MDR Questions between D. Brown, H.D., Denham & J. Waldron Marriage, Divorce & Remarriage Shillong, Meghalaya, N. E. India July 2, 2009 To Whom It May Concern: My love and regards to all who love our Lord Jesus in truth, for it is written, “love the brotherhood” (I Peter 2:17). Re: The question of a debate on the subjects of marriage, divorce and remarriage (MDR), between David Brown and Jim Waldron. On July 2, 2009 the following emails from brother Howard Daniel Denham were forwarded to me by two other brothers:
Original Message----- From: Howard Daniel Denham
To: CFTF@yahoogroups. com
Sent: Wed, Jul 1, 2009 4:57 pm
Subject: [CFTF] Debate on MDR
Item 1, ”As some of you know, we have been in negotiations with Jim Waldron in trying to arrange public debates in both TN and TX concerning the role of civil government as pertains to MDR. Brother Waldron initially accepted our challenge. He demanded in correspondence that we deny a proposition that we believe and affirm a proposition that we don't believe, which propositions also do not deal with the issue at hand. When we submitted counter propositions that actually deal with said issue, he cut off the negotiations. Our last letter to him was returned unopened and stamped "Refused." So much for his supposed willingness to discuss the matter fairly and forthrightly! Daniel Denham.”
Item 2, From Daniel Denham to one of his respondents, “Jim Waldron continues to attack his opponents and yet will not face them in a public debate on propositions that clearly address the matters concerning his attacks. He has decided to hide in the hillocks and mountains of TN rather than correct his error. He has divided churches over his error and has much else to account for regarding it. It seems, as you have noted, that many have lost "the courage of their convictions" in our day. Sad, sad times indeed! Daniel Denham.” Forwarded to Waldron on July 2, 2009 at 8:42 a.m.
Item 3, Daniel Denham, “What he tried to get us to do was agree to deny the text of Luke 16:18 and to affirm that we believe in his depiction of view he opposes as "mental divorce." When we offered propositions that actually addressed the points of dispute over the application of Matthew 19:9's exceptive clause, he bolted the exchange. He either has no real grasp of the issue as he has claimed he has or else he realized that he was in over his head. BTW the entire exchange is to be published in Contending For The Faith for all to see for themselves. Daniel Denham." Forwarded to Waldron on July 2, 2009 at 8:38 a.m.
Waldron’s Response: Brethren I am not hiding in the hillocks and mountains of Tennessee (Item 2 above), although they are greatly to be admired; I am in the northeast part of India in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas teaching Romans to a class of thirteen student preachers. Now to the question of a debate: In September 2002, brother David Brown, editor of Contending For The Faith (CFTF) published an article by brother Terry Hightower that was a critique of an article written by brother Jim Mettenbrink in which the latter affirmed the words of our Lord on the question of MDR as found in Matthew 5 and 19. Hightower in his article rejected the things Mettenbrink had written and put forth his own views on MDR. In presenting his views he stated that some viewed his teaching as being “mental divorce,” then proceeded to accept that conclusion.
As most are aware, if one buys a house the “underwriters” of a loan must sign off on such before it will be granted. The editor of CFTF not only signed off on Hightower’s rejection of Mettenbrink’s teaching as being false, but also on Hightower’s doctrine and his acceptance of the term “mental divorce” as it applied to his teaching.
Due to my being abroad much of the time between September 2002 and the Spring of 2003 I did not see a copy of the September 2002 CFTF until May 2003. After reading Hightower’s article I wrote to him personally showing how his reasoning was inconsistent with the truth. We exchanged letters on the question. You may have a copy of those letters, Mettenbrink’s article and other pertinent materials without charge. Request the “Packet on Mental Divorce” from, Waldron Mission fund, P.O. Box 123, Dunlap, TN 37327. At the same time you may, if you desire, request a copy of the Hicks – Waldron Debate on MDR, also without charge.
To come to the time of the question of a debate between brother Brown and myself; in the September 2008 Bulletin Briefs I published a short article (about 600 words) in which I commented on Paul’s words in I Corinthians 7:11 where he speaks of a woman who departs (choristhe) from her husband as being “unmarried,” yet being bound (Rom. 7:2-3) to him as her husband. As noted the article was brief and you may read it by going to (Google, waldronmissions.org, Bulletin Briefs, then click on 2008, September).
Subsequent to this article being published in Bulletin Briefs Brown published an article in CFTF consisting of eight columns by Howard Daniel Denham in which he wrote many words in opposition to what I had written.
Upon reading Denham’s article I sent him a copy of the packet spoken of above. Subsequent to his receiving that material he wrote to me (Nov. 25, 2008) proposing a debate between Brown and me. He also suggesting that I should submit propositions on the MDR question. Nothing was said in that letter about the debate being about “the role of civil government as it pertains to MDR” as Denham later claimed (See Item 1, above, Denham, July 2, 2009). On December 4, I wrote to him saying that I was leaving very soon to return to India and that I would get back to him in the New Year.
Thus on January 4, 2009 I wrote him and enclosed the two propositions; below. Copies were sent to brother Brown. Proposition one: Resolved, The Bible teaches that unscriptural divorce between a husband and wife renders any succeeding marriage to another invalid and adulterous in the sight of God.
Affirm: Jim E. Waldron Deny:
Brown refused to affirm this one, yet it is the very doctrine that Hightower affirmed in the September 2002 CFTF and he (Brown) published for the whole brotherhood to see; that is, their opposition to the truth as written by Mettenbrink and their willingness to accept “mental divorce” as being applicable to their own doctrine.
They circulated their material across the brotherhood, which as Jeremiah would say, is the imagination of their own heart (Jer. 9:14); and then when I began to oppose it they got all out of sorts and accused me causing division. Such things they say just hoping that those of us who oppose the philosophy of “mental divorce” will just roll over and play dead.
The two propositions above represent the very essence of the differences between those who hold to the very words of Christ (e.g., Matt. 5:32; 19:6-12; Mark 10:5-12; Luke 16:18; cf., I Cor. 7:11; Rom. 7:1-3) and those who believe that one may mentally claim divorce because of adultery which takes place expost-facto to the actual divorce.
Proposition one I have been affirming both publicly and privately in many countries and cultures across the world in debate, preaching and writing since 1977, yea many years before that date. Here I stand. As I noted Brown paid lip service Proposition one, but when I admonished him to sign it and let us shake hands of the point he did not.
Both Denham and Brown countered these propositions claiming that they both believed number one and that the second one did not represent their views; yet as noted when Brown was asked to put his signature where his words were, he didn’t. The second one sums up the very doctrine that Hightower affirmed and Brown approved and published in September 2002; and that for the whole brotherhood to read and accept. Besides the rejection of these two very fundamental propositions they sent propositions that would amount to a striving about words to no profit. Their very long letter also proposed two four nights’ debates, one in Tennessee and in Texas. To which I replied that due to a very busy schedule continuously I did not deem it necessary to have two four nights debate and that I did not wish to become involved in any controversy that had taken place with a local church in Texas. After their submission of another very long letter in which they remonstrated about various things, I wrote in late February.
Concerning this proposition Brown replied that he would not sign to deny it because he said that he agreed with its “parameters.” To this I replied that he should therefore sign to affirm it and we could then shake hands of this point. He did not sign it. Proposition two: Resolved: The Bible teaches that a person arbitrarily put away (divorced) for an unscriptural reason over his or her objections, may, after the former spouse remarries or otherwise commits adultery, claim a scriptural divorce and marry another without sin.
Affirm: Deny: Jim E. Waldron
Crossville, TN 38557
February 23, 2009
Brother David Brown
25403 Lancewood Drive Spring, TX 77373
Dear Brother Brown, It is my hope and prayer that you and your loved one are well.
1. Concerning the location: You wrote, “Since you do not desire the debate to be in Crossville, we are agreeable to one debate in Knoxville, TN, but we also propose a second debate on the same propositions, spaced by a couple of months or so a part, somewhere in the Austin, TX area.” Response: Please do not let my suggested to use Knoxville as a reason to remove the debate from your own locale to Austin. Although Crossville is some 80 miles from the nearest airport – Knoxville, and I live only about forty miles from the airport please be assured that we are quite willing for the debate on our end to be in Crossville. Your controversy with the brethren at the school in Austin has not taken place in a corner and I will not agree to be a part of a debate that brings you to their door step when it needs to take place in Spring where you are. You brethren proposed the debate and if you desire to have it let it be in Spring and Crossville.
2. Concerning the question of two debates: Response: You spoke of restraints on your time and I had spoken of such about my own time, thus I see no need to have two debates as the one can be video taped and sent out to those who wish to see it. As I indicated I am willing to produce such at cost or free, simply for postage. We can have two evenings here and two there. As to the date, perhaps next year (2010) February 15-16, here and 22-23 there or vise versa.
3. Concerning the propositions: You wrote. “As to the propositions, it is clear that you do not seem to understand the real difference between our respective positions, despite your agitation of the issue of MDR.” Response: The truth of the matter is that I do “understand the real difference between our respective positions.” That I first learned when I read the article you published by brother Terry Hightower (Contending for the Faith, September 2002). In fact I had never heard the term “mental divorce” until he named it in reference to the doctrine you and he hold. As I informed him I did not see his article until the second week of May 2003 due to my scheduled trips abroad. Thus my entering into the conflict did not take place until you and he opened the ball in the autumn of 2002.
Not only so, but as I indicated I learned the term “mental divorce” in May 2003, from brother Terry Hightower in your paper (CFTF- September 2002), which term he accepted as applying to the doctrine he was upholding in that article. And which doctrine you approved as editor and sent out to the brotherhood. But now both of you run from it like it was a rabid squirrel and have no intentions of debating any proposition that addresses itself to your mental divorce doctrine.
I have no interest in further correspondence with either of you.
Jim E. Waldron
My reasons for cutting off the negotiations about the debate were two: 1) The seven pages of harangue that greeted me when I returned from India in May after I had specifically stated that I would no longer respond to such; and that we should get on with the arrangements for the debate themselves. To me the continuation of such maneuvering by letter was a tactical effort on their part to get me to put something in writing which they could use to besmirch the truth. 2) The fact that Brown was totally in denial concerning the doctrine that he promoted in this brotherhood in September 2002 and it being obvious that he had no intentions of defending such in debate.
Finally, it would seem that there is to be a write up in Contending For The Faith (Item 3 above) and that my name is to be featured. In light of what Paul wrote to Timothy (II Tim. 3:12) and what he wrote to the saints in Thessalonica (I Thess. 3:3-4) being written up in CFTF will be like throwing bre’ Rabbit in the briar patch.
In Christian love,
Jim E. Waldron