By Larry Ray Hafley
From Ohio: “Enclosed is a question that was answered in ‘The Christian Echo.’ I disagreed with the answer. Would you please comment on it in Truth Magazine?”
Immediately following is the excerpt from the April, 1976, issue of The Christian Echo.
“Ques.: While in the world, I married a woman who had a living husband; they did not-separate because of fornication. Later, we decided to obey the gospel. Did we have to repent for the act, or under what conditions were we to enter the church?
“Ans.: If a divorce was secured by the woman you married while in the world, the laws of the land were complied with, hence you were not under condemnation by marrying. Romans 13:3. If you were legally married, when you obeyed the gospel, there is no repentance required for your marriage; go on and live the Christian life.”
Comments As Requested
It would have been far better if The Christian Echo had merely cited a few plain passages of Scripture. “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” (Matt. 5:32). “Whosoever shall put away his wife, 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). “Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery” (Mk. 10:11,12). “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Lk. 16-18). “So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Rom. 7:3).
Nothing in the verses above sounds like the answer in The Christian Echo. Of course, one must abide by the laws of the land, but, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). The man who married a woman with a living husband is living in adultery. The woman who was divorced for a cause other than fornication and who has married another is living in adultery. Constitutional law does not negate or nullify divine law.
To Those Without These Problems
As we said before, so say I now again, now is the time to prevent marriage problems. If you are unmarried, realize the seriousness and the sacredness of the marriage relationship. Do not enter into it lightly. It is a sacred status that must be consecrated by God and governed by His will. If you are married, remain that way if it is at all possible-both husband and wife should learn to love one another if they do not. If you have children, teach them from their youth regarding marriage. Tell them of its beauty, of its privileges, and of its sacred laws.
Truth Magazine XX: 36, p. 562
September 9, 1976