By Chris Peltz

Matt 19:9

“And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.” NKJV

Several false teachers today are proclaiming there is only one circumstance involved with the second half of Matt 19:9. In fact, to explain their position, they must add the phrase “for fornication” so it would read this way: “...and whoever marries her who is divorced for fornication commits adultery." Whoever lowers themselves to add to the word of God in order to justify their position has made themselves like the Watchtower group, the Baptist, Catholics and every other denominational preacher who does not have the truth.

It is interesting how men like Bill Cavender have backslided with their approach to simple Bible study habits. I’ve met with and talked to brother Cavender while he was holding a meeting in Louisville, KY. Our conversation began by Bill saying that Gene Frost was teaching falsely on MDR. Bill has since written several articles published in magazines and web-sites. The explanation of Matt 19:9 given by advocates of a modified mental divorce position such as Bill Cavender is nothing short of absurd.

It was explained:

1) The statement, “whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality” isn’t possible. God does not recognize divorce “except for sexual immorality”. In other words it is not a REAL divorce.

2) To say that he “marries another” is not accurate because it is not a REAL marriage in God’s eyes.

3) As was mentioned above, since divorce “except for sexual immorality” is not possible, the second half of this verse can only be talking about “her who is divorced” for sexual immorality.

Let’s notice the error in this doctrine of men:

1) Jesus never condemns something that isn’t even possible! What would be the point? Advocates, who promote that Jesus didn’t mean what he said, have to change the definitions of the words “divorce” and “marriage,” depending on how you look at this verse. The change is made to accommodate their position.

2) To say that divorce “except for sexual immorality” is not in the “eyes of God” or that “God does not recognize it” is to say God does not recognize sin. Jesus is condemning divorce, not trying to justify it. This is not a matter of “real” or “not real”; this is a matter of lawful or lawless. This boils down to people not wanting to accept the consequences of sin. Individuals wanting to justify family members or friends who were divorced not for sexual immorality, and later remarried have implemented this modified mental divorce.

3) Compare the statement “not in God’s eyes” with the following passages:

Psalms 139:1-11;

Matthew 10:26;

Ecclesiastes 12:14

4) Mal 2:15, 16 says, “He hates divorce”. Which “divorce” is this, the “real” one or the one that isn’t even possible? If it isn’t possible, why does God condemn the Jews for doing it?


1) To believe, teach and apply this form of mental divorce is to make the same mistake as “old earth” creationists. They want to use scripture to explain what man has determined to be correct, rather than determining what is correct based on what scripture reveals.

2) If a man, through civil courts, divorces his wife not for fornication, he would have nothing to repent of because it didn’t “really” happen. After all, this isn’t possible “in God’s eyes”.

3) Several people involved in adulterous, or unlawful, marriages are being accepted by brethren into fellowship. (cf. 1 Cor 5:1-11)

4) Souls are lost. Not only those who are involved in unlawful marriage and those who taught them they could enter into those adulterous marriages, but also those who refuse to stand up for truth and cast down this doctrine of man (2 Cor 10:5).


In my conversations with advocates for this modified mental divorce theory, the overwhelming arguments made are nothing but EMOTIONAL arguments. Even Bill Cavender made it clear, no one could convince him that women today might have a harder time remarrying under the New Covenant than under the Old Covenant. That’s the way a Methodist would argue, not someone true to the word of God.

Please consider these things in an honest attempt to find the truth. Never to study to prove something wrong or to prove it right, simply study to find and accept the truth. (Acts 17:11)

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Last Updated:  Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:41 PM