Maxey - Broking Discussion
A Critical Review and Defense of
Down, But Not Out

Tuesday, June 13, 2000

A Response by Al Maxey
To Broking's Previous Post
On the Focal Point of the Discussion

Within the "Conditions" which were established prior to the commencement of the Maxey-Broking Discussion we read the following: "#9 -- Each participant agrees to conduct himself in a manner which will not bring shame to the Lord's church." I happen to believe that this may well be the most important of the conditions governing our discussion. It speaks to the attitudes and actions of the participants. I understood this to mean that the participants would discuss their differing views of MDR with a spirit of love and respect for God, His Word, His church, and one another, and that this exchange would be kept on a higher spiritual level than would be evidenced in the world.

I don't believe the cause of Christ is furthered, or His people edified, when two Ministers of the Gospel allow their honest search for understanding and clarification with regard to a serious subject to deteriorate into "cheap shots" at one another. Frankly, Darrell, I was saddened and disappointed by some of your comments and characterizations in your most recent post. I feel they are unworthy of a man of your obvious stature and position in the Body of Christ. I would sincerely hope and pray that we could refrain from such in our future exchanges.

Specifically, I have in mind such things as comparing my teaching on MDR to "rat poison" and "opium for the soul," and then later stating "...I have marked you as a false teacher." You spoke of my "liberal view" on MDR. You impugned my integrity by stating: "Yes Al, I am already questioning your honesty in this discussion..." Some slams were subtle, as when you felt "compelled to ask you what your definition of 'is' is" -- or condescending, as when you wrote: "Al, to put this in words you may understand..." -- or condemning, as when you clearly implied that I was a "smooth" operator motivated by a desire to present my "damnable error" as though it was "pure Son light." Such rhetoric is purely inflammatory and does nothing to contribute to honest and honorable investigation into the Word between brethren.

Darrell, this is all I will say about such tactics. I won't comment on this again. If you choose to continue employing such language, that is between you and God. I will not respond to such inflammatory comments beyond this present appeal to you as a Christian gentleman to desist, nor will I reduce myself to the level of employing them against you. My commitment to Christ calls me to a higher standard of behavior when dealing with my brethren .... even those with whom I differ. The Bible calls us to *contend* for the faith, not be *contentious* for the faith. The search for Truth will be better served if we will both seek to conduct our discussion according to the former principle!

Darrell wrote: "I would never consider reviewing Al's book and publicly commenting on all of the good words contained therein..." First of all, I thank Darrell for acknowledging that with reference to my book there ARE some "good words contained therein." I appreciate that. I also happen to agree with you, Darrell. I never expected you to comment upon all the positive points you found in my book. That would be pleasant, of course, but it is not the purpose of this discussion. I understand that. I was not seeking confirmation from you concerning all the good in my book, but merely substantiation of that which you regarded as "false."

You had declared a vast portion of chapter one of my book to be "opinionative" and "not worthy of debate." All I sought to extract from you, Darrell, was some *proof* as to the validity of your accusation. You could have listed for the readers several instances, for example, of those statements by me in chapter one which you believed to be clearly "opinionative" and "not worthy of debate." I would like to see specifically what it was I wrote in that chapter which elicited such a strong declaration from you. If indeed much of that chapter IS "opinionative" and "not worthy of debate" then you would do me a great service by pointing those passages out so that I could correct them. I would be more than happy to do so if you would simply provide the evidence of your negative assessment.

Darrell, the simple fact of the matter is: such a negative declaration by one critically reviewing another's work demands substantiation. Harsh accusations devoid of factual verification simply do not merit serious consideration. *Anybody* can throw out unsubstantiated accusations. They tried that with Jesus, but He "called" them on it and demanded they provide the proof!! They were unable to do so .... so they slandered and slew Him!!

Darrell wrote: "As I pointed out in my post on chapter 1, much of the material written by Al is in the category of opinion. Al, to put this in words you may understand, it is academic. Academic debate among brethren does more damage than good in my estimation." Later in your post you returned to this thought: "The focal point of this discussion is doctrinal, salvation orientated, not academic!"

Darrell, I have to admit here that I'm not entirely sure what your point is in the above statements. I too believe our discussion is, or should be, doctrinal in nature. It focuses on the teaching, or doctrine, of the Lord God as revealed in His Word. In fact, you may have noticed that the two major chapters dealing with the NT documents are entitled "The TEACHING of Jesus Christ" (chapter six) and "The TEACHING of the Apostle Paul" (chapter seven). Doctrine just means "teaching." My focus in my book was on *doctrine.* And, yes, these are doctrines, or teachings, which definitely impact salvation. I agree with you 100% on this!

I'm left wondering, I suppose, what your personal definition of "academic" might be. Your above quotation implies it may be synonymous with "opinion." Webster's dictionary provides the following as one of the definitions of this term: "Not practical, but theoretical." I am assuming, therefore, you regard my work as being largely theory, but of no practical value. If you want to operate from that assumption, then that is your right. However, you now need to substantiate your allegation by providing the evidence. You must demonstrate, by providing specific examples from my book, that what I have presented in Down, But Not Out is just Al Maxey's impractical "theory" and not the saving doctrine of God's Word. Just *declaring* this to be the nature of my work is not sufficient, it must be conclusively *demonstrated.* This has yet to be done, in my estimation!

Darrell wrote: "Agree with Christ that God created one man for one woman for life." I have clearly declared this to be my view throughout my book. I agree with it. I have no problem with this at all. Darrell further asked me to agree with the following statement: "The only reason a divorced person may remarry and live in that marriage without sin is if that person was innocent of fornication, having put away a party guilty of fornication. He would also have to be married to one with the Biblical right of marriage." All I can say at this point, Darrell, is that you have just stated far more than our Lord ever did!! Your restrictions and limitations are "academic" (the impractical theories of men), and simply cannot be substantiated by sound exegesis of the text. This will be clearly, and I believe conclusively, demonstrated at the appropriate time in our discussion.

Darrell wrote: "I know that you are not ready to get to this point in our discussion yet, so we will proceed. However, at any time you want to agree with the Bible Al, just take the Lord's position on this subject and your name will indeed be vindicated in regard to this subject."

We both honestly believe we have embraced "the Lord's position on this subject," Darrell. I believe I *am* in agreement with the teaching of the Bible. Indeed, I spent years in research prior to writing this book to make certain my presentation was thoroughly biblical. I believe you too have not arrived at your conclusions carelessly, but have given honest effort to knowing the will of our God. We have simply arrived at differing interpretations of the text and opposing applications of our understandings. It is my prayer that we can lovingly examine our differences, using God's Word as our Standard.

Darrell wrote: "It is my earnest prayer that all holding your liberal view on marriage, divorce and remarriage will repent and stand with Christ on this matter." I too pray that all will stand with Christ on this matter. I will let the readers judge for themselves whether or not I am standing with Christ when you and I discuss chapters five and six. I am convinced that I currently AM standing with my Lord on this teaching, but I welcome your effort to show me specifically where I do not (and, of course, to validate your charge with sound exegesis -- that's being "scholarly," not "academic").

Darrell wrote: "One of the things I appreciate about discussing things with you Al, is that you have really helped me to be sharper in my thinking." I feel the same way. It is always good to have one's thinking challenged. That is a positive exercise. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). I sincerely thank you, Darrell, for sharpening my thinking, and for keeping me on my toes!

You also wrote: "To me criticism is a blessing because it really helps me pay closer attention to what I am doing." Again, I agree. Criticism is far more effective, however, if it is given graciously and lovingly. One can be firm without being harsh. Harsh and hateful words are not conducive to promoting repentance. "The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil" (Proverbs 15:28). The apostle Peter phrased it this way, "Always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you. But do this with GENTLENESS and RESPECT, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander" (I Peter 3:15-16). Paul wrote: "Let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone" (Colossians 4:6).

Darrell wrote: "Al, contrary to your philosophy, the Old Law was nailed to the cross." This is not contrary to my philosophy, brother. I too believe the "certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us ... He has taken out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14). I have already stated this fact in an earlier part of this discussion with you. Perhaps you overlooked that statement of mine. I am in agreement with you on this, Darrell.

As I suspected long before this discussion ever began, Darrell is very anxious to get to Matthew 19:9, a passage which some believe to be the "final word" on MDR (and which others believe to be the "ONLY word" on MDR). Darrell said, "Al, we could skip all of your Old Testament work and get right to the point of division..." Darrell's major "point of division" with me, I believe, is our differing interpretations of what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:9. And we WILL get to that. But, Jesus did not make the statement recorded there in a vacuum. To fully appreciate His authoritative teaching there we must know something of the background information which prompted the exchange between our Lord and His antagonists that day. Failing to properly prepare ourselves to examine a passage can easily lead us down a false interpretive trail.

That is why I have carefully led my readers (in my book) on a prayerful journey through the biblical record so that they might be fully prepared to correctly interpret and better appreciate the teaching of our Lord in that passage. Such a scholarly biblical journey requires patience, but the rewards at the end of the theological sojourn are well worth the effort.

Darrell, with regard to the above, you wrote: "Al, I know that you feel that discussing this is premature. I disagree with you." Brother, I find this statement by you rather puzzling. Why?! Because earlier in this discussion it was YOU who felt we should not rush ahead. In your post of April 24, 2000 you wrote: "A discussion on these matters is really PREMATURE at this point. It may be best to discuss each of these elements as the chapter in which they are found is discussed."

I replied on April 26, 2000 with the following: "I happen to agree with this assessment. To begin an in-depth examination of some of the issues Darrell raised relevant to what he believes I have taught in later chapters of my book is indeed premature."

Now, all of a sudden, Darrell, you are saying you disagree with this. "I disagree with you," were your words. It seems more that you may be disagreeing with yourself here. It was YOU who previously declared it to be "premature" to jump ahead to later chapters and issues. And I agreed with you when you made that statement on April 24.

Darrell wrote: "Yes we will discuss this with a fine toothed comb as these posts continue to unfold. But, I am determined to keep the pressure on this point." I sincerely hope you will, brother, because when we reach the teaching of Jesus Christ on this subject -- and His statement in Matthew 19:9 specifically -- we will indeed note some of the major differences in our understanding of His doctrine. However, since you clearly state that you "refuse to endorse ANY PART" (caps for emphasis) of my book, it is good to take the time to demonstrate to the readers -- and to me -- WHY you feel it is filled with teaching "out of harmony with the Bible."

Thus, as we continue our journey to "the final word" on MDR, I look forward to your evaluation of what you feel to be clearly "out of harmony with the Bible" in the chapters pertaining to the Old Covenant writings. I am assuming, therefore, your next post will deal with the "errors" clearly contained in chapter two of Down, But Not Out. I look forward to discussing them with you.

May God's richest blessing be upon you, Darrell .... and upon those readers of this discussion seeking a better understanding of God's will.

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