Mt. 5:32, “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.”

Mt. 19:9, “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.”

Lk. 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.”



The following is a modification of a portion of Tim's article, with my own words in red:

Notice carefully that all I did to the verse was what some brethren affirm is right to do.  I simply substituted the word innocent put away person for the word “whoever.”  This substitution of terms quickly reveals the folly and fallacy of my opponents’ position.  A quick glance at the verse containing the substitution of words makes it very obvious that Jesus never intended for us to read “innocent put away person into the verse at that place.  Man’s substitution has Jesus allowing the very thing that He was condemning! This new position on divorce allows a put away person to put away as long as his spouse becomes sexually immoral!  In other words, some are taking a position on Matthew 19:9, that in cases of post-civil-divorce putting away; the put away person actually has the God-given right to remarry! Whether brethren understand the consequences of their argument or not, the fact remains: it is still the consequence of their position! They have turned Matthew 19:9 on its head! They have Jesus granting remarriage rights to put away people, while denying that they are really put away!  It is unbelievable that any among God’s people would, for one minute, entertain such a notion.  However, it is being done, and some of these brethren are touting themselves as the champions of truth against an insignificant number of what they consider “digressive” opponents.

In their zeal to defend their new divorce position that emphasizes purpose over reality; motive over method, brethren like Tim Haile, Harry Osborne, Ron Halbrook, et al, have formulated a doctrine that allows put away people to later put away and remarry, while denying civil laws and the fact that they are really put away! Their doctrine directly contradicts our Lord’s teaching. It is my hope and prayer that truth-loving brethren will seriously consider the consequences of this new heresy and rise up as one man against it.

Proverbs 26:27,  “…and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.”


Dear brethren,

My answer to Tim Haile’s article will not respond to every false charge, misrepresentation and diversion individually.  There is not enough time to devote to such an endeavor.

For those who have read my own writings, it is clear that the reason I include quotes from brother Gene Frost (and a host of others) is to disprove brother Haile’s (and some other brethren’s) false claim that in this controversy, I am the one teaching something “new.”  Brother Frost’s writings on this issue have been widely respected for many years by sound brethren for their scriptural accuracy. 

It is brother Haile and his associates that have no “old” human writings to refer to, to show that their doctrine has been supported by scripture and/or accepted by sound brethren. [When this fallacious doctrine was previously advocated in Searching the Scriptures (in the mid 1980’s), it was promptly silenced.] 

Although Jesus used the word “whosever” in clause A and “whoso” in clause B of Matthew 19:9, there are some other conditions and circumstances (all clearly specified and outlined elsewhere in scripture) which qualify those words.  We must harmonize scripture with scripture. 

When Jesus was tempted of the devil, the evil one quoted Psalm 91:11-12 in Matthew 4:6.  Though Satan quoted the verse accurately, he tried to pigeon hole Christ into disobedience to God’s will by the misapplication of those verses.  Jesus showed the fallacy of the devil’s erroneous application by harmonizing Psalm 91:11-12 with Deuteronomy 6:16 (cp. w. Psa. 119:160a, NASV; NKJV).

Another illustration is found in Luke 6:30.  Jesus commanded in His sermon, “Give to EVERY MAN that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.” Is this to be understood across the board?  Though the scripture says we should “give to every man, that asketh…,” such a command cannot include those who refuse to work and those who seek assistance in their dissemination of false doctrine, for such would contradict the truths taught in II Thess. 3:10 and II Jn. 9-11. 

[If you ask me, I will send you numerous helpful charts regarding a Biblical figure of speech called “synecdoche.”  In such instances where synecdoche is used in the Bible, universal language does not always denote ALL particulars (when other verses would contradict).]

Now, regarding divorce and remarriage:

“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.”  Matthew 19:9 

First, although the word “whoso” is found in clause B of the above, we know that I Corinthians 7:11 allows an unlawfully divorced couple to reconcile and remarry (one another).  Thus, we can be certain that the “whoso” referred to in Matthew 19:9 does not include the estranged (bound) partner.  Additionally, Romans 7:2-3 specifies that future remarriage after an estranged (bound) partner dies is lawful.  Such verses specifically qualify God’s teaching about divorce and remarriage in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. 

Similarly, we must conclude that in clause A of above, the “whosoever” cannot be all-encompassing.  As Tim knows and has previously acknowledged, I vehemently DENY that Jesus was including the possibility of a guilty fornicator to lawfully put away a fornicator and then lawfully remarry.  To contend that such a consequence is necessary to the argument against post-civil-divorce putting away manifests a deficit in Biblical knowledge (especially in someone who is a professed preacher of the gospel).

In no uncertain terms, the scriptures condemn the principle of “the pot calling the kettle black.”  In the parable of the unmerciful servant (Mt. 18:23-34), the Lord was outraged at the hypocrisy and wickedness of the man who sought “justice” when he was “guilty” of the same thing. 

In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus prohibited ALL hypocritical judgment! “JUDGE NOT, THAT YE BE NOT JUDGED. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?...Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”  (The unmerciful servant in Matthew 18 had his hypocrisy “measured” back to him, just as this scripture teaches.)

In Jn. 8, a woman who had been caught “in the very act” (v. 4) of adultery was brought to Jesus.  However, Jesus knew that adultery takes two (and the woman’s partner was conspicuously absent).  Those who brought her to Jesus wanted to stone her according to “the law” (v. 5; cf. Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22), but Jesus stated, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (v. 7).  It was apparent that these men were guilty of hypocritical judgment, for if their desire was really to carry out the law against adulterers, they would have brought two to stone, not just one (Lev. 20:10; Deut. 22:22). 

In Rom. 2:22-23 Paul wrote: “Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?

Obviously, if all that is considered are the words in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, a fornicating spouse who puts away a fornicating mate may meet the technical scriptural putting away requirements in those verses, but his own guilt for the same sin would make his action in divorcing her hypocritical and thus, unscriptural (according to the truth taught in Mt. 7; Mt. 18; Jn. 8; Rom. 2; et al.).  Such a hypocritically sinful divorce action lacks God’s approval (as proven in the passages above), and therefore, remarriage to another could not be employed without further compounding the first sin of unapproved divorce. 

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