I have read many books and articles defending the “Adultery View” of the exception clause. This Adultery View consists of a belief that the “exception clause” of Matthew 19:9 allows for divorce and remarriage based on the concept that a spouse commits adultery. This clause permits the ‘innocent” spouse an option to divorce if the “guilty” spouse lacks repentance. After reading Daniel R. Jennings Book, “Except For Fornication, Why Evangelicals Must Reevaluate Their Interpretation Of Matthew’s Divorce Exception Clause” it became clear that the “Adultery View” has little merit from a biblical standpoint as well it has very little merit according to historical evidence apart from the word of God.
Daniel wrote the book due to that that he was convicted by his research and after viewing scripture purely on the idea of formulating a theology on divorce and remarriage.
“The purpose of this book is to explore the reasons that led me after several years of preaching the Adultery View to abandon it in favor off the Fornication View.” Page 2
Daniel lists several reasons he reconsidered his view on divorce and remarriage. The first reason he reconsidered the view was the way the Greek literature used the word “porneia” and how this Greek word related to adultery. Dan has the reader consider the use of “porneia” in an exception clause that includes the Greek word for adultery. (moichao)
“If porneia carried with it the idea of adultery and fornication then there would have no need or reason for the writers to include the Greek word for adultery along with porneia. -page 8
Another reason for his rejection of the Adultery View is how the early church in the 1st to 5th centuries used the Greek word "porneia". Daniel lists several key passages from many early church writers that back up his claim. In these writings there is a clear distinction from fornication and adultery.
Other reasons Daniel gives for the purpose of reevaluating the evangelical view is the use of the King James translation favors the “Fornication View”, that there is a clear theological argument for the “Fornication View”, how the exception clause refers to an actual law in the Old Testament, and one of the strongest reason is how the Adultery View contradicts other scripture. In particular, Daniel uses Luke 16:18 as an example.
Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.
“I read this passage for years and never really noticed that it was clearly contradicting the Adultery View. In the above passage Jesus says that there was a husband who divorced his wife and married another person. The Lord is clear in this scenario that the husband “commits adultery” in his sexual relations with his new wife. However, notice what Jesus says to the innocent party in this situation. He says of the innocent woman whose husband has left and committed adultery that “whoever marries her…commits adultery” also. This verse is really one of the strongest pieces of evidence against the Adultery View because it plainly and clearly shows that the innocent spouse, whose husband has “committed adultery”, is not free to remarry and that if she does she herself commits the sin of adultery –page 28
This is compelling evidence that the “Adultery View” needs to be reevaluated. Daniel continues to provide more evidence thought this book by listing an extensive list of historical evidence of early Christian writers and their view of divorce and remarriage. These writers use scripture as the foundation. Daniel also answers specific questions that deal with response or objections to the core purpose of this book.
Overall, this book provides sound and accurate evidence for the “Fornication View” that calls all “remarriages’ after divorcing a living spouse nothing short of adultery. This is totally contrary to the evangelical stance that has permeated the church. Daniel will be the first to admit that his word in this book is not the final word on the subject. Yet, those who hold to the view that adultery is a license to divorce and remarry do so on very shaky ground. I highly recommend this book as reference for the permanency of marriage. If you believe that marriage is a sacred covenant then this book needs to be a part of your library.
Divorce and remarriage is so common in the church that few will question the “reasons” for a divorce and remarriage. These divorces and remarriages are just accepted as normal, no questions asked. I am not sure how many have read Daniel R. Jennings book, but I am sure that those who will, must consider the content. I highly recommend reading this book if not for the fact that it would make you consider the words of Jesus. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
The book is available to read Here
In Christ's love,