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Thursday, 12 June 2008

Today's Rambling Review: Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage

Today's entry takes a look at an article (part of an ongoing series) published in The Heartbeat of the Remnant, a by-donation-only print magazine that is also available online. The series is called "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage" and I can summarize the author's thesis by the appositive phrase "Good, Bad, and Not Allowed."

While author Dean Taylor does a good job overall of laying out his argument, I did detect a few weaknesses.

First of all, he refers to "The Textus Receptus" without really knowing what he is talking about:

"Although this misconception obviously predates the King James translation, it is possible to make a false assumption based upon some of the wording in our King James version. Look in your Bibles at Deuteronomy 24. It states: “When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house” (Deut. 24:1).

"Unfortunately, the word “then” was not part of the original Hebrew, even in the “Textus Receptus,” from which the King James was derived."

Dean is on shaky ground here, as The Remnant has a King-James-Only policy (albeit a rather weak one), so he can't really attack the wording of the KJV itself. So he moves back a step and blames "The Textus Receptus" for mistranslating the Hebrew original.

As most biblical scholars know, The Textus Receptus generally only refers to the Greek text of the New Testament, and has nothing to do with Deuteronomy. The phrase in quotes should have been the "Masoretic Text."

Dean also propounds a rather unusual interpretation of "the exception clause:"

The exception clause applies only to the divorce, not the the remarriage.

Summarizing his teachings, he recaps what Jesus taught:

"Divorcing a wife and marrying another is adultery (Mark 19:11).
Marrying someone who has been divorced is adultery (Luke 16:18).
Divorcing a spouse for any reason except for fornication is to be guilty of causing your spouse to commit adultery (Matt 5:32, 19:9). "

But Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 don't say the same thing here. The last item above is found in 5:32, but what 19:9 actually says is:

Divorcing a spouse for any reason except for fornication, and marrying another is adultery.

This weakens the force of his whole thesis, so he has to merge it with the previous verse.

Not a good idea.

That's all I feel like writing today . . .

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