Homer Hailey has been branded a false teacher by some due to his views on marriage and divorce. These are views that Homer has held for "forty-five years." According to Brother Hailey, his view is that "God's attitude toward individuals who seek salvation in Christ, though they have been married, divorced and remarried previously... (that God accepts them) in that condition, having been baptized after their marriage." When I attended Florida College (1976-78) Homer had not been gone from the school too long and his views were well known. I remember clearly one prominent Sister at the College still upset that Homer had performed G.K. Wallace's second marriage ceremony 20 years before. Why the sudden attack on a brother after 45 years?
What has Homer Hailey spent the last 45 years doing? Homer spent more than ten years of his life teaching at Abilene Christian College. Homer spent more than twenty years of his life teaching at Florida College. In addition to this, he spent time preaching in California, Hawaii and Arizona. This does not include numerous gospel meetings, debates and many popular books that he has written. Brother Hailey has always conducted himself as a first class Christian gentleman. His reputation at Florida College was second to none and he was well regarded by both James Cope and Bob Owen. In 1979 Bob Owen wrote of Brother Hailey, "Homer Hailey has given a full fifty years of his adult life to a careful study of the Word of God. This study has grown out of a basic commitment to the Bible as the fully inspired, fully authoritative communication from God to Man."
It is not my purpose to discuss Brother Hailey's view of marriage and divorce. My question is why accept the man for forty-five years and then proceed to attempt his destruction and vilification? This is a peculiar phenomena that seems to happen to almost every preacher unfortunate enough to live too long. "They" find something to crucify the brother upon. The amazing thing is that in almost every case the brother does not come up with some "new" doctrine. He is crucified upon some long held belief. Homer has held his belief since World War II! This belief was not hidden in a corner. As Homer stated regarding his view of this issue, "I have never hesitated to express it when asked." This view was well known at Florida College. Does this make all the men, who served at the school during Homer's tenure as Vice President accessories, for not exposing Homer Hailey? What about the thousands of students who sat at his feet and admired Homer Hailey?
The sad fact is that to some brethren Homer has served his purpose. His views on Marriage and Divorce were no revelation. Hailey has simply been used up. His only value now is to further the "careers" of some who perhaps want it written upon their tombstones that they stopped "Haileyism!" Even the very school that Hailey worked most of his life to build cannot have Hailey upon its lecture program without "hurting the school." (Note: The school was willing to leave Homer on the lecture program but Homer withdrew for fear of hurting the school.) The sad thing about this is that there was a time when the school had men on its lecture program without feeling that they had to be endorsed by the "keepers of the orthodoxy" among us. Among those invited to speak on past lectureships were G.H.P. Showalter, editor of the Firm Foundation, B.C. Goodpasture, editor of the Gospel Advocate, and even Charles A. Holt the present editor of the Examiner! However, Hailey cannot be on the Lecture program without "hurting the school!"
"If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other" (Gal. 5:15). Isn't this what is occurring to the body of Christ. If Homer is absolutely wrong on this issue, does it really make any practical difference? Are we converting scores of pagans who have been married and divorced before baptism? The sad fact of the matter is that far from bringing thousands of the lost to Jesus, our own children are spiritually stillborn and the aged are spiritually cannibalized. "The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself" (Gal. 5:14). Is it not possible that the real reason we keep devouring and attacking each ether is that we really are not living very much like Jesus anyway? John said, "Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did." Is it not easier to focus on Homer Hailey's so called "heresy" than to look at the man in the mirror? Is not the emphasis of God's word on me and my life? When we look in the mirror what do we see? I am afraid that far too many of us see a reflection that is unloving, conceited, proud, impatient, without joy, not sharing with those in need and not practicing hospitality. This IS the image that so many children have seen. Is it not far easier to attack someone or something all of the time so I do not have to face that awful image in the mirror. "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like" (Jas. 1:23-24). Perhaps a look in the mirror could prevent a little spiritual cannibalism.