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By Herb Evans

This article is in two parts. The first discusses divorce itself. The second discusses divorce as it relates to a divorced preacher. It is our hope that Christians will not merely rely or study what someone says but what the scripture says about the subject. This is a long article and by no means covers every facet of the issue. Still, there is enough here to provoke one's own private study and also to realize that the pontifications, platitudes, and contentions of the Divorce Police are not the last word on the issue. In fact, one will soon realize how the scriptures can be forced to produce Papist-like views. Since we are introducing some interesting Hebraisms into the discus- sion, we want to be clear that we are King James Only and are in no way advocating changing the King James Bible's English.


When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out (SHALACH) of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife. And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out (SHALACH) of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife; Her former husband, which sent her away (SHALACH), may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.    -- Deut. 24:1-4

The Old Testament uses an interesting Hebraism for divorce, which in- volves the word SHALACH. The idea of a putting away, a sending away (Gen 21:14), a letting LOOSE (Gen. 49:21; Lev 14:7), a letting go (Ex. 5:2), a driving out (Ex 24:28), and a putting out (Num. 5:2) is inherent in the word. The first occurrence of the word used for  divorce is found in Gen 21:14, where Abraham divorces his second wife, Hagar the concubine. More interesting is the use of the word in a situation in which an Israelite is allowed to take an attractive, captive, slave girl home to keep her for a month, go into her, have her as his wife, find disfavor in her and SHALACH her or let her go, as long as he did not resell her (Deut 21:11-14). Another interesting situation is where a fellow marries the girl and he is not to SHALACH her or put her away for life, but if the tokens of her virginity, the bloody bed sheets, are not produced (when he accuses her of not being a virgin), she is really shellacked by ston- ing (Deut. 22:19-21). Moses employed the word, while laying down the rules for divorce. God is seen divorcing Israel for ADULTERY and playing the HARLOT, legitimate grounds for divorce in any Testament (Isa. 50:1; Jer. 3:1,8).


Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away (APOLUO) privily.    -- Matt. 1:19

It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away (APOLUO) his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement (APOSTASION - something separative, i.e., apostasy): . . . But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away (APOLUO) his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced (APOLUO) committeth adultery.    --Matt. 5:31,32

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away (APOLUO) his wife for EVERY CAUSE? . . . They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing (BIBLION) of divorcement (APOSTASION - something separative, i.e., apostasy), and to put her  away (APOLUO)? -- Matt.19:3,7

. . . Whosoever shall put away (APOLUO) his wife, except it be for fornica- tion, and marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away (APOLUO) doth commit adultery.- Matt. 19:9 (Mark 10:2,4,11,12; Luke 16:18)

Divorce in the O.T. and` N.T. seems to be in two parts, the act of divorce or putting away and the official bill or writing of Divorcement. The Old Testament Hebraisms are carried over into the New Testament into the Greek word APOLUO and the English and are used by the Lord Jesus for divorce. APOLUO is from APO (OFF OR AWAY) and LUO (LOOSE). There is not anything that is magical about the Greek Hebrew, or English words for the act of divorce, for they are all very common everyday usage words, LOOSE being one of the synonyms in each

language. The usage of APOLUO can be found as: Put away (Eph. 4:31), sent away (matt 15:39), LOOSED (Luke 13:12), release (Matt. 27:15), let go (Acts 4:23), dismissed (Acts 19:41).


Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed (LUO). Art thou loosed (LUSIS) from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned . . .  -- 1 Cor. 7:27,28

For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is LOOSED (KARTEGEO) from the law of her husband.    -- Rom. 7:2

The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her hus- band be dead, she is at liberty (eleutheroo - a liberty that is exempt from obli- gation or liability) to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. -- 1 Cor. 7:39

LUSIS is from LUO; a loosening, i.e. (spec.) divorce:-to be loosed (Strong's), as LUO means to "loosen" (lit.. or fig.): - break(up), destroy, dissolve, (un)loose. melt, put off(Strong's). These words are used through the N.T. as a LOOSING  (Rev. 9:14). So, is 1 Cor. 7:27 referring to "divorce" or another kind of loosing?

The Divorce Police tell us this  refers to the death dissolving "loosing" of Romans 7:2, regarding the marriage bond of Romans 7:2 and 1 Cor. 7:39. The only problem with that is that Rom.7:2 is talking about being loosed from the law and 1 Cor. 7:2 is talking about being loosed from a wife. Romans 7:2 uses a legal word that is in regard to nullification of that law (Rom. 3:3 - none effect), (Rom. 3:31 - make void), (1 Cor. 13:10 - done away). The loosing in Romans 7:2 is a legal loosing from the law (not the husband) that is accom- plished by another indirectly. The loosing in 1 Cor. 7:39 is a loosing that releases one from obligation or liability that is not deliberate. The loosing in 1 Cor. 7:27 is a deliberate loosing from the wife, something the man has initiated.

To test the Divorce Police theory, we have interposed their view into the passage in question as well as our view for comparison:

Art thou married unto a wife? seek not to have her killed or die to be loosed. Art thou loosed by death from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned . . .- 1 Cor.7:28 (Divorce Police Version)

Art thou married unto a wife? seek not to be divorced. Art thou divorced from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned... -- 1 Cor. 7:28  (Herb Evans Version)

Divorce Police jump through a number of hoops to get around this passage. Some times, they try to obscure the passage with the contexted virgins and widows, which have nothing to do with this passage. Then they try to overemphasize the legal loosings from the law in other passages. The last resort that I heard was trying to make the passage be a non-divorce separation of two mar- ried folks due to the instructions in the chapter. Yet, we have seen no success- ful exegesis of the verse itself, regarding the binding AND THE LOOSING in the verse, which could not apply to virgins, widows, or merely separated folks. One Divorce Police interpretation wanted the first half of the verse to be an instruction to not seek to DISSOLVE the MARRIAGE or the bond, but got the hiccups, when we pointed out the implication to the last half of the verse was, Is your marriage DISSOLVED, seek not a wife. It is talking about DIVORCE, plain and simple. Not only is the Divorce Police's definition of LOOSING in question but also their definition of being BOUND. They are unable to exegete the passage, because of their erroneous definitions and trying to have it both ways.


Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.    -- 1 Cor. 7:2

But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. -- 1Cor. 7:9

The Divorce Police often put yokes around the necks of those less fortu- nate, which they are unable to bear. Burdens that they are unwilling to lift with one of their fingers. It may be that it is not on purpose, but it is the end result that hurts already injured folks.

Divorce Police tell us that these instructions are to single folks only, so let us suppose that they are. The rationale' here is that fornication can be prevented by marriage. Is such a temptation to commit fornication any less for a divorced man, who has had the experience of the marriage bed than the single man who has not? What recourse does the divorced man have to avoid fornication, and if there is such a recourse, why was it not advised for the single man? Is it better to continually commit adultery in one's heart than to commit adultery by marriage? (as say the divorce police even if fornication is involved with the fellow's ex-wife)

If it is possible for single people not to be able to contain unless married, who have not experienced the marriage bed, why are divorced folks expected to contain without marriage? If it is better for single people to marry than to burn, why is it not better for divorced people to marry than to burn?


And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife (FOR EVERY CAUSE WAS THE QUESTION), except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. -- Matt. 19:9

The Divorce Police deal mostly in pontification or this is so because I tell you so. They are unable to develop a scriptural rationale' or reasoning in their proof-texts. If there is a point to be made for them, it is here. For how does one explain a man getting a divorce and then after the divorce be charged with adultery by marrying as well as the woman being charged with adultery for mar- rying AFTER the divorce? The explanation lies in the question that Jesus was asked and the exception that Jesus gave. Remember that the Pharisees wanted to know if adultery was permissible for every reason, and Jesus responded with the only reason, "fornication." So, how is this the answer? Jesus was saying that divorce and remarriage for everything but fornication was adultery. Natu- rally, if the right reason, fornication, provoked the divorce, the subsequent marriage was not considered adultery, because the marriage was already adulter- ous. In the case of a man getting a divorce for burning his toast, the marriage was not broken until the adultery or fornication was committed. In these cases, for the wrong reason, it was the second marriage that was the adultery. Still, the Divorce Police must use the same adultery exemption as we do for the man, who in their estimation has a legitimate reason for divorce, i.e. accord- ing to their view of what fornication really is as follows.

Divorce Police have invented a curious doctrine to buttress their views divorce for any reason, in order to get around (with a Corban excuse) the Matt. 19:9 exception that the Saviour allowed, namely, fornication. It goes something like this; if a man like Joseph is espoused to a woman and finds out that she has been with another man, he can divorce her, for she has violated her betro- thal (divorce due to her violation of the unconsummated marriage is allowed, so if she can fool him until consummation, she is in for life). Well, we are puzzled at how a female betrothal violator can commit adultery with another that she marries, if the first marriage was not consummated in which she was divorced for this limited, betrothal fornication.

We do not have Gentile betrothals today, therefore they say that there is now no reason nor excuse for divorce (even though the passage does not say Jewish fornication but says whosoever fornication). It seems to us that if the fornication only applied to the Jew, the "adultery" also should only apply to the Jew and not the divorced Gentile. Except for being a pontificated pat ans- wer, there is no validity or credibility to such a limited betrothal fornication theory. It must be relegated to the doctrine by innuendo or inference category.


Moreover he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit FORNICATION, and compelled Judah thereto. -- 2 Chr. 21:11

But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit FOR- NICATION.    -- Rev. 2:14

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to FORNICATION, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.    -- Jude 1:7

And I gave her space to repent of her FORNICATION; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit ADULTERY with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.    -- Rev. 2:21-22

And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab . . . And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand. -- Num. 25:9

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain  from FORNICATION . . . -- 1 Th. 4:3,4

Neither let us commit FORNICATION, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.    -- 1 Cor. 10:8

It is reported commonly that there is FORNICATION among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles,that one should have his father's wife.    -- 1 Cor. 5:1

We shall not bother to cite Strong's or Webster or anyone else regarding the definition of this word, which most surely would bear us out, but we are more than comfortable with the way that the word is used in scripture.

It would be quite a stretch, indeed, to advocate that all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Sodom, Gomorrha, Israel, the twenty three thousand, the twenty four thousand, or the "everyone," who Paul instructs to abstain from fornication in 1 Thessalonians, were either single, betrothed (or both) to have committed or might commit fornication. This betrothal fornication is fantasy land inter- pretation. The many instructions in scripture (Acts 15:20,29; 21:25) to abstain from fornication or sexual sin with the absence of a reference to adultery is evidence that fornication is a more general word covering every sexual sin or impropriety, while adultery is a more specific word for such sins. But some- one may say, why then, does Gal. 5:19 mention BOTH adultery and fornication as works of the flesh? Probably for the same reason that BOTH fornication and uncleanness are mention together in Eph. 5:23 and Col. 3:5. Certainly, the wife of the man's father in 1 Corinthians 5:1 was neither single nor betrothed. And what  of the Jezebel of revelation who committed both fornication and adultery. Was she single, married, or betrothed? Let us consider some implications regarding fornication being limited to a betrothal violation or only a sin of the single person.

1.      Are we to not have company with only single or betrothed fornicators? (1 Cor. 5:9,10; 6:9

2.      Are we not to have company with only single male fornicators? Male betrothed fornicators? (1 Cor. 5:11)

3.      Was Esau, the fornicator, betrothed?  (Heb. 12:16)

4.      How does betrothed fornication and marital status oriented fornication proceed out of the heart? (Mark 7:21)

5.      Do only married persons commit adultery in their hearts? (Matt. 5:28)

6.      Were all the fornicators of Sodom and Gomorrha all single or betrothed? (Jude 7)

7.      Were all the members of the church Thessalonican church all single or betrothed to be warned of fornication? (1 Thess. 4:3)

8.      Were all the members of the church of Colosse single or betrothed to be warned of fornication? (Col. 3:5)

9.      Were all the members of the Ephesian church single or betrothed to be warned of fornication? (Eph. 5:3)

10.     Were all 23,000 that fell in one day single or betrothed fornicators? (1 Cor. 10:8)

11.     Were all 24,000 fornicators, which died in the plague, single or betrothed fornicators? (Num. 25:9)

12.     Is fornication the only sin against one's own body. Does it include adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and etc.? Or just the betrothal fornication?

13.     Is fornication having your father's wife? (1 Cor. 5:1)

14.     Are we not to eat with only single or betrothed fornicators? (1 Cor. 5:11)

15.     Are only single and betrothed fornicators worthy of death? (Rom. 1:29,32)

16.     Were the Gentiles, who were commanded to abstain from fornication all single or betrothed? (Acts 15:20,29)

17.     If Jewish husbands were allowed to divorce their espoused wives if they discovered that they had been promiscuous, did this also hold true after the marriage was consummated? Or just before consummation? Why does it say "whosoever" in Matt. 19:9?

18.     If the espoused marriage may be broken by divorce before consumma- tion, how does the betrothed woman commit adultery with another, if she marries another, while being a single unconsummated fornicator? If the marriage is consummated and the husband discovers she has violated her betrothal, why is this not fornication? If she is then divorced, does she commit adultery with another husband upon marriage?

19.     Were all the inhabitants of Judah single or betrothed fornicators? (2 Chron. 21:11)

20.     If Israel was God's wife, how could she be married and commit fornication? (Ezek. 16:26-29)

21.     Was the fornicating adulteress of Rev. 2:21,22 single, married, or betrothed?

                               DIVORCE POLICE - THE DISQUALIFIERS

This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop,he desireth a  good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife . . . 1 Tim 3:1,2

A New Testament pastor is called of God, a call that is preceded by a strong desire, often so intense that the man of God cannot do anything but preach to have any satisfaction in his soul. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance, therefore one should tread lightly, when attempting to disqualify a man of God.

Man need not accept/reject a man's calling, he may approve/disapprove a man's calling, and he may refrain from endorsing or supporting a man's calling. A church may go beyond that and dismiss a man from their pastorate or receive a man into their pastorate. This is what the ordination process is all about.  But a self appointed pope or even a church may not disqualify a preacher  (for any reason) from preaching somewhere else, after dismissing him. They may disfellowship him, withdraw support from him, refuse to en- dorse  him, mark him, put the word out on him but never forbid him from preaching nor disqualify him from the churches at large, a Popish practice.

Even wicked Baalam was not disqualified from his prophet-ship by anyone, but the Lord took care of the problem by killing him. Miriam tried to disqualify Moses but ends up being gulped up by the earth. Judas, who was guilty of filthy  lucre and not even saved, was not disqualified by Jesus. The apostles tried to  disqualify others because they did not follow with them but were rebuked by the Lord. The Pharisees even tried to disqualify Jesus. Still, the Sanhedrin  Syndrome, however, is yet among us, along with its self appointed papal pronouncements to the churches at large. If the Divorce Police are able to disqualify a man from the ministry, it implies that they are a higher authority, a danger far greater than divorce and remarriage.


. . . vigilant, sober, of good behavior, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not  given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection  with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall  he  take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest  being lifted up with pride he fall  into the condemnation of the  devil. Moreover he must have a good report of  them which are with- out; lest  he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.   -- 1 Tim. 3:7

The divorce police, determined to disqualify a man from being a pastor, who has been married, divorced, and remarried (despite whether the verse means divorce or polygamy), force the term "husband of one wife" to be a disqualifi- cation for the divorced pastor. Reluctantly, they make the other instructions disqualifications in order to appear consistent, but qualify them by saying that they  are fixable and repentable, while divorce is not. Well, suppose a man murdered a person before being saved, just like a man, who had been divorced before being saved? Would that be fixable? No? Well, Paul, Moses, David, and Solomon had no business preaching or writing scripture. Still, the Divorce Police are unable to tell us how often violations of these so-called "non-divorce related" qualifications have to be violated before a man is disqualified for those reasons. Obviously, young men are NOVICES in the very beginning of their  ministries. This of course is not a sin, so should we disqualify them immediately?

The younger preacher may not be "apt to teach" upon entering the ministry; so, should he be immediately disqualified from the ministry?  Billy Sunday's son was picked up drunk and made the headlines, so was Billy Sunday dis- qualified at  that point? If preachers were disqualified for not being patient, hospitable, and without pride, 95% of our Independent Baptist pulpits would be emptied.  What is supposed to be, the ideal, is not necessarily the thing, which always is.


These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly: But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou OUGHTEST to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth. -- 1 Tim. 3:14,15

First Timothy 3 was not written as absolute qualifications nor AUTO- MATIC DISQUALIFICATIONS of preachers for its violations. It  was written as instructions and/or guidelines for a pastor of the house of God, the church, to KNOW HOW one OUGHT to BEHAVE. But the Divorce Police will  counter that the words "MUST BE" imply qualifications and disqualifications. Well, the context of chapter 3 more than implies that these behavioral "MUST BE" instructions OUGHTEST to be done. When absolute qualification is meant, much stronger language is used in scripture as we shall see. These instructions had nothing to do with past behavior, they were instructions in the now and now. What mattered was if the preacher was  the husband of one wife NOW, whatever the term means, as do the  remainder of the instructions.

It does not matter to the Divorce Police that Deut. 24:1,2 calls the divorced man a former husband after the divorce. The Divorce Police have  some sort of gymnastics for the word "former," but let them try to apply them to  1 Peter 1:14  "former lusts" and "former conversation" (Eph. 4:22). And it  does not  matter  to them that the wife "MAY MARRY" someone else after  being  kicked out and divorced. The only thing that matters to Divorce Police is that they can find a scripture that binds a woman  to the husband until death. Unfortunately, they only want part of the  law and not the same law's  exception - DIVORCE! (as found in Deut. 24).


A bishop then must be  . . . the husband of one wife . . . 1 Tim 3:1,2

Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.The woman answered and said, I have NO husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast WELL SAID, I have NO husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou TRULY. The woman saith  unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. -- John 4:16-19

Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, hav- ing been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints'  feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently follow- ed  every  good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun  to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, be- cause  they  have cast off their first faith. And withal they learn to be idle, wandering  about from house to house; and not only idle,but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occa- sion  to the adversary to  speak reproachfully.    -- 1 Tim. 5:9-14

Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman  to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man,but to be in silence. -- 1 Tim. 2:11-12

The Divorce Police argue in a circle by assuming that a divorced man is still married to his previous wife or wives. Then they proceed to 1 Tim 3:2 and try to prove that the husband of one wife means divorce and remarriage leaving the man with more than one wife, a symbolic Polygamist. Why not understand the passage to be referring to polygamy in the first place, practicing polygamy.

The Divorce Police insist that 1 Timothy 1:2 is talking about divorce, al- though the passage is in the present tense not the past tense, "must BE . . . the husband of one wife" and not "must have been the husband of one wife." Determined to get their way in the matter, some Divorce Police insist the man is still married to the first wife after the divorce.

Anticipating their opponent's use of John 4:16-19, regarding the woman at the well, some take the offense massaging and manipulating and weasel wording this passage to mean that she still has 5 husbands, although she said I  HAVE (present tense) NO (zero) husband  and the fact that Jesus also agreed  and said thou  "HAST  HAD five husbands . . . in that thou saidst  TRULY" and "Thou hast well  said . . . NO HUSBAND . . . "  Jesus agreed with her, so why can't  the Divorce Police agree with her and allow her and Jesus say what they said?


Determined to have their way, the Divorce Police resort to a more noble venture comparing scripture with scripture, zeroing in on 1 Timothy 5:9. The argument here is that it is the same kind of phraseology as 1 Timothy 3:1 and the same kind of disqualification, the husband of one wife or divorce and remarriage. Well, it is not the same kind of phraseology and it is not the same kind  of circumstances. It is apples being compared with oranges. So please note:

1. The phraseology is such that 1 Timothy 3:1 uses "MUST BE," while 1 Tim 5:9 uses the stronger phraseology, "LET NOT," clearly  indicating that these are bona fide qualifications for a widow's assistance from the church. Such stronger phraseology, curiously absent from 1 Timothy 3, is also used regarding the disqualification of women from preaching or usurping authority over a man, having to learn in subjection and silence, i.e., "I SUFFER NOT A  WOMAN" (1 Tim. 2:11,12).

2. The phraseology is such that 1 Timothy 3:1 uses a present state of having one wife, while 1 Timothy 5:9 uses a past state of having had more than one husband. The widow's former husband is clearly dead, and she must not have had  more than one dead husband.  Divorce and remarriage could not be the consideration in 1 Timothy 5:9, for all the participants would be dead except the widow.

If the widow did have more than one husband through death and remar- riage, it was not any more a sin prohibition than the fact that she had to be at least 60 years old. Still the younger widows were refused, if they met the "having had one husband qualification" but were under 60 years old, antici- pating that  they would marry after being taken into the number, making a mockery of the church's assistance. Obviously, the marrying was not the consideration in itself and obviously not wrong, for these same women were told to marry and bear children, if they were NOT taken into the number  (1 Tim 5:11-14)

3. The phraseology of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and its behavioral instructions do match those of TITUS 1:7-9 and TITUS 2:1-10, regarding bishops, aged men, aged women, young women, young men, and servants. Neither bishops, deacons, deacon's wives, aged women,aged men, young women, young men, nor ser- vants  are automatically disqualified from being such by violating these be- havioral  instructions. Yet, a local church may use these instructions for guide- lines in selecting or dismissing officers, teachers, and workers under the auth- ority of binding and loosing given them by the Saviour, as was the case in Titus 1:1-9.

Clearly, excepting the must be's of prophecy, many Bible "must be's" do not share with the Divorce Police their theory of disqualification. Rulers MUST BE just, but are not disqualified as rulers (2 Sam 23:3). Horses MUST BE held with  bit and bridle but are not disqualified as horses. Wine (unfermented) MUST  BE put in new bottles but is not disqualified as wine (Mark 2:22). Citizens MUST BE subject to government but are not disqualified as citizens (Rom, 13:5). Servants MUST NOT strive but are not disqualified as servants (2 Tim 2:24). Deacons' wives MUST BE faithful but are not disqualified as deacons' wives (1 Tim 3:11). This is nothing more than weasel wording the scriptures to make them appear to support Divorce Police theories. Now, these  "MUST BE's," due to the consequences of a "MUST BE'" not being heeded, OUGHT to be heeded.


Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godli- ness; In hope of eternal life, which God,that cannot lie, promised before the world  began; But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour; To Titus,  mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace,  from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot  or unruly. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled,  not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But  a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, tem- perate;  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching  things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.    -- Titus 1:1-12

Divorce Police insist that 1 Tim 3 is identical to Titus 1:1-9 in that a man is automatically disqualified from the ministry, if he violates these rules, especially the husband of one wife rule. But note the difference in Titus one. This is  a  history of what Paul already had decided Titus do in selecting or ordaining  elders  from his home base, Crete. Also the reasons are given why he selected  such  men, which might well be good reasons for a church today to make such selections.

The problem was that they were dealing with the circumcision and gainsayers and vain talkers and liars, who had to be stopped (1:9-12). So, what was  Paul going to do? Ordain elders with the worst possible reputations? Of course not! He instructed Titus to ordain men in every city without hang-ups and of impeccable character, but it had nothing to do with disqualifying other men in other places. As ordination goes, some are tougher than others, but they are never always the same. These are instructions to Titus in a specific place at a specific time in a specific situation and not general instructions to the churches at large.


Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slan- derers, sober, faithful in all things.  Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon  well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
-- 1 Tim. 3:8-13

Not only are there behavioral instructions for the bishop but also the deacons and their wives, who should exhibit certain behavior. How do you police  a deacon's mystery of the faith in pure conscience? This is something he  must police himself. He could never be disqualified by his peers for that. The  Divorce police also would disqualify a divorced deacon, and oddly enough  they are forced to disqualify him for what his wife does or does not do in  order to be consistent (as well as for what their children do). They are less outspoken regarding the frequency of such offenses (for obvious reasons) to trigger the disqualification process, which in those cases, they do  not deem "automatic" as in the case of the husband of one wife violation or as  they say, divorce and remarriage.


The Divorce Police are divided into two camps. The one camp will not allow a divorced person to preach or teach, but will allow them to be members of their church and give their tithes and do menial work that no one else will do. Many of them still believe that the man is still married to his former wife or living in perpetual adultery.

The other camp will not receive such members unless they forsake their second mate and return to the first. This is a more consistent view with their believing that the man is still married to his "former" wife and living in per- petual  adultery with the second or in symbolic polygamy.

The real quirk to all this is that, when considering the real act of poly- gamy,  some will not admit a polygamous man to the membership nor will they insist  that the man get a divorce from any of them, nor can they tell him how  to get out  of the sin situation, except to get rid of all off them and play tidily winks. Some restoration according to Galatians 6:1! Poly- gamists  are certainly worse off in  the  church, which allows divorced and remarried  "symbolic polygamists" in the church  than the church, who does  not allow allows practicing polygamists in the church.

Another curious aspect to all this is that certain missionaries demand that the polygamous man get rid of everything after the first wife, who they say is the only legitimate one with no need to divorce the excess. Now, both of these churches have the scriptural right to bind and loose in these situations, considering the local laws and circumstances and situations involved.  But the polygamist is definitely better off in the church that allows him to keep one of the wives.

Now, there are some ridiculous corollaries to this abuse of 1 Timothy 3. There are some that insist that a man must be married and must have children to not be disqualified. One fellow I know believes that when his wife dies, he must  hang up the spikes as far as the ministry is concerned. What does the young ministerial  student do? Get his sterility checked or his prospective wife's sterility  checked before marriage? Absurd and scary!

Ultimately, the Divorce Police bind heavy burdens on folks that they are not willing to bear or even help take off of folks. We are here to salvage lives not destroy them. Restoration according to Galatians 6:1 can not be accomplished  by the Divorce Police, who allow their victims no way out. But our  Saviour always provides some way of escape to folks, despite the Roman Catholic obsession that has filtered into even Baptist churches.


Since God is not the author of all this confusion, the answer must lie in each of the local churches with such diverse views on the matter, who must consider their country, laws, testimony, and the lives of those with which they are  dealing with, making a decision of what to do regarding membership and calling or rejecting a pastor. There is no papal decree from some opinionated pope that will solve the problem.

The local church must bind and loose in matters like this. Do you mean, Brother Evans, that there are no standards for anything? No, I do not mean that. I mean that the local churches must impose the standards and sanctions in  excusing or accusing their own members. If they decide that they do not want a  divorced pastor that is their decision. If  they decide they do not want divorced  members that is their decision.

If they decide against long haired musicians that is their decision. No mortal pope has the right to override their decisions. Other pastors and churches may boycott them, refuse fellowship to them, refuse their baptisms, refuse  their members, refuse their missionaries, and etc. The same goes for the more liberal church decisions. In fact, you might even try intimidating me with the  threat of withdrawing fellowship from me for writing such an article and not  agreeing with you. Or you might threaten to put the word out on me. Help yourself. Folks have been trying to get at me for years. But then, I am free to ignore  you, having my own local church with which to fellowship and having an  outside circle of pastor and  local church friends. Of course, the only thing that the denominational Sanhedrin worry about is people, who do not worry  about the Sanhedrin. Hey,  that is me!