Maxey - Broking Discussion
A Critical Review and Defense of
Down, But Not Out

Tuesday, September 12, 2000

A Few Additional Comments
By Darrell Broking

In summary of the last few posts in this discussion, Al Maxey takes the position that the second word translated "loosed" in First Corinthians 7:27 means divorced. This writer's position is that the word in question means unmarried, and as supported by the experts who gave us the BAGD lexicon, this writer does not see the need to look at the word in question as dealing with any subsequent marriage. Because of the rarity of this New Testament construction, it is essential to look to usage of this structure outside of the New Testament itself to get a sense of its meaning. It must be remembered that the Greek Testament was not written in a vacuum. The BAGD introduces similar constructions before arriving at the aforementioned conclusion. Evidence that my opponent in this discussion ignores.

Furthermore, the immediate context of I Corinthians 7, and the overall context of the New Testament writings, will not allow the usage for which my opponent contends. The New Testament doctrine of marriage, divorce, and remarriage is very easy to understand. That is until people start saying that the Lord really did not say what is recorded in the Bible. Now I realize that my opponent's position is that he sees the truth on this subject as clearly as spoken by the Lord. But, when his concept of that which was spoken by the Lord is set forth, it does not read like the Good Book.

My opponent says that Jesus' view of divorce is "not merely temporary separation or marriages on hold, with the covenant itself remaining in force." He says, "they are characterized as nothing less than a total dissolution of a marriage. Those who had previously been united as one, were now two again. The 'one flesh' state had been terminated" (Down, But Not Out, Chapter 7). Please notice that Paul thought differently about this than my opponent. Paul wrote, "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" (I Cor. 7:10-11). The apostle says that if one divorces her husband she is to remain "unmarried" or be reconciled to her "husband." The same truth is applied to the male. If the divorced were loosed so as to be two again, it would not be possible for the one in question to be reconciled to her husband. Now that is right down there where the calves can get it, as brother Keeble would say.

In addition to this let it also be seen that the Bible says that John told Herod "it is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife" (Mark 6:18). This was his brother Philip's wife whom Herod had married (Mark 6:17). The statement recorded in Mark 6:17 indicates that the Holy Ghost recognized the marriage between Herod and Herodias as a legal marriage according to man's laws. Although their marriage was according to the laws of the land, God recognized their marriage as unlawful (Mark 6:18).

History reveals the fact that Herod visited his brother Philip's wife, Herodias, while on one of his journeys and stole her from Philip. Herodias consented to divorce Philip and become Herod's wife. Herod also divorced his own wife to marry Herodias. While this arrangement was legal by man's standard, God did not accept it. Therefore, John kept on telling Herod that it was not lawful for him to have Philip's wife. John loved God and the souls of men; therefore, he was willing to tell these sinners about the reality of their condition. Because of this John was arrested, imprisoned and in time Herodias arranged John's execution.

Another interesting facet of the marriage between Herod and Herodias is that they were not Jews, neither were they concerned about following God's law. Nevertheless they were amenable to God's law. Many today live without regard to the moral standard of the Bible. Like Herod and Herodias, all men everywhere are under God's law and will be judged accordingly. Jesus did not give the world a standard of morality that differs with the standard given to the church. Do you suppose that John will rise up in judgment and condemn all of those who compromise on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage?

Some assume that the only reason the marriage between Herod and Herodias was illegal before God, was because it violated Leviticus 18:16 -- "Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness of thy brother's wife: it is thy brother's nakedness." While this is true that this Herodian couple were guilty of Leviticus 18:16, one must not be ignorant as to why they violated this Mosaic injunction. Remember that Herod and Herodias both divorced and remarried according to the laws of the land. If it were the case that all divorce carries the right of remarriage, then Herod would not have uncovered the nakedness of his brother's wife, but the nakedness of Herodias. The reason Herod uncovered the nakedness of Philip's wife was because God did not recognize her divorce. Not only was Herod and Herodias' marriage a violation of Leviticus 18:16, it was an adulterous marriage in the eyes of God, "for he had married her" (Mark 6:17).

Those who assume all divorced persons are free to marry again assume more than the Bible teaches. Only those who are innocent of fornication, and put away a spouse guilty of fornication, have the Lord's authority to be bound to another in marriage. Would to God that men today would stop allowing the world to be the thermostat of doctrine. The Bible occupies that position.

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