The Divorce Problem: A Rational Religious View -- By: Charles Caverno

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 069:274 (Apr 1912)
Article: The Divorce Problem: A Rational Religious View
Author: Charles Caverno


The Divorce Problem: A Rational Religious View1

Charles Caverno

Divorce is a comprehensive topic — includes much upon which comment is needed. But the space at command will suffer little more than hints and outlines. Method is needed more than matter. I had better express an opinion in the case, or on some prominent points in it, rather than to elaborate an argument and cite references. It ought not to savor of egotism for me to set forth the conclusions and convictions at which I have arrived, if I say that I wish no more force to be given to my opinions than there is force in the reason of them, express or implied.

Scripture Doctrine

Lest we get swamped in particulars in the discussion, I wish to bring forward at once its final conclusion, and it is this, that the supreme wisdom covering the whole matter is in the nineteenth chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew. That wisdom is defensible before an a priori rationalism or an a posteriori pragmatism. It is defensible speculatively and practically. Anything else written or spoken by man may be set aside or lost and we shall have all we need for the guidance of the human race in the words of Jesus Christ as set forth in that chapter. I have no criticisms of that

chapter either as to Greek text or translation. I take it as it appears in the accredited texts and in any of our commonly known translations or in the versions of any tongue. All these sources of information agree, and convey ideas easily and commonly understood in all their particulars.

The Scripture doctrine of divorce is very simple. After Christ’s handling of the law of Moses on divorce, nothing remained of it unless you except what is covered by Christ’s permission of divorce in case of adultery.

No other author in the New Testament treated of divorce a vinculo, i.e. divorce from the bond of matrimony with permission of marriage to another party. The better scholarship holds that Paul did not treat of such divorce at all; in fact, that Paul neither authorized nor encouraged any sort of divorce whatever.

Now I shall be told, “You give the traditional view.” To which I reply, “Suppose I do give that view, what of it?” What if, after examination had, I conclude that the traditional view is correct? It ought not to detract from the force of my opinion that some one else agrees with me; in fact, that there has been a consensus of judgment through the centuries, and that it has constituted the history of the Christian church from the earliest times. Is one’s opinion to be valued just because he disagrees with somebody or everybody els...

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