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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2002
"Divorce. A Gift of God's Love", Walter Callison, Leathers Publishing, 4500 College Blvd., Leawood, KS 66211.
In today's society divorce is common and accepted. In Christian circles it is just as common, but hardly accepted. The reason being that Matthew 5:32 (KJV) and Malachi 2:16 (KJV) speak against divorce as being prohibited by God. Callison argues logically and forcefully that this is not so. He marshals the language, the culture of the day, Moses' law, as well as the teaching of Jesus, to show that divorce and remarriage both are permitted of God.
Granted that this is not what God originally intended for marriage, as He ordained it, but also acknowledging the humanness of mankind and his sinfulness. Therefore, God made allowances for divorce and remarriage. The problem, as interpreted by many, using the King James Version of the Bible, is flawed in the translation. Callison argues from both the Greek and Hebrew that God hated a man "putting away" his wife, rather than giving her a "bill of divorcement". Therefore, though she was separated from him, she was still legally married. This is what Jesus detested, since if she remarried she was living in adultery. But, if a man gave her a "bill of divorcement" then she was legally divorced and now free to marry again. The mistranslation of Matthew 5:32 (KJV) in which in the last phrase the word "divorced" should read "put away" is what caused the problem among Christians.
Callison clarifies the whole problem with his clear and forceful argument, which is Biblically sound. He points out that other translations have made the correction in the Matthew passage, which should clarify any misunderstanding.
His conclusion is that God accepted divorce, when done properly according to the law, and freed up to remarry. This, as he so cogently points out, is the gift of God's love and grace. Properly understanding the biblical way should be a comfort to all Christians who are experiencing or have gone through divorce and have remarried, or are contemplating it.
This review was published in the ASK, inc., Minneapolis, MN NEWSLETTER (3rd Quarter, 2002) by John H. Stoll, Ph.D., Executive Director. Used by permission.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2002
I was touched by the real life senerios used in this book about what happens to divorced couples, especially those who have served God all their lives. God can and does still use those who are divorced. Divorce is not the unpardonable sin. God still loves you.
The explaination of the terminology used in the Bible is something that should be consided by all religions. The ability of one to serve God in a religious capacity because they have been divorced should be reconsidered by all religions.
I enjoyed reading about God's love for me. No matter what I have done, he has forgiven me if I only ask Him to.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2003
This fella knows of which he speaks.
The misstranslation he speaks of is so obvious and has been printed about quite a few times. Understanding the difference between 'putting away' and legal divorce makes a huge difference in understanding the teaching in the bible. Divorce is terrible but it is a rememdy to sin.
Fundamentalist preachers and teachers that argue to the negative are usually doing so with faulty ammunition, the verses they are using are misstranslated so the arguments they struggle to make are generally laughable. Ewxcept they aren't. They cause real world pain and suffering to otherwise good God fearing Christians who need the love of the church and God to heal. They are the modern day Pharisees.
The funny thing is, even with the misstranslation, MOST modern scholars are coming to understand that the traditional church teaching has been in error. One must wonder how many the church has damaged due to this. Common sense should dictate if a mate deserts the other for another, the one left behind should be able to pursue happiness. Jesus would say go and sin no more, live abundantly.
Sadly, the modern pharisee only condemns.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2008
I typed this up for another site where the controversy rages and hoped I could offer it here without being redundant in respect to what others have submitted.

The word translated "putting away" in Malachi 2:16 is not keriythuwth, the Hebrew word for divorce, but is shalach. See Malachi 2:14-16 in the American Standard Version, 1901, (google for this ). The practice of putting away was cruel and adulterous, but it was not a legal divorce. It was much worse for it ignored the wife's welfare. She was cast aside and not lived with as a true spouse. (It can apply to both genders).

Scholars today say you can make no distinction between the two words because they were used synonymously. Yes, they were by hard-hearted men. That is what Deut. 24:1-2 and Matt. 19:7-8 were all about. They are not synonymous words; they are actually antonymous. They are the difference between slavery and freedom for one-half of humanity, women, (or as happens in our society, either gender)

Many of us have heard numerous sermons on "God Hates Divorce" based on this passage in Malachi on "putting away." My thought is that God wants the situation legal. If you are living together, you should be legally married. If you are not living with each other as true spouses, then make it legal by getting divorced so that real marriage can occur with someone else.

In Leviticus 21:14, 22:13, and Numbers 30:9, some isolated references to divorced women. The word translated divorce in all these cases is another word, the Hebrew word garash, meaning "to drive out from a possession," and was divorce only in the sense that the women had been driven out. The word used is the very same word used repeatedly in Exodus 6:1, 23:28, 29, 30, 31, 33:2, 34:11, when the Bible spoke of driving out the Canaanites and Hivites from the land. It also, like shalach, is a harsh word, "to thrust out," containing none of the protection for women of Deut. 24:1-3, and the word for written divorce, keriythuwth, in her hand.

Luke 16:18, Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery. The New Testament word translated "put away" is a form of the Greek word, apoluo. It is the Greek word apostasion which is the technical term for a bill or writing of divorce as far back as 258 BC. Again, many, who are hard-hearted, and don't believe in the rights of both spouses, use these two terms as synonyms. The distinction between "put away" and "divorce" between these Greek words is critical. Apoluo dismissed the woman, but left her married, put away, with no rights, no recourse, and deprived of the basic right to monogamous marriage. Apostasion ended marriage and permitted a legal subsequent marriage.

In 1611, the KJV inconsistently translated apoluo in Matt. 5:31-32,"...and marrieth her that is divorced committeth adultery. In the New Testament, forms of apoluo appear 69 times but only in this one instance, (in KJV) is it translated divorce. If it had been translated in harmony with the rest of the KJV, it would say, "And whosoever shall marry her who has been put away (or abandoned or dismissed, etc.) committeth adultery."

The Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text, Matt. 5:32b reads, "And whosoever marries a woman who is separated, but not divorced, commits adultery." Luke 16:18b reads, "He who marries the one who is illegally separated commits adultery." This translation highlights the misunderstanding made possible by that inconsistent KJV translation of Matt. 5:32.

The translation error was corrected in the American Standard Version of the Bible, 1901. Imagine overcoming 270 years of reading "divorced". that 1611 KJV mistranslation in this one instance has so dominated our thinking that virtually all modern translations say "divorced," not just in that one place, but in ALL 11 places. They completely ignore the correction provided by the 1901 American Standard Version, and ignore the distinction between the two words.

With "divorced" in our minds instead of "separated, but not divorced" or "put away" we have assumed that anyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery. We have assumed "divorced" was said in these passages when in every instance the Greek text actually says "put away." Would our theology be different today is that word had been translated "put away?"

I haven't looked at the NASV on this subject. In Young's Analytical Concordance, the following verses use "putting away." or apoluo

Mtt.1:19, 5:31,32, (but not at the end of the verse), 19:3, 7,8,9,9, Mark 10:2,4,11,12, Luke 16:18, 18(compare this to Matt. 5:32

In the Old Testament, shalach, "to send forth" is found in
Deut. 22:19, Isaiah 50:1, Jer. 3:1, 8

Mt. 19:9
Whosoever shall put away (separate from) his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is put away (separated) committeth adultery.

This verse says nothing about WHY one can get divorced. It simply says not to marry someone who is (separated) not legally divorced.

It told the men that they had to obey rules, just like the court does with my ex-husband today.

You have to read it with the use of the phrase putting away, which is in the original and which you will NOT find in most modern translations.

Part of our problem here is that we can't allow for the possibity that our beloved theologians could be wrong.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I've decided to come back and modify my review. I still stand by what I said before/below, but I want to add this... I am currently deciding whether to loan my copy of this book to a friend... or to buy a copy for my friend. I've never done that with a book I'd rate a 3 (as I originally did). I have come to respect and agree with the authors academic points. As a result I believe his comments to the "Church" really should be listened to. I agree... collectively we(the church) have not treated divorced people properly (with the love they deserve).
All of this reinforced my position that this book deserves a 5 on the level of emotional healing that it brought me, and can bring to others.

That said, below is my original review:
First let me say,
I would have given this book a 5 on the level of emotional healing that it brought me.
I would have given this book a 4 on the level of academic novelty... novelty from the perspective of presenting something new (to me), with a basis presented in reason, rather than touchy-feely emotion. The book has it's emotional side, which is tied into why I would have given the 5 mentioned above.
I (originally) gave it a 3 because I feel the author found one thing to say and said only that, with brief moments of new spin. To be honest, I felt that this 111 page book could have been writen in 40-50 pages, and would have been of greater value because of it. It would have made it less boring by making it less repetative.
All that said... If you are thinking of divorce, or know a christian who is thinking of it, or someone who is guilt-riden because of their divorce... This book is worth buying... because of the healing aspect I 1st mentioned!
The author should consider coming out with a companion booklet (15-20 pages), that could present just the healing/comforting side (a brief comment about the Hebrew and Greek, and the real life and scriptural examples of God's love).
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2007
This book presents a revolutionary, yet simple thesis on the Bible's teaching about "divorce." For too many years churches have burdened divorced individuals with the feeling that they are somehow now "disqualified" because of it. Divorce has been treated as an almost "unpardonable sin." Callison's book dispells this attitude and belief by simply pointing out the translations of the O.T. Hebrew words and the N.T. Greek words used for "bill of divorce" and "putting away." It is a welcome message that should help countless divorced people regain the joy of their relationship with God.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 28, 2012
I ran across the article "Divorce, the Law, and Jesus" by the author. At first glance I struggled to understand the author's logic. While he made interesting points about the different words translated as divorce in our modern bibles, there did not seem to be a clear path to his conclusion that Matthew 5:32 had been mistranslated.

I picked up this book hoping for a further treatment, desperately seeking to find some missed insight into the biblical truth about divorce. Without a doubt, the church struggles with how to help people who have been divorced. Too often it scorns or shames them. Rarely does it seem like there is space to allow them to recover and to heal. Something does not sit well with where the modern church finds itself in regards to this issue.

Unfortunately, the book does little work to clear the logical fallacies of the article. The further the author contends that this is not about his issues, the more it seems clear that his own things are getting in the way of his pursuit of biblical truth. The author relays his feelings of dissatisfaction with the way he is expected to act by his faith tradition in various places in the book. His cognitive dissonance is on display and he seems to be earnestly struggling for an answer.

The reason for two stars instead of one is that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. An opportunity is here for someone to take some of the sub-points raised by the author and do some good work. A fuller explanation of how divorce was handled in the ancient world could shed a great deal of light onto the missteps we see in the church today. Too often the church is guilty of "putting away" the divorced person as the husband would have done in the Old Testament world. More work needs to be done here to help the church adequately minister to divorced people.
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on August 17, 2014
I read the article upon which this book is based, and it brought immense healing into my own life, as I went through a divorce. I went on to ask for permission to translate it into Portuguese and Spanish, and the author kindly allowed me to include it in my own book on the subject.

Pr. Callision brings a refreshing understanding through an academic study of the passages on divorce from their original languages. More than anything, he brings divorcees hope: that divorce is not the unpardonable sin and that we are not second-class citizens doomed to a life of loneliness because of what oftentimes was the result of someone else's sinful decision.

I am glad that I had the opportunity to thank Pr. Callison for his courageous study and stance on this difficult and delicate subject. I'm sure that it has freed many people to move on with their lives. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the Biblical positions on divorce, whether or not they agree with Pr. Callison.
Esly Carvalho, Ph.D.
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on December 25, 2012
Definitely an easy read. This book is a great encouragement to anyone who has been divorced. The author makes clear that the grace and love of God extends to those who are divorced and remarried; there is no condemnation from God as the church has traditionally taught.
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on June 15, 2010
Very informative and specific. It gave me the information that I was needing and validated all that it stated.
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