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

Friday, April 7, 2000

A Response by Al Maxey
To Broking's Post #1
About the Introduction to Maxey's Book

May I first take the opportunity to thank the list owner, brother Darrell Broking, for being gracious enough to allow this discussion between us to be published unedited on the EGHhelps List. That is a noble gesture on his part, and it is my prayer, and I believe it to be Darrell's as well, that this exchange between us will serve to bring to light some of the varying views on MDR in the brotherhood today, and that ultimately God's Truth will be revealed and our Father will be glorified in the process.

Darrell closed his post by stating: "It is hoped that this endeavor will help others wade through the arguments on both sides of the issue of marriage, divorce and remarriage, and logically choose to stand with Jesus." I too hope and pray that the *only* stand God's people will take on this issue (or *any* issue, for that matter) is the one revealed to us in the inspired Word. The book Down, But Not Out is *not* a compilation of the various views of Al Maxey on MDR, but rather an attempt to present in a clear and concise manner the teaching of our Lord God as presented in His written Word. MY views are neither healing nor redemptive. HIS view, however, can accomplish both. Thus, it is HIS that I sought, and continually seek, to present.

Darrell wrote, "Both Al Maxey and I agree that there is a real problem in our world with regard to the escalating number of broken marriages." Yes, that is true. It is a tragedy of mounting proportions! Brother Broking then states, "However, we disagree about the standard men are to follow on the subject of marriage, divorce and remarriage."

I'm not sure what standard Darrell has assumed I am using, but let me state clearly for the record that I have repeatedly stated in my book (and state often in my teaching and preaching, and will REstate here) that the *only* standard we are to employ is God's Word. Note the following statement from the final chapter of Down, But Not Out -- "Over the years, the simple teaching OF SCRIPTURE with reference to marriage, divorce and remarriage, however, has been all but obscured by the construction of a complex system of theology built largely upon the foundation of personal preferences and traditional biases. As a result, the hurting are not being healed, and the despairing are not being given hope. The purpose of this study has been to lift high for view once again the simple truth of GOD'S WORD with respect to marriage, divorce and remarriage. The time has come to dismantle the elaborate, tangled labyrinth of theology constructed by MEN, and return to the crystal clear message of hope found IN SCRIPTURE. This book is humbly submitted in the hope it might in some small way assist in effecting that change." I have placed a few of my statements in CAPS here for you in order to try and emphasize what I have repeatedly declared our standard to be. It is God's Word. And *only* God's Word.

I would hope that this is Darrell's standard as well, but if his is different than mine then perhaps he could share with us what other standard he is employing in his quest for truth on the subject of MDR. I am wondering (and please correct me, Darrell, if my assumption is incorrect here) if perhaps brother Broking is looking *only* to the recorded statements of Jesus as his standard on MDR, rather than to the entirety of God's inspired Word. What has led me to wonder this are such statements in his post as "....choose to stand with Jesus," and "By pointing out what Jesus taught on ....," and "....the major difference between the teaching of Al Maxey and that of Jesus Christ," and "Jesus Christ is the authority on every subject relating to the Bible."

I realize there are brethren (as well as those outside of the church) who will accept no other standard of authority than what Jesus Himself is recorded to have said in the four gospel records. I had a long-running discussion some years back, for example, with a member of the "NP church of Christ," a group which rejected everything written by the apostle Paul (the NP stood for "Non-Pauline"). They would only accept the written statements of JESUS as their authority, and rejected most everything else. I am NOT suggesting this is the view of brother Broking, please don't misunderstand me. I am merely speculating as to what his standard may be if in fact it is different than mine (and *mine* is the inspired Word of God).

I personally do not believe there is any conflict between the teaching of Jesus Christ on MDR and the teaching of the remainder of the inspired writings (either OT or NT), and I have attempted to demonstrate that perspective in the book Down, But Not Out. The will of our God on this topic remains unified and consistent throughout the written revelation, in my opinion. Thus, to single out the teaching of Jesus alone, or to narrow it even further to a single statement in a single passage (Matthew 19:9, for example), and to suggest that THIS constitutes the full and final word on the subject, is to deprive oneself and one's students of the full counsel of God. We dare not do this. That is why in Down, But Not Out I have attempted to present *every* passage of Scripture (both in the OT and NT writings) which even remotely speaks to this issue in order to determine the FULL counsel of our God on this matter, and I believe that counsel is consistent throughout. I have sought to echo Paul, who said, "For I have not shunned to declare unto you ALL the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27, KJV).

Darrell wrote, "Maxey falls short of identifying God's 'IDEAL' as the standard to which conformity must be made." Actually, just the opposite is true. One of the sole reasons for placing this term in CAPS throughout the book was to draw people's attention to it as God's goal for our lives. I have repeatedly stated throughout the book that we must strive to conform to this "IDEAL."

For example, note the following quote from the Introduction: "Throughout the course of this study the reader will encounter time and again the concept of God's IDEAL. It has been capitalized for the specific purpose of attracting one's attention to it. The eternal design of our Creator for marriage is so vital to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being that we must never lose sight of it. It must be ever kept before our view. An appreciation of what our God has created for us to achieve will perhaps make us that much more aware of the tragedy of failing to achieve it. Perhaps, additionally, with that awareness will come reassessment of our lives, and recommitment to His IDEAL."

And this is just one of many such statements throughout the book, Darrell. I doubt there is a single chapter in Down, But Not Out that does not contain a call to conform to God's IDEAL for marriage. Indeed, in the Introduction I wrote: "As one reads through the Scriptures, the IDEAL can be clearly and frequently detected. The Lord God, through His inspired writers, repeatedly holds it before us lest we lose sight of His glorious goal." I also wrote in the Introduction, "It is only in the IDEAL that one truly finds the beauty and depth of fulfillment our Creator intended for mankind. Throughout the Scriptures, when the Lord confronts the trauma of marital abuse and breakdown, He rarely fails to direct our focus back toward His original intent; His divine design; His IDEAL." Darrell, I'm going to have to disagree with you on this assessment of yours. I have repeatedly and emphatically held up God's IDEAL as the standard or goal to which men must attain and conform in this life. Indeed, it is one of the key purposes of Down, But Not Out.

Darrell wrote, "This is the major difference between the teaching of Al Maxey and that of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ taught that marriage is binding for life. .... Al's concept of the 'IDEAL' for marriage is much weaker than the 'IDEAL' for marriage presented by Jesus Christ." I too believe that God's IDEAL for marriage is that it will be a relationship which will endure for life. My view of the IDEAL is no different than the Lord's. Note the following statements from my Introduction: "Intimate relationships, which God designed to be PERMANENT, are being defiled and destroyed by selfish pursuits." Also: "What is the original intent and design of our Creator? .... It is a union blessed by God, designed to be PERMANENT, and NOT TO BE DISSOLVED. The Creator's IDEAL is: One man for one woman FOR LIFE." Again, note the words and phrases which I have placed in CAPS for you. I don't see that I am declaring any different IDEAL than the one clearly taught in Scripture; the very same one to which Jesus Christ directed His hearers.

Darrell wrote, "The only exception to this law is stated in Matthew 19:9. The innocent party in marriage may put away the party guilty of fornication, and marry another with the Lord's authority. No other reason for divorce and remarriage is given in the New Testament." I will freely admit that Darrell and I differ on a few of these points, but I will reserve comment on these until we reach this phase of our discussion. However, I would make one observation here. Darrell implies that my concept of the IDEAL is "much weaker" than that of Jesus Christ because he (Darrell) and I differ as to some of the aforementioned points. However, it should be noted that there are sincere, scholarly, saintly brethren in the church of our Lord Jesus Christ who could, and would, make the same assessment of Darrell. Specifically, there are those who strongly insist that not even the innocent party may remarry, and they appeal to the same passage of Scripture and also believe themselves to be the only correct proponents of the Lord's true teaching. Thus, in *their* sight, Darrell would also be guilty of a "much weaker" concept of the IDEAL than that of Jesus Christ. The simple fact of the matter is, many of our assessments of one another are far more subjective than substantive in nature. But, again, these are important details that can and will be delved into with far greater precision in future posts by both Darrell and myself.

Darrell, in his introductory post, also mentions other areas of difference between us which will be thoroughly discussed in our upcoming exchange. He wrote, "Maxey goes to great lengths attempting to convince his readership that Jesus never actually gave men a binding standard which regulates remarriage by limiting it to widows and widowers, and to innocent persons who have put away a spouse guilty of fornication. A standard which classifies those in unscriptural marriages as living in sin, and demands 'adulterers' to stop committing the act of adultery. In fact, as will be discussed later, Maxey assumes that the standard definition of adultery is all wrong."

As will be amply demonstrated in our discussions, many of Darrell's statements about my beliefs are little more than misunderstandings of what I have truly said in my teaching, and in some cases, in my opinion, outright misrepresentations. But, in some of these areas, based upon our individual studies, we have genuinely arrived at differing interpretations of Scripture. Ultimately, only you, the individual reader, can determine in your own minds which of us (if either) has arrived at and presented the better interpretation ..... and, of course, only eternity will ultimately demonstrate which of us (if either) was right.

Darrell wrote: "In this discussion, I will examine each chapter of Maxey's book and comment on some of Al's statements which are out of harmony with the Bible." I welcome this critical review of Down, But Not Out by brother Darrell Broking, and look forward to having this opportunity to defend my teaching as being biblically based, and also to defend my good name and my ministry of almost three decades from any unwarranted and thus far unsubstantiated accusations. I have never sought anything other than what Jesus Himself sought from His critics: "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong" (John 18:23). May God richly bless each of us as together we search for greater understanding of God's will on this critical subject.

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