Statement of Clarification:
"The Forgotten Side of Romans 14"
Joe R. Price
My article entitled “The Forgotten Side of Romans 14” has been received with mixed reviews. Some have expressed thanks for a timely study of God’s word on a needed topic. Others have expressed concern over it, seeing potentially “dangerous conclusions that could have been drawn” from it. Some have gone beyond expressing concern to drawing conclusions which I did not state nor intend. I always want to teach God’s word as clearly as possible and never want to be responsible for someone misunderstanding God’s word. So, I offer this statement of clarification in view of lingering doubts about what this article teaches concerning Romans 14.
Following this statement is an Addendum that specifically addresses what I believe and teach on “mental divorce.”
I have also inserted hyperlinks in the body of the article to additional study material so that the truth of God on marriage, divorce and remarriage and on Romans 14 is clearly understood and not diluted. For an extensive study on Romans 14, please see my online sermon, Romans 14 and the Scope of Fellowship.
The point of the article, “The Forgotten Side of Romans 14,” is that Romans 14 is practical and relevant today. I developed the boundary of its relevancy in the second paragraph by stating:
“Romans 14 does not sanction unity in doctrinal and moral diversity (2 Jno. 9-11; Gal. 1:6-10; 1 Cor. 4:6, 17 and other verses expose this error). It is wrong to conclude that all areas of application fall into the realm of judgment.”
I do not know how to say it any clearer than this: No doctrinal or moral error, including error on marriage, divorce and remarriage, is protected by Romans 14.
A list of differences on marriage, divorce and remarriage is quoted in this article to illustrate some of the differences that exist among brethren on this subject. The article simply noted that these differences exist. I did not state that all these items go into Romans 14. I do not believe it, and it was never my intention for anyone to conclude that all of these items belong in Romans 14. I am saddened some concluded this from my article.
As I said in the next to the last paragraph of “The Forgotten Side of Romans 14,” the point and purpose of the article is that we must be “willing and able to distinguish between the revealed truth of the gospel and personal scruples.”
I did not say nor did I intend to imply that all the things in the list of differences over divorce and remarriage go into Romans 14. Hopefully, this answers every dangerous and erroneous conclusion that some might draw from this article.
In love of the truth,
Joe R. Price
January 26, 2005
The following is personal correspondence I had in October, 2004 with an eldership concerning my article, “The Forgotten Side of Romans 14,” and is placed here with their knowledge and permission. It serves to clarify what I believe and teach on “mental divorce.” –Joe Price
Subject: RE: Article on Rom. 14
We are in receipt of and have read your article entitled, “The Forgotten Side Of Romans 14.” We need to ask you two questions:
(1) What is your conviction on the issue generically called “mental divorce”? and (2) Is it your conviction that “mental divorce” properly belongs in Romans 14?
Joe, we urgently need your response. Please e-mail said response to...
Subject: Re: Article on Rom. 14
From: Joe R. Price <email@example.com>
Thank you for your post and your questions. I am happy to answer them, and am sorry for any lack of clarity my article has caused.
>>(1) What is your conviction on the issue generically called “mental divorce”? <<
I have always preached against “mental divorce” and will continue to do so. Some may hastily put such a “tag” on me as a result of this article,
but they would be mistaken. Fornication is the cause for which one may put away their mate (Matt. 19:9). If a marriage is sundered for another cause,
there is no right of remarriage should fornication occur later (Matt. 19:6, 9; 1 Cor. 7:10-11). I have always taught this, and will continue to do so.
In no way did I intend to suggest otherwise in the Romans 14 article.
You also asked:
>>(2) Is it your conviction that “mental divorce” properly belongs in Romans 14?<<
No, brethren, it is not my conviction. I do not believe this is what I said in my article. I do not believe “mental divorce” is a matter of spiritual or moral
indifference (Matt. 5:32; 19:9). If someone else has suggested to you that I believe it belongs in Romans 14, they are mistaken.
As I noted near the beginning of my article, matters of doctrinal and moral import do not belong in Romans 14 (see paragraph 2),
and that includes those surrounding marriage, divorce and remarriage. As I am writing this post, I recall preaching a lesson on Romans 14
there at ________ a couple of years ago. I don’t know if it was recorded, but I continue to teach and believe the same thing now that I preached then.
If memory serves me, I have those notes and charts if you want a copy of them.
I hope this helps. I will be glad to discuss any of this with you further should you deem it necessary. God bless and keep you in His good care.
Subject: Re: Article on Rom. 14
Thanks for your prompt reply to our questions. I appreciate the directness of your answers. I would like your permission to give this to others who have questioned your positions. I believe your answers should be made known and that this would clarify a number of things.
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