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

Thursday, November 2, 2000

Still Focusing On Matthew 19:6
And Related Material
By Darrell Broking

Al Maxey writes: "YES --- I agree that a divorce 'completely severs, terminates, yea it destroys' the bond of marriage between a man and woman. I believe it ends the bond of marriage just as surely as the death of one of the spouses. The Greek words employed in Scripture clearly declare such."

Are the scriptures really as clear on Al's interpretation as Al says they are? The answer to this question will become clearer and clearer as this debate moves closer and closer to the crux of the matter. Please notice that as this section of the debate began to unfold that Al would not deal with my comments on I Corinthians 7:10-11.

Al acknowledges that "it is the will of the Lord God, Paul informs these married believers, that 'a wife must not separate from her husband' (vs. 10)" (from the section Trouble Among Married Believers in Chapter Seven of Down, But Not Out). Paul, in this section reminded the Corinthians that he did not need to answer the question being addressed in I Corinthians 7:10-11, because the Lord already answered it for them (Matthew 19:6). The Lord's prohibition (Matthew 19:6) obviously stands as an injunction against divorce (the only exception is noted in Matthew 19:9 and will be addressed in a later post).

I also agree with Al that divorce, not mere separation, is addressed by Paul in the section. In the section Trouble Among Married Believers Al shows that the passive force of the infinitive choristhenai from chorizo indicates that "Paul conveys it is more the state of separation itself that is being condemned." I would prefer to say, because the context so demands, that the state of divorce is being warned against. God's design is for two people to become one flesh and live as one flesh until death parts them asunder. But, because divorce will occur between people, Paul went on to demonstrate the force of the Lord's doctrine on the subject of putting away. That force corresponds with Matthew 19:12.

The amazing thing about the section Trouble Among Married Believers in Al's book is that a man who has engaged in Greek studies on the master's level would make such a word play on a passive infinitive, choristhenai, and at the same time overlook a key word given in the imperative mood. In answer to the question "what should her (the woman of I Corinthians 7:10, D.B.) response be in this situation?" Al says, "Paul advises her to 'remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband.'" Did Paul merely advise her on this matter or did he give a commandment from above?

Meneto ("remain") is a 3rd person present active imperative verb. The most specific use of the imperative is commandment. The realm of volition places the will of one upon another. In this case the will of Jesus is placed upon divorced persons. The present tense generally denotes the action as an ongoing process. When the 3rd person singular is used it is often translated with the words "let him/her" as in I Corinthians 7:11. However the force really conveys the command and would be better rendered "he/she must" or in periphrastic usage "I command him/her to ...." Paul is not advising the unscripturally divorced to remain unmarried or be reconciled, he commands it. (Readers, please pause for a moment and read I Corinthians 14:37).

Al says, "Neither God nor Paul are suggesting that a put away woman must spend the rest of her life single in the hope that her husband may one day come back to her." No Al, they are not suggesting anything, they are commanding it so to be. You say, "To suggest, as have some, that a woman who has been divorced by her husband must remain unmarried and celibate for the rest of her life is to suggest that God in effect has delivered to this victim the knockout punch, after her husband had first dealt her the knockdown blow. Not only is such out of character with God and His written revelation..." Al, the knock-out punch comes when the unscripturally divorced remarry and stay in that condition without ceasing the unscriptural marriage and repenting of it! Woe unto men who bluntly reject a commandment from God and claim that it is out of character with God! If the unscripturally divorced do not reconcile, then they must make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom's sake. Al this is what the Bible teaches. No wonder you did not exegete meneto for your readership! I know Al that you feel that such an interpretation is "also inconsistent with the teaching of Paul in I Corinthians 7," however if the Bible student chooses not to interpret each section of I Corinthians 7 in light of its immediate context, then there really is no need for the chapter at all. If your teaching were true than Paul should have just said that divorce is wrong but marriage is always right. But he did not. He commanded the unscripturally divorced to remain in that condition or be reconciled.

Al writes, "'Now for the matters you wrote about: It is good for a man not to marry. But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband' (I Corinthians 7:1-2). Each man and each woman! Which aspect of this passage suggests the woman in verse 11 is excluded from the principle given here? Does Paul state, 'Each woman, except those who are divorced'? Does he write, 'If they cannot control themselves, they should marry; everyone, that is, except the woman I'm about to discuss .... let her burn!'?" Well, Al, the woman in verse 11 is not excluded from the words of Paul as recorded in verses 1-2. Not at all. Jesus through Paul tells her to have her own husband too. To marry someone else would be to have someone in addition to her husband as denoted in I Corinthians 10:10-11.

Al, when you and false teachers like you make these arrogant claims about one needing a new husband because of desire, you do far more damage than I think you realize. What about a 20 year old woman who's husband is paralyzed and unable to function in a sexual capacity? What about her? May she go get another husband because she may face 60 more years of burning while caring for her crippled husband? Your doctrine is indeed dangerous and damning! I am not a prophet or a son of a prophet. But I predict that if you do not already hold Fudge's and Smith's error denying the eternal fires of hell, that you soon will!

In Him,

Home Index