Excerpts from the Sermon:
Preached at The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV (5-30-91)
Ron comments on I Corinthians 7:10-11. Ironically, he seems to understand that an unscriptural divorce ends the marriage at this point in his lesson, but denies that fact at other times. Moreover, his doctrine (as expressed in other quotes on this web site) allows for a possible post-civil-divorce putting away by a put away person who “remains true to the ‘marriage bond,’” even if the cause (“for fornication”) transpires after the unlawful divorce action.
“Look at 1 Corinthians 7:10 and 11 on that: ‘unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart’ now watch this close—she is single and so she can get another mate; and he is single and so he can get another mate. Is that what it says? No. ‘Let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband.’ That’s plain enough to understand, isn’t it? If your marriage is broken up and there’s no fornication involved, each of ya has one option. And that is that you would be reconciled. Otherwise you’re gonna have to stay unmarried. That’s what the text says, and God rules...” Ron Halbrook (Lesson on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (5-30-91) The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV].
Contrary to the Biblical teaching outlined in Matthew 19:6, 9 and I Corinthians 7:11, Ron teaches that an unscriptural divorce does not release one from marriage. While those involved in both sides of this controversy agree that it does not release one from the bond that God has imposed, there is a clear difference between the marriage (which man joins himself in) and the bond (which God solely controls). It is because man has the ability to divorce (in cases where the bond remains), that God prohibits remarriage:
“The conclusion is this: unscriptural divorce releases neither party from marriage.” Ron Halbrook (Lesson on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (5-30-91) The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV].
Ron quotes from Kittel’s Theological Dictionary, which clearly contradicts Ron’s “application:”
“Kittel, in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, volume 4, page 733 said, ‘The remarriage of a man after divorcing his wife or the remarrying of the divorced woman is tantamount to adultery, Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9.’ In other words, Jesus regards these cases as adultery. He makes them equivalent to adultery, equal to adultery. They are adultery, and so tantamount—equal in significance, and the effect of such conduct, Galatians 5:19-21, it’s the work of the flesh and we cannot inherit the Kingdom. Hebrews 13:4: God will judge those who are guilty. And so, now in defining that word adultery, it appears to be defined by use.” Ron Halbrook (Lesson on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (5-30-91) The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV].
Ron condemns the theories of men, regardless of who the advocates of those theories might be. He rightly points out that when we seek to shelter such error under Romans 14, we “give up the purity of the church.” It is inconsistent then, for Ron and his associates to admit disagreement over some put away persons’ rights to remarriage, yet tell us that Ron’s “applications” (theories) belong in Romans 14:
“One theory after another. Brethren, if we’re going to open the door to one of these because some beloved brother taught it, how are we gonna keep the others out? On what basis, on what principle can we keep any of them out? So we just give up the purity of the church. Some have pled, ‘Well we can solve all of this with Romans 14, because Romans 14 says receive one another even where there were differences.’ Yes, it did say that. But did you know II John 9-11 said not to receive one another when there are differences?” Ron Halbrook (Lesson on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (5-30-91) The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV].
Ron rightly condemns the idea of using Romans 14 to justify fellowship with the theories of men on marriage, divorce and remarriage. On the other hand, Ron and his associates are now telling us that Ron’s “applications” (theories) belong in Romans 14:
“…and theories and perversions on the marriage question, then what are we going to do? Are we going to solve it with Romans 14? Do you see my point? If we’re going to solve it that way, you’re going to have to let all these other things in—and a thousand more and the church will be as someone said, ‘A veritable ark full of both clean and unclean beasts.’ Just people of everything. Now brethren, Romans 14 won’t solve the marriage question because Christ has a doctrine on this. And so, if we try to solve it with Romans 14 we just give up the purity of the church, throw the flood gates open—everything in the world will come in.” Ron Halbrook (Lesson on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (5-30-91) The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV].
Brother Halbrook explains who is responsible for division in the church, when error is promoted:
“Now when we preach these things today, we’re accused of causing division. Dear friend, I want you to remember, departure from the authority of God’s word results in division. And the one who introduces error splits the log. Who causes division? The one that promotes a perverted gospel. Those that introduced the missionary society drove the wedge of human law that divided the Lord’s church. Those that drove the wedge of instrumental music divided the church. Not those that opposed it! Those that opposed it were pleading for scriptural authority, scriptural unity. But those that introduce the perverted theories of men divide the church. So it is with premillennialism, benevolent societies, the Herald of Truth, the sponsoring church and so it is with these new laws and theories and speculations and perversions concerning marriage and divorce. And there any number of them. Some talk about the Kingdom law, Matthew 19:9 only for the church. Some talk about baptism changing your marital status. Here you are in adultery—baptize you—and now you’re not in adultery anymore. You’re in the same marriage but just, mumbo jumbo, went through the water and the same marriage is not adultery anymore. And then some redefine adultery so that it is not a sexual act at all. And then some say the fornicator can marry another. And some talk about that exception on the basis of desertion. These theories are not taught in God’s word. And listen friend, when we oppose the theories we’re not causing division. What’s causing division then? The theories of men!” Ron Halbrook (Lesson on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (5-30-91) The Carriage Drive church of Christ, Beckley, WV].