By Jeff Belknap 

The following are a few of the many documented quotes of brother Ron Halbrook’s teaching, in which he advocates a second (mental divorce) “putting away”: 

“Next, a man may have enough regard for social convention that he will not go to bed with the ‘cute little thing’ he wants rather than his wife; therefore, he may divorce his wife, then marry the ‘cute little thing,’ thus going to the bed of adultery. Once again, the original marriage bond stays intact under divine law until he commits adultery against his wife; his legal steps do not dissolve the bond put in place when God joined them together (Matt. 19:9). Since his true wife remains faithful to the marriage bond, she & she alone has the right to repudiate the marriage under divine law. She may scripturally do so even when she is not able to do so legally because of legal steps taken by the treacherous husband.”  Ron Halbrook

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But divorce in civil court + fornication = socially acceptable ADULTERY!  It is still adultery against the innocent mate just as described in Mk 10:12.  According to this argument, if the fornicator can get his legal papers before fornicating, he can preclude the innocent mate from exercising the divine prerogative of putting away the guilty party & marrying another. By this argument, the innocent party would thus commit adultery!?!?” Ron Halbrook   

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[Also, please click the link below to read  An Examination of Mark 10:11-12:

Regarding brother Halbrook’s doctrine (above), notice what he himself said brothers Mike Willis and Harry Osborne stated about his teaching: 

“Brother Pickup made me aware a couple of years ago that it is being widely reported that Mike Willis and I differ in doctrine on this.  As I left home to come, I sent my manuscript to two people for proofreading purposes by computer. After their proofreading it, not only they helped get the corrections done, but also I received this statement from MIKE WILLIS: ‘This is to affirm that I have read brother Halbrook’s material. I agreed with him that our differences on how to treat one whose mate is guilty of FORNICATION FOLLOWING A DIVORCE which he tried to avoid is a difference of judgment in the realm of application of the one law of divorce and remarriage and NOT THE TEACHING OF ANOTHER LAW.’ HARRY OSBORNE made in essence the same statement.  Those are the two who proofread it for me” (emp. jhb). Ron Halbrook [Towards A Better Understanding  (False Teachers, Ron Halbrook’s Rebuttal to Bob Owen (pgs. 34-35); ]

Ron says his “application” is “of the ONE LAW of divorce and remarriage” (Mt. 19:9; emp. jhb).  Moreover, he stated that although there are some “differences,” Mike and Harry are in complete agreement with this assessment! 

[Ron’s teaching may well fall within the “one law” – as defined by man (“Marriage is for one woman and one man for life, the only exception being that an innocent mate may put away a spouse guilty of fornication and have a right to marry another”).  However, it does not comply with the ONE LAW as defined by Jesus in Matthew 5:32; 19:9; and Luke 16:18.] 

Obviously, by Mike’s and Harry’s statement that they differ on how to treat a person in Ron’s cited scenario, we realize that they are not talking about whether to treat them with gentleness or with sternness.  They are talking about differences regarding the ability of such a person to employ / accomplish a post-civil-divorce “putting away” for the cause of fornication that was committed after the (civil) divorce.   


  1) Sue is unscripturally and unwillingly divorced by Bob, when no fornication has been   

      committed by either party.

+2) Sue remains pure and continues to hope for Bob’s return.

+3) Bob later remarries another.

=4) Sue is now “scripturally authorized” to employ a post-civil-divorce “putting away” for the    

      cause of Bob’s fornication, which he committed after he civilly divorced Sue.  

* In brother Halbrook’s view, after these steps, Sue would be authorized to remarry another after her post-civil-divorce “putting away” for Bob’s post-civil-divorce fornication.  As evidenced by Ron’s quotes above, he believes that all this is authorized in Matthew 19:9.   


  1) Sue is unscripturally and unwillingly divorced by Bob, when no fornication has been

      committed by either party.

+2) Sue remains pure and continues to hope for Bob’s return.

+3) Bob later remarries another.


=4) Scriptural authorization cannot be found for Sue to employ a post-civil-divorce “putting

      away” for the cause of Bob’s fornication, which he committed after he civilly divorced Sue.   

Verification that Mike claims to hold this view is taken from an e-mail letter that he wrote to me on 8/10/01:

“I am consistently teaching that the only cause for divorce that gives one the right to remarriage is fornication. I am consistently teaching that anything that happens after the divorce cannot be the cause of the divorce” (emp. jhb).  (CLICK HERE to view the whole letter in its context.) 

Proof that Harry also claims to hold this view is supported by the following excerpt of an e-mail letter to me by Harry, dated 4/15/01: 

There are, however, principles which show us what is involved in biblical putting away, sundering of the marriage or the other synonyms used in Scripture. As I have already stated, that is the only time “putting away” takes place. If fornication has not preceded it as the cause, no one has the right to remarry. The cause cannot occur later and be attributed back to the sundering of the marriage nor can a second sundering (putting away) take place for a later cause (emp. jhb).  (CLICK HERE to view the whole letter in its context.)            

* Note that after the 4th step, in Mike’s and Harry’s view, Sue cannot be viewed as one who “put away” Bob for fornication and has a right to remarry, because his fornication did not precede the sundering of the marriage.  This would render Sue as still bound to Bob and thus, any remarriage to another would constitute ADULTERY (Rom. 7:2-3).  

Thus, if Harry and Mike do not accept Ron’s premise that the “innocent party” may achieve a (post-civil-divorce) “putting away” for post-civil-divorce fornication, then they cannot recognize subsequent marriages in such cases as anything but ADULTEROUS.   

This inevitable conclusion is irrefutable.  If you think the point can be consistently and logically argued otherwise, please do so for my eternal benefit, as well as for a host of many other interested and conscientious souls. 

Brother Halbrook’s Sue winds up being in a so-called lawful remarriage; but Mike and Harry say that Sue cannot employ the post-civil-divorce “putting away” because the “cause” did not occur until after the marriage was sundered.  Consequently, the inescapable conclusion is that she cannot remarry without becoming guilty of ADULTERY (Mt. 19:9b; Rom. 7:3). 

This all boils down to Ron’s condoning of a remarriage that Mike and Harry, of necessity, must view as adulterous.  Yet, these brethren all agree that they are UNITED upon God’s “ONE LAW” for divorce and remarriage???  Brethren, this is very confusing to me. 

Is God the author of such confusion (I Cor. 14:33)? Can God’s “one law” end in both a lawful and an adulterous remarriage under the same circumstances?  “Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (Jas. 3:11-12).  Either these brethren have not thought their differences through to their unavoidable conclusions, or they must think we are pretty gullible! 

Moreover, if brother Ron’s “application” falls under God’s “one law of divorce and remarriage,” then why will he not honorably and openly defend his theory in the light of TRUTH (I Thess. 5:21)?  

[ Debate invitation, which brother Halbrook continues to ignore, is posted at:

Although Mike and Harry defend fellowship with Ron’s “application,” they have denied agreement with it and continually refuse to discuss his actual teaching (as outlined in his quotes above).  However, if they want us to fellowship RON’S doctrine, then the only scriptural way they can hope to accomplish that goal is to convince us with a book, chapter and verse that RON’S “application” does not violate the Lord’s teaching regarding those who are put away (II Cor. 5:11).  Instead, they seem to want us to just place our souls on the line by blindly trusting their word that this is an “application” which can be fellowshipped, even while they disagree with it. 

Because I - and many others - cannot conscientiously condone fellowship with a doctrine that we believe leads to adultery, we have been accused of being “divisive” and “binding” what God has not bound – both of which would be sinful, if true (II Tim. 3:3; cf. Rev. 12:10).  In addition, I have been called upon “to quit treating matters that belong in Romans 14 in the category of 2 John 9-11” (see above link to E-mail letter from Mike Willis). Yet, while these brothers’ words show that they perceive their brethren as standing in NEED of “scriptural instruction,” they have shut up their bowels of compassion towards us (I Jn. 3:17-18).  Their lack of scriptural love is manifested by their refusal to show us “the way of God more perfectly” as it specifically pertains to fellowship with Ron’s “application.”  

Rather than simply “give an answer” (I Pet. 3:15) regarding the real issue, their continued effort has been to divert the discussion to post-civil-divorce “putting away” for pre-civil-divorce fornication.  If you think Ron, Mike, or Harry have publicly dealt with the real issue of contention (“how to treat one whose mate is guilty of FORNICATION FOLLOWING A DIVORCE which he tried to avoid”), I invite you to point out where, and I will be glad to post the material (or a link to it).    

While Ron, Mike and Harry chided the associates of Christianity Magazine and pleaded for open discussion of the Hailey and Romans 14 errors, they seem to think themselves above having to biblically defend their own teaching and fellowship practices (Mt. 7:1-5; Rom. 2:1-3).  It seems that they want us to simply close our eyes to the indisputable (and undisputed), black-and-white evidence of Ron Halbrook’s erroneous teaching.  They have “no comment” when presented with damning quotes by Ron, with whom they defend fellowship.  They expect us to just take their word that they all agree upon and teach the “one law of divorce and remarriage.”

Jesus stated, “…Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.” Matthew 19:9   

 God’s ONE LAW For A Lawful Remarriage
(Mt. 19:9)

Marriage / Fornication / Put Away For The Cause / Remarriage 

Ron’s LAW
Marriage / Unscriptural Divorce / Fornication /

SECOND (Post-Civil-Divorce) “PUTTING AWAY” / Remarriage 

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3



God’s ONE LAW 
(Mt. 19:9b)

“…and whoso marrieth her which is put away
commit adultery.” 

Ron’s LAW
“…and whoso marrieth her which is put away
NOT necessarily commit adultery.”

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3



 God’s ONE LAW

For The Put Away AFTER An UNlawful Divorce
(Mt. 5:32; 19:9; Lk. 16:18
; I Cor. 7:11; cf. Rom. 7:3)


Ron’s LAW

Unlawful Divorce / Fornication / SECOND DIVORCE / REMARRIAGE 

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” Amos 3:3


Cp. w. Acts 20:29-31, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (emp. jhb).

Cp. w. II Cor. 11:3-4, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus (cf. II Jn. 9-11), whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit (cf. I Jn. 4:1, 5-6), which ye have not received, or another gospel (cf. Gal. 1:6-10), which ye have not accepted, YE MIGHT WELL BEAR WITH HIM” (emp. jhb).  

Cf. II Jn. 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” (emp. jhb). 

Cf. I Jn. 4:1-6, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world…5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (emp. jhb).

Cf. Gal. 1:6-10, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (emp. jhb).

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Last Updated:  Thursday, January 26, 2006 12:41 PM