Mental Divorce:

Simply “A Difference In Application?”

 By Jeff Belknap

In Galatians 1:6-7, Paul referenced two different usages of the word “another.” Note the apostle’s familiar words:

“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another (# 2087, heteros) gospel: 7 Which is not another (# 243, allos); but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”

Heteros (# 2087), “…another: i.e. one not of the same nature, form, class, kind, different.” Thayer

Allos (# 243), “…distinguishes (‘one of two’)…involves the secondary idea of difference of kind.” Thayer

Now, let’s make the parallel to divorce. The writing of divorcement commanded in Deuteronomy 24:1 was for the married. Likewise, when the Lord spoke of those who “put away” (or repudiate) one’s divinely bound man/woman, He was clearly addressing those who sunder the “one flesh” (marriage) relationship (Matthew 5:31-32; 19:3, 6, 9; cf. I Corinthians 7:10-11)! In fact, every single instance of divorce referenced in both the Old and New Testaments (whether authorized or condemned) is depicted as an action taken by one who is married

This is both Biblically confirmed and self-evident: Whether right or wrong, in a monogamous relationship, it is only possible for married people to divorce and unmarried people to marry. Any contention more or less than this is a perversion of God’s word, as well as an insult to brethren’s intelligence (Ephesians 4:14-15)!

However, in an effort to extend the exception clause (Matthew 5:32a; 19:9a) to the unmarried,” some are contending that those who have been put away/put asunder can also employ this same “kind” of repudiation and therefore remarry another while their obligated man or woman still lives (cf. Romans 7:2-3; I Corinthians 7:39)!

Regrettably, this is one of those obvious “fables” that has caused some unfortunate victims of wrongful divorce to be “drawn away” and “enticed” (II Timothy 4:3-4; James 1:14-15)! Not only is this post-divorce “putting away” out of the realm of possibility, it encourages the subsequent, adulterous remarriages by those who have been wrongfully put away (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b; Luke 16:18b)!

Although different cultures may employ different procedures to “put away,” one thing has remained constant: a divorce puts “asunder” the marriage (“one flesh”) relationship! A post-divorce “putting asunder” is another (heteros) “divorce” that does not fit within the Biblical pattern!

We must not invade the silence of God on this or any other subject (I Peter 4:11). The origin of post-divorce “putting away” is from another (heteros) “tribe,” of which Christ “spake nothing” (cf. Hebrews 7:12-14). Moreover, “no man gave attendance” to such nonsense in either the Old or New Testament. Consequently, this post-divorce (mental/second) “putting away” is not “another” (allos) repudiation of the same “kind,” but is “another” (heteros) “putting away” of a different “kind!”

Though some want to dismiss the above disagreement among brethren as an inconsequential “difference in application,” Paul went on to reveal the eternal consequences for those who preach “any other gospel:”

“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man” (Galatians 1:8-11; cf. Hebrews 2:3).

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Last Updated:  Thursday, January 26, 2006 03:41 PM