Part I: MDR: Jesus’ Teachings

Editor’s Note

Discourse markers are italicized. I have not modified Robert’s remarks for content, but have endeavored to fix many punctuation markers, italicized texts, and/or other such marks that did not translate over the e-mails. I would also encourage everyone to first read the article that precipitated this discussion by clicking here.

MDR- Jesus’ Teachings (Robert Waters)

[Editor’s note: Phillip Pulliam posted the article I had written to The Christian Examiner on Mars-List and Robert began his series of responses below by responding to Phillip.]–>Robert Waters to Phillip Pulliam and the list:

Phillip wrote:

I firmly believe that in Jesus’ short time on this earth, he lived and died as a Hebrew, but at the same time, he also proclaimed the gospel of the NT, corrected the notions of the spiritual leaders of His day and clarified what the law of Moses really meant. I have pasted in an essay below…” [Written by Ethan Lonhery [sic] r.w.]

Hope this clarifies the situation on MDR and other current issues.

Robert then said:

Phillip, what you wrote above I have no problem with. However, I do have a problem with Ethan’s efforts because he does not address the real issue and make a false conclusion. The real issue is NOT: Did Jesus teach the gospel. He did. It was authorized as it was prophesied. What he did not do was to teach things that were contradictory to the Law under which he lived and was obligated to obey. And of course he did obey that Law perfectly. Ethan would have the reader believe that Jesus changed the Law on MDR at the point that he addressed the Jews on “MDR”. That is error because the only way it could be true is if Jesus broke the Law, which would be transgression. He did not change the Law from “divorced persons can marry” to “divorced persons cannot marry”. That assertion has God changing his law on who can have a marriage TWICE: You can’t divorce, You CAN divorce, You CAN’T divorce. Brethren, if “God is not the author of confusion”, then who is?

Ethan concludes by saying:

The Lord has spoken; let us hear Him.

Robert then continued:

Phillip, indeed the Lord has spoken, but TO WHOM was he speaking, and UNDER WHAT COVENANT were those words spoken? These are fundimental [sic] hermeneutical rules that Ethan violates with his thinking on MDR and his conclusion.

Phillip wrote:

Hope this clarifies the situation on MDR and other current issues.

Robert then responded:

Phillip, some have already concluded that Jesus contradicted the Law and that is the way they justify misusing His teaching and then twisting Paul’s to confirm to it. This was no new argument made by Ethan and the only way to see this issue clearly is to follow proper hermeneutics, which demands that Ethan’s thinking be rejected. It is a bucker [sic] full of holes.

If anyone wants to see the arguments answered that Ethan made to try to show that Jesus did contradict the Law, go to the Religious Debate list. It is not posted there yet, but you can go to YahooGroups and read it, or upon request I will send you a copy. When the debate is finished it will be posted to the Religious Debates list. I think Brian Galloway is late now, in posting the final installment on the issue discussed in this post. The next debate, unless he backs out, is in regards to the difference in “put away” and “divorce”.

Editor’s note: The debate in question may be accessed here.

MDR- Jesus’ Teachings (Ethan R. Longhenry)

[Editor’s note: This was the e-mail I composed in response to the praise of many persons on Mars-List regarding my article and also to speak somewhat on Robert Waters’ remarks seen above and other general comments made.]

I would like to thank everyone for their encouragement regarding the article I wrote. If you guys keep it up, I may develop a complex here. 🙂

And I must admit that my “insight” is less prophetic than it is based on real experience. 🙂 This ground I have covered before with Dan Billingsly on Religious Debates and was thoroughly unimpressed with his complete lack of substantive argument. He, along with others on this list, seem to be so perpetually fixated on their interpretations of
Matthew 5:7-19 and Matthew 7:12 that they completely miss the obviously contrasting statements peppered throughout Matthew 5. No one yet has provided any form of satisfactory answer as to why the statements Jesus makes in Matthew 5:22, 34-37, and 39-45 are completely parallel with statements made in the agreed upon New Testament (Romans, James, among others), yet no such parallel exists within the Old.

What Robert Waters is teaching is simply a modified form of the Billingsly doctrine, and it still holds no water. There is no condemnation for a man who does not divorce his wife in either the Old or the New Testament;* there is no condemnation if a man desires to put away his wife if she has committed sexual immorality and then he marries another in either Testament*. Now, what if a man simply divorced his wife for burning his toast? According to Deuteronomy 24:1-4 he would be justified; but Jesus in Matthew 5:31-32 and Matthew 19:1-9 teaches the Gospel of the Kingdom, returning the marital bond to one man one woman as long as they both shall live (save for sexual immorality) as it was in the Garden. If a Jew came up to Jesus who had divorced his wife for such a reason, would Jesus have condemned him by the Law? By no means! He recognizes what the Law says and what the Law allows. But He points to a higher way and would establish that God hates divorce and that such a concession– and a concession it truly was– will soon fade away
completely, and the terms of marriage would return without question and without concession to its former state, and finally, that those who will follow the path to the Kingdom of Heaven will already abide by God’s original intent for marriage.

And finally, I would like to make a “big picture” comment. I am a “big picture” type of person and I generally find arguments about iotas to be less helpful and far less profitable when they cause people to lose sight of the big picture. I am still astounded at how people who are so conservative (I say that just for you, Phil G.) [an aside, mostly in jest, to an individual on Mars-List who would constantly berate on those who would use terms like “liberal and “conservative”– ed.] in all other issues are completely willing to throw out all the rules and all the clear statements from both Testaments about God’s intention for marriage to either gratify their lusts or to justify their compassion. If you despise the “traditional views” on MDR, please provide me the following:

A Scripture which shows God being pleased with divorce.

Please. Such an event would demonstrate clearly how God really doesn’t have too many problems with divorce and it will allow your doctrines to go down more easily.

The problem is that such a Scripture does not exist.

Malachi 2:16

“For I hate putting away,” saith Jehovah, the God of Israel, “and him that covereth his garment with violence, saith Jehovah of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.”

Matthew 19:3-8

And there came unto him Pharisees, trying him, and saying, “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?”
And he answered and said, “Have ye not read, that ‘he who made them from the beginning made them male and female’, and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh?’ So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
They say unto him, “Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put her away?”
He saith unto them, “Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it hath not been so.”

Matthew 19:10-12

The disciples say unto him, “If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry.”
But he said unto them, “Not all men can receive this saying, but they to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs, that were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs, that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.”

I still fail to see how anyone can read these passages and come away with any sort of feeling that God likes divorce at all. God hates divorce. God even hates divorce when He has given a concession that it can occur, since the cause for the divorce was sin. Divorce always involves sin in some way; why do people want to reason that God hates sin yet somehow divorce is not as bad? Someone please tell me: how can God hate sin but like divorce?

I fear that too many brethren read Matthew 19:11-12 and do not like what they see, and so they attempt to put on the facade of faithful Christianity but will not make the sacrifice of sex to attain heaven. How many are more than satisfied with the appearance of righteousness than actually attaining righteousness itself? Do these people on
constant MDR tangents– and MDR always seems to be a pet issue, and persons on this list are no exception– have any right to say to God, “Well, I’ll be faithful, but I can’t be a eunuch for Heaven since that’s what it takes?” Will the momentary physical pleasure of the marital bond be worth eternity in hell for adultery? And please tell me how these positions on MDR and the lifestyles they engender are not the epitome of Pharisaism?

I’ll stop ranting now. If anyone is interested in the debate mentioned above between myself and Dan Billingsly, it is available through Debates or by visiting Religious Debates.

And now, the footnote:
*–under the assumption, of course, that the marriage in question was legitimate.

And then…

So ended the first round of discussions between myself and Robert Waters: although we did not speak directly to one another this material was under question for the rest of the discussion. To continue with the next portion of the discussion, please click here, otherwise click here to return to the introductory page to this discussion.

Leave a Reply