Those who hold the traditional view on divorce and remarriage infer and assume many things about the scriptures. One thing that they assume is that what’s fair for the goose is fair for the gander. While they would not think of allowing Mt. 5:32a to modify Mt. 5:32b, they nevertheless let Mt. 5:32a modify I Cor. 7:39 and Mark 10:12.
Traditionalists (for lack of a better word–sorry) say that Mt. 5:32b stands alone, separate and apart from Mt. 5:32a. But then when it comes to Mark 10:12 they assume that the exception of Mt. 5:32a applies because they know it applies to a husband.
Think about that for a minute. A husband and wife are married and the husband gets freed, unbound, and unmarried because he divorces his wife for fornication. But the wife remains bound or married, or whatever we want to call it. We turn a marriage between a husband and wife into some freaky thing that nobody ever heard of–where a woman is married to a man who is not married to her. And we are okay with that because we absolutely, positively cannot allow Mt. 5:32a to modify Mt. 5:32b, no matter how ridiculous the ramifications may be.
But if a man in general has a right or a privilege, we automatically assume a woman has the same right or privilege–even though we know that not all privileges and rights given to men by God are also given to women. And what is our reasoning? Well, it is an emotional one, of course–it is just not fair otherwise. (Of course, if a non-traditionalist tried to make an argument based on fairness, he would be told that God’s ways are not man’s ways and we cannot base our doctrine on our emotions.)
Let’s look at what the above-mentioned verses say (King James Version) and then look at how we interpret them (Church of Christ Version).
Matthew 5:32 (KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 5:32 (COCV) But (I’m changing the Law of Moses here–pay attention) I (new authority–my time has come; forget everything the Law says, even though I just told you not to break the Law thirteen verses back) say unto you (not really you because you are under the Law of Moses, but people coming after you), That whosoever (man or woman) shall put away his wife (or husband; and, well, not truly put away, just whoever attempts to put him or her away), saving for the cause of fornication (whatever that is), causeth her (or him) to commit adultery (when he or she remarries, which he or she will–well, okay, fake remarries): and whosoever (except her ex-husband or his ex-wife who tried to put her or him away, or someone who is put away but countersues to become both the putter away and the put away) shall marry (not truly marry) her (or him; any her or him, not the her I was just talking about; this part of the sentence cannot be modified by the first part–later when I talk it can, and it can modify Paul’s words even though he doesn’t repeat it, but this part of the sentence must stand alone) that is divorced (truly divorced and fake divorced, again unless he or she counter-sued because of fornication, whatever that is) committeth adultery (forever and ever, amen).
Mark 10:12 (KJV) And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
Mark 10: 12 (COCV) And if a woman (cannot be a man this time) shall put away (not truly put away, just fake put away) her husband, and be married (not truly married, just fake married) to another, she committeth adultery (forever and ever amen; and remember that modification of Mt. 5:32a that I wouldn’t let you use in Mt. 5:32b? well, it must be thrown in here because what’s fair or the goose is fair for the gander).
1 Corinthians 7:39 (KJV) The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:39 (COCV) The wife (or husband; not really the wife or husband but a woman or man who is divorced from her husband or his wife and is somehow still married, bound, or maybe he or she is “dead”–not sure) is bound (some mystical thing nobody really understands but it’s definitely not marriage–I don’t think) by the law (umm, you can argue about what that means) as long as her husband (or wife; you know, the man or woman who divorced her or him and married somebody else twenty-five years ago) liveth (oh! throw in Mt. 5:32b here–I guess it’s as good a place to put it as any); but if her husband (or wife; same man or woman as above who has a new life with five children from his or her second marriage) be dead (really dead or “dead,” as in divorced for fornication–you know, Mt. 5:32a), she (or he) is at liberty to be married (truly married) to whom she (or he) will (except someone who is a put-away unless he was also a putter-way); only in the Lord (mercy, let’s not even get started on what that means).
Traditionalists infer, assume, use emotional arguments, and move scriptures around at their pleasure, proclaiming themselves to be the defenders and guardians of the truth and condemning anyone else who might infer or assume anything at all. And usually when they are in a discussion with a non-traditionalist they talk about how they soundly defeated his arguments many years earlier—by their inferences, assumptions, emotional arguments, and manipulation of scriptures, of course. What is worse, they cast people out of the church, malign their own brothers and sisters, judge another man’s servant, and make themselves and their own opinions on par with God and His Word, all while saying their only motive is love for the brethren and concern for the souls of all men.
I do not mean to judge or belittle anyone’s beliefs. I do understand that we can all come to the same scripture and put in our own thoughts and background beliefs and teachings of men, deciding from all that what we understand God to be saying to us. But we need to accept that our understanding is not necessarily the understanding of every honest student of the Bible, and our understanding is also not necessarily the understanding of God. We should present our arguments as best we can and allow others to do the same, recognizing that good and faithful men and women of God have differing views on many Biblical topics. God is able to make His servant stand, and He is the final judge of all men.