Freeman-Halbrook Debate

By Glen W. Lovelady

I have been asked to make a short review of the debate that took place between my good friend Jack Freeman and brother Ron Halbrook in Las Vegas, Nevada in January 1990 and the other one in West Columbia, Texas in February 1990. Brother Homer Walker of Las Vegas moderated for Freeman and brother Larry Hafley of Bartlett, Tennessee for Ron.

Both men did a good job presenting their material with Ron bringing up Herod and Herodias two or three hundred times. Jack kept pointing out to the audience that this case is/was incest and thus against the law and could not be corrected (Mk. 6:18; Lev. 18:16; 20:21). Jack pointed out very clearly that Herod could not have Herodias because of the law, but that Herod could go and get any divorced woman that he wanted under Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Jack pointed out that Ron would make Herod live celibate, Jack’s main point was that each person has a right to have a mate (I Cor. 7:2), while Ron’s main point was that Herod and Herodias had to separate. They would come closer to a homosexual marriage than what we are debating. There was no hope for them and there is no hope for a homosexual situation. Nothing we can say or do can help them. Now if Philip was not his brother then you might have something, but incest can’t be corrected, and neither can homosexuality. Just because incest, homosexuality and polygamy must cease, does not prove that these people who have committed adultery in their past can’t have a marriage where incest, homosexuality, or polygamy was not involved. That is the point that we are making.

Ron brought up a number of books that agree with his position, so Jack said that he could finds as many books if not more that took the other side, but what would that prove? Jack made a big play on the fact that we are to prove our points by what the Bible says, not what men think. Ron was good in turning things around and in Las Vegas he turned this point against Jack. Jack made the mistake of going along with him by offering Ron his books, but that was corrected in Texas.

Another point of contention was over the exception clause in Matthew 19:9. Ron said that it cannot apply, but Jack came back and, pointed out to the audience that Ron will take the exception clear over to the book of Romans or Corinthians but won’t let us bring it down to the second part of the verse. In other words, Ron can apply it where ever he wants and whenever it fits his position, but if it goes against his position, then it doesn’t apply. Ron produced an English teacher that said it couldn’t apply. I gave Jack a list of seven English and Greek professors who disagree with his English teacher, but Jack decided not to use them.

The way it stands in the KJV, the English teachers would have a good debate over whether it applies or not.

Jack kept trying to get Ron to define the word “adultery” and Ron finally produced a chart where he tried to make the point that Jesus broadened the meaning of adultery. Jesus did, but still in every case a spouse was involved. Now who is the spouse of the put away fornicator? If the put away fornicator (who is not a spouse anymore) marries one who is not the spouse of anybody, how could adultery be committed, according to the definition of “adultery”? He couldn’t!

Ron then produced a chart that showed a man who had stolen another man’s watch, car, and wife and said that he must give them back. Jack pointed out to the audiences that Ron was right, the man must give back the other man’s watch, car, and wife, but did that mean that this man could not go and get his own watch, car, and wife? What if the other man said, “I don’t want that watch, car and wife anymore, you can have them.” Ron came back and said that he could say that about his watch and car, but not with his wife. I bet if Ron’s wife ran off with another man, that Ron would say, “I don’t want her anymore.” Ron, God gave you the right to say, “I don’t want her any more” in Matthew 19:9. Jack then asked, would the man have to live celibate and never have another watch and car as penance, because that is what Ron is advocating with these marriage mess up’s.

Well it was a good debate, and the debate goes on. Mike Willis has set up a written debate between myself and brother Colly Caldwell, Vice-President of Florida College to appear in the Guardian of Truth this fall, We are already working on it. God help us.

Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 11, p. 330
June 7, 1990