The Grammatical Gymnastics of an Advocate for Divorce and Remarriage: Passive Voice

The first argument concerns the “voice” of the verbs in Matthew 5:32, 19:9, and Mark 10:11–12. In grammar the voice of a verb describes the relationship of the action of the verb to the subject of the verb. For example, “John eats an apple” is in the active voice, for John performs the activity of eating (John is the “subject” of the verb “to eat”). On the other hand, “The apple is eaten by John” is in the passive voice, for the subject of the verb (the apple) does not perform the activity of eating. Instead, the activity happens to the subject, for the apple is eaten.  

Our advocate for remarriage writes,

The verbs in Matthew 5 translated “to commit adultery” are passive. The woman put away and the man who marries her are passive. The original husband is the only active agent in the adultery. He commits adultery against them… To say that the woman commits adultery is as false as can be.

If we attempted to translate Matthew 5:32 with passive verbs, it would read something like this: “Everyone putting away his wife [active]…makes her to have adultery committed against her [passive] and if anyone marries [active] the divorced woman he has adultery committed against him [passive].” This would make the remarried woman (32a) and the man who marries her (32b) the victims (rather than the culprits) of adultery. Our advocate for remarriage writes:

God is principally protecting the innocent. The wife who is put away for any reason other than fornication is wronged. God protects those. Adultery is committed against them wrongfully in that the dismissed woman and the man who marries her are made to appear as adulterers.

We should notice that in the mind of our remarriage advocate, the remarrying people (the divorced woman and her second husband) are not adulterers; they only appear so in the eyes of others. Only the divorced woman’s first husband actively commits adultery. If this were true, it would mean that the guilty party in the divorce is an adulterer and it would forbid him from remarrying. It would not forbid, so the argument goes, remarriage to the innocent parties. Sadly, few advocates for remarriage limit remarriage to the innocent party; they allow remarriage for the guilty and the innocent party.

Continue reading...

Comments

The Grammatical Gymnastics of an Advocate for Divorce and Remarriage

Recently I have come across some novel arguments to justify remarriage after divorce while the original spouse is still living. I will not name the advocate of remarriage on the blog: suffice to say that on social media he began commenting on a video link to Prof. David Engelsma’s lecture at the British Reformed Fellowship Conference (2018), “Unbiblical Divorce and Adulterous Remarriage: A Scandal.” He labeled it “proscribed heresy” and called those who agreed with the lecture “hypocritical legalists” who “damage the church and mock the grace of Christ,” adding that we were “perfect illustrations of the haughty Pharisees,” and called us to repent. Then he called our position “false, anti-Reformed, and unbiblical,” as well as “schismatic and destructive of true Christian compassion.” He argued (correctly) that neither Luther nor Calvin agreed with our position, which Prof. Engelsma fully admits in his book Marriage: The Mystery of Christ and the Church. While we admire the Reformers, they were (sadly) not strong on the subject of divorce and remarriage. This is reflected in the otherwise excellent Westminster Confession of Faith.

Because I did not want my answer to be buried in a long Facebook thread where the advocate for remarriage made his novel arguments, I decided to make it public here. I hope it will serve as a witness to the truth of the unbreakable marriage bond. Some of the arguments from Greek grammar are quite involved, so I ask for the reader’s indulgence.

In addition, I am not interested in attacking personalities or churches. I am merely interested in the arguments, especially exegetical arguments, for God’s word is the final arbiter on this and all matters.

I should point out right at the beginning, however, that knowledge of Greek grammar is not necessary for the child of God. The King James Version of the Bible is an accurate translation of the original Greek and Hebrew, and no theologian or pastor should give the impression that the Bible cannot be comprehended without recourse to the original languages: we believe in the perspicuity of holy scripture, that is, we believe that the Bible is clear, so clear that, if a child of God has a good translation, he can understand the scriptures; yet the Bible is so profound and rich that the greatest theologian cannot plumb its depths. Moreover, we believe in the office of believer according to which every child of God has the blessed privilege of knowing and understanding God’s word without the need of “experts” or a “priestly class” in the church.

In addition, the main issue is clear. Marriage is a lifelong, unbreakable bond between one man and one woman, in which the two become one, enjoying intimate fellowship with one another, which fellowship, both in the Old Testament and New Testament reflects the relationship between Christ and the church. In scripture God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16); and even when he gives his adulterous, unfaithful wife a “bill of divorce” (Jer. 3:8), he still declares himself married to his people (v. 14), and he never takes another people (i.e., the Lord never remarries).

Continue reading...

Comments

RFPA Update newsletter - Summer 2018

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Getting books into eager hands
  • Color House Graphics Tour
  • Upcoming children's books
  • A book contest
  • Author videos
  • New publications
  • Reader feedback
  • RFPA Annual Meeting
  • Reader feedback on T is for Tree

FULL ISSUE

Comments

"The best symbolical statement of the Calvinistic system of doctrine"

An orthodox commentary on the confession, that is, one that is in wholehearted accord with the teachings of the confession, and resolutely faithful to them, will be profitable to Reformed Christians and churches in the twenty-first century, not only for invaluable instruction in the Reformed faith, but also for the maintenance and defense of Reformed orthodoxy. Founded on holy scripture, the Belgic Confession determines sound doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This doctrine is rich, lovely, and powerful. The confession also authoritatively exposes contemporary heresies. As they read this commentary which proclaims the doctrine and authority of the confession, all believers who love the Reformed faith will be faithfully guided in the truth of the “old paths.”

THE BELGIC CONFESSION
a commentary
(volume 1)

$31.95 retail  |  368 pages  |  hardcover
$20.77 Book Club

Click the pdf to read the opening preface to the book. 

ORDER

 

Another handsome book cover design by Christopher Tobias, tobiasdesign.com.

L-R: Jared, Mrs. Kuiper, Daniel, our superb packers for today!

Comments

Belgic Confession (volume 1) by David J. Engelsma

An orthodox commentary on the confession, that is, one that is in wholehearted accord with the teachings of the confession, and resolutely faithful to them, will be profitable to Reformed Christians and churches in the twenty-first century, not only for invaluable instruction in the Reformed faith, but also for the maintenance and defense of Reformed orthodoxy. Founded on holy scripture, the Belgic Confession determines sound doctrine for Reformed churches and believers. This doctrine is rich, lovely, and powerful. The confession also authoritatively exposes contemporary heresies. As they read this commentary which proclaims the doctrine and authority of the confession, all believers who love the Reformed faith will be faithfully guided in the truth of the “old paths.”

THE BELGIC CONFESSION
a commentary
(volume 1)

$31.95 retail  |  368 pages  |  hardcover
Coming early June 2018...

 

 

Click the pdf to read the opening preface to the book.

Comments

Start your graduate’s library with a gift of RFPA books

CONSIDER ONE OF OUR BOOK SETS FOR YOUR GRADUATE

UNFOLDING COVENANT HISTORY SERIES (volumes 1-5)

From creation to the book of Ruth, Prof. Homer Hoeksema and Prof. David Engelsma teach familiar stories from the unique perspective of God’s covenant. His relationship of friendship with his people of the Old Testament is the same one he makes with us and our children!

THE TRIPLE KNOWLEDGE SERIES (volumes 1-10)

Rev. Herman Hoeksema’s timeless commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism. Your graduate hears the Catechism preached every week. What better way to prepare for the Lord’s day than to read from a commentary that expands on each question and answer?

REFORMED SPIRITUALITY SERIES

Every graduate should begin a strong devotional life as he or she enters the workforce or pursues further education. Each meditation in these devotionals contains three or four sections. Read a section or two in the morning, another at lunch, and the last in the evening. This way, your graduate can think on one passage over the course of the whole day.

Comments

May 1, 2018 Standard Bearer issue preview

Christ’s voluntary sacrifice on the cross points to God’s great love toward us. He sees us in our misery and sets himself to deliver us and give to us abundant life. He came so that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly. Abundant life is nothing less than the fullness of joy in the Father’s presence, ultimately life in eternity. That is what the cross is about.

Now when we see Christ crucified, we must know he is not like the hireling who does not care for the sheep. Rather, let us see him as our Shepherd who loves us and gave himself for us. Christ’s voluntary sacrifice manifests his everlasting love to us. What wondrous love is this!

—Read Rev. John Marcus’ article entitled ‘Christ’s voluntary sacrifice’ in the upcoming May 1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer.

 

Dispensational premillennialism is false doctrine concerning the truth of the last days, or end. It is false doctrine in its fantasy of a rapture of the church off the earth and out of history at any moment, importantly before the rise and raging of Antichrist.

It is false doctrine in its assurance of members of the church that they will escape the great tribulation of the last days under the Antichrist.

This false eschatology is no minor matter. It not only fails to prepare the members of the church for the coming conflict with the beasts of Revelation 13, but it also blinds the churches to the signs of the rising of the beast out of the sea and the establishing of his antichristian kingdom as this rising takes place before our very eyes at the present hour.

—Read more in the upcoming article ‘Fundamental Reformed critique of premillennialism’ by Prof. David Engelsma in the upcoming May 1, 2018 issue of the Standard Bearer.

Comments

MP3 of Third Radio Interview with Professor Engelsma


If you did not have an opportunity to listen in on Monday, you can do so now by clicking the link below. Yesterday, on November 27, Prof. David J. Engelsma had a radio interview with Chris Arnzen, the national, religious radio host of Iron Sharpens Iron. This was the third interview on a book that Engelsma authored, Gospel Truth of Justification: Proclaimed, Defended, Developed. This interview was of special significance since this year is the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation and this book was especially was intended by the Reformed Free Publishing Association and the author to celebrate that glorious work of Christ.

  Click on the icon to listen.

Comments

TODAY! Radio Interview with Professor David J. Engelsma on Gospel Truth of Justification


 

Today from 4-6 pm EST, Prof. David J. Engelsma will be interviewed by Christopher Amzen on his radio program “Iron Sharpens Iron."

The subject will be his recent book, Gospel Truth of Justification. Visit www.ironsharpensironradio.com and click on live stream to tune in and listen from any device. The program can also be listened to by phone (563)999-9206, following the prompts and press #3 for Christian Radio.      

Be sure to tune in later today. You don't want to miss it!

 

Comments

Gospel Truth of Justification (6): Polemical and Necessary


Comments

Post Tags

On Twitter

Follow @reformedfreepub