MDR: 1 Corinthians 7, Part 4 (the Pauline “Exception”)

Now before we go on to Jesus’ teachings, we need to consider other portions of 1 Corinthians 7:

12 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 16 How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

This passage is sometimes referred to as the Pauline Exception. It is argued that this creates a second exception to the prohibition on divorce — the first exception being fornication, as declared by Jesus and the second being an unbelieving spouse.

Interestingly, Paul never mentions fornication nor does he speak of remarried spouses being guilty of adultery. While Paul is obviously aware of Jesus’ teaching on divorce (7:10), he doesn’t remotely speak in those terms. Paul’s teaching is simple. It’s wrong to violate the marriage covenant. And it’s always better to be single to better serve the Lord. But neither marriage nor remarriage is a sin.

Paul is not creating an exception to the command to not divorce. He is simply giving the practical advice that if an unbelieving spouse divorces the believing spouse, the believer is not a sinner and is not bound to pretend to be married to someone with whom he or she is no longer united. On the other hand, Paul plainly says that a believer must honor the marriage covenant so long as the unbeliever permits that marriage to last.

Paul is not authorizing a divorce. He is simply pointing out that a Christian is only bound to his or her unbelieving spouse so long as the unbelieving spouse is willing to remain married. The phrase “God has called us to peace” is of rabbinic origin. It’s what the rabbis said when reaching a pragmatic conclusion not necessarily dictated by the Law of Moses.[1]

Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 7:15 is better translated “you are no longer enslaved” (the Greek is quite clear). It’s a bit shocking for us to hear Paul referring to marriage as slavery, and so many modern translations (such as the NIV) soften the words. However, the Jewish certificate of divorce and certificate of freedom for a slave were virtually identical documents, and much of rabbinic divorce law came from Exodus 21:10-11, which is speaks of marrying a slave girl. Therefore, the metaphor is a clear allusion to a standard Jewish certificate of divorce, which always allowed remarriage. In fact, the very purpose of the certificate was to allow remarriage.

May the Christian spouse remarry in such a case? Of course. As explained above, verses 27-28 say so.[2]

[1] Instone-Brewer, p. 203. For example, an imbecile could not be prosecuted for theft but nonetheless the stolen goods were confiscated and return to their right owner “for the sake of peace” in rabbinic teaching.

[2] In Divorce, Repentance, and the Gospel of Christ (Gospel Enterprises, 1981) (hereafter, “Hicks”), Olan Hicks quotes Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Restoration Movement, who responded to a question about a woman who had been abandoned by her husband and then sought a formal divorce, as follows:

If in that matter she had actually erred, she is not now to be repudiated for that error any more than one who formerly was a slanderer or a persecutor, and has been brought to repentance and reformation, is now to be rejected for crimes committed before his conversion. And if the divorce was obtained after she became a disciple, in order to conform to the statutes of the state, with express reference to her marriage, it seems not to materially alter the case.

Campbell noted that Walter Scott concurred in his judgment. Scott, another Restoration leader, invented such notable slogans as the “five finger exercise” of “hear, believe, repent, confess, and be baptized” and introduced the use of the gospel invitation after each sermon.

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  1. Hello there,

    I do think Paul is consistent with the teaching of Jesus, in that it is sin to initiate the destruction of a marriage (whether by adultery or other sexual sin, or abandonment), but that a person who has not been responsible for their marriage breakup is exonerated from the guilt of such.

    Hence, I concur with Al Maxey's view on the 'exception clause' in Matthew 5 and 19. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7:15 is clearly exonerating a believer from the guilt of a sundered marriage, and there would be no guilt in a following remarriage if reconciliation was unlikely. The highest aim is reconciliation, as Paul states in 1 Corinthians 7:10-11.
    I believe that Jesus only states hyperbolically that a woman who has been divorced from her husband wrongly 'commits adultery' with a new spouse because that new spouse in a sense is condoning the hardheartedness of the original spouse, hindering reconciliation.

    Of course, for a believer who is abandoned, there is very little hope of reconciliation, and Paul cannot command such from the unbeliever, hence he uses the principle Jesus teaches to exonerate the believer.

  2. I am always amazed that Paul never even mentions remarriage and everyone says here that he thinks it is okay and not a sin. There is not a single verse in the NT that mentions remarriage that I recall that it is NOT a sin. Here it is not mentioned at all.

  3. Jay, you have managed to very eloquently tell the world that even when Christ makes a rule or at anytime in the New Testament when a moral rule or precept is established that when one defies it that it is not really wrong or sinful. You have put words that Paul did not say into his mouth by defying his teaching by saying that he is defying the Lords Jesus’ teaching. The reality is that to follow your wild manner of understanding Paul’s teaching basically renders Christ’ teaching vain.

    If it is not morally wrong or sinful to divorce for any other cause than the “..cause of fornication” which refers to the actual physical act of sex, not just the thought of it or the act of mere intimacy, then why did Jesus say that it is. When presented with the question that exact question with which this issue deals Jesus would have simply said, “Yes, a man may simply provide a valid writ of divorcement to his wife when he decides to do so.” And, again if it is not really wrong or sinful to not abide by a moral rule set down in the New Testament of Jesus Christ then all of us can really just do what we want when we want to and we can throw out the Bible all together. Your philosophy and those of your mindset have reduced Jesus Christ to a person that went around and made a bunch of decrees that really don’t carry any weight or authority in heaven and that His heavenly Father would never really hold a person to in practice. The truth is, is that an immense amount of evil and wickedness has transpired in history as a result of the SINFUL practice of divorce without the justification of “..for the cause of fornication” as a product of the consequences for not following God’s will. The consequence is so monumental that it cannot be measured.

    NOTE: The mere act of fornication does not necessarily constitute grounds for for divorce. A marriage doesn’t necessarily have to end even when physical infidelity has been committed, A married couple can always fall back on God’s rule of the guilty party confessing and repenting with godly sorrow coupled by a profound willingness to provide restitution and the innocent forgiving the guilty spouse in accordance with God’s rule on forgiveness!! and the whole matter can be avoided. This of course would make God very happy and would result in a great deal of Spiritual growth for both spouses involved and would emanate and convey a profound example to the other parties involved, like children and other family members and friends.

    The spiritual law of the universe is that one receives blessings when he/she abides by God’s divine rule, and that one receives cursing when they do not. period!!! Sin comes in many forms and circumstance. Some, can be avoided from the standpoint that one can be restitute of that sin. Unscriptural divorce is something that a person has a billion and one chances to never do before it is actually carried out and even when it is, it can be reversed as long as both in the marriage are living. It’s somewhat like stealing $100 from a person and then realizing after how wrong it was. The guilty person can still make restitution for this sin by going to the victim and confessing their sin to them, promising them they will never do it again and then returning the $100 dollars to the rightful owner. This is actually practiced in our court system today, and even if the original monies have been spent. It is not like one can just say to themselves, “God I know it was wrong to steal that money from that person, please forgive me;” and make no effort to resolve the balance of the issue with the person that was originally wronged in the first place. This person must still seek forgiveness for this aught to the victim, repent of the attitude that compelled them to commit the sin in the first place, and then make restitution for the value of the victim’s loss in the matter!

    In 1st Corinthians 7, Paul, first makes it plain that marriage is for life. Paul is in no way teaching an exception to Christ’ rule on marriage. God’s relationship with a Christian is a form of marriage covenant. Christ is married to the Christian once a person is baptized into Him. Christ being the Bridegroom and the new Christian being the Bride. Now, then there is the marriage of a man and a woman which is fashioned after the same basic concept and exists under the very same form of covenant and that covenant is authorized and overseen by the Father in the very same manner. What Paul is teaching is that if a Christian person is in a marriage with a non-Christian person and the non-Christian attempts to hold the Christian over a barrel by leveraging their marriage in order to force that Christian to divorce their Christian marriage with Christ or they are going to leave them, then their marriage to Christ trumps their marriage to the non-Christian and they would would be sinning if they were to forsake their marriage to Christ in order to honor their loyalty to their earthly spouse. Paul is basically saying that one’s loyalty to their marriage with Christ must always trump their marriage with their earthly spouse when these situations arise. Of course this makes sense because the priority to Christ as one’s Bridegroom is one that saves the eternal soul versus the the temporal existence all people experience in mortal life. Now, if the earthly non-believing spouse sins by creating more evil and wickedness in the relationship; that has no bearing on the Christian’s choice to honor their commitment to the Lord first or not, it simply is the right thing to do and sets the correct example to the world around them including any children that may be involved. If the non-Christian leaves the Christian then the Christian is not to seek out divorce nor any other relationships with any other individuals of the opposite sex. If while the Christian is being faithful to God’s rule on marriage the non-Christian repents then they can still confess, repent and be forgiven and the married couple can be reconciled through the established process of forgiveness and reconciliation that God’s rule on such provides. If the non-enters into intimate sexual relations with another while their Christian spouse is waiting patiently for them to come to their moral senses and effort a reconciliation, and then also does so without remorse or the need to repent and such, then the Christian then has their Biblical (scriptural) foundation for divorce and can under this circumstance seek and finalize a divorce (as long as they do not turn around and fornicate too at some time during the separation) in the earthly court system that they can know that God will recognize in heaven. Then the innocent party in a matter like this can seek remarriage while the guilty party in this situation can never remarry if it is to be to another person. If their original spouse is scripturally remarried prior to the repentance of the guilty party and as long as the person that they remarried had no disqualifiers that would have made them ineligible to enter into a scriptural marriage then there remains no more restitution for the original guilty party to reconcile with the original innocent party and they would have to deal with the issue of striving to remain celibate for their remaining days on this earth, period!!

    Now, all that might not fit into your carnal idea of what is fair or realistic but then again that is the whole seemingly never ending and stigmatic problem with the incongruence between the manner in which God sees things that are right and wrong and the way that man sees that things are right or wrong. This is precisely what Jesus is speaking of when He said in Matthew 5:3 at the start of His great sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Regardless of how unrealistic that we choose to see it that is the way it is because that is how God put it together when He set up the institution of marriage. Christ said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” This is a statement of absolution. When two members of the opposite sex come before God to officially commit themselves to each other that have no scriptural reason that would disqualify either one or the other, God will accept their union within the confines of the institution of Holy Matrimony, and once this occurs the only person that has the authority to release the two parties from this Holy union of marriage is God Himself, period, and He did not delegate this authority out to any other under any circumstances, period. God instituted Marriage as the basic foundational social unit by which the whole human race would be made up and He new that it had to be just this permanent in order for it to produce the result for which He created it, which was to become the bedrock that would keep the society of mankind stable and in order. He new for it to be any other way would be a recipe for disaster and that the very fabric of the social structure of our society would completely unravel and that is exactly and precisely what is happening today. Once two people of the opposite sex are scripturally married they then become one as if they were permanently attached at the hips and only God can put that union asunder through taking one of the two in mortal death, or by reluctantly accepting a divorce when one has committed the ultimate form of unfaithfulness in the act physical sexual intimacy with another person for which they are not married, and in which the guilty party in this fornication was unwilling to confess, repent and make restitution for their sexual unfaithfulness. This is the exact same circumstance in which God divorces His children from within the marriage covenant with Christ. God accepts Christ’ divorce of a fallen Christian when one would commit Spiritual fornication by forsaking God for another god of their choice (money, pleasure, material gain, or one or many of the other covetous desires of idolatry), and then effective failing to confess, repent and make whatever restitution is possible in the matter.

    Your doctrine on divorce and remarriage is not Biblical and Paul would never teach something that would undermine what Christ taught under the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit of which was ultimately placed into documentation into what would provide the world with the Holy and Divine word of God that even the world recognizes as the Holy Bible. That is so ludicrous on so many levels it is almost incomprehensible.

    Frankly, in this theology of yours lies the whole problem with all the false doctrine that you have been spewing since your apostacy from the truth. You, need to repent and return to the simplistic truth of God’s word and stop formulating these eloquently derived carnal rationalizations that basically equate to your telling yourself and the world that you can live your life any way that you want to and still go to heaven!! Just because when you try to see the Bible through your finite mind versus the faith that is in Christ Jesus, you are able to get it all to make some kind of sense to you doesn’t make your faith true, it simply makes it faith in yourself, not God, and nobody goes to heaven according to their own faith.

    Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh to the Father but by me.” If Paul were to teach a doctrine that was in opposition to Christ then he could not be one of His apostles, disciples or otherwise. He would not be in the Bible and the story would have included a completely different person to carry out the will of the Father. We cannot say words that render the teaching of Christ vanity and be correct all at the same time. To say that a person can divorce when the reason is not for, “..the cause of fornication” is to make it a WAY different then the way, the truth and the life of Christ, period, and there is no way around that. One can use cleverly worded texts and speeches to the effect that, “Yeah, Christ said that but even though he said that that doesn’t mean that we can do it this way if we choose, too” but that rationalization or self-invoked delusion isn’t going to make it right. This is why the Bible says that there will be, “..wailing and gnashing of teeth.” because it will be after it is too late for people to realize that they were wrong. The heart of the matter deals with the idea that we with our spirit can out think the simple and straight forward word of God. People look at all the difficulty that exists in peoples marriage and they say to themselves God would never expect them to stay in that marriage and endure all that pain and grief and the kids are all in it with them together having to experience all that ugliness all the time in their lives. Well, the whole reason why all that ugliness exists in the marriage in the first place is because people were defying God on other issues of sin. Then, in spite of all that sin that they themselves brought into the marriage can never be reason enough to defy God in respect His rule on the sanctity and permanence of marriage. If people are having problems in their marriage then they need to stop doing what is causing the problems and they will begin to go away, but they can’t just decide to end the marriage, it is not their authority to decide. We have the choice to enter into a marriage, as almost no one is married as a result of betrothal anymore but we cannot decide to end it, except for the one case that Jesus states and then in His statement Jesus does not word it as if it is a carte blanche for every circumstance in which fornication occurs in a marriage, because their is always the process of scriptural forgiveness to be considered prior to anyone seeking a divorce for this cause.

  4. In the Law in Deut. one could divorce based on “uncleanliness”, which Jesus later argues is “sexual immorality” or fornication when he talks about divorce. Only divorce for the cause of fornication allows both to remarry. There is a guilty party in the fornication, but after the divorce for fornication they are not bound to each other and can remarry. If they divrce for any other reason and have sexual relations it is called adultery.
    Now as noted I cor.7 doesn’t talk about marraige and specifically remarriage. It talks aobut man and wife and not divorcing and if one leaves then they are not bound to stay and they are not bound by thier believing husband or wife to keep them. Note in the following verses we read, “How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” so they are still husband and wife, even when one leaves. So this doesn’t break Jesus commentary on divorce as they hadn’t divorced as there is no reason given for divorcing.

  5. vs. 10-11 is very impotant to the context “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.”
    So those who are together…a man and woman are not to depart, but if one of them does depart, then they are to marry again as this would result in adultery as noted by Jesus.
    They must remain unmarried to others or reconcile to each other. No divorce and no remarriage.

  6. Sorry, I didn’t mean that I Cor.7 doesn’t talk about marriage or remarriage at all, but rather the verses under consideration vs.12-16 don’t talk about them, even though they are in the context of those who are married and should still be unmarried. The verses talk about those who are man and wife, where one man or wife leaves, and yet they are still considered man and wife. The man and wife state hasn’t been broken by anyone leaving and thus no divorce or remarriage can result. If someone leaves they are not to divorce thier wife or husband as they have not scriptural reason to.

  7. Dwight, I am glad to hear that you realize that Paul in no way teaches the “Pauline Exception” that was originated and perpetuated by denominational religion and of course this Mr. Guin and this horribly liberal and apostetic web site. But, by implication Paul does teach on marriage and remarriage in I Cor 7, when the reader would take into consideration Christ’ teaching in Matthew 19. This is because Jesus teaching provides a basis for the statements that Paul makes in I Cor 7.

    I would also correct you on the “both the guilty party and the innocent party can remarry” issue. The guilty party cannot remarry in the case in which he/she is divorced for, “..the cause of fornication,” by the innocent party. Again, you must look at what is implied by Christ decree in Matthew 19. When we look at the implications of Christ’ legalistically styled statement what we realize is that if it were that the guilty party could always remarry in these cases, it would be possible for the guilty party to get around God’s rule on marriage and receive a divorce for any reason by simply going out and deliberately having an affair with another person outside the marriage bed and then come home and confess it to the innocent spouse to such an extent that they would feel compelled that they must seek out their divorce for this cause. Then once the divorce was finalized they could go and marry again. This means that the one in the marriage who wanted a divorce was able to deliberately cause the divorce by creating the justification for the divorce for the innocent party and then they could get their divorce and then simply marry again at their leisure. In fact, they could actually find another partner and decide that they wanted to divorce their innocent spouse so that they could marry that same partner and then make it happen without violating God’s rule on MDR. Again, in fact, a person could do this many times in their life and marry and divorce 4, 5 or 6 times or more which would be a grotesquely outward mockery of the institution of marriage and the person could look up at heaven and laugh at God because all the while they were divorcing and remarrying without ever defying God’s rule on divorce and remarriage. This would be an avenue to actively mock God and the full proof nature of all of His decrees. His decree on marriage is very much related to the preserving of the sanctity of the institution of marriage. If we are willing to look frankly at the institution of marriage it is meant to be one woman and one man both scripturally able to enter into Holy Matrimony for all the days of their life. This means that in some cases in which a spouse dies prior to other that the surviving spouse might remarry a second time. Also, if the unfortunate situation arises in which a divorce must be effected due to fornication then their might be a second marriage in that case as well. All these situations not only maintain the sanctity of marriage as displayed by it permanence but when children are involved it also supports the safety and security that is a part of a family that stays together and works through their problems together as a family. God’s rule on divorce provides for a systemic institution in which people do not have to deal with the horror of divorce, which in and of itself is a form of death, and leaves scars that can never heal; and that is especially sad when the children are innocent in these matters. The permanence of marriage as God instituted it helps to prevent yet another situation in which the children have to suffer for the sins of the parents. Granted the ugliness in the marriage that must be endured in order to continue the marriage can be quite severe but it is still less detrimental in the long run. I have to believe this because it is always best in the short, medium, and long run, in any run, to do God’s will because this brings his blessing (Rm 8:28). Another thing to remember is that the great deal of ill will, ugliness, and wickedness that exists in marriages is because the parties in the marriage consider divorce as perfectly viable option in the first place.

    This is why Christ’ decree in Matthew 19 creates a command by implication that the guilty party in a divorce for, “..the cause of fornication,” is never able to remarry. This is a continued result for the consequence of treating the institution of marriage with such disdain. As I stated before, when we study Jesus’ words in Matthew 19:3-9 carefully we notice that Jesus wording is very legalistic in style. This manner of speaking infers that this cause is provided as a remedy for the innocent party, and that any accommodation under the rule for the guilty party is completely void. Within this one should be able to see that God is in no way intending on rewarding the guilty party by granting them another marriage to make shipwreck. Marriage is to be considered solemn and as such must be treated as such. It is so solemn that it is meant that one is likely to be the only one that we will be granted to ever enter into with another person. Let us not forget that it is the lack of respect for the institution of marriage as God prescribed it that has put our society in such a sad state of affairs. The ability for the guilty party to remarry would simply support one to compromise the hallowed nature of marriage and all the while under God’s endorsement, and that cannot be possible!

    I would add another thing here on “adultery.” “Adultery” is any kind of intimacy, even imagined intimacy, with another person outside of one’s marriage. One of these forms of intimacy (non-imagined) is a cause for divorce in the eyes of God, and that is intimacy in the form of the physical act of sex with another person outside the marriage bed. Christ teaches that a man lusting after a women in his mind constitutes adultery. This is clearly that it represents said man compromising the sanctity of the marriage bed through the imagined breaching of His marital intimacy of His wife that is to be reserved only for her and partaking of that form of intimacy with another woman, even if it is just imagined. If a man has conversations with another woman, not his wife, that his wife would take offense, then he has just been improperly intimate with her and that is adultery. But, none of these acts of adultery would constitute “fornication” and therefore are not a legitimate cause for divorce. In addition, if a man were to divorce his wife for any other reason than for “fornication,” which would be a sin, then he must repent of as soon as possible. The moment that he would be intimate in any way with another other then his wife that would be adultery. Although, if her were to stop being intimate with her then he would no longer be guilty of adultery. But, if the man were to marry (in the worldly court system) another then the marriage itself would constitute a continuous state of adultery of which he would have to repent of by reversing it in divorce.

    Of course, there are a thousand ways that we humans have found to complicate that which God put together for us so simplistically. It is necessary that when processing these situations that many get themselves so deeply beset in, that we always hold true the basic tenet of God’s rule on marriage, divorce, and remarriage in such a way that preserves the very spirit of the rule. That being said, if we are aware that a couple is divorced in the earthly court system for a reason other than, “..the cause of fornication,” we know that God does not acknowledge that divorce (“..let no man put asunder.”). No matter how complicated the two make the situation before or after that pseudo-divorce takes place; like multiple marriages, kids from other new marriages, et cetera, for them to get their situation right with God both parties would have to undo all actions and reconcile, which would also mean remarrying in order to reconnect the worldly formality of their original marriage which in fact had actually never been severed in heaven. This could still leave some sad situations for any children that resulted from any adulterous intimacies or adulterous marriages and for that matter also those adulterous spouses that might be left behind, but the example it would set for all people involved including the children that were made with the adulterous mate or pseudo-spouses in respect to a respect for God and His institution of marriage would be paramount. For those that would see it as it was would be able to see it as a glaring example of the sovereign power and superiority of God and His ways over man’s ways and they would be able to lean on that in their own marriages when they took place later on in their lives.

    There are many situations in the Bible in which we learn God’s rule by implication. For instance, when we take communion we only take it with unleavened bread and fruit juice because the scriptures command that that is what we use to take communion. By implication we do not use milk and cookies and God did not have to say do not take communion with mild and cookies in order for us to know that milk and cookies would be unacceptable to God. In the same way when we give our child 10 dollars to go to the store to get milk and eggs that is the only thing that we expect them to get. We think this because we only authorized them to purchase milk and eggs and it is implied that any additional purchase is forbidden.

    Mr. Guin, I have sadly followed much of the stuff that you have been putting out for quite some time and by your own admission you are a “progressive.” My experience is that particular word is used each and every time a person decides to abandon that current existing rule on a matter or thing. It is basically code for a point of view that supports the idea of abandoning the original rules that dictated something in the interest of accommodating our new found modern, post-modern, and/or humanistic views on things. That being said, there is and never will be, and cannot be, any way for man to improve on a precept of God regardless of how long ago God prescribed it and this will remain true no matter how much we believe the times have changed. Progressive thinking is a recipe for Spiritual disaster and certainly much of what I have studied from the things that you have authored are the epitome of a Spiritual shipwreck. I am not interested in looking at the other teachings that you have on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage. I already know that you do not have the slightest idea what you are talking about beyond your own intellect. In addition, something else that I have found that more often than not that higher education is a detriment to the human psyche. This is because once people become enlightened with much carnal knowledge they tend to not possess the ability to temper the difference between their new found enlightenment and the Spiritual base of the scriptures, which throws their perspective awry and their spiritual thinking and life out of balance with God. The Bible even speaks of the Spiritual stigma of the educated and/or prudent mind that relies too heavily on carnal wisdom. I have witnessed this personally on countless occasions and the negative effect that the learning institutions in this country represent for God’s true church have already long sense made themselves manifest and the problem is getting worse everyday. So, no thank you, I do not desire to look further into your teachings on marriage on any point, because I already know that you are “out there” when it comes to true Spiritual understanding. From the sophisticated manner in which you teach your heresies, as such that only someone that is truly humbled before God and His divine word and as a result is rooted and grounded in the simple and straight forward precepts outlined in the scriptures is able to know how completely off your teachings really are from the truth. So I say, thank you, but no thank you. Again, I implore you, by the bowels of mercy to repent and pray to be restored before it is everlasting too late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I want to clarify something else. Let’s realize we can only acknowledge the authority of the federal, state or local governments as long as their actions do not go against God’s rule on something. We acknowledge the role of government in managing order in marriage by their administrative jurisdiction over marriage in the issuing of marriage licenses and the dissolution of marriage, but only as long as the issuance of a marriage is for those that can scripturally marry and also the official dissolution of marriage as long as it is, “..for the cause of fornication.” This is necessary because an official point must exist in which a legitimate scriptural marriage is entered into and/or when it is dissolved. Anytime the earthly courts execute one or the other outside God’s rules on marriage then we know that while it may be officially accepted in this world that much more importantly it is not at all accepted for the purpose in which the worldly court intends it in heaven. It is that if we are to align ourselves with heaven on these matters that we must realize that these marriages and divorces represent pseudo versions of their legitimate counterparts. That being said it would be necessary to repent from a pseudo-marriage or a pseudo-divorce in order to remove oneself from a sinful state and to make legally possible the reconciliation of the two originally married parties in the case that they would desire to correct and make restitution for all their sinful woes in that case in which a slew of official sinful business had transpired pertaining to the state of their original scriptural marriage in the first place.

  9. Jack,
    To prove your interpretation about marriage and divorce just give us a reference in scripture where an Apostle or any of God’s teachers gave the same instructions that you are giving to anyone. Divorce was much more prevalent in that time period than it is today. How do I know? When Jesus was explaining that a man and woman should stay together for life, even the Apostles thought that would be impossible. Check it out.
    Mat 19:9-12 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. (10) His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. (11) But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. (12) For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
    Verse 10 explains the thoughts of the disciples. Jesus then identified that some men do not have the ability to remain single (no sex, marriage is the prescription form the Lord to combat that inability).
    Yet men defy Jesus in demanding that a man cannot marry because he goofed up, or his wife left him because she refused to participate in the act. Show us directives that portray that any Apostle, Teacher or Elder in the churches in the written Word gave your message to anyone.

    Be silent where the Bible is silent.

  10. Jack, you are very keen on showing the error of thier ways. But in the Old Law in Deut.24, which Jesus refers back to, both parties were allowed to remarry after a divorce for fornication and Jesus doesn’t try to redo this fact. “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,”
    Because the divorce was for “uncleanness” or fornication, the wife could remarry without penalty as well as the husband. Jesus states that one who is divorced for any other cause than forrnication commits adultery when re-married, not one who is divorced for adultery commits adultery again when re-married. Jesus sticks with the Law in this. He is fighting back against divorce for any reason, not divorce for adultery in Matt.5 and 19. But God hates divorce in any form and would rather have reconcilliation.

  11. Jack, I would suggest you look at content rather than a label. I could call myself a conservative, and I used to be, but now I am just a Christian, but I know people who label themselves as conservative that are just as far out as Jay sometimes appears to be and those of the conservaitve branch are considered liberal by those that are what we might call ultra-conservative. Just because Jay identifies as a progressive doesn’t immediatly make him wrong. only wrong doctrine makes him wrong and I know many in the conservative coC that are wrong as well. I don’t agree with Jay on many things, but I also don’t agree with some of my own brethern in all things as well as some of these beliefs aren’t game changers. A soapbox makes you look down on others where you yourself are in God’s eyes.

  12. Jack, one more thing. You talk a lot as authority. The authority is scripture. You said, “I would also correct you on the “both the guilty party and the innocent party can remarry” issue. The guilty party cannot remarry in the case in which he/she is divorced for, “..the cause of fornication,” by the innocent party” but used no scripture only saying it is implicated, which it is not at all. I provided exact scripture that shows otherwise.
    One of the issues I have with the conservative branch is that they condemn quickly based on lack of complete information filling in the blanks and silence with implications and many times ignoring blatant in your face scriptures. One of the issues I have with those in the liberal/progressive side is their dependance on the writings of others and using them as commentary when they should have used scripture. The results from both sides are eerily often the same.
    We should be able to use scripture, then comment on it without filling page after page of our own voice and remarking how wrong others are in the process, when we might be ourselves.

  13. I really do not have the time to address each and every contradiction in these posts. But, I will attempt a short stab at Mr. Dwight’s response. Dwight, I take it from your commentary so far that there is some accuracy and honesty in what you say. I would agree that I also do not agree with everyone on what those would call the “conservative” side of the issues. In reality, I am not a fan of the idea of labels, although I can see identifying a particular view as “liberal” if is tends to loose that which the Bible binds. I suppose that the same would apply in the case in which a view tends to bind where the Bible does not bind. I would say for the record that Jay is the one who labeled himself as “Progressive” not I. Within that as I stated in my experience those that use that word “Progressive” within the context of religion or in this case the “church of Christ” do so to directly indicate that they adhere to a view set that tends to “loose” where the Bible binds. Whether they do so by saying that they really are not but by a more enlightened manner of viewing the scriptures does not deceive me. This is a practice that occurs across Christiandom and society as a whole. This “Progressive” label falls for instance in society today when dealing with homosexuality and its open acceptance as a righteous lifestyle.

    About the authority issue that you brought up, I would simply say that when a Police officer speaks or acts based on the authority in which his job and the spirit of why he exists that he/she will act with a sense of authority. As long as the individual does not act on their own authority and only on the authority that they are founded then they are within their bounds. This is largely what Paul is referring when he speaks of being “bold” in the Lord. There are many circumstances in our laws in which implication carries the same weight as a direct statement to the effect. If I have 4 cards and I say that all of them are Aces. I lay down the spade, the club, and the heart, by implication the last one that I have in my hand is the Ace of diamonds, and there is no need for me to state that in my hand I have the Ace of diamonds for it to be so. I feel like I provided a very good illustration in my text to clearly address the validity of that point. God does teach us a great deal in Scripture by implication and if one were to avoid accepting any truth in the Bible by a lack of direct statement with the presence of clear implication then that would represent a grave mistake.

    I do not see how it is that you showed scripture in which Christ or Paul state that it is right for both parties to marry after a scriptural divorce. Also, if you refuse to see the validity in what I attempted to explain about how that that creates a situation in which God could be mocked in accordance with His own rules then I do not know what else to say. In gaining a genuine sense of Spirituality when it comes to discernment one begins to develop the ability to genuinely view things through the eyes of God. Once one begins to understand His true nature. In this, one must not lean too much toward the gracious and merciful side of His nature, but must also see the severity of how God is as well. In Matthew 19 when Jesus addresses the “loaded and provocative question about divorce” from the Pharisees, Christ immediately says words that indicate that the whole “writ of divorcement” process that they had been basing their practices on was really not in order according to God in the first place that from the very beginning it was not supposed to be that way. It is such that Jesus’ statement truly indicts Moses as a lawgiver that he in fact acted out of line attempting to cater to the people rather than to the nature of God when it comes to marriage. Jesus does not take any opportunity to cover the matter with Moses further, but we can see that as it is Moses being a mere man versus being both God and man incarnate, and not being like the apostles in not being guided in the same way that the apostles were in which they were closely supervised by the Holy Spirit Himself, that as a lawgiver Moses made more mistakes then just that during his tenure as a man of God. But, more importantly, Jesus in verse 9 uses the words, “And I say.” So, as the divine Son of God, Jesus puts God’s true intent for the rule on Marriage, divorce, and remarriage to rest in one fell swoop, based on His divine status. He knows how stringent the rule is in legalistic terms and He deals with it as such in the text. If one fails to look at just His direct words and not also at the direct meaning implied by those words then they get an incomplete understanding of God’s position on divorce and remarriage. This is because it would leave the issue of remarriage up in the air. In addition, the spirit of Holy Matrimony is such that it conveys such a degree of sanctity and permanence that one that is Spiritual should understand that God does not just go handing out marriage licenses like they are candy, which is what wide open remarriage constitutes in practice in the hands of a carnal world. In Hebrews 10:29 the scriptures speak of treating the precious blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Head of the church and the Bridegroom of the wife as an unholy thing. Well if we look at marriage between a man and a woman in the same light as we do the marriage of a Christian to Christ then we should see the Holy nature of both in the very same light. That being said to treat it as an unholy thing is much like treating the precious blood of Jesus Christ in the same manner. Spiritual people see this without all the need for an explanation. Marriage is just that precious and special. From the guilty’s standpoint it is a one shot deal. A person that is guilty does not have to remain guilty, as with of all sin, a remedy is in place, and just as God expects each and everyone of us to use that remedy in our ultimate redemption, He expects the guilty party in a marriage to utilize that remedy with the innocent spouse. Another way to look at is the one who attempted to come before God as a disciple with his offering and God rejected it and instructed him that if he wished to be right with Him that he must first go and get the aught with his brother right first, and then and only then would God accept him and his offering. If we apply this to the reconciliation that must take place in the case of “fornication” if a person fails to make amends with the innocent spouse and divorce is the result why would God accept an appeal from the guilty party for another chance to make a mockery of another marriage. I haven’t been married long, I am only in my 29th year, but one thing that one learns when viewing marriage through the lens of God is that regardless of how difficult that a situation seems and how much negativity that exists between the two spouses, that deep down the strong bond of the marriage is still always in tact and when the two manage and suffer through the event and reconcile it only continues to strengthen that bond. While I would never claim to have the most difficulty of all marriages, I could tell you some of the small things that would raise the hairs on the back of your neck. I am certain that you have heard this but I will share it anyway. There is an old adage that says, “Sin will take you where you don’t want to go, cost you more then you want to pay when you get there, and keep you longer than you want to stay. Just because the idea of a person having to deal with striving at making themselves a eunuch seems scary and adversely difficult does not make it wrong. A person may not even be 100% successful for the entire duration of the rest of their life, just as the alcoholic might slip up from time to time, but when we slip up like that we have an advocate with the Father and as long as we deal with it light the apostle John instructs us we can have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all unrighteousness. This would be a fix that a person puts themselves in, it is not one that God puts them in. A mistake is a mistake but as it is with murder some of our mistakes have consequences that we force ourselves to live with whether we like it or not, and no longer having the right to marry after trampling under foot the marriage that we vowed to God to keep holy is one of them.

  14. Jack, three paragraphs and still no scripture. So I will simply use scripture and comment on it.
    Deut.24 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, puts it in her hand, and sends her out of his house, when she has departed from his house, and goes and becomes another man’s wife,”
    Jesus refers back to this understanding in Matt.5 and 19. In the Law the wife is divorced and is allowed to remarry, but the divorce is for “uncleanness” or as Jesus put it “fornication”. The husband and wife both can remarry. Jesus argues that a divorce for anything other than fornication causes one or both to comitt adultery if they remarry, but never contradicts Deut.24
    There has to be a guilty party for the divorce to happen, but the guilt is not carried forward and there is an allowance for re-marriage. Deut. never argues that the one divorced from for fornication comitts adultery in remarrying and if so, then she should have been stoned.

  15. Jack, Now I agree that the guilty party should try to reconcile themselves back to the innocent party, but the fact is that the innocent party has to accept them back. Unfortunately we have taught so much on divorce as a response, that we have taught very little on forgiveness as the primary response of the saint in all things, even in fornication.
    Now Paul called himself a ‘Pharisee’ before the council, but this doesn’t mean that he followed all of the Pharisee mindset. Many call themselves Christian but they don’t act Christian like. We can call ourselves something because we identify with the group or thinking, but “progressive” isn’t a bad thing if it is a progression from enforcing the tradition’s of man, which many that call themselves “conservative” seem to do. I put the person before the label and try not to take sides. I have seen conservative thinking go so far that it becomes liberal and vice-versa.

  16. Dwight,
    I noticed this statement.
    “There has to be a guilty party for the divorce to happen, but the guilt is not carried forward and there is an allowance for re-marriage.”
    Can you or anyone else prove by scriptures that all the divorces that took place while Christ was on the earth were only granted because there had been a guilty party? Just for an example the Woman at the well, were all her previous husbands 1-5 guilty and therefore she was justified in remarriage? Jesus did not address that issue. Just as you had noted that any divorced from actions authorized by Moses (God’s lawgiver) were allowed to remarry. I noticed Jack implied that Moses overstepped his authority in allowing the writing of divorcement, and it was not God’s directive. But, God called Moses out for a sin, which was not this. The normal conclusion then from implication would be that God did not count this message as Moses’s departure from his instructions.

  17. My point was that if a person divorced for fornication there was guilt, but it a person divorced for any other reason there was also guilt on the one who did the divorcing. A sin happened somewhere, either in fornication or in divorcing for any reason. There was no sin in staying together. Also after action of divorce was taken for fornication, the sin wasn’t carried forward, because the woman and man could remarry without comitting adultery.
    In regards to the woman at the well. I don’t know what each of the others detailed, but we do know that the man she was with was not her husband. Jesus tells her case history, which only a prophet could have done, and then states her present predicament of sin.
    The law on divorce was law, so it is hard to say that it was an overstepping. If so, then what other laws that Moses wrote were overstepping as well? All we know is that the people understood the law to be from God. And Jesus in Matt.5 or 19 did not contradict the law as given by Moses in any way and if fact refers back to it instead of the alternate reason of “anything” which was argued for.

  18. Larry, my view on marriage is different than most because I did a self-study where I started at betrothal instead of marriage. From what I could tell betrothal was the point where one became man and wife, then they married/union. We often talk about the marriage bond, but the bond happened before marriage as the laws for adultery and divorce, etc. were placed at betrothal, even before a couple came together/were married. i.e. Joseph could have divorced Mary for fornication, even though the were betrothed and they were called man and wife, but they had not “come together”. Once you move within the Jewish perspective, then many of the problems that we have about marriage/ divorce resolve themselves. I will send you the study if you wish. Let me know if you want it. I used to believe that divorce was divorce, but now I believe divorce is like baptism. You can be baptized, but unless you are baptized into Jesus, then you aren’t recognized by God, if true, then we can divorce, but unless we divorce for fornication, then God doesn’t recognize it. Herodius divorced Philip to marry Herod, but was still called Philip’s wife by John.

  19. Dwight,
    I find no scriptures which would deny that a divorce (or in scriptural terms a writing of divorcement) did not brake the bond between a husband and a wife. I do not believe that John was attempting to convey the message that the divorce was invalid and that Herodias was still married to Philip.
    Mat 14:3-4 KJV For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. (4) For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.
    John was referencing this law.
    Lev 20:21 KJV And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.
    This law was in effect whether the brother was alive, dead or divorced. In this case the law was not addressing the lack of a divorce being effective. As you should note, if the divorce had not broken the marriage, then Herodias was married to two brothers at the same time. Herodias was divorced and could have married any other man, by the law of divorce. John did not address that Herodias was the problem, he was placing the responsibility upon Herod. Notice the last part of the verse (they shall be childless), what would that have to do with a divorce or them not continuing to live together as husband and wife?

    What has happened over the years men have pulled messages out of context to convey what they wanted the message to say. In this case they failed to read the correct message.

  20. Larry, I will send my study to you if you want. The scriptures indicate that at betrothal there was man and wife, then they were married. See case of Mary and Joseph.
    The scriptures say “his brother Philip’s wife” so I believe it and John understood the law and the situation. If the divorce did break the bond, then Herodias was at liberty to marry Herod, which John speaks against. If the divorce does break the bond, then Lev.20:21 doesn’t apply since she was no longer Phillips wife, if the divorcement was real. Philip was Herod’s half-brother.
    Let me put this way. I used to believe that a divorce was a divorce and thus was valid in the eye of God. But I have changed my mind. We would not argue that a marriage of two men equal a marriage in God’s eyes, but we somehow validate a divorce against God’s will. And somehow we overlook other actions we take as not valid. Are all baptisms equal in God’s eyes? Acts shows us that one can be baptized (John’s baptism), but it does not save you, unless you are baptized into Jesus. Is all worship valid? God said, “In vain do they worship me.” No one would deny that worship is worship, but that doesn’t mean that God accepts all worship and validates it all. If God doesn’t accept it and validate it, then why should we?
    This I believe is the point of Jesus. Divorce for adultery is valid because it allows for remarriage. But divorce for any cause is not and causes sin. Only unlawful things not accepted by God cause sin.

  21. Dwight,
    I doubt seriously that you have studied this issue to a greater extent than I have. But, just in case that you may have explained a specific point in what I call the traditional view on MDR that could sway my present beliefs, I believe that you have my e-mail send it and I will reply on points that we may differ. I will await for it before attempting to explain what I see in error in the above statements.

  22. Larry, I will send it you and you can critique to your hearts content. I have asked other to do this and what I find is that they do not believe it, but cannot find a scriptural reason to place against it. I am not saying it is perfect, but it is good and extensive. I was told by two preachers who didn’t agree with my study to stop relying on scripture and just accept what “all” of scholars think. Well I later found out that these were Western scholars and Jewish scholars and many others think differently.
    Again, if divorce is real for any reason, then Herodias divorce would have been real, and Lev.20:21 would not have been an issue as they would not have been “his brother’s wife”, but John says differently. And they were not blood, they were half-brothers, which did not count as Abraham was allowed to marry his sister, as long as she was his half-sister. These are thing we often overlook because they run counter to how we “know” it to be.
    And if divorce is real, no matter the reason, then baptism and worship should be real no matter what. But God doesn’t validate something just because it is done, but because it is done for the right reasons. Murder and killing both resulted in the death of a person, but they were held differently by God and the consequences were thus different.

  23. Dwight,
    I said I would wait while studying your document, but regardless what is said in the document I had to address this posting.

    Let us put this to the ultimate test. You are explaining that Philip’s wife’s divorce is not valid because John used the statement Philip’s wife. If the divorce is not valid then Philip and Herodias are still married. Then when Herodias married Herod she would have been married to two husbands. Then John tells Herod that he is the one at fault? There is communications in the OT where one man had multiple wives, but I don’t believe there is any communication about one wife being married to more than one husband. If you can locate that let me know.
    Suppose that it is true that the divorce is not valid, who do you suppose would have performed the wedding ceremony? If the divorce was not valid, then the marriage to Herod was not valid either. If the divorce was not valid, then Herod committed adultery with his brother’s wife!! There is also a law pertaining to that sin.
    Lev 20:10 KJV And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
    Why did John not use this judgment upon Herod and Herodias? The only answer that fits is that the divorce was valid and Herodias could marry anyone without being an adulterer and the one marrying her was not considered as an adulterer.

    Which brings us back to exactly what was John referring to in the fact that it was not lawful for Herod to have her? In order to see the purpose we must consult more than one scripture. I had only quoted one for you because it portrayed the full context of the fault (or sin). But unless an individual validates the core problem addressed in this verse it can be easily misunderstood.
    In these verses the issue is defined.
    Lev 20:17-22 KJV And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it is a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity. (18) And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people. (19) And thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy mother’s sister, nor of thy father’s sister: for he uncovereth his near kin: they shall bear their iniquity. (20) And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless. (21) And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless. (22) Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out.

    There is something about any individual seeing the (nakedness of a relative, someone who is near kin) that God considers sin and unclean. He continues his communications in the next verse to explain what he thinks about this uncleanness or sin.
    Lev 20:23 KJV And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.

    So possibly you may still say that this sin or uncleanness has nothing to do with a divorce and a remarriage . To that I will direct you again to these verses.
    (20) And if a man shall lie with his uncle’s wife, he hath uncovered his uncle’s nakedness: they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless. (21) And if a man shall take his brother’s wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.
    In both of these cases God orders that they will die childless or be childless. Now we have to consider does he mean that their onetime event will not produce a pregnancy or a child or regardless how many times they tried they will not produce a child. Unless this was a onetime event then these individuals continuing to be exposed to the method of producing children would be performing continual adultery. Which would mean they were subject to the law of verse Lev 20:10, unless they were married after a divorce which broke the marriage from the Uncle or Brother.

    Brother there is absolutely no reason to attempt to bring other objects like baptism, worship or murder into this discussion to validate a position in scripture. This portion of scripture is fully self defining. Abraham marrying his half-sister has no bearing on this subject either.

  24. Larry, it all has bearing. If one can be baptized and it not count in God’s eyes, then one can be divorced and though it is an actual happening, doesn’t make it viable in God’s eyes. An action in man’s eyes doesn’t necessarily equal a happening in God’s eyes. Worship in man’s eyes is not necessarily worship in God’s eyes if it isn’t done for the right reasons. The reasons for baptism and worship change the validation by God and changes the consequences as well. This is why two types of divorce in Matt.5 don’t equal the same thing when one marries another.
    Also Philip was Herod’s half-brother, so if Abraham can marry his half-sister without offending Lev.20:17, then Herodias should have been able to marry Herod who was Phillip’s half brother without conflict of 20:21. They were all under the same law unless we don’t understand the law right. But let’s say that this was an issue, it wasn’t the only issue and it only compounds the problem of sin.
    I would contend that Herodias was still Philip’s wife as John says and that while Herodias lived as Herod’s wife, she was just married to him, but not really his wife by law, as you pointed out that one wife never had two husbands. John doesn’t call Herodias Herod’s wife, but Philips’ wife. So you are correct. The fact that she was married to Herod didn’t make her his wife by law, although maybe by society rules. I would contend that since she was still Philip’s wife, she was in adultery with Herod and her divorce was not valid since she didn’t divorce for the cause of fornication, which caused her to commit this adultery.
    This matches the statement of Jesus in Matt.5. about divorce for any other cause than fornication causes marrying another to commit adultery. Herodias divorced not for fornication and married another. She was definitely in adultery. And was probably in incest too.
    Note: In Matt.5 where Jesus says, “marries another commits adultery” are we then under the impression that since she divorced for any reason and married another that they are not under adultery. Adultery, is a relationship outside of the man and wife state, but if divorce severs the man and wife state, then adultery is no longer an issue. If the divorce worked, then they should not be in adultery when marrying another and Matt.5 or 19 is not valid. If the divorce is divorce and is valid, then it would not be adultery and yet we have two types of divorce in Matt.5 and 19 and one of them has one of them committing adultery if they remarry. Herodias married another after divorcing for “any cause”.
    We should be able to accept John’s statement as fact without us trying to work around it and we should not invalidate Matt.5/19 in the process.
    I sent you the study. You can read it.