Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 19, 1964
NUMBER 33, PAGE 8-10

Summation Of Exchange On Marriage, Divorce And Remarriage

Lloyd Moyer

I have always tried to heed Paul's admonition in 2 Tim. 2:14, "....strive not about words to no profit...." It is much better to set forth arguments in as brief and concise way as possible than to engage in a long drawn-out series of articles of accusations, denials and counteraccusations. Most people lose sight of the real issue while wading through a wilderness of verbosity.

Brother Frost says, "I am truly sorry that brother Moyer has seen fit to engage in further efforts to foster his new theory...." Such statements have no place in an exchange such as this one I deny that what I teach is a theory. I deny that what I teach is mine. It is the teaching of God's word. Of course, it is not new. (The liberals accused us of teaching "a new doctrine." too.) I even quoted brother J. W. McGarvey to show what he taught concerning the woman, "who had been put away on account of fornication...." "No doubt such a woman is at liberty to marry again if she can, seeing that the bond which bound her to her husband is broken." (Commentary on Matthew and Mark, p. 165) This book was published in 1879. Hence, the idea that illicit sexual intercourse not only breaks the marriage bond for the innocent but also breaks it for the guilty is not new. But, let us suppose that the idea is new in that it had been overlooked by brethren in their study of God's word. Would that make it false? Does brother Frost claim that nothing "new" has ever come to his attention in his studies of the scriptures? I fear that his statement was made for the very same purpose that the liberals have in branding our position on institutionalism as being "a new" doctrine. It is difficult for me to understand why he is "sorry" that I saw fit to reply to his "review." Does brother Frost have the idea that he speaks "ex-cathedra" and no one should dare reply to what he has to say? He has had about a dozen articles in the Gospel Guardian on the subject. I have a letter from him in which he proposes that each one of us write at least three more articles on the subject. He closed his last article with an appeal to brethren to let him know their interest in a further study (writing) and inserted "if brother Moyer is willing." Now, if I accept his proposal for more writing he will continue to be "sorry that brother Moyer has seen fit to engage in further effort...." Ii I accept his idea of not engaging in further effort, he will then be ''sorry'' that brother Moyer is not "willing" to engage in "further" study. This is a debater's trick. Place your opponent in such a position that either way he goes you will have the advantage. It is designed to win a victory and not to illicit truth. Would it not be better just to deal with the arguments?

His statement that my name will "pass into future generations in infamy," is beneath brother Frost. A look at the dictionary definition of "infamy" will reveal exactly low brother Frost feels about those who disagree with him on the "marriage question." It is. "Total loss of reputation; public disgrace; bad or disgraceful repute...."

It was this very attitude I warned against in my first article.

Brother Frost refuses to allow me to state what I teach and leave it as stated. He has insisted on giving the readers the "real message" of what Moyer says. He then proceeds to put words in my mouth and have me saying and teaching things I never said or taught. For example he lifted a statement, from my discussion of this subject, out of context and has me teaching that it is God's law and will that man commit adultery! Now, if brother Frost can get people to believe that I teach such a thing, then, certainly I will lose reputation. I had simply set forth the fact that man and woman were so created by God that they have natural sexual urges. I quoted 1 Cor. 7 to show that to avoid fornication, God's law and will is that every man have his own wife and every woman have her own husband. I pointed out that Jesus recognized this in Matt. 5:32 when He taught that a man would cause his innocent wife (whom he had put away without fornication as a cause) to commit adultery; and the one who marries her would commit adultery. Why? Because even though "put away" she is still the man's wife. That which "breaks wedlock" or adulterates the one flesh union which God ordained had not happened. Therefore, when she joins herself to another man, either in marriage or out of marriage, she commits the act of adultery. It is not God's law or will that adultery be committed. That is why Jesus warned a man against putting away his wife without the cause of fornication. (Matt. 5:32) And Jesus warned against a man putting away his wife without the cause of fornication and marrying another woman. (Matt. 19:9) He committeth adultery if he does. Conversely, if and when fornication (illicit sexual intercourse) happens, then the marriage is defiled, "wedlock" has been "broken" and those parties of the marriage are "loosed" from the bond of marriage; and no adultery is committed when they are joined to another in marriage. If Matt. 19:9 does not teach this I am at a loss as to why Jesus inserted the statement, "except it be for fornication."

I pointed out that both brother Frost and I teach that where fornication is present the innocent party may get married again and does not commit adultery. We part company on the question of the "guilty" party being "loosed" from the bond of marriage the same as the innocent. That is why I listed the points of agreement and points of disagreement. All points of difference grow cut of this one basic difference — Does God have a law by which He dissolves a marriage He once sanctioned? I believe that God has such a law. Brother Gene Frost does NOT believe that God has such a law. He has so argued on Rom, 7. He does mention the exception of Matt. 19:9. But he refuses to accept the exception Jesus gave. The very most he will accept is just half of the exception; that is — the innocent is free but the guilty woman is still bound to her husband. When I pointed out that he would have an innocent man marrying again and therefore, the man would have two wives bound to him at the same time, he simply dismissed it by accusing me of ridicule. I was not trying to minimize our differences nor was I trying to cover up or hide anything, as brother Frost suggested when he said, "....whereas the items fully stated reveal a great disagreement, more that Lloyd is desirous to admit." I was simply trying to clarify the issue by showing that the whole matter hinges on when a marriage ceases to be what God ordained and is put asunder by the law of God and the parties "loosed" from the marriage. If we agree on this point the discussion would come to an end. The "great disagreement" which he says is "revealed" by "the items fully- stated" stems from a failure to agree on the above point. I ask brother Frost again: Did God ordain just one man and one woman to become one flesh in marriage; and when one of the two who are married, begins to cohabit with some one other than the one to Whom he is married does it continue to be what God ordained or does it cease to be what God ordained? Or does God still recognize half of the marriage as being what he ordained? Please answer this. Don't quibble, it either is what God ordained or it is not. If you say that it is, you deny the word of God. If you say it ceases to be what God ordained, then, you will have stated the truth and I will have no need to argue the matter further because that is what I teach. If this one point of difference be resolved all other disagreement will vanish. I tried in my reply to focus the issue at the point of disagreement, hoping, that brother Frost would deal with the real issue and leave out all false accusations and quibbling.

I pointed out that the act of adultery is that which "break wedlock." (Ezek. 16:38) It causes the marriage to cease to be what God ordained it to be. Of course, God continued to do all that He could to get the guilty party (Israel) to repent and restore the marriage which had been defiled. He even allowed them to be taken away into captivity. But God finally had to "put away" Israel and He did it by the death of Christ on the cross. This abolished the law which bound Israel. They then became "dead to the law (separated from the binding force of it because the law had been abolished) by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead...." (Rom. 7:4) I believe that the innocent party should do the same today. Try to get the guilty party to repent and restore the marriage to that which God ordained. When the guilty refuses, the innocent may then "put away" the guilty. Brother Frost chides me by saying that I made our salvation depend on the sin of Israel. Not any more than he makes our salvation depend on the sin of the Jews when they crucified Christ. Had they not crucified Christ we could not be saved. (Or does brother Frost believe that we can be saved without the death of Christ?) "Believe it who can!" He says that I have God living with a harlot for hundreds of years. Not any more so than brother Frost has Christ married to a harlot (all unfaithful members of the church) for hundreds of years. They will be put away at judgment. If God did as brother Frost says, that is — divorce Israel when he sent them away into captivity, then God was divorced from that time on. Israel, then and there, ceased to be God's wife. Talk about a "new theory I"

In commenting on "break wedlock" brother Frost says, "Break wedlock is the Act of adultery itself and not the RESULT of adultery." Amen, brother! That is exactly what I have been trying to get you to see all the time. Brother Frost has been teaching that "adultery" is the result of breaking wedlock. But now he admits that he had the thing in reverse and that I have been teaching the truth. He even cited "Page 525, Gesenius' Hebrew-English Lexicon" to prove it. Yes, the ACT of adultery does break wedlock. God says it. Gesenius' Hebrew-English Lexicon says it and brother Gene Frost says it. I hope that he will not say that I am unfair by quoting him.

He said that I was unfair to him because I quoted Dana and Mantey, p. 181, where they say, "The fundamental significance of the present tense is the idea of progress. It is the linear tense. This is not, however, its exclusive significance. It is a mistake to suppose 'that the durative meaning monopolizes the present stem (M. 119), since there is no aorist tense for the present time, the present tense, as used in the indicative, must do service for both linear and punctiliar action." The reason I quoted Dana and Mantey was that brother Frost had quoted a part of what they said. He only used the portion which says, "It signifies action in progress...." I used the quotation from brother Frost's own authority to show that this very authority said that "it is a mistake" to do what brother Frost did. If anyone was unfair to brother Frost, it is not I, but Dana and Mantey.

Simply because the authorities say that the present tense "signifies action in progress" brother Frost ignores the fact that they say that it is a mistake to suppose that this is the only way it is used. Also that they say as used in the indicative it must do service for BOTH linear and punctiliar action. This is exactly what the Baptists do with "oikodomeo." In 1 Cor. 8:1 it means to "edify" or "to promote growth in Christian wisdom." (Thayer, p. 440) They conclude that it must have the same meaning and use in Matt. 16:18. It is a mistake to make the meaning the same in both passages. Brother Frost wants to know if it is a mistake to say the progress of the verb in 1 John 3:9 is "continued action?" No, but it is a "mistake," says Dana and Mantey, to suppose that this is the exclusive use. Just because this is so with one passage does not mean that it is so used in every other passage. The "Baptists will appreciate" brother Frost's "argument."

Brother Ftost says, "Even so, when Jesus said that the unlawfully divorced man marries, he commits adultery; commits repetitious acts of adultery." Where did Jesus say such a thing? Jesus never said that he "commits repetitious acts of adultery." This assertion comes from a failure to recognize that illicit sexual intercourse by one party to a marriage "breaks wedlock," "adulterates," "defiles" and "makes unclean" the marriage. This is the very thing Jesus listed as the exception which looses from marriage so that no adultery is committed in a second marriage. (Matt. 19:9) Without and in the absence of illicit sexual intercourse on the part of one of the marital partners, if either one joins himself to another in cohabitation adultery is committed. (Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Rom. 7:1-4; 1 Cor. 7:39) All accusations that I teach something contrary to this is completely false.

Brother Frost assumes all the way through our discussion that "the guilty party'' is still bound to the innocent party. This is what he teaches. I call upon him to give book, chapter and verse for what he affirms. I have given scripture to prove my contention that the "guilty party" is free or loose by "fornication" (illicit sexual intercourse) and may be married to another. (Ezek. 16:38; Jer. 31:31-34; Col. 2:14; Rom. 7:4) Brother Frost wanted to know where I got this idea. I got it from the above passages and related scriptures. I used 1 Cor. 7:27,28 to show that one who had been "loosed" from a wife, (lusis) defined by Thayer, "a loosing of any bond, as that of marriage.... 1 Cor. 7:27," is just as free as a person never married, a widow or widower. It means one "not bound to a wife." Brother Frost's assumption that this refers to one who is loosed "by reason of the guilt of his mate" is without foundation and would make this passage contradict other passages which show that "break wedlock" is the "act of adultery." Brother Frost admits this is true. He can't have it both ways.

Brother Frost makes a play on (Hosos) "for so long time as." (Thayer, p. 456) He forgets or fails to recognize that a man may continue to live but ceases to be the husband of a woman. (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:27) Certainly God ordained that man and wife be found "for so long time as" they both shall live. But, brother Frost needs to realize that there is an exception to this rule. The exception is where one is guilty of illicit sexual intercourse. (Matt. 19:9; Ezek. 16:38) So long as a man continues to be the husband of a woman she is bound. Does brother Frost teach that it is possible for a man to cease to be the husband of a woman as "long time as" he liveth? Now if he says there is an exception (and he does because he listed the exception of Matt. 19:9) down goes his argument and play on "Hosos." No, brother Frost, I did not "stretch a figure." I simply showed that there is an exception to the rule. You failed to recognize that there is an exception, even though you did mention it in connection with Rom. 7.

Brother Frost again misrepresents me by saying that I leave out or fail to recognize the "divine element" in a marriage. He defined the "divine element" as "God's sanction." I called it "God recognizes" a marriage. I pointed out that when we meet the requirements of God He recognizes a marriage. Exactly as when we meet God's requirements in obedience to the gospel God recognizes a child of God. God has never made provision whereby a child can sever his connection with Christ and still be pleasing to God. But, God has set forth an "exception" where the marriage can be dissolved and no adultery be committed its a second marriage. (Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 7:27, 28; Ezek. 16:38) So again, brother Frost makes a play on words to no profit.

Brother Frost accuses me of ridicule when I talk about "half-marriages" and "two wives" bound to the innocent man. His arguments demand "half-marriages" and that the innocent man who has married the second time have "two wives" bound to him at the same time. He says that the innocent is not married but the guilty is still married. Now, if that is not a "half-marriage," pray tell me what it is? If the guilty woman is still bound to her husband and her husband (being innocent) is married to another woman; now, if that does not have two wives bound to the same man at the same time, pray tell me what it is? I know that it is "ridiculous" but it is your argument, not mine. I am simply trying to show you just how "ridiculous" it is.

All that he had to say on "points of Agreement" is simply a wilderness of verbosity. It can only confuse. To refute it one has only to go back and read my article dealing with these points.

Brother Frost falsely accuses me of taking two positions relative to the Christian and the alien sinner. Not so. I have always taught that God's law applies to the Christian and sinner alike. I have always pointed out that there is danger of "willful and presumptuous" sin on the part of the child of God. I showed that Paul obtained "mercy" because he "did it ignorantly in unbelief." (1 Tim. 1:13) I will not play God and say when a person is guilty of "willful or presumptuous sin." I shall leave that role to brother Frost.


His proposal that we "continue a study and development of arguments" and have them "published in permanent form" is as "ridiculous" as his arguments. All that we have written will be published in permanent form in the bound volume of the Gospel Guardian. His request that "all interested in obtaining a copy....please send me your name and address...." is simply, in essence, asking for a "show of hands" concerning the discussion. I, too, could ask all to write me and I suspect that quite a number would respond. In fact, after brother Frost and I finish this discussion and are dead for a hundred years, there will still be differences on "the marriage question," along with several other "questions." That is why I asked all to study and make up their own minds and not draw the lines of fellowship over the matter. Brother Frost is on record that "I cannot concur with any expression that truth can embrace and tolerate heresy." In a letter to me he used Rom. 16:17 to be applied to those who, after he had studied with, refused to repent. He is bent on making this matter a test of fellowship. I have pleaded with him not to do so. I suggest that all read again and ponder well brother Yater Tant's Editorials in the August 22nd and 29th issues of the Gospel Guardian. To make a test of fellowship on this and all other "unsettled" questions will so divide the church into fragments that one could hardly find a congregation where he could worship acceptably.

I express my thanks and appreciation to brother Tant for asking me to set forth what I believe to be the truth in the pages of the Gospel Guardian. I pray that all will study the arguments made and form their own conclusions. "Hath thou faith? have it to thyself before God...." (Rom. 14:22)

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