I have posted the following two e-mail letters written by brother Bill Cavender to let people know where brother Bill really stands on the issue of Mental Divorce. (His second letter more fully clarifies his statements in the first letter.)
BILL CAVENDER ON MENTAL DIVORCE
Received your e-mail. Glad to hear from you. I got the bulletin and read my article which was written in April, 1977. It taught the truth on MDR then, and teaches it now. In the article I said twice, "the innocent party may remarry...only the innocent party may remarry." God gave the law, Jesus restated it, God knows if a person is innocent or not, and that person had better know he/she is truly innocent if he/she remarries. That's the truth! I've believed and taught that for 56 years and plan to teach that truth until I die. Jesus was not talking about American civil law, divorce laws of men, judges, lawyers, the USA, etc., but all people for all times in all places. His law regarding marriage, divorce and remarriage is for everyone. We will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ about these and all matters (2 Cor. 5:10; Acts 17:31).
I got your note about the work in the Ukraine. I plan to bring it before the men here on Monday night at the business meeting. I doubt they will help, as the treasury is depleted, due to water problems in our building, repairs, building a carport on the back for older folks in wet weather, and having taken on the regular support of a good man in eastern Kentucky. So I am not hopeful. Will let you know.
Tell Mary hello. Would love to talk to you face to face about MDR. All this "mental divorce" stuff is foolishness (emp. jhb). Few marriage problems are ever solved.
Folks who are in these predicaments rarely ever, if ever, correct them. All you can do is to preach the truth, warn people ahead of time, then let them be accountable to God, which they already are. We have to stop where the Lord stopped, and we can't bind or loose. I think my little article taught the truth, and stopped where the Lord stopped.
Glad you wrote. Bill Cavender
----- Original Message -----
I spoke with the brethren last night about some support for the Ukraine work. As expected, they do not think we can help at present. Our treasury is depleted with necessary work here which was unplanned, plus having taken on the regular support of a good man in eastern Kentucky.
By "innocent party," Jesus was talking about one who is faithful and true to their marriage vows which were made to their companion, to God, to their family and friends, and to himself/herself. We are to keep our vows. We are to be faithful always to our marriage partner. When such an "innocent party" is sinned against by an immoral, adulterous husband/wife, that "innocent party" may "apoluo" (repudiate, dismiss, divorce, put away, reject) that guilty mate and marry someone else. Our Lord did not command the "innocent party" to "apoluo" the guilty ( better it would be, in many cases, if possible, to work out the problems, forgive, and stay together) but did give the "innocent party" that right, that concession, that privilege. Our Master never commanded the "innocent" to live with and tolerate the adulterous conduct of a guilty husband/wife. It makes no difference who beats whom to the courthouse or gets a civil decree. Civil laws have no bearing on God's laws. His laws have been here from the beginnning, Jesus said. Jesus reaffirmed them. All peoples, everywhere, in every country, live under these laws of God. The laws of men are in a constant state of flux and change. They are foolishness in the sight of God. Don't bind where God didn't bind, Vernon. Don't deny a right to the "innocent party" that Jesus, our Master, gave such a one. According to this foolish (emp. jhb) "mental divorce" opinion(s), if I am reading it right, a woman under the law of Moses fared much better and was treated much better than a woman under Christ. The dismissed woman could go and marry another, according to Deut. 24. Some are saying she can't do that under the will of God as reaffirmed by Jesus.
I hope you will come off this opinion, Vernon. Tell people the truth and stop where Jesus stopped. You are not going to be able to solve folks' marital problems. Try to head off their problems by teaching them the truth beforehand. And then when folks do have these problems, we'll have to do what we have always done - set down with them with the New Testament and read to them. If they are "innocent," receive them into fellowship; if the are guilty, then reject them and extend no fellowship. That's what we have done all these years and we will continue doing that. This "mental divorce" foolishness (emp. jhb) is one of the most impractical, unnecssary controversies I have ever known my brethren to concoct and engage in. It settles nothing and only genders strife. I hope you will come off it, Vernon. You will be a better preacher and have more influence for good if you will do so.
[Comment: I hope that the staff writers of TRUTH MAGAZINE who have previously exposed the erroneous doctrine (now articulated by brother Cavender) will realize that their present silence on this topic enables their fellow associates to continue promoting this error (cf. Isa. 56:10; Obed. 11; Ezk. 3:4-11, 17-21; 33:1-12; Jas. 4:17).
The present argument (i.e. that the civilly put away are still husband/wife after the fact of divorcement) being made by mental divorce advocates is clearly answered in my article:
Additionally, although brother Cavender pleads with brother Love to “Tell people the truth and stop where Jesus stopped,” he himself is the one who goes beyond Jesus’ clear teaching that “he who marrieth her who is put away doth commit adultery” (cp. I Cor. 4:6). But to brother Cavender, those who take Jesus at His word are preaching “foolishness.”
I Corinthians 1:18, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God…21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe…23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness…25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men…2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned…”.] - Jeff Belknap
Bill, all I know is what I read in the scriptures.
Jesus said: 9 "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery."(Matt. 19:9)
"11 So He said to them, Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.: 12 And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery." (Mark 10:11)
"18 Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Luke 16:18)
It is clear to me what He said about the one who is put away when not guilty of fornication. I noticed what you said was not in the any scriptures I can read. I have heard you many times, and never heard you offer any thing but what the Book says.
I wish I could read what you said from the scriptures, but so far I cannot. Human reasoning is not equal to Divine.