March 2023

March 2023

The Exception Clause


I first met Jesus’ “exception clause” in the early 80’s, while a student at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, IN. Matthew records His use of it twice, during the Sermon on the Mount (5:32) and as part of a response (19:9) to the question put forth by some Pharisees, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” Both times Jesus says that divorce is not allowed “except for…


Except for what? I thought it an important question, so important that I wrote my Masters’ Thesis on just that; The Exception Clause. I read a lot and thought a lot in the process of producing seventy-something pages in 1985, and as is often the case, I have continued to study that same subject. I’m probably the most knowledgeable person on The Exception Clause you’ll ever meet!


The Greek word is “πορνεία,” and English and American versions translate it into words like “unfaithful, unchastity, fornication,” and mostly “sexual immorality,” which is probably the best. Jesus says that He forbids divorce “except for πορνεία,” which means anything other than a one man – one woman relationship, in which case there sort of has to be a divorce, as a mater of course.


If a woman is married to a pedophile, she can’t stay married to him, especially if she has children. If the husband wants to bring other women into the his marriage, you have to divorce him. If two men are “married” to each other, or two women are “married” to each other, the biblical thing to do is to get a divorce. If you are married to a homosexual, then divorce may be the only option.

And animals. If you are married to – oh, you were not aware that people are getting “married” to animals? Do a search on “marry pet.” Why would you do that? Because they want to be married, but not to a human. It’s the same reason why people would rather have pets than children. Animals never become teenagers, they never tell you they hate you, and they always come when called.


From a July 31, 2019 article in The Guardian, an English woman named Elizabeth Hoad “married” her dog, Logan, a Golden Retriever because “after four failed engagements, 220 dates and a range of unsatisfactory experiences in the search for love – men concealing wives, men her age pursuing younger women – she had given up on the male of her species.” The dog was much less trouble.


The dog has been “a constant” in her life, and she says “He’s saved me and I’ve saved him. I was broken before I got him.” A New York woman says of her husband the poodle cross, “He’s always there for me. He listens, and he loves me no matter what. What more could a woman want?” A man? Could you want a good man and raise a family together? But I do hear what you’re saying.


I think it’s harder than it ever has been for our young women to find a “good man” and for our young men to find a “good woman,” but it can be done. The first thing is; don’t settle. Don’t marry somebody just to be married. The second thing is – hard to believe we will be married for 45 years in August. The second thing is neither one of us believe in divorce. Except for πορνεία.


In Christian Service,


Pastor Anderson