It goes without saying that in any given debate, there will always be one who claims victory at the beginning without giving the other disputant the chance to reply to the claims that the opponent has made. In this debate that is exactly what brother Max Burgin has done after just one page. Max writes, "Just by defining the proposition, I have proved the case." Brother Max, you may believe that your case is proved, but a closer study of God's word on this subject is needed before such a claim can be made.
Brother Max also asks me to prove the position that I take on the marriage, divorce, and remarriage (MDR) question, and the re-marrying of the guilty party. However, brother Max, on this proposition I don't need to offer one single proof to affirm anything. I am in the denial, and that means I will be showing the error of your position by examining the things you have said. When I am in the affirmative, which is the second proposition you agreed to debate, I will be affirming and giving, book, chapter and verse for everything I teach. Thus, it is not for me to prove anything here. My responsibility is to examine what you are teaching in order to determine if it is in accord with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Now, in doing this, I will give book, chapter, and verse, and will be demanding of you book, chapter, and verse for what you claim to be "the truth that you say you are finally able to defend on this vital issue." I will also be demanding more than just illogical reasoning and ramblings of questions that you ask, and answer as if that is the way I would answer them. All human logic and emotional appeals put aside, let us "study to show ourselves approved before God" (2 Tim. 2:15). Let us speak as the oracles of God (1 Peter 4:11), and keep silent when God is silent. Let us not conform ourselves to the doctrines of the world and expect them to be pleasing to God.
God set up three institutions, the home, the government and the church and to alter or to disregard what God requires in each of these is to sin and fall short of the glory of God. The cost of error on this subject is eternal damnation to those who hold a teaching that was not taught by Christ or the apostles who were guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit. (Cf. Gal. 1:6-9; 2 John 9). Having said all that, brother Burgin, let us keep an open mind and an open Bible so that truth may prevail and that we may be able to have fellowship with one another both in this life and in the life to come. Truly, "To miss heaven, is to miss it all."
Now, let us consider the issue before us. Brother Burgin has provided a word for word definition of the proposition, with the exception of the "guilty" and "not guilty" part. I wonder, brother Burgin, why you agreed to debate the proposition that included this, it but refused to add it to the proof that has already proved your case? As I read your first affirmative there is very little that makes any sense to me, but I have read and will continue to read your affirmative to make sure I don't mis-represent you.
I know that you have many times thought I would answer in one way or another, but in many cases you have mis-represented me. What is more important to me is the fact that I believe that you have mis-represented the Scriptures and the teachings of Jesus Christ. You stated, "Those who are Scripturally divorced are rightly single, it makes no difference to their status whether, or not, they are guilty, or right with God." Do you really believe that Max? Let's look at this a little closer. Does it make a difference to their eternal status if they will not repent? Brother Burgin, you affirm that those who will not repent will die in their sins. Thus, your statement that it makes no difference to their status cannot be correct. You and I both know that there are laws that govern human beings whether man will adhere to them or not. I agree with you that they are rightly single (a term that is not found in the scriptures) in the sense that they have ceased to be married to each other; however, to say that all rightly single people have God's approval to be married, is to assume more than the Scriptures teach.
Let us look at some who are rightly single who do not have God's approval to be married. Two men who are rightly single do not have God's right to be married to each other, nor two women. Those who are young children (ages 1-18) do not have God's approval unless they have complied with His law and the laws of the land. Thus, brother Burgin, your whole syllogism is false. When you start with a false premise, it of necessarily concludes that you will end up with a false conclusion. You asked in an E-Mail letter to me, "Can I prove your syllogism to be wrong?" The answer is, "Yes." Look carefully at your syllogism and note my application to your teaching.
All people "put away" from the marriage are divorced.
Only people divorced because of adultery are rightly "put away."
Therefore, every person rightly "put away" is divorced.
Brother Burgin, how does this syllogism prove that the guilty party who has committed adultery is able to re-marry with God's approval? The only thing your syllogism proves is the fact that the marriage is terminated and they are single. The question is simply this, "Is the one who committed adultery free from all moral, spiritual and civil responsibilities?" The answer is, "NO!" The guilty party by civil laws demands compensation; by moral responsibilities they are to change that which is defiled; and by Spiritual responsibility they are to do what God demands. We may attach a lot of emotional baggage to every case that ends in divorce, but God's law is absolute, and we have no right to adjust it to fit our present circumstances, the circumstances of our families, or the morality of the nation.
Let's examine your other syllogism and see the flaws that beset it from the very start by once again stating a false premise.
Max's Strawman Syllogism:
All people Scripturally divorced are rightly single.
All people divorced because of adultery are Scripturally divorced.
Therefore, all people divorced for adultery are rightly single.
This syllogism is correct if brother Burgin is referring to Matthew 19:9 in the context that those scripturally divorced are those who have "put away" their spouse for the very act of "adultery." If the one who is "put away" has been "Scripturally divorced," how does this syllogism's conclusion apply to them? Brother Burgin, I have no problem in affirming that those who are divorced Scripturally are divorced; however, it is the following conclusions and syllogism that really shows the error of your teaching.
Max's Strawman # 2.
Every person who is rightly single has God's right to marry -- Gen. 2:18; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:2
Every person divorced because of adultery is rightly single -- Matt. 19:9
Therefore, every person divorced because of adultery may remarry -- 1 Cor. 7:27-28
If this is the truth of God's Word on the subject, we as a humanity are in terrible shape. Let's examine this a little closer and see if brother Burgin really is consistent with his application and whether he would be involved in that which he has accused me, i.e. "the forbidding of the right to marry."
Answering Brother Max's Strawman #2
Every person who is rightly single has God's right to marry. ---- Gen 2:18 ; Rom. 7:2; 1 Cor. 7:2
All men who are rightly single have God's right to marry.
Thus, two men who are rightly single may marry each other with God's approval.
Brother Burgin, you stated that you have "asked many questions, and could ask more, but these are enough to show the stupidity, and utter futility, of your position." Since you believe that I cannot ask any question that would pose any problem to "your truth," here is one you may want to deal with since it is by your own admission "the truth on this vital issue." What Scripture would you give to forbid our two RIGHTLY SINGLE MEN from marrying each other with God's approval? Brother Burgin what about the 30 year old male and the 11 year old girl who are rightly single, would you forbid marriage to them? Brother Burgin, homosexuality is an abomination before the Lord, and no where does it say they may not marry each other especially if by your standards "they are rightly single." Brother Burgin, once again, by your own words, "The Bible does not speak very kindly of those who forbid marriage 1 Tim. 4:2-3, why are you among them?" It is my assumption that you would not tolerate the marriage of two men or two women to each other, but it is your syllogism that gives them the right to do this with God's approval. Are you supportive of the homosexual relationship since you cannot find a Scripture that says they could not marry each other? Brother Burgin, by showing this to be an error of what you say has been "shown to be true," would you now consider that your premise is wrong? Have I denied what the Bible teaches? No, brother Burgin, I have shown very clearly that your syllogism is false by your own understanding on what the Scriptures teach concerning homosexuality.
Again, I ask, "Will you allow and accept in the congregation two men who are rightly single getting married to each other?" You cannot say that this is not the issue, since you raised it when you used the words "all and everyone" in your syllogism. In fact, I know why you selected these words. It is because you need to have "everyone" and "all those" who have been divorced Scripturally, free to re-marry with God's approval.
Brother Burgin, what you have taught cannot be the truth on the subject since your foundation of your argument demands that there are limitations set by God's law and the civil laws of the land that we live under. Though both scenario's have both parties free to marry because they are rightly single, they are bound by the laws of the land and the laws of God's Word.
Here are other questions you need to answer: "Why couldn't someone, according to your teaching deliberately commit adultery for the express purpose of freeing himself to marry someone else?" "Why couldn't he free himself as many as a thousand times during his lifetime, leaving behind 1000 wives and hundreds of children without having been involved in a single unscriptural marriage?"
Let us place brother Burgin in the role of Marriage counselor to four young Christian's so that we can see the ramifications of his false teaching. John is married to Sue, and Joe is married to Betty, but John has affections for Betty, and Joe has fallen in love with Sue. Can these persons engage in a weekend of spouse swapping and divorce based on the adultery and then remarry with God's approval? Max, your teaching says, "YES!" On what grounds would you say they may not be divorced if your answer is, "NO"? Since you believe that it matters not what state the parties are in before God, would you not also teach that these couples are in a right relationship with God if they repent? Brother Burgin, your teaching on the MDR subject is so full of inconsistencies and flaws that it cannot be "the truth on this vital matter."
Brother Burgin, perhaps you had written your first affirmative without expressing exactly what you believe the Scriptures teach, but beyond a shadow of a doubt, I have shown that what you have written cannot be the truth. Max, can't you see that your teaching on the subject opens the door to willful deliberate sin so that the parties can free themselves from the marriage and marry another with God's approval? Let us suppose that Kathy tires of you Max. Would not your teaching tell her to go out and commit adultery so that you can "put her away for fornication" and she be free to marry whomever she wishes? Would you teach that to your own wife and children? I think not! But, Max, how can you separate wilful deliberate sin from your teaching on the "guilty party remarriage" issue?
The next issue that I want to briefly address is your teaching that there are no consequences for sin? You may not have used those exact words but that is what is implied when you raise the questions with regard to remaining celibate. Let us look at another hypothetical situation which once again shows your teaching to be flawed. Joe kills John out of jealousy, and Joe is sentence to death by the civil laws. Joe now recognizes that he was wrong and repents of the sin of murder. We ask, "Should the civil laws now remove the punishment of murder and replace Joe back in society as a free man?" The answer, of course is " NO!" Though one has repented of a sin, the consequences of that sin have far reaching effects. The person who defiles his body through homosexual behavior, who recognizes the error of his way, repents, and becomes a Christian, is not freed from the disease that he may have contracted through that lifestyle. His sin is cleansed, and he is free from the guilt of that sin, but the consequences of his sin will be far reaching. Those who commits adultery can and will receive forgiveness of that sin when they repent and confess, but that does not release them from the consequences of their sin. The very nature of the text in Matthew 19:9b shows that the action of adultery is ongoing, not a one time act. Thus, the one who has committed adultery and re-marries another continues to live in adultery.
Brother Burgin, it is now up to you to prove by the Scriptures that the guilty party has God's approval to continue to commit adultery.