Volume XVI, NUMBER 6 (June, 2005)
Is There Truth On Every Bible Subject?
By J. T. Smith
Jesus said, “…If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). He also explained what constitutes truth. As He prayed to the heavenly Father in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” The truth of which Jesus spoke is not “relative” truth, it is “absolute” truth.
The Bible is our only source of moral and doctrinal instruction. It is very explicit in its instruction.
II John 1:9-11 “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”
Ephesians 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”
In the New Testament the words “darkness” and “light” are used respectively to represent sin and righteousness. Of God it is said, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5). Our fellowship with God is predicated on our walking in the light. I John 1:6-7 “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”
Adams – Warnock Exchange in May 5, 2005 Issue of Truth Magazine
The articles in the above mentioned issue of Truth Magazine are, in some respects, very enlightening –while on the other hand, they are very confusing.
Brother Mike Willis (editor of Truth Magazine) used almost as much space in his editorial as either of them used in their discussion. The first part of his article emphasized the long-standing friendship of Adams and Warnock. They are even grandfathers-in-law we are told. Hence, they are not going to allow their differences on this issue to interfere with their friendship or keep them from continuing to work together as members of the board with The Guardian of Truth Foundation and staff writers with Truth Magazine, so Editor Willis said. That just shows how wrong (?) one can be. All this time I thought fellowship and working together with others was predicated on teaching the truth and walking in the light – not on friendship. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (I Corinthians 1:10). One brother wondered “why brother Willis took so much space in his article. Was it an effort to prejudice the reader?”
Brother Warnock concluded his article by stating,
“There are good, honorable brethren for whom I have the utmost respect, who disagree with some of the things I have written in this article who are not contentious nor divisive. I believe the feeling is mutual. Let brotherly love continue.”
Now, what does that mean? Does “let brotherly love continue” mean that simply because some brethren who are teaching the truth on the subject are willing to fellowship one who is teaching error that we should all do likewise? Brethren who practice error have nearly always been willing to make concessions and fellowship those who hold to the truth. It is a compromise in order to be in fellowship. According to the above statement by brother Warnock, if one is not willing to have fellowship with him, he is “contentious and divisive.” The surprise is that since brother Adams has stated that what brother Warnock is teaching is false doctrine (“mental divorce” – a “putting away” when adultery is committed LONG AFTER THE MARRIAGE HAS BEEN DISSOLVED, SUNDERED) that he is willing to fellowship brother Warnock. Is it because of friendship or being grand-fathers-in-law or both?
It seems that I recall this is not what happened when Truth Magazine’s editor and staff writers were “taking the hide” off of Ed Harrell, et. al. who were still willing to have fellowship with brother Homer Hailey even though he was teaching false doctrine. (I also recall that brother Harrell and others used the same argument – the covering, evening Lord’s supper, etc. in an effort to try to prove fellowship with Hailey o.k. Editor Willis didn’t “buy it” then. Now he is making the same argument).
Brother Mike Willis in his conciliatory editorial said:
“How can those who are such vocal critics of those associated with Truth Magazine on the ‘mental divorce’ issue participate in lectureships with those who condemned brethren for drawing a line of fellowship against Homer Hailey, conduct meetings with congregations where the editors of Christianity Magazine work, and ignore others who also have acknowledged their agreement with the position brother Patton espoused in the Phillips-Patton discussion.”
(This discussion took place in Searching the Scriptures between H. E. Phillips and Marshall Patton on the “mental divorce” subject—jts).
In this regard, Editor Willis also asks the question,
“I wonder if brother Harrell has a file full of letters canceling subscriptions and gospel meetings because of his 1988 endorsement of brother Patton?”
I call the reader’s attention to the title of this article. Has God given us instruction we can understand on the subject of divorce and remarriage? Out of the twelve or fifteen positions that are espoused by brethren there is just one that is true. Yes there is and we can understand it. In fact, it takes expert help and much human reasoning to misunderstand it. I believe brother Adams’ position is true to the teaching of the Scriptures. If it is, then the position brother Warnock has espoused is error and those who follow his teaching, when they divorce and marry another, will be living in adultery.
Brother Willis then goes back and dredges up all of the things over which brethren have disagreed in times past (head covering; going to war; Lord’s supper on Sunday evening, etc.). I have only had one preacher publicly say that my wife was going to hell because she didn’t wear a covering on her head. I debated him twice. What if we are wrong in fellowshipping each other on these subjects? Do two wrongs make a right? Clearly the doctrine taught by Warnock, Hailey, Reeves, Halbrook, Cavender and others is wrong. Why bring all of these other issues up when the discussion is on this one subject – unless it was to “muddy the water.”
Brethren I get weary of all the “politicking” and “the party spirit” that goes on among brethren. The party spirit among brethren is a work of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-20 RSV “Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit…” If you are a part of a certain “clique” and you teach error or do something wrong nothing is said. If you are not, get a soft place for your head to land for it is going to be brought to the old “chopping block.”