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

Wednesday, November 29, 2000

A Response to Broking's
Comments on the "Exception Clause"
By Al Maxey

After almost a month has passed since his last post Darrell still seems to be disquieted by my use of the word "advise" with respect to Paul's teaching in I Corinthians 7:10-11. Darrell makes the point that an imperative is used here in the present tense, and this denotes a command. He is absolutely correct. I understand that fully, and have so stated in my book, and also in my posts to him. He even acknowledges that I have so stated. However, he still insists that "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 I Corinthians 7:11."

As I have pointed out amply, I fully acknowledge the force of the imperative in these verses. Frankly, I'm not sure what Darrell's objection is. The word "advise" is a pretty forceful word, and conveys exactly what I sought to convey. Webster defines it as "to offer counsel; to inform as to a course of action; it suggests that weighty matters are involved." Paul is dealing with extremely vital issues in this passage, and his advice to the parties involved is to heed the commands of the Lord here. I would advise a person to do the same. I would consider that to be sound advice.

From what I can determine from Darrell's disconnected ramblings, he seems to believe that if a command is issued ("remain unmarried" .... "be reconciled") then any action to the contrary is FOREVER forbidden. In other words, the person may NEVER remarry with the Lord's blessing. Darrell believes that by stating otherwise I have "added to the holy word of God!" Thus, "Maxey's blunder will cause many souls to burn in the eternal fires of Gehenna!" My "teaching is a departure from the faith. Therefore it is the doctrine of demons!"

As one might suspect, I disagree completely with Darrell's assessment. I think his viewpoint is entirely false. In the very same chapter Paul says the following to the divorced (and he does not speak to the cause of the divorce, whether it be "scriptural" or "unscriptural"): "Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife" (vs. 27b). This last phrase, by the way, is a Present Active Imperative. It is a command!! What is Paul's advice here?: DO NOT GET MARRIED!!!

Paul then immediately states: "BUT if you DO marry, YOU HAVE NOT SINNED!!" (vs. 28a). Yes, in verses 10-11, Paul is urging, advising, instructing, cautioning, commanding, teaching that when marriages fail one MUST put thoughts of remarriage out of their mind and PURSUE a reconciliation. Every conceivable effort must be made to restore the relationship.

This is where Darrell departs from reality, however. In the REAL world reconciliations don't always happen. Some marriages are so totally destroyed that they will never be saved .... ever! Darrell believes that in such cases these people must remain forever single and celibate. I do not believe the Bible teaches this. Darrell does. As Gov. Bush would say, "We have an honest difference in philosophy here." I believe Darrell is a good man, and that he holds his views out of love for the Lord and His Word. But, I believe he is wrong. I doubt I will ever be able to convince Darrell of his error, and I can assure both Darrell and the readers of this discussion that he will never convince me of his doctrinal theories. I believe further that the teaching espoused by Darrell, and other rigid religionists of like mind, is causing untold distress to those already traumatized by the breakdown of a covenant of marriage. In my book I have tried to lead these hurting souls to the grace of God; Darrell would prevent that by placing roadblocks in their path.

I suppose with regard to this matter we will simply have to agree to disagree. I have presented my case in great detail, both in my book and here in this discussion. Once we arrive at the teaching of Paul, I will present even greater exegesis of those passages. However, nothing I say will sway my opponent from his harsh legalisms. Of that I am now convinced. It is therefore for you readers, who still have open minds and tender hearts, and for those who are "down, but not yet out," that I continue to present the Truth of God's Word, and continue to endure the godless characterizations of my caustic critic.

In the latter half of his post, Darrell speaks to the issue of the "exceptive clause" (as he likes to call it). He says nothing new, and just rehashes his traditional stance. I have clearly outlined, and in great detail, both in my book and in this discussion, my view of the so-called "exception clause" which appears only in the gospel record of Matthew. It obviously will do no good to continue declaring what has already been declared. If Darrell didn't comprehend it the first and second time, a third presentation isn't going to be any more conducive to comprehension on his part.

Darrell wrote: "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."

This is just another example of the confused state of mind of my critic. Where in the world he comes up with his "insights" into what I believe and teach is beyond me!! I neither believe nor teach any of what he has stated. God's ideal for mankind is that a man and woman will form a covenant union with one another and that this union will endure for life. One man for one woman for life --- no exceptions!! That is the goal; the ideal. It doesn't always happen, does it? And when covenants of marriage fail, someone is responsible. The purpose of the so-called "exception clause" is to assign responsibility for that breakdown. It's just that simple.

How does this "forbid all divorced persons from remarriage?" It doesn't forbid remarriage at all. It has nothing whatsoever to do with remarriage. It merely assigns responsibility for the divorce. Darrell states that my interpretation would suggest that "all remarriage would thus constitute adultery." How in the world did he arrive at that? I don't believe it suggests any such thing. Remarriage does NOT constitute adultery. Why would it?! And in what possible sense is the "innocent person, who puts away one guilty of fornication, guilty too?" They are guilty of nothing!! I have engaged a great many people over the years in theological discussion, but I'll have to say that I have never encountered a man as seemingly incapable of comprehension as my opponent. I have received numerous e-mails from the readers of this discussion who are stunned by the lack of rational thought exhibited in his posts and responses. I'll admit it is rather frustrating. My son e-mailed me the other day (after reading the last several discussions) and said, "Dad, you're wasting your time. It just sounds like you're arguing with a five-year-old." I really don't mean to be unkind to my opponent, but this has reached the point of being ridiculous, and frankly I think it is proving an exercise in futility and absurdity.

Darrell has not even come close to "proving" that Down, But Not Out is filled with false teaching so horrendous that it will send souls to hell. All he has "proved" is that he and I differ on how to interpret the teaching of our Lord on this subject. For those interested in hearing how God's grace extends healing to those who have suffered the trauma of a broken covenant of marriage, and the stigma of a remarriage, I offer my book Down, But Not Out which traces this loving teaching through the pages of God's inspired Word. For those who prefer to heap further suffering upon the traumatized, and who prefer Law to Grace, I offer the harsh legalisms of my opponent.

If Darrell chooses to continue this discussion, I will continue in my efforts to engage him in rational thought, and will continue to defend Truth with sound exegesis. If his future posts, however, continue to contain confused characterizations of my beliefs, drawn from heaven only knows where, then this discussion will be little more than a silly spectacle serving no legitimate purpose.

"Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
lest you also be like him.
Answer a fool as his folly deserves,
lest he be wise in his own eyes."
---- Proverbs 26:4-5

Home Index