Jesus Said, “Doth” – Man Says “Doth Not!”
by Fred Seavers
“But the liberal position is, the fornicator can marry another and the deserted believer marry another.” Ron Halbrook (Halbrook - Freeman Debate - Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage; pg. 44).
I thought it appropriate for this short article to use this and other quotes out of the book that brother Halbrook personally gave me as a gift. I encourage everyone to read it. At this time (1990), and for this debate, he put forth the truth that a person who was divorced “not for fornication” had no right to remarry. It is odd that it is completely void (unless I overlooked it, which I do not believe I did) of brother Halbrook’s current teaching and support of: Marriage - Divorce not for fornication - Then the unwilling party may divorce for fornication the other party who has now joined himself to a new woman, even if it is ten years after the divorce not for fornication - then she may scripturally remarry.
Other quotes: Concerning Matthew 19:9 pg. 8 he said, “Where does the Bible say, ‘Marry another,’ to the put-away fornicator and those unscripturally divorced? It is not in the Bible! And to affirm such a practice, my friend, is to launch out into the area of divine silence where there is darkness of revelation and no certainty of truth at all.”
notice the absence of his current doctrine, though we know he has taught it as
far back as 1983
Page 12 – “...if and only if you put your wife away for fornication, you can marry another and it would not be adultery. That is what the Bible teaches in plain terms....If you marry the one divorced without cause, it is adultery.”
Page 14 – “Now then, notice Matthew 5 and 19. The pure can divorce the impure, the immoral, and marry another. But the new mate cannot be one put away for fornication or for some other cause. Divorced people remain under the constraint of law, brother Freeman. And then, he did not authorize a put away person to marry another, whether put away for fornication or some other cause.”
Page 17 –
“Now you listen to my opponent as he comes, and can he produce the passage where
the put-away fornicator can marry another or those unscripturally divorced marry
another? You watch for that.”
Just a few weeks ago I was having discussions with one of my supporting churches eldership’s about the current topic of – “Can a person divorced not for fornication remarry two years after the divorce not for fornication took place – so long as the unwilling divorced individual did not want the first divorce -- and, so long as the willing party who divorced the unwilling party eventually married him some cute little thing – so now the unwilling party in the divorce not for fornication can now, two years later put away her husband for fornication, and be free to remarry.”
After I did not respond to the threats of their withdrawing my support if I did not immediately stop sending articles to brother Belknap’s website (this has happened with more than just this eldership), they terminated the $500.00 per month they were sending me. The position above is that which they and others are holding.
Unlike many brethren who claim not to agree with the above false doctrine, but are silent as the tomb about publicly refuting it; these men were very open and vocal about what they understood Ron, Tim Haile, Harry Osborne and others to be teaching. The following quote is from one of the elder’s written correspondences.
“The way you are stating the divorce and remarriage issue (playing the waiting game) I and they would agree but we all know each situation has to be viewed alone. There could be a situation where the putting away or divorce occurred not for fornication. The innocent party did not agree to the divorce and did not play the waiting game. They continued to try to work things out to regain the marriage, which could take one or two years yet the other mate refused and did commit fornication then maybe the innocent party would have the right to remarry because in God’s sight they were still married. If I understand what these men are saying it is in light of this situation but I could be wrong.” I agreed with him. That is exactly what these men are saying.
In a phone conversation with one of these elders, I offered the following thoughts which apparently meant little or nothing to them. Hopefully they will to you.
1. The text says – “and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery,” Matthew 19:9. Matthew 5:32 states, “and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” I explained that it says that when a divorced (for whatever reason) person marries another, the person marrying the divorced person DOTH commit adultery. That is what it says.
explained that the text nowhere says nor implies – “whosever shall marry her
that is divorced
DOTH NOT commit
is not a
that anyone can find in this verse, or any other.
I reminded him that it sounded like the argument used to refute the denominationalists. You remember, “The Bible says, ‘Baptism DOTH also NOW save us.’” The denominationalist says, “Baptism DOTH also NOT save us.” They got offended at that in one of the written correspondences. They didn’t answer it, but they did get offended.
2. I mentioned to him that this text nowhere states the willingness or unwillingness of the one being divorced. It is not there. To make another exception where Jesus did not make one is unscriptural. To do this is to open the door to – if she was beaten; if he molested the children; and on and on it could go. It says what it says. I brought to his attention that some are teaching that the women of the society and time to which Jesus was speaking had no say so in the matter. Yet, even if this were to be true, and the women could not protest the divorce except “in their minds,” then the proof is even stronger that it did not matter whether one was willing or unwilling. When you were involved in a divorce that was “not for fornication,” then you were obligated to remain unattached to another.
3. One of the most important things I noticed when speaking with this brother was concerning his argument that man’s law cannot override the law of God. It was as if he thought, as others have stated, that God somehow did not even recognize the unscriptural divorce allowed by man’s law. I asked him, as I will ask you – “The divorce that was ‘not for fornication’ in this text - was it from Heaven or of men?” He answered as any must, “From man.” After all, there are only two choices. I then tried my best over and over to explain that in Jesus’ very own words found in our text, Jesus condemns those who would get the “unlawful divorce” according to the precepts of men—and that Jesus subsequently forbade the remarriage of either of the parties involved in such a divorce as that mentioned in our text. The fact that the divorce was from men and not from God does not take away the divorce, and somehow leave room for a second “God ordained” divorce. But rather, it is the very divorce God condemns; and for which he binds the participants to celibacy (Mt. 19:9).
Jesus did not say, “unless she was unwilling, or she was beaten, or the husband was a drunk, and would not provide for the family.” He said, “except it be for FORNICATION.” In this text, the whole point is that Jesus recognized the laxity of the divorce and remarriage laws under the Old Covenant, and warned of such in the New. He was not condemning the precepts of God’s law on divorce and remarriage, but man’s. It was the participation in man’s twisted laws on this subject which allowed for a divorce which was not for fornication. It is man’s law, not God’s which sees no consequences of such a divorce, and remarriage to another party after the divorce is finalized. On which side of the fence does this put our brethren who would make allowances for such, God’s or man’s?
One of the greatest problems is not just found in these brethren’s misapplication of the scriptural concept of God’s law overriding man’s law. When used appropriately, this is a Bible principle - Acts 4:19 and 5:29. I believe the greater problem concerning this particular subject, lies in the lack of respect for God’s ability to know the hearts and minds of man, and in His knowing the general direction in which man has always headed. It is in overlooking the fact that God gave his ruling on this matter, and ordered a life of celibacy for those who would choose to enact man’s law to the exclusion of His. Moreover, it is their refusal to recognize that the consequence of this sin causes those who were unjustly put away to remain “unmarried or reconcile” as long as their estranged spouses are still alive (I Cor. 7:11; Rom. 7:2-3). It is a lack of respect for the authority of God on this subject to teach otherwise.
The bottom line is, Jesus said if you follow man’s law of “divorce for any cause,” and are a willing, or unwilling participant in such a divorce, you can never remarry: Not now—Not three years from now when your mate hooks up with someone else. That is the ground Jesus covered when He said, “except it be for fornication...committeth adultery.”
I have recovered most of my loss of support, so this is not a plea for support, nor sour grapes. I sincerely hope that brethren will realize the magnitude to which this error has spread, and affected those who would have the courage to speak out against it, as others have also lost support as well. Brothers and sisters, this is a plea for all to open their eyes, and to realize that many are being deluded by the former beliefs and writings of men who no longer stand where they once stood. As I told the elder to whom I was speaking, “Ron and others will tell you that you cannot ever remarry unless you are the innocent party in a divorce for fornication. With this all sound men would agree.” However, as I also told this elder, “These false teachers will not tell you in the same breath that they refuse to recognize the unlawful divorces rendered in the courts of men as being a divorce (unlawful as it is) in the sight of God. God not only recognized these unscriptural, ‘man-made’ divorces, but condemned those involved in such divorces to a life of celibacy.” Our brethren are now freeing to marry a second time, those whom God has bound to the first marriage. They have gone so far as to say that these divorcees not only are not obligated to celibacy, as the Lord said; but are actually giving them the freedom to remarry based upon an adulterous relationship long AFTER the divorce not for fornication was finalized.
The way this false teaching on marriage/divorce/remarriage is being handled, truly reminds me of the words of brother Foy E. Wallace Jr. when he was battling the millennialists. On his chart on Revelation 20:1-6 he describes all of the things you cannot find in those verses. Yet these were the very things a millennialist needs to be true – if he is to prove the 1000 year reign of Christ in Jerusalem. The same is true of the current Marriage / Divorce not for fornication / unwilling party remains celibate until mate cheats / divorce mate for fornication / remarry / live happily ever after – doctrine. They cannot find any exception other than God’s exception. Look at it with me.
1 Corinthians 4:6 states, “...learn in us not to think of men above that which is written...”
Jesus said, “Doth,” commit adultery—
Some brethren are saying, “Doth Not” commit adultery!
“Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:19