QUOTES FROM MENTAL DIVORCE ADVOCATES
(Beginning with the most recent quotes)
“DW’s theory is that no innocent, moral, vow-keeping, put away, faithful divorced husband/wife is authorized to remarry, when divorced by a fornicating, immoral, ungodly spouse. IF that adulterous, unfaithful, cheating spouse is the first to decide to repudiate his/her innocent, faithful spouse and is the first to get to the lawyer, file for divorce, and get the decision of legal divorce from the judge in a civil court, then the innocent party has no recourse and no rights, except to live single, celibate, the remainder of his/her life. DW quotes and misapplies part of Matt. 5:32, 19:9, and Luke 16:18, to get to the heart and substance of his theory. He writes:
‘and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery…and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery…and whoever marries her who is divorced from her husband commits adultery.’ Then he plainly states his theory again: ‘Who is this woman? Jesus answers that question when He describes this woman as ‘a woman who is divorced…’ or ‘her who is divorced from her husband…’ Contextually, the woman that commits adultery if she remarries is the woman that was unlawfully put away by her husband. It is the innocent wife put away not for fornication.’
DW’s theory could not be stated clearer! Here is an innocent, moral, covenant-keeping, godly and faithful wife whose husband turns out to be a sorry, cheating, fornicating, immoral, ungodly man. He repudiates and divorces his ‘lawful’ wife (DW says above ‘that was unlawfully put away by her husband’), marries his paramour, and then his true, lawful and godly ex-wife is doomed to a life of loneliness, celibacy, and rejection because her immoral, fornicating husband decided to divorce her and beat her to the lawyer, judge, and court to get a civil divorce. DW says she will be an adulteress if she remarries, no matter how pure and godly she really is or has been.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
Take away all of brother Cavender’s extremely emotional adjectives (additives) in the paragraph immediately above, and you will have the words of Jesus which state “and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; cf. 19:9b; Luke 16:18b; Romans 7:2-3). After unapproved divorcement, reconciliation with one’s bound mate is the only remarriage that is authorized, as long as both bound parties live (I Corinthians 7:10-11; cf. Romans 7:2-3).
I ask you, what if that “ungodly spouse” who is “the first to decide to repudiate his/her innocent, faithful spouse and is the first to get to the lawyer, file for divorce, and get the decision of legal divorce from the judge in a civil court,” never fornicates?
Does his/her equally “innocent, moral covenant-keeping, godly and faithful” bound partner have to remain celibate or reconcile as long as that “ungodly spouse” lives (cf. Matthew 19:12; I Corinthians 7:11)? Absolutely; no one in the course of this controversy has argued otherwise! So all the emotional circumstances in the world do not alter Jesus’ statement that “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (cf. Romans 7:2-3).
“All my life I have urged and cautioned divorced, put away, people NOT to remarry, although Jesus gave innocent, divorced people a right of remarriage, when his/her spouse has been guilty of adultery. I have NEVER conducted a marriage, wedding ceremony for a divorced person. I have ever believed that even ‘innocent’ people, who have kept their vows and have been faithful, moral and pure in their marriage, might not be aware of their shortcomings, attitudes, habits, words, traits, mistakes, etc., which might have contributed to the unhappiness and unfaithfulness of the sinful husband/wife.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
“I cannot find in my Bible where Jesus or the apostle bound the length of time an innocent person has to wait after a divorce for fornication before he/she can remarry, no more than how long a person has to wait to remarry after the death of a spouse. I am not willing to make tests of fellowship in such matters.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
“But, and IF, a husband or wife, in separation and departure one from the other, whatever the reason or excuse he/she conceives to justify their separation, no matter how much distance is between them, no matter how much time expires in their separation, IF adultery does take place, then the exception clause of Matt. 19:9 applies. Paul said Jesus commanded them to remain unmarried and to be reconciled (I Cor. 7:10). But one spouse will not obey Jesus, will not be reconciled, lives apart from his/her spouse, and goes and commits adultery. The other party remains faithful to the vows of marriage and desires reconciliation. The codicil of Matt. 19:9, which Jesus gave, then has application.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
“DW believes that no faithful husband or wife may remarry IF the adultery, fornication, of the guilty mate does not occur before there is a departure and spatial separation.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
“DW thinks if a husband and wife separate, this is ‘the old waiting game’ and ‘mental divorce.’ Who is he (or any other man), one to be talking about ‘the waiting game’? He does not know the problems of this couple (unless they truly understand their problems and honestly relate them to him), what has transpired in their marriage to create their problems. He does not know all their attitudes, words and deeds. He is an outsider to their marriage. He cannot read hearts. He cannot judge motives. ‘What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is within him?’ (I Cor. 2:11).” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
Amazing! Such argumentation is reminiscent of the teaching that one cannot be charged with being “a false teacher” unless we can know their motivation and heart (I Corinthians 2:11).
According to brother Cavender, when two people divorce due to “problems of this couple” “in their marriage” and then one of them employs a post-divorce “putting away” when the other commits the inevitable (i.e. fornication), they are not guilty of “the waiting game” and “mental divorce.” Moreover, he implies that one can never be charged with the “waiting game” unless the accuser can be sure that the portrayal of “attitudes, words and deeds” behind the disintegration of “their marriage,” have been honestly related. In other words, unless we can “know” what scripture reveals is impossible to know, then we cannot “judge” among ourselves, as the Lord has commanded (I Corinthians 5:9-13). Who can believe it?
Brother Cavender’s next two quotes also illustrate this absurd belief:
“If a husband/wife separates and departs, and one spouse is not wanting separation but desires reconciliation and resumption of the marriage, that one is not guilty, even though it might appear to DW that he/she is ‘playing the old waiting game.’ DW is not competent to judge in such matters. He is ‘a busybody in other men’s matters’ (I Peter 4:15) and is completely out of his place and work as a gospel preacher. Only two people in a marriage and God Almighty REALLY know what all has occurred in the relationship, to trouble and disturb it. DW doesn't know, yet he presumes to be a judge in such matters.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
Apparently, gospel preachers are no longer “competent to judge” whether or not one is in an approved marriage (John 7:24; I Corinthians 2:15)! Evidently, we are simply a “busybody in other men’s matters (I Peter 4:15)” if and when we, like John the Baptist, dare tell people “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). Please read Jude 3-4!
“DW says this is ‘mental divorce’! How does he know the mind and motives in any particular case? Are not all marriages and divorces, in their inceptions, ‘mental’? Are not the thoughts, emotions, motives, purposes, determinations and deeds of people, ‘mental’? Is not falling in love, or hating, or envy, or jealousy, ‘mental’?” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
“If God in heaven imposes a sentence of suffering upon His children, fine and well. So be it! We must submit with joy, wait in patience, and walk by faith, believing and knowing that God has a righteous purpose for us in the heartaches and sorrows of His children (Rom. 8:18-39). But when men, as DW, teach a false theory, call Jesus and the apostles to witness that what is false is true, and then impose their own penalty of suffering, of sorrow and loneliness upon unfortunate, innocent people who had their marriages to dissolve against their will, then it is unconscionable. As Guy N. Woods said of this theory, ‘He who so affirms has abandoned reason, revelation and good sense!’ This is truly binding where God did not bind, ‘heavy burdens and grievous to be borne’ (Matt. 23:4), and should be rejected by all true believers who love the word of the Lord, and who will not allow opinionated preachers to bind their opinions and the consequences of their theories upon people who already have enough heartaches, sorrows and difficulties with which to cope.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
“The above by Guy N. Woods well states what I have believed and taught for fifty-eight years.” Bill Cavender [A Response to Brother David Watts Jr.; Bible Banner (11-14-04)]
Brother Cavender says he agrees with Guy N. Woods when he says of his “John and Jane” illustration:
“Being a Christian woman, she does not recognize the state’s legal grounds for divorce, willing only to accept the Lord’s ground - fornication.”
“If the objection is raised that Jane did not divorce John but John (the guilty party) divorced Jane, it should be remembered that divorce is a civil, legal action having nothing whatsoever to do with determining the moral and religious principles involved. It is the Lord’s edict not man’s, that governs.”
Brother Cavender affirms that since civil law permits what is unapproved by God, the event of a wrongful divorce is not real and of no consequence. However, what did Jesus propose in Matthew 19:6 (Mark 10:9)? Yea, what did Paul declare in I Corinthians 7:10-11?
Unbiblical pre-suppositions will always result in unbiblical doctrines. Note the unbiblical conclusion also stated by Guy N. Woods:
“The New Testament teaches that when one of the parties of the marriage bond becomes guilty of fornication, the other (the innocent one, not the guilty) may scripturally put away the offending party and remarry.”
Brother Woods is describing something that takes place after a sundering of the marriage has already taken place! The unbiblical supposition is that a “putting away” is possible after the fact of divorcement.
“The New Testament condemns divorce. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, ‘To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband’ (1 Cor 7:10b). Further, he forbade the husband from leaving or departing from his wife. ‘And a husband must not divorce his wife’ (1 Cor. 7:10b). The use of the verb ‘let’ is equal to a direct order. ‘What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder’ (Mark 10:9)…
…In the unfortunate event that a wife finds it impossible to remain with her husband and departs, Paul said to the wife, ‘But unto the married I give charge, yea not I, but the Lord, That the wife depart not from her husband, (but should she depart, let her remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband); and that the husband leave not his wife’ (1 Cor. 7:11). Remaining unmarried is a choice, but not the best choice. Remaining unmarried is not a sinful choice. Who can think the Lord would allow a wife who is departed from her husband to remain in a sinful condition?” Dudley Ross Spears [May I Marry Again?; Bible Banner; (10-5-04)]
Early in this article, brother Spears teaches the truth—that God gave “a direct order” not to divorce [Mark 10:9 (fornication is the only exception to His rule—Matthew 5:32; 19:9)]. Then, in a later paragraph, he reveals his inability to harmonize I Corinthians 7:11 with God’s “direct order” (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9; I Corinthians 7:10)! See: The Seven Sins of an Unscriptural Divorce
The belief in multiple causes for divorce (NOT for fornication), seems to be growing among those who are now pressing and approving the “Mental Divorce” position. See: Two False MDR “Applications” Combined
“About Belknap’s view, apparently many more hold it than I once supposed. The view I have long held, as long as I can remember, is that civil court decrees do not determine whether or not a couple are joined before God. A civil divorce decree in a court of law doesn’t unjoin them and it’s absence doesn’t make them joined. If a man seeks to put his wife away in a court of law, he may succeed in getting the court to rule as he desires, but he is still joined to her whether he likes it or not. Hence when he marries again, he is in fact committing adultery. I believe that’s what the scriptures teach. Belknap’s view makes the civil procedure determinative.” Jeff Smelser [e-mail letter (9-17-04)]
“And while my thinking has been modified in some specific respects, I still fundamentally believe that civil law has nothing to do with the definition of the beginning or ending of marriage before God. And in fact, having spent considerable time studying civil laws in the various states, it is clear to me that even our laws are intended to be reflective of what is rather than determinative of what will be. Belknap’s view (in my estimation) is a classic case of Phariseeism, substituting the traditions of men for the word of God. Moreover the traditions Belknap would impose are actually misunderstandings of civil law.
In practical terms, here’s the best I can tell you about my thinking on the present controversy. Consider the case of a man named Dick who is married to Jane. Dick is a faithful husband, but Jane tires of the marriage and asks for a divorce. Dick refuses to give her a divorce and instead works ever more diligently to make the marriage work. Nonetheless, Jane goes to a lawyer, sues for divorce, and gets a judge to grant her the divorce. Dick at no time consents to this. Subsequently, Jane has a sexual relationship with another man. Can Dick put Jane away and remarry?
I note that the Lord did not say, ‘Whosoever shall have been involved in a putting away, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.’ He said, ‘Whosoever shall put away...’
I do not see that I can assume Jane’s activities necessarily preclude Dick’s ability to put her away.” Jeff Smelser [e-mail letter (9-17-04)]
“If an ungodly spouse unlawfully puts away his innocent mate, that is one putting away that occurs. We all believe that that is what has occurred. Then if the innocent spouse, for the cause of fornication, puts away the fornicator-mate, that also is a putting-away. We all believe that that is what has occurred. So, in this scenario, we all ‘believe in two puttings-away;’ that is, that two puttings-away or repudiations have OCCURRED. But in this scenario does any one of us believe in two puttings-away THAT THE LORD APPROVES? Of course not! None of us believes in such! So, why this false charge that ‘they believe in two puttings-away?’” Bill Reeves [Tell It Like It Is and Complete the Sentence; Bible Banner (8-22-04)]
“Where the cause of fornication is in evidence the divine permission to repudiate and to remarry obtains. It is God who joins two in a marriage bond, and who alone can release one from that bond, giving the divine permission to repudiate and remarry. Nothing that ungodly men might do (in and out of courthouses) can nullify or invalidate that divine permission that is in the hands of God alone!” Bill Reeves [“It’s Very Straight Forward” Yes, In Context It Is!; Bible Banner (6-16-04)]
“That good woman, who made such a blunder, is still single. She was unjustly ‘put away’ in a civil court of men by an ungodly mate but in the court of heaven she is innocent and could remarry if she desired to do so.” Bill Cavender, Truth Magazine (May 20, 2004), “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (4)”
Note: Within brother Cavender’s series, he cites one emotional (hearsay) story after another in an effort to assert the above. Whatever happened to speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent (Isaiah 8:20; I Peter 4:11)? Or doing Bible things in Bible ways (II Corinthians 10:12; Colossians 3:17)?
Such scenarios prove no more about Biblical truth than does the scenario that Baptists cite, of the man who was killed on his way to be baptized. Let us never forget that no matter whether the one who “is put away” is as “innocent” as the white, driven snow…ad infinitum, Jesus’ remarriage laws regarding the “put away” still remain true (cp. w. Matthew 19:9, 12; Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:11)!
In the same article quoted above, though brother Cavender cites no book, chapter and verse to support his assertion that those who are put away (and innocent) have the right to remarry another, he does, cite a commentator (not scripture) to advocate his position which contradicts the Masters’ teaching that “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; cf. Matthew 19:9b; Luke 16:18b).
“Charles Hodge, in his Commentary on the Epistle to the Ephesians (334) correctly commented: ‘The State can neither make nor dissolve the marriage tie. It may enact laws regulating the mode in which it shall be solemnized and authenticated, and determining its civil effects. It may shield a wife from ill-usage from her husband, as it may remove a child from the custody of an incompetent or cruel parent. When the union is in fact dissolved by the operation of the divine law, the State may ascertain and declare the fact and free the parties from the civil obligation of the contract. But it is impossible that the State should have authority to dissolve a union constituted by God…’” Bill Cavender, Truth Magazine (May 20, 2004), “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (4)”
Note: In Matthew 5:32; 19:6, 9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; I Corinthians 7:10-11, 15 the New Testament clearly reveals man’s ability to “put asunder” the “one flesh” marriage relationship against the will of God. Hence, Paul stated that the twain who were once “one flesh” after an unapproved divorce have become “unmarried” (I Corinthians 7:11). Unfortunately, Truth Magazine’s new stance on MDR is in direct opposition to what the Word of God says (Revelation 19:13)!
“Not all divorced people are wrong and in sin. Some of them are scripturally divorced and remarried. Jesus, our Lord and Master, gave such a right and permission. Such ones have a right to be God’s child and to prepare themselves for death and eternal life in heaven. No man has a right to forbid innocent, moral, faithful, divorced people from engaging in a scriptural, moral, innocent remarriage (1 Tim. 4:3).” Bill Cavender, Truth Magazine (May 6, 2004), “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (3)”
Note: Brother Cavender can make this assertion all he wants, but it still does not change the gospel truth that “…whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18b)! Other than after the death of one’s bound partner (Romans 7:2-3), where does brother Cavender find scripture to support his theory that remarriage of a divorced or put away person to another is “scriptural, moral,” or “innocent”? It just is not there! Hence, is brother Bill’s teaching “of heaven or of men?”
Moreover, when Bill cites I Timothy 4:3 (above), he is falsely charging those who are contending against his error (Proverbs 28:4; Jude 3-4) with binding the “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1-3). By these actions, Bill is not only teaching error, he is falsely condemning the just. Brethren, it is no little sin to be a partaker with those who “justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just” (See Proverbs 17:15). Additionally, to support any sinful activity, is to strengthen the hands of those who do evil. Note the following:
“I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14 (cf. Romans 15:4; II Peter 2:1-2)
“Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.” Ezekiel 13:22 (cf. Romans 15:4; II Peter 2:1-2)
Aiding and abetting (being a partaker with) a man (or men) who do not teach “the doctrine of Christ,” is to be a “partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 9-11). This is also in direct disobedience to the word of God (Romans 16:17-18; I Corinthians 5:6-8; 15:33; Ephesians 5:6-7, 11).
“His laws regarding this basic human entity, the family, are clear and sensible. Men complicate, obscure, pervert, and nullify, in the minds of people, God’s will with all their additions and opinions, binding where God did not bind and loosing where God did not loose. The only scriptural and consistent course anyone can follow is to tell people four truths: (1) marriage is for life, a lifetime covenant and commitment, (2) death is the only honorable, godly way to ever dissolve a marriage, (3) a husband or wife can ‘repudiate, reject, divorce’ (Greek: apoluo) his/her companion only for adultery, (4) and only the innocent, moral, faithful-to-the-marriage vows has the right of remarriage (the guilty, adulterous husband/wife does not have such a concession from the Lord). When we get into areas of opinions as who files for divorce in the civil courts, who gets the divorce decree in civil courts, what does the paperwork and divorce decree say, and invent such phrases as ‘mental marriage,’ ‘mental divorce,’ ‘waiting game,’ ‘second putting away,’ ‘the innocent, put away person cannot remarry,’ etc., we solve no marriage problems, we help no one in their troubled marriages, we bind where Jesus did not bind, and make no scriptural contribution to the cause of truth and salvation of souls.” Bill Cavender, Truth Magazine (May 6, 2004), “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (3)”
Note: Brother Cavender claims that those who are now actively opposing the post-divorce “putting away” and remarriage to another theory have “invented such phrases.” However, terms such as “‘mental marriage,’ ‘mental divorce,’ ‘waiting game,’ ‘second putting away,’ ‘the innocent, put away person cannot remarry,’ etc.,” have been used to identify the same doctrine that brother Cavender is presently advocating for many years. [See The Patton-Phillips Debate (1987); Connie Adams’ editorial in The Warnock-Deason Exchange, Searching the Scriptures magazine (1986), and Donnie Rader’s commentary in his book, “Divorce and Remarriage: What does the text say?” (1992), Lesson 8, Mental Divorce (May Some Put Away People Remarry). Also note Mental Marriages and Mental Divorces (by Gene Frost), published by The Preceptor Company, 1982.] Regrettably, brother Cavender attempts to portray those who are now opposing the doctrine of post-divorce “putting away” as isolated radicals who have just “invent”(ed) some new terms to condemn an area of “opinions.”
For the record, if “…whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” is a matter of opinion, then it is the opinion of the Lord God Almighty (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18b)!
If brother Cavender and others succeed in their quest to portray those who are consistent in their opposition to this error as radical inventors, he will have gone a long way to further acceptance of his (and Truth Magazine’s agenda) number 3 & 4 doctrine that “(3) a husband or wife can ‘repudiate, reject, divorce’ (Greek: apoluo) his/her companion only for adultery, (4) and only the innocent, moral, faithful-to-the-marriage vows has the right of remarriage (the guilty, adulterous husband/wife does not have such a concession from the Lord).”
Though such assertions may seem sound to those who are not familiar with his other teachings in this controversy (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25), brother Cavender’s other quotes reveal that he considers those who are the “innocent, put away, divorced” to be in the category of those who can later “‘repudiate, reject, divorce’ (Greek: apoluo) their companions for adultery committed following the divorce (see # 3), and thereby supposedly secure “the right of remarriage” to another (see # 4). Brother Cavender’s assertions and Christ’s teaching about those who are “put away” could not be any more contradictory.
Don’s first question:
1. Sue and George develop marriage problems. Sue is not sure what went wrong other than what some call a mid-life crises on the part of George. George just does not want to remain married to Sue. Since no fornication is involved, there cannot be a biblical and God approved putting away. Nonetheless, George pursues the divorce and six months later, the civil decree is granted.
A. A year following the putting away, George meets Alice and marries her. All should agree that fornication has now been committed.
The question: Since the marriage bond remains, may Sue now put away George based on fornication and be able to with God’s approval marry another?
Assuming that Sue was sexually innocent, and did nothing to contribute to the prior unapproved and sinful divorce action taken by George (Matt. 5:32), YES, Matthew 19:9a authorizes Sue to put George away for fornication and marry another.
Tim’s answer of “yes” certainly is indicative of his position that after the fact circumstances can allow the put away to later put away and be able to marry another. Tim inserts into these after the fact of the divorce circumstances the matter of post divorce fornication. I decidedly disagree with Tim because the fornication that allows for a scriptural putting away and subsequent marriage to another is always fornication that PRECEDES and causes the putting away, not AFTER the fact fornication. Don Martin/Tim Haile [Tim Haile’s Answers to my Three Questions; Bible Matters (4-30-04)]
“In the early thirties Joe ‘took up with’ another woman in that little town where we lived. He was openly ‘shacking up’ with her. He wanted a divorce but ‘Aunt Ida’ would not divorce him, as all that Methodist family did not believe in ‘the disgrace of a divorce.’ Joe persisted in his adultery. He would not repent. He had rejected Ida, his lawful wife, and wanted to marry his ‘sweetie.’ After some time Ida said he could have a divorce, provided he got the divorce ‘for adultery,’ admitting his guilt. He did. He got the divorce on the grounds of his own adultery. He soon married his paramour. Ida was an innocent, put away, divorced woman. Jesus gave her the right to remarry.” Bill Cavender, Truth Magazine (April 1, 2004), “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (2)”
Note: In Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, Jesus clearly taught the distinction between those who put away and those who are put away. Those who the Lord authorized to “put away” (break-up the marriage) and marry “another” are those who “put away” (sunder the marriage; cf. vs. 3, 6) for the cause of fornication.
Jesus never authorized those who are “put away” (“innocent” or not) to “put away” and remarry another while their bound spouse is alive (Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:11). In fact, three times inspiration quotes Jesus as stating, “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; cf. Matthew 19:9b; Luke 16:18b). However, in denial of the Lord’s decree, brother Cavender makes the contrary assertion, “Ida was an innocent, put away, divorced woman. Jesus gave her the right to remarry.”
Brother Cavender, like his fellow associates involved in this present controversy, is turning the attention away from the more extreme, less emotional scenario of post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication, to the less extreme and more emotional scenario of a second “putting away” for pre-divorce fornication. However, be not deceived, brother Bill and his associates are contending for both!
“No laws of men, of any culture or country, in any century of time, can ‘join’ or ‘put asunder’ marriages for God. God does that, the Scriptures say (Gen. 2:23-24; Matt. 19:3-6; Mark 10:9; Eph. 5:31).” Bill Cavender, Truth Magazine (March 18, 2004), “Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage (1)”
Note: Not only was the above statement within the Truth Magazine article itself, this erroneous declaration was also highlighted in a “call out box.” Nevertheless, the Bible does not teach that God is the one who “‘put(s) asunder’ marriages.” Man marries (with or without God’s approval) and sunders the “one flesh” relationship (with or without God’s approval), whereas God binds and looses. Please note a few verses that clearly teach the exact opposite of brother Cavender’s above statement:
Matthew 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” (emp. jhb).
Matthew 19:5-6, 9, “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? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder…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” (emp. jhb).
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.”
I Corinthians 7:10-11, 15, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife…15 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.”
To deny that man can wrongfully “put away,” “put asunder,” “divorce,” “depart,” etc. is to deny God’s sacred Word (cf. II Timothy 4:3-4).
“Brother Harper believes that if the innocent spouse is unlawfully divorced by his godless, covenant-breaking mate, the innocent spouse has no right to put that godless mate away for his subsequent fornication. Brother Harper believes that the godless mate’s fornication is rendered irrelevant as a result of it being committed after he had already departed from his innocent spouse.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
“Brother Harper later charged us with violating the silence of the Scriptures. He alleges this on the basis of our applying New Testament principles to a divorce scenario not specifically addressed by Jesus.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
“One does not violate God’s silence by applying biblical principles to cases, questions, circumstances and scenarios not specifically contained in the Bible. One violates the silence of the Scripture by adding an entirely different principle or practice to what the Bible allows.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
“In the very quotes that he later cited, brother Reeves and I used the word INNOCENT to describe the condition of the unlawfully put-away spouse. Bother Harper failed to attach this important description when attempting to represent our view. Jesus taught that an innocent spouse has the God-given right to repudiate his fornicator-mate and marry another without committing adultery (Matt. 19:9a).
As I mentioned above, brother Harper produced quotes from me and brother Reeves where we defended the right of an innocent spouse to put away his fornicator mate even in cases where the fornicator had already taken some prior (unlawful) divorce action against him.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
“The exercise of the innocent person’s divinely given putting-away right is not a ‘second putting-away.’ It is simply a putting-away! It is the only putting-away that he does! The innocent person does not put away twice. If brother Harper wishes to accurately represent the position that we hold and teach, let him speak of a lawful putting-away that is done by the innocent party. This lawful putting-away is different from the unlawful one that is done by the fornicator. Both divorces are real, but one is approved by God, and the other one is not.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
“Another way for brother Harper to accurately represent our position in such a scenario is for him to refer to the innocent person’s lawful putting-away as a subsequent putting-away.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
Brother Harper’s illustration is not analogous to marriage. In marriage, two people vow to each other, and in divorce, two people are able to disavow and repudiate each other. Of course, only one putting-away is approved by God (Matt. 5:32; 19:9).” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
Marriage commences the life of a physical union. It signifies the birth of the “one flesh” relationship that was formed by two individuals (Matthew 19:5-6). Divorce ends the life of the “one flesh” relationship (signifying its death for both partners) – regardless of whether one or both agreed to it.
A scenario in point: If Dan and Debbie conceived a child together, and Debbie chose to sinfully abort the baby (signifying its physical death) against Dan’s wishes, the baby would still be dead. Though the baby’s soul would live on, innocent Dan, who wished to save the baby’s physical life, would have no control over it once all was said and done. God alone is in charge of the soul, just as He alone is in charge of the bond, once a marriage dies due to divorce.
Once the “one flesh” relationship is broken by one or both, it is terminated. Innocent or guilty, neither can “put away” a mate who is already “away,” nor can either party “depart from” the other who is already long gone. The post-divorce “putting away” theory is absolutely unbiblical.
Brother Haile’s claim that “in divorce, two people are able to disavow and repudiate each other” is nowhere authorized in THE BOOK. There is absolutely NO scripture that teaches that an “unmarried” (I Corinthians 7:11) person who “is divorced” (Matthew 5:32b) / “put away” (Matthew 19:9b) may subsequently “‘disavow’ for fornication” and marry another? Assertions are not the word of God!
“Brother Harper’s argument has another hole in it. He seems to be suggesting that just because Jesus sent the crowd away He could not have this same action taken against him. The one who sends away can be, on another occasion, the one who is sent away.” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
It is clearly brother Haile’s “argument” that has a “hole in it.” After “Jesus sent the crowd away” (apoluo) He could not “have this same action taken against him” (“on another occasion”) unless He and the same crowd came backed together again (cf. I Corinthians 7:11; “reconciled”)! You cannot “put away” what is already “away”!
“I know for an absolute fact that, when fornication is committed, the innocent spouse’s repudiation action relates to the marriage bond. It is implied by the fact that the innocent party is free to marry another following such putting away action! God does not free one to marry another unless He has released that one from the marriage bond. And if the innocent spouse’s repudiation rights are indeed related to the marriage bond, then what difference does it make for the innocent spouse if his godless mate has already “departed” from him before committing his fornication?” Tim Haile [Response to Steven Harper’s: “Answering an Impossible Hypothesis;” Bible Banner; Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (2-29-04)]
“Or if he puts her away and then goes and marries somebody else, he’s guilty of fornication. I’m talking about an innocent person, now. I’m not talking about two who decide they don’t want to live together anymore, get a divorce and one waits on the other to commit fornication in order then to remarry. I’m talking about an innocent person who’s been put away by a man or a woman, who’s been put away, and then later, goes out and remarries, may have his eye on (laughs) somebody when the divorce takes place, the innocent party may remarry on the basis fornication.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“And this soldier in TX years ago (laughs), he couldn’t go to the courthouse and file, it was already done. But he could use the law of God. And let me tell you something. The innocent party has least the right of one putting away. I hear this idea, two puttings away, the second putting away. That’s nonsense. Here’s the man who puts away his innocent wife, here’s the fornicator who puts away his wife, that’s one civil divorce. But you know the Lord allows one for the innocent partner, neighbor. Are you listening to me? Then you say I disagree with the decree of Jesus Christ. Shame on you.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“I believe what the Bible teaches, I’ve preached it for 50 years. And they’ve got this article, Weldon Warnock’s 19 Year Progression of Error. Well, that’s funny that nobody else has ever found that out, if I’ve been preaching this for 19 years. But he didn’t give me enough credit, I’ve been preaching for 50 years, and preaching the same thing and believing the same thing that I’m teaching tonight. No, I didn’t disagree with the decree of Jesus Christ, Ladies and Gentlemen.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“And what about this man over in Texas who’d gone to Vietnam and he came back, and his wife had divorced him. What would you tell him to do, my friend? What would you tell him to do? Ya-oh, you can’t marry. I tell you about some of these preachers, if we got in a fix like that, they’d be remarried in six months. There’s a few of ‘em like that, anyway. Now, that’s not true with all of ‘em. But there’s some of ‘em, they’d see their position a little bit differently.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“Now that’s it, friends. I told this story some time ago, about a soldier during the Vietnam war, over in TX. He was gone 12, 13 months to Vietnam, he left for Vietnam, a wife behind, and when he returned a year or a little longer, she had divorced him and married somebody else. Now, the question: Could he remarry? He did about two or three years later, brethren thought nothing of it, could he remarry? Not according to the preacher in Southern WV. No, no, no, no. It was post-divorce fornication.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“This brother is saying that if a faithful, um, innocent party is divorced by a fornicating husband, or he divorces his faithful spouse, or faithful wife, and then he commits fornication, marries somebody, that she can never remarry.
The innocent party can’t remarry (laughs), ah – va, though, put away by a fornicating husband. And, ih - if, if you claim that you can, then you have ‘em living in adultery. And adulterers, you know, can’t go to heaven. Now that’s, these are the consequences of this, of this doctrine.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-8-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“But here’s the innocent party, wants to salvage the marriage, doesn’t want a divorce, and she is put away or he is put away, then she or he becomes the innocent party, as the spouse commits adultery. Now that’s what the Bible teaches and that’s my convictions, and that’s what I’ve preached through the years.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-1-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
See many more similar quotes at: AUDIO CLIPS (and scroll down)
“In the current discussion concerning the marital prospects of certain persons who have been divorced, some have argued that in Mark 10:11 when Jesus said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her,’ the her refers to the second wife, not the first. Those who make this argument suggest that Jesus may have meant the man commits adultery with the second wife, rather than against her.” Jeff Smelser [A Response to Brother Barnett on Mark 10:10-12; Gospel Truths, Volume XV, NUMBER 2 (February, 2004)]
It’s important that the reader knows exactly what brother Smelser is actually contending for in this exchange. He himself stated that this exchange transpired during “the current discussion concerning the marital prospects of certain persons who have been divorced.”
To read the entire exchange click: Barnett-Smelser Exchange.htm
Also, please note the public teaching of brother Smelser directly below. - Jeff
----- Original Message -----
Subject: Re: The innocent put away and divorce/remarriage
Jeff Smelser here,
This issue is one wherein I believe some of the disagreement is not due to party politics, nor to moral laxity, nor to stupidity, nor to doctrinal squishiness. I believe some of the disagreement is simply misunderstanding. If I am the one who misunderstands, I want to be shown. I most certainly do not want to be found by the Lord to have encouraged sin by teaching people who do not have a right to marry that they do have such a right.
The scripture says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.” The best I can tell, we can understand that to indicate that a man who puts his wife away for fornication does not commit adultery by remarrying.
The putting away to which Jesus refers was an act between a man and his wife whereby the man renounced his claim upon the woman. (See Josephus, Ant. 4.253, Hastings Bible Dictionary, vol. 3 p. 276.) It was not a 3rd party court action.
Consider the case of a man named Dick who is married to Jane. Dick is a faithful husband, but Jane tires of the marriage and asks for a divorce. Dick refuses to give her a divorce and instead works ever more diligently to make the marriage work. Nonetheless, Jane goes to a lawyer, sues for divorce, and gets a judge to grant her the divorce. Dick at no time consents to this. Subsequently, Jane has a sexual relationship with another man. Can Dick put Jane away and remarry?
“Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.” It seems to me we have to answer these questions:
(1) Is she Dick’s wife in the scriptural sense of the term?
(2) Has she committed fornication?
(3) Can he put her away for fornication?
It seems to me that if the answer to all of these questions is yes, I have no right to stand in judgment of Dick if he remarries. So let’s answer these questions...
(1) Is she Dick’s wife in the scriptural sense of the term?
Yes. Herodias was Philip’s “wife,” though she had divorced Philip (Antiq. 18.5.4) and had married Herod (Mk. 6:17). The word for wife is merely the word for woman. “His wife” (i.e., his woman) implies that she belongs to him. Does Jane still belong to Dick? Herodias still belonged to Philip.
Dick and Jane were joined by God, and the divorce did ot change that. Jesus said that even if she marries another, it is adultery (Mk. 10:12). The fact that her relationship with another man would be adultery confirms that she still belongs to Dick.
(2) Has she committed fornication?
Yes. Fornication is any illicit sexual intercourse. dultery is included. She has committed adultery, and therefore she has committed fornication.
(3) Can he put her away for fornication?
Yes. In NT times a Jewish man would put away his wife by renouncing his claim upon her. He would give her a document whereby he would certify that he would have no further intercourse with her. Can Dick do that today? Certainly he can. Can such renouncing have any meaning after a divorce has already been granted by a court? Certainly it can, for prior to such, she still belongs to him.
Given these facts, I believe I have to come to this conclusion:
(1) I would be making myself a judge of the law rather than a doer of the law if I condemned Dick's remarrying. I would be binding where I cannot see that God has bound.
(2) And if Dick does indeed remarry and I then insist that he divorce his 2nd wife, to the best of my knowledge, I would be encouraging the very thing Jesus prohibited in Mt. 19:6.
“It is used to affirm that there is nothing else that can be done by the innocent spouse when fornication occurs after an unlawful civil divorce has taken place. We ask: Nothing else can be done about what? Do they mean nothing else can be done to put asunder the marriage relationship that already has been put asunder by the ungodly spouse? Or, do they mean that, after the ungodly mate has put asunder the marriage relationship and commits fornication, the innocent spouse has no action left of any kind that can be taken?
What man can put asunder, or separate (Chorizo), is the marriage relationship of living together as husband and wife. Since God has joined together the two who made their vows to each other to so live, God prohibits them from separating themselves from that one-flesh relationship (Matt. 19:6), except for fornication (vs.. 9). Either spouse certainly is able to deny his vows and break the physical relationship, whether God approves of it or not. Now, who says that there is some other physical, one-flesh relationship that can be put asunder, that give these objectors an occasion to shout: ‘There is nothing else to put asunder’? There is no more physical, one-flesh relationship to put asunder, but there certainly is something else that can be done as relates to fornication when it occurs!
These brethren are playing with words! Bill Reeves [Nothing Left To Put Asunder Nothing Left To Do; Bible Banner (2-8-04)]
Jesus equated putting away with sundering the “one flesh” marriage relationship (Matthew 19:3, 4-6). To assert that putting away can be something totally unknown to scripture is the real “playing with words.” Nowhere in God’s Word is putting away one’s mate portrayed as occurring after the “one flesh” relationship has already been dissolved.
“If the ungodly spouse puts asunder the marriage relationship, is there another physical marriage relationship that the innocent mate can put asunder? No. Is there anything else that can be done by the innocent mate? Yes, the innocent mate, upon the occurrence of fornication by the ungodly spouse, can certainly do something. He can exercise his God-given right to repudiate the fornicator by renouncing his vows made to him. Upon this action, God looses the innocent one from his vows made to the guilty spouse, thus giving the innocent one permission to remarry without committing adultery.” Bill Reeves [Nothing Left To Put Asunder Nothing Left To Do; Bible Banner (2-8-04)]
Brother Reeves certainly leaves no doubt as to what he believes regarding the “right” for put away persons to exercise a post-divorce “putting away” and remarriage after their spouse commits post-divorce fornication. However, where in the word of God is this idea revealed (Romans 10:17)? We are not to “think” beyond what is written (I Corinthians 4:6; II Corinthians 10:5)!
“The reason that the ‘her’ refers to the wife who is put away, and not to the ‘another’ (woman), is that the issue at hand has to do with a man and his wife (ver. 2) and not with a man and some other woman that he might marry.” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12; Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
I continue to marvel at this argument. This same line of reasoning is expressed when it is argued that Jesus’ emphasis was not ‘timing’, but ‘cause’ in Matthew 19:9. Are both attributes necessarily mutually exclusive? Can one written attribute be emphasized, while another is still necessary? What of our use of Mark 16:16 to emphasize the necessity of baptism for salvation? Is belief not also important or necessary?
You see, if we admit that Jesus revealed His rule for both the one who “put(s) away” as well as for the one who “is put away,” the entire theory of a second “putting away” and remarriage to another (while one’s bound mate lives – Romans 7:2-3) would be exposed as folly.
Hence, by diminishing the importance of the divine decree regarding the one who “is put away,” errorists boldly assert that post-divorce adultery justifies the “innocent party” to employ a post-divorce “putting away,” which they also affirm will allow the previously put away person to remarry another. Regrettably, by the elastic expansion of the exception clause in Matthew 19:9a and by the diminished divine decree in Matthew 19:9b, we now have a convoluted exegesis of both clauses!
Note: When Jesus was asked: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” He answered and said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (emp. jhb; Matthew 22:36-40).
Question: Is this “second” commandment any less factual, because it was “not” the specific “issue” that Jesus was asked about? How ridiculous to even think such a thought!
“We do not say that ‘it’ (post-divorce fornication, Mark 10:11, jhb) somehow gives her the right to remarry; we say that fornication is the cause that gives her the right to repudiate the fornicator-mate, and to remarry if she chooses.” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12; Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
“No one denies that adultery is committed with the second man should she marry him. Why bring up a non-issue?” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12; Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
“The context rules! The Pharisees didn’t ask about a man’s dealings with a second woman, but about a man with his wife! The only issue raised by them, and to which Jesus responded, was that of CAUSE FOR PUTTING-AWAY A WIFE. Jesus’ reply teaches that there is only ONE CAUSE, and he shows the consequence of doing what the Pharisees advocated, and of remarrying.” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12 (Some Concluding Notes Of Mine); Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
It’s amazing what tunnel vision can do to people! All they can see is “cause FOR PUTTING-AWAY A WIFE” and are absolutely blind to what Jesus taught concerning remarriage to another after one “is put away” (whether the divorce was approved or not).
“The truthfulness of the present controversy does not hinge solely on whether the phrase ‘against her’ in Mk. 10:11 has reference to the put-away wife, or to the second woman that is married by the ungodly husband. But the point that Jesus makes is that a wife can have adultery committed against her after she unlawfully has been put away by her husband. And fornication, which includes adultery, is the sole cause that Jesus gives in Mt. 19:9a that permits the innocent spouse to repudiate the fornicator-mate, and to remarry if he so desires.” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12 (Some Concluding Notes Of Mine); Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
“They believe that the man cannot commit adultery ‘against’ his wife after he puts her away for any cause, and she cannot subsequently put him away for fornication because, they say, ‘there is nothing left to put away.’ So, when they come to Mark 10:11, they say that the man commits adultery ‘against’ the second woman.
They shift the focus onto the second woman because they believe that nothing exists between the man and his wife.” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12 (Some Concluding Notes Of Mine); Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
Brother Reeves’ opponents in this present controversy know and freely acknowledge that the bond is in force after an unapproved divorce! Hence, we know that something “exists.”
However, because we say “there is nothing left to put away” after a divorce (his first sentence), he falsely accuses us of believing “that nothing exists between the man and his wife” (his second sentence). Not only is that statement a stretch, it’s absolutely absurd.
Brother Reeves draws the conclusion that if one denies the possibility for a (spiritual) bond to be affected or released after the (physical) death of a marriage (except death-Romans 7:2-3), that he does not believe in the bond’s (spiritual) existence.
If this is a logical conclusion, then brother Reeves could likewise be accused of not believing in an immortal soul, since he agrees that there is no possibility for man to affect his soul’s destination or outcome after the body’s physical death.
In the context of a “one flesh” relationship, Jesus authorized the sundering of the physical marriage for the cause extra-martial relations (Matthew 19:3-6, 9) through putting away. Jesus equated putting away with sundering the marriage relationship (Matthew 19:3, 4-6), not with sundering the bond!
“She may, for the cause of fornication, disavow him, thus repudiating him, and God will release her from the marriage bond. Released, she is free to remarry.” Bill Reeves [A Review of Maurice Barnett’s Two Articles on Mark 10:11, 12 (Some Concluding Notes Of Mine); Bible Banner (1-31-04)]
What scripture does brother Reeves give us to authorize this post-divorce “disavow” action “for the cause of” post-divorce “fornication”? What scripture (save for the cause of death of one’s bound partner, Romans 7:2-3) can be cited to show that one may be “released” from “the marriage bond” after having been put away? What passage (save for the cause of one’s bound partner’s death, Romans 7:2-3) authorizes one to remarry after they have been put away? NONE!
“There are times, however, when biblical terminology cannot be found to describe a position. After all, biblical language will not be found in support of unbiblical concepts. At such times a particular label may be necessary.” Tim Haile [The Race for the Right to Remarry; Bible Banner (1-26-04)]
“Another ‘race’ position has developed among brethren. I have labeled this new race position the ‘race-to-repudiation.’ Those who hold this view accept Thayer’s definition of apoluo (‘to dismiss, to repudiate’), but they base the right of repudiation upon whether or not the innocent party repudiated (rejected) the fornicator before the fornicator repudiated him. They emphasize timing, rather than cause.” Tim Haile [The Race for the Right to Remarry; Bible Banner (1-26-04)]
The question is: How can a person Biblically “put away” his obligated mate (i.e. sunder the “one flesh” marriage relationship, Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9) after the marriage has already been separated by divorcement, and the involved parties are “unmarried” (I Corinthians 7:10-11)? How can the “put away” who has already been dismissed “from the house” (J. H. Thayer, p. 66), “dismiss from the house” someone who no longer resides in (or is a part of) “the house”? Obviously, Jesus gave the exception clause to those who are married, not “unmarried.” See: Who Does the Exception Clause Apply To? and “It Appertaineth Not Unto Thee”
“Some brethren deny holding a race-to-the-courthouse position. They maintain that the critical time is not the time that one arrives at the courthouse relative to his mate’s arrival, but when the divorce is ‘finalized’ or ‘obtained.’ This position amounts to a ‘race-to-finalization’ or a ‘race-to-divorce-obtainment.’ One brother emphasized the time of the ‘dropping of the gavel.’ He has a ‘race-to-the-dropping-of-the-gavel.’ These views are only minor variations of the race-to-the-courthouse view, and are no better than that view.” Tim Haile [The Race for the Right to Remarry; Bible Banner (1-26-04)]
“Each spouse can put away, or repudiate, and if both do it, each one has done but one putting-away. Will anyone deny it?” Tim Haile [The Race for the Right to Remarry; Bible Banner (1-26-04)]
“From these points it is concluded that one who is ‘divorced’ in a court of law is forever forbidden the right of remarriage on the mere basis of his being ‘divorced.’ Some care not that the ‘divorced’ person is the innocent spouse of a fornicator-mate! They are concerned about divorce timing, procedure and classification, not about divorce cause.” Tim Haile [The Race for the Right to Remarry; Bible Banner (1-26-04)]
Several times within this article Tim boldly denied that there is a time frame for putting away (offering only his assertions for this conclusion). In essence, what Tim is saying is that the right for “an innocent” person to “put away” for fornication and remarry another is supreme; that it cannot be limited even by the Lord’s own decree that the “put away” commit adultery when they remarry another.
The problem with the second “putting away” (mental divorce) theory is that it emphasizes one aspect of God’s will (the right to put away for fornication) to the exclusion of another (the subsequent, divinely-imposed consequences for those who are put away). According to the teaching of Christ in Matthew 19, there is a definite time at which one becomes put away and is precluded from remarrying another while their bound spouse lives (Romans 7:2-3).
“He claims that there are those who press for a ‘second divorce.’ (albeit ‘mental,’ according to him). Well, there are in his argumentation two divorces, but they are NOT ALIKE. There are two divorces that are ‘heteros’ (different in kind), but not two that are ‘allos’ (simply different in number but the same kind). The first one mentioned is an unscriptural one! The second one (to occur), in today’s scenario being debated, is one permitted by the Lord for the cause of fornication! Belknap adroitly calls them two ‘divorces,’ or a ‘second divorce.’ But he is careful to not clarify that one is unscriptural and that the other is scriptural; one is not approved by the Lord, and the second one is. Each spouse realized only one divorce apiece! One did not have divine authority for his, the other did!” Bill Reeves [A Review of Jeff Belknap’s Article: ‘Those Who May Marry & Those Who May Not; Bible Banner (1-24-04)]
Note: Brother Bill refers to two different distinctions for divorces by using Greek terminology, as if the Bible uses such terminology to distinguish between divorces that are consequential and those which are inconsequential. As usual, he gives no proof for his unfounded assertion (I Thessalonians 5:21). Be assured, if he had scripture to prove this point, he would name it!
No one in the course of this controversy has denied the difference between a divorce for the cause of fornication, and a divorce for a cause other than fornication. Nevertheless, scripture never teaches or infers that there are two different kinds of divorce per one bound couple. In the context of both approved and unapproved divorces, Jesus spoke of “putting away” as the act which sunders the “one flesh” relationship – nothing more or less.
In Matthew 19:4-9, Jesus taught that the original institution of marriage was not to be sundered except for fornication! When an approved sundering transpires, we know “by faith” that God will loose the bond! When an unapproved sundering transpires, the only element that man has control over (the “one flesh” relationship) has been severed. Under such circumstances, we know “by faith” that God will not loose the bond (except for death, Romans 7:2-3).
Under no circumstances can anyone know “by faith” that one whose marriage has already been sundered has the right to “put away” for post-divorce fornication, for such is not written or implied in scripture (I Corinthians 4:6; II Corinthians 10:5).
It is also interesting to note that brother Bill himself refers to the subsequent “divorce” (the one after the dissolution of the “one flesh” relationship) as “The second one (to occur)…” (emp. jhb). Yet, he states that when I refer to it as “a second ‘putting away,’” I am being deceptive because I did not specify and differentiate the two divorces, by explaining that the first divorce was unscriptural. [As if the 2nd (post-divorce) “putting away” for post-divorce fornication – which the Bible speaks nothing of - is scriptural.] Amazing!
“Each spouse realized only one divorce apiece! One did not have divine authority for his, the other did! Big difference, Jeff!” Bill Reeves [A Review of Jeff Belknap’s Article: ‘Those Who May Marry & Those Who May Not; Bible Banner (1-24-04)]
Where is the “divine authority” for a “second” sundering of a marriage that is already sundered (Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9)? Assertions to not help to “prove” this so-called “authority” (I Thessalonians 5:21).
“The answer becomes obvious when we consider verses 5 and 6 of Matthew 19, together. The man and the woman are capable of sundering the one-flesh relationship, that is, the physical marriage relationship. They do this by breaking the marital vows, promises and commitments by which they had cleaved to each other in the marriage covenant. The woman of Proverbs 2:17 and the man of Malachi 2:14 had broken their covenant by forsaking their companions. Though God did not release from their covenants, yet they had violated those covenants. They “dealt treacherously” with their spouses. They had bound themselves to each other by their marriage vows, but they broke their vows. They sundered what God had not released them to sunder.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
“When used of marriage, the verb ‘deo’ emphasizes God’s binding of one to his marital commitments (Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:27, 39).” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
The Bible does not state that God binds “one to his marital commitments,” it says “the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth” Romans 7:2.
“Matthew 19:9 does not emphasize sequence. It emphasizes consequence. However, this does not mean that there is not some logical sequence suggested in each clause of the verse. Though each clause does speak of actions that logically follow each other, yet the clauses themselves are not sequenced to each other. Each clause contains a consequence of an unlawful putting-away. The first clause states that a man commits adultery if he puts away his wife not for fornication and marries another. The second clause states that a woman commits adultery if she marries another following an unlawful putting-away. That sequence is not the point of emphasis in Matthew 19:9 is seen in the fact that the put-away woman would be just as guilty of adultery in remarriage even if the putting-away husband had not remarried!” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
‘Fornication committed after the total rejection does not change the fact that Jesus stated – he who marries a woman who was put away where no fornication had been committed commits adultery.’
This quote reflects our basic disagreement. You see being ‘put away’ as a status – I see it as a consequence. Being rejected by a godless mate does not does nullify the innocent person’s God-given right to put away his mate for fornication and marry another! There is no race-to-repudiation, as your position maintains! The put-away woman is prohibited remarriage, not on the basis of her being the first one to be rejected, but on the basis that she did not have the scriptural cause for putting away.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
The question is: How can a person Biblically “put away” his obligated mate (i.e. sunder the “one flesh” marriage relationship, Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:9) after the marriage has already been separated by divorcement, and the involved parties are “unmarried” (I Corinthians 7:10-11)?
“Your position places a premium on a certain kind of fornication. Your position says fornication is significant only if it is committed before the fornicator rejects his mate! Your position renders fornication entirely irrelevant if it is committed after the fornicator has already departed from his bound mate. Jesus placed no such premium on the timing of a mate’s fornication.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
“You say that the woman of Matthew 19:9 is ineligible to remarry on the mere basis of her being rejected (put-away) by her godless, covenant-breaking mate. Your position says that his subsequent fornication is rendered irrelevant on the basis that it was committed after he had already rejected her.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
‘And fornication that is committed after the putting away can not possibly be the cause of the putting away!’
After whose putting away, brother Jenkins? Are you talking about the putting-away done by the godless mate, or the putting-away done by the innocent party? The fornication can still be the cause of putting away for the innocent party, even if it was committed after the fornicator had already departed. Jesus gave the innocent party the right to put away his mate for fornication and marry another. Your assertion that such a putting away cannot be done is your own assumption. Matthew 19:9 speaks of an innocent spouse putting away his bound mate for fornication. I will assume that you do believe that the marriage bond remains intact after an unlawful putting-away? If the bond remains, then the innocent spouse has the right to put the guilty fornicator away and marry another.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
“A man can prove anything in a discussion if he is allowed to fabricate definitions for the terms he is discussing. Where would you go in the Bible to prove that ‘apoluo speaks of sundering a relationship?’” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
When Jesus was asked about the lawfulness of putting away “for every cause” (Matthew 19:3), He equated it with putting asunder (chorizo) what God had joined together (Matthew 19:4-6). Moreover, the same word (chorizo) was used to describe a wife wrongfully departing from her husband, which caused those who were “married” [gameo (I Corinthians 7:10)] to become “unmarried” [agamos (I Corinthians 7:11)]. Who is fabricating definitions?
“You are making what I call the marital status argument. You are teaching that putting away rights are based upon the physical status or togetherness of the marriage relationship, not upon fornication committed by one’s mate. If you are correct, then your position is not really concerned with when the fornicator committed his fornication, whether before or after his departure, but is concerned with whether or not the innocent party beat the fornicator to some pronouncement of repudiation. Belknap’s position turns the Lord’s teaching into a race to the courthouse. Your teaching turns it into a race to repudiation.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
How can it be “a race to the courthouse” when there was no fornication committed before the marriage was sundered by one who wrongfully put away? Those who serve God are not going to seek to put away - much less “race” to do so – when their mate has not even committed fornication! The original reference to “race to the courthouse” depicts the circumstance in which fornication has been committed during the martial relationship with the idea that whoever files first gets the divorce! “Belknap’s position” has never been that the innocent party may not counter for the cause of fornication while the “one flesh” relationship is intact. See: My Personal Convictions
Tim seeks to expand the original meaning of the “race to the courthouse” to include those who oppose post-divorce “putting away” with those who (in previous years), denied innocent “one flesh” marriage partners the ability to counter when their fornicating spouse was the first to file.
Similarly, he seeks to limit the original meaning of “the waiting game” to the sole situation in which both partners mutually agree to the unapproved divorce and then one waits for the other to sin.
The previously-recognized and accepted meanings of these terms clearly identify brother Haile (and those who teach similarly) as proponents of the “waiting game.” Moreover these terms would not recognize those who teach as I do (that a put away one has no ability to “put away”) as “race to the courthouse” proponents. However, brother Haile’s redefinitions seek to rewrite the historical meanings of these terms to his advantage.
“You asked where the Bible speaks of one putting away his marriage vows. The Bible speaks of one putting away his mate by refusing to fulfill his marriage vows (Matt. 19:5, 6). Where does the Bible speak of one putting away his mate by putting space between himself and his mate?” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Third Response (12-29-03)]
“As brother Reeves said about Greg Gwin’s son, in the Hopkinsville debate, he has the concept of a box that contains ‘put-away’ people. He sees being ‘put away’ as a branded condition, not as a consequence of someone else’s action.” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“It appears that brother Gwin has been so concerned with Luke 16:18 and the so-called put-away status that he has forgotten all about the putting-away authorization given in Matthew 19:9!” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“In the second alleged ‘provision,’ brother Gwin charges us with adding the proviso allowing a woman to repudiate her fornicator-husband even if he had already ‘divorced’ her. But, is this really a human provision? Matthew 19:9 allows an innocent spouse to put away his fornicator-mate and marry another. Jesus did not teach that an innocent spouse may put away his fornicator-mate and marry another provided that the fornicator has not already taken some godless divorce action against him! This is brother Gwin's provision. It is unconscionable that brother Gwin has falsely accused some of us as he has. He has no real argument - he has merely accuses us of that of which he is guilty.” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“Brother Gwin derides the notion of an innocent spouse being able to reject his fornicator-mate following a ‘divorce.’ Though it is obvious that brother Gwin sees this ‘divorce’ as something different and distinct from rejection, he did not say what he actually means by the word ‘divorce.’” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“By criticizing those who teach that the innocent spouse may put away a fornicator-mate on the grounds of the fornication that was committed after the ungodly divorcer’s unapproved ‘divorce’ action, brother Gwin implies that fornication is rendered irrelevant on the basis that it was committed after the godless mate had already departed from his innocent mate. Hence, another of brother Gwin’s provisos! He teaches that a mate’s fornication is relevant PROVIDED that it is committed before the fornicator ‘divorces,’ rejects or leaves the innocent party.” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“Our statement, ‘there are as many puttings-away as there are persons putting away,’ is axiomatic. You don’t like our obvious statement of fact because you don’t like the idea of a certain category of persons, ‘the put-away wife,’ being able to accomplish a putting-away.” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“In questioning our statement, that "both mates made their vows, and now both can disavow," Greg, are you implying that one of the two parties can make the vows for both, and that one can disavow for both? Does that work for both marriage and divorce?” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“Jesus taught that the innocent spouse may put away his mate for fornication and marry another. Greg Gwin teaches that such is true provided that the innocent spouse was not previously divorced. He will not accept Jesus teaching unless his proviso is inserted! And he has the gall to accuse others of adding provisos!” Tim Haile [Good Question: “Who Is Adding Provisos?;” Bible Banner (12-10-03)]
“Paul’s concern here is not over the status of dead husbands; he is speaking of the consequence if a woman marries another man while her husband yet lives.
The Greek word for ‘husband’ in Romans 7:2 is the same word for ‘man’ in verse 3. The only difference is that the ‘husband’ (man) was her (possessive pronoun) man, and the other man was not her man. He was ‘another’ (Gr. heteros) man to whom she was not bound. In order to explain the nature of the marriage bond, the Holy Spirit, using a subjunctive construction, speaks of the woman’s husband as ‘her man.’” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Second Response (11-17-03)]
“His sexual relationship with this put-away woman was adulterous, not because he married a woman whose husband had beaten her to repudiation before committing adultery against her, but because her husband had not committed adultery against her at all.
Jesse, you should try your sequence theory on Mark 10:11-12. You will find yourself having to admit the ability of a woman to put away her husband after she has already been put away by him! Of course, I reiterate my objection to the sequencing of all actions in these passages. I am merely showing the consequences of your argument.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Second Response (11-17-03)]
“I deny that a godless mate’s fornication is rendered irrelevant merely because it is committed after he has already departed from his innocent mate. The rejection of one’s innocent mate does not eliminate that innocent mate’s right to do what Jesus said he can do (Matt. 19:9a).” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s Second Response (11-17-03)]
“According to these widely used translations, the man in verse 11 commits adultery ‘against her.’ The ‘her’ cannot be the other woman; it must refer to the man’s bound wife. Thus, the man’s adultery is said to be against his wife even though it was committed after he had put her away.” Tim Haile [Mark 10:11, 12: Greek Texts, Pronouns and Antecedents; Bible Banner, Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (11-1-03)]
Even if the Lord had stated that the adultery was “against” the original spouse, where does He authorize a second “putting away” and remarriage for the put away victim of wrongful divorcement (cf. II Peter 1:3)? After Jesus irrefutably taught that a man has the ability to accomplish an unapproved sundering of his marriage (Matthew 19:6; Luke 16:18), he also revealed the consequence of remarriage to another by the one who was put away under such conditions: “and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 19:9; cf. Luke 16:18). Hence, the only authorized alternatives after an unapproved divorce are to reconcile (I Corinthians 7:11) or become a eunuch “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake” (Matthew 19:12a; I Corinthians 7:11). “He that is able to receive it, let him receive it” (Matthew 19:12b; cp. w. I Corinthians 4:6; II John 9)!
Mark 10:11-12 (or any other text for that matter) says absolutely nothing regarding a second divorce and authorized remarriage to “another” for the one who is wrongfully put away, when adultery transpires AFTER the fact of divorcement (cf. Acts 15:24; Galatians 1:6-9).
The Bible teaches that when one commits fornication / adultery, they sin “against” various persons and things. David’s adultery constituted sin against God (II Samuel 12:13) as well as against Bathsheba and Uriah, fornication is a sin against one’s own body (I Corinthians 6:18), homosexuality is a sin against nature (Romans 1:26), and there are sins which become sins against the brethren (cf. I Corinthians 8:12), especially when they are of a public nature (cf. Ephesians 5:3).
As we consider the assorted sins “against” others when one commits fornication / adultery, it is clear that inspiration is revealing the harm that such a sin causes to God, ourselves, and others. I would accept the implication that subsequent adultery after the fact of wrongful divorcement would also be a sin “against” one’s bound mate, but to assert that Mark 10:11 “must refer to the man’s bound wife” is not only without merit, it is wrong.
Moreover, this in no way authorizes a second putting away which is not revealed, regardless of what seems “right” in our own eyes (Cp. Deuteronomy 12:8 w. 13:18; Proverbs 14:12).
In spite of brother Tim’s bold assertion that “The ‘her’ cannot be the other woman; it must refer to the man’s bound wife,” in his conclusion he wrote, “However, if it is incorrectly translated, and the adultery is ‘with’ the ‘another,’ rather than ‘against’ the ‘wife,’ it does not detract from my position.”
“Some brethren are teaching that a man’s adultery is rendered totally irrelevant if it is committed after his departure from his wife or after he has taken some ungodly divorce action against her. Not so! According to Mark 10:11, the man’s adultery is still against his bound wife even when it is committed after he puts her away. According to Matthew 19:9a, fornication provides the scriptural cause that allows the innocent spouse to put away his guilty mate with God’s approval. Thus, the put-away wife of Mark 10:11 has the God-given right to put away her adulterous husband and marry another without committing adultery.” Tim Haile [Mark 10:11, 12: Greek Texts, Pronouns and Antecedents; Bible Banner, Also sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (11-1-03)]
“Feel free to share my responses to you with any and all whom you choose.” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s First Response (10-26-03)]
“The Bible uses the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to refer to the marriage bond:” Tim Haile [Haile-Jenkins Study, Divorce & Remarriage – Haile’s First Response (10-26-03)]
Evidently, brother Haile is unaware of several passages to the contrary: Acts 5:9 says that Ananias was dead when Peter stated, “the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door” (emp. jhb). Matthew 22:24-30; Romans 7:3 and I Corinthians 7:39 clearly teach that, upon the death of one spouse, the marriage is dissolved. Yet, in such cases, the Bible uses the terms, “husband” and “wife” in reference to both the partner who died and the remaining spouse.
Similarly, in John 4:15-18, although the Lord asked the woman to summon her “husband,” Jesus and the woman later agreed that the man she was with was not really her husband. Moreover, in John 4:18 the Lord said to this woman, “For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband.”
Cf. II Sam. 12:15, “And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick.” Cp. w. II Sam. 11:26; 12:9-10
Cf. Mt. 22:24-25, “Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.” – Jeff
“It is argued that once this relationship is severed then no subsequent putting-away right or possibility remains. In his debate with Bill Reeves, Joel Gwin expressed his position this way:
‘Neither can you put away once you’ve been put away. The marriage is already dissolved. There’s nothing remaining to put asunder (Matthew 19:6).’
Brother Gwin taught that once the physical union is broken ‘nothing’ remains to be broken! Brother Gwin is wrong. God binds married people to their vows, promises and commitments. These are not ‘dissolved’ just because one whimsically decides to depart from his bound mate! Brother Gwin and others make an unscriptural application of Matthew 19:6 when they attempt to use it this way.” Tim Haile [Putting-Away: What or Whom?; Bible Banner, Also posted on Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
“Some leave their mates with no intention of pursuing another sexual relationship, but end up doing so anyway. Jesus did not condition the innocent person’s putting-away right upon how much time passes between the godless mate’s departure, and his committing fornication. Those who bind some arbitrary time frame for the putting-away are the ones guilty of ‘adding to God’s law.’” Tim Haile [Putting-Away: What or Whom? (Bible Banner; Also posted on Bible Matters 10-9-03)]
“The above author then said that Jesus taught the right of remarriage only to the innocent party in a case where the marriage is sundered for the cause of fornication. No. Jesus taught the right of remarriage for the innocent party who puts away his mate (wife or husband) for fornication. Jesus said nothing about the status of the ‘marriage.’ The godless party may have already broken the physical ‘one-flesh’ relationship.” Tim Haile [Putting-Away: What or Whom?; Bible Banner, Also posted on Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
“Other writers could be cited who argue that the innocent person’s putting-away rights are based upon the condition and status of the physical marriage relationship, but the above are sufficient to make the point. This position is wrong for several reasons:
1. It ignores the status of the bound relationship (Rom. 7:2-3), and emphasizes the status of the physical relationship (more on this later).
2. It ignores the fact that two people remain ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ even after one has departed from the other (Mk. 6:17; 1 Cor. 7:11).
3. It conditions the innocent person’s putting-away rights, not on his mate’s fornication, as Jesus taught (Matt. 19:9a), but on the condition and status of the physical marriage relationship.
4. It conditions the innocent person’s exercise of his God-given putting-away right, upon the godless actions of one who deals treacherously against his mate (Mal. 2:14).
5. It conditions the sexually innocent person’s putting-away right upon the physical location of his fornicator-mate. Some hold the view that the only time an innocent person can put-away his fornicator-mate is when that fornication is committed while the couple remains in the same house, and while the marriage relationship remains in good standing. Jesus did not condition an innocent person’s repudiation rights upon whether or not his mate still loved him, or was friendly to him, or was still fulfilling his marital obligations to him. He conditioned the innocent’s putting-away right upon his mate’s fornication!” Tim Haile [Putting-Away: What or Whom?; Bible Banner, Also posted on Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
“Notice what happens when we use Bible terms and definitions in addressing the question of who or what Jesus says is ‘put-away’ in the sundering of a marriage.
1. The Bible uses the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ (possessive of ‘man’ and ‘woman’) to refer to a bound marital relationship:
a. Even though the woman in 1 Corinthians 7:11 had departed (chorizo) from him, and was described as ‘unmarried,’ the man from whom the woman departed was still called her ‘husband.’ Romans 7:2-3 makes the same point. Paul said a woman became an adulteress by marrying another man while her ‘husband’ still lived. The word husband emphasizes the bound relationship, or marriage bond.
b. Even though Herodias had married Herod, she was still Philip’s ‘wife’ (Mark 6:17). The word wife emphasizes the bound relationship, or marriage bond.
2. When the Bible speaks of ‘putting-away’ (apoluo) in the context of marriage, it speaks of what one does to his bound mate, his wife or husband:
a. In Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9, Mark 10:11 and Luke 16:18, Jesus spoke of a man putting away his wife.
b. In Mark 10:12, Jesus spoke of a woman putting away her husband.
Our conclusion is undeniable: When Jesus spoke of putting-away, in the context of marriage, He spoke of an action taken against one’s bound mate, not just the breaking of a physical union. Putting-away involves far more than mere spatial separation. It involves the breaking of one’s marital vows and commitments. It is the rejection and repudiation of one’s bound mate. It is often the case that the godless mate has already departed, putting space between himself and his sexually innocent spouse. In such cases, that spatial separation has no effect upon the innocent person’s right to put the fornicator away and marry another (Matt. 19:9a).” Tim Haile [Putting-Away: What or Whom?; Bible Banner, Also posted on Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
Once the “one flesh” relationship is broken by one or both, it is terminated. Innocent or guilty, neither can “put away” a mate who is already “away,” nor can either party “depart from” the other who is already long gone. The post-divorce “putting away” theory is absolutely unbiblical.
Brother Don Martin wrote a reply to Tim’s article to Bible Matters (10-9-03) and stated:
“Tim makes too much of the use of ‘husband’ and ‘wife.’ It is true that one can be married and bound to another (cp. Rom. 7: 2, 3). Notice, though, that Paul said that while she was bound to her first husband, she was ‘married to another’ (Rom. 7: 3). Regarding the original andri etero (‘another man,’ KJV), Marshall in the Nestle Greek-English Interlinear text has ‘to a different husband.’ Was she bound to this ‘different husband’? No, because she was bound to the first ‘husband.’ Notwithstanding, both men, the one to whom she was maritally bound and the ‘different husband’ are called her ‘husbands.’ The truth of the matter is ‘marriage’ and ‘husband’ do not necessarily imply a bond.” Don Martin [“What Is Put Away?” A Reply; Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
Concluding his “Reply,” brother Martin wrote:
“Tim has utterly confused, intermingled, and equivocated terms, concepts, and acts. I am truly sorry that Tim persists in this teaching. Do not be deceived, Tim’s teaching is the opposite of what Jesus said.
‘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’ (Matt. 19).
Here is what some brethren are teaching:
‘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 is o.k.’ (Matt. 19).” Don Martin [“What Is Put Away?” A Reply; Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
“By limiting ourselves to the language of the New Testament we are forced to believe and teach that as long as an innocent mate has a ‘husband’ or a ‘wife,’ that innocent mate has the right to put away his husband or wife on the grounds of fornication. This is what Matthew 19:9a teaches. That’s all I teach.” Tim Haile [Putting-Away: What or Whom?; Bible Banner, Also posted on Bible Matters (10-9-03)]
“Did Jesus put a time-limit on when the fornication had to be committed in order for it to be a factor in his divine right to repudiate and to remarry? Did he specify that the fornication must be prior to something and not after it? No, he did not.” Bill Reeves [Whose Putting-Away?; Bible Banner (10-8-03)]
“I have seen your up-dates to your web site from time to time but do not have the time to read all of them. In fact, I have read little of what is there. I do not have the time. I do not see how you have the time to spend on such and do the work of gospel preaching. However, from one that I did read you quoted Ron Halbrook from a sermon he preached in Wilkesville, OH, on 6/14/90, in which he says:
‘And so, in conclusion from this (1 Cor. 7:11, 15 jhb) we learn that unscriptural divorce releases neither party from marriage. When you have an unscriptural divorce, as men count it, it’s not so with God. That bond is still in tact. And that little piece of paper is nothing in the sight of God. Just as well use it as Kleenex and blow your nose and drop it in the toilet. It doesn’t mean a thing to God. God’s law rules over the laws of men.’
When I read that, I may be dense, but I couldn’t believe anyone would disagree with that. I wondered why you would take exception to it. Questions: (1) Do you believe that when two people unscripturally divorce that God recognizes their sinful action? The flip side of that coin would be - do you believe when two people unscripturally marry that God recognizes their piece of paper? If God recognizes it, how could they be living in adultery? (2) Do you believe that ‘God’s law rules over the laws of men?’ or Do you believe that ‘man’s law rules over the laws of God?’ Which is it?” Tom O’Neal [E-Mail Letter (9-28-03)]
My response to brother O’Neal was as follows:
“In regards to your take on the Wilkesville, OH quote, you can find the answer to your questions on my website. There, you will find numerous writings which explain my recognition that God does not approve of marriages by scripturally ineligible people, nor divorces of bound people for causes other than fornication. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that He ‘recognizes’ them. (Scriptural proof that God ‘recognizes’ an unapproved marriage is found in Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18 and Romans 7:3: ‘So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married (emp. jhb) to another man...’ Similarly, scriptural proof that He also ‘recognizes’ unapproved divorces is found in I Corinthians 7:10-11: ‘...Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband:...’.) Please see: It Is Nothing”
[Dear reader, if God does not “recognize” actions which are taken in violation of His law, then He would not even “recognize” the cause (fornication) for the lawful breakup of an original marriage, for fornication is a violation of His law! Additionally, if it is true that God does not “recognize” the “sinful action” taken when “two people unscripturally divorce” (as brother O’Neal suggests above), then logic dictates that when either of these “two people” commit fornication, it would provide “scriptural grounds” for the other party to “put away” for the cause of fornication and remarry another!? It is irrefutable that consistent application of this reasoning/argumentation to all scripturally unapproved divorces (whether only one - or both parties agree to the sinful divorce) necessarily leads to the classic waiting game.]
“Actually there can be a person putting away before a civil divorce, and afterwards a second person may be doing his own, singular, putting-away.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“In a given scenario, there can be ‘two puttings-away’ for the simple reason that there can be TWO PERSONS putting away, each one doing his own putting-away, and that one time! But only one can be approved of God: that of the innocent’s putting-away of the fornicator-mate.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Mk. 10:11 is not used to ‘promote a second (post-civil-divorce) putting away,’ as we are wrongfully charged, but to show that a husband who puts away his wife for just any cause, and then marries another, is committing adultery against the wife that he repudiated. She now has the cause of fornication for which she may exercise the divine right to repudiate him and to remarry.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“It matters not WHEN the adultery takes place (whether before or after a civil divorce)! Both spouses are bound to each other until God releases the innocent one from the bond of marriage. (God does that, not some pagan judge at a courthouse). He releases only the innocent one, if that one chooses to repudiate the fornicator-mate and to remarry” (emp. his). Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“I do not put the ‘prerequisite’ of ‘opposition’ in the equation. But, if the innocent party does not oppose the putting away action of his spouse, it could be interpreted as consensual action. If both consent to the putting-away, both are guilty of sin, violating Jesus’ command (Mt. 19:6; see 5:32), and neither would be permitted to remarry” (emp. his). Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“It is everything but human wisdom to understand that by implication Jesus teaches in Mt. 19:9a that the innocent spouse may repudiate the fornicator-mate and remarry. Jesus puts no time-restraints nor provisos to his permission; just some brethren do that!” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Whether the spouse fornicates while living with the mate, or after rejecting (repudiating) his mate, is not an issue mandated by Jesus. What He permits is the repudiation and remarriage of the innocent spouse who has the cause of fornication to do so (Mt. 19:9a).” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“First of all, I commend my brother for clarifying that the marriage that is put asunder is the physical relationship (the one-flesh relationship). Man chooses to form the physical relationship called marriage, which entails vows, promises, commitment, but God is the one who binds him and his wife to their covenant to live in that physical relationship. Man controls the physical relationship of marriage, and his vows; God controls the marriage bond.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Put away means repudiate, and repudiate means reject. Vows were made by both spouses when they married, and both now can exercise their rejection of those vows. In marriage, one does not vow for both, and in putting asunder the marriage relationship one cannot disavow for both!” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Bro. Rader agrees with Bro. Belknap on this point, but Bro. Rader does not draw lines of fellowship over the issue!” (emp. his). Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“What is there is that the husband who repudiates his wife and marries again commits adultery against her. The principle found in Jesus’ words in Mat. 19:9a is that the innocent may repudiate the fornicating spouse and remarry. So, this applies to her!
The civil procedure brethren bring up a different scenario and then try to inject that scenario into the scenario that Jesus addressed, and then ask: Where did Jesus say so and so?” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
[Ironically, in his rejoinder, Brother Reeves tries to “inject” Mark 10:11 into the teaching of Matthew 19:9a. These scriptures address two different scenarios – one that mentions post-divorce fornication (Mark 10:11) and authorizes nothing subsequent to it, and another that authorizes putting away for pre-divorce fornication (Matthew 19:9a). Dear reader, who is the one to bring up “a different scenario and then try to inject that scenario into the scenario that Jesus addressed”?]
“To answer Bro. Phillips’ question: She may now exercise the prerogative or permission that Jesus gave her. As he repudiated her, she repudiates him! God did not release him on his repudiation, but he does on her’s.
The verb, put away (APOLUO), involves more than mere physical separation. It also means, ‘repudiate’. The marriage bond involves vows and commitment as well as physical union. So, when the faithful wife has fornication committed against her, she may repudiate, or reject, the fornicating husband, and thus exercise her right to be loosed by God from that commitment and to marry again.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Mk. 10:11 supposes the case of a husband that puts away his innocent wife and remarries! The so-called ‘waiting game’ involves a different scenario, one in which a husband and wife consensually divorce (separate), defraud one another, and wait until one of the two fornicates.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Jesus nowhere speaks of ‘civil divorce’, how much less of ‘post-civil-divorce’. It is Bro. Belknap that makes ‘civil divorce’ synonymous with ‘putting away’, not Jesus.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Jesus treats of putting away for any cause (and so no fornication is committed in this scenario, and neither spouse may remarry), but the issue that divides Bro. Belknap and others is a scenario in which fornication, or adultery, is committed after a ‘civil divorce’ (of which Jesus says nothing!), and that adultery is committed against the innocent one.
Who ‘perpetrates an unlawful divorce,’ and who ‘is the recipient of that action,’ has nothing to do with the issue. That which gives the innocent spouse the right to put away and remarry is the presence of a particular CAUSE: that of fornication! Jesus talks about the ‘cause;’ our civil procedure brother is all exercised over legal procedures and the action of ‘one who perpetrates an unlawful divorce’.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Fornication is never inconsequential! Its terribleness is the same whether committed before or after some civil procedure in the courts of men. It is THE cause whereby God permits the innocent spouse to repudiate the guilty mate and to remarry, and what some ungodly spouse does in unlawfully putting away his mate does not magically make fornication now irrelevant and inconsequential.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“There is no fornication committed in Mt. 5:32 and 19:9 prior to the husband’s putting away. Nothing is said in Mt. 5:32 about the husband committing fornication BEFORE he puts away his wife, and in Mt. 19:9 the fornication (adultery), committed by the husband, by marrying again, is AFTER he puts away his innocent wife. This is the fornication that serves as the cause for which the innocent, put-away wife may repudiate the fornicating spouse and remarry.” Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“Does an innocent spouse become any less an innocent spouse just because his mate got a civil divorce in the courts of men. He is innocent before and after anything that the fornicating mate might do. The innocent spouse, put away for any cause by his mate, in Jesus’ scenario, is still innocent, but since no fornication was committed, that spouse may not repudiate and remarry. But the innocent spouse of another scenario, of that in which there is fornication committed against him, may repudiate and remarry because he has the cause required by Jesus for one to be released from the marriage bond. Simple, isn’t it?” (emp. his). Bill Reeves [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“The innocent spouse may exercise his God-given right only ‘at such a time’ that he has the cause of fornication upon which to act. That scriptural cause is not abrogated or abolished simply because of some ungodly action of an ungodly mate in an ungodly court of men.” Bill Reeves, [Review of Jeff Belknap’s “Examination of Mark 10:11-12;” Bible Banner (9-19-03)]
“It is sinful to misrepresent and insult an opponent in controversy. This does nothing but create prejudice. Prejudice is a mighty poor substitute for sincere Bible study. In fact, prejudice is one of the strongest weapons in the devil’s arsenal.” Tim Haile, [“Mental Divorcers” and the “Donkey Club;” Bible Banner (9-11-03)]
[Brother Haile needs to practice what he teaches. In spite of the fact that on several occasions, I had publicly explained why the charge that my position (and that of others) does not allow a fornicator who puts away for fornication to remarry, brother Haile subsequently insinuated that I believed such wickedness would be lawful. Please see: Enough With The Strawmen (a response to Tim Haile’s article)
Moreover, perhaps brother Haile ought to have reminded brother Reeves of this, before publishing brother Reeves’ review of my article regarding Mark 10:11. In it, brother Reeves called me “our civil procedure brother.” Additionally, the Truth Magazine website had posted a debate ad that brother Haile had written, which named those who would agree with the proposition affirmed by brother Gwin as the “civil procedure brethren.” (Please see: Tim Haile’s Debate Ad, in which the first line of the announcement states: “This debate will specifically deal with the issue that the Civil Procedure brethren erroneously refer to as “mental divorce” or a “the second putting-away” (emp. jhb).
(I am happy to report that after receiving numerous complaints regarding the announcement’s biased wording, the editor of the Truth Magazine site removed the offensive portion in the first line of the announcement.)
Unlike the term “mental divorce,” which was coined decades ago and used to identify the doctrine of post-divorce “putting away” and subsequent “lawful?” remarriage (via brethren such as Gene Frost; Connie Adams; Donnie Rader; H. E. Phillips; et al), the label of “civil procedure brethren” originated with brothers Haile (and associates). The unfortunate thing, is not that they have given a name to those who oppose them, but that the name they chose to describe us, is one that does not even identify the genuine differences between us (Jesus’ supposed approval for a person whom He called “put away” to employ a post-divorce “putting away” and remarry another).
“Calling one a ‘mental-divorcer’ does not answer biblical arguments for the unconditional right of an innocent person to put away his mate for fornication and marry another (Matt. 19:9a), but it does prejudice minds against this truth.” Tim Haile [“Mental Divorcers” and the “Donkey Club;” Bible Banner (9-11-03)]
“Others and myself are defending what we firmly believe to be the Truth on the subject of the categorical right of an innocent person to do what Jesus said he can do. Let our opponents meet us on the honorable ground of controversy. Let them answer our arguments.” Tim Haile [“Mental Divorcers” and the “Donkey Club;” Bible Banner (9-11-03)]
“Brother Gwin’s ‘sequence’ argument is vital to the support and survival of his position on biblical putting-away. Without his alleged ‘sequence’ of events in Matthew 19:9, his position falls.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Brother Gwin describes from Matthew 19:9 what he calls ‘a clear sequence of events.’ Actually, what is clear is that brother Gwin has not carefully considered either the context or emphasis of Matthew 19:9.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Greg Gwin sequences the events of two, separate, independent clauses, using the word ‘follows’ as if it were in the actual Greek text. I found his use of this word interesting in view of what some of his associates have done. We usually see the insertion of words ‘then’ or ‘after’ into Matthew 19:9, in order to construct this contrived ‘sequence.’ In fact, Greg’s own son, Joel Gwin, in his debate with Bill Reeves, used the word ‘then’ to construct this alleged ‘sequence.’ It generally goes something like this:
1. A man unlawfully puts away his wife.
2. ‘Then, after that,’ the man marries another woman.
3. ‘Then, after that,’ another man marries the put-away woman, thus making him an adulterer, and her an adulteress by implication.
Although he doesn’t use the words ‘then’ and ‘after,’ brother Gwin constructs the same sequence by using the words ‘follow’ and ‘follows.’ He views all of the statements of action in both clauses of Matthew 19:9 as actual chronological events. I remind the reader that this ‘sequencing’ of all of these statements of action in both clauses of Matthew 19:9 is absolutely vital to the survival of their doctrine. If their sequence argument fails, so does their entire position on the alleged ‘status’ of the put-away woman.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Brother Gwin and others never test their ‘sequence’ argument using Mark’s account of the Lord’s response to the Pharisees. There is a good reason for this. To do so, is to expose their ‘sequence theory’ as fallacious. Remember, Matthew 19:3-9 parallels Mark 10:2-12. These passages refer to the same teaching occasion in the life of Jesus. He was answering the Pharisees’ question about whether or not it is lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause (cp. Matt. 19:3 with Mk. 10:2).” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“By sequencing Mark 10:11-12 the same way Greg Gwin sequences Matthew 19:9, the put-away wife ends up with the ability to also ‘put away’ her husband!” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Perhaps brother Greg Gwin will now take his son aside and explain to him from the ‘sequence’ in Mark 10:11-12, that there is indeed ‘something left’ to put-away! Because that is exactly what Jesus said the woman of this passage did!” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“It should be obvious to the reader that I flatly reject the chronological ‘sequencing’ of all statements of action in Matthew 19:9 and Mark 10:11-12. By applying brother Gwin’s Matthew 19:9 ‘sequence’ argument to the parallel passage in Mark 10:11-12, I have made what is known as an ad hominem argument. This is an argument ‘to the man.’ Jesus did this on certain occasions (e.g. “What man is there of you?” - Matt. 7:9).” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“As often as one reads and hears charges and whisperings of ‘mental divorcers,’ he would think the brotherhood was being overrun by them! However, I do not know who these people are, nor have I read from their pens. It is therefore obvious that brethren, like Greg Gwin, have adopted a different definition for the words of the label, than the meaning that those words logically contain. I would not be concerned about brother Gwin’s use of the label if it were not for the fact that he applied it to the divorce position that categorically allows an innocent spouse to put-away his fornicator-mate and marry another, which position I unashamedly hold and boldly teach.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Fornication gives the innocent spouse the cause for repudiating his mate with God’s approval. In other words, God allows the innocent party to break the vows and commitments he previously made to that mate when he married, thus freeing the innocent to marry another. Brother Gwin’s position binds the innocent party to his fornicating-mate all of the days of his life, if that innocent person was beaten to the act of putting-away by an ungodly mate. He, like some other writers on this subject, does not understand that Matthew 19:9 is not concerned with who did the putting-away first, it is concerned with who has the right to put away.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“In restating and reinstating God’s original marriage law (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6), Jesus said that the eligible man and woman would ‘leave’ father and mother and would ‘cleave’ to each other and would form a ‘one-flesh’ relationship. Thus, one physically accepts the other as his mate and partner. This involves the sexual relationship (1 Cor. 7:3-5). In putting away a mate, one dismisses from the house (see Thayer on apoluo), or departs from (chorizo, 1 Cor. 7:11 and Matthew 19:6) his mate. Emphasis is upon the physical rejection of the mate. As he ‘left’ father and mother in order to cleave to his mate, he now ‘leaves’ that mate. This is not a mere thought process. ‘Apoluo’ is a verb of action. No, I have not done as others, and introduced a long list of things that I personally believe must be done in order for one to repudiate his mate, but I have demonstrated from the Scriptures that putting-away is more than a mere act of the mind.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
Question: How can a put away person dismisses from the house (see Thayer on apoluo), or depart from (chorizo, 1 Cor. 7:11 and Matthew 19:6) his mate who is “away”? Please look up the definition of the word “away.”
“The report that I believe in ‘mental divorce’ is a slanderous report. Furthermore, it is dishonest to charge one with being a ‘mental divorcer’ just because he teaches that two married people both have the ability to reject each other! If two people can vow to each other, two people can disavow each other.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
There is absolutely NO scripture that teaches that an “unmarried” (I Corinthians 7:11) person who “is divorced” (Matthew 5:32b) / “put away” (Matthew 19:9b) may subsequently “‘disavow’ for fornication” and marry another? Assertions are not the word of God!
“And, if one is a ‘mental divorcer’ merely because he teaches that biblical putting-away can be done by the innocent party, even in cases where he was already unlawfully ‘divorced’ by his godless mate, then again, Jesus must also be a ‘mental divorcer.’ Why? Because Matthew 19:9a categorically offers the right of repudiation to the innocent party whose mate is guilty of fornication.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Greg Gwin has joined a list of others in twisting and adding to the Scriptures on the subject of putting-away. His ‘sequence’ argument is fabricated only by adding the words ‘follow,’ ‘follows,’ and ‘followed by’ to the actual text of Matthew 19:9a. No one denies that some things are logically sequenced in Matthew 19:9a. A man must first be married to a woman in order for him to ‘put’ her ‘away.’ And a man must first ‘put away’ his wife before he can marry another. However, sequence is not what Jesus emphasized in His suppositional case in Matthew 19:9.” Tim Haile [The Matthew 19:9 Sequence – A Response to Greg Gwin; Bible Banner (9-6-03)]
“Please tell me what part of Jesus’ teaching an innocent person disobeys (thus sins) when, after being divorced by a fornicating mate, that innocent person repudiates his/her mate and marries another?” Dudley Ross Spears, [Re: Reply to Tim Haile’s review of my post (original article by Don Martin), Bible Matters (8-26-03)]
“Brethren, let us not go down a path of division over unspecified procedures added to God’s word. Let us unite on principles plainly affirmed by Scripture and forbear with one another, allowing individual judgments regarding applications left generic in Scripture” (emp. his) Harry Osborne [Are we Making Another Mishnah on Divorce?; Sent by Harry Osborne to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (8-24-03)]
“We must free our minds from the prejudice that has been attached to the alleged ‘put-away status.’ One actually aligns himself with 1st century Pharisees when he allows divorce procedure to triumph over divorce cause. Jesus’ divorce teaching is not for the purpose of empowering godless and treacherous men to nullify the repudiation rights of their innocent wives. It is just the opposite! His teaching, in Matthew 19:9a, empowers the innocent, against whom fornication has been committed.
None of the above passages teach the concept of a race-to-repudiation. Matthew 19:9a teaches the right of an innocent person to put away a fornicator-mate for the cause of his fornication and marry another. It is not a matter of who first rejects whom: It is a matter of who has the right to reject!” Tim Haile [“Put-Away” Versus “Putting-Away;” Bible Banner (8-18-03)]
Here, Tim assumes that he has the inside “scoop” regarding the “purpose” of God’s divorce and remarriage law. Thus, since God’s clear words, “and he who marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery,” do not fit Tim’s assumed “purpose” for God’s divorce and remarriage regulations, he does not accept them at face value. Instead, brother Haile has found a meaning that fits his own concept of God’s purpose for His law. [God’s word indeed “empowers” the innocent, “married” person (I Corinthians 7:10; cf. Matthew 19:6, 9; Mark 10:9-12) to put away their mate for fornication and remarry another; while He characterizes remarriage “to another” by the “put away,” as “adultery.”]
God’s law is righteousness, whether or not it seems to be fair or good to us (Ezekiel 18:29). It is not ours to assume the purpose behind His word – and interpret what He said according to that assumption, when it is not revealed (cf. Isaiah 8:20; I Peter 4:11). Dear reader, the Bible never infers that an “innocent person” has the power to “put away” after they have become a “put away” person! See The “Innocent” Party
Luke 18:9 speaks of the Pharisees, “which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others.” In reality, who is aligning himself with the 1st century Pharisees here?
“We must free our minds from the prejudice that has been attached to the alleged ‘put-away status.’ One actually aligns himself with 1st century Pharisees when he allows divorce procedure to triumph over divorce cause. Jesus’ divorce teaching is not for the purpose of empowering godless and treacherous men to nullify the repudiation rights of their innocent wives. It is just the opposite! His teaching, in Matthew 19:9a, empowers the innocent, against whom fornication has been committed.” Tim Haile [“Put-Away” Versus “Putting-Away;” Bible Banner (8-18-03)]
“I hesitate to describe it by some of the designations given to it, but basically whether or not one who has been ‘put away’ for no scriptural reason is deprived of the right to later put away a spouse who has been clearly guilty of fornication” (all emp. his). Dudley Ross Spears [Invitation notice to the “Third Thursday Meeting in Clarksville” (where DRS preached) to hear brother Tim Haile speak on the subject (8-4-03)]
“Brother Kay’s real problem with the quote is the conclusion to which the author of the quote came. This is the meat of the issue right here. The author wrote, ‘When her husband remarried he committed adultery. I contend that the innocent may then ‘put away’ her husband. Reason? That is exactly what Christ said she could do!’” Dudley Ross Spears, [A Response: The Rights of a Put Away Person; Bible Banner (8-1-03)]
“The issue currently being debated is whether or not a sinful divorce and subsequent fornication deprives an innocent party of the right to put away a fornicating mate and then marrying another. That is the issue.” Dudley Ross Spears [A Response: The Rights of a Put Away Person; Bible Banner (8-1-03)]
“Divorce is real and marriage is real, but not all divorces and/or marriages are the same, nor do they come with the same consequences, nor does God approve all of them. A sinful divorce is one where there is a divorce but not for the one and only cause Jesus gave (Matt. 19:9). A sinful divorce has no effect at all on the ‘one flesh’ relationship created by God and called ‘joined together.’ The whole controversy turns on whether the sinful acts of a fornicating mate who was the first to obtain a civil divorce changes the Lord’s will in regard to an innocent person.” Dudley Ross Spears [A Response: The Rights of a Put Away Person; Bible Banner (8-1-03)]
“The phrase ‘committeth adultery against her’ means adultery against his wife – not the woman he married after putting his wife away. The ‘her’ is the ‘she herself’ whom her husband sinfully divorces (verse 11). ‘She herself’ is not the second wife. Neither is the ‘her’ of verse 11.
Verse 11 deals with a man who divorces his wife and marries another woman. It is ‘his’ wife that is divorced and it is ‘he’ who then will ‘marry another’ and the ‘her’ against whom adultery is committed cannot be the ‘another’ – the second wife.
Verse 12 reverses the situation. Now ‘she’ commits adultery against ‘her’ husband by doing the same thing to him. Things are reversed. The ‘she’ that commits adultery (verse 12) is the ‘her’ against whom the husband committed adultery (verse 11). The ‘she’ in verse 12 is not the second woman whom the man sinfully married. Therefore, the second woman is not the ‘her’ against whom a husband committed adultery.” Dudley Ross Spears, [Adultery Against Whom In Mark 10:11?; Bible Banner (6-2-03)]
“Some brethren are very quick to label you as a ‘mental divorcer’ if you disagree with them on the role of civil government in ‘establishing’ marriages and divorces. They accuse you of the ‘mental divorce’ position if you say an innocent person may put away his fornicating mate in the sight of God without the involvement of civil divorce procedure.” Tim Haile, [Was Jesus A “Mental Divorcer?;” Bible Banner (5-6-03)]
Again, the term “mental divorce” was coined decades ago and used to identify the erroneous doctrine of post-divorce “putting away” and subsequent “lawful?” remarriage for those who are put away. Since brother Haile and others are also advocating the same thing, we refer to them by the same identifiable term that previously became known as “mental divorce.” We do so – not because their post-divorce-“putting-away” for fornication is devoid of civil procedure (as brother Haile intimates), but because it advocates a second (post-divorce) “putting away” (of which the Lord “spake nothing,” but of which brother Haile and others speak volumes). This doctrine ultimately results in approval of what Jesus said is “adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18). Moreover, since no one can point to any passage that authorizes a post-divorce “putting away” releasing some from Jesus’ decree that a “put away” person’s remarriage to another is adulterous, it is clear that such a concept both originated and is carried out solely in the minds of men (Cp. w. I Corinthians 4:6; II Corinthians 10:5).
“Those who have followed my writings know my position. I have shown that the word ‘apoluo’ (put away) is not inherently a legal term. It is a term of repudiation. It means simply ‘to loose, to leave, to dismiss or depart.’ In discussing the repudiation of one’s mate, whether approved or unapproved by God, Jesus used a word that has absolutely nothing at all to do with civil courts or judges. Jesus used ‘apoluo’ in Matthew 19:9 in precisely the same way that He used it in other places. Thus, if one is a ‘mental divorcer’ for teaching that civil divorce procedure is not inherent in biblical repudiation, then Jesus is a dreaded ‘mental divorcer!’” Tim Haile, [Was Jesus A “Mental Divorcer?”; Bible Banner (5-6-03)]
Again, all this talk to dissociate civil procedure from putting away is moot. One way or another, when an unlawful repudiation is finalized in a court of law), there is a put away person that we have to contend with – no matter how much brother Haile and others desire to avoid the subject. Whatever procedure one might want to argue can be used to “put away” for fornication after the fact of divorce, is inconsequential. The “put away” is still “put away,” and Jesus said such a person becomes guilty of adultery if they remarry another while their bound spouse lives.
The Greek words translated “putteth away;” “depart;” “leave” and “divorced” (to dissolve the marriage) are generic (i.e. inclusive).
“We are witnessing quite a new twist on the Lord’s divorce teaching. Numerous provisos are being attached to the words of Christ in Matthew 19:9.” Tim Haile, [A New Twist On Biblical “Putting Away”; Bible Matters (5-6-03)]
“Some have mistakenly concluded that the only thing that can be repudiated in divorce is the physical relationship. No, this may be the only thing that an unqualified repudiator can put away. However, Matthew 19:9 plainly teaches that an innocent party may repudiate his fornicating mate on a level that allows the innocent the right of remarriage. The Lord’s permission necessarily implies a loosing of the innocent party from more than just the physical marriage relationship! The innocent is loosed from all commitments and obligations of the marriage, including the marriage bond!” Tim Haile, [A New Twist On Biblical “Putting Away”; Bible Matters (5-6-03)]
“Some have taken an oversimplified approach to Matthew 19:9b, putting a twist on the status of the put away woman. By completely ignoring the context, they conclude that Jesus is teaching that ‘any’ and ‘all’ put away people are banned from remarriage merely upon the basis of their being ‘put away.’ This conclusion disregards the context entirely. Jesus was asked a question about a specific scenario, and He answered that question (Matt. 19:3, 9). Depending upon the activation of the exception clause, the ‘put-away’ woman of Matthew 19:9b was either put away in a divorce not involving fornication, or she was the put-away fornicator. This is why Jesus said she cannot marry another without committing adultery.” Tim Haile, [A New Twist On Biblical “Putting Away”; Bible Matters (5-6-03)]
“What are the marital rights of a woman who has been civilly divorced by her fornicating husband? Some say that she has absolutely no marital rights. What is their reason for concluding such? They respond, “…whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18b). At first thought, this simple response may appear to be an accurate response to the above question. However, it fails to take into consideration all of the factors that are involved in the question. Thus, the Luke 16:18 response is an oversimplified use of the Lord’s words. In Luke 16:18, Jesus was not addressing marriages in which fornication had been committed. One must go elsewhere for that scenario. Matthew 19:9 is the passage that address that scenario. It teaches that the presence of fornication has an affect upon the marital rights of the innocent party. Matthew 19:9 teaches that an innocent person may repudiate his fornicating mate and marry another without committing adultery.” Tim Haile [Does Luke 16:18 Contain “Absolute” Statements?; Bible Matters (4-30-03)]
“He (Don Martin, jhb) is not concerned with scriptural ‘cause.’ He is concerned with whether or not Howard was ‘active’ before the close of the civil divorce process (‘issuance of the civil divorce document’). Where is Don’s requirement taught in Scripture? What verse can be cited that conditions the innocent person’s right to repudiate his sexually immoral mate and remarry, upon his acting *before* the judge drops the gavel? What passage relinquishes the innocent person’s right to the civil court judge? Don offered no passage, and indeed, none can be cited. Don’s reason for telling Howard that he cannot remarry is based upon his observation that the civil ‘process’ had become ‘history.’ Where is Don’s passage? Upon what passage or principle does Don mandate this time limit?” Tim Haile [Reflections On Brother Martin’s Divorce Question; Bible Matters (4-11-03)]
“We have absolutely no business binding any requirement upon anyone that is not expressly bound in Scripture. The judge’s gavel does not regulate the amount of time the innocent has to put-away the guilty fornicator; God does.” Tim Haile [Reflections On Brother Martin’s Divorce Question; Bible Matters (4-11-03)]
“Don makes the tired old mistake of equating biblical ‘putting-away’ with civil divorce procedure. They are not the same. The Greek ‘apoluo’ is not a legal term. It is a term of ‘repudiation’ (see Thayer). Depending upon contextual circumstance, it means ‘to depart, to dismiss, to leave.’ According to Jesus, this can be done without the involvement of judges, lawyers, courts, or 21st century North American civil divorce procedure.” Tim Haile [Reflections On Brother Martin’s Divorce Question; Bible Matters (4-11-03)]
Again, the Greek words translated “putteth away;” “depart;” “leave” and “divorced” (to dissolve the marriage) are generic (i.e. inclusive). Jesus taught that this can be done lawfully (for fornication) or unlawfully (not for fornication).
“Don also makes the mistake of mixing divorce scenarios and consequences in Matthew 19:9. The reason the ‘put-away’ woman of Matthew 19:9b was not permitted to remarry was because no fornication had been committed! Jesus was answering the Pharisees’ question about putting away a mate for ‘every cause.’ Jesus answered that question!” Tim Haile [Reflections On Brother Martin’s Divorce Question; Bible Matters (4-11-03)]
“Brethren, when you look at a controversy arise, and you see that the way people handle it is by boycotting the preaching of those things that have to do with truth, you’ve found, most likely, where the error is. Truth is never afraid to stand up. Truth is never afraid to stand there and have a discussion of truth, to have an open Bible and to study those issues. Truth is always ready to do that. Error is not. Error is going to be something that tries to work behind the back, it’s going to be something that tries to label through unnecessary means, it’s going to be something that takes quotations out of context, attributes things to people that are not so. That’s what error does.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“When you see people who have had a justification of unity in doctrinal diversity, what they’ve gone to is moral relativism.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“Those matters have to do with that there’s one woman and one man that are together for life, that that’s something that there’s one exception - the innocent puts a guilty party away for the cause of fornication - that’s the only reason, and has a right of remarriage. And only then, are we talking about that which is the truth. All opposition to that revealed truth cannot be tolerated. That’s a doctrinal principle that’s involved.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“His focus is upon the godliness of the doctrine that’s there. Adultery is not to be tolerated. Adultery is not to be tolerated because it is the only reason for which there can be a sundering of that marriage, and then, who would be the one, in a doctrine according to godliness, that would have the right to go out there and remarry? A guilty party? Not hardly. An innocent party, who has lived according to godliness, and that’s the point.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“They talked about the procedure, he focused on the effect: the sundering. And yet, some brethren come along and say, ‘No, that putting away means you going out to a divorce court.’ No, it doesn’t. It didn’t mean that in context, it doesn’t mean that now.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“Folks, for the life of me, how in the world can someone calling himself a gospel preacher say that, in answer to what the word of God says very clearly in Matthew 19 that we just looked at. For the life of me, I can’t see that. What I do see, is that somebody’s looking at Matthew 19:9 in the word of God, and somebody is looking at the timeframe, the actions that are out here by civil law. Since when did God give over to civil law the right to declare who’s to take what action, how it’s to be seen, what the time frame is, where it’s to be taken, who’s to rule upon it, how it’s to be ruled upon, how the filing is to take place, when it is, who’s to do it? We don’t find any of that in the word of God.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“What’s the only way we can look at it scripturally? God’s word talks about cause. That’s where we focus, and we leave it there. When one builds a timeframe and says when that judges brings the gavel down, that’s when everything is judged by, and you’ve got to act before that process finishes (by that judge gaveling it), where is that in the word…”. Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
If one agrees that it is possible for a mate to “put away” (and thus, for the subject of his action to become “put away”) for a cause other than fornication, then there is of necessity a definite time at which this occurs. On the other hand, if Harry and other brethren deny that it is possible for one to be put away for a cause other than fornication (as some of their writings imply), then why do they refuse to state their beliefs as to when unlawful divorce really “puts away” and when it does not? This differentiation is crucial, considering Harry’s denial that there is such a thing as a second “putting away.”
“It is not given in the truth. Jesus never specified that. It’s an addition. The idea of the timing, that all of it ends at the gavel of the judge, where’s that found in the word of God? It’s not there, folks. It’s something that simply is not found, it’s an addition.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“…you’ve got to take this civil action, you’ve got to take that civil action, you’ve got to do it before a judge bangs his gavel, or whatever it might be that’s added to the word of God. They’ve taken away from the central point, here’s a doctrine that is according to godliness.” Harry Osborne, [Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy; Preached in Paden City, WV (4-10-03)]
“Thus, Jesus taught that a man and a woman are joined by God in marriage, by public declaration of their intentions, by mutual agreement to be joined in a life-long contract, and by entering a sexual relationship. What role does the court play? None. Our compliance with applicable civil requirements to legalize the marriage is separate from, and in addition to, what is required by God for the marriage itself. Civil courts have no God-given role in establishing marriages. No scripture can be produced showing that they do.” Tim Haile [Where’s The Courthouse?; Sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (3-29-03)]
“A scriptural marriage involves 3 parties: a man, a woman, and God. If a marriage bond is formed, it is formed only as a result of God’s acceptance and approval of the mutual agreement of an eligible man and an eligible woman to enter a marriage covenant (Mal. 2:14). The binding nature of marriage vows obligates the married couple to fulfill their commitments and obligations to each other. Short of either death, or the innocent’s repudiation of a fornicating mate, nothing will cause God to loose the bond by which He joins the married couple. However, it is physically possible for one or both married partners to break their marriage agreement. The marriage bond remains unbroken, though the physical marriage relationship is broken. In such cases, one party, the other party, or both parties are guilty of doing what Jesus condemned: Though God has not loosed the marriage bond, someone has ‘sundered’ the physical marriage relationship. The word ‘asunder’ is from the Greek word chorizo. Thayer says that this word means ‘to separate, divide, part, put asunder, to separate one’s self from, to depart.’ Just as Paul ‘departed’ (chorizo) from Athens in order to go to Corinth, a man may ‘depart’ from his wife, thus ‘sundering’ the marriage relationship. What role does the court play in one’s sundering of his marriage relationship? None. A man departs from his wife, and that without any involvement of the court at all.” Tim Haile [Where’s The Courthouse?; Sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (3-29-03)]
“The result of this ‘departing’ or ‘separating’ (I Cor. 7:10-11, jhb) was that two people became ‘unmarried.’ The word ‘unmarried. is from the Greek agamos, which is simply the negative of ‘marriage.’ Regardless of the kind of language used to convey the thought of this passage, whether literal or accommodative, the fact remains that these two people are ‘separated’ from each other. Their situation required ‘reconciliation’ for it to be corrected. Reconciliation involves a ‘mutual agreement’ to put aside enmity and be restored to friendly relations. What role did God assign the court in classifying one as ‘unmarried?’ None. The one who ‘separates himself’ from his mate has done so regardless of what the court knows or doesn’t know, approves or doesn’t approve!” Tim Haile [Where’s The Courthouse?; Sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (3-29-03)]
“What role did God assign the court in determining marital status? None. What role did God give the court in deciding marital rights? None. Courts do not define what constitutes marriage and divorce. God does. Courts do not decide who is fulfilling marital duties and who is not. God does.” Tim Haile [Where’s The Courthouse?; Sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (3-29-03)]
“Actually, no, the courts are not the problem. Personally, I have never known of an innocent person who has been denied his right by a civil court to remarry. I have never known of a court that even cared whether or not that civilly divorced person remarried. No, my problem is with certain of my brethren who are using civil law to set themselves up as the arbiters and dispensers of divine liberties. They attempt to establish themselves as the regulators and limiters of God-given rights and liberties. These brethren are concerned only with control. They take great pleasure in controlling others. Pride is also a factor. They have a view that is their own, and they are quite proud of it. They also take pride in the fact that others accept their position. The creedal mindset is always divisive and destructive. Sadly, these brethren are not concerned with unity. They are concerned with getting others to accept their own personal scruples. I take my stand with Peter. I judge that it is better to listen to God, rather than men (Acts 4:19).” Tim Haile [Where’s The Courthouse?; Sent out to “Undisclosed-Recipients” (3-29-03)]
“In Acts 23:3, Paul criticized the high priest for pretending to judge him ‘according to the law,’ yet having him smitten ‘contrary to the law.’ Christians should oppose civil injustice. Neither should they comply with civil ordinances that trample over divine laws and liberties.” Tim Haile [When Human Laws Collide With Divine Laws; Bible Banner (3-14-03)]
“It is obvious that most people, including many Christians, are accustomed to identifying marriage and divorce with civil court procedure. To most people, the very mention of the words ‘marriage’ and ‘divorce’ conjure images of a courthouse, with its lawyers, judges, documents and procedures. In fact, the words ‘divorce’ and ‘courthouse’ are inseparable in the minds of many. Just as the Corinthians were accustomed to thinking of ‘idols’ when they heard the word ‘god’ (Acts 17:29), many people in our society automatically think of ‘civil court procedures’ when they think of marriage and divorce.” Tim Haile [Accustomed to ‘Divorce’ Procedure; Bible Banner (3-6-03)]
The words “marrieth” and “putteth away” are generic terms (Jesus used them to include both lawful and unlawful marriages and divorces).
The Master’s use of these types of generic terms make allowances for the different procedures and practices that are set up by and for each and every society. (The Lord never specified what mode of travel one must use to fulfill the great commission. Hence, we recognize that we cannot claim that modern-day cars and airplanes are excluded.)
Just think of how many generic words are used without specification, when we are left to ascertain the category: WINE (fermented or unfermented); SICK (spiritual or physical); CHURCH (local or universal); WATER (fresh or salt); BAPTISM (water or Holy Spirit). What would you think of a person who went to Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; etc. and said that the Bible did “not” specify “water” in those verses, therefore it cannot include that!?
Again, the Biblical use of the word “wine” is generic and denotes both unfermented and fermented grape juice (contextual studies make it possible to determine which type is being referred to). Just because fermented wine is not approved for recreational consumption, we cannot deny that it exists, nor that some people sinfully indulge in it.
Likewise, Biblical use (in Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11; Luke 16:18; et al) of the words “marrieth” and “putteth away” is generic and denotes both lawful marriages and divorces (accomplished through whatever means are applicable to one’s place and time) and unlawful marriages and divorces (via whatever means are applicable to one’s society).
Nevertheless, some ironically deride us for “binding” a procedure that is unspecified, while simultaneously denying that civil law is included among those unspecified procedures capable of accomplishing a repudiation. Of course, they only argue such when the divorce is not for the cause of fornication – and only then, if one spouse does not agree to the unlawful divorce. Why? They tell us that it is because it is unlawful, and God’s law rules over that of men.
This charge - that if one accepts the power of civil government to finalize an unapproved putting away, then he is advocating civil law above the law of God – is scripturally untenable. In God’s word, when two people marry (via whatever unspecified procedure) they are referred to as “married” – even when unapproved of God (Mark 6:17-18; Romans 7:3). Likewise, divorce (via whatever unspecified procedure), even when it is scripturally unapproved, is referred to as “divorced” or “put away.”
The current “…strifes of words” (I Timothy 6:4), regarding civil procedure are distractions from the simple Gospel truth that Christ acknowledged the reality and consequences of lawful and sinful divorces and remarriages. Whatever one believes about civil procedure is inconsequential. It is what one believes about the result of unscriptural divorces that defines our disagreement. Is there scripture to support the contention that a person who is already unscripturally divorced may sunder an already-sundered marriage? That is the question.
“What about ‘divorce?’ Are there passages that specify civil law procedures as the only means by which a person may sunder his marriage or repudiate a mate? Every honest student of the Scriptures knows the answer - it is ‘no’! In the absence of any Scripture, to what, then, do we attribute this linkage? 1 Corinthians 8:7 provides the answer. Men have become accustomed to think of marriage and divorce as legal actions. They have now grown so familiar with the practice that they are uncomfortable with any suggestion that the two are not inherently connected. Much of the present controversy over biblical putting away is the result of people being unable or unwilling to disassociate court rulings from divine acknowledgement and approval.” Tim Haile [Accustomed to ‘Divorce’ Procedure; Bible Banner (3-6-03)]
The Greek words translated “putteth away;” “depart;” “leave” and “divorced” (to dissolve the marriage) are generic (i. e. inclusive). Note some definitions regarding divorce: Some Divorce Definitions
“The question was asked as to whether or not the ‘except for fornication’ clause of Matthew 19:9 applied to the second clause in that verse...Until recently, I had assumed that my additional comments, along with the several points I had already made in my lesson, were sufficient to explain what I meant and did not mean about what the exception clause ‘extended’ to. My remarks were not intended as a diagram of Matthew 19:9. In context, I was referring to how the exception clause would apply to any innocent spouse, once the mate has committed fornication, and that would include the ‘her’ of the second clause of Mt. 19:9.” Tim Haile [Clarification of My Quote; Bible Banner (3-6-03)]
“To the contrary, I embrace the principle set forth by Connie in that article in the following words, ‘It is my conviction that there are only three classes of people who have a right to marry: (1) those who have never been married; (2) those whose companions are dead; and (3) those who have put away a companion for the cause of fornication.’ Like any two brethren, Connie and I occasionally may differ in judgments and opinions on various matters, but there are no vast differences between us and we certainly are not at war. We are united on the principle ‘that there are only three classes of people who have a right to marry: (1) those who have never been married; (2) those whose companions are dead; and (3) those who have put away a companion for the cause of fornication.’ That principle is not true because Connie said it, but because the Bible revealed it.” Ron Halbrook [“Tactics of Error, Triumph of Truth” (9-30-01), Posted to Bible Matters (2-28-03)]
In brother Ron’s “Tactics of Error; Triumph of Truth” article, his professed agreement with brother Adams (about the three classes of people who are eligible to marry; STS, March 1986) is misleading. Why? It is misleading because brother Ron leaves out brother Adams’ words from the same paragraph, which clearly reveal Connie’s condemnation of post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication (which Ron has been advocating for at least two decades)! Rejoinder to “Tactics of Error, Triumph of Truth”
In fact, immediately after brother Adams outlined those three classes of people who have a right to remarry, he stated, “I realize that brother Warnock’s illustration involves fornication, but it is after the fact of divorce and NOT BEFORE. It is very difficult for me to see how this is not in reality the “waiting game” for one waits until the other sins and then claims scriptural cause” (emp. jhb).
“God grants remarriage permission to the one who being innocent of breaking the marriage, and innocent of sexual transgression, repudiates his mate for fornication. This divine law prevails over any human laws, customs, or procedures that may exist where or when one lives.” Tim Haile [The ‘Waiting Game’ Misrepresentation; Bible Banner (2-18-03)]
“Again, in order to be free to marry another, one must be innocent of sundering the marriage, and he must be innocent of fornication. Those who meet these two conditions are allowed by God to repudiate a fornicating mate and marry another (Matt. 19:9). Divorces not involving sexual immorality result in no one having a right to remarry. Passages like Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18 address such scenarios. Where there is no fornication there is no scriptural ground for the right of remarriage for anyone. Of course, these passages do not apply in divorce cases where there is a spouse who is innocent of sundering the marriage and innocent of sexual immorality. In these scenarios, the guilt/innocence principles of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 apply. Jesus granted repudiation rights to that innocent one (Matt. 19:9). These principles are not complicated. They are simple. Men are having trouble understanding these simple principles only because they are trying to blend divine law with human law. We must learn the lesson that God alone controls the binding and loosing of the marriage bond. If there is a marriage bond, God made it. If anyone is loosed from the marriage bond, God loosed it. Fornicators and judges may break marriages every day, but they have no control over the marriage bond. Other than death, fornication is the only act that has the potential to affect the marriage bond. Interestingly, even in cases of fornication God decides whether or not to loose the innocent from the marriage bond. Though it is a reaction to the innocent’s decision to repudiate, it is nonetheless, God’s action.” Tim Haile [The ‘Waiting Game’ Misrepresentation; Bible Banner (2-18-03)]
“When a marriage is sundered without the lawful cause of fornication already having occurred, neither spouse is free to marry another while the other spouse is living. The present controversy is not over ‘mental divorce’ as that term has predominantly been used in the past.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
I would be interested in just what procedure brother Osborne thinks is capable of sundering a marriage “without the lawful cause of fornication having already occurred.” Brother Harry’s use of the word, “when” necessarily infers that a timeframe is involved, yet he has numerous times denied precisely that. Just when (or under what circumstances) does he believe someone becomes an unscripturally put away person? More importantly, when exactly is an unlawful divorce (i.e. not for fornication) not possible to accomplish the sundering of the marriage?
“Thus, according to the Scripture, one may ‘put away’ a spouse without being the party who takes the civil action in a divorce proceeding or receives the judge’s ruling.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“When we examine the use of apoluo in the entire New Testament, it is clear that the word does not imply a specified civil procedure, much less require such.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“The Greek word choridzo is translated ‘put asunder’ in Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9. It is the word Jesus chose as a synonym of the word ‘put away’ in the Pharisees’ question. Choridzo meant to sunder, disunite, divide or separate something. No lexicographer defines it as requiring a civil procedure for divorce. The word does not denote civil action taken against another person, but action against the relationship. Paul uses the same word to reiterate what the Lord commanded (1 Cor. 7:10-11, ‘depart’). However, there is a notable difference in the form of the word used in the Gospels and that used by Paul. Jesus used choridzo in the active voice, while Paul summarized the same teaching of Jesus by using choridzo in the passive voice. If Jesus in the Gospels was mandating who must take the civil action in a legal procedure, how could Paul legitimately use the passive voice as a parallel? The conclusion is obvious - Jesus was not requiring a procedure regarding who must take the civil action of divorce.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“According to Jesus in Matthew 19:6, the term ‘put asunder’ is synonymous with ‘put away.’ This writer does not know of a passage that specifies the exact time at which that occurs. Can anyone provide the passage that so specifies? For instance, is there a passage that specifies that time as the point the judge makes his ruling in court or is it speaking generically of a process completed which we can recognize as we look at the given case? We find passages providing principles from which we can make application, but we find no exact procedure specified. Yet, some assume the action is completed with the judge’s gavel at the end of the civil proceedings, assume the text says such, bind it as divine law, and accuse one of teaching error for opposing their assumptions and human edicts.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
Again, in light of the quote immediately above, I have a hard time reconciling brother Osborne’s above statement that, “When (emp. jhb) a marriage is sundered without the lawful cause of fornication already having occurred, neither spouse is free to marry another while the other spouse is living.” If you concede that it is possible for a marriage to be sundered “without the lawful cause of fornication already having occurred,” and yet argue that civil law is not what accomplishes it, then what more must one do to effect such an unlawful sundering? (And, if it is really “binding” to say that civil law is what finalizes a divorce in our society, then would not the requirement of more than civil divorce be an additional “binding?”)
In reality, brother Osborne and others repeatedly advocate that it is something less than civil procedure (in our society) that is capable of putting away. Thus, if we apply consistency in their reasoning, a marriage that brother Osborne concedes can be “sundered without the lawful cause of fornication” would, of necessity have been sundered prior to the finalization of the “civil” divorce. Hence, brother Osborne’s writing indicates that there is a timeframe (“when”) in which the marriage is unlawfully sundered, and the one who is “put away” becomes a “put away” person, whom Jesus said commits adultery upon remarriage to another. Yet, the point of their articles is to deny this very fact.
“Regarding the time frame for action which some mandate, is an innocent party ‘put away’ merely because that one seeks to hold out hope for reconciliation with the guilty party until after the civil divorce is ruled final by the judge? Does the judge’s docket schedule determine the time frame for biblical putting away? Where is the passage to prove such a doctrine? If the advocates of such a doctrine are to charge one with teaching error if he allows for a different time frame, they must prove where that time frame is bound in Scripture.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“May that innocent party ‘put away’ the guilty fornicator by letting the church know the very next service that fornication was the true cause for the marriage being sundered? If those binding the civil divorce procedure as synonymous with biblical putting away agree such actions after the judge’s ruling could constitute putting away, they surrender their doctrine. If they say such actions do not constitute putting away, they have no Scripture upon which to stand. They make God’s judgments dependent upon the timing of human judges and dockets determined by man.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“No courts, lawyers, judges, filings, plaintiffs, defendants, civil proceedings or rulings are found in this text either (Matthew 19:3-9; jhb). Why would we add to the words of Christ? Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“Let our brethren who seek to bind a procedure for putting away tell us where the elements of their doctrine can be found in this text (I Corinthians 7:10-11; jhb). When the wife departed from her husband, did she file or did he? In whose favor did the judge rule? If she was ‘put away’ by him and was thereby ‘unmarried,’ what would be involved in her being ‘reconciled to her husband’? If they had to marry, she is a ‘put away’ party, by their terminology, who may marry despite their contention that Luke 16:18 is an absolute prohibition against such. If he is the ‘put away’ party, you have the same problem with the roles reversed. The confusion in which the binders of a procedure find themselves trying to sort out this situation is due to their adding to God’s word. If we merely speak as the oracles of God, we would not create such confusion.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“The advocates of the theory under review have charged that opposition to their teaching is based primarily on ‘emotional’ appeals. This writer has made no such appeal in this article or any other on the subject.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“However, when brethren mandate which party must either initiate or counter-file in a court of law, they have gone beyond the doctrine of Christ and beyond merely urging obedience to governmental law. An innocent party may abide by God’s law and abide by civil law without taking action in a court of law in the divorce procedure.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
“The present controversy is not over ‘mental divorce’ as that term has predominantly been used in the past.” Harry Osborne [Civil Divorce Procedure & Biblical Putting Away: Are They Synonymous?; Bible Banner (2-7-03)]
Again, the term “mental divorce” was coined decades ago and used to identify the erroneous doctrine of post-divorce “putting away” and subsequent “lawful?” remarriage for those who are put away.
“Perhaps you should read from the pens of my good friends, Harry Osborne, Stan Cox, Larry Hafley, Ron Halbrook, Bill Cavender or Bill Reeves, for further study on this subject. Perhaps their writings are more ‘cogent.’ I, too, enjoy some authors over others. I will not be offended by your preferences.” Tim Haile [e-mail exchange with Paul Blake; Larry Ray Hafley and Brian Yeager (1-7-03)]
“First of all I believe that verse 3 clearly sets the context of this passage. The question was asked of Jesus, “is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” Notice the question. The question is not about procedure. The question is not about how does civil law and God’s law work together in relation to the problem of divorce. The question is about cause.” Brian Price [Observations On Matthew 19:9, Voice of the Valley, Volume 9, Issue 1, (January 2003)]
“When the tolerance of Moses is questioned Jesus firmly restates God’s original intent. One man for one woman for life. He culminates his answer in verse 9 by stating that a man cannot be divorced for every cause but for one cause (fornication).” Brian Price [Observations On Matthew 19:9, Voice of the Valley, Volume 9, Issue 1, (January 2003)]
“Some have attempted to turn Matthew 19:3-9 into a passage that deals with procedure and order rather than about cause. I agree that there is one aspect of order in this passage and that is that the fornication occurs prior to the putting away. For something to be the cause of a subsequent action it must of necessity occur first. When fornication is considered the cause of the putting away, it obviously must occur before the putting away. However, I see no mention of procedure as to how one puts away his fornicating mate in this passage or any other. Nor do I see any indication that the guilty one’s actions would nullify the innocent’s ability to put their guilty spouse away. Many have argued that this debate is not about a race to the courthouse. I’ll accept their honesty and acknowledge that it may not be a race to the courthouse. The truth is, what it has become is a race to the putting away.” Brian Price [Observations On Matthew 19:9, Voice of the Valley, Volume 9, Issue 1, (January 2003)]
“I simply do not believe that this passage is about procedure. It is about cause and for us to begin to bind a particular order and procedure to the divorce process is to speak beyond the ‘oracles of God’” (emp. his). Brian Price [Observations On Matthew 19:9, Voice of the Valley, Volume 9, Issue 1, (January 2003)]
To read brother Brian Price’s Voice of the Valley article in its completeness, and his subsequent article which was written to “answer some questions that a few folks asked concerning the original article,” [Click Here]
“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 ‘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… This ‘mental divorce’ foolishness is one of the most impractical, unnecssary controversies I have ever known my brethren to concoct and engage in.” Bill Cavender [From an e-mail letter to Vernon Love (10-08-02) posted on this website]
“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…All this ‘mental divorce’ stuff is foolishness.” Bill Cavender [From an e-mail letter to Vernon Love (10-05-02) posted on this website]
“Having defined my terms, if I decide today to break my marriage with my wife, I have the power to do so, and so does she. I could accomplish such by simply leaving her and never coming back, or I could divorce her through legal channels. Jesus plainly acknowledged this power on the part of married people to sunder their marriage, and He tells us that He sees all such sunderings.” Tim Haile [“Putting Away The Myths About “Putting Away’”; Bible Banner (3-15-02)]
“An objective evaluation of the various biblical texts where apoluo is used will convince any honest reader that the use of this word does not necessarily involve or require any particular action or procedure, whether civil or cultural.” Tim Haile [“Putting Away The Myths About “Putting Away’”; Bible Banner (3-15-02)]
“However, in marriages involving the sin of fornication by one party, Jesus said the innocent person has power over the marriage bond, not just the physical union. Note that in these cases, the right that is inherent in apoluo includes the right of remarriage! This is the part of the divorce equation that some people fail to see. The presence of fornication changes the outcome of the remarriage scenario. It shifts the ‘putting away’ rights from the marriage relationship to the marriage bond.” Tim Haile [“Putting Away The Myths About “Putting Away’”; Bible Banner (3-15-02)]
“Just as God tried to lead Israel to repentance and reconciliation, an innocent party may try to lead a sexually unfaithful mate to repentance. The amount of time permitted for this is for the innocent person to decide: Not the fornicator. At some point, whether sooner or later, the innocent party will make the decision that ultimately determines the marital status of the guilty party.” Tim Haile [“Putting Away The Myths About “Putting Away’” (Posted on Bible Banner 3-15-02)]
“I hope you have learned that the word stresses separation rights, rather than separation actions and procedures. God’s people will never be able to unite upon human decrees and civil procedures, nor do they need to do so.” Tim Haile [“Putting Away The Myths About “Putting Away’”; Bible Banner (3-15-02)]
“The addition of the exception clause to the no-divorce general rule changes every component of the rule. Because by adding the exception clause, Jesus granted a putting away right or putting away power to someone that it formerly did not belong to. If I go put my wife away today, if I go divorce my wife today, there’s no fornication involved on the part of either of us, who has the right to remarry? Neither. Neither party has any right. Neither party has any power. What if one of us commits fornication? God said the other one has a power, has a right. Well, is that until the ah, guilty party makes the quick move, secures the civil divorcement? Is that until that? And somebody said, Yeah, that’s up until that point. No, I didn’t read anything about that in the Bible.” Tim Haile [“Biblical ‘Putting Away’” (2-12-02) during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
“I wish they would answer, really, instead of causing so much trouble and making web sites exclusively dedicated and devoted to a subject of so-called ‘mental divorce,’ which idea was concocted in the vivid imaginations of those people, themselves.” Tim Haile [“Biblical ‘Putting Away’” (2-12-02) during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
“…I’m gonna say that we have a system in place, our civil law system, that is, ah, that may accommodate us in making these filings and ratifying these decisions that we make. However, when I go that courthouse, what is done there is in addition to apoluo. Does everybody see that? What I do at the courthouse is beside, in addition to, and other than what I do in satisfying the requirements of the word apoluo. That’s my position on that.” Tim Haile [Question/Answer Session (2-12-02) after his lesson on “Biblical ‘Putting Away’” during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
“The exception clause has to extend to that. The exception clause has to extend to cover that. You see how, that by, by, uh, inserting the exception clause it changes the course of the passage. Now, an exception clause is just that. You have a rule, you have an overall rule, that is, if you divorce your wife, uh, and marry someone else, you commit adultery, and whoever marries her, when she remarries, they commit adultery. There’s the rule. The exception clause, it sort of diverts that, it redirects. What Jesus is saying is, without the exception presence of the, the, basis, presence of the cause, then both parties commit adultery when they remarry. With the cause present, it changes the scenario, it is except in cases of fornication, it changes it so that someone has a right to remarry without committing adultery. If you read the exception clause in, it works one way. We have this result. If you read the exception clause, take the exception clause out, you have an entirely different scenario. By one, the insertion of one simple little exception clause, Jesus created two different scenarios there – two entirely different scenarios. In both scenarios, the guilty fornicator has no right to remarry. Either scenario.” Tim Haile [Question/Answer Session (2-12-02) after his lesson on “Biblical ‘Putting Away’” during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
“Frequently these days, I get spam email advertising these very inexpensive divorces. In fact, most of them are advertising only one consent, only one has to consent to it, the other one does not even have to know about it in order to get these divorces. So, they are going to be notified after it’s too late.” Tim Haile [Question/Answer Session (2-12-02) after his lesson on “Biblical ‘Putting Away’” during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
Tim allows divorce for a cause other than fornication (physical violence), contrary to Matthew 19:6, 9:
“The background, the backdrop to 1 Corinthians 7 is a time of persecution. Here the persecution was, persecution is in this context. What about a man who beat the sap out of his woman, out of his wife, and, and, she, she leaves? What about a scenario where you’ve got persecution that caused a woman to leave her husband? I believe 1 Corinthians 7:10 says let her remain unmarried. Incidentally, 1 Corinthians 7:10 shows that she was unmarried, but still bound. The man still called her husband.” Tim Haile [Question/Answer Session (2-12-02) after his lesson on “Biblical ‘Putting Away’” during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
“Both of us, dairy farmers – ex-dairy farmers. I said Ter, I said ah, ah, Harry, I said, I reread that debate. I said…’til she couldn’t hardly stand up, and finally you could get her in that head-chute. Then I’d get her in that head-chute and I’d walk around there after she was locked up in the head-chute, fairly well-secured there, and take my fist and hit her in the side of the head, just as hard as I could. I said, I kind of feel like, in that debate with Terence, after you already had him captured and pretty well whipped, you just clobbered him” (laughter). Tim Haile [“Biblical ‘Putting Away’” (2-12-02) during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
Frankly, if I were Tim, I would be ashamed of such conduct towards a farm animal in a defenseless position. Moreover, it is glorying in one’s shame to boast over a debate in which the one who supports your position wrote the opposition’s affirmative, while refusing to affirm anything himself and effectively dodging the real issue (see article Rejoinder To Stan Cox and What Are They Really Saying?). In addition, Tim intimated (in the following two quotes) that he wasn’t very “comfortable” dealing with the real issue, either. - Jeff Belknap
In the next two quotes, brother Haile AGAIN clearly indicated agreement with, and leniency towards a second putting away and remarriage in cases which involve FORNICATION which occurs AFTER (NOT BEFORE) an unscriptural putting away. Both quotes took place at the Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee. I hope these quotes help you to realize where this doctrine (which he seeks to defend) logically and inevitably leads:
“Especially if I’m going to leave my wife anyway and I don’t care about the civil law. So, I can go a little faster and I’m going to just spin out of here in a hurry and I never see my wife again, never talk to her again, I have broken my marriage. I have broken, I have deserted, I have left, I have loosed, I have broken my marriage. Guess what remains intact? The marriage bond. I did absolutely nothing to affect that marriage bond, and guess what? If I go out and commit fornication, I’ve done something that might be used to affect the marriage bond, but I have still by that action, not affected the marriage bond.” Tim Haile [“Biblical ‘Putting Away’” (2-12-02) during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
After brother Haile was asked a question about a scenario involving FORNICATION only AFTER (NOT BEFORE) an unscriptural putting away, Tim responded by saying:
“Brethren like to talk about that a lot. Ah. That is something that is being studied. Ah, I’ll tell you what I’m comfortable speaking on, I’m studying that question with some brethren right now. Ah. It’s a difficult one because it gets into motive. Did that fella leave in order to go meet up with his new girlfriend? Did he leave in order to go have an affair with his secretary? Those are a lot of questions. If he left, and the cause of the break up—the cause of the break up was fornication, then I’m a little more lenient on that. But I think it is in the realm of study and we need to be careful and study those things. But I really don’t want to get into any questions, in fact I won’t answer any questions today, about fornication committed after, ah, ah, the break up. I just won’t do that.” Tim Haile [Question/Answer Session (2-12-02) after his lesson on “Biblical ‘Putting Away’” during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee].
Why is it that Tim refuses to answer any questions about the very scenario that I have set up this web site to expose (Ron Halbrook’s scenarios which include advocacy of the right to a post-civil-divorce-putting away and remarriage subsequent to fornication which is committed after the unscriptural divorce)? Though my teaching on this site is the target of brother Haile’s derision, he refuses to touch the actual issue I am exposing with a ten foot pole. Though he will not openly admit agreement with the doctrine that I oppose, his arguments clearly imply his agreement with Ron’s doctrine.
“Now, Matthew 19 uh, that should be verse 9. Matthew 19 verse 9. The innocent party put away the guilty party. Jesus allowed that. Now, do you know what all these verses have in common? Here’s what they have in common: in each case, one party had a right to do the loosing. It’s as simple – I’ll tell you something, brethren, this is as simple, this-this should just jump out at you. Every time you see the word ‘apoluo’ used in the New Testament, somebody, one party had the power or right to loose or to act for or against, or sometimes on behalf of another party. Every time! Better get all that Terry, ‘cause brother Belknap might not be happy. In each case, one party had the power or right to act for or against the other party. Friends, it’s that way every time. You won’t find an exception to it.” Tim Haile [“Biblical ‘Putting Away,’” during the All Day Bible Study; The Warfield Blvd. church of Christ, Clarksville, Tennessee (2-12-02)].
How about Lk. 16:18? “Whosoever putteth away (apoluo) his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away (apoluo) from her husband committeth adultery”
In the first half of this verse, the husband who “apoluo”(ed) his wife obviously did not have the God-given right to put her away, since Jesus said his unlawful action of apoluo (putting away) became the stumbling block which subsequently caused her to commit fornication (cf. Mt. 5:32a).
“Brothers Jeff Belknap, Terence Sheridan, David McKee and others have gone on record complaining that the position they take regarding the nature of ‘Biblical Putting Away’ was not being heard in the various papers. As such Belknap has established a web site which he uses to espouse his peculiar view on the subject.” Stan Cox [“Honor in Controversy, Revisited;” Watchman Magazine (2-1-02)]
“However, by invoking Genesis 2:24, Jesus invoked a law that was higher than any civil or cultural law. This allowed Him to ignore cultural restrictions and civil, legal requirements, and grant divorce rights to women, as well as men.” Tim Haile; [“Grounds for Scriptural Remarriage: Right Motive or Right Method?”; Bible Banner (1-27-02)]
“May we require any particular procedure establishing how and when the innocent party must act against an unfaithful mate? No, we may not.” Tim Haile; [“Grounds for Scriptural Remarriage: Right Motive or Right Method?”; Bible Banner (1-27-02)]
“Jesus did not legislate a procedure for sundering marriage. He legislated a cause. Let us leave it there and not add to God’s law.” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s Second Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“If the ‘putting away’ was for the cause of fornication, Jesus’ teaching of Matthew 19:9 would affirm her right (Jewish wife; jhb) to marry another. If she ‘put away’ the man in this case, it would have to be by a procedure other than her securing the divorcement under Jewish law.” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s Second Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“We examined the parallel use of the Greek words apoluo, choridzo, and aphiemi in all texts related to this topic, showing those words are used interchangeably and do not imply the civil procedure mandated by Terence.” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s Second Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“The Greek word aphiemi is rendered ‘put away’ in KJV or ‘leave’ in ASV in 1 Corinthians 7:11 and is synonymous with the Greek words choridzo and apoluo. Not one use in over 140 New Testament uses of aphiemi infers a civil procedure of divorce. Given the above facts, we must conclude that the word ‘put away’ (apoluo) in Matthew 5, Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 16 cannot be used as ‘synonymous with the civil procedure for divorce in one’s respective society’ since the synonyms given by inspiration do not refer to a civil procedure.” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s First Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“Choridzo meant to sunder, disunite, divide or separate something. No lexicographer defines it as requiring a civil procedure for divorce. The word does not denote civil action taken against another person, but action against the relationship.” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s First Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“When we examine the use of apoluo in the entire New Testament, it is clear that the word does not imply a specified civil procedure, much less require such.” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s First Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“Jesus clearly did not teach that ‘biblical putting away is synonymous with the civil procedure for divorce in one’s respective society and that the innocent one must secure that civil divorce in order to have a right to remarry.’ This fact destroys Terence's whole theory!” Harry Osborne [The Sheridan - Osborne Debate (Harry’s First Negative) Watchman Magazine (1-1-02)]
“Your position assigns the innocent party to a life without hope because they remained faithful to the marriage vows. When that mate who put the innocent party away involves themselves sexually with someone else, the one who remained faithful has the right (though it would be their choice) to remarry without being guilty of fornication.” Bobby Holmes [From an e-mail exchange with Jeff Belknap (11-12-01) posted on this website]
“Do you not believe that the bond God bound them with still exists and therefore if either marry they commit adultery? WHY? Because the BOND REMAINS. God has NOT loosed it for there has been no God allowed cause (Matt. 19:9). The action in the civil court was but an action of man by a law that is out of harmony with God's law (Matt. 19:9). That divorce decree is but a piece of paper that is not recognized by God though by men.” Bobby Holmes [From an e-mail exchange with Jeff Belknap (11-8-01) posted on this website]
“If the mate who struggled to keep the marriage intact continues to honor the vows made before God, remains faithful in all things (after a divorce; jhb) and then that mate who refused to honor that covenant that was made with God witness joins him/herself to another, I believe God holds the one who remained faithful guiltless if they remarry. The ‘putting away’ by the one who refused to honor that binding covenant that God was witness to was but a “legal document” by the civil law that in no way can supersede the law of God.” Bobby Holmes [From an e-mail exchange with Jeff Belknap (11-5-01) posted on this website]
“I believe the vast majority would also affirm that an innocent party in a marriage sundered for the case of fornication has the right to remarry even if the guilty fornicator filed first and secured the civil divorce.” Harry Osborne [From a e-mail letter sent (9-27-01) to Jeff Belknap; Mike Willis; David McKee; Joe Price; Terence Sheridan; Stan Cox; Tim Haile and Pat Donahue]
“Brother Phillips and I were united doctrinally on this issue.” Harry Osborne [From a e-mail letter sent (9-6-01) to Jeff Belknap; Mike Willis; David McKee; Joe Price; Terence Sheridan; Stan Cox; Tim Haile and Pat Donahue]
“I do not believe the innocent party in a marriage severed for the cause of the guilty party's fornication is ‘the put away spouse’ regardless of who initiates the civil action.” Harry Osborne [From a e-mail letter sent (9-6-01) to Jeff Belknap; Mike Willis; David McKee; Joe Price; Terence Sheridan; Stan Cox; Tim Haile and Pat Donahue]
“Can Mary ‘loose herself’ from her bond to John, because of his fornication, even though he had already won the civil court procedure? Yes, she can. Notice how the presence of fornication changes the outcome of marital rights in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. Matthew 19:9 says, ‘And I say unto you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.’
Notice carefully how the exception clause changes the scenario. Without the cause of fornication, no one has a right to marry another. In the presence of fornication, and by activating the exception clause, the innocent party has a right to marry another. Some have mistakenly tried to argue that the civilly divorced innocent person cannot remarry even though they were divorced by a sexually immoral mate. They say the innocent person is still the ‘divorced’ party and as such, cannot remarry. They pretend to have scripture on their side, but they do not. They have actually turned Matthew 19:9 completely upside down!” Tim Haile (posted on Mars-List 8-30-01). A Mars-List MDR Scenario Question posed by brother Don Martin.
“If I am understanding your position that no ‘put away’ person has the right of remarriage, then the innocent party in a divorce for fornication has no right of remarriage unless she initiates the lawsuit. (A counter suit would not help, unless you can provide biblical evidence of it changing something.) This reduces the issue to the ‘race to the courthouse.’ So, if an innocent party seeks to get his mate to repent and save the marriage, but that mates initiates civil divorce and refuses to repent, the innocent party has no right of remarriage! Have I understood your position correctly? I have no interest in misrepresenting you. And, what would be the situation in first century Judaism when a woman could not bring a divorce lawsuit against a man? Could she ever under any circumstances do what Jesus said she could do – put away her mate for fornication and remarry? If so, how would she go about doing this?” Mike Willis (6-25-01) e-mail letter to brother David McKee posted on this web site)
In his Lakeland sermon (5-29-01), after having claimed particular knowledge of a case of a man who civilly divorced his wife without her knowledge, brother Osborne actually spells out his “application.” Please note very carefully what he stated:
“…If civil procedure is the putting away, that woman was divorced, didn’t know about it, and there is no way she can be protected by the law of God. I suggest to you the principles of God would show the very opposite. The principles would show she does have a right to say “here’s why I’m going away from you. I’m expressing that as the reason why. I’m taking action. You get your stuff out of here.” That’s Biblical putting away - and it’s Biblical putting away for the cause, and it’s Biblical putting away after the very principles that Jesus made clear” Harry Osborne (See The Nevada Strawman on this web site, which proves that such a scenario could not have taken place as brother Osborne described it.)
“The conclusion is simple - legal action does not determine marital rights. One may be legally divorced and still possess the God-given right to remarry. Civil laws and social customs do not supersede divine law. A put away person has no right to remarry, but before forbidding one to marry, let us examine their circumstances and determine whether or not justice has been denied, and a divine liberty has been ignored…Civil laws must be respected and followed only to the degree that they allow us to obey God. With regard to marriage and divorce procedure, we should follow civil rules and social customs so long as they accommodate us in doing what the Bible allows (Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 5:29). However, when civil law fails to facilitate in such matters, we must default to whatever procedures and mechanisms may best serve us” Tim Haile [“Legally Divorced, But Free to Remarry;” Gospel Anchor (5-28-01)]
“Some are teaching that civil court action is the only procedure that God recognizes, in our country, for putting away one's mate. Their argument makes civil law procedure the determinate in establishing a person's right of remarriage, rather than divine permission. If their position is correct, then no legally divorced person has a right to remarry, for Jesus said, ‘whoever marries her that is put away commits adultery’ (Matt. 19:9).” Tim Haile [“Legally Divorced, But Free to Remarry;” Gospel Anchor (5-28-01)]
“As I said above, Jesus clearly stated the reason that would allow for divorce and remarriage, however, He did not specify any particular civil law or cultural tradition to define the procedure for that divorce… When one teaches that the putting away of Matthew 19:9 is defined by what he thinks ought to be the proper procedure, he binds where God did not bind. When one teaches that the putting away of Matthew 19:9 is defined by present North American civil jurisprudence, he binds where God did not bind. When one teaches that the putting away of Matthew 19:9 is defined by past North American civil jurisprudence, he binds where God did not bind. When one teaches that the putting away of Matthew 19:9 is defined by a particular North American state's civil jurisprudence, he binds where God did not bind. When one teaches that the putting away of Matthew 19:9 is defined by some other particular country's civil jurisprudence or social custom, he binds where God did not bind.” Tim Haile [“What Constitutes ‘Putting Away?’;” Gospel Anchor (5-07-01)]
“In its general sense, the Greek word ‘apoluo’ means to ‘set free’ (Lk. 13:12); to ‘let go’ (Matt. 15:23); to ‘dismiss’ (Lk. 2:29); to ‘let go free’ (Lk. 22:68; 23:22). However, when used of divorce, Thayer says it means, ‘to dismiss from the house, to repudiate.’ (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, pg. 66). Based upon the Lord’s usage of the word apoluo, it is my studied conclusion that Thayer’s word repudiation best describes the action of putting away. Regardless of culture or custom, regardless of civil law or social ceremony, whether in the 1st century or the 21st century, one may repudiate his mate for the cause of fornication. By this definition the Lord’s liberty is preserved regardless of what men may say or do, and regardless of the laws they may pass.” Tim Haile [“What Constitutes "Putting Away?;” Gospel Anchor (5-07-01)]
“Human laws and practices do not define Biblical terms and expressions. Scripture is no more interpreted by judges and lawyers than it is by councils and conventions. Whatever Jesus meant by the expression put away, He meant for all times and peoples. The failure on the part of some to recognize this fact has led them to equate civil divorce with biblical putting away. However, they are not the same. When Jesus spoke of putting away in Matthew 5, 19, Mark 10, and Luke 16, He spoke of purpose and procedure. Though some action is involved, Jesus did not specify the kind of action. And there is nothing inherent in the Greek word apoluo (‘put away’) that necessarily defines the putting away as civil court action. Those who view the Lord’s words solely from a human law perspective are bound to make mistakes in their application of the Lord’s divorce and remarriage laws.” Tim Haile [“What Constitutes ‘Putting Away?’;” Gospel Anchor (5-07-01)]
“Passage (Mt. 19:9; jhb) also is explaining which divorces God will recognize! i.e. accept” Ron Halbrook [Ron’s commentary to an article by Jim Deason, (sent out by Ron in early Spring, 2001)]
“According to this argument, if the fornicator can get his legal papers before fornicating, he can preclude the innocent mate from exercising the divine prerogative of putting away the guilty party & marrying another. By this argument, the innocent party would thus commit adultery!?!?” Ron Halbrook [Added commentary to an article by Windell Wiser (sent out by Ron in early Spring, 2001)]
“I believe many brethren make a mistake in attempting to parallel American civil law (or any nation’s civil law) with the discussion of Jesus in Mt. 19, et al. I understand the tendency to do so, but if we make the mistake of delineating the teaching of Christ only in the context of American civil courts, we will be arguing ourselves into a side issue rather than the true one: ‘cause.’ Whatever Christ taught, it must be applicable in every nation around the world.” Tom Roberts (E-mail letter sent to Jeff Belknap, 4-24-01)
“If brother Belknap insists as he does in his article that the civil proceeding equal biblical putting away, I will show that he must have the innocent party initiate the action specified. Also, if the specified action is the civil proceeding and the putting away must be for the cause of fornication, I will show the consequence of his position to be that it must appear on the decree. The crux of the matter is that Jeff is adding to the word of God in specifying that biblical putting away is synonymous with the civil proceedings.” Harry Osborne, [e-mail letter to J.T. Smith; Cc: Jeff Belknap (4-13-01)]
“Though I believe the logical consequence of your argument will compel you to affirm that the cause of fornication must be specified on the divorce decree, I recognize that you do not accept that consequence.” Harry Osborne, [e-mail letter (5-1-01)]
In the first quote above, Harry displays his accusation “that brother Belknap insists” “that the civil proceeding” is “equal” to “biblical putting away.” By his accusation that I believe civil divorce and Biblical divorce are synonymous or “equal” (one and the same), Harry implies that I believe every time a civil divorce occurs, it is Biblically approved and vice versa. Obviously, nothing is further from the truth. I have never argued that the two are synonymous, but have time and again denounced marriages and divorces that are adulterous, but nevertheless real.
Harry then goes further and states his belief that the “logical consequence” of my “civil proceeding equal(s) biblical putting away” argument (which, again, I have never argued) is that it “compel(s) you (me) to affirm that the cause of fornication must be specified on the divorce decree.” I have never advocated this either, and I know of no one (who is involved in the present controversy) who has.
I find it extremely telling that, at the time of Harry’s complaint to brother Smith in the above quotes, the only doctrine I had criticized in Gospel Truths was post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication and fellowship with it!
Perhaps, reviewing Harry’s Nevada Straw Man quote will help to shed light on his above charges against my teaching. There, he denied the actuality of the husband’s unlawful (i. e. not for fornication) putting away, and then referred to his put away wife’s post-divorce verbal “putting away” as “Biblical putting away.” See The Nevada Straw Man
On 4-23-01, I sent a letter to brother Mo Hafley, included the words of Ron Halbrook’s entire “Notes for Further Study,” and asked him to “give me your take on them.” In this paper, Ron twice asserts: “If he has unlawful sexual relations with another (whether before or after he wrongfully puts away his true mate), his true mate has scriptural grounds to reject or put him away.”
Brother Hafley replied,
“As far as giving my thoughts on the answer you sent it is hard to give a take on something when you are not certain you understand it yourself. I have learned that unless I completely understand someone’s belief it is better to let others comment who do.” Morris Hafley [email letter (4-24-01)]
Since that time, brother Hafley and the other elders at Paden City had brother Osborne come for a meeting in which Harry first conducted a home Bible study with various brethren regarding this issue, and subsequently preached on the topic there. I wrote several letters to the eldership (over several months’ time), making various requests and inquiries regarding further consideration of the issue. Nevertheless, even though brother Hafley wrote me in June, to promise that he would reply after he had caught up on his correspondence (in the aftermath of a computer problem), as of today (October 7, 2003) I have yet to receive a reply to that letter or the subsequent ones which I sent.
During our e-mail correspondence, I made the following statement in the two top lines below. Within brother Osborne’s response, he used the >>><<< to encompass my words. His revealing reply follows:
“>>> My understanding is that when one is civilly put away (unscripturally or scripturally), they are put away, whether approved of by God or not. That is why I say that it is a second putting away.<<<
That assumes the first putting away is done by the procedure prescribed by civil law. I deny that it is. Where do you find a legal proceeding, court action, a court or the judicial procedure in God’s word as it pertains to divorce and remarriage? They are not there. There are, however, principles which show us what is involved in biblical putting away, sundering of the marriage or the other synonyms used in Scripture. As I have already stated, that is the only time ‘putting away’ takes place.” Harry Osborne, [e-mail letter (4-15-01)]
“I have discussed my concepts with Maurice Barnett and Tim Haile recently. Neither of them understood me to believe in a ‘second, mental putting away.’” Harry Osborne, [e-mail letter (4-15-01)]
The above quote is just as outrageous as the following (jhb):
“Brother Phillips and I were united doctrinally on this issue.” Harry Osborne, [e-mail letter to myself as well as six other brethren (9-6-01)]
All who are familiar with the teaching of Maurice Barnett know that it opposes that of brother Osborne. Contrariwise, brother Haile’s doctrine on this subject is very similar to that of brother Osborne, so it is no wonder that Tim (who also denies belief in “mental divorce”) did not understand Harry to believe in it either. What is most disturbing to me personally, is the fact that Harry would profess unity with brother H. E. Phillips on this issue when in the Patton – Phillips debate, we know that brother Phillips denounced the very doctrine that Harry defends and called the results of its application, “adultery.”
The debate proposition which Brother Phillips DENIED was the following:
RESOLVED: The Scriptures teach that the innocent person (free of fornication) who has been put away without God’s or his/her approval and against whom adultery has been committed may remarry. See The Patton-Phillips Debate
“Brother Pickup made me aware a couple of years ago that it is being widely reported that Mike Willis and I differ in doctrine on this. As I left home to come, I sent my manuscript to two people for proofreading purposes by computer. After their proofreading it, not only they helped get the corrections done, but also I received this statement from MIKE WILLIS: ‘This is to affirm that I have read brother Halbrook’s material. I agreed with him that our differences on how to treat one whose mate is guilty of FORNICATION FOLLOWING A DIVORCE which he tried to avoid is a difference of judgment in the realm of application of the one law of divorce and remarriage and not the teaching of another law.’ HARRY OSBORNE made in essence the same statement. Those are the two who proofread it for me” (emp. jhb). Ron Halbrook [Towards A Better Understanding (False Teachers, Ron Halbrook’s Rebuttal to Bob Owen (pgs. 34-35) February 2000].
“Next, a man may have enough regard for social convention that he will not go to bed with the ‘cute little thing’ he wants rather than his wife; therefore, he may divorce his wife, then marry the ‘cute little thing,’ thus going to the bed of adultery. Once again, the original marriage bond stays intact under divine law until he commits adultery against his wife; his legal steps do not dissolve the bond put in place when God joined them together (Matt. 19:9). Since his true wife remains faithful to the marriage bond, she & she alone has the right to repudiate the marriage under divine law. She may scripturally do so even when she is not able to do so legally because of legal steps taken by the treacherous husband.” Ron Halbrook (E-mail “discussion with friends about fine-tuning some points of application,” February, 1998)
“The statement but if she depart (emp. his)…In the event that the wife (or husband) leaves her husband (or wife), then she (or he) must remain unmarried. Paul recognized that, in spite of the commandments, some would nevertheless choose not to live together. In such cases, there were only two alternatives available. (1) To remain single or (2) be reconciled to one’s mate. Let her remain (emp. his)…denotes that this is a command that one must remain in a single state. The reason for this is obvious from Jesus’ command; the marriage is not dissolved by her departing (emp. jhb)…Even though civil laws allow divorce and remarriage for other reasons, such human laws cannot alter the law of God… We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).” Mike Willis [Truth Commentary regarding First Corinthians 7:11 (pg. 184)]
“The conclusion is this: unscriptural divorce releases neither party from marriage.” Ron Halbrook [Sermon entitled “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage” at The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV (5-30-91)]
Contrary to the Biblical teaching outlined in Matthews 19:6, 9 and I Corinthians 7:11, Ron teaches that an unscriptural divorce does not release one from marriage. While those involved in both sides of this controversy agree that it does not release one from the bond that God has imposed, there is a clear difference between the marriage (which man joins himself in) and the bond (which God solely controls). It is because man has the ability to divorce (in cases where the bond remains), that God prohibits remarriage.
“And so, in conclusion from this, we learn that an unscriptural divorce releases neither party from marriage. When you have an unscriptural divorce, as men count it, it’s not so with God. That bond is still in tact. And that little piece of paper is nothing in the sight of God. Just as well use it as Kleenex and blow your nose and drop it in the toilet. It doesn’t mean a thing to God. God’s law rules over the laws of men. And furthermore scriptural divorce, even when there’s a scriptural divorce, and that would be…” Ron Halbrook (MDR sermon preached in Wilkesville, OH, 6-14-90)
“If he has unlawful sexual relations with another (whether before or after he wrongfully puts away his true mate), his true mate has scriptural grounds to reject or put him away. That might involve countersuing in the courts if he has a suit for divorce pending. But if he has already been granted a divorce by the courts of man, the laws of man make no provision for her to act. So far as the courts of man are concerned, legal issues such as property rights have already been settled and there is nothing else to be said in the realm of human law. But if he commits adultery (before or after his action in the courts of man), there is something else to be said by divine law-by the moral and spiritual law of the court of God.” Ron Halbrook [Notes and Thoughts For Further Study, 1986; which Ron sent out (along with other materials) to a young preacher who had enquired about Ron’s position in the fall of 2000.]
“But someone asks: ‘What about a woman who is put away (divorced) by a man simply because the man no longer wanted to be married? Fornication is not involved and the woman repeatedly tried to prevent the divorce, but to no avail. After a couple of years the man marries another woman. Is the ‘put way’ woman then free to marry?’ She certainly is, if she puts away her husband for fornication. She would have to do this before God in purpose of heart since the divorce has already taken place, legally speaking. She could not go through the process of having a legal document charging her husband with ‘adultery,’ but God would know…” Weldon E. Warnock (Searching the Scriptures, November issue, 1985)