Tacoma, WA

Is the current MDR controversy nothing but “wrangling over words to no profit?” Or, is that all-too-familiar cry of the post-divorce “putting away” advocates a Trojan Horse, whereby entry and acceptance among brethren is gained for their erroneous theory which leads to adultery (Romans 16:17-18; Galatians 2:4; Ephesians 4:14; II Peter 2:1, 18-19; Jude 4)?

Following, are some excerpts from a meeting that was held in February (2004) at a meeting for brethren in Tacoma, WA. Because of poor tape recording, only excerpts were available for use. However, the following sound clips clearly reveal each man’s public teaching.

1) Ron Halbrook (13:04)

2) Justin Monts (4:29)

3) Justin Monts (4:52)

4) Justin Monts & Ron Halbrook (5:22)

5) Larry Jones (Mt. 5:32) (6:26)

6) Larry Jones (Mt. 19:9; Mk. 10:11; Lk. 16:18) (10:41)

7) Larry Jones (11:08)

8) Larry Jones (2:38)

9) Larry Jones (3:24)

The proponents of the second “putting away” doctrine are telling us that if a man wrongfully puts away his wife (or vice versa) and she resists it, then when he remarries, she can “put asunder/away” (separate “the marriage” that has already been separated) and remarry another without sin. However, such is contrary to the law of the Lord:

“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.” Matthew 5:32; Cf. 19:9

Jesus NEVER authorized an after the fact “putting away” for after the fact fornication! The Master clearly stated in no uncertain terms “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.” Luke 16:18

To teach that a put away person may wait – days, months or years – for their obligated spouse’s post-divorce fornication and then magically become the person in the a clause of the above verses (who puts asunder their marriage partner for fornication) instead of what they already are – one who “is put away,” is an absolute perverted “application” of the Lord’s divorce and remarriage law!

Notice how this faulty conclusion is exposed in brother Rader’s book, “Divorce & Remarriage – What Does the Text Say?” Although some affirm that the exception clause applies to the “b part” of Matthew 19:9, let us acknowledge what others have to say about this assertion.  In chapter 4 of brother Rader’s book (p. 31), Matthew 19:9 (Part 2), under section I. The Exception Phrase (pp. 31-33), Donnie wrote the following: 

“The exception phrase cannot grammatically modify both the first and last parts of Matt. 19:9. As it modifies the first clause it is an adverbial phrase (qualifying “shall put away”). Yet, if it modified the second clause it would be an adjectival phrase (qualifying “is put away”). This cannot be done grammatically! I wrote to Bruce M. Metzger asking him, ‘Does the exception clause (‘except it be for fornication’) modify the phrase ‘and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery’?’ His answer was ‘no, it qualifies the preceding clause.’

The following quotes, compiled by Gene Frost, are from teachers and professors of English and Greek who say that this phrase cannot modify both clauses.

‘In Matt. 19:9 the original Greek text translated ‘except for fornication’ modifies the ‘putting away’ on the part of the man and does not modify the person who is put away. And the present tense form of the Greek form moichatai = commits adultery means ‘continuous action at any time,’ i.e. as long as the condition of second marriage continues to exist adultery continues to exist.’

Leonard Latkovski
Professor of Classic Languages
Bellarmine College
Louisville, Kentucky

‘In my opinion, the phrase, ‘except it be for fornication,’ applies to the first clause but not to the last.’

Dr. Harry Sturz
Greek Department
Biola College
La Mirada, California

‘The modifying clause (except it be for fornication) applies only to the first person mentioned, in the first half of the sentence. It does not apply, grammatically or syntactically, to the person (‘whoso marrieth her who is put away’) in the second half of the sentence.’

Donald A. Drury, M.A.
English Department
Long Beach City College

There is no evidence from the English, Greek, this text or any other that demands that this exception modify the last clause.”

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