An Examination of Mark 10:11-12

by Bill Reeves

September 19, 2003

Note: My rebuttal of brother Belknap’s paragraphs are indented and in bold font.

Bill Reeves

An Examination of Mark 10:11-12

By Jeff Belknap

Mark 10:11-12 seems to be a favorite passage for use as a "proof-text" among those who seek to justify "Mental Divorce." Although its misuse to promote a second (post-civil-divorce) "putting away" has been soundly refuted and disproved in times past, it continues to resurface, as if it is some acceptable "application" that has stood the test of time.

Recently, I (and others) have been charged with believing in "Mental Divorce." The term "mental divorce," when applied to me, and to a host of other brethren, is a misnomer, a misrepresentation of brethren and of facts, a lie, and a prejudicial term that is employed to manipulate minds. Some have promoted the term so much and so long that many have come to believe that it so applies. Like yelling "wolf", when there is no wolf, disconcerts people, so charging certain others with "mental divorce" is disturbing the brotherhood. (Now if in a rare case a person claims that the Bible term, "putting away," means mere thought process, he is justly accused of believing in "mental divorce." If anyone knows of such a person, please send me his name and address. I would like to help him see the error of his way. Thank you).

There are as many puttings-away, in the issue of the present controversy, as there are persons who put away! But each person does but one putting-away. Note Mk. 10:11,12: both the husband and the wife may put away, but each does his own putting-away. Does one do a "second putting-away?" In a given case, of course not!

Notice the language: "a second (post-civil-divorce) ‘putting away’".
1- Why not "a second (post-civil-putting-away) putting away"? To Bro. Belknap it’s either civil divorce or a mere mental determination (thought process), nothing else is possible! To Jesus it is put away, dismiss, repudiate, send away, depart, leave, release, divorce (separate).

2- Actually there can be a person putting away before a civil divorce, and afterwards a second person may be doing his own, singular, putting-away.

3- In a given scenario, there can be "two puttings-away" for the simple reason that there can be TWO PERSONS putting away, each one doing his own putting-away, and that one time! But only one can be approved of God: that of the innocent’s putting-away of the fornicator-mate. All this talk about a "second (post-civil-divorce) putting-away" is a concoction of men, produced by confusing two different scenarios (one in which no cause of fornication is in evidence, and one in which it is in evidence).

4- Mk. 10:11 is not used to "promote a second (post-civil-divorce) putting away," as we are wrongfully charged, but to show that a husband who puts away his wife for just any cause, and then marries another, is committing adultery against the wife that he repudiated. She now has the cause of fornication for which she may exercise the divine right to repudiate him and to remarry. This is why this passage gives our brother a problem in the promotion of his false doctrine.

The theory is that Mark 10:11 authorizes an "innocent" mate to "put away" for the cause of adultery "against" him / her for as long as the couple is still bound - regardless of the person’s marital status at the time of fornication. This reasoning translates to approval of post-civil-divorce "putting away" by divorced persons for the cause of post-civil-divorce adultery.

Did Jesus say anything about "marital status" in this passage? Bro. Belknap adds it! This is one of his man-made conditions.

At the time of adultery being committed, by one spouse marrying another, both spouses are bound by God to their vows to each other, and so by the marriage bond. God will free the innocent one from that bond and give him the right to repudiate, or reject the adulterer, and to remarry (Mat. 19:9a), if that one so chooses.

It matters not WHEN the adultery takes place (whether before or after a civil divorce)! Both spouses are bound to each other until God releases the innocent one from the bond of marriage. (God does that, not some pagan judge at a courthouse). He releases only the innocent one, if that one chooses to repudiate the fornicator-mate and to remarry.

Our brother argues on the assumption that what an ungodly spouse does to his mate, in divorcing him not for fornication, translates into a nullification of the God-given right for the innocent spouse to repudiate his fornicator-mate and to remarry. Such a concept allows ungodly action to supercede divine power to permit. Since when can an ungodly act display more power than God can?

This article is written to redirect our focus to what the Lord has spoken (I Pet. 4:11) and expose the nakedness of the "mental divorce" fabrication.

The "mental divorce" charge is the naked, human fabrication. I and others do not believe in it; rather, what is believed is that the innocent party, when fornication is committed by one of the spouses, has the right to do what Jesus calls putting-away, or repudiation, and to remarry.

The Greek word (APOLUO) that Jesus used for the English, "put away," or "repudiate," is not something merely mental; it represents an action! Note the various passages where APOLUO is used, and see that it represents action, although not with specific, minute, exclusive procedure, neither implied nor indicated!

For example, is forgiving (Lk. 6:37) merely "mental action", or is it an act of "releasing a debtor"? What particular procedure was employed when Timothy was set at liberty (Heb. 13:23), or was it merely a thought process? Did Timothy simply receive some "vibes" from the jailer’s mental Apoluo, and then walked out of the jail? When the disciples told Jesus to send the multitude away (Mt. 14:15), did they tell Jesus to merely have a thought in his mind? Had Jesus sent them away (Apoluo), what exact procedure would he have had to follow? Any specific one? Of course not!

In the gospel of Mark 10:11-12 Jesus said, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery."








Puts Away

His Wife

And Marries ANOTHER

Commits Adultery


A Woman

Who Puts Away

Her Husband

And is Married To Another

Commits Adultery

Note the headings of the three columns: "Divorcement". What he means is "civil divorcement". That is why he didn’t use the heading of "putting away", which phrase he quotes Jesus as saying in his second column! Jesus did not mean "civil divorce". (Jesus said, Apoluo, and there is no civil procedure in Apoluo).

Note also that in the last column to the right our brother has "another" and "against her" in caps and bold. A little later in his article he will try to make a point on that, but suffice it here to say that he is misrepresenting Jesus. He needs to put "wife" in caps and bold if he wants to correctly represent Jesus. For confirmation of this, just look at Mk. 10:3. Jesus is asked about the man’s wife and Jesus is answering about the man’s wife; not about another woman!

First of all, note that absolutely nothing indicates whether the wife in verse 11 (or the husband in verse 12) was opposed to the above divorce or not. This cannot be proven either way, nor does this text (or any other) reveal that opposition to an unscriptural divorce would make any difference in the consequences imposed upon the "put away." Scripture makes us "complete unto every good work" and provides "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:3).

I do not put the "prerequisite" of "opposition" in the equation. But, if the innocent party does not oppose the putting away action of his spouse, it could be interpreted as consensual action. If both consent to the putting-away, both are guilty of sin, violating Jesus’ command (Mt. 19:6; see 5:32), and neither would be permitted to remarry.

Where in this passage cited is there anything about "the consequences imposed upon the ‘put away’?" The passage imposes a consequence upon the man who puts away his wife and remarries, and upon the woman (wife) who puts away her husband and remarries. The brethren of Bro. Belknap’s persuasion cannot see anything in any of the pertinent passages except their "put-away-woman" and what she is not permitted to do (in a scenario different from the one that Jesus treats)!

Consequently, it is certain that God’s word would have specified such a prerequisite if it determined whether subsequent marriage was lawful ("life and godliness") or adulterous (death and ungodliness). Such man-originated rules are purely arbitrary and encourage reliance upon human (not divine) wisdom in regards to what is right (cf. Psa. 19:8; 119:128).

Bro. Belknap’s reference to "such man-originated rules" does not apply to me; I add nothing to what Jesus said. The only reason some refer to said "opposition" is to make clear that the innocent party did not consent to the repudiation nor to the civil divorce. If one is not in agreement with a divorce, he naturally is going to state his opposition to it! He is not going to lay himself open to the false charge of ‘the waiting game".

It is everything but human wisdom to understand that by implication Jesus teaches in Mt. 19:9a that the innocent spouse may repudiate the fornicator-mate and remarry. Jesus puts no time-restraints nor provisos to his permission; just some brethren do that!

Secondly, observe closely that the "adultery" referred to in verse 11 is most likely committed "against" the last antecedent (i.e. "another") and is, in all probability, NOT referring to the original "wife." This is true, not only because of the sentence structure but also because of the parallel passages (cp. w. Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Mk. 10:12; Lk. 16:18; Rom. 7:3)! Additionally, several scholars believe that the word translated "against" actually means "with," in reference to the second wife, not the first.

Bro. Belknap is not too convinced of his argument, using such phrases as "most likely" and "in all probability". Yet he claims that the parallel passages make his assertion true! He would like to have Jesus talking about the second woman under consideration, and not the original wife of the man. He is trying to take from her the cause of adultery that she has when her husband, who put her away unjustly, now has married another woman.

He’s wrong about the "last antecedent" being the word "another". We’ll examine his "sentence structure", and "several scholars," later, below. (Incidentally, one can find "several scholars" saying anything that one wants said! But, what would that prove?)

His parallel passages don’t use the word "against". It appears only in Mk. 10:11.

Moreover, even if the Lord had specifically stated that the adultery was "against" the original spouse, where does He authorize a second "putting away" and remarriage for the put away victim of unscriptural divorcement (cf. II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:3)?

There’s no "even if" to it; Jesus said that the adultery committed was against the man’s wife. Jesus didn’t address the scenario that Bro. Belknap presents, so naturally he doesn’t say anything specifically about it! What he addresses is the question put to him by the Pharisees: Is it lawful for a man (husband) to put away HIS WIFE for any cause (Mt. 19:3).

Bro. Belknap is not too convinced ("even if," he says) of his arguments that the original wife is not the one against whom adultery is committed. He is trying to take away the force of Mk. 10:11 that states that adultery is committed against the original wife, which adultery would then be her reason for putting away the fornicating ex-husband. This is what the Lord authorized! He first tries to show something by "sentence structure" and "parallel passages," and by what some scholars say, and then he argues that the matter doesn’t matter, because after all the Lord doesn’t authorize such and such. Well, why then did he bring up all those other "proofs"? Our brother feels the power of that passage against his false doctrine!

After Jesus irrefutably taught that a man has the ability to accomplish an unlawful sundering of marriage (Mt. 19:6; Lk. 16:18), he stated that if such a man "shall marry another" (after perpetrating this unlawful act), he "committeth adultery."

This is true; we all agree. It is true because there was no cause of fornication in this scenario to justify the "unlawful act." So, neither spouse may remarry! If one does, he commits adultery. This is the point that Jesus is making, in reply to the Pharisees’ question.

However, the issue in the brotherhood has to do with a scenario where adultery actually has been committed against a spouse!

Bro. Belknap, and those with him, toggle back and forth between the two scenarios, and hope that the reader/hearer will not detect it!

In addition, He revealed the consequence of remarriage by the one who was put away under such conditions: "and whoso marrieth her who is put away doth commit adultery" (Mt. 19:9; cf. Lk. 16:18).

Note that our brother, as do all who agree with him, ignores the fact that Jesus directs his remarks to the WHOSO marries the put-away woman, while they make Jesus direct his remarks to the put-away woman and what she may not do! Jesus says, The MAN who …; they say, The put-away woman who …! This they invariably do, and that repeatedly. They just have to refer to their "put-away woman" and her being told what she may not do!

What conditions, Bro. Belknap, are your "such conditions?" The condition that Jesus was asked about (Mt. 19:3; Mk. 10:2), and to which he directed his answer, was: A man putting away his wife for every cause, no fornication having been committed! And Jesus adds: Any man who marries such a put-away wife, where no fornication is involved in her being put away, commits adultery, he, and by implication, the wife he marries. The reason for this is NOT that the wife is of a certain category, called "put-away women," but that she is still bound by the marriage bond to her estranged husband. Stay with the context, my brother!

Hence, the only authorized alternatives after an unscriptural divorce are to reconcile (I Cor. 7:11) or become a eunuch "for the kingdom of heaven’s sake" (Mt. 19:12a; I Cor. 7:11). "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (Mt. 19:12b; cp. w. I Cor. 4:6; II Jn. 9)!

Let’s be sure and define "unscriptural divorce". It is the kind that Jesus was asked about, and to which he replied: a putting-away for any and every cause (except fornication). In every case, where no fornication is being committed, if a spouse puts away his mate he must remain unmarried, and so must the mate, or else be reconciled to his mate (1 Cor. 7:11). If no reconciliation is effected, the two must remain celibate.

If a fornicating spouse puts away his mate for any cause, the innocent mate, although now unmarried but still bound by God to the mate in the marriage covenant, has the divine prerogative to repudiate, or put away, the guilty spouse. God, who binds, is the only one who can loose, and he looses only the innocent spouse who chooses to repudiate the fornicating spouse and to remarry. This is the principle that Jesus plainly teaches in Mt. 19:9a.

Whether the spouse fornicates while living with the mate, or after rejecting (repudiating) his mate, is not an issue mandated by Jesus. What He permits is the repudiation and remarriage of the innocent spouse who has the cause of fornication to do so (Mt. 19:9a).

The Mental Divorce advocates can cry aloud, jump up and down and cut themselves with knives and lancets, until the blood gushes out (cf. I K. 18:28-29), but the text says absolutely nothing regarding a second divorce and authorized remarriage to "another" for either the one who puts away or the one who is put away, when adultery transpires AFTER the fact of divorcement (cf. Acts 15:24; Gal. 1:6-9).

Of course the passage (Mk. 10:11) says nothing about such (nor about thousands of other things), because Jesus was not asked about such a scenario as described by Bro. Belknap. Jesus dealt with the issue put to him in ver. 2, an issue in which no fornication is committed! The verse also says nothing about a court house, lawyers, judges, filings, gavels, putting "for fornication" on the divorce papers, etc., all of which some brethren find in this and other such verses! Our brother and his associates always confuse two different scenarios, taking elements from an entirely different scenario, and injecting them into Jesus’ scenario, then ask: Where did Jesus (in the scenario that he treats) ever say such and such! How tricky! This is pure sophistry.

Note his repetition of the famous phrase: "Mental Divorce advocates." The constant repetition of this prejudicial and misrepresenting phrase is designed to manipulate minds, causing them to not heed what the opponent really believes and teaches.

He also can jump, cry, and cut, but the text treats of Jesus’ scenario and not some other one that Bro. Belknap wants to treat by applying to it a phrase (his famous "put-away woman") taken from a sentence that Jesus uses (Mt. 19:9) in his scenario.

The Bible teaches that when one commits fornication / adultery, they sin "against" various persons and things. David’s adultery constituted sin against God (II Sam. 12:13) as well as against Bathsheba and Uriah, fornication is a sin against one’s own body (I Cor. 6:18), homosexuality is a sin against nature (Rom. 1:26), and there are sins which become sins against the brethren (cf. I Cor. 8:12), especially when they are of a public nature (cf. Eph. 5:3).

As we consider the assorted sins "against" others when one commits fornication / adultery, it is clear that inspiration is revealing the harm that such a sin causes to God, ourselves, and others. I would accept the implication that subsequent adultery after the divorce would also be a sin "against" one’s bound mate, just as the unlawful divorcement was a sin against her (cf. Mt. 5:32a; 19:6). However, this in no way authorizes (specifically or generically) that which is not revealed, regardless of what seems "right" in our own eyes (Cp. Deut. 12:8 w. 13:18; Prov. 14:12).

Our brother gives up his entire argument against "against". He admits that any case of adultery by the spouse is adultery committed against one’s mate. He says: "I would accept the implication that subsequent adultery after the divorce would also be a sin ‘against’ one’s bound mate, just as the unlawful divorcement was a sin against her." My brother, you "would," provided what? You (and all the rest of us) need to say, "I accept that the adultery committed by the ungodly husband is against his first and only lawful wife." Saying, "I would" is not very definitive. What holds you back from readily and fully accepting the truth of Mk. 10:11, concerning "against her?"

What, my brother, is "that which is not revealed"? Obviously the particular scenario that divides US was not presented to Jesus, and therefore does not appear in the Scriptures (is not "revealed")! Why do you continue to toggle between two different scenarios? Surely you are not knowingly and purposely confusing the two!

What IS revealed in the Scriptures (Mt. 19:9a) is that Jesus gives to the innocent mate the prerogative of repudiation of a fornicating spouse and of subsequent remarriage. And that principle is what we apply to the scenario of our controversy! A particular scenario doesn’t have to appear in the Scriptures for principles, set forth in the Scriptures, to apply to it.

Later Bro. Belknap is going to say: "Once a divorce is complete (whether scriptural or not), silence of the scriptures confirms that subsequent fornication is inconsequential to either party’s remarriage-ability." (emp. bhr). In his statements just above he rightly tells us how terrible a sin fornication is, but he actually believes that it is "inconsequential" once an ungodly spouse has unlawfully separated himself from his mate and then remarries. Please tell us, our brother, why fornication loses its punch just because of what some ungodly person does in an act of putting-away. In Mt. 19:9a, is Jesus talking about terrible fornication, but not inconsequential fornication? Where did you get this distinction between fornications? Jesus made it the sole cause, but you are making it a conditional cause: the cause only when committed prior to a certain ungodly act by an ungodly spouse!

Once a marriage (the physical relationship) has already been PUT ASUNDER - DISSOLVED (repudiated, as well as ratified in the courts of men), there is nothing left under man’s control to be put away!

First of all, I commend my brother for clarifying that the marriage that is put asunder is the physical relationship (the one-flesh relationship). Man chooses to form the physical relationship called marriage, which entails vows, promises, commitment, but God is the one who binds him and his wife to their covenant to live in that physical relationship. Man controls the physical relationship of marriage, and his vows; God controls the marriage bond.

But look how our brother switches terms in order to prove his contention. Yes, a marriage (the physical relationship) can be put asunder (Gr., CHORIZO, Mt. 19:6). This is done when a spouse departs (Gr., CHORIZO, 1 Cor. 7:10) from his mate (which separation follows his breaking of his vows).

And, there is no civil procedure here!

The marriage (the physical relationship of it) then becomes dissolved, but not the bond.

But, marriages are not repudiated. Spouses are repudiated!

You don’t "put away" a "marriage"; you put away a spouse! Maybe this was a slip of the pen.

Note that here Bro. Belknap admits that repudiation takes place before civil procedure and is distinct from it ("repudiated, as well as ratified in the courts of men"). Yet, he makes civil procedure to be inherent in putting-away! He can’t have it both ways!

After one spouse puts away the other, "there’s nothing left under man’s control to be put away"? Has Bro. Belknap forgotten that the other spouse can do his own putting away? Any spouse can put away, whether Scripturally or not! Mk. 10:11,12. Put away means repudiate, and repudiate means reject. Vows were made by both spouses when they married, and both now can exercise their rejection of those vows. In marriage, one does not vow for both, and in putting asunder the marriage relationship one cannot disavow for both!

Bro. Belknap would object, saying, "But there’s only one putting away in Mt. 19:9". Why, of course! Because there is only one putting away under consideration, the one that the husband does (Mt. 19:3). Jesus was not asked about a scenario is which another would be putting away. How many times do we need to be reminded of so obvious a fact?

Notice what brother Donnie Rader wrote on pp. 84-85 in his book Divorce & Remarriage; What Does The Text Say?, Chapter 8 Mental Divorce (May Some Put Away People Remarry). Under "VII. Arguments," brother Bro. Rader wrote:

"‘In Mark 10:10-11 when the man who unlawfully put away his wife remarries he commits adultery ‘against her; thus giving her a scriptural cause to put him away.’ This assumes that ‘against her’ refers to the first wife. There is nothing that demands that interpretation. It is very possible that it refers to the second wife. ‘Another’ (which refers to the second wife) is the nearest antecedent.

Bro. Rader agrees with Bro. Belknap on this point, but Bro. Rader does not draw lines of fellowship over the issue!

Bro. Rader is not dogmatic here (as Bro. Belknap is not): "It is very possible", he says, yet he is negative toward what he calls an "assumption". Neither our brother, nor other brethren, nor the several sectarians whom Bro. Belknap is going to quote, say, nor dare say, that the pronoun "her" (against her) cannot refer to the original wife of the man. The husband commits adultery. Now was it against his wife, or against the second woman whom he subsequently marries? Obviously he commits adultery AGAINST his wife, and WITH the second woman (he doesn’t commit adultery WITH HIS WIFE!). It is for this obvious reason that later our brother is going to promote the idea that the Greek preposition, epi, here means with, and not against.

This passage clearly shows that the put-away wife of Jesus’ scenario now has the divine cause for repudiation and remarriage! More on this later.

The claim is made that the word "another" is the nearest antecedent of "her". If such is true, then why say that "It is very possible that it refers to the second wife." Forget the "very possible," and simply affirm that "her" must mean the second wife! A pronoun (her) stands for a noun, and the nearest NOUN ("another" is an indefinite pronoun) to "her" is "wife"!

Nigel Turner suggests that the word epi which is translated ‘against’ has the meaning here of ‘with’ (The Bible Translator, Oct. 1956, pp. 151-152). Thus, when he remarries, he commits adultery with her (the second wife).

Our brother cites one author who merely "suggests" that the preposition, EPI, here means "with"; that is, that adultery is being committed with the second woman, and not against the original wife.

Thayer, the authority recognized by all of us, concerning the meaning of Greek words, tells us that EPI means "against". He does not give "with" as a translation. He says, "against", and cites Mk. 10:11 as an example! See p. 235.

(cf. Nestle’s Text and The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. one, p. 409.)

"Cf." means, "compare". The first reference above is to Marshall’s Greek-English Interlinear, using the Nestle text. The Nestle text says EPI; and Marshall, in his personal translation between the lines of Greek text, says "with".

Well, I, too, can cite a Greek Interlinear, that of Berry, using the Textus Receptus. The Greek text says, EPI, of course, and Berry translates it, "against".

So, Bro. Rader simply chooses to cite one man, Marshall, instead of another, Berry, for Marshall agrees with him. But, whether Berry or Marshall, it is a one-man translation! Thayer, the accepted Greek authority, says, "against"! (Check your major English versions and see if any say, "with." You won’t be surprised!)

Bro. Rader’s reference to The Expositor’s Greek Testament says only that the word EPI "may mean either against, to the prejudice of, her (the first wife), or with her (the second wife)." A. B. Bruce, in his commentary on Mark in this above-mentioned work, here tells us what EPI "may" mean, but the context of Mark 10:2-11 tells us what EPI does mean: i.e., against the "her" under consideration, the wife of the ungodly husband. The Pharisees had asked: "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife." Jesus answers, saying that if he does that, for just any cause except fornication, he commits adultery against her! Nothing could be plainer. There are no "ifs" and "ands" about it!

But some brethren are reluctant to accept the obvious, because it would sound too much like the innocent spouse’s having the cause of fornication that permits her to repudiate her guilty mate and to remarry. That we just cannot have!

I wonder if the woman of Mark 10:11 and the woman of Matt. 5:32b and 19:9b are not the same since the men of Mark 10:11 and Matt. 5:32a and 19:9a are. If so, then the woman of Mark 10:11 cannot remarry.

Here our brother says, "the woman". Which woman? The first wife or the "another"? In order to make a point, he must mean the original wife.

The man of Mt. 5:32 is not said to have married again. In 19:9 and Mk. 10:11, parallel passages, the man is said to marry again, and that in so doing he commits adultery.

In all three passages there is no fornication involved in the putting away. That is what makes subsequent marriages adultery, whether on the part of the man or of the woman. Remarriage is permitted only to the innocent spouse who puts away for fornication (this is a necessary inference). Why can’t brethren stay with the context, and with the scenario that Jesus is treating? The woman of Mk. 10:ll is the same wife as the one in Mt. 5:32 and 19:9, in that she is put away not for fornication. In this condition she may not remarry (as the husband may not either!). But if he does, he commits adultery against her, and she may now exercise her divine right to repudiate him and to remarry. How do we know that? Just as we know that an innocent wife may put away a fornicator-husband and remarry, even though Jesus does not directly treat that scenario. We know it by necessary inference, based on the divine implication of what Jesus does say in Mt. 19:9a. Both conclusions are implied, just as is implied the conclusion that a husband may put away his wife for fornication and remarry without committing adultery!

There is not a word in Mark 10:11 about remarriage on the part of a put away one. If we grant that ‘against her’ refers to the first wife, so what? Neither this nor any other passage says one thing about her being able to remarry."

Obviously "there is not a word in Mark 10:11 about re-marriage on the part of a put away one" for the simple reason that such was not the subject under consideration (ver. 2). For the same reason there is nothing in Mr. 10:11 about the Lord’s Supper, baptism or baptistries!

"So what?" he says. Well, what that reluctant admission shows is that the put-away wife, when her husband has gone and married another, now has the divine cause for repudiation and remarriage.

"Against his wife" is precisely what Jesus means! Jesus has been asked about a man putting his wife away for every cause (Mk. 10:2; Mt. 19:3), so Jesus tells us the effect that such action has on the man and his wife. Bro. Belknap, just admit it -- the adultery committed is against his wife that he repudiated, and let’s move on!

Additionally, in The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, Alfred Marshall (p. 182) translates the text under discussion in Mark 10:11, as "commits adultery with her" (emp. jhb).

This is not another argument ("additionally"), but simply Bro. Belknap’s enlargement of his quote from Bro. Rader, who gives a reference to "cf. Nestle’s text". The Greek text itself says, "epi". Marshall gives his one-man translation between the lines of the Greek text, saying, "with". Our brother is stacking his case! He has added nothing new.

Alexander Balmain Bruce states, "The ep auten at the end of ver. 11 may mean either against, to the prejudice of, her (the first wife), or with her (the second). The former view is taken by the leading modern exegetes, the latter by Victor Ant., Euthy., Theophy., and, among moderns, Ewald and Bleek." (Marcus Dods, "The Synoptic Gospels," The Expositor’s Greek Testament, p. 409)

Bro. Belknap again pads his case here. He simply gives the quote from the reference (in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, Vol. one, p. 409, authored by A. B. Bruce) that Bro. Rader had just mentioned. Bro. Belknap makes it appear like something additional to Bro. Rader’s reference.

In a Mental Divorce article, under the heading of Mark 10:11, brother Gene Frost wrote:

"‘Mental divorce’ theorists make a big play on the statement of Mark 10:11, that in a second marriage the resulting adultery is ‘against the first mate.’ Why? ‘Why is it not just against God?’

I don’t make a "big play" on the statement of Mk. 10:11. (Do the civil-procedure-theorists "play down" the statement?) Jesus was asked about a man putting away his wife (v. 2), and Jesus says that if the man does it, and marries again, that he commits adultery against her! I just leave it there as Jesus put it. Why can’t certain of my brethren do the same?

It is implied that this indicates they are still married. No. Jesus says that the wife is ‘put away’ (divorced), and He does not indulge in the theorist’s game of ‘accommodatively divorced.’

The man marries another, so Jesus says-the theorists says, ‘No, Lord, not actually.’

In this second marriage, the man commits adultery. Why? Because he is still ‘bound’ (though not married).

This moichatai ep auten, ‘adultery against her,’ is ‘in reference to her.’ Expositors say the expression may mean either ‘to the prejudice of, her (the first wife), or with her (the second.)’6 Whichever, it is against the rights and interests of the first which are involved in the bond (the obligations and restraints).

True: when a man puts away his wife for just any reason except fornication, they are not still married, just still bound by the marriage bond. I have never said otherwise.

Bro. Belknap’s use of Bro. Frost’s quote is a reiteration of the reference already made in the quote that he gave from Bro. Rader’s writings. Bro. Belknap’s citing of two men’s references to the same author (in, The Expositor’s Greek New Testament) is not presenting two authorities as proof.

Incidentally, it might be a slip of the pen, but "Expositors say" means that there are a number of expositors that say something. But the quote is from just one expositor, Mr. Bruce, in The Expositor’s (single, not plural) Greek New Testament.

The expression does not mean he is still married to the first. Jesus plainly says he married another. Whom do we believe: the Lord or the theorist with his hermeneutical gymnastics?" (emp. his).

Correct; he is not "still married to the first", but he is still bound to her because God has not loosed him from his marriage covenant, from the marriage bond! She is still his wife (as in Mk. 6:17)!

6Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Word Studies, vol. I (Mark), page 198. [The Case For "Mental Divorce," Gospel Truths, November p. 9 (2001)].

Wuest simply cites The Expositor’s Greek Testament. So, this is not another "authority", but rather another writer citing the same "authority".

But note that Wuest goes on to cite Robertson, who says, "Mere formal divorce does not annul actual marriage consummated by the physical union. Breaking that bond does annul it". Now, do the civil procedure brethren accept that from Wuest, who quotes Robertson as saying, "actual marriage?"

Also notice how brother H. E. Phillips answered brother Marshall E. Patton in their written debate on this very issue:

"Brother Patton makes a point from Mark 10:11 with the statement: ‘Notice especially the expression ‘committeth adultery against her,’ i.e., against her that is put away. Obviously, God’s bond is still intact, otherwise the adultery would not be against ‘her.’ His argument is: Because Mark says that the one who puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery AGAINST HER, that this is the put away person of his proposition, who was put away against her will, who may NOW put away her former husband and remarry because she has had adultery committed against her.

Brother Patton assumes that the one who has adultery committed ‘against her’ is the first wife. This is by no means certain. All evidence does not agree that the ‘her’ is the wife. Some commentaries say the ‘her’ is the woman who is number two wife.

Our brother (now deceased) was not very assured of his conclusion: "by no means certain, all evidence does not agree, some commentaries say". Now isn’t that strong language! What did he do with the evidence that does agree and with the commentaries that do agree? If he can brush these aside, what should we do with his?

According to the rules of English grammar, the antecedent of a pronoun is the closest noun to it which would be ‘woman’ (understood.) You will note that the text says, ‘…and marry another…’ (woman understood). Thus the antecedent of ‘her’ would be ‘woman’ (wife number two).

Yes, as a rule the antecedent of a pronoun is the closest noun to it, but the noun, "woman", is not in the text.

The word "another" is in this case an indefinite pronoun used as an adjective (i.e., not the same woman, but a different woman). It is not a noun!

The nearest noun in the text is "wife", the one that the husband repudiated! She is the one against whom adultery is committed. She is the wife concerning which the Pharisees interrogated Jesus.

If our brother has a point (and he doesn’t), then everyone who claims that "her" here refers to the original wife IS WRONG! It can’t be both ways, if the grammar is such as he claims it is here. But, grammatically speaking, Bro. Phillips is mistaken.

The "her" of Mt. 5:32, the wife who is unlawfully put away by her husband, is the same "her" in the parallel situation depicted in Mk. 10:11.  In both passages Jesus is talking about the husband and his wife, and what is affected by the husband's actions in relation to his wife.  The one made her, his wife, to commit adultery, the other one committed adultery against her, his wife!

There is not a single syllable uttered in Mark 10:11 about the put away person remarrying" (emp. his). [Patton - Phillips Debate, First Negative, STS pp. 320-21 February (1987)].

Who says that "there is a single syllable in Mk. 10:11 about the put-away person remarrying"? It is not there because Jesus was not asked about such! (For the same reason there is not a single syllable there about baptism!)

What is there is that the husband who repudiates his wife and marries again commits adultery against her. The principle found in Jesus’ words in Mat. 19:9a is that the innocent may repudiate the fornicating spouse and remarry. So, this applies to her!

The civil procedure brethren bring up a different scenario and then try to inject that scenario into the scenario that Jesus addressed, and then ask: Where did Jesus say so and so?

In brother Phillips’ second negative, he wrote under the heading of Mark 10:11:

"I insist that I am correct about the rules of English grammar. The antecedent of a pronoun is the closest noun to it, which, in this passage, is ‘woman’ understood. My case for ‘adultery against’ the second wife is stronger than your argument for the first wife. You have by no means proved this point; you have simply asserted it.

The argument is not over the rules of English grammar, but over the application of the rules to Mk. 10:11.

If Bro. Phillips insists that he is correct on the point of grammar, why does he say that his case is "stronger" than Bro. Patton’s? He needs to say that he is right and that Bro. Patton is wrong!

If Bro. Patton "by no means proved" his point, but "simply asserted it," what more has Bro. Phillips done?

Does "my case is stronger than yours" mean "I am right and you are wrong"? Does it mean that one proved and did not assert, but that the other one did not prove and did assert?

As I have shown above, Bro. Phillips, in spite of his insistence, in this case is not correct about his application of the rules of English grammar. The noun "woman" is not in the text and the word "Another" is not a noun!

The Greek epi that is translated ‘against’ in the King James Version is translated ‘with’ in Nestle’s Interlinear. Nigel Turner in the Bible Translator of October, 1956, page 152 says of Mark’s use of epi in this context: ‘i.e. unto or with…’ Your point on ‘against’ is not conclusive in establishing your case" (emp. his). [Patton - Phillips Debate, Second Negative, STS pg. 346 March (1987)].

Bro. Belknap has not found more "authorities" on the subject of "against or with"; he has found only more people who cite the same authorities.

We have already dealt with these points: Nestle’s text and Nigel Turner.

Incidentally, it is not "Nestle’s Interlinear", but Marshall’s Interlinear, using the Nestle text. Marshall gives his personal translation, "with". Berry, in his Interlinear, gives "against", not "with." And Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon does not agree with Nigel Turner, nor with Marshall, but with Berry. See p. 235, right hand column.

Finally, in his third negative, brother Phillips stated under the heading of Mark 10:11:

"She has been put away, the marriage is dissolved and the relationship terminated. What is SHE going to ‘put away’ even if he committed adultery?" (emp. his). [Patton - Phillips Debate, Third Negative, STS pg. 370 April (1987)].

Bro. Phillips question is based on the "ipse dixit" that "a put-away person can’t put-away".

The marriage is put asunder (Mt. 19:6, CHORIZO) because one of the two spouses departed (1 Cor. 10:11, CHORIZO). Both are now unmarried (1 Cor. 10:11).

There is no "even if he committed adultery". Jesus (in his suppositional case) said that the husband would be doing it, and he said that he would be doing it against his wife!

To answer Bro. Phillips’ question: She may now exercise the prerogative or permission that Jesus gave her. As he repudiated her, she repudiates him! God did not release him on his repudiation, but he does on her’s.

The verb, put away (APOLUO), involves more than mere physical separation. It also means, "repudiate". The marriage bond involves vows and commitment as well as physical union. So, when the faithful wife has fornication committed against her, she may repudiate, or reject, the fornicating husband, and thus exercise her right to be loosed by God from that commitment and to marry again.

In Reflections, Robertson L. Whiteside (p. 426) says:

"Yes Matt. 5:32 and 19:9 harmonize, but only on the grounds that the maker of a law has the right to name any exceptions that he chooses to make. Matt. 5:32 gives no hint that a divorced person would have any right under any circumstances to marry some one else; neither does Mark 10:11, 12" (emp. jhb).

The "divorced person" of Mt. 5:32 and of 19:9 certainly has no right to remarry, because no fornication has been committed! When will the civil procedure brethren learn to stay with the context? Once fornication is involved, the context changes! The issue that divides us is NOT the case of Mt. 5:32 and 19:9, etc., where no fornication is involved, but is the case of an innocent spouse whose mate has committed fornication!

The civil procedure brethren constantly change scenarios, from the one that Jesus treated, to an entirely different one.

Bro. Belknap cites part of a paragraph from the writings of Bro. Whiteside. It is interesting to note that he cites the part of the paragraph that says something that he, Bro. Belknap, can underscore (to give it his emphasis), but conveniently omits what Bro. Whiteside affirms in the rest of the paragraph. Concerning 1 Cor. 7:15, Bro. Whiteside, taking the position that the believer is "not under bondage" when the unbeliever departs, and so may remarry, says, "The marriage relation was originally intended to last till one of the contracting parties died. Jesus did not contradict that law when he named an exception, nor did Paul contradict any previous law when he named another exception. I would be afraid to reject what an apostle said." (emp. bhr). Now Bro. Belknap, do you believe in the "Pauline exception" that Bro. Whiteside advocates in the same paragraph from which you cited some of his words?

Bro. Whiteside may agree with Bro. Belknap in the first part of his paragraph, but I doubt seriously if Bro. Belknap agrees with Bro. Whiteside in the second part of the same paragraph. If I am mistaken on this, I stand corrected.

One of the many flaws in the Mental Divorce theory is inconsistency. If Mark 10:11 really authorizes an "innocent" mate to "put away" for the cause of adultery "against" him / her for as long as the couple is still bound - regardless of their marital status at the time of fornication-then the same door of potential is also opened for the party who perpetrated the unscriptural divorce.

I have already dealt with the prejudicial concoction of "Mental Divorce theory."

There is no inconsistency at all!

Mk. 10:11 does not address the matter of remarriage of an innocent spouse; Mt. 19:9a (by implication) does.

The man in MK. 10:11, who (in the hypothetical case) "perpetrated the unscriptural divorce" that Jesus is talking about, married again! He had no adultery committed against him, but his wife did! That explodes the "same door of potential" that Bro. Belknap claims is also opened to the man in Mk. 10:11.

What that man did certainly did not loose him from being bound to the put-away wife. When he remarried, he committed adultery against her, and so she now could exercise her God-given right to repudiate him and remarry, because God would loose her from being bound to him.

Most recent proponents of Mental Divorce deny this necessary conclusion, and would only authorize a post-civil-divorce "putting away" for the "innocent put away party." However, as has been clearly shown in times past, consistent application of such reasoning inevitably leads to "the waiting game" for both parties in an unscriptural divorce. If not, why not?

The charge of "consistent application" is answered immediately above, where it is shown that no inconsistency obtains.

Of course only the innocent one is given the right to repudiate and remarry (Mt. 19:9a); certainly the spouse who is guilty of adultery does not have that right! No Scripture authorizes it.

Mk. 10:11 supposes the case of a husband that puts away his innocent wife and remarries! The so-called "waiting game" involves a different scenario, one in which a husband and wife consensually divorce (separate), defraud one another, and wait until one of the two fornicates. Both are still bound to each other, must remain unmarried or be reconciled, and no adultery has yet been committed. Both are guilty of divorcing without cause. Bro. Belknap confuses the scenarios!

As for the "waiting game", no godly spouse engages in such. But once adultery is committed against him, he may repudiate and remarry by God’s permission.

As for a carnally-minded spouse, he is not concerned about needing any Scriptural reason for remarriage! He disobeyed Christ when he put away his mate for any cause (Mt. 19:6), and with that heart he’ll disobey again--why wait?

It impugns the motives of the innocent one, in the scenario of Mk. 10:11, to charge her with merely waiting until her mate commits adultery. Who sets up anyone to so judge another (Jn. 7:24)?

If two spouses agree to a separation, they both sin (Mt. 5:32; 19:6; 1 Cor. 7:10,11) and the option of remarriage is not open to either one of them, no matter how long each might wait for the other to commit adultery. Willful sinners don’t try to do things scripturally!

If the intact bond is truly the factor in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 that authorizes one to put away for adultery "against" them, then both partners of that bond would be eligible to exercise this right.

What is the phrase, "intact bond is truly the factor", suppose to mean? That which permits one to put away is not an "intact bond" but the cause of fornication (Mt. 19:9a). The Pharisees did not ask Jesus about the "bond" but about the "cause." The marriage bond being still intact, or untouched, obtains when a spouse unjustly puts away his mate, but it is intact because God has not loosed either spouse from his marriage covenant. What is "truly the factor," or better stated, the "cause," is fornication!

Two spouses are bound by God to their commitment to marriage (Mt. 19:6), and only God can loose them from it. He looses only the innocent one who chooses to repudiate the fornicating mate and to remarry.

It is only Mk. 10:11 that speaks of "adultery against" a mate. Mt. 5:32 says nothing about the repudiator remarrying and thus committing adultery "against" a mate. Mt. 19:9 speaks of a spouse, who puts away his mate for any cause and who then remarries, committing adultery.

It is only an arbitrary, man-made rule that sanctions the post-civil-divorce "putting away" and remarriage by one partner (for adultery), but not the other.

God made the rules, my brother, not I. The one putting away without God’s approval, and who then remarries, commits adultery (Mt. 19:9). He has forfeited his right to another marriage. God doesn’t sanction him at all. God does not loose him from his vows that he took. On the other hand, the innocent spouse in the scenario has had adultery committed against him, and when fornication is committed, the innocent is permitted to repudiate the fornicating mate and to remarry. This is Jesus’ rule, not mine.

This statement by our brother is based upon his flawed premise of "inconsistency," which is exploded just above.

There is no scripture that implies different remarriage ramifications for one who perpetrates an unlawful divorce and for one who is the recipient of that action. According to inspiration in Matthew 5:32; 19:9 and Luke16:18, both persons become adulterers upon remarriage to "another" for as long as their bound spouse lives (cf. Rom. 7:2-3).

Of course no Scripture advocates "different remarriage ramifications" (whatever that is supposed to mean!) for one person in contrast to that for a different person. Jesus gave one law for everyone: if fornication is in evidence, that fornication serves as the cause for the innocent spouse to repudiate and remarry. That’s what Jesus taught, and is what I believe and preach.

Jesus nowhere speaks of "civil divorce", how much less of "post-civil-divorce". It is Bro. Belknap that makes "civil divorce" synonymous with "putting away", not Jesus.

How astutely Bro. Belknap confuses two different scenarios, as he talks about "different remarriage ramifications"! Jesus treats of putting away for any cause (and so no fornication is committed in this scenario, and neither spouse may remarry), but the issue that divides Bro. Belknap and others is a scenario in which fornication, or adultery, is committed after a "civil divorce" (of which Jesus says nothing!), and that adultery is committed against the innocent one.

Who "perpetrates an unlawful divorce," and who "is the recipient of that action," has nothing to do with the issue. That which gives the innocent spouse the right to put away and remarry is the presence of a particular CAUSE: that of fornication! Jesus talks about the "cause;" our civil procedure brother is all exercised over legal procedures and the action of "one who perpetrates an unlawful divorce."

Although Jesus never used the words "innocent" and "guilty," the presence of both of these elements in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 is undeniable. However, the texts’ insinuation of these terms only implies innocence or guilt of fornication in the context of an existing marriage.

Bro. Belknap is desperately trying to establish a prerequisite for his case, his so-called "marital status", so that he can claim that after a "civil-divorce," there is no marriage status in evidence. Then he passes on to conclude that the innocent spouse, against whom adultery has been committed, may not repudiate and remarry since he is not now married.

Monotonously Bro. Belknap confuses two different scenarios. He finds a so-called "marital status" in the scenario that Jesus treated, where no fornication is committed by a spouse, but not in the other one, where adultery has been committed. His conclusions are drawn from a faulty premise.

Of course there was a marriage, in the primary sense of "joined" (physically), in evidence in the scenario about which Jesus was questioned (Mt. 19:3), and, after a spouse has put away a mate and remarried, the put-away mate is of course no longer joined physically to him. But, in BOTH scenarios, the MARRIAGE BOND is still intact. In the first scenario neither spouse could remarry, because no fornication had been committed, and so the bond was still intact. In the second one, God alone grants to the innocent spouse the right to repudiate and remarry for the cause of fornication that has been committed, and will loose him from the bond.

Once a divorce is complete (whether scriptural or not), silence of the scriptures confirms that subsequent fornication is inconsequential to either party’s remarriage-ability.

This is fuzzy language. First of all he says, "once a divorce". By this he must means, not put away or repudiate, but "civil divorce" (that is completed!).

He says: "whether scriptural or not". If the putting-away is scriptural, it is because the innocent spouse repudiates the fornicating mate. If it is unscriptural, it is because no fornication has been committed. There is a difference.

Now about what "subsequent fornication", and on the part of whom, is Bro. Belknap talking? He is not at all clear here. The subsequent fornication of the fornicator who was put away for fornication is certainly inconsequential to a right to remarry, for he has no such right since he was put away for fornication. But his fornication is consequential to the Judgment Day, in which he will give account for his deeds done in the body. And if the innocent spouse, who put away his mate for fornication, goes and marries again, his subsequent fornication will have bearing on any right to remarriage in the future from that.

But If he means the adultery committed against his innocent wife that results from a husband putting her away, and marrying another woman (Mk. 10:11), then there is something "consequential". The innocent wife in this scenario has the "cause" for which Jesus gives the right to put away and to remarry.

Bro. Belknap continues his confusing of two different scenarios. He is talking about the one, but is injecting into it the other one.

The issue is not about "re-marriage ability" but rather about divine permission to remarry! (A man can do a lot of things, but, the issue is: is he permitted by God to do it?)

Fornication is never inconsequential! Its terribleness is the same whether committed before or after some civil procedure in the courts of men. It is THE cause whereby God permits the innocent spouse to repudiate the guilty mate and to remarry, and what some ungodly spouse does in unlawfully putting away his mate does not magically make fornication now irrelevant and inconsequential. Those of Bro. Belknap’s persuasion at times have to make fornication totally irrelevant and of no consequence, instead of leaving it, as Jesus does, as the cause for the innocent to exercise a divine permission What a doctrine! Fornication is fornication, and we must flee it (1 Cor. 6:18). It is not sometimes bad, and sometimes not bad! It is always bad, and is the sole cause that God gives for repudiation and remarriage!

The only authority given to remarry another AFTER an unscriptural divorce (for either party) is the DEATH - not fornication - of a bound mate (Rom. 7:3; cf. I Cor. 7:11).

Bro. Belknap continues to take out of context language of the first scenario and to force it into an entirely different scenario.

Look who is talking about "silence of the scriptures"! Where does our brother, in the scriptures that he cites, find anything said about "AFTER an unscriptural divorce"? Where? I may not apply the principle of what Jesus said in Mt. 19:9a to a particular innocent spouse who has had adultery committed against him, but he may apply to remarriage what Rom. 7:3 and 1 Cor. 7:10 say, "AFTER an unscriptural divorce". Indeed the legs of the lame are not equal!

Will all who are of his general persuasion agree with him about his conclusion? If a "put-away woman" may not remarry because she is a "put-away woman", and so they claim, she may never remarry, because she will always be a "put-away woman". She was put away, and that is history! The death of her ex-spouse cannot change that history, or fact.

When reviewing the teaching of these men, it becomes apparent that their reference to "innocent party" isn’t what most of us recognize as an "innocent party." When I hear "innocent party," I assume that there is a fornicator ("guilty party") already involved prior to the putting away, as is unmistakably depicted in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9.

Again the confusing of scenarios is injected. There is no fornication committed in Mt. 5:32 and 19:9 prior to the husband’s putting away. Nothing is said in Mt. 5:32 about the husband committing fornication BEFORE he puts away his wife, and in Mt. 19:9 the fornication (adultery), committed by the husband, by marrying again, is AFTER he puts away his innocent wife. This is the fornication that serves as the cause for which the innocent, put-away wife may repudiate the fornicating spouse and remarry. This fornication occurred BEFORE she did her putting-away! Fornication must be the cause in evidence before any spouse may scripturally repudiate, or put away.

If a spouse puts away, and later obtains a civil divorce, for just any cause, neither he nor the mate may remarry, because there is no fornication involved (this is what is taught in Mt. 19:9).

Now -- watch him -- he is ready to switch scenarios! From the putting-away that the husband does, per Mt. 5:32 and 19:9, Bro. Belknap switches to an entirely different scenario: to that of an innocent wife who now does her own putting-away! He didn’t have the "cause;" she does. When he says, "prior to the putting away," he has in mind the putting-away of the ungodly spouse, but the scenario of today’s controversy treats the putting-away on the part of the spouse against whom adultery has been committed. Bro. Belknap’s wording here leaves the matter clouded, not clarified.

Incidentally, by his phrase, "these men," surely he means his beloved brethren.

However, according to those who advocate the post-civil-divorce "putting away," one can still be an "innocent party" AFTER an unscriptural divorce - under certain (uninspired) conditions.

Jesus said absolutely nothing about "civil divorce", post or otherwise! Man-made laws do not alter, or affect changes in, a God-given right, or permission.

Does an innocent spouse become any less an innocent spouse just because his mate got a civil divorce in the courts of men. He is innocent before and after anything that the fornicating mate might do. The innocent spouse, put away for any cause by his mate, in Jesus’ scenario, is still innocent, but since no fornication was committed, that spouse may not repudiate and remarry. But the innocent spouse of another scenario, of that in which there is fornication committed against him, may repudiate and remarry because he has the cause required by Jesus for one to be released from the marriage bond. Simple, isn’t it?

These requirements are that she must not have been a willing participant in the (first) divorce, and that she must remain "faithful to the ‘marriage bond’" until her bound partner becomes guilty of adultery "against" her. At such a time, we are told that she may employ a post-civil-divorce "putting away" for that cause, thereby securing her "right" to remarry another.

Let’s consider his "requirements":

1. Had she been a willing participant in the (first) putting-away for any cause, she would have sinned as well as her husband (Mt. 19:6; 5:32). Agreed?

2. As long as one is bound to another in marriage, he must be faithful to the marriage bond. Agreed?

So, when this person, still bound by God to the marriage covenant, has adultery committed against him, he is granted, upon that cause of fornication, the right to repudiate and to remarry (19:9a). Agreed? No! Bro. Belknap does not agree with Jesus since his (Belknap’s) proviso is not in place! That proviso is that there must not have been a prior, unlawful putting-away in evidence.

The innocent spouse may exercise his God-given right only "at such a time" that he has the cause of fornication upon which to act. That scriptural cause is not abrogated or abolished simply because of some ungodly action of an ungodly mate in an ungodly court of men.

[Notice that the result of this line of human reasoning is diametrically opposed to what Jesus taught regarding the put away (Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Lk. 16:18; I Cor. 7:10-11).]

How many times does Bro. Belknap have to be reminded that in the scriptures cited Jesus said absolutely nothing about "post-civil-divorce ‘putting away’"? Those words are Bro. Belknap’s; they are not words of Jesus, and they are nowhere near these passages! Jesus said nothing near to what Bro. Belknap is expressing for the simple reason that he was not asked by the Pharisees concerning any such foolishness. Our brother has a construct that he falsely attributes to his brethren and then challenges them to find such in the words of Jesus in certain passages. This carnal tactic is as old as the hills. But, the false teacher has to have his own particular, concocted lingo in order to manipulate the minds of the undiscerning.

Our brother says, "What Jesus taught regarding the put away." Again we remind him that Jesus addressed his remarks to two MEN (to the husband, and to another man), not to "the put-away." Such brethren ignore the point that Jesus makes (about the two men), and emphasize a point inferred (about the put-away wife) from what Jesus did say. They refuse to stay with the context!

Ironically, we are told that only one of the two equally-bound parties (after an unscriptural divorce) is eligible to claim the remaining bond as that which enables (authorizes) them to "put away."

I’ll speak for myself: I have never claimed that "the remaining bond" is that which "enables (authorizes)" one to put away. (Bro. Belknap may know of some brethren who make that claim, but I don’t). The cause, not the bond, is the basis on which God permits (Mat. 19:9a, by divine implication and our necessary inference) the innocent spouse to repudiate a fornicating mate and to remarry. Bro. Belknap would do well to tell this to those brethren who tell him that the "remaining bond" is that which enables one to put away.

Yes, we (Bro. Belknap and I) are told, and that by Jesus, that only one of the two equally bound spouses may have a right to repudiate and remarry, and that one is the one innocent of fornication.

We are told that the act of divorcing one’s mate without scriptural cause forever precludes an individual from becoming an "innocent" party in a post-civil-divorce "putting away" - even when post-civil-divorce fornication is committed "against" them by their still-bound partner.

Come again? What’s good for the bound goose is not good for the bound gander? Oh yes - according to some brethren’s definition - one can only be an "innocent" mate in a post-civil divorce "putting away" for adultery when the first divorce was perpetrated against their will. I suppose this all makes sense in a sort-of convoluted way, when you use the creative definitions provided by proponents of this doctrine.

Stay on track, my brother! Jesus said that the one who puts away his mate without scriptural cause (fornication), causes her to commit adultery, and that if he marries another, commits adultery, and that against his mate. Jesus gives no right of remarriage to him, nor do I. Does Bro. Belknap? No, so he can forget about his sauce/goose/and gander-talk.

Brethren, consider all of the complexities, arbitrary rules and stipulations of the mental divorce doctrine. Contrast that with the simplicity and forthright language of the Lord’s teaching regarding divorce and remarriage.

If there are "complexities, arbitrary rules and stipulations of the mental divorce doctrine", Bro. Belknap has concocted them, because I know of no one who advocates repudiation by mere thought process. He is fighting a straw man. He does it by changing scenarios, putting "civil procedure" (courthouse action) into Jesus’ mouth, and subtly wording his phrases to prejudice minds.

Then read II Corinthians 11:3 and make the application. Cp. Jeremiah 23:16; Ezekiel 13:7 with II Peter 2:1-2.

I commend these very scriptures to Bro. Belknap. They are good ones, and I hope that he heeds them.

Bill Reeves

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