The assertion of this booklet has been that the Lord's teaching regarding marriage and divorce is straightforward, and easily understood. Simply stated, it is: One man, One woman, for a lifetime.
Further, it is asserted that the one exception to this rule regarding the lifetime nature of the marriage committment is found when a spouse is guilty of the treachery of fornication. In this case, Jesus declared the innocent's right to remarry. Note again the passage from Matthew 19, "And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery" (vs. 9).
The right to remarry is extended only to the innocent party, and only in the one case of fornication. Otherwise, Paul indicated that the marriage bond is a lifetime committment. (cf. Romans 7:2).
The passages are sufficiently clear so as to be understood by even the novice. Individuals who have never studied the Bible can and do read Matthew 19:9, and understand that the rule Jesus established for marriage is: One man, One woman, for a lifetime, with one exception.
Any doctrine which denies the simplicity of this truth ought to be rejected. Any individual who disseminates such a doctrine should be exposed. Any couple in a relationship which constitutes adultery is not accepted by God, and should not be received into the fellowship of his people.
Having said that, we readily acknowledge that applying the principles established in scripture is sometimes a daunting task. Unfortunately, the practice of sin often leads to confusion and convoluted circumstances which would test even the wisdom of Solomon. It may be that even brethren who agree on the teaching of scripture may have difficulty agreeing on the application of that scripture in any particular circumstance.
Some who would champion the toleration of false teachers on this subject equate the struggles to apply the principles of scripture with the rejection of the principle itself. Claims are made of "differences", and "inconsistency" and "hypocrisy." Surely the careful reader can distinguish between a rejection of God's word, and a difference in applying that word. Consider that the majority of those who claim "inconsistency" or "hypocrisy" advocate an acceptance and toleration of those who reject Jesus' teaching on Marriage and Divorce.
An inconsistent application of the principles established in scripture proves only inconsistency. It does not invalidate the principle itself. Hypocrisy, while possible, likewise does not invalidate the truth: One man, One woman, for a lifetime, with one exception.
One may find it necessary to file first, or to have adultery stated on the papers as the cause of the dissolution of the marriage. Another, though "putting away" his spouse for adultery, may not be conscience bound to follow that exact same civil process. Though there is a difference in application, they both believe and seek to apply what the scripture teaches. In contrast to these, another denies Jesus' teaching, and feels free to divorce for any reason, and remarry despite Jesus' condemnation of such actions. While we may following our own conscience within the realm of applying the teaching of our Lord, we are never free to disregard that teaching, as many do. Nor are we allowed to accept those who flagrantly disgregard what God has established as His will (cf. 2 John 9-11).
A careful study of these principles is extremely important in these perilous times. Satan has so many in his clutches, and today the home is vulnerable. This short study is only a simple treatment of the subject. We commend the reader to continued, careful study. And, we encourage all to remember (in discussing the varied scenarios, circumstances and what-ifs), the simple principle which lies at the heart of the matter. God established the home, and intends for a man and woman to honor the committment they make. It is, One man, One woman, for a lifetime.