Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1963
NUMBER 20, PAGE 1,11a

A Review Of "Marriage, Divorce, And Remarriage" - (No 3)

Gene Frost

Promotes Evil

The latter half of the tract, "Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage," by brother Lloyd Moyer, is devoted to the application of his theory with some indictments levied against all who deny the theory. Toward the close of the tract we read this statement:

"It is my prayer that the contents of this little paper will discourage all from committing the sins of fornication and adultery."

In review of the position taken this desire can hardly be realized. How can one hope that adultery will be discouraged when our young men are taught that when they desire to have carnal knowledge of a woman, it is "honorable" to deceive her through marriage which need not be permanent? When he lusts after another woman, he need not seduce her, just divorce his wife and marry her. On and on until he decides to settle down with one. I deny that any such conduct is "honorable"! When a man seduces a maiden, she knows that she is doing wrong. But when she enters marriage, accepting the relationship as holy and permanent, not realizing that she is surrendering her body to the lustful pleasures of a moral reprobate who will honor the marriage only so long as he finds pleasure in her, she is deceived and becomes involved with a man with whom she would not had he been honest. Had he told her all he wanted was her body, she would not have been deceived. But when he disguises his lusts with a "marriage vow," she is deceived. And brother Moyer calls marriage where the reason for it is "desire" (the same as with the seducer according to his illustration: a desire to have the young lady) an honorable thing! Such a man is more dishonorable than the seducer! At least the seducer sailed under his true colors. Neither man is honorable!

Will brother Moyer's tract discourage adultery where this theory is taught? "Young men, when you see a woman you desire to have, do the 'honorable thing'; don't seduce her, marry her, and marry every woman you so lust after. The marriages are not permanent." This is the message the theory speaks.

We rather say, "Young men, crucify the evil desires. And when you marry, let it not be for lust. Select the young lady with whom you will spend your life. Marry her for a person, a companion whom you respect, and not a thing to satisfy lust. Your marriage is permanent and divorce for an unscriptural cause will be a rejection on your part of the marital relationship: you must either be reconciled or remain single." (Col. 3:3, Matt. 19:9, 1 Cor. 7:11) When persons enter marriage knowing that it cannot be dissolved at their will, it will encourage effort to make the marriage successful.

Forgiveness Of Sins

"I believe that BOTH men" — the seducer and the deceiver — "could obey the gospel and be cleansed by the blood of Christ." Both would have to repent of past sins of fornication (illicit sexual intercourse). One lived in fornication outside marriage and one lived in an adulterous marriage. In repentance both men would have to change their minds (will) concerning these sins, "heartily to amend with abhorrence" the past sins. (Thayer's Lexicon, page 405) The seducer would have to quit committing fornication, and the deceiver would have to quit committing adultery (even in "marriage"). (Rom. 7:1-3) When the penitent men are then baptized into Christ, His blood cleanses them both. But it does not license the seducer to keep on seducing nor the deceiver to continue in adultery.

Brother Moyer reasons that in a second marriage (where adultery is committed), repentance would not require a cessation of sexual intercourse. He claims that adultery "defiled his first marriage; causing the marriage to be dissolved..." Therefore his "'unholy state' is NOT because of his cohabiting with his wife ...." but notice that this situation is described in Rom. 7:1-3. A woman is "married" to a second man and in such a state she acts the adulteress. Can she repent and not cease committing adultery? Will baptism then (without repentance) allow her to continue in this state? No, the adulterer must cease adultery. (Col. 3:5-8, 1 Cor. 8:9-11, Rev. 9:20-21, etc.)

Notice that admittedly the second marriage was unholy before and during the first sexual act — it was an unholy state. But by committing adultery the state ceased to be unholy and became holy! Who can believe it!

Necessitates Adultery In lamenting the fate of the man who destroys his marital privileges, brother Moyer seeks to restore this privilege by his theory. In so doing, he makes Paul advocate adultery in such instances. In the case of divorce and remarriage, the theory states that the first intercourse is adultery. But because the man unlawfully divorced might "burn with passion" he must remarry, we are told, and Paul is quoted: "Let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn." (1 Cor. 7:9) To correct the situation where a man burns with desire, we are told that Paul advocates that he commit the one adulterous act and be remarried. "Do you mean that this theory advocates sinning in order to correct the situation in which a man has involved himself through unscriptural divorce? Does it advocate sin as a corrective measure?" Answer:

"Sometimes these situations cannot be corrected without committing more sins. So it is with these non-ideal marriages." — Lloyd Moyer.

So we are told that if a man involved in a situation where he will burn with passion, he is to sin (commit adultery in an unscriptural marriage) in order to find gratification. For example, if a man marries — vows his faithfulness in sickness or health, for richer or poorer, etc. — and his wife becomes ill so that he is denied sexual gratification, rather than to "burn with passion" he ought to divorce her and marry again, correct the situation by sinning, for after all, it is better to commit adultery once in marriage than to burn!! Who can believe it? Does brother Moyer believe that this theory will discourage adultery?

Paul teaches no such corrupt doctrine. Paul is not addressing the divorced person. "I say to the unmarried and widows...." In verses 3-5 he speaks to those married. In verses 8-9 he speaks to the unmarried and widows, those who have the right to contract marriage. In verses 10-11 he speaks to the married who depart from their mates: his advice is not to commit adultery in a new marriage, but "remain unmarried, or be reconciled." If they are not reconciled, they are to remain unmarried.

Conclusion Other observations might be made, and indictments against this theory might be levied. However, we forego further study at this time. We believe that the theory has been sufficiently refuted so that all may recognize the fallacies within it, even by those who advocate it, so that we may hope that further discussion will not be necessary. To this end we pray. There is enough worldliness confronting the church without having theories taught from within that can do nothing more than encourage violation of God's will concerning the relation of the sexes.

For those who have destroyed their marital privileges we have only the deepest regrets and compassion. But our feelings cannot set aside God's law and we dare not try. Yes, "the way of the transgressor is hard."

Brethren, let us ever hold high the moral standard of our God And though the world may scoff and try to pull it down, let us not be tempted to affect a compromise. We cannot. "Let God be true, but every man a liar."

— 1900 Jenny Lind Avenue, Fort Smith, Ark.