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Book Review – “Is It Lawful?”

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Is It LawfulThe topic of divorce and remarriage is messy and emotional. God hates divorce, and we know why. Anyone who has gone through divorce, has felt the consequences of divorce in their family, or has counseled someone wrestling with the horror of divorce, knows how tragic and heartbreaking the subject is.

I have found the book Is It Lawful? A Comprehensive Study Of Divorce to be an absolutely invaluable book on the subject. In fact, I would venture to say that – after the Bible – this is the best book on the subject of divorce, and remarriage I have ever seen. The various contributors of the book approach the matter of divorce and remarriage, along with many specific situations sometimes encountered, with honesty and courage. 

If you’re like me, you want to see the chapter contents after such a strong recommendation. Below is the book’s table of contents:

Considering: Proper Attitudes
1. Attitudes Needed in Approaching This Study

Considering: Pertinent Passages
2. Genesis 2:18-25
3. Deuteronomy 24:1-4
4. Matthew 5:31-32
5. Matthew 19:1-12
6. Mark 6:14-29
7. Mark 10:1-12
8. Luke 16:18
9. Romans 7:1-4
10. 1 Corinthians 7:1-40

Considering: Principles
11. Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage: What the Scriptures Teach
12. What Constitutes Marriage?
13. What Constitutes Divorce?
14. The Meaning of “Fornication”
15. The Meaning of “Adultery”
16. Unlawful Marriages: What Does Repentance Require?
17. Marriage is Not “Binding”
18. Divorce Without Scriptural Cause is Sinful
19. Who can Receive This Teaching? 

Considering: Points of Controversy (Extra Restrictions)
20. Is There No Exception To Allow Divorce?
21. Women and Divorce
22. Remarriage: Two Situations
23. The “Innocent Party” 

Considering: Points of Controversy (Non-Christians Not Restricted)
24. Can Baptized Adulterers Keep Their Unlawful Spouses?
25. Remain in That Calling Wherein Called
26. A Summary of James Bales’ Not Under Bondage
27. “But to the Rest Say I, Not the Lord”
28. Summary of James Bales’ The Scope of the Covenants
29. God’s Rule and God’s Covenants
30. Law in the Heart
31. What About “Internal” and “External” Laws?
32. Rights Verses Responsibilities
33. “Not Under Bondage” 

Considering: Points of Controversy (“Guilty Party” Not Restricted)
34. One Free – Both Free?
35. May the Put-Away Fornicator Remarry?
36. Does Divorce for Fornication Free the Guilty?
37. “Are You Loosed?” 

Considering: Points of Controversy (“Innocent Put-Away Party” Not Restricted)
38. Can You Put Away the Put-Away?
39. The Rights of an Innocent Put-Away Person
40. Have the Passive Verbs of Matthew 5:32 Been Mistranslated? 

Considering: Points of Controversy (No One Restricted)
41. When Does Adultery Occur?
42. Is it Unreasonable and Unscriptural?
43. Are All Marriages Holy?
44. Does “Let Them Marry” Pertain to All Divorcees?
45. “The Husband of One Wife”
46. Emotions and Situation Ethics Verses God’s Marriage Law 

Considering: Practical Concerns
47. Preparing for Successful Marriages
48. “Daddy Won’t Be Coming Home”
49. Considering the Consequences of Adultery
50. Casualties of Divorce
51. Marriage, Divorce and Fellowship 

This is a must-have book for every elder and preacher who inevitably will be dealing with these issues. It is also the book for every Christian who is currently facing the matter of divorce within his/her own family.

Originally published in 1989, it has been reprinted this year (2013) by DeWard publishing. Though only in soft-cover, the quality of the book is very good.

Be warned: If you do not love truth (1 Cor. 13:6; John 14:6; Rom. 2:8), this book is not for you. Perhaps you are looking for arguments to excuse or minimize an unscriptural marital arrangement – in which case, move along. Is It Lawful? is for those who are willing to serve the Lord at whatever cost – for those who love Him with all of their being (Luke 10:27). “Buy the truth, and do not sell it” (Prov. 23:23). 

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One Response to Book Review – “Is It Lawful?”

  1. Emerson November 12, 2013 at 11:14 PM #

    I have a copy of this, and it has been very useful to me too.

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