History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

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History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Bare_Truth » Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:13 pm

Quoting Jesus, in the 19th chapter, Matthew wrote: 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. (KJV)
The Greek word for "fornication" is Strong's number 4202 "porneia". This word is widely recognized to include a broad range of sexual vice. There is however a hardline interpretation floating around that this word, in this context, only refers to "premarital sex, not admitted to, prior to marriage", i.e. not being a chaste virgin. The reasoning being that this one exception is allowed because the marriage was made on fraudulent terms and hence no real marriage existed.

Such a doctrine is found in churches/sects/cults that take an extreme hard line on divorce and remarriage (AKA "D&R"). Having read some explanations as to why this is alleged to be so, I found the conclusions to be not credible. Over the years I have encountered this interpretation from more than one source. Does anyone know where this originated. It is a non-sequitur to me that if one's spouse turns homosexual, prostitute, adulterer or takes up with the family dog, that the spouse is just stuck in the marriage.

I have heard such incredible supporting arguments, for instance, that adultery would not be grounds for D&R because when this was written the adulterer would be stoned to death there by resolving the issue. This argument is specious in that it totally ignores that the law required 2 or 3 witnesses to the same act . So if the husband walks in on his wife and his neighbor in the act of adultery, where is he going to get a second witness? It is pretty sure that the neighbor and wife are not going to testify to having witnessed it!

I cannot believe that the notion that Christ's words only refer to "unconfessed and forgiven pre-marital infidelity". I would like to know how far one has to go back to find the origin of this doctrinal teaching, and who came up with it.

So please feel free to comment, criticize, support or reject, the doctrine as you wish. But the real question is, "Where did this doctrinal interpretation, originate, Who first asserted this interpretation"

------------------------------------
In this edit, I take the time to cite a few examples of this doctrine. My search words were +divorce +remarriage +pornea This yielded many pages of hits with several relevant to the topic of this post. I offer the following examples.


http://www.biblicalresearchreports.com/divorceandremarriage.php

One of the arguments made in some of the attempts to support the doctrine we speak of here by un/ill- supported claims of the meaning of certain words is at:http://www.rmsbibleengineering.com/Page2/MarriageDivorce/Page1_JesusDivorce.html
The author of this page wrote:It is important and imperative to know that Adultery is ONLY applicable to "MARRIED" persons while Fornication is ONLY applicable to "UNMARRIED" or "SINGLE" persons.
However no proof of this claim for the limitations of these words is offered.

So it would appear this doctrine is widely touted as being biblical, but the exegesis seems to be poor quality yet widely taught. I just would like to know who started this idea.

Of course it would be nice to know if anyone has soundly refuted the commonly presented reasoning. It would be nice to put this doctrine down if it is indeed heretical or if it can properly shown without wild claims about what words mean or rambling disputations, then it should be supported.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Petros » Sat Sep 19, 2015 2:38 pm

Frankly - naturally we do not move in identical circles and the circles I move in are narrowing, nor do we read the same stuff - this is a new one by me. I know biblical divorce talk, I know the old standby remarriage positions, I know the widening interpretations [I have in my files a case, multi year multi child marriage, extramarital sex by both before marriage and after marriage by at least one and very probably both - marriage annulled and the subject remarried].

And I know that it was put to me that though my divorce was not my idea nor could I have stopped it and though my remarriage was clearly by divine appointment I needed to repent and confess.

But this is rather new. I shall be looking at it. Right now, I see some highly suspect eisegesis [given what is ACTUALLY said about divorce, almost everything is eisegesis]. And some of the incredibly hokey, says the bible translating Semitist son of two Classicists, argument of the "This word in the Greek, as we see from Okidokides' address to the Argives, does not mean A as we have always thought, it means the precise opposite" style.

The Didymist is dubious.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby jochanaan » Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:30 pm

We also have an example from the Apostle Paul: "But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away....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." (I Corinthians 7:12,15) So apparently even among 1st-century Christians, a more "liberal" understanding of the roles in marriage was growing. In Old Testament times, wives were little more than property or bondservants; but Jesus and the Apostles began to treat them as equals, or at least more equal.

And I can speak from personal experience that a marriage can be intolerable without there being sexual infidelity either before or during the marriage. John Milton, in his The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (written for Oliver Cromwell's Parliament), argues for a more "permissive" allowing of divorce for this very reason, making the valid point that an intolerable marriage makes a person completely ineffective both as a person and as a Christian worker. "Which drew that answer from the greatest and worthiest Roman of his time Paulus Emilius, being demanded why hee would put away his wife for no visible reason? This Shoo said he, and held it out on his foot, is a neat shoo, a new shoo, and yet none of you know where it wrings me: much lesse by the unfamiliar cognisance of a fee'd gamester can such a private difference be examin'd, neither ought it." (Second Book, Chapter XXI)
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Ramblinman » Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:44 am

jochanaan wrote:...In Old Testament times, wives were little more than property or bondservants; but Jesus and the Apostles began to treat them as equals, or at least more equal.


While the culture continues to lag behind God's standards, it would be improper to assume that God was silent about the plight of women prior to New Testament days.

DIVORCE:
Women have historically had a vulnerability that men don't have.
In a world where earning power has favored men...
Where many jobs were performed by men and it can be argued that some occupations are too difficult for most women and many men...
Before the advent of formula, a mother's milk was essential to infants and toddlers unless a wet nurse could be procured...
And a house full of infants, toddlers would have made full time work difficult for a young mother.
If a husband were to abandon her, it would impose a burden upon her parents or she and the children would simply starve.
So easy divorce has traditionally been a boon to husbands with a roving eye and disaster to the wife.
I heard that one guy told his wife that when she turned 40, he'd cash her in for two 20's. He thought it was hilarious; she was not amused.
Frankly a lot of guys do that very thing.
A guy with salt and pepper hair and a few wrinkles is considered distinguished, he becomes the alpha male of the community.
A woman of the same age is considered a faded rose in some circles.
A second wife quite often is younger than a first wife.
There may be a bit of instinct involved in the choice to favor woman with more fertile years ahead of her.
But where does that leave the first wife and children?
Society has a vested interest in reducing divorce.

I know well about couples not getting along.
I was in a relationship that started out well and we discovered fundamental differences in religion and could not resolve the question, "Who's the boss?".
I prefer the concept of a couple being a management team with husband being head of household but in the most cordial sense of the term.
Try being married to a control freak.
Well, we discovered before marriage that it wasn't going to work.
The breakup was painful, but less so than if we'd actually gone to marriage and then kids came along.
I am not judging those who somehow stay married a few years before realizing the incompatibility.
If the strife isn't too bad, the guy can take up golf or fishing and wife enjoy her hobbies and friends, and if necessary the couple could even occupy different bedrooms in the same house, but still manage to have some laughs and good times once in a while.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Bare_Truth » Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:48 am

But could I get you back to the question in the opening post. Where did this idea come from that when Jesus stated that there was an exception in the case of sexual perversion on the part of one spouse, that somehow this is twisted into only the case of undisclosed premarital sexual experience and hence a fraudulent marriage.

This twisting of the scripture literally makes the faithful and innocent spouse ineligible for remarriage because they divorced an adulterous or sexually perverted spouse! That seems a monstrous miscarriage of justice to me!

The churches that preach this literally declare that if you want to have a children and married life and your spouse wants to become a homosexual or a zoosexual that if you escape that travesty of a marriage by divorce, that you cannot remarry without being called an adulterer, unless you can show that your cheating spouse was not chaste before marriage and defrauded you by not telling you before your marriage to them.

When did this kind of twisted idea ever arise? Who first came up with this?
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Petros » Sun Sep 20, 2015 2:07 am

I took a look at your links, short but enough for now, Twisted, yes, completely ignoring sevrasl important points yes.

Two things

One, if the scripture says something that is never explained or spelled out, one of ten will realize we cannot determine what was meant. Four of ten will announce that it means something they happen to approve. And five of ten will take their word for it and never check.

Two, the fact I know of no old reasoning like that [a couple who engaged in sex before marriage may never separate?!], I would not doubt it might be sitting on the shelves of some monastery library in Armenia. Of making many books - and there is no end to finding an ultra-licentious or and ultra-legalistic reading of any scripture.

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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby natman » Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:17 am

Bare_Truth wrote:But could I get you back to the question in the opening post. Where did this idea come from that when Jesus stated that there was an exception in the case of sexual perversion on the part of one spouse, that somehow this is twisted into only the case of undisclosed premarital sexual experience and hence a fraudulent marriage.

This twisting of the scripture literally makes the faithful and innocent spouse ineligible for remarriage because they divorced an adulterous or sexually perverted spouse! That seems a monstrous miscarriage of justice to me!

The churches that preach this literally declare that if you want to have a children and married life and your spouse wants to become a homosexual or a zoosexual that if you escape that travesty of a marriage by divorce, that you cannot remarry without being called an adulterer, unless you can show that your cheating spouse was not chaste before marriage and defrauded you by not telling you before your marriage to them.

When did this kind of twisted idea ever arise? Who first came up with this?


Bare Truth,

I have never heard of that particular interpretation of the verse.

Matt 19:9
"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. (KJV)"

According to Strong's, the word "fornication" ("pornea" in the Greek) refers to far more than mere sex between two unmarried people. It is ANY sexual activity outside the confines of holy marriage.


https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le ... 4202&t=KJV
I illicit sexual intercourse

A adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

B sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18

C sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12

II metaph. the worship of idols

A of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols


So fornication INCLUDES adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, incest, etc.

The second part of the verse assumes that the woman was "put away" rightly, meaning that she had been a "fornicator" (had sex with someone who was not married or any other sexual activity outside of marriage), which also made her an "adulterer" since she was married at the time, or an "adulterer" if she had sex with someone else's spouse. For ANYONE to marry her would make them "one-flesh" with a "fornicator" and/or "adulterer", meaning they would be a "fornicator" and/or "adulterer" also.

However, I think we need to think back to God's instructions to His people through Ezra to "Put away your foreign wives." These were not wives who were just from a "foreign" country, but wives who worshipped foreign gods, idolators. However, in the advent of the Church, many people came into Christianity from pagan religions as the Gospel spread. Many times, it was only one spouse or the other. Jesus and Paul's instructions were for the Christian to be patient for their spouse to come to Christ and to allow the non-Christian spouse to make the decision to either stay or leave, allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work.

Bare, can you give us a list of denominations or cults that hold to the hard-line interpretation that you are asking about?
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby jochanaan » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:07 am

Bare Truth, suffice it to say that I have never heard of that twisted doctrine either.

I have come to believe and live something like this: If a doctrine or practice seems to lessen the power of God's grace and love in our lives, it probably needs to be reexamined.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Petros » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:19 am

NT: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

OT: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

Which surely covers diet, human relationships, costume, custom, and all else.

But many and many cannot or will not abide God's incredibly complex simplicity, and opt instead for power-grabbing sophistry.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Bare_Truth » Sun Sep 20, 2015 11:30 am

natman wrote:....... Bare, can you give us a list of denominations or cults that hold to the hard-line interpretation that you are asking about?
I have come across this so many different times that I probably cannot give you a comprehensive list. Indeed my reason for this strip was to see if it was possible to trace it back to any particular movement. I did however give a couple of examples and how I found them on this occasion
In the first post I wrote:I take the time to cite a few examples of this doctrine. My search words were +divorce +remarriage +pornea This yielded many pages of hits with several relevant to the topic of this post. I offer the following examples.


http://www.biblicalresearchreports.com/ ... rriage.php

One of the arguments made in some of the attempts to support the doctrine we speak of here by un/ill- supported claims of the meaning of certain words is at:http://www.rmsbibleengineering.com/Page2/MarriageDivorce/Page1_JesusDivorce.html

The author of this page wrote:
It is important and imperative to know that Adultery is ONLY applicable to "MARRIED" persons while Fornication is ONLY applicable to "UNMARRIED" or "SINGLE" persons.

However no proof of this claim for the limitations of these words is offered.
I tried again today this time searching using the search phrase "exception clause" in conjunction with either of the words pornea OR porneia. This search combination also proved fruitful but tended to elicit more scholarly links. These seemed to delve farther back in history of the issues about divorce within Christianity and point out the fact that parallel passages in the other gospels lack the Exception clause found in Matthew. In fact so many have written on the "exception clause" it has been given the specialized theological term "Matthean Exception Clause". and some of those refer to attempts to limit the exception clause use of pornea to refer to premarital infidelity during the betrothal phase. Which is a close cognate to the premarital exception I cited in my original post. A word of warning however, these rather academic presentations are not the easiest to read because of the style of the writing, so don't expect to just breeze through them. Some are worse than others. The most I can say is that these suggest that the struggle to understand just what the exception is has been long and involved. So it is not surprising that there are some explanations of dubious value floating about.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Petros » Sun Sep 20, 2015 1:45 pm

This is a little different, but I think legitimately expands the focus.

Herself brought this to my attention this morning:

> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/artic ... twork.html <
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Petros » Mon Sep 21, 2015 12:37 am

So - we have simultaneously the Christian swingers, and the Christian Nudist Polyamorous church, and more - and the jot and tittle tattle tsk tsk you are lustful perversion spotting legalists.

Always the two extremes. And the whole time, Paul repeatedly tells us "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not
expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not."

If I walk humbly with my God, if I love my neighbor including my attractived opposit sex neighbour, I may be kept on or brought back to the path to the fold.

But if I follow this ear-tickling scripture-twisting goat, or his opposite - it is trhe bog at the bottom for me.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Ramblinman » Mon Sep 21, 2015 7:53 am

Divorce is small scale war and it bloodies all the combatants, no real winners.
I didn't say such "wars" are never necessary, but I have no delusions about the ongoing pain,
Though Jesus can comfort the wounded in time, better never wed than ill-matched.

Here's a bit of verse from our friends the Oak Ridge Boys (repetitive verses snipped off):

Dig A Little Deeper In The Well

My daddy used to tell me, "Don’t be fooled by what you see;
If you want to get to the heart of things, you gotta look way down deep
Second place don’t get it son; a winner's gotta come in first
There’s nothing worse than to take a drink that leaves you in the dirt"

A good man needs a good woman; she’s the rock that will make you strong;
She’ll be there to lean on when the whole world's going wrong.
There ain’t nothing like good loving that’s how it’s meant to be;
So find yourself a good woman, Son, like your mama’s been to me

There’s a mighty river flowing where the water cool and sweet
Don’t be fooled by a muddy stream be careful where you drink
Life is what you make it; sometimes a living hell
If you want to find that promised land, dig a little deeper in the well.

Dig, dig, dig a little deeper in the well boys; dig a little deeper in the well
If you want a good cool drink of water, you gotta dig a little deeper in the well.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Petros » Mon Sep 21, 2015 9:42 am

My divorce was not so much a war as a secession recognizing the nonexistence of what never could have been.

But you can't have even that without feelings coming out, if only dismay at years of fruitless effort following an honest mistake.
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Re: History of a Doctrine on Divorce and Remarriage

Postby Ramblinman » Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:17 am

Petros wrote:My divorce was not so much a war as a secession recognizing the nonexistence of what never could have been.

But you can't have even that without feelings coming out, if only dismay at years of fruitless effort following an honest mistake.


I must be honest and admit that I almost made that same mistake and have no intention of boasting that I slipped through the very snare that snagged you.
It is my prayer that additional years of experience and walking with the Lord have given me insight that will make finding a soulmate far more likely than in my college days. Can I still fool myself or be fooled by others? You bet, but I pray, pray, pray for wisdom and the willpower to act on what I know.
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