On March 1st [(2006) three months after the following exchange] brother Ron Halbrook sent out a plea for financial support to preach in the Philippines. To keep things in perspective, please note what Ron wrote (RED emp., mine) in the first paragraph of his support letter. -Jeff
“PLEASE PASS THIS LETTER TO ANYONE INTERESTED IN SPREADING THE GOSPEL IN THE PHILIPPINES. March 1, 2006th Year of Our Lord
----- Original Message -----
Someone e/mail me to tell me about Don Martin’s new article on your web site, “False Accusations of False Teaching.” I’ve had numerous discussions with brother Don Martin over the last year about his accusations. I’ve held three meetings at Holly Street and haven not change my teaching or belief on MDR then or now! I do not believe that MDR issues can be placed in Romans 14. I do not believe in multiple causes for divorce. I have preached on this issue at home and in many places in the country. I’ve had public discussions on the subjects with questions and answers in Nevada, Oregon and West Virginia. I have never preached, taught, or written anything that would leave anyone to believe that I believe error on the MDR question.
I have a difference with Ron Halbrook and have discussed this difference on many occasions. I also question his understanding at the Open Forum at the Bowling Green Lectures in 2004 and took much heat for doing so. Yes, Don and I have a difference. He believes that the guilty party can put away the innocent party and now that innocent party is the “put-away” and can never remarried—even though their mate committed adultery that was the CAUSE of the divorce. Such teaching fails to rightly apply the standards of God’s law over man’s. I do not accept that adultery can be “after the fact” as some are suggesting. Nor do I believe that one can divorce at will as long as do not remarry.
Don real argument is with Truth Magazine and has been for over 20 years. Why did Don not mention Joe’s other article pointing to the clarification article that Joe wrote about his Romans 14 article? His real issue with Joe was being on the staff of Truth magazine. His issue with me is my relationship with Ron Halbrook. It is sad that people hide behind “issues” do mask what the real problem is. I have told Don Martin in three separate conversations (via e/mail) that he is making statements about my teaching that are flatly WRONG! In his last post to me he told me and I quote, “You might be right on the MDR issue but I’m still a compromiser and he has no respect for me.” He is entitle to his opinion. Yet, others have pointed out to brother Martin’s his inaccurate assertions about my teaching—yet not one word of apology has come from brother Martin.
My reason for writing to ask why you don’t check out the information about someone’s teaching before you put it into print. Again, you have shown your only desire is to print anything that can be seen as an angle against Ron, Mike, or Truth Magazine. Yes, I’ve written articles for the paper but am not on the staff or the board and have no desire to be. My articles have taught the truth and I stand behind all of them. What’s the problem? Jeff, last time I looked in the Scriptures to misrepresent someone is lying and that is a sin, Rev.21:8. I’ve done all I can with Don Martin and he has shown himself to be dishonest. Now, I’ve done my duty and brought these matters to your attention—now I’ll wait and see what you will do.
Don Martin has his slant on the facts and I’ve told you in a very straight forward way what I believe. Seems to me I know more what I believe and preach than Don Martin! In many of Don’s article he “brags” on all the debates and discussions he had online. Such does not make him the authority—God’s word is the authority. Once again Don will call this “whining” to shift the spotlight away from his own actions. Such is the case with most brethren who are dishonest. I will gladly let my work speak for itself and have never had a meeting cancel or been questioned concerning my stand on MDR. In Las Vegas I took a strong stand for the truth at a high cost. No, not bragging just showing that I’m not in the closet on what I believe about MDR.
In closing, I’ve no desire to get into a running debate on your Mental Divorce page. You are the editor and you are the one who handles the complaints. While I agree with many of the positions and teaching on the Web Page I’ve told you in the past that you have made this a “one issue” web sight. Each must be true to their conscience and I’ll let you do so. May God help all of us to be careful how we portray another’s teaching.
----- Original Message -----
Dear brother Keith,
I have read and re-read brother Martin’s article and confirmed that he did not say you taught error on the issues you mentioned below. So, it is actually you who is falsely accusing – first Don, then me, when you say that I have published a misrepresentation of you, when the article is factual and based upon your public writing! The quote from your article, “Are We Doomed to Divide” (below) was actually given within the context of a quote from Joe Price, in which he quoted you in his own article. So, Don quoted Joe, who was quoting you. No misrepresentation there.
“Allow me to say with the greatest clarity that I can, Joe Price and Keith Greer are teaching error in calling for tolerance (Keith Greer’s case) and the activation of Romans 14 (Joe’s case) regarding the innocent put away and Mike Willis is teaching damnable error in his multiple cause for divorce teaching. Am I the bad guy? Have I misrepresented any of these fellows? I think not!”
Keith, what Don wrote is 100 percent accurate. In his article, he never charges you with holding the positions that Ron or Mike take, as your letter implies. What he does say, is that you desire tolerance for their MDR teaching (which you say you disagree with). Your article “Are We Doomed to Divide?” proves his point, and your actions in maintaining fellowship with them demonstrates it (Prov. 17:15; Luke 16:15). If you believe that it is right to continue fellowshipping these men when you believe them to be teaching error on MDR, then you should not object to Don’s article (Eph. 5:11).
Keith, from the Bible’s perspective, the fellowship that you are presently practicing (and advocating) is just as sinful (false teaching) as Mike’s and Ron’s false doctrines. If what Ron and Mike are teaching is error (and you say you believe it is), then those who follow their teaching will be lost! We must not forget that the church in Corinth was admonished for maintaining fellowship with those who taught error (I Cor. 15:33). What Ron and Mike are teaching is advocacy for one to remain in a sinful state (Ron, for put away persons to remain in an adulterous marriage and Mike, for a mate to put away for various reasons other than fornication and remain unmarried).
In I John 1:6-7, we find that only when we walk in the light, do we have Biblical fellowship. Because these men’s teachings are contrary to the light and will result in the loss of souls, we can have no fellowship. Can one in darkness walk along with one who is in the light (II Cor. 6:14)? Can two walk together except they be agreed (Amos 3:3)?
Those who would be faithful must warn precious souls of these dangerous doctrines that can lead to their spiritual death. To do less is to become a “dumb dog” who does not perform his duty to bark out a warning (Isa. 56:10).
We must expose error without partiality (I Tim. 5:20-21). I’m so sorry that you have chosen the perilous path of compromise (Jas. 4:4; Rev. 3:15-16). But it is not too late to become consistent! Why not reconsider your path?
I recently finished a meeting in West Virginia. During that meeting the local congregation asked me to do a special Friday morning lesson on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage. After the 90-minute presentation, I took questions for another 90 minutes. They asked me to do this lesson because another brother had spread the rumor that I am a “closet mental divorce” advocate. As the result of the meeting, they now know exactly what I believe and preach. Every gospel preacher should be willing to publicly state what he believes about any subject. Question—wouldn’t it be better to ask me what I believe than to accept what somebody else says?
Sadly, this episode has reinforced a fear I’ve had for some time. During the past few years, much has been written concerning the MDR question. This issue has divided brethren over the past 25 years, but discussion is healthy and good. Still, I see an alarming trend that I wish to share with you.
During the West Virginia question-and-answer session, I tried to warn the brethren that we are going to have some disagreements about the MDR subject. Brethren, will we agree on EVERY application of what the Bible teaches on MDR? Let me give you some examples:
Does the cause (adultery) have to be written on the papers?
Can an adulterous mate put way a faithful mate, and the faithful mate be prohibited from remarrying because he/she is the “put-away” mate?
What if both parties commit adultery?
Can the first mate (the faithful one) take back and remarry the “guilty party” after the divorce?
Does death sever the put-away fornicator’s marriage bond?
Can a Christian put away his mate for the “kingdom’s sake” and remain unmarried or be reconciled?
Brethren, sound and well-known preachers do not all agree on every one of these points! Does that make that preacher a false teacher? Truth can never be compromised (Proverbs 23:23), but in these instances has it been? I prefer not to go down the hypothetical highway of situations that many use to corner a brother in order to pigeon-hole him into a position. What about a brother who writes about no other subject but MDR? What about brethren who falsely assign a man a position that he doesn’t hold because his conclusions disagree with theirs? This has happened to me personally.
Are we doomed to divide on MDR? Yes, if we don’t allow each situation to be examined by the local church and the elders where that situation takes place. Why should we divide over hypothetical situations? Let’s be certain that our goal is not to defend our favorite preacher, to defend a family member, or to bring a well-known preacher to his knees. Frankly, I’m afraid some of my brethren relish the thought of division on this subject. May God help us to examine our own hearts!
----- Original Message -----
You need to go back to the earlier statements by Don. Yes, in the beginning he DID SAY I placed MDR in Romans 14. He did correct that privately but thought Joe was using me. Joe doesn’t need me and I’m smarter than that. In my article I ask for tolerance to study these issues. You still did not answer my question concerning the guilty putting away the innocent. If you this is not error, your at odds with Don Martin. If so, could I accuse you of compromise? In the list given in my article I list six things that good brethren are divided over. Which of the six did I teach false doctrine on? I never said what my position was just that men were divided over them! Joe Price did quote me in his article, but that a long way from saying I believe that Romans 14 is where MDR belongs. Have you ever quoted a religious writer to prove a point? Could I charge you and him being in fellowship because you quoted him? Absurd!
What error is taught by asking for time to study? Don Martin and yourself label every brother in the brotherhood that doesn’t measure up to your standards of withdrawing fellowship from men with whom you disagree. I’ve personally have more discussions with Ron Halbrook and Mike Willis over our differences than you and Don put together! Why? I believe their souls are just as important as any others. What do you do? Just keeping attacking your paper and put articles from men who support you personal position! By the way I think much more of their teaching is put into print in the brotherhood by you fellows than by either one of them!
Again, I have serious disagreements with both men on these issues. I will continue to use every opportunity afforded me to personally seek to get them to see the error I believe their conclusions reach. The time may come when I can no longer maintain fellowship with these men and others. To date I see no evidence that Ron, and I’ve worked with him in the Philippines, had meetings with him, and even attended a debate on this subject over the years, and not once have I ever heard anything taught that would teach error on MDR or Romans 14. Do I wish he had been quiet over this point he has introduce into the MDR discussion? Yes! My desire is to get him to see his inconsistency and turn from that teaching. Jeff, you do by a continual assault in your web page and I seek to do it on a more personal level. How have I compromise?
Your understanding can best be sum up that if people don’t say it like you do, in the manner that you do and as quick as you do they are compromisers. Sad, indeed. You do well to go back to the book of Acts to see how Paul and the other apostles patiently oppose and sought to turn those who were seeking to hold the Gentiles to comply with the Law of Moses. Yes, the matter was forcefully addressed in Acts 15 but that was not the first step. Personally speaking, I thought all souls had the same value to the Lord—even those who are false teachers!
Brethren who know me very well know exactly where I stand on MDR and Romans 14. To date none of them believe I’ve compromise the truth. Yes, brother Martin and now yourself have labeled me as such. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Yet, if I seek to gain another brother by a different method than you choose this does not make me a false teacher. Brother Halbrook will not hold another meeting here and I’m not sure Mike Willis will either. Ron has not been here and Mike was arranged many years before I moved here. The elders talked with Mike and I did before his meeting with us.
Jeff, please understand what I’m about to say comes from one who loves your soul. The work you have done on the Web Page Mental Divorce has done more to hurt the situation than to help it. It has become a “one issue” and looks like a personal vendetta you have against these men. The exchanges between you and Weldon are damaging the cause of Christ. If he wants a debate in Beckley—debate him if you believe he teaches error. I too disagree with Weldon’s positions. I believe it was one of the reasons for Donnie Rader’s recent resignation at the GOT. Personally speaking, this will have more impact and lasting good on these discussions than anything that has been done up to date.
Well, I’ve had my say and I’m sorry I don’t measure up to your standards or brother Martin’s. I have not or will not ever seek to compromise truth. Yet, neither will I give up seeking to turn a soul away from the paths of danger. My teaching on MDR publicly has taken issue with all these different positions these men have taken. Jeff, next time you think you have to call one a compromiser, I hope you personally do some searching to see what that person has done before you feel the need to label him! May God help us all to be true to His book and our duties as a gospel preacher.
----- Original Message -----
Dear brother Keith,
I hardly know where to begin in calling attention to your own contradictions within your letters. First of all, in your letter of November 23rd, you stated the following:
“My reason for writing to ask why you don’t check out the information about someone’s teaching before you put it into print. Again, you have shown your only desire is to print anything that can be seen as an angle against Ron, Mike, or Truth Magazine. Yes, I’ve written articles for the paper but am not on the staff or the board and have no desire to be. My articles have taught the truth and I stand behind all of them. What’s the problem? Jeff, last time I looked in the Scriptures to misrepresent someone is lying and that is a sin, Rev.21:8. I’ve done all I can with Don Martin and he has shown himself to be dishonest. Now, I’ve done my duty and brought these matters to your attention--now I’ll wait and see what you will do.”
The subject box of your message echoed your above reason for writing me: “Accurate Information.” Yet, you never once offered a quote from Don’s article which supported your charge that it misrepresented you. I provided a quote from your article which Joe Price had quoted, and in-turn, which Don had included in his article to which you objected. This quote, coupled with your continued fellowship with Ron Halbrook proves that his article represented the truth of what you believe and have taught, contrary to that which you falsely accuse “misrepresent,” “lie,” and are “sin” and is “dishonest.” What’s more, the unjust complaints in your letter also reinforced the main point of Don’s article, reflected in its title, “False Accusation or False Teaching?”
Moreover, you asked of me “why you don’t check out the information about someone’s teaching before you put it into print.” After I provided evidence that Don’s article did not misrepresent you (but that you misrepresented us), you tell me that I need to go back to Don’s earlier statements about you (which were statements that I had not “put into print,” and which were statements which you say he apologized for). Yet you charged me with printing information about someone’s teaching that supposedly misrepresented you without checking it out before I put it into print. Please examine your own actions to determine who has really been guilty of misrepresenting.
Moreover, if, as you say Don apologized, why do you bring it up? Even babes understand that, when you seek to exact justice against a brother for a wrong which he has already asked forgiveness for, you are only condemning yourself. How much more should a gospel preacher know better?
Now, in the letter you sent yesterday, you state, “In my article I ask for tolerance to study these issues....What error is taught by asking for time to study?”
Keith, either you have forgotten what you wrote in your article, or have forgotten that I have a copy of it. The only thing within your article which can be remotely construed as asking for tolerance “to study” these issues is the following: “This issue has divided brethren over the past 25 years, but discussion is healthy and good.” You stated this as a side point, then immediately stated the focus of your article: “Still, I see an alarming trend that I wish to share with you.” The alarming trend was not that you wish brethren would discuss the issue, but that people were dividing over certain MDR issues as Joe quoted from your article. After listing these issues, you stated, “Brethren, sound and well-known preachers do not all agree on every one of these points! Does that make that preacher a false teacher? Truth can never be compromised (Proverbs 23:23), but in these instances has it been? ..... Are we doomed to divide on MDR? Yes, if we don’t allow each situation to be examined by the local church and the elders where that situation takes place. Why should we divide over hypothetical situations?”
So, it is clear that your article was not a plea for tolerance “for study,” but for tolerance for such various positions (“hypothetical situations”) you enumerated within it.
(As a side note here, I should add that if Ron had only taught his error within a “local church,” “where that situation takes place,” then I would never have known about it and thus, would never have started the website. Furthermore, can individual churches determine the truth regarding an MDR situation in their midst that is different from the truth among the brotherhood universal? The false teaching on this issue is neither local nor hypothetical! It is widespread, it is real, and it is causing precious souls to be eternally lost. While Ron & Mike teach error from church to church, you want us to limit the teaching of truth and exposure of their error to a locality.)
You state, “I’ve personally have more discussions with Ron Halbrook and Mike Willis over our differences than you and Don put together! Why? I believe their souls are just as important as any others. What do you do? Just keeping attacking your paper and put articles from men who support you personal position!”
Keith, for some time, you knew that I attempted to discuss these things with Ron. I had done so on a personal level, but he is the one who discontinued discussions with me. Notice your previous statements from your letter to me nearly three years ago (March 1st, 2003):
“I have personally encouraged Ron to enter into an open discussion with you. I would also hope that others would stop speaking for Ron and him speak for himself—and have told him the same thing.
Please understand many of the points you make I am in total agreement. I too wonder why Truth Magazine does not have a written exchange between you and brother Halbrook. If it is done in the proper spirit much good might come from it. My hope and prayer at some point in time this will be done. In the meantime I will use every opportunity I have to discuss this matter with Ron and try to get him to see his understanding on certain issues involved in MDR is flawed.”
As you can see from your very own words, it is Ron (and TM) who will not openly discuss this issue with me, not the other way around. Sadly, you appear to be so bent on advocating tolerance with these false teachers that you are now trying to portray those who oppose them as villains, when they have only taught what you acknowledge as truth and when they seek to discuss the issue that you know your error-teaching friends avoid. It is indeed sad to witness how holding to your sinful associations has caused you to deceive and be deceived (cf. Psalms 1:1-2).
Another inconsistency in your last letter is your charge that “You still did not answer my question concerning the guilty putting away the innocent.” Nevertheless, after going over your previous letter (twice) in which you supposedly asked it, I can find no such question. Therefore, the reason that I did not answer it is because you never asked it. Why do you seek to deviate from our discussion of who is misrepresenting whom?
Also, in yesterday’s letter you state, “Joe Price did quote me in his article, but that a long way from saying I believe that Romans 14 is where MDR belongs. Have you ever quoted a religious writer to prove a point? Could I charge you and him being in fellowship because you quoted him? Absurd!”
Keith, that is not a 32nd cousin to what Don was doing by providing your quote and Joe’s. Contrary to your implication, Don actually differentiated between you and Joe (“tolerance” vs. “Romans 14”). Although you both arrive at the same basic conclusion about fellowshipping those who currently teach error on MDR, Don clearly stated: “Allow me to say with the greatest clarity that I can, Joe Price and Keith Greer are teaching error in calling for tolerance (Keith Greer’s case) and the activation of Romans 14 (Joe’s case) regarding the innocent put away and Mike Willis is teaching damnable error in his multiple cause for divorce teaching.” Obviously, you are still calling for “tolerance” as Don stated in his article and Joe is the one misusing Romans 14. Keith, who continues to misrepresent whom? The proof of Don’s article is becoming more clear as our exchange continues!
Another inconsistency in your letter of yesterday states the following:
“Again, I have serious disagreements with both men on these issues. I will continue to use every opportunity afforded me to personally seek to get them to see the error I believe their conclusions reach. The time may come when I can no longer maintain fellowship with these men and others. To date I see no evidence that Ron, and I’ve worked with him in the Philippines, had meetings with him, and even attended a debate on this subject over the years, and not once have I ever heard anything taught that would teach error on MDR or Romans 14. Do I wish he had been quiet over this point he has introduce into the MDR discussion? Yes! My desire is to get him to see his inconsistency and turn from that teaching.”
So, you “have serious disagreements with both” Ron and Mike and “seek to get them to see the error I believe their conclusions reach.” Moreover, you want to get Ron “to see his inconsistency and turn from his teaching.” Yet, “to date,” even in your experiences with Ron in the Philippines and various meetings, you “see no evidence that Ron” has taught “anything” “that would teach error on MDR or Romans 14.” How can you wish that “he had been quiet over this point he has introduce into the MDR discussion” and have a desire to get him “to turn from that teaching” when you deny having seen any evidence that he has taught it? Brother, this makes no sense whatsoever.
Moreover, you also wrote back in March, 2003:
“I have had numerous discussions with brother Ron Halbrook over this issue. I want you to understand one aspect of his understanding I believe is wrong and have tried to get him to see how it leaves him in an inconsistent position with his teaching on MDR.”
“Still, I wish he could see even this ‘detailed situation’ he subscribes still gives no avenue for a remarriage. The problem is the order is wrong. The Bible says—Adultery—divorce—remarriage. It cannot be, divorce—adultery—remarriage. This I personally believe and teach.”
Obviously, your “numerous discussions with brother Ron Halbrook over this issue” have been going on for years! Yet, you continue to have these “numerous discussions.” Do you not understand Eph. 5:11-16? Paul commanded, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. 13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. 14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. 15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” (emp jhb).
While you want your professed “discussions” to continue ad infinitum “in secret,” Don, I and MANY OTHERS are using the light to make their darkness “manifest!” Meanwhile, for years, you continue to malign the righteous and plead for the guilty! Keith, what is wrong with this picture?
The Biblical standard for discipline is this: “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself,” Titus 3:10-11. A soul that is open to the truth doesn’t need YEARS of (“numerous”) admonitions with the power of the gospel to see the simple truth on MDR (II Cor. 11:3-4).
How have Don and I (and many others) differed from this Biblical standard by rejecting those who continue to maintain and defend doctrines that are contrary to THE TRUTH (cf. Lk. 10:16)? You seem to think that our belief in and obedience to Ephesians 5:11-16 indicates that we don’t believe that Ron’s and Mike’s souls are just as important as any others. After years of running in circles, don’t you think it’s time to step up your efforts to save their souls? At best, your actions remind me of brethren who object to marking and avoiding the disorderly, because after a year or so of seeking to restore them, they say they still want to keep “studying” with them. This is nothing but rank rebellion to the will of God?
Keith, what about the souls of those whom they continue to influence to sin (I Cor. 5:6-8)? Ask yourself this: will your actions of on-going fellowship show others that your differences with Ron and Mike are important enough to cause a separation between you, or NOT so important? How many souls will be influenced to give greater consideration to their erroneous teaching? Surely some who respect your influence will reason that the issue must not involve sin and spiritual death, since you have been giving your stamp of approval and “right hand of fellowship” (i.e. tolerance) for YEARS to those who advocate it. And, all because you deem the command in Titus 3:9 is not for you.
Moreover, in yesterday’s letter, you seem to want to say you disagree with Ron and Mike’s MDR teaching and that “The time may come when I can no longer maintain fellowship with these men and others.” Thus, you infer that you are not advocating unending fellowship with those who teach the same MDR errors as Ron and Mike – but that you have just been pleading for time for study. Yet your own article (“Are We Doomed to Divide?”), as well as your following quotes betray that claim: “Don Martin and yourself label every brother in the brotherhood that doesn’t measure up to your standards of withdrawing fellowship from men with whom you disagree,” and “What do you do? Just keeping attacking your paper and put articles from men who support you personal position!” (emp. jhb).
Brother Keith, which is it? Is it just my “personal position” that one who has been divorced for a cause other than fornication commits adultery when they employ a so called post-divorce “putting away” and marry another – or is it the truth? Is it just my “personal position” that the Bible does not authorize divorce for reasons other than fornication – or is it the truth? If you thought that it was only my “personal” opinion or “position,” why would you continue to “seek to get them to see the error I believe their conclusions reach,” and “get him to see his inconsistency and turn from that teaching?”
While you imply that you have serious (doctrinal) differences with brothers Halbrook and Willis, you continue to fellowship them and do not publicly expose their teaching (as per Eph. 5:11), because you value their souls as much as you do others. Yet, because I maintain a “one issue” website which violates no scripture but actually fulfills Ephesians 5:11, you deride me in your article, apparently indicating (by your own standards) that you do not value my soul as much as theirs.
I think the reason you are so mixed up is because you are not willing to do what you know is right. You cannot have it both ways. Either Ron and Mike continue (for years) to publicly advocate what results in soul condemning sin and thus, cannot be fellowshipped, or they are advocating what is authorized.
Your continued association with these impenitent men for several years is causing your own confusion on the fellowship issue (cf. I Corinthians 15:33). You know what the Bible teaches about maintaining fellowship with those who continue to teach what you know to be error, but your practice is sinful (Jer. 23:14). Hence, you demonize those who are doing what you will not do (I Pet. 4:4; cf. Prov. 17:15; Luke 16:15).
I will continue to pray for you, brother.