“This Error is Different” 

Don Martin sharing some thoughts:

About the time that we think we have gone the spectrum relative MDR error, more players are introduced. Ron Halbrook has now become established as an advocate for the innocent put away, involving certain circumstances while their mate continues to live, being able to later put away and marry again. Ron and others claim this is not the old waiting game doctrine, but if not, it certainly has many commonalties. Both doctrines allow a putting away to take place after the fact of divorce. Mike Willis is now becoming famous for his multiple causes for divorce (both Ron and Mike refuse to formally discuss their teaching in a polemic climate, but they continue to teach their views). Mike advocates five reasons in addition to fornication for which one may divorce, even the matter of a mate running up bills and presenting a climate that is not conducive to spirituality. I just came out of an email circle including Mike, Ron, and most of the staff writers for Truth Magazine and they were all totally silent and refused to comment or discuss differences (silence when challenged appears to be their policy).

“The error of Ron Halbrook and Mike Willis is not the same error as Homer Hailey advanced,” I am hearing from some. Since the error is not the same, we are supposed to not challenge it, ignore it, and fellowship it. I agree that all error is not the same in some respects. For instance, there are many, diverse particularities pertaining to error. The teaching that baptism is sprinkling is not the same error, for instance, as the teaching of the second chance doctrine associated with Premillennialism. However, they are both error, are they not? Both of these errors, while different in particularity, result in a failure to keep God’s commandments (Jas. 2: 10). They all, also, offer a false hope to people and, thus, dissuade the need of repentance and can involve sinful fellowship.

Homer Hailey has gone down in history as the proponent of the alien sinner is not accountable to God’s marriage law. Hence, an alien could be in an “unscriptural marriage” at the time of baptism, but such is not a problem, providing he entered the marriage before he became a Christian. What is wrong with the alien sinner is not maritally accountable doctrine?

(1). The doctrine of the lack of amenability of the non-Christian pertaining to God’s marriage law is error. God’s original law, the law that Jesus restored, applied to all men (Gen. 2: 24, 25, Matt. 19: 4ff.).

(2). The doctrine of the lack of amenability regarding the non-Christian promotes and often results in practiced adultery and sinful fellowship.

Mike Willis, Ron Halbrook, and many of the men associated with the Guardian of Truth Foundation and Truth Magazine correctly challenged, exposed, and refuted brother Hailey’s teaching. They also rebuked brethren who wanted the whole thing kept silent.

Yes, what Hailey and now Willis and Halbrook are teaching is different, yet, it is the same.

(1). Both Ron and Mike’s teaching goes against what is commanded.

(2). Both Ron and Mike’s teaching promotes and often results in practiced adultery and sinful fellowship.

Let me, if I may, illustrate what I mean. Ron says a put away person (the innocent mate) may subsequently put away and marry another while Jesus said all put away people, whether innocent or guilty, are not allowed to marry another, even after the putting away mate marries again (Matt. 5: 32, 19: 9). Ron contends that such is not fair. However, Jesus taught it. Why would Jesus teach such a thing, Ron and others have asked in an overt effort to emotionally dismiss the teaching. There is no question about Jesus’ teaching that all put away people are, in fact, put away and forbidden a “second putting away” and later marriage to another, but it appears to me that such teaching is in place to preclude even the possibility for any waiting game practice and doctrine. In other words, if the divorce or putting away (apoluo) is not for the cause of fornication, then, all that follows is sinful (even the divorce is sinful, as we shall see).

Jesus taught divorce for only one reason, fornication (Matt. 19: 9). However, Mike Willis uses human reasoning to conclude that one may divorce for additional reasons and not be sinning, providing they do not marry another. Notwithstanding, Paul taught that there is to be no divorce in the absence of fornication, but that each mate is to fulfill their domestic and conjugal duties (I Cor. 7: 2ff.). Mike has taken the, “But and if she depart” of I Corinthians 7: 11 and made it contradict verses 2 through 10. “But and if she depart” is not granting permission to have unscripturally divorced, but is showing that if either mate sins by divorcing without fornication being the reason, they need to realize that they are doomed to celibacy, never being able to scripturally marry another. The vast majority who divorce without fornication being the cause, will marry another. Hence, Mike’s teaching not only violates the command to remain together, but it presents the circumstance for adultery.

Are Homer, Ron, and Mike teaching the same false doctrine pertaining to MDR? No. However, Homer, Ron, and Mike’s teaching all involve violating what God has said on the subject and, moreover, they all place the violator in practiced sin, and eventuate in sinful fellowship.

Brethren, it is time that we cease playing word games and political positioning. Partiality is a sin especially condemned in the scriptures (Jas. 2). Besides being wrong within themselves, cliques cause the clique members to rally around one another and protect each other. The Guardian of Truth Foundation crew went after Homer Hailey in view of his errors on MDR, but now they are protecting some of their own members who are advocating MDR errors. Such is not only involving false doctrine and its fellowship, but this action is hypocrisy in the extreme! The present Guardian of Truth Foundation and Truth Magazine matter is unity-in-diversity personified.

Don Martin dmartin5@concentric.net

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