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Divorce Myth, The [Paperback]

By J. Carl Laney & Charles Ryrie (Foreward By)
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Item Number 131082  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   160
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.98" Width: 5.28" Height: 0.46"
Weight:   0.44 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 1987
Publisher   Bethany House
ISBN  0871238926  
EAN  9780871238924  

Availability  85 units.
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Item Description...
The common asked question today is, "Should divorced people remarry?" With great compassion and warmth, Dr. Laney maintains that the more fundamental question with which Christ dealt is, "Should people be divorced?" His purpose is to draw the church up short against the runaway divorce epidemic with a theology of marriage. Challenging the church on the subject of divorce and remarriage, the author carefully builds evidence from scripture and from cultural and historical data for a no-divorce/remarriage position. Not everyone will agree with Laney, but it deserves the careful attention of all who are genuinely concerned about the divorce issue.

Publishers Description
The commonly asked question today is, "Should divorced people remarry?" With great compassion and warmth, Dr. Laney maintains that the more fundamental question with which Christ dealt is, "Should married people be divorced?" His purpose is to draw the church up short against the runaway divorce epidemic with a theology of marriage.Challenging the church on the subject of divorce and remarriage, the author carefully builds evidence from scripture and from cultural and historical data for a no-divorce/remarriage position. Not everyone will agree with Laney, but it deserves the careful attention of all who are genuinely concerned about the divorce issue.

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More About J. Carl Laney & Charles Ryrie

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. J. Carl Laney was educated at the University of Oregon (B.S. in Public Administration), Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (M.Div. in Biblical Literature), and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.D. in Bible Exposition). He has authored several books and many articles. Carl and his wife have three children and make their home in Potland, Oregon.

J. Carl Laney was born in 1948.

J. Carl Laney has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Everyman's Bible Commentary
  2. Spectrum Multiview Book Series Spectrum Multiview Book Serie

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary   [79254  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Parenting & Families > Family Relationships > Divorce   [505  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Relationships > Marriage   [0  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Topical   [1733  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
A difficult topic handled with both truth and love  Apr 16, 2008
There's no question that the subject of divorce is a hot potato in the church today. With the divorce rate among professing Christians actually WORSE than among unbelievers, it's an issue that affects nearly every congregation. I myself have two friends currently coping with the pain of pending divorces, and for them this is anything but a mere academic discussion!

In "The Divorce Myth" J. Carl Laney tackles the topic of divorce and remarriage with both compassion and a love for Biblical truth. He begins by discussing the foundations of marriage in Genesis, and continues through the Old Testament, concentrating on Moses' teaching in Deuteronomy as well as passages in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi.

He also covers Jesus' teaching in the Gospels and the teaching of Paul. This is really the meat of the book, and involves a discussion of what Jesus meant by the somewhat ambiguous phrase "except for fornication" in Matthew. Laney also deals with parallel passages in Mark and Luke, and discusses the reasons why the "exception clause" is left out of those two Gospels. Many will consider his views too narrow (he clearly swims against the tide of most evangelicals), but I found his reasoning to be based soundly on Scripture.

Laney closes the book by answering some objections to his view, and discusses how pastors should deal with the issue of divorce, both in counseling couples considering divorce and those who have already gone through it, demonstrating a genuine love for those who have been hurt.

Anyone who reads Laney's work should come away with a renewed respect for the institution of marriage, and have a godly fear of violating God's design for it. The book is fairly brief (in fact, I wish Laney had taken more time to deal with potential objections to his interpretations) and is written in a non-technical style. I recommend "The Divorce Myth" for anyone interested in what the Bible has to say about this issue. 4+1/2 stars.
A very good book  Sep 8, 2005
Wait a minute. The author says that in Mt 5:32 and 19:9 porneia = illicit marriage. To say that porneia must mean in both cases "any kind of inmoral sexual act", because the Bible gives us several meanings for the word porneia is a huge mistake. Just because the word "can" means " a usually cylindrical receptacle" should we say that this is the only meaning of the word and that it must mean only this everywhere we here or read this word?.Obvously Not. For Matthew porneia is something different that moikheia, adultery is quiet clear because he also uses these 2 words one after the other (Mt 15:18), telling us that they don't mean the same for him. To say that for Mt porneia can only mean "adultery", "any inmoral act" but not "illicit marriage" as in Qumran and rabbinic world is to run a great risk: to say no to what He really wanted to say. Porneia = illicit marriage. This is the only interpretation that is coherent with the clear NO that Jesus gave to divorce in Mk 10 and Lk 16:18.
Let me give you a ficticious example.
Johny is a christian and meets Laura who is also a christian. They fell in love and they get married. Time goes by, Johny finds that his wife is not as beautiful as before and knows Joana, and well, he finds her atractive in all the aspects. He decides that he deserves a second chance, and he commits adultery. He tells her wife "Things are not going right, I found someone else, and I have a relationship with this other woman, let's get the divorce, because my plans with Joana are for real. Jesus gives you the right". The wife gives him the divorce. Johny is free, that's what divorce is all about. He marries again (he surely elects a different pastor to perform the new marriage, or maybe not just to prove him that "this time is for real") and yes he can go to church the very next sunday with the new wife, who can be sure about his love, until maybe he finds once again that he was wrong and that the right one was Carla, Jeniffer and go on.
Did Jesus allow divorce for adultery? I don't think so, Jesus doesn't let anybody fool him. Let's not fool ourselves, if we want to avoid divorce let's not get married with wrong persons.

view point is the only one
The worst one out there. Filled with poor thinking.  Nov 17, 2004
a comment from another:
'modernists promoting divorce & remarriage.'.

This statement is half the problem. People simply cannot see past their own traditions to see grace and forgiveness.

Modernists are not promoting divorce and remarriage. They are attempting to heal the wounded using Gods grace.

This book has real scholarship problems. First it ignores lanquage scholars who clearly state Jesus's statement is a passive sentence.

'He who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her' is what he said. The sentence is passive. The object of the sentence is the former spouse, the wife. Not the next marriage.

In Jesus day, lke now, adultery had meaning other than a sexual act. It was idolatry, defilement, AND covenant breaking. This is what Jesus was referring to in his statement. Adultery AGAINST a wife. Men didn't feel they were sinning by getting divorced. Jesus said they were sinning by breaking covenant with their wives. Simple really.

The problem and contradictions began when the catholic church in the 1500's started reading this a sexual adultery. It is impossible to commit adultery sexually with a spouse. The bible makes it clear all sins are forgiven if you ask. Repentence is a change of heart. If a man destroys marriages, repentence is to stop destroying marriages and be faithful to his vows.

Remove the sexual aspect based on false assumption and the contradictions fade away. Jesus is consistent with Duet and the teaching of Paul.

Whats odd about the poor reasoning of the author is that he actually denies the words of Jesus and seems happy to do it.

Jesus says 'He who divorces' the author says can't divorce.

Jesus says 'and marries another' the author says can't marry another.

Timothy makes it clear, you deny marriage and your practicing a doctrine of devils.

Jesus was talking about the act of divorcing your wife as being adultery not the next marriage. Reason, logic, history, and the words of Jesus make this clear if one is not guided by a faulty tradition based on an untenable premise.

I feel genuine sorrow for those who have had a life tragedy occur and have the church pile on. thankfully most churches realize Gods grace and are not legalist and pharisee like. But based on this book and a few of the commentators, the boot of the pharisee is still with us.

Even more terrible is a few pharisee types, fortunately very few, actually promote divorce. Something universally seen as a bad event in our culture. They will tell people in good second or third marriages to get divorced. What a horrible, horrible miscarriage of grace. They actually encourage what God hates(divorce), practice a doctrine of demons by preventing marriage, and want others to commit adultery(covenant breaking) all while denying the words of Jesus.
It is truly evil and I hope those who have suffered this indignity will find a grace filled church of believers who accept the real meaning of Gods grace.
Interesting perspective....but not without clear problems  Sep 10, 2003
J. Carl Laney has written an important work here in this oft-sited book. In fact, the reason I decided to read this book at all was because it was quoted so many times in book, articles, etc. that I've read on this topic. Laney certainly makes some good arguments, but I also see some serious problems.

Laney starts out with a theology of marriage which is in general correct. However, he takes the leap when he claims that in regards to Genesis 2:24, "...the married couple becomes one in a mystical, spiritual unity" (p. 21). This he draws from the Hebrew root DBQ (transliterated Dabaq, translated something like 'cleaves' (KJV, etc.,) or 'clings' (JPS Tanakh)) in Genesis 2:24 which means "fig. of loyalty, affection etc., with idea of physical proximity retained..." (Brown, Driver, Briggs; Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament). The word has several variations to it's meaning, but in general, it's a close bond. However, nowhere in lexical evidence does the word equate with anything that implies a complete permanence. One variation of the word even means 'soldering' (BDB), but something that is soldered can most certainly be unsoldered. Jesus recognized this fact when he commanded that, "What God has joined, no one ought separate." To that, one must realize, "No moral teaching prohibits impossible actions" (Clark and Rakestraw, "Readings In Christian Ethics; 1996, p. 227). Based on his interpretation of this word (DBQ), Laney believes in the indissoluble union of a marriage. This then becomes the point of reference in regards to divorce for all of Laney's book.

When Laney starts talking about divorce, one of the first texts that he discusses is the ever-imporant-in-the-divorce-debate passage in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 about the Mosaic concession for a divorced woman to remarry. While he correctly states that this was "designed to protect the rejected wife and give her certain safeguard" (p.30), and gives three reasons, it forces him (although he doesn't admit it) to conclude that God gave divine approval for a certain sin: adultery through remarriage. Later he tried to cover up for this difficulty by claiming that this is a part of the 'progress of revelation' (p.109ff), and that it wasn't until the NT that God suddenly revealed that all remarriage is sinful. This is about as nonsensical as saying, "God used to expressly allow for men to lust after women, but when the NT finally came round, we learned different." If the marriage union is now indissoluble, it must have always been indissoluble. Furthermore, in Deut. 24:4, the first husband is recognized as the 'former' (KJV, NKJV, NAS, RSV, ASV, et. al.) husband, and if indeed they were still actually married, the woman OUGHT to go back to him, and not be denied that opportunity. This is not the case.

Approaching the famous 'exception' clause, Laney believes (and gives fairly decent support for) the idea that 'porneia' is talking about "[m]arriage within the prohibited relationships of Leviticus 18" (p.71), i.e., incestuous marriage. The problem with this? Both of the major schools at the time of Christ in this debate, the school of Shammai and the school of Hillel, who were most likely present when Jesus was asked the question about the debate, interpret porneia to mean adultery. Laney gives five flashy reasons why be believes that porneia cannot mean 'adultery,' but he fails to mention that this was the interpretation of the rabbinical schools at this time, and all the people aware of the debate. Therefore to reach Laney's conclusions, one must decide that Jesus was speaking a different language then the people, which is clearly ludicrous, especially since Laney believes in 'the doctrine of the perspicuity of scripture' that the bible is clearly written (p. 51). Wouldn't then Jesus himself at the time of the question speak in the language of the people? Or were they supposed to wait until the NT was written to finally see the clear picture?

In general, I believe that although I disagree with what much of what Laney says, that he does maintain a high level of compassion for those affected, especially near the end of the book. He believes that if people have remarried in ignorance of these biblical commands, that they should stay together but repent of the sin. He also believes that as soon as this repentance takes place, "the couple should be restored to full fellowship with the members of the church" (p. 125). However, when it comes to the role of elder/deacon, Laney again, I believe, goes off track. He starts out by pointing out that Leviticus states that the priests were not allowed to marry a divorced woman, which indeed it does (Lev. 21:7,14). He then wants to transfer this over to the New Testament in regards to qualifications to elders and deacons. The problem with this is that Laney is lifting one qualification out of a group of Levitical qualifications, which include not being blind or lame (vs. 18), not having a broken foot or hand (vs. 19) Regardless, Laney equates this Levitical qualification with the elder/deacon qualifications. His evaluation of the 'one woman man' of I Timothy 3:2, et. al., has some good points to it, but again, I believe that at points Laney goes overboard. Space prevents a discussion of this here - read it for yourself and decide.

I would recommend reading Samuel Chapman's review of this book in tandem with mine, as he hits on other important points that I haven't touched in this review.

beware this scripture twister  Jun 18, 2003
This is an EXTREMELY condemning word to those in abusive marriages. Basically, he teaches no divorce and no remarriage for any reason. He ended up here because he believes in the 'perspiscuity of Scripture' which means that what the Bible says is clear to a reader. These divorce verses are anything but clear as we have lost the 1st century context. He does do a good job of identifying some of the puzzles, but solves them like a Gentile, not a Hebrew. (Hint: The writers of the NT (except for Luke) were Hebrews.) For what the Bible really teaches about marriage and divorce, see David Instone-Brewer "Divorce and Remarriage: The Social and Literary Context" which shows how 1st century Jews would understand the words of Jesus and how Jews and Gentiles would understand the words of Paul.

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