Do you believe that Jesus taught that men may never divorce their wives? If you believe this, then you believe that a man who gets married deserves the same penalty as a man who rapes a virgin!
Deuteronomy 22:28,29 (King James Version)
If a man find a damsel [that is] a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty [shekels] of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.
Take note, the rapist “may not put her away all his days.” If you truly believe that Jesus’ teaching on marriage was that a man can never divorce his wife then you must be at least a little curious as to why Jesus would pronounce the same sentence on a man for getting married as the law pronounces on a man who rapes a virgin.
The fact is, Jesus never forbade legitimate divorce. The false belief that a man may never divorce his wife evolved from the long standing position of the Roman Catholic church, not from any teachings found in the Bible. Those who claim that the Bible forbids all divorce can only do so by invoking the false doctrine of gender parity. Gender parity claims that all verses that apply to women, apply equally to men. Romans 7:3 is the favorite verse of gender parity advocates. Here are Paul’s actual words:
“So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.” Romans 7:3
Those who teach the false doctrine of gender parity twist and yes, change Romans 7:3 by claiming that it can also be understood as follows, minus my warnings:
[WARNING! THE PARAGRAPH YOU ARE ABOUT TO READ IS NOT FROM THE BIBLE]
So then if, while [his] wife liveth, he be married to another woman, he shall be called an adulterer: but if his wife be dead, he is free from that law; so that he is no adulterer, though he be married to another woman.
[WARNING! THE PARAGRAPH YOU JUST READ IS NOT FROM THE BIBLE]
I have placed the [WARNING NOT IN THE BIBLE] marker next to the phrases above to make sure that you understand that only by CHANGING the words in the Bible can the gender parity advocates make verses that apply to women apply also to men. The gender parity advocates cannot prove their point against divorce unless they put the same restrictions that the Bible places on women upon men and they can only do this by making up words and or inserting different words. What they do is a great sin. The word woman simply does not mean man! Not only do gender parity advocates change and insert words but in so doing they muddle the meaning of the words they are using. The definition of adulterer that is found in the Bible is a man who lays with another man’s wife or who lays with the betrothed of another man. It is impossible for a man to be an adulterer by legitimately divorcing his fornicating wife and taking a new wife. There is simply no verse that states this when taken in the context that the law permitted and Jesus repeated that a man may divorce his wife for fornication. A man is only forbidden from divorcing a fornicating wife when the marriage was precipitated by forcible rape. However, even in such marriages, if proven adultery is discovered (copulation between the wife and another man) then he may divorce his wife. Not only may he divorce her but the Bible demands that the government put her to death by stoning as long as that government abides by all the stipulations of biblical law in their proceedings.
Now that I’ve shown how ridiculous it is to believe that a man can never divorce his wife, let’s look at cases where divorce is actually considered a righteous act. We’ll begin with Jesus’ own stepfather, Joseph, who was called a “just man” for planning to divorce Mary secretly. This was prior to his being told by the angel Gabriel that Mary was “with child of the Holy Ghost.”
Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just [man], and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
Now let’s find out why a man who is a just man, a righteous man, not only can but must divorce his wife if he finds out that she is pregnant with another man’s child.
Leviticus 18:20 and Ezekiel 33:26 make it clear that both the adulterer (a man who lays with his neighbor’s wife) and the adulteress (a married woman who lays with a man other than her one husband) are defiled.
Leviticus 18:20 “Moreover thou shalt not lie carnally with thy neighbour’s wife, to defile thyself with her.”
Ezekiel 33:26 “Ye stand upon your sword, ye work abomination, and ye defile every one his neighbour’s wife: and shall ye possess the land?”
Leviticus 18:24-30 warns us not to defile ourselves with any of customs of the nations out of which the Israelites came.
Lev 18:24 “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit [any] of these abominations; [neither] any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which [were] before you, and the land is defiled;) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that [were] before you. For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit [them] shall be cut off from among their people. Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that [ye] commit not [any one] of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I [am] the LORD your God.”
Now, if you don’t mind being “spued out” as the “nations” that defiled themselves with such things were spued out then go ahead and ignore what the Old Testament says and when you ask me, “Why does any of this matter? We’re under grace, not the law.” Answer yourself and go ahead and allow marriage between children and parents, bestiality, and all the other abominations that are only forbidden in the Old Testament. But if you’re not ready to abandon those righteous laws then don’t call me legalistic for asking you to show your love to God by obeying them. Sure, salvation is of grace but faith without works is dead.
If you’re so convinced that I’m legalistic when I preach that we must show our love to God by obeying Him then tell me what you would say if your kids said the following to you:
“Oh, I love you mom and dad, I just don’t have to obey you because that’s legalism. You love me unconditionally because I’m your kid so I’m going to do whatever I want. If I even tried to remember your rules or pay any attention to them it would be legalism and since I can’t possibly obey all of your rules I’ll just give up on trying to follow even one of them. After all, it’s your grace that made me your child and I’m no longer under your rules.”
Note: Copyright 2007 – Pastor Don Milton – All Rights Reserved
Pastor Don Milton writes on various topics of Christian Marriage.