Home > Divorce/Remarriage, Mallinak > The Case for Lawful Divorce, Part 2

The Case for Lawful Divorce, Part 2

May 12, 2007

And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife. But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 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. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.

1 Corinthians 7:10-17

Three teachers fully expound the Scriptural position on divorce: Moses, Christ, and Paul. Each teacher refers to the previous teacher, expounding, explaining, and expanding on the prior lesson. This does not infer that there are three different laws of divorce, nor does this author make such a claim. Yet there are three distinct teachings. These three must not be viewed in isolation: together, they comprise Scripture’s teaching on divorce.

Nevertheless, these three teachers address three different realms: the civil, the Christian, and the New Testament Church. Moses shows us how the civil government should treat divorce. Christ teaches the Christian how he should view divorce, giving the Christian attitude towards divorce. Paul teaches how divorce should be handled in the context of the New Testament Church. In the civil realm, Moses demands that a legal procedure be followed, which includes a bill of divorcement. As Christians, Christ says that we must have the right attitude – a Christian attitude – towards divorce; that believers should never seek divorce, should never want it, should never say “when can I…?” Referring back to the Law of Moses, Christ teaches that if you follow the legal procedure for any cause other than fornication, then you are committing adultery. Christ is very clear on this. Hard hearts seek divorce, but from the beginning it was not so, for God created man male and female, and joined them together as husband and wife with no other options. New hearts seek reconciliation, want to maintain the marriage if at all possible.

Having expounded on the Law of Moses and the teaching of Christ in the last installment, we now look to the teaching of Paul regarding divorce. It should be noted first that Paul does not write a separate law of divorce. Rather, Paul applies the law of divorce to a different area. It should also be noted that Paul wrote this passage under the inspiration of God. This passage is part of the “all Scriptures” that are given by God, and the passage does not alternate between inspired teaching and uninspired teaching. In verse ten, Paul says, “yet not I, but the Lord” meaning that Paul is first addressing the teaching of Christ regarding this issue. In verse twelve, Paul says, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord….” That is not to say that Paul was giving extra-biblical teaching, nor is it to say that this was only Paul’s opinion, not to be considered of equal authority with Scripture. Paul is here addressing an aspect of divorce which Jesus Christ did not deal with. So, he makes a distinction between his teaching in this passage and previous teaching on divorce. Yet, this passage and the truths taught in the passage carry the full weight and authority of Scripture, for it is the very words of God.

We should also note that this is the first passage on divorce that is addressed to converted Gentiles. Regardless of the spiritual condition of Jews in Christ’s time, they understood the Law of God in ways that Gentile converts would not understand it. The Jewish understanding of the marriage covenant and of unequal yokes would be very different from the Gentile understanding. In addition, the Gentile converts usually came with a lot of baggage, particularly converts in Corinth. Unconverted spouses of Corinthian converts would bring with them a Pandora’s box of problems. The fact that the spouse stayed was not always a blessing. Worse, some spouses abandoned their converted mates. Still worse, some continued to worship regularly and frequently in the temple of Aphrodite. The immorality of the Corinthians was legendary, and it is not difficult to guess at the issues Corinthian converts were dealing with.

Paul offers help and guidance to these converts, lest they should be a law unto themselves, arguing that the Word of God must guide and govern them rather than the feelings and frustrations that came with the current circumstances. So, 1 Corinthians 7 gives us a third and final perspective of divorce, which we might call the New Testament Church’s law of divorce (as Paul said, “and so ordain I in all churches).

PAUL EXPOUNDS ON THE TEACHING OF CHRIST (1 CORINTHIANS 7:10-11)

Once again, the teaching on divorce is set in the context of teaching on fornication and marital fidelity. The question arose because converts remained married to infidels. Was it permissible for a believer to remain unequally yoked with an unbeliever? As has been mentioned previously, there was an instance in Old Testament History when the people were obliged to put away their heathen wives (Ezra 10:3). Did this set a pattern for all unequal yokes?

Let’s say that a man converts, but his wife refuses to convert, or even to attend church with him. She is disobedient. If she were in the church, she would be subject to church sanctions. Does he have a right to put her away? Suppose a woman converts, but her husband mocks her faith, continuing in drunkenness and all manner of fornication. Is she obligated to leave him? What about the case of a Christian young man who, in a rebellious frame of mind, marries an unsaved girl. Suppose that in time, he repents and seeks restoration. Following Ezra 10:3, should he be required to put away the unequal yoke?

Paul answers that question for us, beginning with the general rule for all Christians regarding divorce. Our Lord, with his own mouth, forbad such separations. “I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband.” Notice verse 11: But and if she depart… Contradiction? Wasn’t Christ forbidding divorce in any case? Then why the allowance? Why give any instruction for those who choose to depart? The Bible doesn’t say thou shalt not kill, but and if you kill… If divorce is absolutely sin in every case, then why say this? Clearly, Paul is reminding us of the right attitude towards divorce, as taught by Christ. Believers do not want divorce, do not seek divorce, but seek reconciliation. Paul reminds these converts that they must not separate for any reason other than what Christ allowed. If they must separate, they must do so only with the intention of reconciliation, or remaining unmarried. Ultimately, Paul commands the converted spouse to maintain the marriage at all costs.

It should be noted here that often when a husband or wife converts, they become very cantankerous. They want to preach at their spouse, to apply all they have learned at church to their unsaved spouse at home. They tend to take copious notes during the sermon time so that they can re-preach the sermon when they get back home. Some even refuse to have any part with the unsaved spouse. This is ungodly. It demonstrates a religion that is on the surface, but not in the heart. It shows a desire to impress fellow church members, and proves that the convert has no real heart for the Lord.

Those who have unconverted spouses must remember the place of compassion and true religion in the Christian life (James 1:26-27). If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, no matter how godless our neighbor might be, then we certainly are to love our spouse, though unconverted, as we love ourselves. 1 Peter 3:1-4 would be a good text for the new convert to read and meditate on. Especially converted wives should take note of the fact that the sweet spirit and Christ-like attitude of the godly wife will affect the unconverted husband. And in fact, her godly spirit will affect him more than her pietistic tokens of godliness.

PAUL EXPANDS ON THE TEACHING OF CHRIST (1 CORINTHIANS 7:12-17)

As was said earlier, Paul is not speaking on his own here, nor is he saying that the next few verses will be uninspired or lesser inspired than other teaching. Rather, Paul here intends to address an area that Christ did not previously address. Particularly, in the case of converts, if the unconverted spouse is willing to honor the marriage vows, let the saved spouse stay with the marriage. In urging this, Paul teaches several important concepts. First, that by no means does conversion  dissolve the marriage. Quite the opposite. When one spouse converts in a previously unregenerate home, the marriage should grow that much stronger. In fact, if anything, the new Christian is forbidden to desert his wife. Secondly, marriage relations with an unsaved spouse by no means defiles a person (v. 14). Are they unequally yoked? Yet this unequal yoke does not defile the believer (Titus 1:15). The relationship is sanctified by the holiness of the believing spouse.

But what if the unbelieving spouse deserts? According to verse 15, the believer must neither prevent his deserting nor contest the divorce. In such a case, a brother or sister is not in bondage. The word for “bondage” in verse 15 is a much stronger word than the word for “bound” in verse 39. In verse 15, the bondage means “enslaved,” and indicates that the converted spouse is set free, is no longer enslaved by the yoke of marriage in the case of the unbeliever who deserts the marriage. Thus, the deserted spouse is free to remarry. In verse 11, the spouse who deserts the marriage for fornication is told to remain unmarried or else be reconciled. But God treats the deserter differently from the deserted here. The deserter seems to never be free. The deserted can be free after all possible attempts at reconciliation have failed.

In order to belabor the point, and for the sake of clarity, we should mention that we have a similar situation when a church member deserts his spouse. A few years ago we had a horrible case of abandonment in our church, where a man in the church abandoned his wife, abandoned his children, and refused to repent. After numerous meetings with the pastor and deacons, and after every attempt at reconciliation failed, we told it to the church, and when he refused to hear the church, the church removed him from membership. In a case like this, the Bible gives a very clear command.

And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Once the church “loosed” this church member, he became as an unbeliever, and according to 1 Corinthians 7:15, his wife was free.

But Paul is never anxious for divorce, and neither am I. Thus, Paul reminds us that God has called believers to peace (Romans 12:18). The believing spouse must always remember that they could (or perhaps should) be the instrument of the other’s salvation (v. 16). And besides, Paul charges, we must always be content (v. 17). How many divorces are caused by covetousness?

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  1. May 12, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    I’ll deal with a little of this one. Thanks for spending the time.

    First Two Paragraphs. I still do not agree with the view that Moses, then Jesus, then Paul gave several different aspects to divorce. There is one view of divorce. No divorce. Of course, I think that the first church was in Jerusalem with Jesus, so I don’t differentiate Jesus’ teaching as “Christian teaching” and then Paul’s as “church teaching” either. And Jesus goes back to the beginning of Genesis, which is Moses, and Paul bases his teaching on what Jesus said. When I wrote about Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Pastor Mallinak said that he agreed with me. According to this, he doesn’t agree. I understand how the English reads with a jussive force, but the Hebrew structure is first three verses, protasis, verse 4 apodosis, an if-then sentence. The point is not to advise how to divorce, as Pastor Mallinak above teaches—“Moses demands that a legal procedure be followed, which includes a bill of divorcement.” The only regulative statement in the passage says that a man should not take his former wife again as a wife once he has remarried another. That’s all. Then he writes that Jesus teaches that Christians shouldn’t want it, shouldn’t desire it. I don’t see that anywhere in the Lord’s teaching. Jesus says, What God hath put together, let no man put asunder.” That isn’t anything like, “Don’t want it,” but more like “Don’t do it.” And Jesus totally crosses the Pharisees understanding that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 was allowing for divorce. He says, “No, it isn’t.” He contradicts that position. As I said in my presentation—for Jesus to support the position of the Pharisees by allowing divorce for a reason—it would be the only time that He says, “Have ye not read,” and then supported the position they took. He didn’t say, “Hard hearts seek divorce.” I’m mystified by that conclusion. It is eisegesis. He says Moses allowed it because of the hardness of your hearts. Hardness didn’t lead to seeking, but to divorcing.

    Third Paragraph. Paul’s teaching is inspired—I agree.

    Fourth and Fifth Paragraphs. This isn’t the first passage written to converted Romans. That would be the book of Mark. This is teaching that fits everything else that the Bible teaches on divorce, and is not some unique application to Gentiles. In 1 Cor. 7, Paul is recalling what Jesus said in Mark, and the way it reads fits right with the Gospel of Mark.

    Sixth and Seventh Paragraph. I don’t believe that this Israelite putting away in Ezra was akin to putting away in Corinth, and the terms in Ezra belie that they did not see them as marriages.

    Eighth Paragraph. The “but and if” is a third class condition, not viewing them as a reality, so it is the viewing the divorces like a hypothetical, not as giving space for divorce. Pastor Mallinak said that God doesn’t say, “Thou shalt not kill, but if you do…” Wrong. The cities of refuge were for people who killed. If someeone did, he could flee to the city of refuge. There were all sorts of case law like this in the OT, statutes and judgments on the laws God had written.

    Ninth and Tenth Paragraphs. I essentially agree.

    (More later)

  2. May 13, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    First, I would like to state my position, and then ask a few questions. My position seems to differ from both men, although I am sure mine is the scriptural position. 🙂 I believe the Bible teaches two Christians who are married NEVER have a reason for divorce. I do not believe Jesus’ teaching in the gospels allowed for divorce in cases of fornication. I believe he was referring to Jewish custom in marriage. Case-in-point would be Joseph and Mary: Due to the Jewish custom of marriage Joseph would have needed to divorce Mary, even though they were in what I would call their “engagement time.” He had a right to divorce her because when he first found out she was pregnant, to Joseph at the time; he believed Mary committed fornication (sex before/without marriage). We have no such custom in our manner of marriages in the west, as to this type of engagement period. Therefore I do not see how this could apply to us.

    Let me allow others to talk about this Jewish custom who know more than I. From Gill’s commentary on Matthew 1:18: “The espousals were before they thus came together. It was usual with the Jews first to espouse or betroth, and then to marry, or rather consummate the marriage, by bringing the woman home to her husband’s house, between which there was some space of time. The account and manner of betrothing is given by Maimonides (y) in the following words.

    “Before the giving of the law, if a man met a woman in the street, if he would, he might take her, and bring her into his house and marry her between him and herself, and she became his wife; but when the law was given, the Israelites were commanded, that if a man would take a woman he should obtain her before witnesses, and after that she should be his wife, according to Deu_22:13 and these takings are an affirmative command of the law, and are called או אירוסין קידושין “espousals” or “betrothings” in every place; and a woman who is obtained in such a way is called או מאורסת מקודשת “espoused” or “betrothed”; and when a woman is obtained, and becomes מקודשת “espoused”, although she is not yet נבעלה “married, nor has entered into her husband’s house”, yet she is a man’s wife.”

    I believe the teaching for Christians to follow is found in I Corinthians 7. I believe this chapter allows for a Christian spouse/s to be separated legally, but not for divorce. However, I do see it allowing for divorce when a Christian is unequally yoked and the unsaved, divorces the saved. This is the only allowance for divorce I see which applies to us. This is only allowed when the unsaved seek the divorce. The saved person is NEVER allowed to seek a divorce or to seek legal action toward it.

    Now, I address this topic cautiously. For one I must admit, I have never studied this issue to the degree Pastor Mallinak has. I say that because although I have taught on this issue many times over the years, I have never taught on it for a 20 week time period. He clearly put alot of time and thought into this topic. However, I think I have studied in different light and through different glasses. I deal with many more problems when it comes to marriage then I think you Pastors in the states do. I have to deal with polygamy, and cultural customs concerning marriage that leave you on your knees seeking God for wisdom on how to handle different situations. Things such as “bride price”, “buying shame,” and divorce at will. Just last week, I had to deal with a member of my church who was ready to sell her daughter off (thus given her in marriage) to a man 20 years her senior and a Charismatic. Yes, I did intervene to help prevent it from happening.

    Questions:

    Pastor Mallinak – What is your view on my comments concerning Jesus’ teaching in the gospels?

    Pastor Kent – Would you disagree I Corinthians 7:15 makes a provision for divorce? If so, why?

    Pastor Kent – From your posts and comments, I am unclear on your view concerning remarriage. I know you are not for it. Neither am I except for perhaps the one situation I Corinthians seven gives. If this week you lead to the Lord a married couple, but they have both been married before do you tell them to separate? (Do you not recognize their marriage?)

  3. Thomas Ross
    May 13, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    Some questions.

    1.) I would be interested in seeing both Pastor Mallink and Pastor Brandenburg’s opinion (and whoever else wants to chime in) on the fact that in 1 Corinthians 7 the word “depart” is not the normal word for divorce, “put away.”

    2.) I would also be interested in finding out why, on the allowable-divorce view of Pastor Mallinkak, “not under bondage” means that one is free from the alleged bondage of a marriage relation. I do not see anywhere else in the Bible where that Greek word is used for a marriage relation, or where marriage is compared to bondage (although that view is easy to find on the TV). Why can’t v. 15 be saying something like, “If the spouse is out comitting adultery all day long, and when you come near him he runs after you with an axe, you don’t have to stay in the same house but can live apart one from the other,” rather than saying “you can divorce?” If one actually had to stay in the house and just keep dodging the axe that would look like bondage to me, for sure; I am not clear why the verse would mean “you can divorce, and not only divorce, but can remarry someone else.”

    3.) Does 1 Cor 7:11 indicate that, after a “departure” (a divorce, although this is not the Greek word for it??), the spouse is still a “husband” or a “wife”? If so, that would look like evidence against a divorce position. (Of course, the word man/husband and woman/wife are the same in Greek, but the KJV is correct, not just because of God’s providence and because of the context, but the article before “andri” shows that “husband” is the right rendering).

    4.) Why would the “peace” of 1 Cor 7:15 be the ability of the Christian to marry someone else while the former spouse is still alive, rather than the ability to not have to run after and, as it were, chain oneself to a wicked and unconverted spouse when he runs off and marries someone else? Where does Scripture tell us that “God hath called us to peace” is Greek, or Hebrew, or KJV English, terminology for “you can remarry”? Are there linguistic parallels to support this sort of conclusion? Or perhaps I misunderstood Pastor Mallinak’s contention, and the “peace” is not the ability to remarry, but a condition where no remarriage happens. If the latter was his intention, why is it if God has called us to this condition of peace, of not remarrying, we still get to do it? Doesn’t that mean we are choosing something different than what God called us to do?

    – I thank you in advance for the anticipated replies, as time permits.

  4. May 14, 2007 at 7:58 am

    I’m going to deal with 1 Corinthians 7 in one of my posts, so I won’t do that here. I’ll answer things in this post and comments in my post.

  5. May 14, 2007 at 8:10 am

    Brother Ross,

    I am not Pastor Mallinak, but allow me to answer one of your questions:

    The term “under bondage” is closely related to the term “bound” in 1 Cor. 7:39. That is also the only place this term is used, but it is still correct. In 1 Cor. 7:39, we are told that a virgin is under the authority of her father until given to a husband. She is “bound” to that husband until he dies, and then she is “free” to remarry if she wishes.

    This situation is not the same as the one found in the earlier verses, but the concept of being “bound” or “under bondage” is applied to the marriage laws.

  6. Thomas Ross
    May 14, 2007 at 9:27 pm

    Dear Bro Dunham,

    Thanks for your comment. Why are we to believe that the terms in v. 15 and in v. 39 are closely related? Are there verses where the two words are used in parallel? I don’t see why we are to believe that the two words are closely related.

  7. May 15, 2007 at 5:15 am

    Brother Ross,

    I believe they are related for two reasons.

    The first is context. The entire chapter is speaking of laws and regulations concerning marriage. One is stronger than the other, but they are both related to the “binding laws” of marriage.

    Secondly, because it makes sense in Greek and in English that they are related. The phrases “under bondage” and “bound” are not the same, but they are very similar in English. The word “bondage” means to “be bound”.

    In Greek the word for “under bondage” is:
    G1402
    δουλόω
    douloō
    doo-lo’-o
    From G1401; to enslave (literally or figuratively): – bring into (be under) bondage, X given, become (make) servant.

    The word for “bound” is:
    G1210
    δέω
    deō
    deh’-o
    A primary verb; to bind (in various applications, literally or figuratively): – bind, be in bonds, knit, tie, wind. See also G1163, G1189.

    To believe that they are not related, (I did not say exactly the same) would take some some parsing. At leas, that is my opinion.

  8. Thomas Ross
    May 16, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Thanks for the entry. I can see why we would say that they are related from the similarity in English, but I don’t see anything in Greek that indicates it still; about the only things that are similar in their roots is a delta at the beginning.

  9. May 17, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    I’m not sorry that I haven’t had time to answer questions here… no disrespect intended. We’re enjoying a monster week of preaching, and gobbling it up, along with a little “week-long-staff-meeting” mixed into the fray. I’ve had a hard time pulling myself over into the blog world for more than a quick glance-and-skim. But I’m not sorry.

    Can only answer a bit here. First, to Pastor B…

    1) I agreed that Deuteronomy 24 does not argue for divorce, nor should it be used as an argument for divorce. Since I hold to the KJV reading, I am slow to accept a reading that requires a minimum of three years of Hebrew.

    2) Throughout this debate, Pastor Brandengurg has insisted that the Scriptural view of divorce is “no divorce,” and has interpreted all Scripture passages to fit that view. Meanwhile, I have attempted to give the natural reading of the divorce passages. What is eisegesis?

    3) Speaking of the eisegesis charge, it reminds me of the first time my son picks up a hammer… everything needs to be hammered. It reminds me of the day after our first lesson covering the informal fallacies in Logic class… to an eighth grader, everything is a fallacy that disagrees with their reasoning.

    4) Pastor B said “He says Moses allowed it because of the hardness of your hearts. Hardness didn’t lead to seeking, but to divorcing.” Perhaps Pastor B wouldn’t mind elaborating on what the meaning of “it” is. Moses allowed what? Because remember? Moses wasn’t talking about divorce here. Right? So the “it” that Moses allowed wasn’t divorcing, because the Hebrew structure is first three verses, protasis, verse 4 apodosis, an if-then sentence. So the “it” Moses was allowing was that a man should not take his former wife again as a wife once he has remarried another. Right? So, Hardness didn’t lead to divorcing either, right?

    5) Pastor B said, “This isn’t the first passage written to converted Romans. That would be the book of Mark.” What I said, as I recall, was that it was the first passage on divorce addressed to converted Gentiles. So, I agree with you that it wasn’t the first passage written to converted Romans.

    6) I’m thinking that the part about God making exceptions to the sixth commandment were merely for the sake of argument. Of course, the cities of refuge were developed to fill in the gap between lawful killing and unlawful killing. Capital Punishment was not forbidden in the sixth commandment. Nor was killing on the battlefield. We all know that. The cities of refuge were there for those accidental killings that were neither lawful nor unlawful. But I guess when you’re pouncing, you’ll pounce on whatever looks pouncable. It was a nice try though. Might have confused someone.

  10. May 17, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Terry,

    Having read Pastor B’s “explanation” of the word fornication, I still have to disagree, seeing as how Christ is talking about putting away a “wife” in Matthew. Since he has already argued that marriage and betrothal are not the same thing, he would have to make the case that the word “wife” in Matt. 5:32 and Mt. 19:9 means “betrothed” when it comes to the “saving for the cause of fornication,” but means “married wife” when it comes to divorce.

  11. May 17, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    Thomas,

    1) Since the word “depart” in I Cor 7 is not the normal word for divorce, obviously Paul is not speaking of divorce here. Obviously, he is speaking of “departing,” and the wife is not to depart from her husband, but and if she does, then she must remain unmarried.

    2) There is still a problem with the view that abandoning the marriage is acceptable. Divorce, which I defined in an earlier post, is a putting away of the marriage covenant. In what way could a wife be thought of as keeping the marriage covenant when she abandons her husband? Since the term “putting away” is used rather than divorce (Mal 2:15-17), abandonment would be included.

    3) Are you arguing that the word “depart” here means divorce?

    4) God hath called us to peace means that believers must not be looking for opportunities to depart.

  12. May 17, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    Pastor Mallinak,

    Yes, I caught Brandengurg. Shall we say we’re even. Alright, answers, in bold again.

    1) I agreed that Deuteronomy 24 does not argue for divorce, nor should it be used as an argument for divorce. Since I hold to the KJV reading, I am slow to accept a reading that requires a minimum of three years of Hebrew. You should reread my comment. Many of God’s laws are statutes and judgments, are case law. Men put asunder, but God didn’t, that’s why it is adultery when someone remarries. God doesn’t design man and woman for more than one husband or wife. That’s why He only created one man and one woman. Moses allowed. God didn’t. God hated. If you want to get a great interpretation of Deut. 24, then look at Jesus in Mark 10:1-9. You might enjoy His take more and you’ll struggle using rhetoric against Him.

    2) Throughout this debate, Pastor Brandengurg has insisted that the Scriptural view of divorce is “no divorce,” and has interpreted all Scripture passages to fit that view. Meanwhile, I have attempted to give the natural reading of the divorce passages. What is eisegesis? I actually start with Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 like Jesus does in Mark 10:1-12. I figure if it is good enough for Jesus, then it is good enough for me. Plus, Genesis 1 and 2 seem very early as a basis for all the other passages to look at. Jesus also does a good job with Deut. 24, as I said before.

    3) Speaking of the eisegesis charge, it reminds me of the first time my son picks up a hammer… everything needs to be hammered. It reminds me of the day after our first lesson covering the informal fallacies in Logic class… to an eighth grader, everything is a fallacy that disagrees with their reasoning. I’m glad I graduated from eighth grade. The acne is still bothering me though.

    4) Pastor B said “He says Moses allowed it because of the hardness of your hearts. Hardness didn’t lead to seeking, but to divorcing.” Perhaps Pastor B wouldn’t mind elaborating on what the meaning of “it” is. Moses allowed what? Because remember? Moses wasn’t talking about divorce here. Right? So the “it” that Moses allowed wasn’t divorcing, because the Hebrew structure is first three verses, protasis, verse 4 apodosis, an if-then sentence. So the “it” Moses was allowing was that a man should not take his former wife again as a wife once he has remarried another. Right? So, Hardness didn’t lead to divorcing either, right? Who said Moses wasn’t talking about divorce? God was regulating a pre-existing condition in Deut. 24. Those who Moses allowed (not God) based on the hardness of their hearts, should stay married once they have remarried. Besides that, I’m figuring that the rhetorical stuff is…um…mockery, much like my, um…What?

    5) Pastor B said, “This isn’t the first passage written to converted Romans. That would be the book of Mark.” What I said, as I recall, was that it was the first passage on divorce addressed to converted Gentiles. So, I agree with you that it wasn’t the first passage written to converted Romans. Good stalling technique. Converted Gentiles. Do you think those in Caesar’s household were Jews? Being in Salt Lake City, you might have some genealogical stuff I haven’t seen. Mark was written before 1 Cor. and it was written to converted Gentiles.

    6) I’m thinking that the part about God making exceptions to the sixth commandment were merely for the sake of argument. Of course, the cities of refuge were developed to fill in the gap between lawful killing and unlawful killing. Capital Punishment was not forbidden in the sixth commandment. Nor was killing on the battlefield. We all know that. The cities of refuge were there for those accidental killings that were neither lawful nor unlawful. But I guess when you’re pouncing, you’ll pounce on whatever looks pouncable. It was a nice try though. Might have confused someone.
    You were making a point with the “Don’t kill, but if you do….,” saying that God doesn’t work that way, and He does, the cities of refuge. I could pounce in a different way. Much of Old Testament case law deals with things that are unlawful. If someone acts in a certain way, then this is what should happen. Most of the time, the act is not an act that God prescribes, but the regulation tells what to do if it happens. In this case, these were people that God did not join together. God would not tell men to put asunder what He joined together. We know that because Jesus said it.  Confucius could be confused; hence, the name.

  13. May 17, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    I guess the real question is, is divorce ever not a sin?

  14. May 17, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Cathy,

    NO.

    Pastor B

  15. Thomas Ross
    May 17, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Dear Pastor Mallinak,

    Thanks for the comments. It seems like your reply to my question #1 indicated that, on your view, the “departure” was not a divorce/putting away. However, I wonder then why your original post stated that “Paul [gives] . . . a general rule for all Christians regarding divorce . . . “let not the wife depart.” In your post you seem to equate the two. If you do not intend to equate them, I have a hard time following a significant portion of your argument. Indeed, it looks like, as I read it, the latter portion is based upon such an equation.

    In relation to my second question: I had asked why “not under bondage” means one can remarry. I don’t really see how we are to know this from the reply. Also, when I spoke of leaving the house when the guy is coming at you with the axe, I did not intend to say abandoning the marriage; until the death of the spouse, you seek restoration and the conversion of the unconverted one, etc. As for a covenant relation in marriage, the faithful spouse is not breaking that covenant if he or she, to save her life (or to use less extreme circumstances, has a spouse who is beating her, on dangerous illegal drugs all the time and this is causing threats, etc.) she temporarily lives in a different residence and prays for restoration. If living in a different location would be equated with an allegedly divorcable breaking of a marriage covenant, it would seem that all those soldiers who are away in Iraq for a year or so have grounds for divorce from their wives. Furthermore, it is not sufficient to say that marriage has covenantal language in it to say that the covenant can be eliminated. Covenants can be unconditional once ratified (as the Abrahamic covenant was–once Abraham left the land, etc. it brought unconditional promises to all his descendents). Why are we to assume that a marriage covenant can be broken and anulled by either party based on unfaithfulness? The unfaithfulness of Israel does not annul the Abrahamic covenant God has with her.

    In relation to question three, I was considering the implications of both the argument that depart=divorce and that it did not. The verse reads, ” But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.” If depart=divorce, then the verse would indicate that even after a divorce, the spouse is still a “husband,” which would eliminate remarriage and indicate that she commits adultery if she gets a second husband.

    In relation to question #4, if “God hath called us to peace” means that believers are not to look for reasons to depart, then if depart=divorce, God has called believers not to divorce, and divorce is doing something God has not called believers to, since they are called to peace.

    A miscellaneous note; I would be interested in finding out what the allowable-divorce view would say in response to the contention that in Ezra the putting away of the spouses was commended because idolatrous spouses were actually supposed to be put to death in the Jewish theocracy, but they could not be killed because they were under the control of the Persians, and, since we are not to kill idolatrous spouses today, doing the lesser thing in divorcing them in Ezra’s day provides no assistance to a contention that in the dispensation of grace divorce is acceptable.

  16. Thomas Ross
    May 17, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    I think it is worth mentioning as well in relation to Deut 24, the apparent English argument that divorce is allowable is largely based upon the “let him write her a bill of divorcement” in v. 1. (Nobody seems to have shown how, in Hebrew, Pastor Brandenburg is incorrectly interpreting the inspired text that Moses wrote). However, the KJV English, without any examination of Hebrew whatever, indicates that “let him” does not imply a Divine sanction on the action. Consider the instance of “let him” immediately prior to Deut 24 in the KJV:

    De 20:8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.

    The right thing for this man is to stop being fearful and fainthearted; but “let him” leave the army instead.

    Perhaps even in English there is not a great case–or any case–for divorce in Deut 24:1ff.

  17. Thomas Ross
    May 18, 2007 at 11:29 pm

    Please also note the analysis of Deut 24:1-4ff (and the question of God divorcing Israel) that I put under “The Case for Lawful Divorce” part 1. I think I meant to put it here, but I didn’t; I am glad that, unlike me, the Scripture is infallible and does not goof up.

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