For the benefit of the reader, Tim’s words highlighted in red reveal his advocacy of a second putting away when fornication is committed AFTER the civil divorce.

In blue, is Tim’s false claim that it is possible for one to divorce their mate without their knowledge.  Ron, Tim and Harry were all exposed for relaying – as fact – a case scenario (detailed in my website document, The Nevada Straw Man) which the laws proved could not have happened.  However, Tim continues his “fairy-tale,” even after it has been proven that no court in the U.S. would approve such a divorce.  [Please read brother Steven Harper’s article on this site (Follies, Fallacies And Fabrications).]

In orange, Tim allows divorce for a cause other than fornication (physical violence), contrary to Matthew 19:6, 9.

In green, Tim also acknowledges (rightly so) that apoluo, choridzo and aphiemi are synonymous words (used interchangeably).  However, Tim states (as did Harry Osborne) that there is NO legal (civil) action involved in these words.  At the end of this transcript, I have quoted some authorities (there may be even more that I am unaware of) which affirm the opposite of what Tim and Harry have affirmed. – Jeff Belknap

The Warfield Blvd. Church of Christ

All Day Bible Study

Clarksville, Tennessee (2-12-02)

 Tim Haile Speaking On: “Biblical ‘Putting Away’”

It’s good to, ah, be here.  It’s good to have been able to participate thus far in the studies.  I appreciate the good jobs that were done by those who were ahead of me.  I appreciate attention to detail, carefulness to call attention to what the Bible has to say, we’ve seen that.  We appreciate that.  Any time we gather for the purpose of Bible study, we’re dealing, of course, with things that pertain to God.  Rom. 15:17 speaks of that realm of activity, things that pertain to God.  II Pet. 1:3 speaks to those things that have to do with life and godliness, things that pertain unto life and godliness.  Those passages have something in common.  They have in common that when we’re dealing with the area of spiritual matters, we’re dealing with activities that are in the realm of revelation, we have a certain obligation.  We have the obligation to speak as the oracles of God.  We have the responsibility to do as Isaiah said, over in Isa. 8:20, he said, “If any man speak not according to this word,” he says, “he has no life in him.”  In I Pet. 4:11 and several times in the New Testament.  In the Old Testament in Daniel 10:21, the angel told Daniel, “I will not tell you anything other than that which is inscribed in the scripture of truth.”  I’ve always been impressed with that simple verse of scripture.  We need to, of course, appreciate that. 

I’m a little bit humbled ah, to, to, to be here, I guess, in the, ah, audience of certain fellows that I guess I would rather be listening to, though.  It’s humbling to be in the audience with, with men who are older gospel preachers that have been studying longer and preaching longer and have more wisdom and have seen and made applications of biblical principles for so many years.  But, I’ll just have to say, I appreciate you being here.  I appreciate your presence.  Good to see the young men as well.  Steve Motts.  If you don’t know him, get to know him.  I appreciate him traveling with me to be up here.  He will be preaching now in Franklin, KY regularly and we hope the work goes well with him.  He’s been standing for the truth.  Ah, he’s been hazarding his life, ah, in a, in a certain figurative application of that ah, for a while now in behalf of Christ and for the truth, and so I appreciate him and get to know him.  I want to hold his hands up as he takes a stand for the truth, I appreciate him for the truth’s sake.

Some have driven some distance to be with us.  We’re glad that you’re here.  It’s ah, it’s nice to be able to speak, ah, on a Bible subject in an area in a part of the country where one of your co-speakers was able to get up and talk about killing wild animals and eating them.  I’m writing home with that.  And I’m a member of the PETA organization, People who Eat Tasty Animals.  So I feel sort of at home with brother Dodd and his comments he made earlier, so maybe I’ll be comfortable here in this area speaking to you.

Well, Dudley asked me to deal with the subject of “Biblical Putting Away.”  I’ve done some writing on that. I have, ah, participated, ah, to a certain measure with brother Osborne in a debate that he had with a fellow named Terence Sheridan, discussed things with brother Osborne.  I mention that because brother Osborne’s debate there with Sheridan is housed ah, on the ah, Watchman Magazine web site.  If you’ve not seen that, I believe it is a very good discussion of these things.  Personalities were left out of it, no personal insults or attacks were found in that.  Both men did a good job, I thought, representing their positions, so that’s housed at  Stan Cox is a good friend of mine who takes care of that site and I would commend that to you for further study.  Ah you can see that, you may have to go back one issue now, to find the link to that debate.  Or you can go to my site, and I’ve got a link on the front page to it.

Any time you have a discussion or a disagreement over Bible matters, of course, there are some things that the disagreement d-doesn’t have anything to do with, some things that the disagreement does not involve.  And yet, some times things like that are mentioned in connection with the discussion.  But I would suggest to you that the discussion does not have to do with whether or not fornication is the only acceptable basis or acceptable grounds establishing the right of remarriage for one party in a divorce, the innocent party, for a divorce for fornication.  I’ve noticed on this particular subject, that we are all in agreement on that.  I’m in agreement with brother Jeff Belknap on that.  I’m in agreement with David McKee.  I’m in agreement with Pat Donahue on that.

By the way, this is being ah taped, so let me just go ahead and take advantage of the opportunity now to extend my greetings to those fellows.  (Laughter heard in background.)  The disagreement is not over whether or not fornication is necessary in order for someone to have the right of remarriage.  We’re not arguing about that.  We’re not arguing about whether or not, ah, anybody has the right to, to remarry when fornication is ah, not committed.  That hasn’t been a part of the issue.  Who has the right to remarry in marriages where fornication is committed?  We all agree that it is the innocent party.  We don’t disagree on that either.  There’s several that we don’t disagree on - whether or not the put away fornicator has the right to remarry another.  All Bible believers will say that, ah, they do not.  Fornicators do not have the right to remarry. 

I’m going to have to qualify this:  I got interested in ah, probing certain aspects of this particular question on procedure versus ah, cause.  And so I sent a letter out to several brethren asking them questions about how much do you emphasize the procedure over the cause.  The method over the motive.  And I got a response from one fellow, Jeff Belknap wrote back and he said that, no now, in case of – my question was – in cases where both people are guilty of fornication, both the husband and the wife commit fornication.  I said, do you believe that in cases like that, that the one who wins the civil divorcement would have a right to remarry?  Belknap said no, and he said I think brother McKee would agree with me.  No, the, neither one would have the right to remarry.  And I said, good, that’s exactly what I believe.  Neither one would have the right to remarry. 

Well, come to find out, brother Donahue was a little reluctant to answer that.  And since that time, I have established that he does believe that in such cases, the fornicator who loses the civil divorce case does not have the right to remarry and the fornicator who wins it, ah, does.  That’s where this thing is headed, brethren. You better keep an eye on where this thing is headed.  If you emphasize the procedure over the cause, you’re going to find yourself, you’re going to meet yourself coming back with the Bible sooner or later.  Ah, brother McKee would not answer the question to me.  He did comment on it in the presence of another brother, and so you might ask him about what he said about that, if you have the opportunity. 

Now, the issue is not over the unfairness of any particular situation.  Brethren will quickly say, well, your position must be, if you say that the Biblical putting away is not necessarily synonymous with the ah, act in the civil courthouse, then what you’re saying is, it’s an unfair thing and we just feel sorry for the innocent party because they lost the race, they lost the, ah, didn’t have the best lawyer, maybe didn’t have enough money to hire the best lawyer, and you know, the judge just made the determination on the thing and the innocent just didn’t have a fair hearing and that just seems so unfair, and you’re basing your conclusions on the unfairness of the situation.  No I’m not.  My conclusions have absolutely nothing at all to do with that.  Couldn’t you spin that the other way and talk about the unfairness of the courthouse granting the divorce to the fornicator, which is just so unfair to all parties involved.  It’s unfair you know, about the, ah, to, to the fornicator himself.  It’s just so unfair that we’re living in a land where a civil decree could ah, allow him to continue further in his error, harden himself in his sinful practice to then knock himself out of any hope of being right.  Well, could you, could you spin such an argument as that?  I believe you could.  Fairness has nothing to do with this and unfairness has nothing to do with this.  God’s word is the final determinant.  It does determine what is right and what is wrong and who has the right to marry and who has the right to remarry. 

I don’t believe this discussion has anything to do with, ah, loosing where God has not loosed.  We’ve fought those battles hard and long.  There, of course ah, Olan Hick’s name was on the screen earlier.  There’s a long list of names that we could put together; brother Homer Hailey, ah, different ones who have taken positions that loose where the Bible does not loose on the subject of divorce and remarriage.  It’s interesting to me that that’s not the side of the authority equation that we’re dealing with on this question.  Mt.18:18; Mt. 16:18 and 19 both talk about God binding and loosing.  What God has bound, ah, in heaven, we’re not to bind on earth and so on, and we’re not to loose where God has not loosed in those passages.  Well, there’s two ways that you can violate God’s authority there and we’re dealing this time with the problem of men binding where God has not bound.  That is the problem with this particular disagreement.  And so, let’s continue this thought a little bit more here.  

The new disagreement is not over whether or not we’re to obey civil authorities.  Ah, tell you what, I’ve not ran across anyone in this discussion, this entire discussion who says, well I tell you, ah, you know, my position on that is that we just don’t have any responsibility to civil government at all.  We don’t have any duty to that, we can disregard that, it doesn’t matter what civil authorities have to say about it.  We can just disregard that.  I don’t know anybody that takes that position.  The Bible, in Rom. 13:1-4, Tit. 3:1; I Pet. 2:13-15, and indirectly in many other passages, clearly shows that we are bound and obligated to obey civil magistrates, civil authorities, God – ordained government.  I don’t have any question about that.  I do not question the binding nature of that responsibility. 

The disagreement is not over whether or not different cultures or the cultures of different times may vary or have different procedures on the, the practice of marriage and divorce.  That is, as far as recognizing marriages and divorces or ratifying marriages or divorces.  We don’t have any disagreement over that.  In fact, really this the crux of the entire problem is that my position has been and continues to be that whatever the word apoluo that is so frequently found in the New Testament, whatever it meant when Jesus used it and when the Pharisees framed their question using it, in Mt. 19:3.  Whatever that word meant then, it means today.  And it doesn’t matter where I live, it doesn’t matter what cultural procedures are in order.  It is irrelevant with regard to those things.  The meaning has to be the same.  We do not allow either civil government, civil authorities, court judges or lawyers to define our terms that we use, or that the Bible uses.  We just simply don’t do that. 

We don’t, we don’t allow denominational creeds or counsels to define the meaning of psallo.  We don’t allow the denominational creeds or counsels, and synods and various things that may have some say or input on these things to define the meaning of baptizo.  We allow the Bible to define those things.  It doesn’t matter what men may say.  The question is, what does the Bible teach?  That seems to be, of course, the plea that restoration movement all along the past and I think we need to stand, ah, on that premise as was so clearly articulated in I Pet. 4:11, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God.”  The NIV has, “let him speak the very words of God.”  If we were to do that on this subject, we wouldn’t have this division.  Guarantee you brethren, we wouldn’t have this division. 

The new disagreement concerns whether or not Biblical put away is synonymous with civil divorce in one’s respective society.  That is what the issue is about.  That is the question.  Well now, let me tell you what you have to do in order to make the argument that Biblical putting away is the same thing as, or is defined by whatever court procedure from whatever cultural traditions or practices may be in place, in force where you live at any given time or place. 

Let me tell you the problem you get into with that: you get into men defining God’s word.  You get into the problem of men making the rules for God.  Well, let’s take a look at the text for just a moment.  Mt. 19:3.  It says that the Pharisees came to Jesus testing him or tempting him and saying, “is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” ah, pasan, the idea of every, some translations have there, or any.  Is it lawful for a man to put away, “apoluo,” his wife for any, or every cause?  Well Pharisees, uh, what is your question about?  What was their question about?  Was it about procedure?  Was it about motive?  Was that method or motive?  Was it about procedure or cause?  Which was it? 

I think it’s a very simple question.  And by the way, if a person really felt compelled to bind a particular procedure for divorce, they’re just going to leave the biblical use and application of the word “apoluo” and they’re going to make up rules, and they’re going to say, I tell you what it has to be, it has to be this right here.  If they’re going to do it, wouldn’t it be reasonable that they open the Bible up and turn to Mt. 5 or Mt. 19 and use the procedure that you can read about in your Bible.  Would you think that was a, a reasonable request?  Well, they won’t do it, though, will they? 

Do you know why that no one is prepared to Mt. 5 or Mt. 19 and bind the procedure that is talked about, discussed, that is the topic of discussion there?  You know why they won’t do it?  Because that procedure was native to the Old Testament.  That was the procedure of Deut. 24:1-4.  If you go binding the idea of a man giving a writing of divorcement, a, a letter of or book of putting away, it’s a very simple thing.  He just wrote to his wife that he didn’t like anymore, he said, ah, I don’t like you anymore and you are divorced.  And so, there’s a procedure, right there in Mt. 5 and those verses that ah, verse 31, and Mt. 19:7-8.  There’s you a procedure.  Wonder why someone won’t pick that procedure up and run with that one – there’s no mention of any civil courts there, by the way.  There are no judges, there are no lawyers, there are no writs, there are no juries, there are no court houses, there are no formal debates or arguments, there are no filings, there are no findings of fault.  There’s nothing like that anywhere in that passage.  It was the simple act of a writing of divorcement.  It was a simple writing on a piece of paper.

Now, ah, why is it they don’t do that?  Because that was in the Old Testament and I don’t believe the Old Testament is binding anymore, is it?  No, that’s why they don’t do that.  But let’s say that, for the sake of argument, that we’re looking for a procedure that we do want to bind, wouldn’t it be logical that you might use some Old Testament principle for that?  You know, if I were in the binding business on this subject of putting away, I think I would lean heavily towards that practice.  If I were to say, well, I tell you what I think we need to do, we need a practice that makes it clear that what we’re doing and everyone knows who’s put away  and for what reason, I tell you a good way to do that would be right back here in Mt. 5 and Mt. 19, based upon Deut. 24.  And I might be inclined to say, you know that’s my thinking on that, I think that would be a good way to do that.  I tell you what I can’t do is bind that on my brethren.  Logically, it seems to make sense to me as a method that is discussed in the Bible, but I’m not going to bind that. 

Well now, let’s notice what Jesus did.  Did Jesus answer the question about cause?  Yes, he did.  He did.  Notice you search the scriptures on the subject of divorce and remarriage and nowhere does the Bible say that there - anything about a procedure for putting away.  Nowhere does the Bible give a procedure for putting away in the New Testament.  Nowhere does the New Testament give a procedure for putting away.  Now, that’s going to present a problem for those who attempt to bind a specific procedure.  You can’t find it in the Bible, it’s not there.  Jesus answered the question.  The question had to do with cause.  Jesus answered the question.  He says, “except it be for fornication.”  He answered the question. 

There is one acceptable basis or cause that, or reason, that would allow one the right to put away their mate and reserve the right to remarry.  There is one reason, the reason, fornication.  Isn’t it funny that we have united on that for so many years and all of the sudden we have trouble.  Do you know why we have trouble?  Because someone is emphasizing something that Jesus did not.  Jesus emphasized the cause.  He answered the question that pertained to cause.  Jesus never said a word about procedure in this passage.  When men come along, say, oh, but we gotta have a certain procedure; it has to be this procedure, it has to be that procedure.  Well, they’re simply speaking where God did not speak.  They’re giving more information, they’re requiring something in addition to what Jesus required in this text.  That’s the problem.  That’s the problem we’re getting into on this thing. 

Why don’t you look at the word cause in Mt. 19:3.  The word cause that’s used here is the same word found in Lk. 23:4 and several other passages.  Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd “I find no fault,” no cause “in this man.”  Uh, NIV has, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”  Similar passage in Lk. 23:14, “I found no fault in this man concerning these things.”  Lk. 23:22, “What evil has he done?  I find no reason” - same word in the Greek language.  “No grounds,” the NIV has, “for death in him.  I will therefore chastise him and let him go.”  Acts 19:40, “We were in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason for which may give,” uh “which we may give to, uh, account for this disorderly gathering.”  Reason – same word in all the passages. 

I want to suggest some things to you before I get into the real heart of my study this morning, about things that have come to my mind that I believe we need to think long and hard on, on this question.  Before we line up and divide, I really hoped when this discussion broke, I had good friends on both sides of this.  And, I thought, you know what?  This is one of those that’s going to go away real quick.  It’ll go away because we’re dealing with things that the Bible does not specify.  And these good brethren and I have argued for years that we need Bible authority for everything that we believe, teach and practice.  I said, I think this thing is just going to go away.  And I still hope that maybe it might.  But to this day, it hasn’t – been dragging on for some time now, but I got to thinking about some things that we better, maybe, I don’t want to open up any more cans of, of ah, worms, but let’s just consider some possibilities here today and you take this information with you and maybe we can continue to think about it, and study it, and think about it, and reflect on it, in relation to the idea of fellowship.  Fellowship. 

Fellowship is controlled and defined in the New Testament.  So, we’re going to reflect upon the scriptures and applications of scripture and see how far am I really prepared to go.  Let me remind you of a statement made by a fellow that most people in here probably know a man named Bob Owen.  Now, Bob Owen was on to some of us for some time.  Ah, he was upset with us because he said if you continues, fellows continue to pressure views against our understanding of Romans 14 and the loosening of certain things, he said, you’re going to splinter and divide, you’ll, we’ll all one day be able to meet in a phone booth, words to that effect.  The funny thing about what Owen said, I’ve thought about this in connection with this controversy, the interesting thing about Owen’s remarks about the phone booth, uh, was that he was right to issue a warning.  He was wrong about his application.  But it’s right to issue a warning that if you were to then redefine your terms, or define them properly, I should say, that if brethren start binding where God has not bound and loosing where God has not loosed, you will splinter and divide to the point that you can all meet in phone booths.  That’s true.  He’s right about that.  He was wrong in his application and in his definitions, but the thought is fair and I would propose that to you as a possibility.

Some people say that the civil or cultural procedure determines the right of remarriage in a divorce.  That is their position.  Now, some people will just go ahead and say, I tell you what I believe, I believe that it is a race to the divorce court.  It’s funny with Donahue, I couldn’t get anybody to admit their position – brother Donahue said, that’s fine, I readily accept that expression.  He said, it’s a race to the divorce court.  Okay, at least you’re honest with your position.  At least you’re consistent.  It’s a race to the divorce court, okay.  Finally get someone to admit that.  Some say, no, no, I don’t believe in a race, it’s not a matter of who gets there first, it’s a matter of, you know, what happens after that.  Well how many, who’s going to define at what point it matters? 

You know, in the course of this study, some brethren came to me – another state – and they said Tim, you know what?  You see where these guys are wrong, they said, you see where they’re wrong, they’ve missed the whole thing.  Mt. 5 talks about a writing of divorcement, and separate from that Jesus spoke of putting away and they’re two entirely different things.  And I said, boy, you fellows are sharp, you’re right on the money on this thing.  That’s right.  Jesus didn’t adopt Deut. 24 as the method of putting away.  I propose that we could use that as one way.  But Jesus didn’t adopt it, He said, put away, and we’re going to define that term here in a little bit.  But they said, see, they’ve missed it and if you just back up, they said, and consider this thing, they would understand that the putting away had already occurred.  The putting away is the repudiation that occurs before anything else happens.  You know, you come home to your wife, you’ve already commit adultery against her, you’ve committed adultery against her, you come home to her that evening, say honey, uh, I don’t like you anymore and by the way, I’ve found someone else, I’ve already committed adultery, I renounce this relationship, you’re no longer my wife.  Bye.  No lawyers, no judges, no courts, no hearings, nothing.  You have repudiated your mate and you know what those brethren have done?  They’ve taken the race to repudiation position.  Because I said to the brother, I said, you know, if you take that position of it and you leave off anything else, you’re going to open the door to this scenario.  The guy has committed adultery against his wife.  He comes home, he says to his wife, honey, I have committed ah, fornication, ah, against…and before he can get the rest of the words out, the wife interferes, jumps in and says, I divorce you.  Ah!  I beat you.  I beat you, ha, ha, ha.  (Laughter in background.)  You thought you were going to divorce me, but now I just repudiated you.  You think that will fit in with what the Bible teaches?  That’s a race to repudiation. 

Then you have the race to the divorce court idea.  And so, we’re going to talk about all these, but these are different views that are taken on this thing.  Some say, and this is ah, this is now arisen as a side issue, I’ve noticed.  This is a side issue.  It’s related, but it is in addition to, that is it stands on its own, it’s in addition to the original disagreement.  Some say that God-given liberties are nullified by whatever human laws may contradict them.  That idea is completely foreign to the Bible, Old Testament and New.  I flatly reject the idea that divine liberties can be nullified by some human court or some human ah, oh, ruling or position that maybe some society has taken on a particular thing for x many years.  I utterly reject that. 

Somebody said, well now, you know, understand this that it’s in those areas of command, where God has specifically commanded us to do a thing, oh yes, we must obey God rather than man, Acts 5:21; Acts 4:18-20.  But now, now, anything else – anything in addition to that, any divinely – given liberty or anything, those can just be robbed from us by anyone and everyone that comes along and represents themselves as having some authority over humans.  Wrong.  That’s a separate issue, but that’s a part of it. 

Some take the race to the courthouse position, and some take the race to repudiation position, and some require the cause to be stated on the document.  By the way, among those who believe that the one who loses the civil court ruling – loo – looses the civil court action, you are the divorced person instead of the divorcer.  So even if you’re innocent, if you are the divorced person, according to their argument, you cannot remarry.  There is no procedure left for you.  You can’t put away your mate because you lost the race to the court house and you lost the civil judge’s favor, maybe your fornicating husband had just, ah, under the table handed him $500 and had the money in the bank to buy the, the $500 an hour lawyer, rather than the $100 an hour lawyer, and he’s going to win that thing, I don’t care what you do.  Happens every day in America.  I’ve got personal experience in this – not on the subject of divorce and remarriage, but in another area.  You want to ask me about that later, I’ll talk to you about it.  It’s all who has the money.  And you believe God’s law is that delicate?  Is it that flexible?  Is it, is it inherently fallible to the degree that God can extend a divinely-given liberty and you can buy its destruction with money, a good lawyer, good judge?  You believe that?  Well I, we’re going to look at some cases where the Bible defies that.  I’m like Jerry Frost on that ah, uh, he said, I-I deny the allegation and I defy the alligator.  I mean, I-I flatly reject anything like that.  I disagree with that entirely. 

Some require the cause to be stated on the d- on the court document.  Let’s think about that just for a moment.  Will we line up and divide over this one?  One person says that since in the context of Mt. 5 and Mt. 19, there was in the background to that a discussion of a writing of divorcement.  That there is then, some authority for the notion of a legal document and all we do then, is just convert that to the civil court house.  You know, we got a legal document over here in Mt. 5 and Mt. 19, which it was not a legal document, it was a writing of divorcement by the man, not by the judge.  Okay, so they’re wrong about that.  But at least it was a writing and so we can have a writing today with our courthouse system. It is, after all, a legal document when you get a divorce and so then ah, yeah, since that’s the case and if it’s for fornication, then the cause must be stated on the paper. 

You know, if I were going to take the position my opponents take, I would have to add that to it.  I would have to take the position that the cause must be stated on the document, because they’re putting the emphasis on the procedure rather than on the cause.  If emphasis, pay attention here, just think about this, if the emphasis is to be put upon the procedure, that is on the paper, and the cause doesn’t have to be there, here’s a question for you: here’s a back side of this chart.  It’s just white.  It has nothing written on that side of it.  Could I just go down to the courthouse and hand them a blank piece of paper and say, judge, I have just put away my wife.  Somebody’d say, well Tim, that’s stupid.  Why - why would you give him a blank piece of paper?  What is the significance of a blank piece of paper?  What now, that’s my divorce, I’m divorcing.  It doesn’t say anything on there.  Well, it doesn’t have to say anything on there.  Isn’t that the argument?  It doesn’t have to say anything on there.  It just needs to be some kind of document.  Does it matter what it says on the document?  They say, well up to a point it may – needs to have some kind of a header across the top of it, and a staff on it, showing that it’s approved by the government.  So that’s what makes the difference.  Is that what makes the difference?  You see, I’ll tell you, there’s some inconsistency on this thing.  Some say the cause has to be stated and some say, no. 

I wonder if I need to start a web site.  Might be good for me, I like doing web sites.  I’ve got three or four of them.  Some I don’t even know the codes and combinations to, how to get into them and work on them anymore.  Password.  I-I want to start me a website and ah, I think I’m going to have something about the cause having to be stated on the divorce papers in order for a person to have a scriptural right to remarry.  And then I could brand all of my brethren with whom I disagree on that.  Would that be a good thing for us to do?  The person who feels strongly about having the cause stated on the document feels strongly about it.  He believes it’s a matter of conviction.  Matter of necessity.  The other guy says, no, I really don’t think that’s necessary.  Well, what’s to cause us from lining up and dividing over that issue?  What is the difference between the two?  

There is none. 

Some allow a public announcement by the innocent party to their church.  Now, somebody told me, now Tim, if they lose the civil divorce, a good friend of mine, if they lose the civil divorcement, then they still have an option.  The innocent party in a case involving fornication, the innocent party can still present a letter to the church where they’re members and to the elders, and they can have that publicly read at the church house.  That’s fine, they can do that.  I don’t have any objection to that.  Now, where do you read about that in the Bible?  Well, I just think…  Now, it’s not in the Bible, but ah, we, we think that’s a good idea.  We might do that.  That’s fine, a fine practice.  If someone wants to do that, comfortable with that method, that procedure for putting away, fine.  That’s okay with me. 

My point is this, uh, what if uh, that person is not a member of the Lord’s church?  Could a non-Christian, then, who is an innocent party in a divorce for fornication, where the cause was fornication, just take a letter and go down to the local church of Christ?  File it at the local church of Christ and plead with the elders, now I’m not a member here, don’t have any intention of ever becoming one, don’t believe baptism is for the remission of sins, I don’t even believe that Jesus Christ is God, but would you file this letter for me here at the church so that I’m okay to be able to remarry?  Brethren, now I know that sounds ah, ludicrous, but that’s exactly right.  That’s exactly what it is and I intend to make fun of things that are that inconsistent. 

Know what my dad told me one time on this thing years before I ever knew any of the brethren involved in this controversy, or many of them?  We were talking about this subject one time and Mt. 5:32 and the cause and the right that God gave the innocent party there and to what extent that right may be able to be removed and he said, well, what I would have to do if I lost the civil divorce case, is I would need to let the community know what really happened.  If your mom, Tim, if your mom were to be unfaithful to me and hope that never happens, but if she were to be unfaithful, then what, and she were to get the best lawyer, and the judge granted the divorce to her, what I would have to do, he said, was publicize the truth on it.  He said, I’d take out a paper article or an, ah, maybe a radio ad.  I said Dad, you just do whatever you want to do on that.  Now, could you bind that?  Oh no, I’m just saying that that might be some way that we could let people know what happened.  Well we’re going to see that that would be an acceptable way of letting people know.  That newspaper ad, radio, will let the family know, let the friends know, elders, church, whatever you’ve got, whatever you could do.  We will demonstrate in the lesson this morning that any of those would be acceptable ways of letting people know what happened.

Now, let’s look at the word, apoluo.  The King James translators used as many different English words to translate the same Greek word as they could.  They thought it added flavor to the transl - translation.  So you can go through your New Testament if you’ve got a King James, and I use it all of the time, memorized a lot of it.  And you can go through the ah the Old King James Bible and you know, you find ah, this word and you think, well that should be like this other.  You get your lexicon out, and sure as a whirl, it’s the exact same word.  But they like to use a different English word to translate the same Greek word, because it added flavor to it.  Little spice, hmm. 

And so that was the concept, and so here are all the words you find, ah, from which the ah, into which the word is translated.  You have depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, go, let go, or let, ah liberty, that is to be ah, put at liberty, loosed, to put, to release, or to send.  You’ll find those all through the Bible.  Thayer talks about this word, apoluo, and he talks about the idea of dismissing from the house in the divorce passages to repudiate.  That’s Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon on that point.  Varying from dictionary to dictionary, you will find either this word, divorce comes from or is a synonym with the word, repudiatus in Latin, which of course, obviously means to repudiate, or its first cousin, repudium, which means separation.  Same idea.  As I say, and let me be clear on that, whether it be a synonym or a exact derivative is hard to establish on some word etymologies, so I will not ah, go beyond what I’ve said on that.  But, uh, let me just reiterate that Thayer did like the word repudiate in connection with the word, divorce.  Thayer did think that was an acceptable ah, rendering or explanation of the word. 

And so, let us notice something about this word and I’ve talked a lot about this already.  The word, “apoluo,” does not necessarily imply, this is going to be the heart of this lesson, the word, apoluo is used sixty-eight times in the New Testament, does not necessarily imply any civil court action or procedure.  Then somebody said, Oh, but I was reading over here where Pilate released Jesus and it’s the word, apoluo, and in that, you would be correct.  And you know, he was a government figure, and he was connected…  Well now, why did he let Jesus go?  Because Roman law taught that he should?  No – had that custom, the custom that at the time of the feast there in Judea, not in Rome, in Judea, that they would let some prisoner go, whoever the mob requested, crowd requested.  In this case, of course, they wanted Barabbas because they wanted Jesus to die.  The word apoluo is not necessarily connected to court houses, trials, writs, warrants, judges, lawyers, clerks, bailiffs, juries, witnesses, legal filings, or any particular legal procedure.  You do not find that in the Bible.  Somebody said, Oh, but we can’t have it any other way. 

Well now, I – I want you to think carefully about this chart.  If you take a look at the word apoluo, as it’s used in the Bible, it’s more than just the word itself we need to think about.  If it’s synonyms that we need to think about.  You know the word chorizo is found in I Cor. 7:10-11, and you know in that context, what Paul said to introduce his comments about chorizo?  He said, now I’m not telling you anything new, here.  This is not additional revelation to what Jesus had already said.  He said, “unto the married I command, yet, not I but the Lord.”  What do you mean, Paul?  The Lord has already commented on this particular scenario.  Where?  Mt. 19:9, Mt. 5:32.   Now Paul will give some information by the Holy Spirit that is in addition to, describing and discussing different scenarios than discussed and described in Mt. 5 and Mt. 19.  He’s going to talk about religiously - mixed marriages.   Religiously - mixed marriages in I Cor. 7.  Jesus didn’t specifically talk about those.  Jesus did specifically talk about the married in the scenario of the scribe in verses 10 and 11.  Now watch this carefully.  Paul, I got a question for you here.  What, why’d you use that word chorizo there?  Well, because it means the same thing as apoluo.   It’s a synonym to apoluo.  Jesus used apoluo, I’m using chorizo, same thing.  Inspired commentary on the interchangeability of those Greek terms.  By the way, that’s as Ken Thomas says, ungetaroundable or some say ungetoverable. 

Now, there’s another word in the last part of I Cor. 7 there, aphiemi, which is another Greek term that’s translated, to divorce.  In the New King James, to divorce,  “A husband is not to divorce his wife.”  Did I, did I ever hear about this before?  Yeah, Jesus already commented on that.  Did he use the word, aphiemi?  No, he didn’t use the word, aphiemi, he used the word, apoluo.  Somebody said, now chorizo is over in Mt. 19:6 and that’s exactly right.  Notice that.  In that Mt. 19:3, the question framed to the Pharisees was, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause” and the word apoluo.  But then in verse 6, “What therefore God hath joined together, let man not put asunder” – Jesus used chorizo.  There’s the interchangeability of those two terms.  An inspired commentary, “Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for fornication,” however, there is something you better take note of here on this chart. 

Notice up there I have active voice in Mt. 19:6 and down here in I Cor. 7 I have pointed out that that’s the passive voice?  “If she depart?”  Did Paul make any distinction between those voices, as far as the action that was involved in the putting away, in the divorce?  Do you ever wonder why the word apoluo is sometimes translated in the sense of sending away, and sometimes in the sense of dismissing, and sometimes in the sense of departing?  Well, it’s all a question of who’s taking the action, and it’s all a question of who has the right to take the action.

Now here, I want you to pay attention carefully and think this one through.  In Ma – Acts 28:25, the Jews departed from Paul.  Paul’s where?  Under house arrest, Rome.  Jews?  They heard about the background and the Way that was everywhere spoken against.  They come to Paul to take advantage of his presence in Rome. They get there, they probe him with questions, he answers the questions, he preaches a little lesson to them, and they departed.  It’s the word, apoluo.  The Sanhedrin let the disciples go.  Acts 4:21 and Acts 4:23 show again the use of “apoluo” in both the active and passive voices, by the way, and doesn’t make a distinction between the action, the nature of the action taken.  That is critical in this discussion.  It’s so critical that my opposition ignores this argument every time.  There has been no attempt to answer this argument.  They know they cannot answer this argument and so it is simply ignored.  Acts 5:40, they release them or let them go.  The assemblies were dismissed, Acts 5:30, 31 - Jerusalem, then later at Antioch, both assemblies were dismissed.  In a legal sense, in Acts 19:41, the legal assembly or lawful assembly was dismissed, apoluo.  Luke 6:37 uses the word, apoluo for forgive and forgiven.  Jesus talked about how you must forgive in order to be forgiven.  It’s the word, apoluo, it’s the same word.  What is it?  He’s talking about loosing from, loosing from your sins.  Same word in Mt. 19:3 and 9, okay?  The woman was loosed from her infirmity, Lk. 13:12.  Paul and Barnabas were sent, apoluo, by the church at Antioch and they were also sent by the Holy Spirit, we might add, verse 4.  And ah, so you have there the use of apoluo, as sent.

Now, Mt. 19 uh, that should be verse 9.  Mt. 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.”

Now, somebody said, Why'd you put that Mt. 19:9 down there with the other passages?  Because it belongs there.  The same Greek term is used, you have similar constructions.  In each case, one person had the power or had the right to act.  In the case of a marriage where fornication is committed by one person – I said one, not two, now brother Donahue, I said one person, in marriages where fornication is committed by one party, there is someone in that relationship that has the power, the God-given right to act against the other one.  Guess who it is?  Who is it, Jesus?  It’s the innocent party.  Not the judge.  Not the lawyer.  It’s not some particular procedure that might allow the fastest one to take some type of humanly authorized action against the other one, to rob the other one out of a God-given right.  No, it’s the one Jesus said had the right, had the power.  I tell you who has the power over the marriage bond.  Jesus said the innocent party has the power over the marriage bond. 

Somebody said, “But couldn’t the fornicator just leave and break the marriage?”  Oh yeah, anybody can break a marriage.  If I go out there and get in my green truck (I’d have to drop Steve off and Steve could catch a ride with maybe somebody else), I get in my truck and I skin out of here today – I didn’t drive the vet today but I hate to let you down ah, and maybe invalidate your illustration – hopefully not, but you know, if I had that vet I could go a little faster.  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.  You know it’s still intact?  That’s why Jesus gives the option for the innocent party to put the guilty away or not. 

Even as the fornicator, I can’t do any damage to the bond.  God said to the innocent party, “you retain control of the marriage bond.”  Can the fornicator break the marriage?  Absolutely.  He can break the physical relationship by leaving and not coming back or by committing fornication, but he cannot damage, he can do no damage, he has no God-given right, no power to destroy or break the bond.  The innocent party has that right.  God gave it, Matt. 19:9.  Somebody says, “Oh but God, uh human laws can take it away.”  Now where did you read that?  You didn’t get it in your Bible.  You won’t find anything like that in the Bible. 

I want to just run through some passages.  Some of these, I’m not even going to read, not even going to read all of the references, it’s not necessary.  I – kind of like I told Harry Osborne after he debated Terence Sheridan.  Both of us, dairy farmers – ex-dairy farmers.  I said Ter, I said ah, ah, Harry, I said, I reread that debate.  I said, I got through that second negative of yours and I was reminded of what I used to do if a heifer was kind of awnery. I would get out there on that YZ-125 and chase her ’til she couldn’t hardly stand because she would jump every fence in the country and the only way to keep up with her was on that racing Yahama that I had.  And I had chased her ’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).

Well, I don’t want to overkill, you know.  I think it’s important to make a point, but let’s, let’s just do that and run with this, and then if any of you want these charts, I’ll be uploading these to sometime, Lord willing, this afternoon.

“Lord, now let thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word.”  This man was spared, he was allowed to live until he would see the Lord’s Christ.  Apoluo is used in reference to, to the departing of his soul.  It’s the same word.  Mt. 19 – Don’t believe me, get your lexicon out, look it up.  The same word.  He departed, his soul would depart, in peace because he’s happy that he’s been able to see the fulfillment of that prophecy and see the Lord’s arrival on the planet, earth, in the flesh – God with us.  Somebody said, Watch out, Tim there, you get side tracked on that one, and I guess I could, couldn’t I?   

“So the chief captain then let the young men, man depart,” made him depart.  Wonder why he did that?  Well, because he retained the power to do that.  He retained the power to do it.  And in Act 28:25, “And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed.”  The word apoluo in these passages has no inherent connection with civil au, authorities or legal procedures.  No inherent connection with civil authority or legal procedures. 

What about the word, let go, the expression, go or let go?  “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers glorified His servant, Jesus whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.”  Ah, he wanted to let Him go, but then he, of course, caved to the request of an angry mob, a Godless mob, they disregarded justice and said, We want you to kill Jesus; you let Barabbas go. 

Luke 23:22, “Why, what evil hath he done.  I find no cause of death in him.  I will therefore chastise him and let him go.”  So, it’s translated that way, the word, apoluo.  I’m sorry, Acts 15: 33, where it’s also translated, “let go” says, “After they had tarried there a space, they were let go” in peace from the brethren.  The word, apoluo, ah apoluo has no inherent connection with civil authorities or legal procedures.  By the way, when we get ready to dismiss this little assembly here, this little gathering of, of concerned parties, and interested, ah, parties, who are, who are maybe bay - Bible students, and just coming together to learn, will we have to go down here to the ah, police station and have them do some legal thing for us to let us dismiss this assembly?  Why not?  If the word apoluo always has to do with legal action as has been maintained by several brethren, then why wouldn’t we have to do that?  Why wouldn’t we have to get a court order allowing us to dismiss this assembly?  I’ll tell you why not.  Because the word, apoluo, has no inherent connection with civil authority or any particular civil procedure. 

The word, dismiss, we’ve already looked at Acts 15, we’ve already looked at Acts 19:41, they dismissed him – look at this.  Due to its broad meaning and general use, it is understandable why the word apoluo is used in connection with civil actions, however, notice even though it is used in reference to a legal assembly, 19:41, it is not a legal assembly in Acts 15:30.  The word simply means to let go.  Someone had the power to dismiss and others were dismissed.  In marriages involving fornication on the party of on – by the par - on one side, by one party, I should say, the other party, the innocent party has the right, the control, the power to act.  God gave them that power. 

The word, forgive, as we noted in Lk. 6:37, the word, loose.  By the way, in order for forgiveness to occur, does there have to be some court action taken in order for that to happen?  The way some of the brethren live and act, I guess you they might think that, "get the lawyer," now.  But no, no, ah not biblically.  The word, loose is used, you know Jesus loosed a woman from her infirmity, Lk. 13:11. 

Lk. 14:2-4, apoluo is used where Jesus let that fellow go.  He let him go.  Jesus had the control of the situation, he had the right to let him go.  No civil law procedures here.  You know, some denominations and religious groups do sort of couple the idea of forgiveness with some type of higher human authority, like Catholicism.  Wonder if our brethren are headed down that path.  Make a consistent application of their argument with the word, “apoluo,” and where will they wind up?  Confessing sins to some priest who has been humanly authorized to grant forgiveness.  Well, I hope not, but I’m just talking about the logical end of an argument. 

The word, send, send away - apoluo used in all of these passages.  Lk. 8:38-39, Acts 13:3 we’ve already noted.  Several times, brethren, I don’t want to belabor this, but several times, Mt. 14:15, 22:23; Mk. 6:36, the parallels.

All have Jesus sending the multitude away.  You know what word that is?  It’s the word, apoluo.  If the Greek word, apoluo, does not even imply any general civil law activity, how in the world can we argue that it requires some specific procedure?   Wish somebody’d answer that.  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. 

Well now, the word, release.  We’ve already talked about several of those.  It’s translated from the word, apoluo.  But then you have put away.  And here is the crux of this, I want you to consider this.  The word put away, the expression put away rather, the word, apoluo, in Mt. 5:32; Mt. 1:19, where Joseph was minded to put his wife away privately.  Same word, apoluo, he’s going to put her away.   Is there anything different about the divorce passages and all of those dozens of other passages that I’ve either read or cited, referenced?  There is no difference.  It’s the same Greek word.  It is the same idea, it is the same action, all of them requiring the right of someone to take action against someone else.  Apoluo means it involves the same thing in these passages that it does in all of the others.  It means separate, dismiss, release, loose, depart, send away, repudiate, leave or let go. 

I want to conclude with this chart that I showed you earlier.  Do you know what they have in common?  They have in common that someone has the power, has the right to act against someone else or to act for someone else.  In the divorce cases, there is a party that has the God given right to act against the other.  It is the innocent party.  Somebody says, No, the judge has that power.  No, he doesn’t.  God said, Jesus said, the… (muffled tape sound) party has that power.  He said, except it be for fornication – changes everything.  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.  God did not require or specify any particular civil procedure, cultural procedure, ah societal procedure.  You just can’t find that in the Bible.  It’s not there.  Arguments been made, Well, now, you know what you’re doing?  What you’re doing is allowing people to marry, ah, out here that don’t have the God given right. 

No, I Tim. 4:3 came into this equation some time ago and I thought, well, that’s a good passage.  Let’s do talk about that.  That works well for me - I like I Tim. 4:3 because you know what I Tim. 4:3 is condemning?  It is condemning when any man or any entity, acting on behalf of the devil, incidentally, any entity, any human, any organization – religious, civil or otherwise forbids eligible people from marriage.  Now, it’s eligible people in I Tim. 4:3.  We’ve all agreed on that in the past.  We don’t have to change that agreement now.  Eligible people have a right to marry.  Now, Paul, what if somebody comes along and teaches that no, I forbid that – you cannot marry.  What is that?  Doctrine of the devils.  What if civil law does that?  It’s still a demonic doctrine.  Still a doctrine of the devil, I don’t care who says it, who enforces it, what church does it, what organization does it.  Catholics do it, demanding celibacy of their ah, so-called priests.  I don’t care who does it, it just is wrong.  It’s forbidding what God allows. 

You know what they don’t like to talk about?  The connector here of and, ah, says ah, that they also forbid the eating of meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving of ah, those that receive it.  Now, they banned the eating of certain foods and what was that?  The doctrine of devils, and they banned marriage among even eligible people.  We ever seen that in the past?  yes, yeah, we’ve – we’ve seen that.  We saw that with marriage with ah, Nazi Germany when the German Jews were not permitted to marry.  Licenses were not granted in 1935 Germany to, to a Jew or anybody of Jewish descent, to marry.   They married anyway, by the way; they did it secretively.  Eligible people, men and women, married each other.  They violate divine law?  Somebody’s going to have to say yes, that holds the opposing position.  They’re gonna say, oh yeah I, those people go up there and get married you know, what procedure do they have?  The Germans wouldn’t allow it, the documents, no registry of it. Ah, ah, ah, there’s nothing said about it in the courthouse, so they couldn’t be married.

This country did slaves the same way, not that many years ago.  Slaves were property.  They had no marriage rights.  They had to invent their own procedure for getting married.  Our law wouldn’t grant marriage rights to slaves in certain states, and so there’s a problem.

Now let me just show the flip side of this quickly.  With regard to marriage and eating of meats, just as God allows the eating of meats, I Tim. 4:3-5 and Rom. 14, in verses 6-14, God allows marriage between eligible people.  And I don’t care what brother, what preacher or self – proclaimed arbiter of marriage and divorce rights stands up and says otherwise.  God’s law stands and as Hafley always says, it’ll stand while this earth is on fire.  There is nothing that you or I can do about the fact that God allows eligible people the right to marry.  Can’t do a thing about it.  I Cor. 7:2, Heb. 13:4, “Marriage is honorable in all.”  Mt. 19:11 is a very powerful passage on this point.  The disciples said, “Well, this is the case with men, it’s good not to marry.”  Jesus – “Well, some people cannot receive this, but others can receive it.”  “They are willing to abide by my laws governing marriage and so they have the right to marry.”  Now, here’s the doctrine of Christ down here at the bottom, and up here at the top, the doctrine of devils.  Where do some of our brethren stand on that? 

That’s it, brethren.  Slide show is over.  There are several components to this that we can discuss, we might, it depends on how many questions we have as to how much I might go into some of these things, so I’m going to end this for now and see what things do come up in questions and ah, ah, we’ll take it from there.  Ah, if you want to, interested in further work I’ve done on this, you can consult, ah, and see some articles and material I’ve written on it, and on-going works.  Ah, this series, but mainly the article behind, explaining each case of apoluo that I went over will be in article form very soon, coming out on biblebanner.  It’s extensive, exhaustive study of the word, apoluo, so if you’re interested in further study, you might do that.  But, does anybody have any questions about anything was taught?  Bill?

Question/Answer Session

(Nearly all of the questions asked of brother Haile were not discernable enough for a consistent and accurate rendering, as the microphone must have been aimed at Tim, and not the audience.  Therefore, for the most part, they were not transcribed.)


TIM HAILE:  That’s right.  The Koran does exactly teach that. 



TIM HAILE:  This is a good passage too. Jerry Bassett has argued for years that because Matt. 19:6 says that man can sunder the marriage that he assumes then the right of both parties to then go on and proceed with new marriages and remarry without committing any ongoing adultery. Well, he makes the argument based on the word sundering there, but what was sundered was the marriage there. Ah. Just as Herodias had sundered her marriage with Phillip, and then was, ah, married to Herod. And so, I am glad you brought that passage up. Now, with regard to the role of civil law in this whole thing, two people decide together, they agree together, they are going dissolve a marriage, and you can do it any day of the, of the year in this country with relative ease. Ah. 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.  The role of the civil court in our country today is simply the role and the reason we should comply with civil requirements as they pertain to this thing. Their role is to record primarily for tax reasons, now, you know, don’t want to make any more out of that, but, primarily for money reasons they want to record the status of married people. And that’s fine, because Romans 13 says we should comply with civil law. Of course, the qualifier is Acts 5:29 until and unless they interfere with our carrying out or our performance of any Divine will. 


TIM HAILE: Has no effect on the bond.


TIM HAILE: Only by God. That’s right. Sometimes, even in cases where you have an innocent party and a guilty that is an unfaithful, ah, party, ah, one who has been sexually immoral. Sometimes in those cases there will be no breaking of the bond because I have known cases where innocent people would not act upon the cause. They, they didn’t care. They just said I am not going to remarry and, and, ah, never remarry, and then they go on their way; they don’t, they don’t ever regard the cause.  (Few garbled words here).


TIM HAILE: Ok.  Ah, Carlos?


TIM HAILE: Well, ah, I don’t recall ever making that point because you’re assuming the argument by someone else and really this discussion, these weren’t lasting discussions. They weren’t going on at the same time and so this, this, new controversy has arisen really after Hailey’s death and ah, for the most part, brethren have been discussing these things for a long time, but ah, I think maybe no correlation probably between the two.

Brother in the back?


TIM HAILE: Is it?  No it only can be, it is not necessarily.


TIM HAILE: It can be, when the innocent party acts upon the God given right against the guilty. Now this is a good question. Can these take place at different times? I say, absolutely they can take place at different times. The guilty party, as I described in my scenario a moment ago, could just walk out of the house. They could commit fornication, walk out, leave their mate. Putting away has not occurred because they committed fornication and a God given right is still, ah, retained by the innocent party.  Since the God given right does exist, in some cases it doesn’t, there is no fornication or what have you, but in cases where the right does exist, then you’ve got a power or a right on the part of the innocent party to act against the guilty. They can go stand on their head, you know, four or five days in a row, do whatever they think they need to do to break the bond and their actions are completely irrelevant.

Brother Sloan?


TIM HAILE: Ah, as close as you get, with the word, the actual Greek word, “apoluo” is those times in the Bible where some type of civil authority like, I’ll go ahead and give this, even though I have some reservations about it. The Sanhedrin council, ah, Sanhedrin council released the disciples after they threatened them and after they beat them, they released them. There is some connection there between the two in some civil action. There is a problem with that that arises for my opponents on this thing. At one moment, they don’t want to concede that the Sanhedrin has any real civil power. But in order to make their case that civil authority does, that “apoluo” does inhere civil authority, they’ll always go to those Sanhedrin passages and they can’t have it both ways. Can’t be both.


TIM HAILE: That, ah, controversy ironically has spun off of this one again among brethren. 1 Corinthians chapter 7, and verses 10 and11, that just a little earlier there, make it very clear in the context of distress (verse 26). “I suppose this is good for the present distress.” 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.

Anything else?


TIM HAILE: I’m sorry, go ahead.


TIM HAILE: And I’ll make another strong one in response to that. Where in the Bible does God allow us the liberty, where is the stated liberty as it is in Matthew 19:9 that I should be able to drive 100 MPH? There is a stated liberty in Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:32 allowing an innocent party to put away a guilty and remarry. If you read the exception into it, it is a liberty extended.


TIM HAILE: A God given right.


TIM HAILE: Not necessarily. We generally use those interchangeably. When I say right, we’ve got scripture. I’ve got scripture for what I’ve said today. And if we start talking about, ah, you know, whether or not God did or did not give us the liberty, we might use the same word right, or power, to drive an automobile as fast as we can or will, ah, we got problems, we just don’t have any scripture. But I am very comfortable with my position on Matthew 19:9 because I have given you a scripture that specifies a God-given right. So we don’t have to speculate on speed limits and that kind of thing.

Bill, do you want to add something to that?

Brother Burnett.  Hold on a second.


TIM HAILE:  “Fornication doesn’t break the bond itself, only the action of the innocent party.”


TIM HAILE: “Uh huh.”


TIM HAILE: 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.

Let’s see, Bill first and (few garbled words) I don’t know who’s after that. Go ahead.


TIM HAILE: Sorry (laughter).


TIM HAILE: Don’t use many names if we are going to get into scenarios. I won’t be able to repeat the questions. Brother Reaves.


TIM HAILE: That is an interesting observation.


TIM HAILE: That’s been a problem. We don’t use, call Bible things by Bible names, it’s trouble every time. I’ve got a section in my latest article on that very point. Brother Reaves, would you, when you get a chance, make your point on the Spanish translation of the word divorce.


TIM HAILE: Always think, automatically because of our society, North American civil jurisprudence. First thing that comes to our mind is divorce court when we read that. That’s the problem. I forgot your name, but go ahead.


TIM HAILE: As a couple of times, of course, the first thing I would do, the obvious would be Romans 7. Romans 7, verses 2 and 3, which is actually an illustration of the larger spiritual truth that Paul is setting for the relationship between, ah, the, ah, Christ and the Law and the saints relationship to Christ as a result of what happened to the Law. And so it says in Romans 7:2 “for the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he lives. But if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband so then, if while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. But if her husband be dead, she is free from that law.”


TIM HAILE: Both of them still living. And both of the, ah, the two, ah, divorce passages that address the, or include the exception clause – Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9. Both of them speak of the innocent party, of an innocent party acting on the basis, the basis, the cause, of a, a God given right. And so He says, ‘I say unto you whosever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication,’ ah, old King James in chapter 5:32, says, ‘saving for the cause of fornication.’ ‘Except it be for fornication, and shall marry another committeth adultery and whoso marrieth her that is put away doth commit adultery.’ There is an implication. The implication is that if you put away for fornication, you do not commit adultery when you remarry. I think probably we’re all agreed on that.


TIM HAILE:  Oh, the only reason, let me follow up then, the only reason then they would be free to remarry without committing adultery which is the confusion of a married person, ah, involved with another married person – they are not married to each other, and it confuses the relationship.

SAME QUESTIONER:  We’re not talking about marriage, we’re talking about bond.

TIM HAILE: The bond has to be broken in order for that innocent party to be able to remarry without committing adultery.


TIM HAILE: The bond had to be broken without, in order for it not to be adultery.

QUESTIONER:  I have a problem with that, because it doesn’t say, (garbled few words), permission to remarry.

TIM HAILE: I think that’s, either way, I think that’s a little bit semantical. Ah, permission would be that God disregards any previous bond. Ah, let me put it that way.  Maybe you’ll be more happy with that.


TIM HAILE: Oh, that’s a really good question. In our society, the thing I have not disagreed with any of my opponents on, in our society today we have a system in place that will recognize, that may be used to recognize what action I have decided to take. That system is our civil law system. Generally, it will accommodate people. Sometimes, and I have known, have, have, met many people since this subject has come up, let me just tell you folks, that I have received I don’t know how many, ah, hand written letters and how many emails and several phone calls from people all over the country, ah, who have told their stories. Where they were not permitted by their present legal system to do what they said they have the God given right to do. So, I’m gonna qualify my language and 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. So we may use civil law, you may jump over the broomstick, you know, forward or backwards, ah, brethren always have different ways. I don’t know which one, I just don’t care. I don’t care much.  You know, all you are doing there is letting the public know what you’ve done. I mention this idea of notification – the idea of letting people know. Well, you know, some emphasize that more than others. But for the sake of peace and harmony, and keeping down confusion, letting people know what’s going on, yes there needs to be some kind of ratification.

Brother Spears.


TIM HAILE: Yeah (Laughter).


TIM HAILE: In this case of the civil government –


TIM HAILE: Are you saying, that is, am I saying?


TIM HAILE: I think it should be obvious after how long did I preach (laughter).


TIM HAILE: I’m saying, that’s right, am I, am I saying that the civil courts, and I’ll frame that, cannot, ah, cannot overrule. That is precisely it. I am saying that the civil courts, the decisions made by judges who may be godless and unscrupulous. Let’s face it, the Bible is filled with language describing the purchasing of justice. The Old Testament, societies corrupted themselves – the book of Amos, different places – corrupted themselves to the point of justice always being for a bribe. A rule for a buck. We have a system like that today in many places. My brother is a deputy sheriff, ah, he, he, he has become so repulsed at this corrupt system where he is, that he is 32 years old and running for sheriff of the county, because he wants to fix it. And so ah, you know, that’s the place that we live right now. In a perfect society by the way, I am glad you brought that up, in a perfect society where all are Christians, all of us are Christians, all of us have, ah, who are accountable have yielded to God’s will and are behaving as we should. In that society, you wouldn’t have a contradiction between the civil ruling and Biblical rights, would you? No.


QUESTIONER: My question (garbled words) the current controversy and those that are involved (garbled words)  As I understand it, (garbled words) are discussing these things with you (garbled) civil procedure.  Is it not true that there’s also others involved that are studying with you, and their question is not civil procedure, but more of a matter of a time frame, where Jesus said, if you get a divorce, for some reason other than fornication, you commit adultery when you remarry.  And I’m bothered by Tim Haile coming on and saying that after that kind of divorce when fornication is committed that he is saying someone can remarry. They’re not bothered by the civil procedure thing. I guess Brother Belknap, Pat Donahue and those kind of individuals are bothered by this civil procedure which you have aptly shown today that has nothing to do with the word of God. But others, maybe Gene Frost, or maybe J.T. Smith, they’re bothered by the fact that there is a timeframe going on here, that, is there any scripture that forbids that remarriage, regardless of fornication afterward or not. The scripture has forbidden a remarriage and puts more of a time frame. Now you mentioned earlier in a comment to someone else that you prefer not to answer that. I wasn’t aware of that this afternoon, but, isn’t it that some others are bothered by a time frame involved here not the civil procedure, but some are basically saying that fornication can be committed down the road and that God allows a remarriage after there has been an unscriptural divorcement. Is that also not a part of the controversy that we have to work with? 

TIM HAILE: That, that is a part of the controversy, uh, brethren who have questions over the timing, I have been faced with that question several times.  The answer of course is that in Matthew 5, this will be as far as I go is exactly what the Bible says and you wouldn’t expect anything more or less of me, I know, Chris.  But, ah,  in Matthew 5:32, “I say on to you whosoever shall put away his wife….” If you read that exception out of it, leave it out, ah, you cause her to commit adultery when she remarries and then whosoever marries who is divorced commits adultery.  Obviously I taught for years, I was in a meeting – when this controversy broke, I was in a meeting and I won’t tell where because they’re working on these situations.  I was in a meeting when this really broke and I was heavily involved and burned, about burned my laptop modem that week I reckon in controversy.  And uh, ah I it’s an odd situation because in that very meeting, two women, two women in that church came up to me and told me their stories after I preached on divorce and remarriage. Both of them I had to tell, uh, you don’t have the right to be married. Twice, you know, in that meeting I had to tell women, uh, neither of them had faithful husbands, but I had to tell them that they were unscripturally married based on the information they had given me. Both of them were scenarios just like this here. What Jesus is describing here is a situation where neither party has any power or any right. There is no fornication. In cases like that, when both, when they divorced, they simply decide – it happens every day in America – they’re going to get divorced over irreconcilable differences, uh, neither has the right to ever remarry. Well, no, … qualify that with death – Romans 7:2-3. The death of one or the other would permit the other to remarry. That’s all I’m going to say on that.  Ah, but you got a good question.  Does the controversy also involve some logistics and timing? And yes it does. You know, this is a plea for unity, what I have preached today, ah, I know this is more study and you felt preached to, I apologize for any high intensity, it may – its kind of hard to avoid though, isn’t it Steve, when you talk about things that, that we feel strongly about.  Hope all of you understand that; so many preachers here, I’m sure you do. Ah. But let me say this, we, ah, on-on a subject like this, there are areas where it’s just cut and dried, where there’s things – here is the way it is, it’s what the Bible teaches.  I will preach that with full conviction. Now, somebody could say “No Tim, you’re just simply wrong about that and we’re going to study it.” But then there’ve got to be areas of, of, application. I gave a whole list of those on that chart earlier, where brethren simply have to agree to disagree. And this matter of whether or not the cause has to be specifically stated on the divorce certificate is one of them, is one of them.  And this question of, uh, whether or not the, the, uh, one who loses, there is always, there is always one who wins and one who loses – whether or not the loser in a civil divorce does not have the right to remarry even though they are the innocent party in a divorce for fornication, uh, that’s going to have to be another.  And I, I really hope we can drop this thing. I really hope that. We can drop this thing, unite upon the fact of “except it be for fornication.” That’s what Jesus said. He answered that question. We can unite on that and go along here and we might even study these other things. But this whole talk of fellowship, and hypocrisy, and you fought Hailey, and now here you are teaching that adultery is OK, one brother told me, on the phone, he said, “Oh Tim, you’re off on divorce and remarriage. You allow adultery, the same kind of adultery you said that Homer Hailey allowed.” I tell you what brethren, that’s just uncalled for. That’s not productive. If he wants to press his Biblical arguments as hard as he possibly can, I’ll, I’ll be amening. I’ll be, I’m happy you’re preaching your convictions on that. I may disagree, but be happy to discuss it. But, to make accusations like that against me, many in this room know how hard I fought the, the looseness, the errors on divorce and remarriage. Dudley Spears knows the battles I’ve been in, and sometimes with him and others here as well, brother Reaves and different ones. You know. To classify me as being off on divorce and remarriage was just somewhat of an insult, I felt like.  I-I’ve stuck my neck out many times in fighting error on divorce and remarriage.

 Go ahead.

 QUESTIONER: “The second clause in Matthew 19:9; ‘Whoever marries her that is divorced commits adultery,’ and um, it seems like there –” (Tim cuts in here)

 TIM HAILE: Except it be for fornication, but, but go ahead.

 QUESTIONER: Does the exception clause apply to that clause?

 TIM HAILE:  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.  Ah, did you want to say something?


TIM HAILE:  Ah, that’s a good word, radically changes the course, that’s a great illustration.  I appreciate that.


TIM HAILE: Total difference, by the, by the insertion of an exception. 

And brother Sloan:


TIM HAILE:  I use that under the heading of positions that brethren have agreed to disagree on. Some brethren feel that if the fornicator wins the, ah, basically the race, if they get there, if they secure the lawyer first, if they, if they proceed with the filing, that’s against the other person. Then the argument is made that, you know by some, that that’s irrelevant, they say, “I am not saying that, because, the innocent party can come back with their lawyer and countersue.” I was recently introduced to, to another view of that.  That’s why I put it here.   We better be able to agree to disagree, or even, even people who side on, on the other side for me on this thing are in direct odds with each other.  Because one brother called me and he said “now, now, Tim, I don’t believe that you have to legally countersue as the innocent party.  He said, you have to have a letter, you have to have a letter, a written letter, stating that the cause of this divorce is not irreconcilable differences, it’s not because I burned the bread, it’s because the person divorcing me committed fornication.”  So, I said, “Would you insist that, that letter, that it be done that way.  It’s a good friend of mine; we kind of made fun of this thing a little bit I guess; probably offended him (laughs) no, I did any way.  But ah, he, he said, that’s, that’s what I’m saying.  It has to be ratified, so you could have a letter; it doesn’t have to be a countersuit.  Well other brethren say, “No, it should be in a legal framework, under our present legal system, so that it has to be a formal countersuit.”  Now those two parties would disagree with each other on that procedure.  One said, it has to be a lawyer, legal, you know, with the, with the official legal documentation. The other says, “no legal documentation, just a simple handwritten letter submitted by your lawyer to the court.” And I said, “What do they do with it?” And he said, “Well, they have to file it.” And I said, “I will tell you where they’ll file that letter – File 13 – because it has no legal significance whatsoever.” “Well, but that’s beside the point, they tried; they tried.” I am going through all this because, do you see how far we can just keep going? So I brought the countersuit this up to say this: yes, that is one option of putting away. The countersuit is an option.  The initial suit was an option in cases where it was, one was availed that option. The countersuit is another option. The submitting of the letter was another option.  See, I didn’t protest –


TIM HAILEFor the innocent party – only for the innocent party and not for the fornicating party.  So you know, ah, that’s the only reason I brought that up.  (Tape ends here)


Divorce Definitions

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Divorce, [N] [T] [B] [E]

“‘a legal dissolution of the marriage relation.’ The law regulating this subject is found (24:1-4) and the cases in which the right of a husband to divorce his wife was lost are stated ibid ., (22: 19, 29) The ground of divorce is appoint on which the Jewish doctors of the period of the New Testament differed widely; the school of Shammai seeming to limit it to a moral delinquency in the woman, whilst that the Hillel extended it to trifling causes, e.g., if the wife burnt the food she was cooking for her husband. The Pharisees wished perhaps to embroil our Saviour with these rival schools by their question, (Matthew 19:3) by his answer to which, as well as by his previous maxim, (Matthew 5:31) he declares that he regarded all the lesser causes than "fornication" as standing on too weak ground, and declined the question of how to interpret the words of Moses” (emp. jhb). 

Arndt & Gingrich

On Page 125 of the 1979 edition of Arndt and Gingrich, under the word Aphiemi, it states concerning I Corinthians 7:11 — “in a legal sense divorce.”

 Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. 1, pgs. 509-512)

 On pg. 509 under the Greek usage:

“To be emphasized is the legal use much attested in the pap.1to release someone from a legal relation,” whether office, marriage, obligation, or debt, though never in a religious sense.”

“Corresponding is the use of the rarer subst., which often has the legal sense of ‘release’ from office, marriage, obligation etc., as also from debt or punishment, though never religiously…”

Compare with the following:

“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) posted on 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) posted on Watchman Magazine, 1-1-02]

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