The Guardian of Truth, in its issues of October 17 and November 7, 1996 ran an article of mine titled “Review of Jim Puterbaugh’s ‘One Covenant.” Jim’s brother, Ben Puterbaugh, of Black Diamond, Washington has “reviewed” my “review” of Jim making these statements:
Bro. McDonald has made some very obvious errors in the tract, both in regards to what the Bible teaches, and as to what Bro. Puterbaugh believes and teaches . . . I have no problem with brethren attacking a person’s teaching when they believe that teaching to be in error, but when we do, honesty demands that we examine their arguments. If you will take the time to view the video of Puterbaugh’s classes on the covenant taught at Issaquah in 1995, you will see that jp’s reasons for his conclusions are completely ignored in the tract . . . Instead McDonald claimed that jp’s position on the covenant is taken because of jp’s position on marriage, divorce, & remarriage. This charge is blatantly false. Neither my position or jp’s are dependent upon the covenant or universal moral law question.
Here are two statements I made that might be con-tested: “The aim of brother Puterbaugh’s ‘Covenant’ teaching is to prove that God has never had but one universal moral law from creation until now. According to brother Puterbaugh, Jesus did not die to give a new law for he taught exactly the same thing in the realm of morals that Moses taught. The thrust of such teaching is to promote his doctrine on `Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage” (GOT, 10/17/96, 646). “Why does brother Puterbaugh have such a problem with polygamy? Why can he not give a forthright, clear answer about polygamy and say, `It is wrong’? He cannot because he knows such a declaration destroys his `covenant doctrine’ and his teaching that there has always been just one moral law with no alteration in it” (GOT, 11/7/96, 680).
I apologize for seeming to impugn Jim’s motives. I wrote in October 17, 1996 (GOT, 646), “It is not my purpose to malign brother Puterbaugh’s character or assign ulterior motives to his actions. I have no animosity toward him.” Such still reflects my desire. In all future publications of the tract, such statements will be expunged.
I must further comment, however, that while I have been charged with error in both what the Scriptures teach and what Jim teaches, no specific item was given in which I misrepresented Jim’s teaching only that I misrepresented Jim’s purposes in the development of his doctrine. It is (1) neither denied that the “one-covenant” position “agrees with and upholds” Jim’s position on “Marriage-Divorce-Remarriage” nor that (2) Jim uses his “unchanging, universal moral law” concept whether he teaches about the “One Covenant” or “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage.” When he taught his “One Covenant” he said that when Jesus died on the cross, he “did not die to do away with the law and institute a new law as a last will and testament” (tape on the One Covenant, 1995). When he taught on “Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage,” he said Jesus “did not nail the Ten Commandments to the cross, he taught the ten commandments,” even the Sabbath because Christ is our rest (Matt. 11:27-3) (Tapes on MDR). As to the consequences of an “unchanging moral law” regarding polygamy (while refer-ring to the issue of polygamy as “prejudicial”), Ben Puterbaugh acknowledged: “I am not advocating, nor have I ever done so, that a man have more than one wife. I believe the Bible shows that more than one wife provides the opportunity for jealousy and other problems. But I know of no Bible passage that teaches it is inherently immoral for a man to have two or more wives at the same time. In the US it would violate the law we live under, and we are commanded by God to keep the ordinances of the land (Rom. 13:1-7)” (Covenant, 7). I respect Ben’s candor (although I disagree that there is no Bible passage which teaches that it is inherently immoral for a man to have two wives at the same time; both 1 Corinthians 7:1 and Romans 7:14 teach that which brother Ben does not know). He has the courage to accept the logical consequences of the doctrine of an unchanging eternal moral law.
Still the fact remains that while I neither misrepresented Jim’s teaching nor drew unwarranted conclusions as to what further errors it leads (Sabbath keeping, instrumental music in worship, salvation without baptism, the physical Jew still in a special relationship to God, polygamy, as well as divorce for any reason in which both parties remarry and may remain with their second mate), I have no desire to at-tempt to mad any man’s heart and therefore apologize for any statements of mine which seemed to judge Jim’s motives for the development of his “One Covenant” doctrine.
Guardian of Truth XLI: 7 p. 5
April 3, 1997