Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 1, 1953
NUMBER 34, PAGE 5,9b

"Unmarried Husbands" And "Four Cornered Globes"

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

I was both interested and amused while reading Brother Cecil Douthitt's reply to my article on "Unmarried Husbands." He rather intimates that Porter took a drubbing at the hands of Bogard, but I seriously doubt that Brother Douthitt really thinks that to be true. I have an idea he was just talking when he said that my "equilibrium" was "thrown out of gear" by Mr. Bogard. Actually Mr. Bogard's "equilibrium" was "out of gear" when he had to come up with the idea of "virgin widows" to try to reconcile his contradictory statements. Yes, Mr. Bogard made a "deep impression" on me when he made that statement, but I was impressed by its absurdity and not by its forcefulness. It was the same sort of "deep impression" that has been made on me by Brother Douthitt in his defense of "unmarried husbands," and for the very same reason.

Yes, I know, Brother Douthitt, that "Bogard is dead and will remain so till the resurrection of the just and the unjust." But is that any reason why his statement should not be quoted? Cain, Balaam and Korah were all dead, and would remain so till the resurrection of the just and the unjust, when the inspired Jude brought them up in the eleventh verse of his letter. Brother Cecil could have straightened him out on this matter if he had been there. And what is more, Brother Douthitt directed my attention to "the scholars, in the church and out of it," many of whom "are dead and will remain so till the resurrection of the just and the unjust," to find the definition of the terms under consideration. I wonder why he could not "remember" this when reprimanding me for bringing up Mr. Bogard's statement. Yes, Mr. Bogard is dead, but his statement is worth just as much as it would be if he were still among the living.

And to make my "embarrassment complete" Brother Douthitt suggests that I write an article on "Four Cornered Globes." He thinks if I can reconcile the seeming absurdity in title, I will be able "in like manner" to do so with "Unmarried Husbands." It is too bad that Mr. Bogard didn't think about "four cornered globes." Then he could have cleared up the seeming absurdity in his statement about "virgin widows." But since he didn't think of it, and now he is "dead and will remain so till the resurrection," it is too late, of course, for him to do anything about it. But Brother Cecil is still among the living, and perhaps he can explain the statement for us. The explanation of "four cornered globes" is the explanation of "unmarried husbands," according to him, and, I suppose, it is also the explanation of "virgin widows." A proper understanding of one is a proper understanding of the other. So let us take a look at these "parallels."

My attention is directed to Isaiah 11:12. Isaiah declares that God would gather "the dispersed of Judah" from "the four corners of the earth." That the earth is literally a globe is not only taught in the Bible but it is a fact that is demonstrated every day. How then can a literal "globe" have "four corners"? The seeming absurdity clears up when you read the preceding verse of Isaiah. In gathering the people "from the four corners of the earth" Isaiah says that God would gather them "from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea." Here are seven literal places, besides "the islands of the sea," that God would gather his people from when he gathered them "from the four corners of the earth." But four literal corners could not be in seven literal places besides "the islands of the sea." Thus we see that the "four corners of the earth" is an expression that is not used in the literal sense — it is a figurative expression that refers to all sections where Judah had been scattered. A "four cornered globe" can be understood when we remember that "globe" is used in the literal sense and "four cornered" in a figurative sense. But if you use both expressions in the literal sense, the absurdity cannot be eliminated.

Will the absurdity that appears in "unmarried husbands" vanish in the same? Brother Douthitt thinks so. But let us look at it. The word "husband" means a married man. It is used in the literal sense. I don't think Brother Douthitt will claim that elders are "figurative husbands." And how about the word "unmarried"? Is this used in the literal sense or in a figurative sense? Will Brother Cecil say that elders are "unmarried" because they are "figuratively married"? I do not think he will take such a position. Then the words "unmarried" and "husbands" are both used in the literal sense, and they are not parallel at all with "four cornered globes." As they are both used in the literal sense the absurdity is still there, and if this makes my "embarrassment complete," I can well rejoice in embarrassment.

I am advised to take a look at what the scholars say about the meaning of the words, "Mias gunaikos andra," (husband of one wife), as found in 1 Tim. 3:2. I am willing to do just that. There are three Greek words in this expression. "Mias" is the genitive case of "mia." Thayer says it is "a cardinal numeral, one." Being in the genitive case it would be "of one." "Gunaikos" is the genitive form of "gune." The first definition Thayer gives of this is "a woman of any age." His second definition is "a wife." "Andra" is the accusative form of "aner." Thayer defines this as "a male" and "a husband." Such is "the meaning" of the words as given in the greatest New Testament Greek-English Lexicon in existence. So "mias gunaikos andra" means "of one wife husband," or "husband of one wife." But when scholars begin to say that 1 Tim. 8:2 "does not mean that the elder must be married, but that if he has a wife, he must have only one," then they get out of the realm of "definition" and into the realm of "interpretation." Quotations from scholars given in an article written by another brother, which Brother Douthitt had published in the Guardian recently, were actually contradictory. One man "reversed himself" as the writer admitted, another made the passage apply to preachers, and so on. Such is what you will find when you take the "interpretation" of scholars for "definitions."

Brother Douthitt made no reply to the argument presented in my article because there was no "point" in it that had "not already been considered in previous issues." A number of "points" had already been made by a number of writers that were never set aside. Therefore, I did not repeat these points. But the point I introduced has not been introduced in other articles already published.

Brother Douthitt had said that the statement in 1 Cor. 7:2, "Let every man have his own wife" and "Let every woman have her own husband" did not mean "Let them marry." I showed that verse 2 was telling Christians how "to avoid fornication" under certain conditions — if conditions are such that fornication cannot otherwise be avoided, "let every man have his own wife, and let every wife have her own husband." But verse 9 discusses the same thing for those who cannot "contain" or control themselves. In such case Paul says, "Let them marry." One verse says, "Let every man have his own wife"; the other verse says, "Let them marry." Thus the expressions are used interchangeably by the apostle Paul. He actually says the very thing that Brother Douthitt says he neither said nor meant. This point Brother Douthitt made no effort to answer. I do not expect it to be answered on "four cornered globes" or anywhere else. Other gospel preachers have been able to see the point as evidenced by the letters of commendation that are coming to me. And since the statement in 1 Cor. 7:2 means to "let them marry" as mentioned in 1 Cor. 7:9, then the statement the elder must be "the husband of one wife" certainly means "let him be married."