Questions and Answers For The Hopkinsville Debate

by Bill H. Reeves

December 03, 2003
Review of Joel Gwin's 52 Debate Charts

   July 17 and 18, 2003 there was a public debate in Hopkinsville, KY between brother Joel Gwin and me, with brother Gwin affirming the following proposition: "The Bible teaches that if a man puts away his scriptural wife for a reason other than fornication and then commits fornication, the original wife may not remarry." The two disputants agreed to send to each other, one day in advance, 5 questions to be answered during the opening speeches. Each disputant was to receive in advance the answers to the other's questions. Five more questions were to be sent in advance for the second night of the debate, also to be answered during their first speeches. The answers to each disputant's questions were to be sent in advance to each other.

   This article gives in section A. the ten questions (five per night) that I sent to brother Gwin, along with his answers to the questions, and then I give some comments on brother Gwin's answers. In section B., I give the ten questions that Bro. Gwin sent to me (five per night), my answers to them, and some comments on my answers, to give a fuller explanation of my answers. This makes for a very interesting and informative study of the issue that was debated. Keep in mind that each debater had the other's questions and answers prior to the actual hour of debating. He had information from the other that would have bearing on what he would make of his opponent's position! It would have bearing upon which of his already-prepared charts he would use and how he honestly could use his charts!

   The reason for the presentation here of the two sets of ten questions (his and mine) is that during the first speech by brother Gwin the first night he did not present my first five questions to him, to answer them. In my first speech, the first night, I reminded him that he did not present in his first speech my questions to answer them. During the intermission that followed his first speech and mine, brother Greg Gwin, Joel's moderator, came to me and explained that they did not understand that they were to answer the questions thusly. They understood that the questions were to be answered at any time and manner that each disputant might choose. For the time I accepted the matter, and so the two sets of ten questions each were never formally presented in the debate. (During the debate brother Gwin did use in chart form three of his ten questions to me). Later, both Gwins, when directed to the previous correspondence between brother Joel and me, that stated that the questions were to be answered in the opening speech each night, on the part of each disputant, apologized for the oversight. (See this on this website in the article, My Clarification And An Apology From Joel And Greg Gwin). Those who attended the debate, and those who afterward are listening to recordings of the debate, do not have access to these twenty questions and answers. The purpose of this article is to supply them as being part of the agreement for the debate.

A. MY QUESTIONS (in black, bold italics) / HIS ANSWERS (in bold blue). My comments follow his answers.

   1. After an ungodly spouse puts away his mate for just any cause, excepting fornication, are they both still bound by the marriage bond?


   So, the unscriptural putting-away did not affect the marriage bond in the least, and it doesn't. God does not release a spouse from the marriage bond unless (1) there is death on the part of the mate, or unless (2) the mate commits fornication and is repudiated for that cause. So, when fornication is committed, whether before or after an unscriptural divorce, is of no significance. Jesus made it none. He made it the cause! Jesus did not put any time-restraint on the commission of fornication. He did not say that the fornication has to be committed prior to something else, and not subsequent to something else. He said that it has to be the cause!

   An unscriptural divorce cannot affect the marriage bond; fornication can (in that it is the divinely stipulated cause for the innocent spouse to put away the guilty mate and be released from the marriage bond)!

   After an unscriptural divorce, both spouses remain husband and wife; both remain bound to each other by the marriage bond. How, then, can an unscriptural divorce possibly nullify a God-given right for an innocent husband or wife, being still bound to each other by the marriage bond, to repudiate the one who commits fornication? It simply cannot!

2. Is the phrase "put away," as used in your proposition, synonymous with civil, or legal, divorce?

   In my proposition, the phrase "put away," simply refers to whatever (in any given culture or society) results in the dissolution of a marriage.

   Obviously I was asking about the "culture or society" in which he and I live; that is, in our country! He evaded the question that merited a "Yes" or "No". Had he said, "Yes", he (like others) would be affirming that one can't put away without courthouse action. This is the belief of some of the brethren who agree with his proposition. As one brother wrote: "There is no way you can 'put a person away' as Jesus used the term without obtaining a 'legal divorce'." This makes Jesus' teaching contingent upon man-made laws and regulations, where such exist. It makes courthouse action in our country inherent in the word Apoluo, the word that Jesus used that we translate, "put away." "No" lexicographer of note makes courthouse action a vital part of Apoluo!

   Had he said, "No", the question would follow: Do you disfellowship those who make "putting away" synonymous with civil divorce (i.e., courthouse action)? Brother Gwin practices disfellowship of those who do not agree with his proposition. The church, where he is a member and does some of the preaching (2003), has already disfellowshipped its preacher (2002) because he did not agree with their scruple. So, will he disfellowship those who agree with his proposition but who do not make courthouse action synonymous with putting-away?

   The truth of the matter is that brother Gwin evaded the question.

   Furthermore, he must define "dissolution of a marriage," since it is not a Bible phrase. By this phrase his argumentation means simply spatial separation, the breaking up of the marriage relationship. He has already said that the marriage bond is still intact! He must admit that the two spouses are still husband and wife! They just aren't now living together. There is on-going physical space between them.

   3. When you use the phrase, "mental divorce," as in the advertisement of the debate that you prepared for the public, do you mean a mere thought process, or some overt action taking place?

   When I use the phrase "mental divorce" I do so only as a means of identifying the position that various brethren have espoused, such as Weldon Warnock in this quote: "But someone asks: 'What about a woman who is put away (divorced) by a man simply because the man no longer wanted to be married. Fornication is not involved and the woman repeatedly tried to prevent the divorce, but to no avail. After a couple of years the man marries another woman.  She certainly is, if she puts away her husband for fornication. She would have to do this before God in purpose of heart since the divorce has already taken place, legally speaking. She could not go through the process of having a legal document charging her husband with 'adultery,' but God would know . . ." - Weldon Warnock (Searching The Scriptures, 11/85)

   Ron Halbrook also espoused the position I am identifying as "mental divorce" when he wrote: ". . . But if he commits adultery (before or after his action in the courts of man), there is something else to be said by divine law - by the moral and spiritual law of the court of God.  She now may put away, reject, or divorce him as a moral and spiritual act." Ron Halbrook (1986)

   He evades the question! I asked: "Do you mean... (= definition)." He replied, "I do so only as a means" ... (= method). He plays with words! I asked for a definition; he gives me a means or method.

   His quotes do not define what is being called "mental divorce". He evades my question by citing writings of other men. (One does not answer a man's question by citing phrases from the writings of others. Was he debating me or them?)

   Repudiation or disavowal is as much the becoming unmarried as the taking of the vows was the becoming married. Whatever obligations and commitments were vowed to become married are now repudiated or disavowed in the act of becoming unmarried.

   It is action on both sides; it is not only thought-process on either side!

   If he means "mere thought process," he misrepresents me in insinuating that I believe in such. The term "mental divorce" gives the listener the idea of some thought of the mind, and nothing else. That is why it is a prejudicial term, and is so used!

   If he means "some overt action," then the phrase, "mental divorce" is misleading to the public!

   I categorically deny that putting away is a mere thought process! I emphatically affirm that Apoluo, the word the Jesus used, is a word of action.

   4. Do you believe that any and every put-away woman, by simple virtue of being a "put-away woman," commits adultery upon remarrying?

   I believe that a "put away" woman who is still bound by the law of God concerning her previous marriage commits adultery upon remarrying another man (obviously, reconciliation to the original mate is authorized in 1 Cor. 7:10,11). 

    (Throughout his charts the reason given for the adultery committed by the put-away woman upon remarrying is that she is a put-away woman!)

   This is his absolute rule. But, anticipating 1 Cor. 7:10,11, he then makes an exception to his hard and fast rule: the woman who "puts asunder" (departs from, chorizo) her husband, may, upon being reconciled to him, remarry him. However the one she marries in this case is a "put-away" person! (His answer continues.....)

    She does not commit adultery "by simple virtue of being a put-away woman", but because she is still bound by the law of God (Romans 7:2,3). (Underlining. mine--bhr)

   Apply this "because" (this reason) to his proposition! This answer contradicts his proposition, and his charts that are full of "the put-away woman." This answer conflicts with his next answer. Compare them.

   He has an innocent spouse bound to her fornicator-mate until the day of her death. Jesus says, "except for fornication;" Bro. Gwin's position says, No, fornication is now totally irrelevant, inconsequential; the whole issue is that now she is a put-away woman!

   Had he said, Yes, then any and every putting-away man commits adultery by simple virtue of being a "putting-away man." Such makes an absolute out of Lk. 16:18a.   So it will have to be admitted that an innocent husband, never divorced, cannot put away a fornicating wife, and remarry. Had he said, No, then he would have had to tell us exactly why she commits adultery upon remarriage! He gives the reason: "because she is still bound by the law of God (Romans 7:2,3)."

   Yes, and because she was not put away for fornication! She and her wicked husband are still bound to each other. They are still husband and wife. See Mk. 6:17,18. "A put-away woman may never remarry," we're told. Why? "Because she's a put-away woman." Well, then a putting-away man can never remarry (Lk. 16:18a). Why? Because he's a "putting-away man"? Same type of flawed reasoning! The real reason: no cause of fornication was in evidence in the unlawful putting-away! So, neither party under those circumstances may remarry.

   5. Does Jesus teach in Matt. 19:9 that a wife may put away her husband who fornicates, and that she may then remarry?

   Matthew 19:9 is written from the man's point of view, but I believe that it is a generic teaching that would be applicable for a woman as well.  However, the woman would not be able to "put away her husband who fornicates" if he had already made her a put away person.  In such a case, the marriage is already dissolved.

   His first sentence is well stated; he sees that Bible principles can apply to scenarios not specifically addressed. But I am not permitted to so apply them! He plays by two sets of rules: one for him, one for me! Brother Gwin is allowed to apply Bible principles to address a scenario in which a woman puts away her fornicator-husband, a scenario not specifically addressed in the New Testament. However, he will not allow me to apply Bible principles to a scenario in which an innocent woman is wrongly divorced by her fornicator-husband. Brother Gwin will not allow the innocent woman to exercise her God-given right.

   He can apply "generic teaching" but I may not. How considerate of my brother!

   But now he is going to deny the principle, unless it contains his man-made proviso! His man-made proviso says, a wife may put away her husband who fornicates, and that she may then remarry, provided that she has not previously been put away. He has a box full of put-away people, and conveniently tosses the "original wife" of the proposition into the heap!

   Answering question #4, he says: "She does not commit adultery 'by simple virtue of being a put-away woman'." And now, in answer to #5, he says that she may not "put away her husband who fornicates and then remarry" because she is a "put-away person." Which is it, Bro. Gwin?

   He had answered, Yes, (and she may!) then the "original wife" of his proposition may remarry. But since he answers with a conditional Yes - provided that she was not previously put away - he is adding his proviso to Jesus' teaching. Jesus adds no provisos, but those who teach error do! Jesus used three words: "except for fornication." My opponent adds seven more: "and provided she was not previously divorced." Had he answered, No, then he would have condemned every innocent spouse who puts away a fornicator-mate and remarries.

   6. Do the passages in Matthew, Mark and Luke, that imply that the put-away person commits adultery upon remarriage, have to do with cases in which the spouse put away the person when he had no cause of fornication with which to do it?

   The remarriage of the put away person is not mentioned in Mark 10:11,12. However, the passages in Matthew (5:32, 19:9) and Luke (16:18) include cases in which the woman was put away both FOR and NOT FOR fornication.

   I stand corrected on including Mark in the list of passages.

   I did not say, "mention;" I said, "imply." I did not say, "woman," I said, "person." None of the passages specifically mentions the remarriage of any put-away person. (But since the one marrying a put-away person commits adultery, by implication so does the put-away one when he remarries).

   Where did he read in those passages that it says, "whosoever, or, everyone that, shall put away his wife for fornication"? What version is he using?

   He knows good and well that Jesus is answering the Pharisees' question (Mt. 19:3), and so is saying that whosoever shall put away his wife, when he has no cause of fornication with which to do it, commits adultery, and that that is the reason why he commits adultery. The answer to my question is a categorical, Yes! Bro. Gwin evaded it.

   He wants the reason to be that she is a put-away woman. Jesus makes the reason to be the lack of the one cause for which one is permitted to put away and to remarry; that is, fornication!

   There is only ONE "case" set forth in the referenced passages (including Mk. 10:11,12); that is, the case of putting away for just any cause excepting fornication! There are not two cases, as brother Gwin asserts. Jesus was not asked also about a case of putting away a mate for fornication, and so he did not include such a case in his answer. From what he did state, in stating only the case of putting away not for fornication, we infer or deduce that if one puts away his mate for fornication, and remarries, he does not commit adultery. But there is only one case stated by Jesus, for example in Mt. 19:9. He did not state two cases.

   7. Does Luke 16:18b apply in every case in which a man marries a wife who has been put away from a husband?

   "No", but it specifically applies in the case of our proposition, in which a man puts away his wife, and then subsequently commits fornication.

   His answer is, No, but on one of his charts he says, "Luke 16:18b Absolute? 'YES'."

   He treats the "b" part of Lk. 16:18 as an absolute: whoever marries a put-away woman commits adultery-period! This is done throughout his charts. So, here he equivocates.

   Lk. 16:18b is either an absolute statement, or it is not; he can't have it both ways! His constant argumentation is that whoever marries a put-away woman commits adultery, and yet he is forced to admit that this is not always the case. (He knows that a put-away woman may remarry if her husband, who unlawfully put her away, dies). This is duplicity, and evidences the falsity of his position. He has absolutes with exceptions, but no such critter exists!

   My question forces him to admit what is not in accordance with what he repeatedly claims: namely, that whoever marries a put-away woman commits adultery. Why, he tells us, Jesus even said it "three times."

   This passage applies where no cause of fornication is in evidence! But his proposition that he affirms has fornication committed! Keep this in mind.

   8. Was the cause of fornication involved in the putting-away of the "put-away woman" of Mt. 19:9b?

   It includes that, but is not limited to that.

   Our brother knows full well that Jesus was answering the Pharisees' question, giving the exception clause. So, the cause of fornication was not involved in her being put away. The cause was just any reason. Jesus based the subsequent adultery, that would be committed by the husband upon remarrying, on the fact that the putting-away was not for fornication (but for just any cause excepting fornication). If brother Gwin will tell us why that husband, upon remarrying, would commit adultery, he will answer my question with a No! But brother Gwin wants the adultery committed in Mt. 19:9b to be based solely on the fact that the some man married a put-away woman (wife).

   No, the cause of fornication was not involved in the husband's putting away of the put-away woman of Mt. 19:9b. Brother Gwin affirms that "it includes that," but he is totally in error. The Pharisees did not ask Jesus about putting away a wife for fornication, and so Jesus did not involve such in his answer. Such was no part of the question, of the issue treated.

   Our brother could not afford to answer my question with the simple No that it merits; he wants the subsequent adultery of 19:9b to be based on the simple and sole fact of the woman's being a "put-away woman"!

   He might protest, saying: Yes, but Jesus' teaching in Mt. 19:9a implies that if fornication is the cause for putting away a mate, the innocent spouse may remarry--provided that he had not been previously put away! But, I didn't ask about any implications and inferences. I asked: Was the cause of fornication involved in the putting-away of the "put-away woman" of Mt. 19:9b? The answer is, No.

   9. Does Jesus call adultery that which results from an innocent spouse's putting away a fornicator-mate and remarrying?

   "No", in speaking to married people, Jesus said that the innocent spouse may put away a fornicator-mate and remarry without committing adultery.

   In answering, No, our brother has just surrendered the debate! His "original wife" has had fornication committed against her, so she may put away the fornicator-mate and remarry! This is what Jesus teaches and what I affirm. Brother Gwin affirms that she may not remarry. See the proposition.

   The proposition that I was not allowed to affirm stated that "when fornication occurs," (well, here it has occurred!) the innocent spouse may put away the guilty mate and remarry.

   But notice that he qualifies his answer: "in speaking to married people," he adds.

   Yes, the scenario presented to Jesus involved a husband's putting away his wife ("married people"), (Mt. 19:3). But my opponent's proposition represents an entirely different scenario that was not treated by Jesus (the husband and wife are not now married). But he forces a detail from Jesus' scenario into his scenario, and tries to make a point! He hopes that we won't catch that. That is sophistry! Yet our brother has to admit that, like as in Jesus' scenario there was a husband putting away a wife, also in our brother's scenario, where the marriage relationship has been destroyed, the two are still husband and wife. They are still bound to each other. Jesus did not put a marital-status-proviso to what he taught. He did not teach that an innocent spouse might put away a fornicator-mate provided that the innocent spouse is married at the time! This proviso is added by brother Gwin and supporters.

   10. Does Jesus, in his teachings, as recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, address his remarks to whoever puts away a wife, and to any other man who might marry the wife that is unlawfully put away, or does he address his remarks to men who are to be categorized as "putting-away-men" and to wives who are to be categorized as "put-away wives?

   Jesus, in his teachings, as recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, addresses his remarks to whoever puts away a wife, and to any other man who might marry the wife that is unlawfully or lawfully put away, and to "putting-away-men" and to "put-away-wives" and others.

   This question demands an "either / or" answer, but his amounts to an "all the above and others!" He sees the force of the question and avoids a direct answer. He knows that Jesus directed his remarks to the husband and to the man who marries the wife unjustly put away by the husband. But his argumentation has Jesus directing his remarks, as it were, to what a put-away woman may or may not do! (See his proposition and his charts).

   Our brother knows the difference between Jesus' directing remarks to certain ones and inferences that man might draw from what Jesus said? I did not ask about inferences that man might draw, but if Jesus directed his remarks to these or to those. One might expect an uneducated man to answer as my opponent has done, but an educated man could not honestly do so!

   Jesus was asked a particular question by the Pharisees (Mt. 19:3). Jesus replied, telling them that if a husband does such and such, he commits adultery, and also if some other man does such and such, he also commits adultery. Jesus addressed his remarks to these two sets of people: to the husband and to the other man. He did not direct any remarks to the put-away wife. Only by inference can we affirm that she also, under the circumstances directed to the other man, commits adultery. Yet, brother Gwin has focused the entire passage on what he deduces that a put-away woman may not do! No wonder he evaded my question!

   B. HIS QUESTIONS (in black, bold italics) / MY ANSWERS (in bold blue). My comments follow my answers.

   (Note: Brother Gwin's questions # 1, 5, and 10 were presented on charts of his, and were used during the debate. For a treatment of these charts, see the article, Exposing the Sophistry of Joel Gwin's Debate Charts, Parts XXVIII and XXIX)

   1. If a man "puts away" his scriptural wife when neither he nor his wife has committed fornication, and he does not subsequently commit fornication, is the wife really biblically "put away?"

   If you mean by "biblically 'put away'," approved by the Bible, "No", the Bible does not approve of the putting-away.  If you mean, does the Bible really consider her repudiated by her husband, "Yes" she is really put away.

   The fact that the Bible uses the term "put away" does not mean necessarily that God approves of a particular putting-away. It speaks of a "different gospel" (2 Cor. 11:4), but such is not the gospel of Christ. It speaks of "vain worship" (Mt. 15:9), but it is not authorized worship.

   However, when the Bible refers to one being "unmarried," as in 1 Cor. 7:11, that person is really unmarried. That person is not married. I answered the question with an unequivocal "Yes". This question put to me by brother Gwin was answered by me the day before the debate began! He knew before the debate began that I do not believe that such a one is married. I told him, "Yes" she is really put away"!

   Nevertheless, he went ahead and presented charts prepared ahead of time in which he represented me as "wanting it both ways," both married and not married, depending upon circumstances or portions of Scripture. When I called this to his attention in the debate, he ignored me and continued to use his charts that misrepresented me. Evidently he presumed that I would answer his question in the negative, and so he had his charts prepared to expose my error, or duplicity (wanting it both ways). But, when he learned from my answer my true position, he still used his afore-prepared charts, either depicting me as duplicitous, or emphasizing the reality of putting away (as if I denied that!). (See charts # 6, 25, 26, 33, 34, 35, and 38). And, that is honesty?

   He displayed his chart # 25, which says: "In this case he wants 'put away' to mean 'really divorced' 'in the eyes of God' ... In this case he wants 'put away' to only mean 'accommodatively' or 'in the eyes of men.' Brother Reeves, which way is it?" We ask: How can an honest brother, already having beforehand my explicit answer to his question, continue to so portray his brother in Christ, for whom he publicly expressed appreciation?

   He even prepared a chart for the second night of the debate (see his chart #50) in which he showed the audience this question of his and my answer. The audience must have been amazed that he would show my answer on his chart, "Yes, she is really put away," but then continue to charge me with "wanting it both ways." Why didn't he tell the audience that when he was preparing his charts for the debate that he didn't know what brother Reeves believed on the matter, that he presumed that he believed thus and thus, but now that he has learned that he does not believe thus and thus, that he is happy that we are in agreement on the point, and that he should not have still used his charts that depicted brother Reeves as wanting it both ways? Surely this puzzled the honest and non-biased in the audience.

   If I agree with brother Gwin that the wife (is) really biblically "put away," and yet I want it both ways, does brother Gwin want it both ways? After all, we're in agreement! I marveled that brother Gwin would so sully his character by receiving my answer, publicly displaying my answer, and yet continuing to misrepresent me as "wanting it both ways."

   This question #1 of brother Gwin's was presented in chart form during the debate. For a fuller treatment of the question, see the article, Exposing the Sophistry of Joel Gwin's Debate Charts, Part XXIX.

   2. If a man "puts away" his wife FOR fornication, at what point does she actually become a "put away" person? when he makes the decision in his mind to "put her away" (or) when he takes some action that is recognizable and verifiable by other people?

   She is put away at the point of his conveying to her that he repudiates, rejects, dismisses her.

   His actions will certainly in a matter of short time convey to other people that he broke his vows to her and so declared it to her, but the putting-away occurred when he repudiated her (broke his vows to her, disowned her as his wife, refused to be a husband to her, and let her know it). His doing this shortly becomes known to others, and thus recognized by others as having taken place. That it happened is made verifiable by all the witnesses to whom the matter becomes known.

   The man may choose to also legally divorce his wife, and when that is finalized, then there is a legal record of the action and is verifiable by the legal registration of the divorce at the courthouse. But, long before this is finalized, people already know that he has repudiated his wife! He put her away when he repudiated her. Henry Thayer, in his English-Greek Lexicon tells us (p. 66) that "used of divorce," the word Apoluo means, "dismiss (from the house), to repudiate." When he did what the Bible means by the word "apoluo" that is when he "put away" his wife!

   The question as framed by brother Gwin assumes that there are only two options: either the infamous "mental divorce" (make the decision in his mind to put her away by a mere thought process), or courthouse-action. Brother Gwin believes in the latter, and unjustly charges brother Reeves with the former. The question as framed assumes that the action that Jesus referred to as "putting away" (Gr., Apoluo) has inherent in it courthouse action (in countries that have legal legislation in reference to legal divorce). Such is a false premise; no Greek authority so affirms.

   Bro. Gwin's two options are not acceptable. They contain in themselves brother Gwin's assumptions of either his so-called "mental divorce," or courthouse (legal) action. So, I answered the question (At what point does she actually become a "put away" person?) by giving the simple statement above. It is a trick of debate to frame within the question one's argumentation, and then ask the opponent to take one of the two options! This is what brother Gwin has done in this question. We are reminded of the old example: "Have you quit beating your wife?" Brother Gwin, answer this question Yes or No!

   3. At what point do a scripturally eligible man and a scripturally eligible woman become married? when they make the decision in their minds to be married
(or) when they take some action that is recognizable and verifiable by other people

   The answer to this question depends upon whether or not one is talking about a "civil" marriage, or the marriage covenant. The Bible teaches that God witnesses the formation of a marriage covenant when an eligible man and an eligible woman leave their parents and promise to each other to fulfill the duties of a marriage contract, or covenant. A man and woman, whether eligible or not, become legally married when they meet civil requirements and are recognized by the state as "married." The state recognizes people as eligible for marriage even if God has them "bound" to someone else.

   Marriage as ordained by God involves leaving, cleaving and becoming one flesh, Gen. 2:24. Legal marriage, in societies where it is available and customary, is an expedient for reasons of property-rights, custody of children, and the like, but it is not a determinant of marriage. Common-law marriage illustrates this. In common-law marriage there is no legal registration of its having happened, but when certain evidences and requirements, of the state that recognizes common-law marriage, are met by the married couple, the legality of the marriage is recognized by the state as if the marriage had been a legal one.

Note: Common-law marriage is generally a non-ceremonial relationship that requires "a positive mutual agreement, permanent and exclusive of all others, to enter into a marriage relationship, cohabitation sufficient to warrant a fulfillment of necessary relationship of man and wife, and an assumption of marital duties and obligations." Black's Law Dictionary 277 (6th ed. 1990). Common-law marriages were recognized in some of the colonies prior to independence and in many states after independence.

   Without legal registration of a marriage, there are no legal guarantees for the married couple that are afforded those who legally marry (except where common-law marriage is admitted or recognized).

   In our country, it is expedient to have a civil ceremony (legal marriage) so that the parents and the children can enjoy the rights afforded to such, but the marriage itself is not determined by the civil procedure. God determined the institution of marriage in the beginning, long before any civil law came into being.

   This question by brother Gwin, in conjunction with his previous question, has as its purpose to try to establish that if one can believe in "mental divorce," he also has to believe in "mental marriage." His position affirms that as marriage must, in this country at least, be a civil marriage (involving the courthouse), so also divorce in this country must be a civil divorce (involving the courthouse). But, his position is based on his ipse dixit, and not upon scriptural teaching. Neither scriptural marriage nor scriptural putting-away involves the courthouse! Neither is purely "mental." He must admit that the mind is involved in both, or else he has a "mindless" marriage and a "mindless" divorce! Does he believe that the mind is in no way involved in marriage and divorce? Of course not. And neither are they simply, solely and purely "mental." It is misrepresentation of me to charge me with believing in "mental divorce." Yet, he advertised the debate as concerning "mental divorce." Of course, neither do I believe in "mental marriage." Our brother and others are using prejudicial phrases in the promotion of their position.

   4. In Luke 16:18, the first part of the verse mentions a wife that her husband "putteth away." Is THAT woman - the woman of the first part of the verse - included among those described by the second part of the verse as "her that is put away from her husband? "Yes" (or) "No"?

   The woman of Lk. 16:18a is a wife put away by her husband without the cause of fornication in evidence, and the woman of 16:18b is such a wife as is referenced in 16:18a.

   Brother Gwin is concerned only with the wife being a "put-away woman!" This is clearly seen in the phrasing of his question. He leaves out of his question the point that Jesus makes in his teaching on marriage, putting-away and remarriage; namely, that a husband has put away his wife for just any cause, excepting fornication. Since no fornication was in evidence in the putting-away by the husband, the consequence for both the husband and the other man mentioned would be adultery should either marry as stated in the Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Lk. 16:18. The reason why the husband may not remarry is because he didn't have the cause of fornication for putting away his wife. This is the reason why another man would not be permitted to marry the put-away wife: she was not put away for fornication, and so was still the wife of the first man, or husband. She was not free to remarry. She was still bound to him. It was not simply because she was a put-away woman, but because she was put away not for the scriptural cause. So, she was still bound by the marriage bond to her husband. She was still his wife! Because of this teaching of Jesus, I answered brother Gwin's question as I did.

   Note that the woman of brother Gwin's proposition is not in Lk. 16:18! The woman of his proposition has had adultery committed against her! The woman of Lk. 16:18 has not! So, naturally brother Gwin is not going to bring out the point that Jesus is making in his teaching on the subject. Rather, he builds a case based upon a category or classification of person called "the put-away woman." This is his contrived "box" that I mentioned in the debate.

   5. You teach that an innocent woman who was "put away" by her husband, could then "put away" her husband if he committed fornication. How would she do this? (Please describe in detail.)

   She does it by doing what he did: they both repudiate, reject, disavow. Jesus did not describe in detail how precisely this is to be done and so I am not going to set down specific, detailed rules as to how to do it. Jesus simply states the verbs of action, to denote the fact of such being done, and I leave it there.

   Both took vows earlier, and now both can break them, disavow. One can't make vows for both and one can't break vows for both. Each does his own vowing and disavowing. The phrase, "put away," translates a Greek word that means more than simply putting physical space between one and another! A husband can leave his wife to go to work, but that is not "putting her away."

   A husband, for example, can certainly disavow his promises that he made to the woman to become his wife, and thereby put asunder the marriage relationship with her, placing physical space between them, but he does not affect at all the marriage bond by which God holds him accountable to his vows. He is still accountable to his vows and is still her husband; that hasn't changed at all. There has been no fornication in evidence!

   Jesus specifies no particular procedure for putting away. He simply permits the innocent spouse to repudiate (put away) the fornicator-mate and then to remarry if he so desires. Brother Gwin represents the brethren who contend for civil procedure in the act of putting-away. That is why I and others refer to them as "civil procedure brethren." Since I deny his "procedure" as being part of biblical putting-away, brother Gwin asks in this question just what detailed procedure is that for which I contend. I contend for none! I contend for the action that Jesus stipulated; namely, repudiate, or put away! Those words rightly translate the Greek word that Jesus used, Apoluo. Apoluo is a verb of action, but does not have inherent in it neither civil procedure nor any other particular procedure. I put none in it, and neither should brother Gwin!

   Brother Gwin's question is prefaced with these words: "You teach that an innocent woman, who was 'put away' by her husband, could then 'put away' her husband if he committed fornication." What brother Reeves teaches is not about the "innocent woman who was 'put away' by her husband" per Mt. 19:9. What he teaches is about the "innocent woman," or "original wife," of brother Gwin's proposition. The innocent wife of Mt. 19:9 did not have the cause of fornication against her husband by which she might put him away and remarry, but the innocent wife of brother Gwin's proposition does have the cause that Jesus gives for the innocent spouse to repudiate the guilty mate and to remarry. That's the difference!

   This question #5 of brother Gwin's was presented in chart form during the debate. For a fuller treatment of this question, see the article, Exposing the Sophistry of Joel Gwin's Debate Charts, Part XXVIII.

   6. If a woman intentionally drove her husband to put her away (by being a "biscuit burner", bad housekeeper, etc.) and he did, in fact, put her away without fornication in evidence, could she remarry if he later committed fornication?

   Burning biscuits and being a bad housekeeper are faults of a wife that need correcting, but they do not drive a husband to put her away not for fornication! She has her faults but he (who perhaps doesn't carry out the garbage nor puts the cap back on the tooth paste) sins in putting-away not for fornication. Jesus says, Mt. 5:32, that he who puts away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication (which thing your "husband" did!), causes her to commit adultery (if and when she remarries). Now you have sequence in your scenario: "he later committed fornication." When a spouse of whom Jesus spoke by implication in Matt. 19:9a has the cause of fornication, that spouse may put away the fornicator-mate and remarry. This is the divine permission. If your biscuit-burner and bad housekeeper is an innocent spouse, such a one of whom Jesus spoke, and her husband, to whom you agree she is still bound by the marriage bond, has committed fornication, "Yes", she may repudiate him and remarry.

   Since this question, and my answer, were not presented in the debate, and discussed, my answer above may not have adequately touched the particular thrust that brother Gwin had for his question. In answering it, I discounted the likelihood of a wife "driving" her husband to divorce her by sometimes burning the biscuits and being a bad housekeeper. However, I inadvertently overlooked the word "intentionally, " and this does have bearing on the question. First, let me note some points that I had in mind in answering his question, and then in the last paragraph I will give attention to the idea of "intentionally."

   Brother Gwin's question has sequence built in; he says in it, "if he later committed fornication." His proposition also has sequence built in; he says in it, "and then commits fornication." But Jesus' answer to the Pharisees in Mt. 19:9 does not say, "and then later he that marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery." There is no "then," "later," nor "afterward" in Mt. 19:9 between parts a. and b.! He was not asked by the Pharisees concerning the rights, if any, of a put-away wife whose husband later commits fornication. He was asked about the husband's case if he puts away his wife for every cause. Jesus answered that should the husband do that, excepting for fornication, and should he remarry, he commits adultery. He added that whatever man would marry that put-away wife not for fornication would also be committing adultery.

   From what Jesus said we deduce that he teaches that when fornication is committed, the innocent spouse may repudiate the guilty mate and remarry.

   There is no "sequence of events" between Mt. 19:9a and 19:9b. The verse simply gives the consequence for remarrying on the part of the husband, and for any other man's marrying the put-away wife, when the wife has been put away for any cause except fornication. That consequence is adultery! That's what Jesus says in the verse.

   Jesus did not specify that the commission of fornication has to have occurred prior to or subsequent to something else! He put no time-restraints on the commission of the fornication. He simply gave it as the cause for putting away and for remarrying. According to Mk. 10:11, should a husband put away his wife, and should he marry another, he is committing adultery (present indicative) against her. In such a case, the put-away wife is now having adultery committed against her! Jesus' teaching in Mt. 19:9a implies that if the spouse has fornication committed against him, he is permitted to repudiate the fornicator and to remarry. So, the wife, now having adultery committed against her, is permitted to repudiate the adulterer and to remarry.

   Brother Gwin and his supporters distinguish between fornications! Fornication that is committed before an ungodly spouse unlawfully puts away his innocent mate is bad fornication and serves as the cause of repudiation and remarriage for the innocent mate. But fornication that is committed after the unlawful divorce by the ungodly spouse is irrelevant and inconsequential, and so cannot serve as the cause for repudiation and remarriage. Who said so? Brother Gwin and supporters, not Jesus! He made no distinction between fornications. Fornication is always bad, no matter what other acts it might precede or follow.

   A wife who, as the question expresses, "intentionally" acts to drive her husband to put her away, will use tactics such as withholding sexual privileges (1 Cor. 7:3-5). (Many a happy marriage has had a biscuit-burner and bad housekeeper in it!) But if the intention of the wife, by whatever means, is to drive her husband to divorce her, then she is not "an innocent spouse, such a one of whom Jesus spoke." God may well see her as the prime promoter of the separation of what He joined if she succeeds in getting it put asunder. She could well be condemned by Matt. 5:32 (putting away her husband saving for the cause of fornication). To say the least, this would be mutual divorce and would eliminate remarriage rights for both spouses. No spouse, who succeeds in intentionally driving his mate to put him away, has the right to remarriage! The reason: He has repudiated his mate not for the cause of fornication! (Incidentally, if the spouse does not succeed in getting his mate to divorce him for just any cause, he is still sinning. He is guilty of breaking his vows to the mate in that he is doing things that contradict his vows and promises in an effort to put the marriage relationship asunder. He vowed to be faithful until death!)

   7. If a man's wife commits fornication, and he decides to put her away for this cause, do you believe that, as a citizen of Kentucky, he must follow any specific procedure in or-der to accomplish the putting away?

   Well, do you mean that if he has not been previously put away by his wife (you can't have two puttings-away, you know!)? No matter which state in which the man lives, if he wants a legal, civil divorce he will have to follow the specific procedure of that place in order to accomplish the civil divorce. The word divorce has the basic meaning of separation (check this out in any unabridged dictionary!). He will separate from his wife the day he divorces, or puts her away. When he files for civil divorce (a legal dissolution of marriage, per the dictionary), he will accomplish that the day that the courts declare him legally divorced.

   How would brother Gwin have answered the above question if I had asked it of him? He would have taken care to let me know that a man can't put away his wife for fornication if he previously was put away by her! His proviso is very important to him in stating his beliefs to me. But in putting his question to me, he omits this proviso. That is why I reminded him of it in the first part of my answer.

   I believe, because this is what Jesus teaches, that "if a man's wife commits fornication, and he decides to put her away for this cause," he has divine permission to do so! Brother Gwin doesn't believe this; he believes it only if his proviso is in place. He purposely or carelessly left it out in his question to me, but what he believes is that such is true only if there has not been a previous putting-away. No "two puttings-away," you know!

   His question as framed shows clearly that he sees legal action in the Bible phrase, "put away." He believes that legal procedure is in the phrase, and he is wrong.

   His answer to his question would be Yes (with his proviso added, of course); the husband must follow legal procedure as set forth in Kentucky laws governing divorce, he would claim, and concerning legal divorce this is true.

   Brother Gwin doesn't distinguish between divorce and legal divorce, separation and legal separation. When he sees the word "divorce," he sees the courthouse! That connotation is common with English-speaking people today, and it is for this reason that many brethren are tripping here over the word "divorce," as it appears in some passages in some versions today. They need to consult a good, unabridged English dictionary! Divorce means separation; legal divorce means legal separation. Jesus said Apoluo, and no recognized Greek authority says that legal divorce is inherent in it!

   Dear reader: Note that the errorist will say "divorce," when he means "legal divorce." He cannot afford to distinguish between divorce (separation) and legal divorce (legal separation, legal dissolution of a marriage).

   8. What breaks the bond in marriage: Divorce for fornication (or) Fornication alone? (please explain)

   Neither of these two options is acceptable. God controls the marriage bond (Mt. 19:6). He alone joins, and he alone looses from the bond. (The phrase, "break the bond," does not denote a biblical concept. The opposite of join is loose). The cause of fornication is the only cause that God has given that permits an innocent spouse to put away a guilty mate and to remarry. When the innocent mate exercises that divine right, God looses him from the bond.

   Apparently behind this question (I say, "apparently" because this question was never presented in the debate for me to test) is the idea, on the part of brother Gwin, that fornication by itself, and committed at a particular time, is not sufficient for a spouse to remarry, but if the spouse (while still married to the original mate) divorces the mate for fornication, that suffices to "break the bond in marriage." (Brother Gwin apparently anticipated that I would answer, "Fornication alone," since I contend that the cause for which God permits an innocent spouse to repudiate his guilty mate and to remarry is fornication!)

   This idea of his totally confuses the issue. As I state in my answer, it is God alone that looses a spouse from his marriage commitment (vows, promises) if that spouse has the cause of fornication against his mate and repudiates him because of the fornication. So, neither divorce for fornication, nor fornication alone, looses one from "the bond in marriage." But once fornication is in evidence, the innocent husband or wife has God's permission to divorce (repudiate, put away) the guilty mate and to remarry. If the innocent spouse repudiates the fornitcator-mate, God releases or looses him from "the bond in marriage."

   The sinful mate commits the fornication, the innocent spouse does the repudiation, and God does the loosing! Brother Gwin agrees, provided that the fornication was committed at a certain time or in a certain sequence; namely, prior to the ungodly action of the ungodly spouse who unlawfully put away his mate! And even then, the innocent mate has to beat the fornicator-spouse to the courthouse (to get a divorce proceeding finalized), or even beat him to repudiation! Jesus put no such provisos to his teaching! Brother Gwin and others are disfellowshipping brethren who won't accept their provisos.

   9. Is "put away" in Luke 16:18 referring to the: Putting away (breaking up) of the marriage (or) Putting away (untying) of the bond?

   The putting-away is man's part; the "untying" or loosening of the marriage bond is God's part. The putting-away of Lk. 16:18 refers to the dismissal, rejection or repudiation of one's mate. This breaks only the physical marriage relationship.

   Our brother needs to learn that the Scriptures speak of putting away a spouse; that is, a husband or a wife. A man puts away his wife; a wife puts away her husband. One does not put away a marriage nor the marriage bond. The question shows that brother Gwin is either reading the Scriptures carelessly or is purposely attributing to "putting away" an extraneous object.

   The result that follows an unlawful putting-away of a mate is the "breaking up of the marriage" relationship. The ungodly spouse who unlawfully puts away his wife for any and every cause, except fornication, breaks up, or makes separation of, the one-flesh relationship of marriage. The result that follows a lawful putting-away of a mate, whereby the innocent spouse disavows his loyalty to the fornicator-mate, is the divinely approved "breaking up of the marriage" relationship, with divine permission for the innocent spouse to remarry.

   How profitable it would have been for the debate audience had brother Gwin in public read his ten questions given to me, read my answers to them, and then commented upon my answers! How profitable it would have been for the debate audience to then have heard my response to his comments! But that was not done. This article is designed to help fill the void left by brother Gwin's unintentional omission of the reading of the questions and answers.

   10. If a man puts away his wife for a reason other than fornication (Luke 16:18), are they still married, or are they divorced?

   They are now unmarried as is the woman of 1 Cor. 7:11 because he, upon putting away his wife, broke the physical marriage relationship, or the one-flesh relationship. They are now divorced in the basic, dictionary sense of separation.

   Of course they are physically separated. They are not now living together.

   Brother Gwin had already asked me what was virtually the same question! Look at his first question for the first night, question #1, Part B of this article. I answered his question, saying: "'Yes' she is really put away." He and she are not now married; he has put her away. They are divorced, in the basic sense of the English word, divorce, meaning separated.

   Since I said, "Yes" to his first question of the ten, he had no point in asking this tenth question of his, and should not have used several charts that depicted me as "wanting it both ways!" But he had afore prepared charts and was determined to promote them anyway, disregarding my answer (which, apparently, he didn't anticipate!). But, after asking his first of the ten questions, and getting my affirmative answer, why did he ask the tenth one, since it is virtually the same? At the time he asked it of me, I did not know what use he had in mind for it, but I answered it. But he took my answer, and hurriedly prepared a chart (or, had prepared) which he used in his speech Friday night. Since I answered, "they are now unmarried, ... They are now divorced," he reminded the audience that those who are divorced (Mt. 5:32 KJV) and put away (Mt. 19:9) cannot remarry. Then he drew his conclusion: brother Reeves "is strictly rejecting the teachings of Christ ... brother Reeves agrees that they are put away...that they are divorced, but then he denies Jesus' teaching for those people who are put away, who are divorced."

   Brother Gwin used a carnal tactic is using my answers in two different ways:

   1-- He asked me his question #1, and then ignored my answer by going ahead with his afore prepared charts and depicted me as wanting it both ways: really put away and accommodatively put away!

   2-- He asked me his question #10 (#5 of the second set of five), and then accepted my answer in order to depict me as rejecting and denying Jesus' teaching!

   What does this say about the character of our brother and of those who aided him in the debate preparations? Talk about someone wanting it "both ways!" Brother Gwin used my answer both ways: Yes and No!

   I repeatedly said in the debate that the scenario with which Jesus dealt was one in which no fornication was in evidence, and therefore no one had divine permission for a new marriage. Is that contradicting the teaching of Christ? No, that is wholeheartedly agreeing with it!

   But the scenario with which brother Gwin deals in his proposition for the debate is one in which fornication has been committed, and therefore the innocent wife of his proposition now has the cause that Jesus gave that gives the innocent wife of the proposition to repudiate the fornicator-mate and to remarry. I most certainly do not deny nor reject the teaching of Christ, but I most certainly do deny and reject the scruple of brother Gwin that he is binding on the brotherhood to the degree of disfellowshipping any who do not accept his scruple!

   This question #10 (#5 of the second set of five for Friday night of the debate) of brother Gwin's was presented in chart form on Friday night of the debate. For a fuller treatment of this question, see the article, Exposing the Sophistry of Joel Gwin's Debate Charts, Part XXIX..

Bill H. Reeves

Review of Joel Gwin's 52 Debate Charts
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