January 20, 2017

Hailey’s View on Divorce and Remarriage

By Ben F. Vick, Jr.

Homer Hailey, a brother in Christ, full of years and an old man, has done some good writing during his years of service. All would profit from his books on the Minor Prophets, Isaiah, and Revelation. In fact, I have told others in the past that almost anything Homer Hailey has written is worth having in one’s library. I say “almost” regretfully, because of his stand against the orphan homes and, within recent years, his book, The Divorced and Remarried Who Would Come to God.

In the preface of the afore named book, the second edition, he wrote, “I have no intention of entering into or carrying on a discussion of the subject.” But this is like a kid who throws the first punch and then says that he does not want to fight He entered the fray at least seven years ago when his first edition appeared. He has fired two rounds but, like the sniper, flees from the scene.

Hailey wrote:

It is neither said nor intimated anywhere in the New Testament that aliens who have been married, divorced and remarried, and now want to obey the gospel, serve God and attain heaven through faith, must separate, break up, or live in separate rooms while under the same roof. This was never even intimated by Jesus. At no time did He deal with the subject of an alien’s marriage, divorce and remarriage.

He wrote, “Therefore all mankind are under Christ’s jurisdiction, but only those who submit to the terms of the gospel are under His law of the new covenant” (51-52).

The word “jurisdiction” means “2: the authority of a sovereign power to govern or legislate 3: the limits or territory within which authority may be exercised: CONTROL” (Webster’s Seventh Collegiate Dictionary 461).

If Christ’s jurisdiction includes all the world (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16), then, all men must submit to his will. Brother Hailey admits our Lord’s jurisdiction extends beyond the church, having cited several verses as proof (Ps. 2:8; Rev. 12:5; 19:15). Along this same line, David said of Christ’s reign, “The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies” (Ps. 110:2). In the kingdoms of this world a monarch who rules in the midst of his enemies would mean that his enemies were obligated to submit. If they did not submit, they might suffer terrible consequences. Jesus rules now and is far above all principality and power, and might, and dominion (Eph. 1:20-21). Yet, alien sinners are not obligated to all of Christ’s law, according to Hailey. The Bible teaches otherwise.

If all men are obligated to the law of Christ, which includes Matthew 19:3-9, then, all men are obligated to Matthew 19:3-9. Paul argued concerning the obligations that a man would have to all the law of Moses if he would be obligated to part of it by saying, “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law” (Gal. 5:3). Therefore, anyone who is obligated to part of the New Covenant, which includes the plan of salvation, is a debtor to all of it, which includes Christ’s teaching on divorce and remarriage (Matt. 19:3-10).

We are told that the “universal moral law” was made known to a degree at the time of Adam’s sin, was revealed more fully in the Mosaic law, and then was revealed in its fullness in the New Covenant under Christ (33). But later Hailey tells us that “only those who submit to the terms of the gospel are under Christ’s law of the new covenant” (52-53). Following his reasoning, if the universal moral law is fully revealed in the New Covenant and alien sinners are not amenable to his New Covenant, then, alien sinners are not even amenable to the universal moral law, which is fully revealed in the New Covenant.

If one is not obligated to a part of the law of Christ, then, upon what basis would he be obligated to any of it? If alien sinners are not obligated to Christ’s law on marriage, then, they are not obligated to his teaching concerning the Great Commission, which is part of the New Covenant (Matt. 28:18-20). But all men are obligated to his teaching regarding the Great Commission, which is a part of the New Covenant; therefore all men are obligated to Christ’s law on marriage.

Hailey denies that one can “live in adultery.” But does he not know? Has he not heard of Paul’s statements in Colossians 3:5-7? The inspired writer commanded, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: . . . In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.” Lived in what? The aforementioned sins, one of which was fornication. They had lived in it. Fornication is a broad term that includes adultery. So, if one can live in fornication, as Paul states that he can, then one can live in adultery.

F. Lagard Smith cannot make up his mind as to Hailey’s view regarding divorce and remarriage. Smith wrote:

But Homer did make one big mistake. He wrote one book too many. Or at least the wrong book. Or at least a book in which he might have been wrong. Or partially wrong. Or maybe not wrong at all, but definitely on the other side of the fence from some other folks (Is Smith with Hailey or “other folks”?). And for this one mistake, Homer was immediately castigated as a false prophet!” (Who Is My Brother? 207).

Because of Hailey’s influence through his life and books, many will be persuaded to believe and follow his pernicious doctrine. Ezekiel wrote, “But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and commiteth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die” (Ezek. 18:24). Hailey’s position is wrong, and Smith is wrong for sympathizing with the false teacher.