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

Thursday, June 29, 2000

Comments by Darrell Broking
On Chapter Two of Maxey's Book

Al Maxey: "Difficult though it may be for those with a strictly legalistic religious perspective to accept, there have been occasions when, to accomplish specific purposes, God has allowed, and even encouraged, the violation of His Law, with no resulting guilt on the part of the violators."

Imagine a God upon whom men can not depend. A God who calls men into the riches of his grace, the depths of his love, the warmth and comfort of his mercy; only to say, "I really did not mean it when I called." Friends, if it is the case that God, "to accomplish specific purposes," allowed or encouraged the violation of his law, "with no resulting guilt on the part of the violators," then he can not be trusted to save men. If God said, "thou shalt not" and later allowed or encouraged the violation of his law "with no resulting guilt on the part of the violators," then God lied. A God who lied about his law could not be trusted to save.

If God said, "thou shalt not" and later allowed or encouraged the violation of his law "with no resulting guilt on the part of the violators," then God is a respecter of persons. Imagine killing Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10), Uzzah (2 Sam. 6-7), Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) for violating his law, only to allow or encourage others to violate his holy will! Al Maxey says that God allows certain people to violate his will guilt free. God said that he will "by no means clear the guilty" (Exod. 34:7). Unless a violator of God's law follows God's plan to save the guilty, he will die in his sins (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30-31).

Does God encourage legalism? If by legalism Al Maxey means obedience, then God not only encourages legalism, he commands it: "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments" (John 14:15). Why would a man write a book on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage, and deny strict obedience to God's word?

Al Maxey: "A perfect example is found in Matthew 12:1-8 in which Jesus speaks of an event in the life of David and some of his associates. Because they were extremely hungry, they 'entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread -- which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.' Was David condemned by the Son of God for this blatant violation of the Law of Moses? Did God punish David for transgressing His Law? Just the opposite! Jesus declared David free of guilt, and proceeded to rebuke the religionists and legalists of His day for 'condemning the innocent.'"

Interestingly, the answer to Al Maxey's quibble is found directly in the Bible doctrine he denies to be truth. God's marriage law commands one man to marry one woman for life. That is God's law. But it is written again, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery" (Matt. 19:9). There is an exception to the law of one man for one woman for life, and that exception is God's law too. The point under consideration in Matthew 12:3-4 is not that David was allowed to sin "guilt free," but that David's consumption of the shewbread was according to God's law.

Consider the text used by Al to support his position:

The Pharisees took pride in their scholarship. Jesus took these piously pompous promoters of "self centered religion" to the heart of their problem. By the way Al, contrary to liberalism the problem with the Pharisees was not obedience to God's law. The problem with the Pharisees was a lack of respect for Bible authority. Jesus said unto them, "Have ye not read?" You see, the Bible was not directing their steps because they did not respect Bible authority. Had they respected Bible authority, the Pharisees would have been obedient to the text of the Bible.

Jesus took their minds back to David. The Pharisees were accusing Jesus of violating the Sabbath (v. 2), but they justified David's behavior. The key to this discussion is that neither Jesus nor David sinned. Al Maxey must assume that Jesus said that David was in error. As Jesus began to rebuke the Pharisees, he mentioned some of the facts recorded in 1 Samuel 21, without commenting positively or negatively about David's status. The next few verses, when kept within their context, demonstrate that some of God's laws contain exceptive clauses.

God said:

Yet Judah's priests labored on the Sabbath without censure from the Pharisees. The fact of the matter is that neither David, the priests nor Jesus was in error on these matters. God's law commanded priestly duties on the Sabbath; therefore, God made an exceptive clause for Exodus 20:8-10. God's law allowed David to eat the shewbread according to this same principle. The New Testament church is commanded to assemble together in one place and worship God (1 Cor. 11:20). When one is ill and unable to attend worship does he got to "sin guilt free"? He does not sin at all because God's law makes an exception in such cases.

Al Maxey: "Did God punish David for transgressing His law? Just the opposite! Jesus declared David free of guilt, and proceeded to rebuke the religionists and legalists of His day for 'condemning the innocent.'"

God did not punish David because he was guilt free. He did not violate the law. The kind of language used in the paragraph above is designed to prejudice people from obedience to God's law. One wonders why anyone would seek to unloose truth bound by God? Tragically, the Pharisees like those who seek to change God's law today, were guilty of a lack of respect for Bible authority.

Al Maxey: "The religionists of Jesus' day were appalled at His unprecedented display of compassion and acceptance toward those whose lives fell short of the IDEAL. He could have spoken words of condemnation against these sinners. Because they were violators of Law, He certainly had the legal right to do so. Instead, in a spirit of love and mercy, Jesus forgave them and challenged them to begin anew striving to achieve God's IDEAL. By focusing entirely on Law, men had lost sight of such qualities as grace, mercy, compassion, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Determined to bind and enforce the letter of the Law at any cost, in a misguided and misinformed zeal for their God and their traditions, they often inflicted tremendous harm upon one another."

Sadly, some brethren fail to read the Bible and understand its truth. Some are "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim. 3:7). God's law, in every dispensation, has directed men toward the correct qualities of grace, mercy, compassion, love, forgiveness, and acceptance. In fact man can not have the correct, absolute truth on any of these subjects without a working knowledge of God's law. In the paragraph above God's law is attacked. A man may say, "this is certainly not to discredit or negate the importance of God's Law," but when he denies the Biblical import of the law he discredits and negates God's law. Al Maxey says, "Determined to bind and enforce the letter of the Law at any cost, in a misguided and misinformed zeal for their God and their traditions, they often inflicted tremendous harm upon one another." If the Pharisees were determined to "bind" the letter of the law at any cost, they would never have bound their traditions. Maxey fails to point out the fact that the Pharisee's traditions were not according to the law. This is the reason that their traditions were unlawful! Jesus rebuked the Pharisee's additions to God's law, not their adherence to the letter of the law!

Al Maxey: "A woman once remarked, 'God could never love me or accept me. I'm divorced!' Another young woman described, between sobs of despair, how the wife of one of her church's leaders informed her that because she was divorced and remarried she was doomed to hell, but that she should bring her children to church so that at least they could have some hope of salvation."

Scenarios like the above are condensed. It may be the case that other details explain the situation properly. If a divorced woman feels that God could never love her because of her divorce, she needs to learn about God's love for her (see Rom. 5:8-9). One wonders what the remarried woman was actually told. If she was actually told that "she was doomed to hell," she was told a lie. On the other hand, if she was told that if she chose to remain in an unscriptural marriage she was doomed to hell, then she was told the truth according to God's word. Sometimes people learn that they are in adultery and then turn on their selective hearing devises. There is hope for those in adultery, but that hope requires repentance, not denial and self justification.

Al Maxey: "While proclaiming the Word of God in Germany some years ago, this author was approached by a family desirous of worshipping and serving with our local assembly of believers. Their concern was that they would not be accepted into our midst, since they had been barred entrance to the building at their previous location for having committed 'an unpardonable sin.' 'You blasphemed the Holy Spirit?!' 'No,' she replied dejectedly, 'even worse. My husband divorced me and I remarried.' Such examples could be multiplied almost endlessly."

The question not addressed by Al, because Al does not believe the Bible to teach it, is, were these people living in adultery? If the answer is yes, then Al's doctrine and the congregation noted above gave the right hand of fellowship to error. Why would one leave out the important details of scenarios like those mentioned in chapter two of Down, But Not Out?

In summary, unless one has the proper understanding and respect for God's law, his view of obedience will fall short of the mark. One can not love God without obeying him in all matters of the law. When one who lacks respect for Bible authority views a Biblical truth with which he disagrees, he will do and teach that which is right in his own eyes, not that which is right before God (Prov. 14:12; 16:25; Jer. 10:23). Furthermore, his view on the historical record of the Bible will be developed around his misconception of God's law. Until men approach the Biblical text within its God given context and meaning, they are destined to grope in the darkness of man's philosophy.

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