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

Tuesday, December 26, 2000

A Response to Broking's
Continuing Comments & Criticisms
By Al Maxey

Darrell wrote: "Contrary to Al's allegation, biblical scholarship does not overwhelmingly hold to the objective genitive position on Second John 9. Liberal scholarship holds to that position. ..... The given context of Second John, and the overall context of John's writings, supports the subjective genitive position on 'the doctrine of Christ.' ..... No Al, faithful brethren have been using 2 John 9-11 correctly all along, and we are not about to follow liberal scholarship now!"

For the benefit of our readers, I will share an exchange between Darrell and me which took place just two days prior to his above statement. Perhaps it will help enlighten them as to my true position on this passage of Scripture. The following is an e-mail I sent to Darrell in response to a question he asked of me:

FROM: Al Maxey
TO: Darrell Broking
SENT: Thursday, December 21, 2000

Good Morning,

Darrell, you wrote:
"Al, are you taking the position that the phrase 'doctrine
of Christ' is epexegetical genitive? Looking forward to
your reply."

As I'm sure you know, there has been considerable debate as to how best to identify this term --- is the genitive in question objective or subjective? Since either is a distinct possibility, it basically boils down to a personal preference, although scholars have made rational arguments for both views down through the ages.

Dr. Wuest, in his Word Studies from the Greek NT (Vol. 2), uses this as a text to attack the Unitarians, which he had no use for whatsoever. However, he acknowledges, as does Smith and others, that "we have a genitive of reference: 'teaching with reference to Christ.'"

Note the following from the Expositor's Bible Commentary (Vol. 12), which may have displayed the most wisdom here: "The 'teaching of Christ' can be construed as an objective genitive --- i.e., the teaching about Christ --- as Bultmann and Marshall read it. The reference would then be to the teaching that Jesus Christ has indeed come in the flesh. But it is equally possible that the genitive is subjective and refers to Jesus' teaching in vs. 5 that 'we love one another' (cf. Brooke, Schnackenburg, Stott, Westcott). It is of little importance, however, which alternative is accepted, because the author holds equally to both positions. For Jesus Christ to be acknowledged as the one come in the flesh is fundamental to the faith, and for us to love one another is equally fundamental. To confess the former requires that we do the latter" (page 365).

Either way one wants to go here --- subjective or objective --- there is still a clear need for a valid contextual antecedent to "THE teaching" (verse 9) and "THIS teaching" (verse 10). If it is the teaching about, concerning, or with reference to Jesus Christ, then verse 7 seems the appropriate contextual antecedent. If it is the teaching of, or from, Jesus Christ, then verses 5-6 seem the appropriate contextual antecedent (just as the Expositor's Bible Commentary points out).

I think one can safely say, however, that abuses have indeed occurred with reference to the application of this text. It has been pressed into service to judge, condemn and ostracize all who do not parrot some party line. By taking the view that a subjective genitive is employed, and by discounting vs. 5-6 as the obvious contextual antecedent, the "teaching of Christ" has been expanded to include anything and everything contrary to one's own personal preferences, perceptions and practices. II John 9-11 has been pressed into service against such things as eating in the church building, song books, drinking fountains, support of a Christian college, located preachers, instrumental music in worship, children's worship, Sunday school, and on and on and on and on and on .....!! I suppose some might even be tempted to throw in differing interpretations about MDR in that pot!! What do you think?!!

Yes, Darrell, my own personal understanding of this passage is that an objective genitive is being employed, with the antecedent being verse 7. However, I would not be dogmatic about this, as it is grammatically possible for it to be subjective. However, if this position is adopted, I would suggest that verses 5-6 are the logical antecedent, and not the zillion and one "doctrines" which men have presumed to declare are "of Christ."

I believe the above adequately states my position on this passage, Darrell, as you well knew when you penned your most recent post. I believe my view above represents sound, conservative biblical scholarship, however if you choose to characterize it as "liberal scholarship," then that is your privilege.

Darrell wrote: "You argue that the forms of luo used to denote divorce mean a total release. But you deny the same when it comes to a form of luo used to denote a violation of God's law. The violator wants a release from the law and makes his best effort to have that release; but, he is still bound by God's law."

I'm not sure you have fully appreciated my position or teaching on this, Darrell. Perhaps that fault is mine in that I have not adequately communicated my understanding here. Let me try one more time. Gerhard Kittel, in his classic work Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. 4), declares "The Greek word luo, 'to loose,' is rich in compounds which give nuances to the basic meaning." The basic meaning, of course, is "to loose, sever, unbind, set free, liberate, untie." This meaning is often intensified and expanded upon in various compounds. Kittel points out the "religious importance" of this word by saying, "In the NT the word means (a) 'to loose,' 'release,' with the object of that which binds, or with the object of what is bound, and (b) it also means 'to dissolve something into its parts,' 'to destroy,' 'to break down into pieces.'"

Yes, Darrell, when used to denote a divorce, this word in its forms does indeed convey the concept of something being broken down into separate parts; those who were joined are now apart. The covenant is broken, destroyed, dissolved. One is now loosed, freed, untied, severed from the one to whom they were bound.

Darrell declares in his last post that he denies this word conveys the concept of "total freedom from marriage." He states that "the divorced have not 'finally and fully terminated their covenant of marriage' as alleged in the teaching that is authored by Al Maxey." I think the readers can clearly see that what Darrell has just done is denied the clear meaning of the very word Jesus used to denote a divorce. Jesus says they are released, freed, unbound; that the marriage is destroyed and broken in pieces; that what was joined is now apart. Darrell declares Jesus to be wrong. "Regardless of how you slice it and dice it Al," says my critic, Jesus does not "release the two married persons from their covenant of marriage." I guess the reader must choose whom to believe --- Jesus or Darrell. As for me and my house, we will follow the former!!

Darrell appears to rely upon a faulty interpretation of Matthew 19:6 to bolster his redefinition of this common Greek term which our Lord uses to denote a divorce. Jesus says, "So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." Darrell wrote: "Jesus said that Moses allowed the behavior in question, and now he, that is Christ Jesus the lawgiver, said that it was to stop." My opponent further contends that "the one who made the twain one flesh has not separated that union." Darrell then prays that I will "repent of" my "heresy before it is too late."

My "heresy," I suppose, is that I take Jesus at His word. He declares that when a divorce occurs what was previously joined is now "unbound, severed, untied, loosed." Yes, Jesus declares this ought not to be taking place. Indeed, He commands the people to stop this practice of destroying their covenants of marriage. He nowhere declares the impossibility of continuing to engage in that sinful practice, however. Our Lord also commands people to stop murdering one another, for example, but if I take a gun and blow your head off, you are still just as dead (just as "loosed, severed, unbound, untied" from life). The issuing of a command does not thereby render disobedience to it an impossibility. Yes, our Lord declares the unbinding of covenants of marriage to be contrary to the IDEAL of our Creator. He commands men to stop such unbinding. However, as we all know, men continue to disobey this command just as they do His others. The practical setting aside of law in one's life is most definitely improper behavior, but it is not impossible behavior. Jesus no more keeps a broken covenant intact than He does a murdered man alive. In both cases a complete termination has occurred, even though the action was contrary to the IDEAL of God for human relationships.

I have already dealt extensively with this passage (Matthew 19:6b) in the course of this discussion. I would refer Darrell and the readers to my posts of Thursday, October 26, 2000 and Wednesday, November 1, 2000 in which I counter Darrell's "reasoning" from this passage with respect to MDR. This is an important point, and I hope the readers will seriously contemplate what I wrote in the above referenced posts. Darrell bases much of his theory of "living in sin" and "living in a continual state of adultery" upon the idea that one's covenant of marriage is not truly dissolved in a divorce; that God does not recognize such a divorce, and therefore the two are still married in His sight. Thus, in light of such "logic," any "remarriage" would be little more than an adulterous union between a person still married and one who is other than their spouse. Indeed, Darrell needs, for the sake of his theory, to maintain that a divorce has not truly taken place. Thus, my opponent has done exactly what he accuses me of doing: he has taken a word used by Jesus and redefined its meaning so that it conveys the exact opposite meaning that it was designed to convey. "Al, redefining the word moicheia will not make your case for you." Nor, Darrell, will redefining the word for divorce make your case for you!!!

Let me make one final comment on the diversion Darrell attempts to raise with reference to luo in Matthew 5:19. Although I think I adequately explained this in my previous post, apparently Darrell is unable to discern the distinction. I will try to make it simpler for him. Jesus said, "If any man therefore sets aside even the least of the Law's demands...." (NEB). Is it possible for one to sever, loose, unbind himself from a command of God? Of course it is! A murderer has cut himself off from (or "set aside") the command "Thou shalt not murder." He has unbound himself from the control of that command over his attitudes and actions, and he has willfully chosen to be a murderer, contrary to law. Thus, he behaves lawlessly; or we might say his actions are "outside of the law." Do his actions in any way destroy or diminish that specific law? Of course not. The law "Thou shalt not murder" abides, whether one willfully disobeys it or not; whether one lives outside of it or not. Yes, one can willfully "sever, unbind, loose, free, cut off" oneself from a law, but there may also be consequences of such a "setting aside" of law.

The same is true of God's IDEAL with respect to marriage. The design of our Creator is "one man for one woman for life." Throughout the Bible this IDEAL is held up for all to behold. Jesus urges the people to go back and consider how things were to be from the beginning. Their frivolous fracturing of covenants of marriage was an abomination. He ordered them to stop. Many, thankfully, probably heeded His words and refocused themselves upon the IDEAL. Many more, sadly, did not. In the latter case, when divorces occurred, someone was at fault for failing to achieve the IDEAL; someone was culpable for "setting aside" law. Perhaps it was both spouses; perhaps it was only one. The guilty party (whoever it was) had sinned in the breaking of covenant. The right course, obviously, would be for this person to repent of that sin. Then, if possible, they needed to reconcile with their former spouse. If that should prove impossible (perhaps the spouse would not forgive, or the spouse was remarried, or even deceased), then they should resolve never again to engage in that sinful behavior (breaking covenant). If at some point in the future they enter into another marriage, then the "fruit of their repentance" would be evidenced in their resolve to remain faithful to that new covenant of marriage throughout the remainder of their lives.

The sin of breaking covenant with a spouse in no way diminishes or destroys the eternal IDEAL of God for marriage. It is an IDEAL which God calls all men and women to embrace. Yes, mankind repeatedly falls short, just as they do in all other areas of duty to God and men, but failure need not be fatal or exclusionary. We CAN pick ourselves back up and press on to a more faithful and fruitful future. By severing oneself from a specific law (due to willful disobedience) one has not destroyed or diminished that law; neither is the IDEAL in any way destroyed or diminished by a couple's failure to achieve it. God's IDEAL stands inviolate. The call to those who cut themselves off from it is: Repent ... and then strive afterward to the best of one's ability and circumstance to remain faithful to that godly IDEAL.

Darrell, I won't get into the "eunuch" debate with you any further. I think we have whipped that poor horse enough, and I doubt it can be ridden any further! However, you did ask a question in the context of that exchange which I will address. You wondered about those situations in which one spouse becomes incapable of performing sexually, or of fulfilling the sexual needs of their spouse. Would not the other spouse be placed in the situation of having to forgo sexual gratification in order to remain faithful to his/her covenant? Your point, of course, would be to draw a parallel between such a situation and one who is divorced and forbidden the right (in your view) to remarry.

First of all, I deny that those in your several scenarios are forbidden the right to remarry. I do not believe the Bible anywhere declares such a prohibition. Therefore, in my view, the issue is moot. However, with reference to the first case scenario, and such is all too common in our world, one of the spouses will indeed be called upon to make some sexual sacrifices for the sake of faithfulness to the covenant. In many of these situations there may well be ways in which the impotent spouse can aid his/her partner in achieving sexual gratification (but I don't think this is the format for greater, more graphic detail into that area). In a few extreme cases, though, normal sexual gratification with one's spouse may indeed be non-existent. Not all relationships survive such a challenge, but within those which do we find a true spirit of loving, sacrificial commitment to the IDEAL.

Again, however, I do not believe this to be a legitimate parallel scenario to those who have had a covenant of marriage SEVERED. In the above example, a covenant is still in force; in a divorce, on the other hand, the covenant is terminated. Thus, it is not a proper or valid parallel. IF, however, one happens to agree with Darrell's redefinition of luo with respect to divorce, THEN one might well be faced with such a dilemma. And it is this very theology which has caused countless marriages to be torn asunder by rigid religionists who believe these men and women to be "living in a state of continual adultery" if they remarry. Darrell declares that such couples "must dissolve their adulterous marriage." What Darrell does not understand, and for which he will be called to account one day, is that in promoting such a harsh, destructive theology he himself is actually promoting moicheia. Darrell, and those like him, are urging people to destroy covenants of marriage, and in so doing they themselves become party to adultery!!! I sincerely pray that my critic will one day come to an awareness of Truth, and renounce his false doctrine. Otherwise, he will soon stand before God with blood on his hands.

Darrell wrote: "By the way, you have not disproven that the adultery in Matthew 19:9 is continuous. You will get your chance." I believe I have already HAD my chance, Darrell, and I made good use of it. Perhaps you have forgotten about my extensive treatment of this very issue in my post of Thursday, October 26, 2000 in which I presented quite a bit of material (you characterized it as "a mammoth amount of material") under the heading "The Present Indicative Of Matthew 19:9." I also included a link to a very scholarly study by Dr. Carroll D. Osburn, which had been published in the Restoration Quarterly, dealing with this same matter. I would refer both Darrell and the readers back to that information. I think you will see very quickly that your "continual adultery" theory is untenable. I believe that I have indeed "disproven" your false theory, Darrell. Indeed, some of our readers have e-mailed me to tell me that the material I presented was the "death blow" to your whole misguided theology. I even forwarded some of these posts to you, Darrell (you have never forwarded to me any of the posts you claim to have received, even though I have requested them), in the hope it would awaken you to the falseness of your views, although you got tired of it and ordered me rather harshly not to send you any further comments by our readers. You didn't want to see them. Fair enough! But, I will let my "mammoth amount of material" stand as it appears in the record of this discussion. It obviously convinced many of our readers, if not you.

With regard to the meaning of moicheia, Darrell insists that "Al just presented some material from his book in an attempt to redefine what the Bible teaches about adultery. Al, redefining the word moicheia will not make your case for you." As I pointed out in my book, and will restate here, there are some so-called "students" of the Word who have failed to fully examine the biblical usage of the word moicheia ("adultery"). They have selected a single meaning and usage (albeit, a legitimate one) and assumed it is THE meaning and usage in all cases relevant to MDR. This is tunnel vision, and it will lead to a very narrow theology, as is clearly evidenced in the harsh interpretations and applications of my critic.

Darrell has accused me of "redefining the word." In actuality all I have done is show the full range of meaning and usage of the word moicheia in the pages of Scripture and during that time in history. Demonstrating that a biblical word or concept is broader than a single meaning or usage is not a "redefining" of the word under examination. If a dictionary provides more than a single meaning and usage of a word in our language, for example, do we then accuse the compilers of that reference tool of dishonestly "redefining" these words? Of course not. Indeed, we applaud them for making available to us the full range of meaning and usage. They do us a service by their research, not a disservice!

Darrell wrote: "Maxey denies that the word 'adultery' normally indicates the act of fornication when one of the partners is married to another; therefore, he must invent a new meaning for the word and force it into the act of divorce." Again, most serious biblical students will readily detect in my research that I have done no such thing. I freely acknowledge, and have done so in my book, that moicheia can and does convey the meaning of which Darrell speaks. But, that is only one of many legitimate biblical meanings and uses for this word. To select only one when seeking to correctly interpret a passage, or when tracing a concept through Scripture and history, and cast off the others, is an extremely unsound hermeneutical practice.

Moicheia is simply NOT limited exclusively to the definition "illicit physical sex with one other than one's spouse." That is one meaning and usage of this word, but it is far from the only meaning and usage. Apparently not understanding this, Darrell has followed a false trail and has arrived at a false conclusion. Assuming that some kind of SEX must take place, he applies this "illicit sex" to the remarriage itself. Thus, he maintains that moicheia does not truly occur unless the divorced remarry. The sin which Jesus condemns, therefore (according to Darrell), is not so much the divorce as it is the remarriage. Indeed, I asked Darrell if moicheia occurred at all if the person divorcing his/her spouse NEVER remarried. He answered that "if he refrains from fornication," then moicheia NEVER OCCURS. Darrell wrote: "Moicheia is not entered until the remarriage has taken place."

Therefore, according to the doctrine of Darrell, Jesus is not truly condemning divorce at all in these passages. Rather, He is condemning any kind of sexual relationship after a divorce. Thus, "adultery" might not actually occur until YEARS later, according to this outrageous theory. Darrell states: "Al, the time consideration in these divorce and remarriage passages is when the protasis is fulfilled. Days, weeks, months or years, it matters not." Darrell's theory, therefore, is simply this: When Jesus says that moicheia takes place, it is ONLY WHEN the person casting off their spouse and breaking covenant with them REMARRIES. If the covenant breaker in question remains single for 30 years and then remarries, moicheia does not occur until 30 years after the divorce!! And if the covenant breaker never remarries, then moicheia never occurs at all!! How can any rational student of the Word honestly believe this is the teaching of Jesus here?!!!

As noted before, this absurd doctrine is based on several false conclusions about the texts involved. It assumes that a divorce is not really a divorce; that the covenant is not truly terminated. It further assumes that a subsequent marriage is not really a marriage; it is rather a continual "living in adultery" (a phrase never used in the Bible). It further assumes that "adultery" is a sex act, which is why some "grace-oriented legalists" have "permitted" the remarried to remain together as long as they promise never again to have sex with one another. By "remaining celibate" in their relationship they thereby avoid "adultery," and thus they can "legally" stay together in the same house. Oh, the countless lives which have been destroyed by such ludicrous legislation!!

Darrell wrote: "In the doctrine of Al Maxey, Matthew 5:32 and Mark 10:11 are made to say the same thing." Let's notice these two statements by Jesus, and then make some observations. I'll quote from the KJV here (since that is the version both Darrell and the apostle Paul seem to prefer).

Darrell wrote: "As far as Matthew 5:32a is concerned, a woman guilty of porneia makes herself an adulteress." I am in agreement with Darrell on this point. Whichever way one chooses to interpret moicheia, this statement is still valid. This is the significance, by the way, of the so-called "exception clause." Even though a husband may be the initiating party in the divorce, if the divorce is the result of the wife's porneia, then it is SHE who bears the guilt and responsibility for the moicheia.

The real question arises, however, with regard to an innocent woman who has been wrongfully divorced by a spouse who had no regard for God's IDEAL or his mate. Such a woman, who was NOT guilty of porneia, is still said by Jesus to be caused "to commit adultery" by the action of her husband against her. The obvious question, of course, is: In what possible sense is this innocent woman caused "to commit adultery"? The traditional answer has been that she at some point in the future will "weaken" and want sex with a man, and when she does she will THEN be guilty of "adultery." Darrell says, "A divorced woman, innocent of porneia, is not made to be committed adultery with ... until she engages in porneia." In other words, the husband places this innocent woman in the position of being alone without a man, and the poor thing will eventually want sex so desperately that she will give in to her lust and unbridled passion, and when she does THEN she will be guilty of "adultery." Again, this is working on the assumptions that moicheia is strictly and only a sex act, and also that no individual can possibly contain their sexual urges. It also works on the assumption that their divorce is not really a divorce at all, but that they are still married in the sight of God to the spouse who divorced them. A lot of assumptions are thus required in order to promote a twisted theology never remotely suggested by the Lord.

Let me give another rather lengthy quote from my book (Chapter Six) which deals "head on" with this problem in Darrell's theology:

Darrell's twisted theology has the unenviable distinction of heaping further abuse upon the innocent. This put away woman, who by Darrell's own admission is "innocent," is nevertheless "caused to commit adultery" if she ever again has sex with any man. There are problems here, though. The text says the husband "causes" her to "commit adultery." We've already noted the fact of the passive voice here, but another factor is that the word "cause" is in the present tense. Yet, Darrell would have to project this "sin" perhaps YEARS into the future for its fulfillment (if, indeed, it is ever fulfilled). Jesus does not suggest here that the woman would ONLY become "adulterous" IF at some point YEARS down the road she decided to have sex! Jesus, by use of the present tense, seems to place the action of the husband against his wife much closer to the here and now than the distant by and by!!

Also, Darrell, what of the countless thousands of women (and men) who NEVER pursue a relationship (sexual or otherwise) with another person following a divorce? In what sense are THEY "caused/made" to "commit adultery"? To be consistent with your theology, Darrell, you will have to state that they do NOT "commit adultery" .... EVER!!! And yet where in this passage does Jesus even remotely suggest there might be exceptions to the impact of the husband's action against his put away wife? Jesus makes NO exceptions here, Darrell. When the husband puts away this woman, he CAUSES/MAKES her to "commit adultery." PERIOD!! Now, if you view that as strictly some future sex act, then you have a problem, Darrell. Because numerous "put away" spouses HAVE refrained from any further sexual contact, and they have done so for the remainder of their lives. Therefore, you have turned an absolute statement into one which is not absolute (or: conditional), and you yourself have manufactured the necessary exceptions (which Jesus Himself never enumerated). Thus, where Jesus says something does take place, Darrell says it does not take place. To whom shall we turn for Truth here?!!

I found it amazing, not to mention a bit amusing, to read some of the "Greek scholarship" of my opponent in this discussion. Once again he has displayed a glaring ignorance of NT Greek (even though he seems enamored to the point of obsession with such words as protasis and apodosis). For example, Darrell wrote: "Al Maxey makes much ado over the passive voice of moicheuthenai." In his infinite insight Darrell then observes: "the use of the passive idiom is insignificant." Oh, really?!! You might want to share that observation with the Holy Spirit one day, unless you are a part of that "liberal scholarship" which "denies the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible." Just because you don't know what to make of it, Darrell, doesn't make it "insignificant."

Let's see what Darrell makes of the passive voice here: "the passive simply denotes the fact that the male is usually the more active sexual partner." Hmmmmmmm! Now just which Greek lexicon or grammar did you gain this remarkable insight from, Darrell?!!!! My esteemed Greek scholar friend continues: "The Greek idiom is based on the fact that the man is usually the more aggressive sexual partner." And you have the nerve to accuse ME of inventing new meanings for words and forcing them into passages?!!!! This also shows your experience with women is somewhat limited!!

Darrell concludes with: "Al, once again I have proved that your error, that is your doctrine, is not part of the doctrine of Christ." With all due respect, brother, you haven't "proved" any such thing. Indeed, you haven't even come close. All you have managed to demonstrate is your own ignorance of the teaching of Jesus Christ, not to mention the medium in which and with which He conveyed it.

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