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

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Comments on the "Exception Clause"
By Darrell Broking

On October 30, 2000, while still focusing on the Lord's teaching on Matthew 19:6 and related passages, I wrote: "In answer to the question 'what should her (the woman of 1 Cor. 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?"

Then I went on to point out: "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 1 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 1 Corinthians 14:37)." I then went on to point out the difference between the teaching of Jesus and Al Maxey on this subject. Jesus teaches that unscripturally divorced persons must remain unmarried (1 Cor. 7:11; Matt. 19:12). This is a tremendous blunder in Al Maxey's doctrine of marriage, divorce and remarriage. It is a blunder because Al does the passover on the force of the imperative in 1 Corinthians 7:11.

In an attempted rebuttal of my statement about Maxey's blunder, Al writes: "Yes, the passage employs an imperative!! Duh!! If you notice Chapter Seven in my book I make it clear that there is a command being employed here. I begin the section with this quote from the text of Paul's letter: 'To the married I give this COMMAND (not I, but the Lord): A wife MUST NOT SEPARATE from her husband.' This is God's will in the matter. Marriage is designed to be for life. It is the same with murder. We are commanded not to commit murder. Do people commit murder? Of course they do. And the people they murder are dead. The fact of a COMMAND does not prevent the act the command seeks to prohibit, it merely declares it unacceptable and sinful when it does occur."

First of all, Al goes right into passover mode again (as he must to teach his doctrine), and focuses on 1 Corinthians 7:10 when I was clearly turning his attention to the imperative force of verse 11!

Al's position on verse 11, according to his November 4, 2000 post, is: "However, I do mention it again in the chapter: 'What is being COMMANDED, however, is when married believers find themselves, for whatever reason, in a state of disunion, their first order of business, as children of God, is to do all in their power to effect a reconciliation. The covenant of marriage is too sacred and precious to be given up on so quickly. The idea of remarriage should not even enter their minds as long as there is even a glimmer of hope that the relationship may at some point be re-established.'"

Dear reader, did you get this from the verses under consideration? Al Maxey adds to the holy word of God! The Bible says, "Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" (Prov. 30:6). Well, Al Maxey has added to God's word here. For one thing, Al makes the teaching of first Corinthians 7:11 apply only until the hope of reconciliation is gone. Where is the word from the Lord stating such? God is silent where Al Maxey speaks. Al's error is reminiscent of the people of long ago, adding to God's word by presuming God was with them while they were doing that which was right in their own eyes. To this mentality God said, "They have built also the high places of Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind" (Jer. 19:5). Judah's blunder caused many sons to burn in the valley of Hinnom. Maxey's blunder will cause many souls to burn in the eternal fires of Gehenna! God said that the unscripturally divorced are to remain unmarried or be reconciled, but Al says remain unmarried until you think reconciliation is not possible. Al's teaching is a departure from the faith. Therefore it is the doctrine of demons!

For another thing, Al says this of "married believers." But the Lord never made that distinction. The same teaching applies to unbelievers equally.


Addressing the subject of the exceptive clause Al writes, "It is interesting to note the phrase 'exceptive clause' is of human origin. Nowhere in Scripture is this statement by Jesus in the Matthew account so characterized." Well, will Al swallow a dose of his own medicine in regard to his statement "IDEAL," which is not found in the holy writ?

Al writes this of the exceptive clause, "It appears only in Matthew's account, and is excluded in the parallel accounts of Mark and Luke, and is never hinted at in the writings of Paul." So what? How many times does the Lord have to say a thing before men are to obey his will?

Al attempts to explain away the Lord's exceptive clause by giving his readership two possible explanations to what the Lord said.

  1. First of all Al says, "the exception of which Jesus speaks is an exception to the proposition of the text itself, rather than to a specific verb within the proposition. Thus the passage might well be translated: 'Anyone who divorces his wife -- the permission of Moses in Deuteronomy 24:1f not withstanding -- and marries another woman commits adultery.' This effectively removes any exception to the IDEAL concept, and makes the intent of the message far more consistent with other statements of the Lord within the context."

  2. In the next place Al says, "this so-called exception clause is simply a means whereby responsibility or guilt for the breakdown of the covenant of marriage is ascribed to one spouse or the other .... Thus, the Lord's exception clause is in reality no such thing." By these words Al thinks that he has harmonized Matthew's record with other New Testament passages on this subject not mentioning the exceptive clause.

Maxey's teaching on the exceptive clause, if believed, would forbid all divorced persons from remarriage; because, all remarriage would thus constitute adultery. Al's doctrine makes the innocent person, who puts away one guilty of fornication, guilty too.

What does the Bible teach on this subject? Our Lord's teaching on this subject in various passages takes the form of the present general condition in several of its varieties. In Matthew 5:32 the Lord said that "whoever divorces his wife ... causes her to commit adultery." The exceptive clause here begins with the word PAREKTOS (saving, KJV) which is an improper preposition meaning "except." Here the prepositional phrase modifies APOLUON and is understood as a true exception wherein the apodosis does not apply. Hence, "Whoever divorces his wife for PORNEA does not make her commit adultery." This is true because in such cases she has already become an adulterous woman.

In Matthew 19:9 it teaches that "whoever divorces his wife ... and marries another commits adultery." Did Jesus give us an exception wherein remarriage does not constitute adultery? Indeed he did! Notice that the text says that whoever divorces his wife "MEE EPI PORNEIA" (not in respect of -- on the ground of fornication). Hence, whoever divorces his wife on the ground of fornication and marries another does not commit adultery.

All persons who divorce for any reason, except one innocent of fornication who divorces one guilty of fornication, and marries another lives in the state of adultery! Al Maxey denies this truth from the Bible, God's holy word!

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