"Nothing Left To Put Asunder
by Bill Reeves
February 08, 2004
This idea (expressed in different ways and with different wordings) has been advanced by some brethren to keep the innocent husband or wife from exercising his divine permission to repudiate his fornicator-mate and to remarry.
Let us examine the concept. It is used to affirm that there is nothing else that can be done by the innocent spouse when fornication occurs after an unlawful civil divorce has taken place. We ask: Nothing else can be done about what? Do they mean nothing else can be done to put asunder the marriage relationship that already has been put asunder by the ungodly spouse? Or, do they mean that, after the ungodly mate has put asunder the marriage relationship and commits fornication, the innocent spouse has no action left of any kind that can be taken?
What man can put asunder, or separate (Chorizo), is the marriage relationship of living together as husband and wife. Since God has joined together the two who made their vows to each other to so live, God prohibits them from separating themselves from that one-flesh relationship (Matt. 19:6), except for fornication (vs.. 9). Either spouse certainly is able to deny his vows and break the physical relationship, whether God approves of it or not. Now, who says that there is some other physical, one-flesh relationship that can be put asunder, that give these objectors an occasion to shout: "There is nothing else to put asunder"? There is no more physical, one-flesh relationship to put asunder, but there certainly is something else that can be done as relates to fornication when it occurs!
These brethren are playing with words! "There is nothing left to put asunder," they tell us. Well, there certainly is no more marriage relationship left to put asunder, after one of the spouses has put asunder (separation) the one and only marriage relationship that he had with his mate. Is anyone claiming that there are two or more physical marriage relationships, that another sundering of such could be effected? Of course not! So, letís leave that matter.
What about the accompanying claim of "nothing left to be done?" Well, this is an entirely different matter! We ask again: Nothing left to be done by whom and about what and for what reason? Putting asunder a marriage relationship, and doing something else, are two different considerations!
If an ungodly spouse puts asunder the marriage relationship, is there anything else that he can do? Why, of course! For example, he can go and remarry and thus commit adultery. Is that putting something else asunder? No. Is it doing something else. Yes.
If the ungodly spouse puts asunder the marriage relationship, is there another physical marriage relationship that the innocent mate can put asunder? No. Is there anything else that can be done by the innocent mate? Yes, the innocent mate, upon the occurrence of fornication by the ungodly spouse, can certainly do something. He can exercise his God-given right to repudiate the fornicator by renouncing his vows made to him. Upon this action, God looses the innocent one from his vows made to the guilty spouse, thus giving the innocent one permission to remarry without committing adultery.
It is a subtle tactic, but brethren are employing it to promote a false position. Herein is the sophistry of their argument: they are equating "nothing to put asunder" with "nothing else that can be done". Of course nothing else can be done as respects the sundered marriage relationship; that is axiomatic. But the innocent spouse has the right to do something about a fornicator-mate! Jesus gives the innocent spouse the right to repudiate the guilty mate and to remarry (Matt. 19:9a). Jesus does not require an innocent spouse to remain bound for life to a fornicator-mate. But some of our brethren do require this. They argue that the innocent spouse cannot do what Jesus said he could do.
Those using the argument, as stated in general in the title of this article, confuse terms, and brethren who donít think for themselves are deceived by the oft-repeated argument. Think, brethren!
-- Bill H. Reeves