“NOW WE KNOW WHAT TIM HAILE TEACHES”
By Fred Seavers
As I pen this article, there are some things you should know about my family’s care for Tim and his family. Tim and I were closest of friends for years. When I came out of institutionalism, I soon began attending where Tim continues to preach. We attended there some two to three years, where we learned to love and appreciate not only Tim, but the other members of the Parkway church of Christ. My son and Tim’s son were best friends even for years following.
When this issue came up, I contacted Tim about his error. After a couple of discussions, he quickly discontinued the discussion. It is a very difficult thing to see such a good relationship be destroyed due to this type of error being taught by a dear friend. I say this that you might know that I am not exposing Tim out of meanness or hatefulness. I am exposing him out of a plea for help from those who know and teach the truth on this issue, who seem to remain silent for whatever reason. It is my prayer brethren that those who read Tim’s article will publicly acknowledge him as a false teacher, that he might be ashamed (2 Thess. 3: 14 and 1 Tim. 1:18-20), and be saved.
After reading Tim’s article as found on Bible Banner, please consider the following. For the sake of time, I have extracted the following thoughts from a personal letter sent to a brother who will not be named in this article. He has patience that most of us could only hope for, and has wondered where Tim actually stands. I could see no better opportunity to point out from Tim's own writings, Tim’s position in this present issue. Portions of the letter will be omitted to protect his opportunity to research Tim’s error without the barrage of letters I know he would receive from others.
“Again, in order to be free to marry another, one must be innocent of sundering the marriage, and he must be innocent of fornication. Those who meet these two conditions are allowed by God to repudiate a fornicating mate and marry another (Matthew 19:9).”
Brother ________, the only thing Tim was smart enough not to do was not to continue with the words, “after the first civil divorce not for fornication.” But I guess he really didn’t have to did he. Tim says that if you meet those two conditions, you are free to put away your post civil divorce fornicating mate, and marry another. Dear brother, this is not about error, THIS IS ERROR!
Now you can see why it matters little that he says he doesn’t teach “the waiting game.” I don’t care what semantical twist one puts on his designation of Tim’s position, it is so far removed from the truth that it puts him in the same category as Ron, or even worse. Don’t you agree?
Again, under “Conclusion,” Tim begins with the truth in stating, “Divorces not involving sexual immorality result in no one having a right to remarry. Passages like Mark 10:11-12 and Luke 16:18 address such scenarios. Where there is no fornication there is no scriptural ground for the right of remarriage for anyone.” That brother is Bible!
Now watch: “Of course, these passages do not apply in divorce cases [1st divorce, fs] where there is a spouse who is innocent of sundering the marriage and innocent of sexual immorality.” Wow! What is that? He repeats his earlier error. He here finds two conditions nowhere found in the Bible which allow for a 2nd divorce (this time for fornication), after the first divorce which was not for fornication. The divorcer in the 2nd divorce may now remarry with God’s approval. Brother _________, Tim is off on this one.
As I told you before, just like Ron, Tim refuses to recognize the possibility of one’s participating in an unscriptural divorce, not for fornication, according to man’s law and not God’s as is warned against in Matthew 19:9. If God did not recognize as a reality, yet refuse to accept the unscriptural divorce of Matthew 19:9a, then why the warning both there and in the second half? This is a ludicrous position.
When one is involved in a divorce “not for fornication,” whether a willing or unwilling participant, he can never remarry. That is not about it, that is it. Tim has invented a whole new set of scriptures allowing a 2nd divorce, and subsequent remarriage.
Remember, this is the scenario I gave you that I contacted him about in the first place almost two years ago. He has been confronted by men with the truth, but refuses to repent, and in fact just continues to spread his error publicly. ..........The time has come dear brother to mark this man and his associates who now have no question of his error. Then study with them. Surely now, according to the scriptures, you must agree.... End of Letter
Tim’s plea is that for one to be remarried he must be innocent of sundering the marriage and innocent of fornication. How about being the one who divorces his wife for fornication as the only exception for the divorcer's remarriage. Whatever happened to just saying what the Bible says.
To continue where the above letter left off, notice another quote from Tim, “God grants remarriage permission to the one who being innocent of breaking the marriage, and innocent of sexual transgression, repudiates his mate for fornication.” Friends, take a good look at it. Tim is talking about a “remarriage” – a divorce after the first divorce in which one was not desirous of the putting away, and was not one put away for fornication. He says this person can “Remarry.” Can anyone really say he does not now know where Tim stands on this issue? He finds a second option for divorce and remarriage in Matthew 19:9.
What Tim needs to do is to come out, stating in even clearer terms, if that is possible, that he affirms, “The Bible teaches that after a non-fornicating, unwilling wife, is divorced "not for fornication,” by a non fornicating husband – she may then two years later – when the divorcing spouse finds him a new lover – put him away for fornication and marry another.” This is what he is teaching, and what he has tried his hardest to keep from coming to the forefront.
Under, “Defining Terms: What is the Waiting Game?,” Tim needs to include a third scenario to complete the scenario picture. He gives two typical “Waiting Game” scenarios, and says, “These positions are entirely unscriptural.” He is here correct. But, what about that third scenario, Tim’s scenario?
Scenario #3. This is a Scenario in which one wants a divorce and the other does not – A scenario in which a non-fornicator is being put away by another non-fornicator.
This non – fornicating – put away spouse, objects to the “not for fornication” divorce. She is a new Christian and is confused about what God says about it. She wants to know if she will ever be able to remarry. When she questions the preacher about it, he tells her that God will never accept this first civil divorce, for only the innocent party in a divorce for fornication has the right to put away (repudiate) the other. He tells her that only God can dissolve the marriage bond, and He will not do so until one of them commits fornication. He withholds at this time the idea that the fornication may take place after the first divorce is finalized, so as not to be accused of teaching “The Waiting Game.”
He tells her to continue her objection to the divorce. This way she can be considered by God as “one innocent of breaking the marriage - nonconsensual - not being the cause of her mates later adultery, Matthew 5:32 - not putting away her husband for any cause - innocent of sundering the marriage - not charged with an act that would lead to her husbands future adultery - and innocent of sexual immorality.” He assures her that in so doing, “God grants permission to the one who being innocent of breaking the marriage, and innocent of sexual transgression, repudiates his mate for fornication. This divine law prevails over any human laws, customs, or procedures that may exist where or when one lives [t.h.].”
After the divorce is finalized, he tells her not to worry, that when her ex-husband finds another honey two years after the initial divorce, she will then be able to put him away in a second divorce this time for fornication, since she objected to the initial divorce and remained sexually faithful, and God had not yet broken the bond—He tells her she may now remarry with God’s blessing, and even performs the ceremony.
Why wasn’t this scenario included? Maybe it is because one would not know into which category it should fall. Should it go into the “Mental Divorce” category or the “Waiting Game” category? I guess it might even fit into a “Waiting Game, ending up in Mental Divorce” category. The bottom line is friends, IT IS ERROR!
Our brother mentions under, “Defining the Terms: What is the Waiting Game?” – “People often use terms and expressions differently. Matters are further complicated when the position or practice that one seeks to label is unscriptural. This means biblical terminology will not be found that describes the position. Other terms and phrases must be used. Don’t get me wrong. I don't mind labels. I am simply emphasizing the need to be as careful and consistent as possible when producing and applying the label” [emph. mine, fs].
Friends, Biblical terminology is found to describe the two scenarios Tim gives, as well as the one he believes. It is found in Matthew 19:9. It says, “...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.” The terminology for God’s word that describes the end result of all three of the scenarios is “ADULTERY!”
It is adultery when you divorce your mate for any reason other than fornication and remarry. The result of the unscriptural divorce is that neither of you, consenting party or not, can ever remarry.
Has our interpretation of Matthew 19:9’s condemning the remarriage of both parties where one party divorces another not for the cause of fornication, really changed? Has it been flawed all these many years? No friends, new doctrines come and go, but Matthew 19:9 still includes a righteous putting away of one’s spouse “for fornication,” and an unrighteous putting away of one’s spouse, “not for fornication.” If God recognizes the righteous divorce when rendered by the civil courts the first time around, then what makes one think He doesn’t recognize, though not approve of, the first divorce “not for fornication” which is rendered by the civil courts?
One cannot remove God’s recognition of the man-made first divorce, nor its attendant punishment from Matthew 19:9. All of the scenarios given cannot change this inspired truth.