[Biblemat] "Some Revealing Exchanges on Romans 14, No. 3"
dmartinbtbq at comcast.net
Tue Nov 11 09:23:24 CST 2008
"Some Revealing Exchanges on Romans 14, No. 3"
By Don Martin
I have had many other exchanges or debates, if you prefer, on
Romans 14 that have illustrated some brethren's inconsistent
positions. Inconsistency is often the result of wanting to take
both sides of an issue; thus, they end up appearing foolish. On
one hand, they want to be known for saying that they do not believe
doctrinal or moral matters belong in Romans 14; yet, when it comes
to application and party loyalty, they end up placing doctrinal and
moral matters in Romans 14 or, at least, defending those who teach
blatant error by claiming that their doctrinal error must not be
placed in Romans 14, but that we must tolerate the men's application
of doctrinal error, placing this in Romans 14. I know and agree,
such mumbo jumbo does not make any sense, but this is too often
the way it is.
Case in point: An exchange on Romans 14 during the fall of 2004.
In one circumstance, when I was exposing the doctrinal error of one
known preacher's teaching relative to multiple causes for divorce
instead of the one cause, fornication, that Jesus provided (Matt. 5:
32, 19: 9), one insisted that we must allow for different
applications of Matthew 5: 32 and 19: 9. This was during the time
that Ron Halbrook and others were heard saying, "We believe the
same truth, but we must allow for different applications of that same
truth." Contradiction often characterize these preachers. Notice the
following excerpt taken from this debate:
"Romans 14 does not sanction unity in doctrinal and moral diversity
(2 Jno. 9-11; Gal. 1:6-10; 1 Cor. 4:6, 17 and other verses expose
this error). It is wrong to conclude that all areas of application
fall into the realm of judgment."
My disputant went on to say, again, having my agreement:
"At the same time, there are some areas in the application of truth
that the Lord has left to personal judgment."
Going more to the point, he then added:
"The past several years has seen interest heightened to the point of
debate and division over the subject of divorce and remarriage.
Brethren are once again challenged to distinguish the difference
between binding truth and allowable differences (cf. Phil. 1:9-11)."
Still becoming more revealing, he states:
"Is it possible to be united in the truth of the gospel on marriage,
divorce and remarriage, and yet differ over some specific points of
application? Yes, just as surely as it was for the meat-eater and the
herb-eater to differ in their application of food consumption while
not having fellowship with the idol."
Further laying ground work:
"Still, it must be acknowledged that brethren who are united on the
aforementioned principle of truth (one man and one woman for life
with one exception) conscientiously differ on some of the
applications of that God-given pattern. Differences in application
that do not violate the God-given pattern for marriage, divorce and
remarriage should not be made tests of fellowship. That is the
'forgotten side' of Romans 14. Will we have the abundant 'love',
'knowledge and all discernment' necessary to 'approve the things that
are excellent' and to remain 'sincere and without offense till the
day of Christ' as we address this subject (Phil. 1:9-10)? Or, will we
disrupt unity with the stumbling block of binding personal conscience
upon others? Romans 14 still has application today."
My disputant introduces another preacher, quoting his material and
listing particularly two interesting items:
"Brother (name withheld, dm) reminded us of some applications of the
Bible's teaching on MDR over which brethren disagree even while they
maintain agreement on the divine pattern of one man and one woman for
life, with one exception (Matt. 19:4-6, 9). Two of the multiple
positions in the list of the differences in application he noted
"...3. Can an adulterous mate execute a civil divorce against a
faithful mate, and the faithful mate be prohibited from remarrying
because he/she is the 'put-away' mate?
7. Can a Christian put away his mate for the 'kingdom's sake' and
remain unmarried or be reconciled?"
After mentioning the above as illustrative of his point of allowing
"different applications" of the "same truth," he immediately follows
"When conscience compels a brother or sister to hold fast to one
application over another, and truth is not violated by doing so, we
are to respect their conscience and not press our different (though
equally sound) application to the point of division. That is the
'side' of Romans 14 we must not forget. We must remember to receive
one another when there is dispute over 'doubtful things' instead of
pressing personal scruples to the point of forcing the violation of
conscience and rupturing unity in the body of Christ."
I challenged this brother's article and statements and an exchange
between him and me resulted. To this day, though, he claims he has
been misrepresented. He asserts that after all he said he did not
believe doctrinal and/or moral deviation can be placed in Romans 14.
Knowing the background is of some help in trying to figure out this
obvious contradiction. This brother accepted a staff writer position
for Truth Magazine and I called him, asking him how he could be a
part of such an arrangement, involving the editor who advocates
multiple causes for divorce. Hence, his article titled, "The
'Forgotten Side' of Romans 14." This preacher never refuted or
presented as doctrinal error multiple causes for putting away; yet,
borrowed it from another as an example of different applications, all
the whole pleading for tolerance and allowance based on Romans 14.
I have repeatedly asked him very simply (after his claim of
misrepresentation): "Do you believe the doctrine of multiple causes
for divorce, 'divorce for the Kingdom's sake,' can be placed in
Romans 14 and fellowship extended to those who preach multiple
causes?" He has refused to answer this simple question, but
continues to say that I have misrepresented him. Such is going to
be the recurrent result of men among us who align themselves with
unscriptural arrangements that place them in a unity-in-diversity
fellowship circumstance and then forces them to look to Romans
14 for help to appear to be justified in their actions.
These mentioned exchanges on Romans 14 as well as many others can be
visited in the Polemic Exchange section of www.bibletruths.net When
on the home page, scroll down and enter through the door and click on
"Polemic Exchanges" in the directory on the Site Map page. Also of
interest is the article titled, "Romans 14, An Overview." When on
the home page of Bible Truths, click on the Archives button and then
click on "R" on the Archives page.
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