The Stolen Horse and Those Divorced

The question sometimes comes up in the MDR discussion about the “horse.” And here it is: “If a man steals a horse and repents, then he cannot keep the horse and, therefore, if a man steals someone else’s wife and marries her he cannot keep her as his wife. Can he?”

My response:

1. If a man “steals” a wife like someone steals a horse…that is called “kidnapping” and those convicted of that crime go to jail!” (In the Old West they would “hang ’em.”) Stealing a horse does not prove/teach anything about divorce and remarriage except how ridiculous such a comparison is and how easy it is to influence/manipulate some who may be already prejudiced against those that have divorced and remarried.

2. Others may misunderstand what it means to get “hitched.” If we think a husband owns a wife like a man owns a horse then we have a problem with our concept of marriage.

3. A man’s horse does not cease to be his horse when his horse is stolen. The horse is still his. But a wife who is divorced does cease to be his wife. That is what divorce is! It is the termination of a marriage covenant! To make any sense out of this illustration one must say that a divorced woman is not really divorced but is still married (belongs) to the one who divorced her–which is not true and never has been. Since divorce actually ends the marriage covenant then no one can actually steal someone’s “divorced wife” because if she is divorced then she is no longer his wife. That is why it is not a sin for one who is “loosed from a wife” to marry. (1 Cor. 7:27-28).

4. If it were not for the “invisible clamp” or “mysterious mystical marriage magnet” that some religious people have “invented” that keeps a couple joined together that are quite obviously un-joined, then people would know that divorce and remarriage should not be equated with horse stealing. (I deal with some of that in Chapter Eleven of my book.)

5. Furthermore, a man is not in a “covenant relationship” with his horse but marriage involves an “agreement” and the will of both parties in order for it to be a marriage in the first place. See Chapter Seven in my book.

6. According to some, one could not keep a horse that had once belonged to someone else no matter what! And that simply is not true.

7. For example:

a. What if the horse turned on its owner and went absolutely wild and started kicking the owner and the owner could not do anything with him because he is a “wild” horse that she cannot tame? So the owner sends her horse away with a note around its neck, which reads, “I no longer want to be abused and kicked and pawed by this horse. If someone wants him, they can take him and they can have him—gladly! Later, a good woman finds the horse and decides to keep it. She later becomes a Christian. Can she keep the horse?

b. Suppose a horse owner simply decides to go out of the horse business and he abandons his horse out in the wilderness. A man who likes horses sees the abandoned horse, and decides to take the horse since it was abandoned and no longer has anyone to take care of it. He later becomes a Christian. Can he keep this horse?

c. Suppose someone owned a horse but he abused, starved and mistreated the animal for years and years. Finally, the “Humane Society” finds out about it and removes the horse. They later sell/give the horse to someone who will take care of it. The man who gets it later becomes a Christian. Can he keep the horse?

d. What if a man actually “stole” a horse and then when he goes to take it back, the man he stole it from decides to “give it” to the man who stole it because he does not want it back! The man who is given the horse then becomes a Christian. Can he keep the horse?

e. Suppose a man does not want his horse. He runs the horse off and refuses to have anything to do with the horse. He then sells his farm, moves to a foreign country, and people know nothing about his whereabouts. A man finds the horse lost, hungry, neglected and with no place to go. He takes the horse home, feed him and care for him. After years and years of riding the horse, taking care of the horse and treating him as his own, he learns about Jesus and become a Christian. What does he do with this horse?

8. Finally, those of us who have been/are guided or influenced by “horse stealing” illustrations may need reminding that we are not dealing with “horses,” but we are dealing with “hearts!” Some of those “hearts” have been abandoned or abused, mistreated and misused, rejected and run off, but have started over in a new relationship that is working for them and now they want the “healing” that coming to Jesus for salvation brings…but they surely do not want to “go through it again!” Others, who have sinned against marriage by committing abuse, abandonment or adultery against a faithful mate in the past want be forgiven and “start over” with the forgiveness that Jesus offers to all of us for the mistakes and sins of our past. But they cannot change the past any more than we can change ours…and to demand that they divorce the faithful mates that they love and are committed to in their present marriage is both “cruel” and “heartless”… as well as “sinful.” The Bible clearly says to “abide in the state” in which one is called (1 Cor. 7:17, 20, 24) which includes the marital state (1 Cor. 7:27-28). The “hurt” caused by bad marital choices or marital mistakes or sins against marriage are not healed by demanding more marital “hurt”…regardless of what one believes about “horse thieves.”

Wayne Dunaway

A Question about my book on MDR: “Eighty Times?”

Another question about by book on MDR is about “eighty times?”

One brother implies, “What you are saying in your book is that a person could have been divorced and remarried ‘eighty times’ and still be forgiven and keep the wife he is married to when he becomes a Christian!”

My response:

I really do not know where the “eighty” came from but the command to “Let each one remain in the same calling in which he is called” (1 Cor. 7:20) is what Paul had been commissioned by God to “ordain in all the churches” (1 Cor. 7:17). Does “remain in the same calling” include marriage? You decide. To me, the application is clear and the command later in this very chapter is plain: “Are you bound to a wife do not seek not to be loosed…” (1 Cor. 7:27). Note carefully that he did not ask are you bound to your “first” wife but are you bound to “a” wife. It seems to me that that would apply regardless of whether it was the first, second or eightieth.
Of course, we could do this “eightieth” thing with any subject. For example:

1. I believe that if a man had been guilty of unlawfully divorcing and remarrying “eighty” times when he comes to Jesus for salvation, then he needs to “repent” of that sin and stop divorcing and remarrying. I certainly would not tell him to make it “eighty-ONE” by divorcing the wife he is married to!

2. I believe that if a person murdered “eighty” people when he comes to Jesus for salvation he needs to “repent” and stop murdering people—and I certainly would not tell him to “make it eighty-one.”

3. I believe that if a man has committed fornication “eighty” times when he comes to Jesus for salvation he needs to “repent” and stop committing that sin.

4. I believe that if a man has told “eighty” lies when he comes to Jesus for salvation he needs to “repent” and stop lying.

5. And on and on and on…and on and on…..and on…the list could go. But of course the “eighty” would usually only be used when it comes to “divorce” and then the word “eightieth” can stir up the prejudice that already exists in the minds of some and that is probably why it would be used in many (perhaps most) cases. All of us who believe the Bible believe that unscriptural/unlawful divorce is wrong, whether it is done once or one hundred times. The issue in these cases is not whether or not people have done wrong or how many times they have done wrong in the past, but what do they do about it “after the fact?” Some obviously can live with telling them to “make it eighty-one” and divorce again. But not me! I teach them the same thing I understand Paul to teach which is, “as the Lord has called each one, so let him walk” (1 Cor. 7:17); and “let each one remain in the same calling in which he was called” (1 Cor. 7:20; and “let each one remain with God in that state in which he was called” (1 Cor. 7:24). Therefore, “Are you bound to a wife?” then I teach them “Do not seek to be loosed” (1 Cor. 7:27). Regardless of who may say it, how manysay it or how long it has been said, there is nothing in the Bible that teaches “divorced and remarried” people to divorce again when they come to Jesus for salvation! “Remain with God in that state” does not sound like “divorce your present mate”—at least not to me!

BY THE WAY: I believe that those of us who have refused to baptize/fellowship “eighty” couples involved in MDR and thus (in most cases) have turned them away from Jesus (and no telling how many others that those couples could have influenced to come to Jesus) can be forgiven and “go on from where we are”–just like every one else who has sinned (including those married, divorced and remarried)–when we come to Jesus (ask) for forgiveness. But “repentance” demands that we stop refusing to baptize/fellowship those who (like ourselves) have made mistakes (or misunderstood things) in the past that in many cases we cannot change now! God bless us everyone as we seek to follow His will for our lives as we understand it!Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

Let Us Draw Near to God…Here! In New Year!



1. There is a statement in the Bible made by a priest to king Saul, when Saul wanted to go fight the Philistines, in which the priest said: “Let us draw near to God here” (1 Sam. 14:36).
2. This is good advice for the church at Ohatchee: LET US DRAW NEAR TO GOD HERE…IN THE COMING YEAR!
3. In Acts 17:27 Paul assures us that God is “not far from each one of us.”
4. James teaches us to “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8).
5. But the question is: How do we do that? How do we draw near to God?
6. This will be our focus in this study. We will learn that in order to draw near to God we must:




A. We cannot draw near to God with realizing our need for Him.
B. Why would we seek to “Draw near to God” if we don’t realize how much we need Him?
C. David writes, “The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
D. The word “contrite” means “grieving and penitent for sin or shortcoming.”
E. Again and again the Bible speaks of how God blesses those with a “contrite” spirit. For example,

1. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. (Ps. 51:17).
2. For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “ I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit.(Isa. 57:15).

F. But how do we have a humble and contrite heart? Answer: By realizing how sinful we are and what sin does to the heart of God.
G. Remember that “God resists the proud,” but He assists the humble (James 4:6). Realizing and admitting our sinfulness and unworthiness helps us focus on our need for God.
H. As one song says, “Is it for me, dear Savior, Thy glory and Thy rest, For me so weak and sinful! O shall I be so blessed.”
I. Another song has these words, “I need Thee every hour, Stay thou near by, Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.”
J. Both the Pharisee and the tax collector went to the temple to pray, but only the tax collector was justified. Why? Because, unlike the self-righteous Pharisee, he prayed “God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk. 18:9-14).
K. It is alarming how many of us do not realize and, therefore, do not admit, how sinful we all really are.
L. Paul wrote “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).
M. We cannot draw near to God unless and until we realize how far we fall short of what He expects, and how much we need to be near Him.
N. Observe the Amplified Bible in 1 John 1:9-10:
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action]. If we say (claim) we have not sinned, we contradict His Word and make Him out to be false and a liar, and His Word is not in us [the divine message of the Gospel is not in our hearts].
O. Why would we need to “confess our sins” if we have no sins to confess? Why would God need to be “faithful and just to forgive us our sins” if we have no sins to be forgiven of? Why would He need to cleanse us from all unrighteousness if we were not guilty of unrighteousness? Actually not one of us conforms to God’s will in every purpose, thought, and action. “If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:10)
P. Of course, there are times when we do better than we do at other times. There are some commands easier for us to obey than others.
Q. For example,

1. I know what the Bible says about praying for my enemies (Matt. 5:44), but I must admit that I don’t always do that as I should.
2. I know that I should think on things that are true, noble, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report (Phil. 4:8), but I find myself sometimes thinking just the opposite.
3. I know that I should “Be anxious for nothing,” (Phil 4:6), but I find that, at times, that is much easier declared than demonstrated.

R. And, of course, there are numerous other areas in my life that I have problems practicing what I know to do. Like Paul said, “for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find (Rom. 7:18).
S. A Christian is a believing sinner with a “broken and contrite spirit.”
T. Men and women of “great faith” (Matt. 8:10) are those who realize “I am not worthy” (Matt. 8:8). They realize their need to be near the Lord Jesus.


A. In order to “Draw Near to God…here,” we must not only realize our need for God, but we also rely on the grace of God.
B. Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9).
C. Later, in the same chapter, he writes, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ (Eph. 2:13).
D. Observe that we are “brought near” by what God has done for us in Christ.
E. The Bible clearly says that it is through the “better hope” that Jesus provides that we “draw near to God.” Observe carefully the following verse from Hebrews 7:19: For the law made nothing perfect, and now a better hope has taken its place. And that is how we draw near to God.
F. When we have “full assurance of faith” in what Jesus has done for us, we can “draw near” to God. Again, from Hebrews:
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10:19-22).
G. We need to focus on the fact that we stand in a state of grace because of what Jesus has done (Rom 5:1-2). Therefore, we do not have to earn, or merit, or deserve the right to draw near to God and be in His presence…Jesus has taken care of that for us.
H. God gives “more grace” to those who are “humbled” by their grief over their sins and shortcomings. James 4:6 says, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “ God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
I. Paul stated it this way, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more…(Rom. 5:20).
J. We can draw near to God when we rely on the grace of God.


A. In order to “Draw Near to God…Here,” we must not only realize our need for God, and rely on the grace of God, but we must also respond to the will of God.
B. God has a plan and a purpose for every life. He has “dealt to each one a measure of faith” and “all the members do not have the same function” (Rom. 12:3-4).
C. There are some things that are required of us all. All of us need to pray, study, meditate, worship, etc. But God has a special work for each one as well.
D. God has “set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (1 Cor. 12:18).
E. He “distributes to each one individually as He wills” (1 Cor. 12:11).
F. The Bible clearly that God works in us “what is well pleasing in His sight” (Heb. 13:21).
G. But we are to humbly “submit to God” and seek His will for our lives (James 4:7-8).
H. The Psalmist wrote: the LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth (Psalm 145:18). We must call. We must respond to His will for our lives if we would draw near to Him.
I. I do not know what His will for your life may be, but I am reasonably sure that you do. And only you can do what you can do.
J. You may be the only one that God can use to successfully help certain others deal with the death of a loved one, or a dreaded disease, or children, or spouse, or ageing parents, or divorce, or disaster, or other problems people have. God sometimes comforts us in our tribulation, so we can comfort others (2 Cor. 1:3-4).
K. You may be the only one that God can successfully use to convert certain others or help others in other ways. But He has a purpose and plan for us all.

CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we need to know that God meant for His saints to be, “A people near to Him” (Ps. 148:14). He sent Jesus to die and make it possible. He has given us the pardon, power, and principles to make it happen. But we must, realize our need for God, rely on the grace of God, and respond to the will of God for our lives. It is then that we can truly “DRAW NEAR TO GOD HERE…IN THE COMING YEAR” You can call on God today by trusting in what Jesus has done and baptism into His name (Eph. 1:13; Gal. 3:26-27). Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

Love Songs I Like

What’s Love Got To Do With It? What’s love but a second hand emotion? Who needs a heart When a heart can be broken

Lost That Lovin’ Feeling Whoa, that lovin’ feeling You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling Now it’s gone, gone, gone,

All You Need Is Love All you need is love, All you need is love, love, love is all you need.

A hunk, a hunk of burning love. Just a hunk, a hunk a hunk of burning love.

Groovy Kind of Love Wouldn’t you agree, Baby you and me, We’ve got a groovy  Kind of love,

Love Me Tender Love me true, All my dreams fulfill, For my darling I love you, And I always will.

Unchained Melody Whoa! My love, my darling, I hunger for your touch. I need your love.

Never My Love You ask me if there’ll come a time, when I grow tired of you; never my love.

LOVE suffers long and is kind; LOVE does not envy; LOVE does not parade itself, is not puffed up;  does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;  does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. LOVE never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).

So HUSBANDS OUGHT TO LOVE their own wives as their own bodies; he who LOVES his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church  (Ephesians 5:28-29).

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. 4 Then they can urge the younger women to LOVE THEIR HUSBANDS and children, (Titus 2:3-4; NIV).

Wayne Dunaway