Churches Of Christ/MDR


Hi Joe
I was reading some of your responses to MDR questions. I don't agree with some of your conclusions but I do respect your willingness to be direct.
After reading a response to one of your questions I have a couple of questions for you to consider. I will paste part of your answer to a question. And from that response I will ask my questions. The asterisk will mark the point of my questions.
And I quote, you said, "First I want to clarify that we are discussing the words of Jesus on MDR in Matthew 19:9. Repentance is always required of God. What we need to understand is what sin has been committed? *If the divorce was not for reason of fornication, the one time action of divorce is the actual sin of the man who divorces his wife.* He broke the marriage covenant without legitimate cause...fornication. *The man who marries the woman that was divorced not for reason of fornication commits adultery by marrying her because her first marriage was not ended properly according to the Law of Moses (Deut.24:1-4).*"
1) question, Are you saying divorce is a sin (period) Even if there is NO second marriage? I don't read this in the answer Jesus gave the Pharisees. Jesus said, "shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another" How can you say Jesus in Matthew says a man who divorces his wife commits adultery? Jesus said divorces and marries another=adultery. Can a man simply divorce his wife and never marry another and still violate Matt.19:9 committing adultery?
2) question, You said a man who marries the woman put away in Matt 19. "commits adultery by marrying her because her first marriage was not ended properly according to the Law of Moses (Deut.24:1-4)." Is that what Deut. 24 teaches? Did Moses say the woman was not allowed to marry after her husband put her away? The Bible says this woman was the one who had something unclean in her. She was the guilty, unclean party. And Moses said she could have a marriage after she was divorced, even thought she was guilty. And Moses did not say the man who married her was guilty of adultery, did he? I am confused as to what you teach. Can you help me understand why you say Jesus taught in Matt. 19 adultery is committed even though a second marriage never takes place. And why you say Moses teaches a man sins when he marries a divorced woman?
I know you mean well when you answer these questions posted to you. And I am sure you could find fault with some of my answers, and I hope you will read them and put them in God's perspective. Men have twisted the MDR question and caused a lot of misery in people's lives. truth. And I know you will ponder these questions and "iron sharpens iron" And I do respect your stand on MDR. And I pray you will continue to be ready for the defense of the gospel. God Bless, Dale

Hi Dale,

Thank you for your questions to me. I will always strive to be Biblical in my answers and I am aware that sometimes I am not as clear in my answers as I think I am. I strive to improve in clearly writing my responses.

You asked me first if I am saying divorce is a sin period...even if there is no second answer to this initial question is - NO! I do not believe divorce is a sin period even if there is no second marriage. I believe that the man who divorces his wife for reasons other than fornication (under the Law of Moses) is sinning by the act of divorce. His sin is adultery because he has broken his marriage covenant without valid reason.

I ask you to not just consider Matthew 19:9 but also Matthew 5:32. Jesus states that in divorcing his wife for reason other than fornication "causes her to commit adultery". It is clear the act of divorce does that. Since this is the case, the man is also guilty of adultery by divorcing his wife...the marrying another makes it adultery times 2. I also am convinced that "commits adultery" is also not continuous. In answer to your last question in part 1, when you consider both Matthew 19:9 and Matthew 5:32, yes a man could divorce for reason other than adultery and never marry again and still be guilty of adultery. He broke his marriage covenant without valid reason...that IS adultery.

In part 2 you seem to be confusing what Moses said with what Jesus said. Moses did not address what happens with a Jewish man divorces for reasons other than fornication. But I do believe when Moses gave a reason for divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-4...the Hebrew word "ervah" was very much the same as what Jesus meant when He said for fornication. Neither of them said or taught that adultery is the only legitimate cause for divorce because under the Law of Moses, adultery was punished by death so no divorce was required. You are correct the woman had something in her that was unclean or that brought shame upon her husband, but it did not prevent her from marrying someone else. In fact, the whole point of giving the bill of divorce was to free her to find a new husband. It let any man who might want to marry her know that they could do so without sinning under the Law of Moses. You are correct too that the man who marries the guilty woman did not sin by marrying her. BUT this is because the divorce was done for valid reason...fornication...porneia=ervah...

I believe it's simple and clear. The main teaching that was accepted in that day was the teaching of the school of Hillel. He was teaching a Jewish man can divorce his wife for any reason and marry someone new. Jesus was always correcting the error in Pharisee teachings. He was stating no different than Moses but Jesus explained more and covered more. Moses did not address divorces for no valid reason. Jesus did. When it's done the way Moses said (the husband found something unclean in her...or something about her brought shame upon her husband. She lost favor in his eyes.) then NO ONE is guilty of adultery by the first husband divorcing her and both are free to marry someone new. This is Old Testament Law.

To be clear, I have never said that Moses teaches a man sins when he marries a divorced woman. The only time anyone is guilty of adultery is when the divorce is not for reason of fornication (porneia=ervah)...and all are guilty of adultery when it's not for reason of fornication (according to Jesus). Jesus was trying to stop Jewish men from divorcing for any reason and return them to what Moses taught. Moses never said a man can divorce for any reason.

I firmly believe Christians should always enter into marriage intending to be once for life and there is no problem that two Christians cannot overcome together. I firmly believe the teachings to Christians on marriage come mostly from Paul and the most information we have comes from 1 Corinthians 7.

I do hope that I have helped clarify things for you. If you have new questions, I am happy to answer but please remember this is not a debate site. I pray we all hunger and thirst after truth. May God be with us both.

In Christian Love, Joe Norman

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Joe Norman


I can answer questions regarding acceptable worship, organization of the church, or any apsect of the Christian life. I am the son of a preacher and have studied the Bible from cover to cover since I was 12 years old. I am strong in my research skills and do not follow teachings of men. Many will label me as conservative and some might label me as liberal, but I just seek to be biblical. I understand proper exegesis and hermeneutics and apply them. My desire is to share my knowledge of God's Word with others. Please always keep in mind that none of us who are listed as experts here are divinely inspired and therefore it is possible to get incorrect answers from any one of us. Study the Scriptures and decide for yourself if what is taught is true.


I am the 4th generation in my family to be a faithful member of the church of Christ. I was raised by a preacher and have studied the Bible everyday since I was twelve. I am 45 yrs old now. I am not a "scholar", but I am very familiar with the scriptures.

member of the church of Christ, served as a Deacon for a few years at LakeShore church of Christ in Waco, Tx. I currently live in the North Dallas area and am still very active within the church of Christ teaching, leading Bible Studies, and songleading as well. I am also actively involved in online ministry. I hope to open my own webpage eventually.

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