By Donald P. Ames
While listening to one of the local radio stations recently, I was shocked by some statistics offered. They noted that today one out of every four babies born in America is born to an unwed mother. This figure is six times higher than it was 40 years ago!
What does this say? It simply demonstrates that all the talk of sex education in the schools (minus the teaching against pre-marital sex) is not the answer. It points out to us that diseases such as herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, and now even AIDS have not convinced people not to engage in illicit sexual activity. It shows us the influence of TV and “easy sex” on our young people. It also shows us that gospel preachers and Bible class teachers are not getting the message through that sex is only good and wholesome in the realm where God authorized it – marriage!
Passages, like Hebrews 13:4 which notes, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” need even greater emphasis. Galatians 5:19-21 points out that those who practice fornication “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 clearly warns us to ” flee sexual immorality, ” and vv. 9-10 remind us again that those engaging in such can not inherit the kingdom of God. It is not a “sin” only “if you happen to get caught.” It is a sin! Marriage does not make it OK “if you goof up and get pregnant” (witness David and Bathsheba). And those who think “it won’t happen to me” are not only deceiving themselves (as evidenced by the fact it did happen to one of every four born), but certainly are deceiving themselves for eternity as well!
Equally disappointing is the fact so many have so little self-respect and pride that they cannot seem to remain a virgin until they get married. Do they think this is a “sure” way to get someone to care for them and get married? Do they have no more confidence in their own personal appeal as a person to win a mate than to think this will “get them”? (And if it takes this to get one, what happens when that mate later wants it elsewhere?) I cannot over emphasize the fact that whatever the reason, it is still a sin and totally displeasing to God!
Yet, on the other side, I am also disturbed by the fact that some are also whittling away on principles of morality. More and more today we are hearing of preachers trying to open the door to divorce and remarriage (coming out of the closet and pushing for a more liberal attitude than authorized by Jesus in Matt. 19:9). The latest of such is now brother Homer Hailey. An announcement recently appeared in a journal stating that he is publishing a book setting for his views, just as James D. Bales did recently. And every preacher around who is seeking to find some way to set aside Jesus’ plain teaching will be grabbing on to his coat-tails!
The views of brother Hailey are not really anything new or different. Over 30 years ago, while attending Florida College, I was well aware of his thinking. I edited a bulletin then for a church in Thonotosassa, Florida, and took issue with some of his views then. It was occasionally mentioned in class rooms, discussed, and evaluated. Yet, it was not something brother Hailey pushed.
But, someone asks, if that be the case, and if brethren knew of his position for over 30 years, why are they getting all bent out of shape over it now? And that is a fair question. There are several factors that come into play today that create a different picture. (1) Then, it was a class room situation, where it was studied, discussed, brought up in other classes, etc. Today, it is being taught as truth to the general public, (2) Then it was not the popular theory, and was quickly questioned. (3) Then, brother Hailey was a teacher at a college. Today, he has published several commentaries on the prophets and Revelation. (I think they are some of the best in their field too!) His influence and popularity is far greater and so is his potential to do harm in the spreading of his views on this doctrine. (4) Then, his views were not pushed or advocated very widely. Now, he plans to publish a book to assist in circulating them. If he wishes to go publicly, then despite our love for him and his work in the prophets, he must be met publicly!
And since he is speaking out of these subjects, he should not object to brethren responding or declining to have him for a gospel meeting where he might cause problems by advocating his ideas on the subject.
But, he is not alone. Charles Holt has surrounded himself with such cronies to help promote his false concepts on the local congregation and his organization – and if he has not endorsed their views, he certainly has promoted them! In my opinion, he may soon wander so far off with his cantankerous attitude though that brethren in general will lose sight of him.
It is a shame to see brethren who once stood tall in the faith drifting away from plain teaching in the Bible to pursue wild theories and destructive doctrines. But it is a far greater shame to see those influenced by them in sin because they feel men of “such stature” can’t be wrong (especially when it is what they want to hear). In reality, we must strive even harder to warn them that our faith must be based on the word of God, and not in men! May God help us in the days and years ahead as we wage the war against immorality – on both ends of the marriage vows!
Guardian of Truth XXXIV: 22, pp. 680, 692
November 15, 1990