The following debate announcement is posted to brother Tim Haile’s website: (http://www.biblebanner.com/articles/mdr/debate.htm)
Bill H. Reeves and Joel Gwin: Disputants
This debate will specifically deal with the issue that the Civil Procedure brethren erroneously refer to as “mental divorce” or a “the second putting-away.”
July 17th and 18th, 2003, at the Holiday Inn, 2910 Fort Campbell Blvd (US Highway 41A), Hopkinsville, KY
The proposition for both nights is:
“The Bible teaches that if a man puts away his scriptural wife for a reason other than fornication and then commits fornication, the original wife may not remarry."
Affirms: Joel Gwin (moderator, Greg Gwin)
Denies: Bill H. Reeves (moderator, Tim Haile)
The debate sessions will begin promptly at 7 PM each evening, with two 30 minute speeches, followed by two 20 minute speeches, followed by two 10 minute speeches.
The debate and all of its arrangements have been made solely by the Suwanee church of Christ.
Please note the first line of the announcement: “This debate will specifically deal with the issue that the Civil Procedure brethren erroneously refer to as “mental divorce” or a “the second putting-away” (emp. jhb).
(A copy of this very debate announcement was subsequently posted to the Truth Magazine website, but I am happy to report that, after receiving numerous complaints regarding the announcement’s biased wording, the editor of Truth Magazine’s website, Donnie Rader, removed the offensive portion in the first line of the announcement.)
In light of the above reference to (labeling of) “the Civil Procedure brethren,” compare what brother Harry Osborne stated in his sermon “Fight of Faith or Needless Controversy”:
“Brethren, when you look at a controversy arise, and you see that the way people handle it is by boycotting the preaching of those things that have to do with truth, you’ve found, most likely, where the error is. Truth is never afraid to stand up. Truth is never afraid to stand there and have a discussion of truth, to have an open Bible and to study those issues. Truth is always ready to do that. Error is not. Error is going to be something that tries to work behind the back, it’s going to be something that tries to label through unnecessary means, it’s going to be something that takes quotations out of context, attributes things to people that are not so. That’s what error does” (emp. jhb). Harry Osborne - Paden City, WV, 4-10-03 (LISTEN)
The ironic thing is that not only is this an unnecessary label, it does not even represent what our differences are about. Our differences are over the Lord’s instructions to those whom He calls “put away,” not over procedure.
When one employs a process to divorce his mate for fornication, there is a point at which all would recognize that his mate is “divorced” or “put away.” That same point in time is when the one who is not guilty of fornication becomes “put away,” as well, in an unlawful divorce. The Bible does not speak of one process to finalize a lawful divorce and another to finalize an unlawful divorce.
Moreover, the Lord speaks of those who are (what He calls) “put away” in both lawful and unlawful divorces, and makes no distinction in the consequence for either.
All this discussion on procedure vs. cause is not even germane to this issue. Why? Because, regardless of the procedure, Jesus acknowledged that people were capable of unlawfully putting away their bound mates (Matthew 5:32a; 19:6, 9a; Luke 16:18a; cf. I Corinthians 7:10-11). –Jeff