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Do not marry a question mark

HUGH’S NEWS & VIEWS, by Hugh Fulford

(Pursuant to last week’s article on “The Evolution Of ‘Adjusting’ God’s Law Of Marriage,” we send forth the following article by my good friend Bill Boyd. Bill is the able preacher for the Rockliff Church of Christ in Morrison, TN where he also serves as one of the elders. I ask my readers to thoughtfully consider the wisdom with which brother Boyd writes. His article follows).

The title of this article is the title to a tract buried somewhere in my files. It was written by an old school Arkansas preacher. I call him “old school” because he was more concerned with offending God through cowardice than in offending men with the truth. We loved him.

The tract had to do with entering into questionable marriage situations. Some situations are right, some are wrong, and some are questionable. Our Lord’s teaching in Matthew 19:9 is simple enough. God’s plan is one man and one woman to be joined together by one God to be one flesh for one life with one exception. The Lord’s one exception for remarriage following a divorce is for the one who put away their spouse for fornication. Simple as that is, there is a constant clamor of some who want to be confused about it. Also, simple as the teaching is, the application is often difficult. It seems like there are always complicating and extenuating circumstances.

Sometimes repentance from a sinful situation seems heartless, and sometimes there is the welfare of innocent children to consider. Answers are not always easy, and implanting difficult answers can be more difficult than the questions themselves. Such situations are better to avoid than to try to fix.

But what of questionable marriages? Consider this example: He was already a despicable husband when he told his wife he was cheating on her. She put him away, married another, and bore her new loving husband children. After a few years the cruel beast she had divorced told her that he had been lying, that he had not cheated on her, and that she was the fornicator! Now what do you do? It should not surprise us that a fornicator would lie, but when was this liar lying? She wanted to do the right thing, but what was that? To remain unlawfully married would be adultery, but she had no right to put away a lawful loving husband. Thankfully the truth came out, but all questionable situations are not so easily resolved.

I once asked Wayne Jackson about a questionable situation and he gave me sage advice. He said that sometimes you know a marriage is lawful, sometimes you know it is not lawful, and sometimes you do not know, and perhaps cannot know. When we do not know or cannot know we have to leave the matter between the parties involved and God; God is not mocked. I have always appreciated his advice.

It is one thing to find oneself in a questionable relationship; it is another to knowingly enter into a questionable relationship. If it is questionable, avoid it. The truth that comes out is not always good. Those who avoid questionable relationships spare themselves, their families, and their church a lot of heartache. Some say they are willing to take the risk. They think to justify themselves by saying, “I love that person!” I suggest that if they really love that person, then they would not want to bring that person into a spiritually questionable relationship. When it is questionable, real love means do not marry.

Call me heartless, but I am not. Call me opinionated; that is your opinion. Call me old school, but love me for the truth’s sake. This may be difficult, but you know this is right and you know this is wise. There was a time when Paul judged it best that some not marry, even when they had a right to do so (1 Corinthians 7:25-40), and Paul had the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 7:40). We should not judge others over matters we do not know or cannot know. As for me, I will not cease to love those who play the fool, but I would spare them.

Hugh Fulford
October 24, 2023


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