesn’t mention adultery as an exception that breaks any covenant, though I won’t make an issue of that yet; perhaps I’m missing something on that one, regarding your covenant concept. But this business of simply “blending” Matthew and Mark and coming up with a homogenized text misses the reality that the readers of Mark would have no idea that this exception even existed. Perhaps you are saying the exception didn’t allow for remarriage? Or it did now allow for remarriage, but Jesus is saying it is still adulterous, although allowed because of the adultery in the marriage that violated the covenant?

    Every time you point to this exception in Matthew as being post-marriage proviso for dealing with adultery, you introduce a new problem in my mind, which I am having a hard time making sense of. What am I missing here, in your opinion? Because in my mind, I can’t see how that exception can be for anything other than what is answered by the betrothal theory (as Larry would say) or perhaps unlawful marriages (which Robert would say). I always thought there was room to read both into that passage. But for me, the one thing that DOESN’T fit is ADULTERY there, because it ends up being hopelessly conflicting with Mark, which makes no exception.

    Fill me in on what the piece is that you would think I am missing from how you see things. Thanks.

  453. 453. Neal Doster Says:

    Jamie

    An important hermeneutic for me is, perspicuous. I believe the Word of God has clear meaning.
    I don’t approach scripture with a, who saw what first before someone else seen it or what ethnicity the gospel writers were targeting. I approach it believing the Spirit meant it for us all. Those who take the exception clause to be something other than what it reads does so by reading something else into the passage (eisegesis). One believes it’s this another believes it’s that, lots of ideas about what it might be, but nothing can be substantiated. It leads to an endless semantic argument. I prefer an exegetical interpretation. I understand the question asked Jesus, I except the text as it reads, the context is about divorce.
    I feel that you would agree that you take the supposition that sense the other writers don’t mention an exception then it cast doubt that Matthew is giving one. I merely suppose the text means what it’s saying. If there was a passage that had a direct reference there, explaining that Matthew had something else in mind, then we would have no problem. There is no such passage.
    There’s no doubt that God designed marriage to be for a lifetime. But there is a simultaneous truth in that He also designed sexual fidelity as a requisite in marriage. The rational for understanding the exception clause to allow for divorce originates from this fact. Deuteronomy 22:13-29 is an important predicate in helping us to see that infidelity was a grave breach of an inviolable covenant. The retribution for breaching this covenant in this manner in the Old Testament brought sever recourse. A recourse that undeniably affirmed that sex was a sacred union meant solely for marriage and those bound by it. To adulterate the gift of sex, especially within covenant bondage justified the ultimate penalty. An important question to answer is, was there recourse for adultery?

    The best way to approach the divorce issue is from a chronological perspective.
    Armed we the knowledge that illicit sex within marriage had recourse of the most sever of nature, I’m not taken aback back the fact that Jesus gives a more merciful response. Having said that, I am taken aback by those who know the just retribution of marital infidelity and then say they just can’t see how just recourse fits in Matthew’s account.

    I’m not sure what you mean by this expression “post-marriage proviso” do you mean a divorce state?
    Where did I use it?

  454. 454. Jamie Says:

    Neal;

    All I meant by referring to what you were talking about as a “post-marriage proviso” was how you see the exception clause in Matthew as an exception for adultery, within (post) marriage – as opposed to Robert seeing it as an “invalid marriage proviso” or Larry seeing it as a “betrothal proviso.” (You had introduced the term proviso – post 345 – I was merely using the term.)

    It’s nice that we have all the books in one binding, and I can appreciate your interest in taking the word of God at face value, and seeing it was all given for us. But isn’t that a little naive in the context of the discussion? Larry sees the same texts and reads them at “face value;” yet you see the importance of reading the exception clause differently, because of what you see in Matthew. Robert takes them at face value, and insists that the language be translated to say what it says in the original as opposed to interpreting it theologically. Is it that much more of an (inappropriate?) stretch to consider to whom it was written, and why, and what it meant to the original audience before we apply it to our own situations? That, to me, seems like nothing other than being responsible with our interpretation. You do it, too, do you not? Every time you look at an english translation, you are looking at the work of translators who, at times, must consider these very issues in order to give us the best possible conveyance of meaning from the culture in which the books were written.

    While I can appreciate that the spirit meant “all of the book for us all,” ironically the original readers of Mark likely never saw Matthew. They didn’t have Matthew as a commentary on Mark. Was God not as concerned for the original readers as he is for us in the 20th century? Do you not think that Mark’s original audience might have been misled by a text that doesn’t mention the exception? Or was it so obvious to them that it didn’t need mention? And if so, then what else do I have to know that they took for granted to be able to properly understand the text?

    I have to go by the idea that the scripture (which is all given for us all) can’t contradict other scripture; and when I see one passage that says it’s never allowed, and another that says it’s never allowed EXCEPT, it seems that the EXCEPT makes a contradiction unless it is for something other than betrothal like Larry says (a betrothal proviso), or for a marriage that was never legitimate, as Robert would say (an illegal marriage proviso). Otherwise it’s a contradiction. To say that the exception in Matthew is explicit does imply (I think) that the exception is implicit in Mark. Is that a fair statement in your opinion?

    If there were no Matthew, but only Mark, do you think that anyone reading it would automatically understand the exception clause to be there? I would think someone coming from where you are on this issue might see it there somehow anyway, but I am curious if you’ve ever thought about this. Similarly, if the exception is somehow implicit, then I would also have to think there is a proviso for physical abuse, perhaps? Do you see it implicit in Mark If Matthew did not exist? I guess it’s a curious question as much as anything, and perhaps the competing philosophies on culture, context, audience, etc, drifts too far afield for this forum; but I don’t think it can be removed from the conversation without it being a continuous disagreement for all the apriori assumptions we bring to the discussion.

    You spoke in a previous post (yesterday) about a proviso for desertion from Paul in 1st Corinthians. Is it possible that, in the spirit of what Paul says there that there are any number of things that can break the marriage covenant – abuse, neglect, abandonment, fornication and maybe others? If the covenant is to love, honor, cherish, protect, support, etc, etc, is the covenant broken by these things not being done? Or only by adultery (Matthew) or desertion (Paul)?

    But I am curious (if you have time and interest to answer – I know you’ve put a lot of time into this already) as to whether you would see this “exception” implicit in Mark, and if so, how?

    Thanks, Neal. You’re a good man with a good heart….
    Even when you’re wrong. ;-))

  455. 455. Jamie Says:

    By the way, Neal;

    You said….

    “I feel that you would agree that you take the supposition that since the other writers don’t mention an exception then it cast doubt that Matthew is giving one. I merely suppose the text means what it’s saying. If there was a passage that had a direct reference there, explaining that Matthew had something else in mind, then we would have no problem. There is no such passage.”

    I guess I covered this, but I suppose that is correct, if I am hearing the question the right way. And again, can you not see that if you take the text of Mark, it says something different? That passage is also in the context of the question of divorce; Jesus there explained to his disciples that putting one away and marrying another is adultery. And there is no exception. So now you take the passage in Mark, which, at face value says “adultery, period” and make room for the exception from another text, thereby (in my opinion) making it say something it does not say; I, on the other hand, look at Matthew and see a “clear exception” that, once I look at Mark, am forced to the conclusion it wasn’t really an “exception” at all. So yes, it casts doubt that he is really giving one, in terms of the way I think you were asking the question. And so then we have two competing philosiphies here. Why is yours better?

    Mine says that Matthew added this bit for the jewish audience so as not to confuse them; Mark left it out BECAUSE it would confuse them (jewish mind vs. gentile mind, i guess I’m thinking).

    Yours has someone reading Mark, a plain text that implies no exception, and you have to push Matthew’s exception into it or else Mark contradicts Matthew. So Mark isn’t “properly” understood without another text shoved into it to make it say something it wouldn’t otherwise say.

    I guess I have to wonder why your hermeneutic is better than mine; mine seems to be more complete as far as I can see (and less problematic because it makes something otherwise contradictory not so).

    It reminds me of that bank commercial where the guy is sitting with the little kid, and says, “do you want a pony?” And the kid says, “sure.” The guy hands him a little plastic horse. Then he turns to the other kid and says, “do you want a pony, too?” The second kid says yes, and they walk a REAL PONY into the room and put the kid on the saddle, at which point, the first kid looks at the guy as if to say, “hey! What kind of crap you pulling here?” Either there is no exception, or Mark misled his readers. A plain reading of Mark without the benefit of Matthew leaves me with no exception. So yes, I guess that is the idea. I have to assume Matthew’s exception is no exception, or Matthew’s readers get the pony, and Mark’s readers get the plastic pony like a bunch of suckers.

  456. 456. robert Says:

    Jamie,
    I like this:
    > I guess I have to wonder why your hermeneutic is better than mine; mine seems to be more complete as far as I can see (and less problematic because it makes something otherwise contradictory not so).

    > It reminds me of that bank commercial where the guy is sitting with the little kid, and says, “do you want a pony?” And the kid says, “sure.” The guy hands him a little plastic horse. Then he turns to the other kid and says, “do you want a pony, too?” The second kid says yes, and they walk a REAL PONY into the room and put the kid on the saddle, at which point, the first kid looks at the guy as if to say, “hey! What kind of crap you pulling here?” Either there is no exception, or Mark misled his readers. A plain reading of Mark without the benefit of Matthew leaves me with no exception. So yes, I guess that is the idea. I have to assume Matthew’s exception is no exception, or Matthew’s readers get the pony, and Mark’s readers get the plastic pony like a bunch of suckers. >

    Your point sure helps my position. I’ll see if I can say the same thing using different words.

    When Jesus spoke of putting away and marrying another being “adultery against her” the readers understood it to not be a sexual sin, as is traditionally taught. But if somehow the sin was WITH the new spouse in the next marriage, these people were not told that adultery is not committed IF the “divorce” is for adultery. Therefore we have God being respecter of persons–giving “important” revelation to one but not to another. Because of this, if we use good hermeneutics, the “exception clause” in Matthew cannot possible be saying, “unless the divorce was for adultery” the next marriage is adulterous. The exception clause MUST be of lessor significance.

    Here is what makes sense no matter how you look at it: There was apparently an evil practice of separation, especially initiated by the men, that Jesus addressed. He was saying if you do this the result is adultery if you marry another and the one that marries you also commits adultery. This separation resulted when one “left” or was “sent away.” It was not a divorce that allowed the woman to “go be another man’s wife.”

    Why would Jesus teach contrary to Moses at this time, especially after making it clear he is not going to do it (Matthew 5:17). If we care about truth we must use good hermeneutics and good hermeneutics will not allow us to take a position that can only be true if Jesus contradicted Moses. No, Jesus did not take on Moses whose teaching was God’s teachings. Jesus only dealt with divorce subtly when the Jews questioned him. Paul deal with Christian’s questions regarding who mary marry and when one reads his teaching without first having drawn a conclusion based on what traditional teachers say Jesus taught, it will be easy to see that Paul did not deal directly with divorce either. However, he did make it very plain that church leaders are not to “forbid marriage.” He said “let them marry.” Paul was inspired and he did not contradict Jesus. Some, who have not been able to explain Paul’s teaching to defend their position have even said that Jesus’ teaching override Paul’s. That is foolishness. Paul taught the word of God and if his teaching is not correct the whole Bible if not from God. The fact that he did not give so much as a hint of the requirement that one divorce “for fornication” before it was actually a divorce, or before one could marry another speaks volumes. Ch 7:11 is the only text that traditional teachers point at to support their position, but it is clearly speaking of a couple that is separated. Because of the “present distress” they are told to “remain as they are” in the separated state, or as “unmarried.”

    IF there was an all important “exception clause” why did Paul not teach it? There can be one reason only, God did not inspire him to so do. If Jesus had taught his disciples that one may marry ONLY if he initiates the divorce for fornication Paul would also have taught it. These Christians were taught the truth. If it is true that Paul was speaking of a couple that is divorced then he utterly failed to tell the truth when he told them they could “never marry,” according to the traditional MDR view.

    Jesus was dealing with a problem pretty much unique to the Jews whereas Paul dealt with the problem of people misunderstanding Jesus and concluding that divorce does not end a marriage unless done for a particular reason.

    Divorce ends a marriage. This is why God gave it. He does not want us to divorce and we who love him don’t want to divorce our spouse. But one, whether Christian or not, may be divorced against his/her will and for no cause at all other than that the spouse wanted something “better.” The traditional position, in this situation, has God punishing the innocent with celibacy, which is bad hermeneutics. Are we prepared to accept or hold on to a belief that must accept that an evil spouse, who cares not what tradition says Jesus taught or what Jesus actually taught, cause you to have to live a life of celibacy. Can you tell people who are divorced that they must live celibate? Paul said to let every man and every woman have a spouse. He made God’s position very clear when he said “LET THEM MARRY.”
    rw

  457. 457. Neal Doster Says:

    Jamie

    “Post” is what confused me, I’m not sure why you included it. Post means after, not within or during marriage.

    You write “Larry sees the same texts and reads them at face value” This is not true, Larry introduces the betrothal theory into the text.

    You write “Is it that much more of an (inappropriate?) stretch to consider to whom it was written, and why, and what it meant to the original audience before we apply it to our own situations?”

    You have read enough of what I posted to know that I have value for the first century perspective, societal function, cultural considerations, etc. I have no problem with introducing hypothetical factors in helping to interpret a passage if they can be proven from scripture to be relevant. But when they are proven to be weak or false they have run there course of relevance. It is always better to have a base point of reference from scripture than to depend on something supposed. You seemed to blow right by the reference I gave in understanding that infidelity would warrant divorce if it warranted capital punishment.
    If you postulate that the betrothal theory is what Matthew had in mind, that necessitates the belief that marital infidelity had different recourse than betrothal infidelity, else you would only be affirming the justification of divorce for marital infidelity. I made this comment in post 413. Covenant obligation (fidelity) preceded the marriage and bore the same retribution for infidelity as within marriage itself (Deut. 22:22-24).
    You cannot reason contrary to scripture and expect to come to the right conclusion.
    Jamie, if I remember correctly you have affirmed on a number of post that you believe that adultery follows divorce, while I understood Robert’s position (365) to teach that it doesn’t. How are you not at odds with Robert’s position?

    You write “To say that the exception in Matthew is explicit does imply (I think) that the exception is implicit in Mark. Is that a fair statement in your opinion?”

    No, You shouldn’t read into Mark’s gospel something he did not say.

    “If there were no Matthew, but only Mark, do you think that anyone reading it would automatically understand the exception clause to be there?”

    By just reading Mark, I hope not.

    “I would think someone coming from where you are on this issue might see it there somehow anyway, but I am curious if you’ve ever thought about this.”

    By God’s grace I would not read into scripture.

    “Similarly, if the exception is somehow implicit, then I would also have to think there is a proviso for physical abuse, perhaps? Do you see it implicit in Mark If Matthew did not exist?”

    Again, I don’t desire to see anything in scripture that’s not there. I have only seen one exception.

    “Is it possible that, in the spirit of what Paul says there that there are any number of things that can break the marriage covenant”

    We can only see Paul’s words, it would be wrong to add to them. Secondly, a breach of covenant does not terminate one.

    “If the covenant is to love, honor, cherish, protect, support, etc, etc, is the covenant broken by these things not being done?”

    Again, a breach of covenant is not what terminates one.

    “Or only by adultery (Matthew) or desertion (Paul)?”

    I’ve never said adultery or desertion breaks a covenant. First, desertion is your term not mine. Paul is saying that if an unbeliever wants to divorce, than it will result in the believer no longer being bound (covenant termination).
    Adultery alone does not terminate a covenant.

    The following propositions will help explain the proviso view.

    * Marriage is a sacred union instituted by God.
    * Marriage is designed by God to be heterosexual.
    * Marriage and the covenant of marriage although complementary should be understood with distinction.
    * Marriage is the legal procedure that moves the covenants intent to fulfillment.
    * Marriage testifies to society of the legal status of man and wife.
    * Marriage is not formed or constituted by copulation. Sex does not form a marriage.
    * Marriage is to precede sex in order for sex to be moral.
    * Marriage can be desecrated by man.
    * Marriage is intended by God to be lifelong but can be both morally and sinfully terminated.
    * Marriage does not survive divorce.
    * Divorce is a legal transaction that terminates the marriage but cannot of itself free one from covenant obligation.
    * Divorce alone does not invalidate the covenant obligation of fidelity.
    * Divorce is regressive and repeals the morality of active sex.
    * Divorce and remarriage will constitute adultery under most circumstances.
    * Divorce and remarriage invalidates the first covenant while not necessarily being the moral thing to do.
    * Divorce preceded by adultery does invalidate the marriage covenant and frees one for remarriage.
    * Divorce initiated by one not in covenant relationship with God frees the believer for remarriage.
    * Divorce initiated by an unbeliever absolves the obligation of reconciliation for the believer.
    * Adultery is infidelity in regard to covenant requisites.
    * Adultery of a sexual nature is only distinct from fornication in that it is it’s consequence.
    * Adultery does not necessitate nor constitute divorce but is moral grounds for it.
    * Adultery alone does not invalidate the marriage nor the marriage covenant.
    * Adultery alone does not free one from covenant obligation but rather gives just cause for the innocent party to dissolve the covenant (by divorce) if so desired.
    * Adultery is not perpetuated by continuing a second marriage but rather by not experiencing God’s forgiveness.
    * Adultery does not give the violator the right to divorce.
    * Remarriage itself is an adulterous breach of covenant for those who didn’t have biblical grounds for it.
    * Remarriage is a marriage even when adulterous.
    * Remarriage preceded by divorce supersedes the former covenant but can be adulterous.
    * Remarriage after divorce is adulterous only if one was under covenant obligation to reconcile with their ex-spouse.
    * Remarriage after divorce constitutes a second covenant of marriage to which one should be true.

    Jamie, if I don’t do my “honey do” list my wife is saying it’s grounds for divorce. God bless for now.

  458. 458. robert Says:

    Deuteronomy 24:1-4 along with Jeremiah 3:8 is God definition of divorce. If we can’t use this, and consider it applicable, as inspired scripture, for all, then we have NO definition of divorce.

    To say this contradicts Jesus’ teaching is absurd for it was the focal point of the discussion that Jesus had with the Jews.

    The New Testament church does not look to the Old Testament for authority for it practices, worship and work. But the divorce law evidently is universal and God saw no need to repeat it in the New Testament.

    Larry, how about you provide the New Testament definition of divorce. Before you try to take something from Jesus’ teaching let me remind you that he, as an Old Testament prophet, was teaching Old Testament Law. If you say he contradicted Moses then you are doing something his enemies, who diligently sought to destroy him, did not do on the MDR issue.
    rw
    rw

  459. 459. Jamie Says:

    Neal

    I used “post” to mean “post marriage ceremony,” as in “after the vows have been spoken and the covenant has been made.” I included it because I didn’t get the memo that told me that “post” can only mean after both the marriage and the subsequent divorce. (Again, this may be the way you’re making this point, but it sounds the same as an earlier interaction between us, where you said, “please provide a post where you state your position. I did not see one.” When I remarked abou that, you said you weren’t saying anything other than, I guess, you just assumed I must have already did that, or something.) But let’s just say I mis-spoke, and now we understand each other. I can’t imagine this is the last time we will miss each other on something either.

    You write, “I have no problem with introducing hypothetical factors in helping to interpret a passage if they can be proven from scripture to be relevant.”

    Again, I guess we go round and round here. But there is a factor, not merely hypothetical but REAL – that Mark makes no exception, and either you have to come up with some rational explanation for the contradiction THAT FITS ALL OF THE SCRIPTURES UNDER CONSIDERATION or just somehow run the differences through a blender and pretend there aren’t any.

    You write, “It is always better to have a base point of reference from scripture than to depend on something supposed.”

    I agree. A firm base point of reference from scripture here that cannot be laid aside (yet you do) is that Mark says it’s adultery. NO exception or proviso. You choose to deal with this one way; I choose to deal with it another. I think it is more logical to expect the “exception clause” needs to be seen as something other than adultery to accept that they are contradictory, but this is not an issue. You, somehow, don’t see the deficiency in Mark as an issue. But any first century Christian would have been misinformed. This is not a small point which can easily be run through a blender and homogenized into a single contiguous text without dealing with this very real contradiction, unless the Jew would have understood the language in the vernacular to mean the betrothal, or if fornication would have been understood by the Jew, in context, to refer to an illicit marriage (as per Robert’s position).

    You say, “You shouldn’t read into Mark’s gospel something he did not say.”

    I agree. So once again, we are back to the problem. Mark says it would be adultery to remarry even if there is fornication. (Yeah, I know. He doesn’t SAY that…. right?)

    But honestly, you have to explain how Mark is accurately representing the case for divorce in the case of adultery. If I was a first century christian, and my wife had an affair, and I only had Mark’s gospel, I would not have any other understanding from it than the concept that I would also be committing adultery if I were to divorce her and marry another. If I read Matthew, I would see this to be a different case. How do you simply ignore this very real problem?

    You say, “Adultery alone does not terminate a covenant.” Also, “* Marriage is intended by God to be lifelong but can be both morally and sinfully terminated.”

    I assume you are not contradicting yourself here, so do I understand you correctly that when you say “marr