Bill Cavender, The Point Man For Truth Magazine
“Observations and Experiences Regarding Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage”
By Jeff Belknap
Note: Not only was the above statement within the Truth Magazine article itself, this erroneous declaration was also highlighted in a “call out box.” Nevertheless, the Bible does not teach that God is the one who “‘put(s) asunder’ marriages.” Man marries (with or without God’s approval) and sunders the “one flesh” relationship (with or without God’s approval), whereas God binds and looses. Please note a few verses that clearly teach the exact opposite of brother Cavender’s above statement:
Matthew 5:32, “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (emp. jhb).
Matthew 19:5-6, 9, “And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder…9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (emp. jhb).
Luke 16:18, “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.”
I Corinthians 7:10-11, 15, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife…15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.”
To deny that man can wrongfully “put away,” “put asunder,” “divorce,” “depart,” etc. is to deny the unchangeable truth of God’s sacred Word (cf. II Timothy 4:3-4).
Note: In Matthew 5:32 and 19:9, Jesus clearly taught the distinction between those who put away and those who are put away. Those who the Lord authorized to “put away” (break-up the marriage) and marry “another” are those who “put away” (sunder the marriage; cf. vs. 3, 6) for the cause of fornication.
Jesus never authorized those who are “put away” (“innocent” or not) to “put away” and remarry another while their bound spouse is alive (Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:11). In fact, three times inspiration quotes Jesus as stating, “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; cf. Matthew 19:9b; Luke 16:18b). However, in denial of the Lord’s decree, brother Cavender makes the contrary assertion, “Ida was an innocent, put away, divorced woman. Jesus gave her the right to remarry.”
Brother Cavender, like his fellow associates involved in this present controversy, is turning the attention away from the more extreme, less emotional scenario of post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication, to the less extreme and more emotional scenario of a second “putting away” for pre-divorce fornication. However, be not deceived, brother Bill and his associates are contending for both!
Note: Brother Cavender claims that those who are now actively opposing the post-divorce “putting away” and remarriage to another theory have “invented such phrases.” However, terms such as “‘mental marriage,’ ‘mental divorce,’ ‘waiting game,’ ‘second putting away,’ ‘the innocent, put away person cannot remarry,’ etc.,” have been used to identify the same doctrine that brother Cavender is presently advocating for many years. [See The Patton-Phillips Debate (1987); Connie Adams’ editorial in The Warnock-Deason Exchange, Searching the Scriptures magazine (1986), and Donnie Rader’s commentary in his book, “Divorce and Remarriage: What does the text say?” (1992), Lesson 8, Mental Divorce (May Some Put Away People Remarry). Also note Mental Marriages and Mental Divorces (by Gene Frost), published by The Preceptor Company, 1982.] Regrettably, brother Cavender attempts to portray those who are now opposing the doctrine of post-divorce “putting away” as isolated radicals who have just “invent”(ed) some new terms to condemn an area of “opinions.”
For the record, if “…whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” is a matter of opinion, then it is the opinion of the Lord God Almighty (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18b)!
If brother Cavender and others succeed in their quest to portray those who are consistent in their opposition to this error as radical inventors, he will have gone a long way to further acceptance of his (and Truth Magazine’s agenda) number 3 & 4 doctrine that “(3) a husband or wife can ‘repudiate, reject, divorce’ (Greek: apoluo) his/her companion only for adultery, (4) and only the innocent, moral, faithful-to-the-marriage vows has the right of remarriage (the guilty, adulterous husband/wife does not have such a concession from the Lord).”
Though such assertions may seem sound to those who are not familiar with his other teachings in this controversy (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25), brother Cavender’s other quotes reveal that he considers those who are the “innocent, put away, divorced” to be in the category of those who can later “‘repudiate, reject, divorce’ (Greek: apoluo) their companions for adultery committed following the divorce (see # 3), and thereby supposedly secure “the right of remarriage” to another (see # 4). Brother Cavender’s assertions and Christ’s teaching about those who are “put away” could not be any more contradictory.
Note: Brother Cavender can make this assertion all he wants, but it still does not change the gospel truth that “…whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18b)! Other than after the death of one’s bound partner (Romans 7:2-3), where does brother Cavender find scripture to support his theory that remarriage of a divorced or put away person to another is “scriptural, moral,” or “innocent”? It just is not there! Hence, is brother Bill’s teaching “of heaven or of men?”
Moreover, when Bill cites I Timothy 4:3 (above), he is falsely charging those who are contending against his error (Proverbs 28:4; Jude 3-4) with binding the “doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1-3). By these actions, Bill is not only teaching error, he is falsely condemning the just. Brethren, it is no little sin to be a partaker with those who “justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just” (See Proverbs 17:15). Additionally, to support any sinful activity, is to strengthen the hands of those who do evil. Note the following:
“I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.” Jeremiah 23:14 (cf. Romans 15:4; II Peter 2:1-2)
“Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life.” Ezekiel 13:22 (cf. Romans 15:4; II Peter 2:1-2)
Aiding and abetting (being a partaker with) a man (or men) who do not teach “the doctrine of Christ,” is to be a “partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 9-11). This is also in direct disobedience to the word of God (Romans 16:17-18; I Corinthians 5:6-8; 15:33; Ephesians 5:6-7, 11).
Note: Within brother Cavender’s series, he cites one emotional (hearsay) story after another in an effort to assert the above. Whatever happened to speaking where the Bible speaks and being silent where the Bible is silent (Isaiah 8:20; I Peter 4:11)? Or doing Bible things in Bible ways (II Corinthians 10:12; Colossians 3:17)?
Such scenarios prove no more about Biblical truth than does the scenario that Baptists cite, of the man who was killed on his way to be baptized. Let us never forget that no matter whether the one who “is put away” is as “innocent” as the white, driven snow…ad infinitum, Jesus’ remarriage laws regarding the “put away” still remain true (cp. w. Matthew 19:9, 12; Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:11)!
In the same article quoted above, though brother Cavender cites no book, chapter and verse to support his assertion that those who are put away (and innocent) have the right to remarry another, he does, cite a commentator (not scripture) to advocate his position which contradicts the Masters’ teaching that “whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery” (Matthew 5:32b; cf. Matthew 19:9b; Luke 16:18b).
Note: In Matthew 5:32; 19:6, 9; Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18; I Corinthians 7:10-11, 15 the New Testament clearly reveals man’s ability to “put asunder” the “one flesh” marriage relationship against the will of God. Hence, Paul stated that the twain who were once “one flesh” after an unapproved divorce have become “unmarried” (I Corinthians 7:11). Unfortunately, Truth Magazine’s new stance on MDR is in direct opposition to what the Word of God says (Revelation 19:13)!