By Jeff Belknap

I want to thank brother Smith for allowing this MDR issue to be publicly discussed in Gospel Truths. Having been allowed roughly 500 words with which to reply, I must quickly get to the reason for writing my original article and to where brother Osborne and I disagree. (For documentation of any of the claims made / materials mentioned, you may e-mail me at

The “application” I was referring to in my March article teaches that if a man (civilly) puts away his unwilling, innocent spouse and fornicates with another (whether before or after he wrongfully divorces his wife), his divinely-bound “mate” has scriptural grounds to put him away. While Harry has denied belief in that doctrine, does he also deny that we can fellowship it? If so, he should have no disagreement with my initial article, for that was its point of focus.

My disagreement with Harry stems from his denial that all civil putting away is indeed (or really) putting away. He makes this case in this issue of Gospel Truths, as well as the one in Gospel Anchor (posted 5-25-01) and in a sermon Harry preached on Tuesday (5-29-01) in Lakeland, FL (at a meeting to discuss “putting away”).

Such teaching is not in agreement with Matthew 19:6, which commands man not to put asunder what God joined together, necessarily inferring that man has the ability to do so. Matthew 5:32, 19:9, and Luke 16:18 also prove that man is capable of doing what revelation itself calls, “put away,” even in violation of the Lord’s prohibition.

While it is obvious that Jesus did not specify the procedure for divorce (for all nations), He did specify that we honor the authority He delegated to the rulers over each society! To resist the authorities is to resist God ( Rom. 13:2). Their failure to act in accordance with His will does not authorize us to disregard their dictates (I Pet. chapters 2-3). While it is clear we cannot sin in order to follow the powers that be, nonetheless, we are commanded to allow ourselves to be wronged at their hands (I Pet. 2:16 -20)!

This new-fangled “application” which some are advocating, only circumvents what we have commonly known and accepted as divorce for years. It will allow for various oppositions to the Biblical principle (Mt. 5:32 ; 19:9) that says, “and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (barring scriptural exceptions; Rom. 7:2-3; I Cor. 7:10 -11). This error (which makes “the word of God of none effect”) is destructive and leads to disastrous consequences. It justifies adultery and will cause precious souls to be eternally lost. Brethren, do not be deceived! Please educate yourselves on this vital issue by serious study of the following materials:

Divorce & Remarriage; What Does The Text Say?, by Donnie Rader,

  • Chapter 8 Mental Divorce (May Some Put Away People Remarry);

  • Also consider pages 145-149 in the APPENDIX

Is It Lawful? A Comprehensive Study of Divorce By Dennis G. Allan and Gary Fisher,

  • Chapter 13 What Constitutes Divorce? (by Bob Waldron);

  • Chapter 38 Can You Put Away the Put-Away? (by Gary Fisher);

  • Chapter 39 The rights of an Innocent Put-Away Person (by Kevin S. Kay).

Mental Marriages and Mental Divorces (by Gene Frost).


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Last Updated:  Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:41 PM