Tell It Like It Is and Complete the Sentence
by Bill Reeves
August 22, 2004
The errorist can’t afford to tell it like it is. Loud and long he cries: "They believe in two puttings-away." He can’t bring himself to "complete" the sentence! (I speak not of grammatically completing a sentence, but of completing the thought that should go with the sentence).
If he would tell it like it is he would say that there are as many puttings-away as there are occurrences of people putting others away. And how many are there of these? Not merely two, but untold numbers! Puttings-away occur in great numbers around the world on a daily basis. Why can’t he tell it like it is, and "complete" the sentence, by simply stating that the opponent believes that, in a given scenario, two puttings-away have occurred. He can’t complete the sentence by stating that, although many puttings-away OCCUR daily in the world, his opponent believes in only ONE putting-away that the Lord APPROVES: that which is done for the CAUSE of fornication! That would be telling it like it is; that would be "completing" the sentence.
If an ungodly spouse unlawfully puts away his innocent mate, that is one putting away that occurs. We all believe that that is what has occurred. Then if the innocent spouse, for the cause of fornication, puts away the fornicator-mate, that also is a putting-away. We all believe that that is what has occurred. So, in this scenario, we all "believe in two puttings-away;" that is, that two puttings-away or repudiations have OCCURRED. But in this scenario does any one of us believe in two puttings-away THAT THE LORD APPROVES? Of course not! None of us believes in such! So, why this false charge that "they believe in two puttings-away?"
It comes from misrepresentation, which is the strong weapon (tactic) of every false teacher. The false teacher is not going to tell it like it is; he is not going to "complete" the sentence. To do so would be to lose his case!
Playing by Two Sets of Rules -- One For Himself, Another For His Opponent!
In the political arena we see daily how that the liberal media plays by two sets of rules: one for the opponent, but a different one for themselves. They demand "toleration" on the part of others, but they themselves are not going to tolerate their opponent. They criticize their opponent for criticizing; they won’t tolerate their opponent’s intolerance. They are negative toward negativists.
In the present controversy over M/D/R, the "proviso" brethren monotonously state their rule: "Whoever marries the put-away woman commits adultery." There it is, pure and simple. Usually accompanying their absolute rule are the scriptures: Matt. 5:32; 19:9; Luke 16:18. Now, that really makes it a hard and fast rule, because the Scriptures say so in so many words! So, they think: "What’s wrong with these ‘mental divorcers’? Why they ignore the rule: ‘Whoever marries a put-away woman commits adultery!’ The put-away woman has been ‘boxed’ BY JESUS HIMSELF (as Brother Joel Gwin told us on one of his charts in the Hopkinsville debate)." So, the hard and fast rule applied to the opponent is this: Once a woman finds herself in the category of "put-away," she is stuck there. She’s a "put-away woman, and whoever marries her commits adultery: Jesus said so!" So, there’s the rule, no exceptions, case closed!
BUT, there’s a different rule for the "proviso" brethren. They enjoy exceptions to their absolute rule. They don’t have to abide by what they paste on their opponents. They won’t accept for themselves the rule that they bind on others! When confronted with the case of a put-away woman whose husband, who unlawfully put her away, dies, then, this put-away, boxed, categorized woman all of a sudden MAY REMARRY! What happened to the absolute rule? "Well, it’s for the opponent; we go by a different rule: one that allows exceptions to our absolute rule. In this case the put-away woman may remarry."
And, when confronted with the case of a put-away woman who is reconciled to her husband, then this put-away, boxed, categorized woman all of a sudden MAY REMARRY! What happened to the absolute rule? "Well, it’s for the opponent; we go by a different rule: one that allows exceptions to our absolute rule. In this case the put-away woman may remarry."
And this is honesty on the part of our brethren? The opponent can’t have any exceptions to their absolute rule, but they may?
If there are exceptions, then the rule is not absolute. Here’s an absolute: "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." Now, are there exceptions to that rule? Of course not. An absolute admits of no exceptions. But our brethren in error project their rule as an absolute to others, while they themselves turn the absolute into a rule with exceptions.
Indeed, the legs of the lame are not equal!
The "Order" Argument
At the recent Forum, July 14, 2004, of the GOT Lectureship in Bowling Green, Ky, Brother Gregg Gwin projected on a screen an "Order" chart in an effort to paint his opponents as ones who change the Bible order of things. The point that Bro. Gwin tried to make is that, as the Baptists change the order of the steps of conversion, so his opponents change the biblical order regarding divorce and remarriage. The subtlety of his effort is seen when one compares the chart used against the Baptists, and the one that the Gwins (Greg and Joel, the son, in the Hopkinsville Debate) use to depict their opponents as being like the Baptists. The chart used against the Baptists (projected in the Forum, and in the debate) is a true "order" chart, because the elements (words) used on the left side are identical to those used on the right side, only in a different order. What Bro. Gwin did NOT show at Bowling Green in the Forum, but did in the debate, is the second chart in which THE ELEMENTS ON THE LEFT WERE CHANGED when set on the right. This made the chart, not a change-of-order chart, but a CHANGE-OF-ELEMENTS chart!
For the benefit of the readers who were neither at the mentioned debate nor at the Forum I give the two charts:
Chart #1, a true order-chart, and on which we brethren all agree. Note that the items (words, elements) on the right are identical to those on the left:
THE BIBLE BAPTISTS
BE BAPTIZED SAVED
SAVED BE BAPTIZED
But Chart #2 is NOT a true order-chart: the same words or phrases on the left are NOT identically the same when set on the right. This is a chart of changed elements, not a chart of changed order!
THE BIBLE BRO. REEVES
FORNICATION PUTTING AWAY
INNOCENT PUTS AWAY GUILTY FORNICATION
INNOCENT MAY REMARRY REMARRIAGE
What Bro. Reeves believes is what is set forth on the left of the chart. He wanted to affirm in the debate, but was not allowed, that "The Scriptures teach that when fornication occurs, the innocent spouse, one bound by the marriage bond, is given the right to repudiate the fornicating mate to whom he has been bound by God, and to remarry." (I have underscored the items in the proposition that correspond to the items in Bro. Gwin’s chart, on the left). See it? Fornication, innocent puts away guilty, and, innocent may remarry. This is what the Bible teaches and what Bro. Reeves believes and affirms.
But notice that on the right the Gwins depict Bro. Reeves as believing in simply putting away, without telling the audience WHO may do the putting-away (on the left they say who)! They depict Bro. Reeves as believing in simply remarriage, without telling the audience WHO may remarry (on the left they say who)! They have deceptively changed the elements, thus prejudicing their audience against their good brother in the Lord, in order to sustain a mistaken position that they have taken on the divorce and remarriage issue! And this is honesty? This is an effort toward unity among brethren? No, it is contrivance for effect.
It is a lie to charge Bro. Reeves (and a host of good brethren who stand where he stands on this issue) with believing in "PUTTING AWAY / FORNICATION / REMARRIAGE!" Such is a purposeful effort to misrepresent good brethren in the Lord. What we believe is what is set forth on the left of the chart: "FORNICATION / INNOCENT PUTS AWAY GUILTY / INNOCENT MAY REMARRY!"
My proffered proposition states precisely this, and the Gwins call it Bible, as indeed it is. The Gwins need to apologize for misrepresenting Bro. Reeves and to desist in using their deceitful chart. Will they do it?
by Bill Reeves