It is with much regret that such an article as this needs to
be penned. However, there's no way we can be faithful to the Lord
who saved us and not speak up concerning any grievous error,
especially when it is at our own front door.
The speaker chosen for this year's meeting is LARRY
WEST of the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West
Monroe, Louisiana. He is well known for his "We Care" campaigns and
crusades. He is very zealous in striving to teach the lost. There
certainly is no wrong in this regard. However, there are a number
of reasons why some churches in our area cannot support him in the
area wide meeting. Some of these reasons are found below.
Brother West frequently appears on lectureships and
workshops which are noted for their support of error and false
teachers. In the "World Radio News" of November-December 1991, he
wrote an article entitled: Emphasis: Win your neighbors "at"
the Tulsa Soul-Winning Workshop. He said,
It's time now to schedule that vacation of
yours for March 25-28, 1992. AND it's time to ask
that lost friend of yours to do the same!
Plan to bring that favorite friend of
yours, that LOST friend of yours, to the
upcoming International Soul-Winning Workshop
in Tulsa. Make it a special week-end outing.
Have him stay with you at a Tulsa motel. For
something special is planned for him.
The Emphasis: TO WIN SOULS "AT" THE
INTERNATIONAL SOUL-WINNING WORKSHOP!
(Thursday) Larry West: "How God Saved
People 2000 Years Ago!"
(Friday) Terry Rush: "I Don't Feel
Like I'm Good Enough!"
Marvin Phillips: "Pentecost
(Saturday) Jeff Walling: "To Seek and
Save The Lost!"
Think of it! Your friend will be
immersed in the singing of fifteen thousand
brethren night after night. He will feel the
bursting spirit of' God's wonderful people
surround him for days there. And before he
leaves, he will himself be both immersed into
Christ and immersed into the fellowship of
other excited Christians, saved completely in
the precious blood of the Lamb.
So, plan your vacation now. URGE him
to make his plans to come with you. If you
cannot bring a friend from home, plan to
bring, don't just invite, but bring Tulsa
waiters, clerks, maids and anyone else you
meet after you arrive! Let's make this truly
a SOUL-WINNING WORKSHOP!
In this article, Larry West encouraged people,
far and near, to attend the 1992 Tulsa Soul-Winning Workshop. This
workshop is one of the most liberal among us! He invited them to
sit at the feet of men who have been known as false teachers for
years. Not only that, he planned to be with them himself and lend
his support and encouragement! This is a flagrant disregard of
Romans 16:17 which says to, "... mark them which
cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have
learned; and avoid them." It as an open violation of
Ephesians 5:11. "And have no fellowship with the
unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." He is
condemned by II John 11 which says, "For he that biddeth him
God speed is partaker of his evil deeds." He is
"guilty by association" - associating with those in error with no
sign of rebuke from him!
A look at some of the speakers on past Tulsa Workshops
reveals a great deal. In 1992 there were: Terry Rush,
Jeff Walling, Larry West, Wayne Kilpatrick, Mike Cope, Marvin
Phillips, Calvin Warpula, Tony Woodall, Rick Atchley, Jerry Jones,
Richard Rogers. In 1990 there were: Steve Flatt,
Jim Woodroof, Larry West, Walt Leaver, Calvin Warpula, Gary
Beauchamp, Jerry Jones, Terry Rush, Rubel Shelly, Dick Marcear,
Stanley Ship, Richard Rogers, Mike Cope, Jay Utley, Max Lucado,
Marvin Phillips, Don DeWelt, Jerome Williams. In 1993,
the schedule listed: Joe Beam, Denny Boultinghouse,
Stanley Shipp, Jerome Williams, Lynn Anderson, Marvin Phillips,
Richard Rogers, Terry Rush, Jeff Walling, Mike Cope, Steve Flatt.
In other years there have been: Chuck Lucas, Bill
Banowsky, Mid McKnight, Landon Saunders, Alan Cloyd, Reuel Lemons,
Jimmy Allen, Cline Paden, Randy Mayeux. From these names you
would think you were looking at a list of "Who's Who" among false
teachers and compromisers of the Faith!
Note below the documented evidence to show the false
teachings of three of these men: Marvin Phillips, Terry Rush
and Jeff Walling. These are the very men whom
Larry West, in his article quoted above, desires everyone to
hear! It is a clear endorsement of them! The tenor of brother
West's article is, "Hear these men, obey their words and be saved
at the workshop!"
Restoration Forum VIII was held at the Garnett Road Church
of Christ, Nov. 7-9, 1990. It was a meeting "for an expected 1,500
members of the Churches of Christ and Independent Christian
Churches from across the nation." While commenting on instrumental
music and the Independent Christian Church, Phillips said,
"The forums are held because brethren on both
sides believe the same things. We were kept apart
because we didn't know each other . ... Our hope is
for how much fellowship we can have while we differ
over that issue. I see - in the future - joint
services and mergers which will be a cappella -
non-instrumental. I see some churches having both
instrumental and non-instrumental services." (Tulsa
World, June 17, 1990, Section 133)
At the 1990 Tulsa Workshop, while welcoming Don
DeWelt, a Christian Church preacher, Phillips said,
"Don DeWelt is a beloved brother to me. We
disagree like many brethren disagree, but he is a
beloved brother. His spirit is great. He loves the
Lord, believes in the authority of the Scriptures,
believes in the one church, believes in so many
things that he and I both would give our lives for.
He is the owner and operator of Gospel Press, is
always at the workshop with their booth and their
As Don DeWelt spoke at the workshop he said,
"As a direct result of the Forums, we are
involved in cooperative efforts and they are
increasing...I conduct personal work seminars and I'm
getting invitations from the non-instrumental
brethren in this area."
Regarding cooperation between the Christian Church and the
Church of Christ, he said that the Christian Church had
"contributed $800,000 to feed the starving in
Ethiopia which was sponsored and overseen by the
elders of the church of Christ, non-instrumental
It was the White's Ferry Road Church of Christ to
which DeWelt referred in the quote above. In a letter dated Jan. 1,
1985, DeWelt wrote:
"WE BELIEVE GOD HAS OPENED WIDE A DOOR of
opportunity to express love and unity. The White's
Ferry Road Church of Christ elders have asked that we
share with them to help meet the traumatic need of
the starving in Ethiopia.
"We are so excited about the mutual
acceptance of each other in this effort and
also the eager desire to demonstrate our
faith and love by our works ...we must not
In a letter dated Dec. 19, 1984, from International Disaster
Emergency Service, Inc. (IDES), which is an organization of
Instrumental Churches of Christ and Christian Churches, we read
regarding their own relief efforts in Ethiopia,
"Then we received an appeal letter from the
White's Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe,
LA asking for help for Ethiopia .... These need our
help, and we have sent $5,000.
"We contacted elder Carl Allison of
the White's Ferry Road congregation and
learned their congregation is working with
other of the non-instrument churches in
raising funds . ... Carl assures IDES the aid
is being sent in on a direct line from the
U.S. congregations to the Ethiopian
"IDES will be forwarding funds
designated for Ethiopia directly to the
White's Ferry Road Church to be combined with
what they are raising. This joint effort
between brethren on both sides of the
restoration movement will hopefully be a
means towards appreciation for and
understanding of each other much more fully."
Brethren, since when does the Lord's church raise funds from
denominations to carry out its work? Where is the Bible authority
for such? Would you support a congregation such as this?
In a speech titled, Putting Celebration Back Into
Worship, at the 1989 Jubilee in Nashville, brother Phillips
read from Luke 15 about the prodigal son saying that he had just
read about "what a church service ought to be." In speaking of
Sunday morning worship he says to those who may hesitate in going
"You get down there and go to the party
because church is supposed to always be party! It's
always supposed to be a celebration! ... There's
gonna be more party and there's gonna be less prison
. ... If almighty God can listen to all of these
prayers all at the same time, and all of these church
services all over the world, and not bother him, it
isn't gonna bother him that somebody is singing
Amazing Grace and somebody else is hugging on Grace
and telling her how much he loves her."
Brother Phillips taught a series of classes at Kentucky
Christian College (Christian Church school) in the Master of
Ministry program to thirty-six students in 1986. These classes were
filled with error and compromise as the tapes show. Brother
"I come across Matt. 15:9...I realized that
you can't be perfect in doctrine, but you must be
genuine... And that's exactly what I John verse 7
means when it says walk in the light. Well, there's
only two ways to walk in the light. One would be
sinless perfection and that's not you and me, or the
only other way is genuineness... Matt. 15:9 dealt
with some people who were trying awfully hard to be
doctrinally correct but their hearts were not right
with God. Our only hope to be saved is that we can be
right and dedicated, genuine in doctrine, dedicated
totally to Jesus' will, way and person. Now we call
that grace. Because you don't deserve it, but you get
it anyway, because God gives that to the genuine. Now
my only other point to apply this is, if that's the
only way I can be saved, the non-instrumental brother
that I am, I need to allow you the same grace that's
given me... Our only hope is that we can all be
genuine, and we can have brotherhood and fellowship
and work together and boost one another in our
imperfection." (Professor Phillips (Marvin That is)
The Digressive and Soft-Soaping Saints, W. Wayne
At the end of this series of classes brother Phillips wrote
to the students on October 21, 1986, saying: "I could tell the Lord
was in the room and in your lives ...keep serving Jesus with all
Terry Rush is the minister of the Memorial Drive Church of
Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Tulsa Workshop alternates between
Memorial Drive and Garnett Road (where Marvin Phillips preaches).
Brother Rush has a book entitled: The Holy Spirit Makes No Earthly
Sense which is endorsed by Richard Rogers, Tracy Ellis, Dick
Marcear and Ted Stewart. Cline Paden wrote the introduction.
A review of this book appeared in Hammer & Tongs,
May through October 1992, edited by Bill Lockwood and Stephen
Wiggins. Under the section, Anvil Sparks, Sep/Oct 1992, page 7,
brother Lockwood says,
"The worst bungling and insignia of Rush's
defeat is the frontal attack upon the person and
deity of Jesus Christ. I had never even dreamed that
some would choose such heretical off-scourings as
Rush had done to manipulate his hobby. The basic
thesis is that we have misunderstood the Spirit
because we have misunderstood the doctrine of the
PERSON of Jesus Christ. He strains hard not to
say exactly what he has in mind on this but warns
frequently of the radicalness of what he is desiring
us to understand."
Rush says in his book,
Page 54: "We are earthen containers; and just
like the container of Jesus, no less. Totally human."
Page 77: "The error looms large among several that
Jesus was not totally human."
Page 114: "Jesus set the pace. He
never misstepped. He was as common as a
Missouri farmer... yet, he was ONLY HUMAN...
UNTIL... WHEN HE LINKED WITH THE SPIRIT OR
THE FATHER (emp. mine) the greatest
revolution started .... This volunteer man
received power." (See also pages 34, 52, 83,
Brother Lockwood comments concerning the above statements:
"The repudiation of the deity of the
pre-baptized Christ is as plain as it is shocking.
Doubtless, he will sashay to hedge himself from this
conclusion but the lines still read the same."
Also, Terry Rush's speeches at the Nashville Jubilee in 1992
are certainly not lessons that can be noted for their ring of
At the 1990 Tulsa Workshop (Larry West spoke twice that
year), Jeff Walling preached a lesson entitled, That They All
May Be One. In this lesson he spoke of throwing a calf-rope
around those in denominationalism since we are all believers, that
we all may be "one" as the Lord prayed in John 17:20-21. Here is
what he said:
...But assume for just a minute the crazy
concept that there may be some folks out in the world
who honest-to-goodness love Jesus with all their
heart who would want to give him anything they have
in their hands, but for whatever reason, at this
moment, they are not fellowshipping in a building
that says "Church of Christ" on it. Now, just free
your mind up for that bizarre possibility. Now, can
you say with me, that we may be one? You say, "No!
God forbid! It's heresy!"
The first odd thing I want you to note in the
text is that Jesus doesn't say, when he says the
"they" the obedient might be one; he doesn't say,
that "the church of Christers might be one." He
doesn't say that "those that agree with Jeff
Walling." Who does he ask would be united - would be
one? "I pray for those who will go to church... No,
No, No... I pray, verse 20, for those who will
believe in me." ... Now, folks, I don't want to break
anybody's back tonight as you try to bend over and go
with me, but I want you to wrestle with the fact that
the text says "believers." ... But I'll tell you
what, in order to preach the text, we can't get into
this lesson without appreciating the fact that Jesus
asked that we would throw the calf-rope around all of
those who just believe in Him, and pray and work for
the unity of all believers.
In a conversation with Jeff Walling in 1988, he was asked if
he believed mechanical instrumental music was a sin and his answer
was, "No." He said he couldn't say it was a sin because the Bible
didn't say it. He said to say it was a sin was to go beyond
scripture. He compared instrumental music to a congregation that
had elders and deacons or one without elders and deacons.
WHITE'S FERRY ROAD SUPPORTS ERROR
The White's Ferry Road Church of Christ has been involved
with and in support of error for years. This congregation is Larry
West's "home congregation." It is his "home base." His office is
there. He receives his mail and phone calls there. His work is a
part of the work of the church there. "We Care" ministries is under
the oversight of the elders of White's Ferry Road. How can he be a
part of the work there and not support their error?
CHUCK LUCAS AT WHITE'S FERRY ROAD
Note these following facts below.
In the White's Ferry Road bulletin dated Jan. 5, 1980, the
lead article states, "SEMINAR ON BIBLE TALKS AND PRAYER PARTNERS
...EVERY MEMBER NEEDS TO ATTEND." Chuck Lucas was the speaker for
"THIS SEMINAR... DESIGNED FOR THE CONGREGATION." Surely, all
remember that Chuck Lucas was the cult-like leader of Crossroadism.
Facts concerning this heretical philosophy were readily available
when Chuck Lucas was invited to White's Ferry Road.
INTERNATIONAL CHRISTIAN MINISTRIES
In a letter dated Oct. 15, 1987, Don W Tate, describes
a conversation he had with Ray Melton of the White's Ferry Road
congregation concerning "...the possibility of an upcoming
`disciplining' class" to be held at the church in Homer, Louisiana.
There were to be around five young couples in the class. They were
not to meet in the building, have no interference from the elders
and to allow Ray "free course with what he wants to teach and then
not to interfere with the young people after they are taught."
Did the Crossroads Philosophy have some inroads at
White's Ferry Road? You be the judge.
The BOARD REPORT (official newsletter of ICM) provides much
of the information found below in Vol. 1, No. 1, Sept./Oct. 1987.
International Christian Ministries (ICM) became
a Louisiana nonprofit corporation and obtained tax exempt status as
a nonprofit religious charitable organization on August 25, 1987.
Present at the official signing ceremony were: T. A.
Isaacs, Alton Howard, Robert Danklefsen, W. L. Howard, Darrell
Frazier, Norman Rhodes, Carl Allison, Bill Smith and J. R. Baker.
(It is important to note that these men are elders, preachers and
teachers at White's Ferry Road Church of Christ. Alton Howard is
not only an elder at White's Ferry Road but is also the publisher
of "Image" magazine which is well known for its liberal views. He
is also the publisher of Rubel Shelly's infamous book, The Second
Incarnation.) The REPORT states that T A. Isaacs is also an elder
at White's Ferry Road and coordinator for the "We Care Ministries,"
an outreach of World Radio with Larry West. This report also states
that Robert Danklefsen is an elder and serves as the personal
evangelism director for the church at White's Ferry Road and We
The BOARD REPORT stated that the purpose of ICM was to
launch a new TV outreach ministry. "Then Jesus Said" was to be
their first TV series. Darrell Frazier, President of ICM, said,
"We are also dreaming of many other
opportunities to spread the gospel, such as radio
programs, a national Christian magazine, teaching and
counseling services, international relief and
development activities, campaigns and crusades, and
God only knows what other opportunities He will grant
us in the years ahead as we take the cross of Christ
around the world."
On page 6 of the BOARD REPORT we read,
"International Christian Ministries (ICM) has
three separate boards with three distinctive
functions. These boards are the Board of Directors,
the Board of Founders and the Board of Advisors.
"The governing body of ICM is the
Board of Directors. It is the responsibility
of this board to create the policies and
plans of ICM.
"...While most of the present board
members are elders at White's Ferry Road
Church of Christ, additional Christian
leaders from across the country will be
appointed to the board over the coming
Fortunately, ICM did not become a reality. It, like the
Missionary Society of over 100 years ago, sought to do the work God
gave the church to do. It would have been a gross error and
violation of God's divine plan. God gave the church the
responsibility to preach the gospel to the whole world, not a
man-made organization. "To the intent that now unto the
principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by
the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10).
ERROR TAUGHT IN THE PULPIT
An entire lectureship was devoted to exposing this heresy
at the Central Church of Christ in Bastrop, Louisiana, July 2123,
There was a great amount of error set forth in a speech
delivered by Steve Weathers Oct. 17, 1985, at White's Ferry Road.
Bill Smith, one of the elders, endorsed the lesson with enthusiasm.
The transcript of this speech appeared in Contending For the Faith,
June, 1986. Some of the many quotes are as follows:
"...There are some individuals in our
fellowship who say, `Once God has specified that
which he wants, we are not at liberty to add anything
else and if we do so it is blatant sin and rebellion
in the sight of God.' In other words ...once God
specified Gopher wood, had Noah panelled the master
bedroom with Pecan ...he would have fallen under
God's condemnation. I do not believe that is an
accurate picture of God's dealing with man in the Old
Testament or in the New Testament.
SPECIAL GROUP SINGING
"Do you know that in three years and
three months I could not wrestle INCENSE from
the hands of the Greek Christians . ... Maybe
I don't have to get these people to stop
burning incense. Perhaps this is one of those
Old Testament devotional items which can be
at the very least ...tolerated and may be
legitimately utilized to bridge a cultural
and ethnic gap ...and it was down hill from
"I want you to understand that we
tolerated the `sign of the cross' IN OUR
ASSEMBLIES. We imitated the sign of the cross
at times ...."
There are occasions when small-group "singers" will sing in
the Sunday morning worship assembly of the White's Ferry Road
Church of Christ. On occasion, Larry West's wife and daughter have
participated. We must conclude that such is done with approval or
else it would not be done.
Where is there Bible authority for anything but
congregational singing in worship? There is no command, example or
implication anywhere in the New Testament! Ephesians 5:19 and
Colossians 3:16 demand that ALL sing and make melody in our hearts
to the Lord - not some sing while others listen. Shall we all then,
in contradiction to these passages, follow White's Ferry Road's
lead and begin to have our own choirs? Never will it be so with
Larry West delivered a lesson entitled "How God Saved People
2,000 Years Ago" at the Tulsa Soul Winning Workshop in March, 1992.
When responding to objections made by the denominations that we
believe in "salvation by works" (by teaching baptism for the
remission of sins), he reads Titus 3:4-5 and then says:
"Not by works of righteousness which we have
done. Folks, we can't work ourselves into heaven.
There's nothing we can do to earn heaven. Not by
works of righteousness which we have done. But
according to his MERCY he SAVED us. According to his
WHAT? Oh, his mercy, yes. It is ONLY by grace through
faith that we are saved, TOTALLY, 100%, AMEN?"
In the minds of many, his last sentence is Calvinism - pure
denominationalism! He may disagree, but his words remain the same.
Other statements made in the same lesson are a contradiction of
what he said above because he went on to point out that God saves
when we are baptized. Now, you can't have it both ways: both (1)
ONLY, TOTALLY, 100% GRACE and (2) men doing their part in obeying
the gospel. It's a contradiction!
None the less, the quote above is misleading and
ambiguous. Given what denominational people have always been taught
concerning grace, it can easily be understood to support their own
doctrine. Would there be a denominationalist in West's audience
that heard the words ONLY, TOTALLY, 100%, and believe that it was
contrary to their doctrine, or, complimentary of the same?
West's words are the same jargon used by others who have
gone out from us. For example, in a speech at the Nashville Jubilee
in July, 1991, Rubel Shelly said, "Our salvation arises
entirely and only from grace. ...It is entirely of grace through
faith. ...My salvation is on grace alone, not by anything I've
added to that." Are West and Shelly saying the same thing?
They use many of the same words and expressions! These are words
you would expect to hear from a Calvinist, not a gospel preacher.
West even asks for agreement from the audience by saying, "AMEN?"
and, they respond by saying "amen."
When brother West was asked about this statement he
replied by trying to frame it into an implied either/or combination
of "grace alone" or "man's merit." He said in a letter dated April
you, then, please fill in the following blanks:
"Salvation equals __% man's merit plus __% God's
grace." Then, will you please show me verses that say
we can earn any of heaven at all, dear brother, even
just one? Frankly, speaking personally, I wouldn't
Brethren, salvation is not an either/or proposition as he
has worded it. This seeks to place anyone who would try to answer
this question. in a dilemma. There is more to consider than simply
to ask the question above. Salvation is neither by "grace 100%" nor
by "man's merit." Neither option he asked about is correct! Such
tactics as are set forth in this supposed dilemma are often used by
liberal brethren. But, we shall not be so fooled.
We are saved by "grace" (Eph. 2:8), "faith" (Rom. 5:1),
"works" (James 2:24), "blood" (Rom. 5:9), "repentance" (Luke 13:3),
"baptism" (I Peter 3:21), the "word of God" (James 1:21),
"yourselves" (Acts 2:40), etc. Yet, beside none of these can we add
the words: ONLY, TOTALLY, 100%!
It is true that we cannot place God in our debt nor earn
salvation by works of merit. Ephesians 2:8 says we are saved by
"grace through faith," but NOT BY grace ONLY, TOTALLY, 100%! Such
rules out any response from man himself. If salvation is by grace,
ONLY, TOTALLY, 100%, then everyone would be saved for the grace of
God has appeared unto all men (Titus 2:11-12). When the words,
ONLY, TOTALLY, 100%, are added to the word "grace," it becomes
error, just as adding them to the word "faith" becomes error when
the denominations do it. To specify a percentage in either "grace"
or "works" is to go beyond what is written. Let's just accept what
the Bible says without adding to it.
However, there are works which man must perform in order
to be saved (James 2:24). Man MUST work the works God has commanded
him to perform or else he cannot be saved. John 6:29 says,
"This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath
sent." The works God has commanded are not works of merit.
They are works which God designed to test our faith. They are works
none the less - works of obedient faith. Therefore, salvation
cannot be ONLY by grace, TOTALLY, 100% or by FAITH ONLY You can't
place a percentage on the "grace of God" and the "works of God,"
though both are involved in accomplishing man's salvation.
Jim Woodroof says "faith only" Rubel Shelly speaks about
"not one whit" only. Larry West says "ONLY by grace through faith,
TOTALLY, 100%." Now, which shall we believe and accept? Some people
believe in "Jesus only." Will we accept "Jesus only?" Some believe
in "works only." Will we accept "works only?" None of these are
In a letter dated March 10, 1993, the elders at the East
Corinth Church of Christ wrote brother West and ask several
questions concerning his general belief as well as specific
questions concerning his teaching and practice. After not hearing
from him, on April 14, 1993, he was called to ask if he intended to
answer the questions and his reply was "no." His comments
concerning these questions were that he thought it was "creed
making" and he conscientiously could not answer a creed. He
responded by saying that some of them were not even Bible
questions, such as, "Do you believe Christians can participate in
Can we please God and not oppose error? Read Jude 3, Eph.
5:11, Rom. 16:17-18, Gal. 2:4-5, II Tim. 4:2-4, II John 9-11.
Galatians 1:8-9 points out that we must not teach or receive error.
A stern warning rests upon those who do. Elders are to stop the
mouths of the gainsayers and protect the flock from the wolves that
seek to enter in (Titus 1:911; Acts 20:29-31). Now a days, many
elderships invite them in instead of keeping them out.
Garland M. Robinson -- Editor
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION?
(Bidding God Speed to Error)
Garland M. Robinson
The phrase "guilt by association" is often used by brethren
today. It is said, for example: just because brother associates
with, runs with and consorts with those who teach error, we cannot
refuse to fellowship him - that's "guilt by association." The idea
seems to be that just because one may associate with some who are
false brethren, that does not make him guilty nor is he to be
judged as a false teacher himself. Does the Bible have anything to
say about a situation like this? Yes it does!
"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the
doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine
of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any
unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your
house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed
is partaker of his evil deeds" (II John 9-11).
In II John 9-10, those who teach false doctrine are
condemned. We are not to receive such individuals into our house,
neither bid them God speed. That is, we are not to lend them any
aid, support or encouragement in their evil work. Noel Merideth
wrote concerning these verses,
John penned these words to make clear to the
"elect lady" that false teachers-were in no way to be
encouraged in their efforts to deceive the people. To
receive such into one's house is to provide
assistance in the work they do, and is to partake
with them in the evil deed of false teaching. It
follows from this that those who teach error are not
to be supported, encouraged, or assisted, in such
efforts, in any way whatsoever. If some one of this
type appears, we are not to welcome him, we must not
offer him hospitality, we must not assist him on his
way. We are not to extend to him fellowship. Paul
wrote, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful
works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph.
5:11). ... We must not do anything which could be
interpreted by others as an endorsement of his work
. ...We should see to it that what we do does not in
any way advance the proclamation of false doctrine.
False teachers are the most dangerous men on earth.
They constitute one of the greatest threats to the
well-being of humanity. (Studies in 1,2,3 John, 1987
Denton Lectures, pp.271-272)
In II John 11, the reason is given why we must not give
encouragement to false teachers. "For he that biddeth him God
speed is partaker of his evil deeds." We may not believe or
teach the error of the false teacher ourselves but we are condemned
along with him because we "bid him God speed." That means we
fellowship his evil work. We are guilty by association with
him! Such an individual needs to repent along with the false
For example, a lectureship or workshop may be held and
the schedule is filled with compromisers and false teachers. One,
who may not teach error himself, is invited to participate and he
willing consents to do so. When questioned regarding his fellowship
of those in error he sometimes replies, "I went to preach the
gospel." "I'll preach the gospel anywhere!" "I spoke the truth in
my lesson." Speaking the truth in their lesson is not the point.
Fellowshipping those in error is the point!
There is a marked difference between one who simply
"speaks the truth in his lesson" and one who "speaks what needs to
be heard by those on the program and those in attendance." One may
speak the truth, yet by his words or actions (or the lack of his
words or actions) the impression is left as if they were all in
fellowship one with another. His silence on the subject of
fellowship and error is an endorsement of their error and
equivalent to bidding God speed to their error. It doesn't matter
that he may privately say, "I don't believe in everything the other
speakers teach." He needs to let that be known publicly! Those in
error must be taught the truth and reproved, rebuked and exhorted
to return to the Old Paths (II Tim. 4:2).
The Old Testament taught that for one to remain silent
when he should expose that which is wrong was to "bear his
iniquity" (Lev. 5:1). The New Testament teaches the same: "And
have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but
rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). It's not enough to
simply not teach error ourselves. We must not fellowship
"unfruitful works of darkness." But further still, we must
also actively "reprove" and "expose" those who do!
Those who defend "bidding God speed" to those who do not
teach the doctrine of Christ often say, "you're going too far,"
"that's guilt by association."
Let's examine what God says about "guilt by association"
as taught in II John 9-11.
The church at Ephesus was commended for exposing
false teachers. "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy
patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou
hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast
found them liars .... But this thou hast, that thou hatest the
deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate" (Rev. 2:2,6).
The church at Ephesus was not guilty of associating with those in
error. They refuted both the error and those who practiced it!
Their example is one worthy of imitation today.
The church at Pergamos, on the other hand, did
not meet with God's approval in this regard. Even though they were
praised for holding fast the name of Christ and not denying the
faith (Rev. 2:13), they were condemned for their guilt of
tolerating and harboring those who taught error. "But I have
a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold
the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock
before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols,
and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the
doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I
will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the
sword of my mouth" (Rev. 2:14-16). There are many brethren
and churches today who follow their example. They may not teach
error themselves and can be commended for their own teaching, but
they associate, fraternize and identify with those who do teach
error. They are guilty by association with them!
The church at Thyatira was likewise guilty of
going along with and fellowshipping some in error.
"Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou
sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess,
to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to
eat things sacrificed unto idols" (Rev. 2:20). The church may
not have taught Jezebel's false doctrine themselves and even said
when asked, "I don't believe in some of the things done by
Jezebel," but they went along with and supported her by virtue of
the fact they did nothing to stop her and thereby were guilty by
association with her. The church at Pergamos and Thyatira were both
told to "repent or else" (Rev. 2:16,22).
There are many brethren and churches today who are guilty
by association with those in error. Instead of reproving, rebuking
and exhorting them to repent (II Tim. 4:2), they hold up their
hands by providing them a platform to teach their error. They are
called in and paraded before unsuspecting saints to spread their
pernicious doctrine. Events and programs are promoted and
encouraged which are leading the way for the church to run headlong
into apostasy. It is a shame and disgrace for such to exist.
Brethren, it's just not right!
There are many preachers among us who associate with and
fellowship those in error. II John 11 declares that such
individuals are "partakers with them" in their evil. They stand
condemned along with those espousing false doctrine. They must
repent of their error at Pergamos and Thyatira were told to do.
Now, should we endorse, promote and fellowship those who fellowship
error? Not according to II John 9-11 and Rev. 2:14-16, 20-22.
A CONSERVATION WITH LARRY WEST
I want to impart to you the contents of a conversation I
have had with Larry West which lead me to conclude without a doubt
that he is not the man I was told he was.
First, let me say that the last thing Larry West said to
me after our last conversation was "I know that you love me and
that you are trying to do right." I tried my best to be exactly
what God demands, not contentious but seeking truth and the best
Conversation during September of 1991.
I asked Larry to allow me to try to find out why he was
such a controversial subject and why some opposed him. I asked him
if he would answer some questions and he agreed.
QUESTION: Do you believe instrumental (mechanical) music
is a sin?
RESPONSE: I believe it is wrong.
QUESTION: Do you believe a person will be lost because
of mechanical instruments of music in worship?
RESPONSE: I think they will be in grave danger if they
QUESTION: (I asked this question this way because I knew
he was trying not to state his position) - Do you believe people
will be in Heaven who use mechanical instruments in worship?
RESPONSE: I'm still struggling with this.
Then he related his position to me.
He said, "Music that we use is "church business" to be
discussed with church people." Just like the Lord's supper and the
first day of the week. He said, "The gospel is for people outside
and doctrine is for the church." He said, "I Cor. 15:1-4 says Paul
taught gospel and not doctrine." He said, "That if he found people
in some country and they had believed in Jesus and were baptized,
but weren't taking the Lord's supper and using mechanical
instruments of music he wouldn't say they were lost."
From this conversation I learned he holds exactly the
same position as Rubel Shelly, "namely that there will be saved
people in denominations." Larry will teach that doctrine and gospel
are two different things and gospel is only the death, burial and
resurrection and the church, etc., is doctrine. As long as they are
willing to accept "gospel" they are saved no matter if they are in
error on "doctrine." I want to be truthful to him, he said, "If
they wouldn't give up error they would be in danger." But, the end
of that is they are better off if they are never taught about error
because he says they can be saved in it.
Notes of interest: I called his elders first to ask if
they knew his position on this. They said they would not answer for
Larry on instrumental music.
Another observation I was able to make:
Joe (?), the man who came to Forest Park, GA, to talk to
all southside preachers (he was from Bartlesville, OK), made
reference in his talk about the campaign that "gospel and doctrine
were different subjects."
I ordered tapes of the 1990 Tulsa Workshop and the theme
was exactly what I have addressed above. The speakers were with one
voice advocating that we join hands with all "believers" in Christ
and their definition of believers is not the Biblical sense. Jeff
Walling said, "Don't even worry about baptism." Also, that year is
when Don DeWelt was a speaker. Don advocated unity with us and
Marvin Phillips amened the plea and said Don DeWelt is our
I asked Marvin Phillips and Terry Rush personally, both
hosts of Tulsa Workshop, if Larry West endorsed the Tulsa Workshop
and they both said he did and Marvin said he has gotten at least a
letter a month from Larry saying he can't wait till the next one.
I had information that Larry said he didn't endorse the
workshop and I asked Marvin and Terry if they were aware of that.
Neither of them could understand him saying this. Terry said the
Tulsa position must be hurting Larry's ministry and he would check
this out since Larry is scheduled for the 1992 workshop.
There is no doubt to me that Larry is uncertain as to
what he believes and he is at this point a false teacher because of
the positions he takes. I have told him I oppose him and he said
even after all this that he knew I was concerned for him and not
just being contentious.
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WHAT IS "THE CRIER" CRYING?
Larry West, associate editor of The Crier,
editorializes in the April-May 1992 issue on the "Blood of
Jesus." In this he relates an incident in his own life in which an
unnamed brother queried him by phone regarding his position on a
particular doctrine. "I don't fellowship anyone who does not hold
certain positions on some subjects," he had been told. This
nameless party actually desired to discover what were brother
West's views on a topic prior to allowing him to stand in his
pulpit. The balance of brother West's article then focused upon the
fragmenting horrors latent in such a nonsensical notion that would
seek to ascertain another's belief by the "asking question method."
"Whatever happened to the blood of Christ among us? Is it no longer
the point?" asks brother West in rebuttal.
It is noteworthy to me that brother West not once
identifies the doctrine about which the mysterious caller queried
him. Instead, he dramatically groans that perhaps we have
"forgotten" the blood of Jesus. "Isn't the blood of Jesus the one
thing that makes us able to call each other in the church
`brother'?" He coaxes us along in this way to sympathize with
anyone who is grilled with questions. But I have a sneaking
suspicion from his overmuch sorrow with which he bewails such
procedures that would ask a question or two, that the readers of
his paper might be less sympathetic with him if he would inform us
of the point in dispute!
Having said that, I now cast a little light on the
principles which he espoused in his piece, which I declare are
pernicious and perverting of God's system.
First, brother West blames division among God's people
upon the disposition that summons one to the "witness stand" to
confess what they believe (p.6). This is indeed a knotty problem,
but not for the reason brother West gives. The PROBLEM is that
troublers in Israel NEVER wish to be cross examined on what they
believe and will go to great lengths of hand-wringing and tear
jerking before an audience of readers to arouse indignation against
all questioners. West exclaims: "It astonishes me, dear brethren,
to see where some of us draw the line on each other." But since he
never revealed to us where the phone-calling quizzer WAS drawing
the line, this has every appearance of the old ploy now utilized by
brother West of: "let's quit drawing lines." West does not want
readers to be shocked as much by "WHERE the lines are drawn" as by
the fact that lines are drawn! Indeed, the entire chastisement in
his little piece was to those who wish to discover his doctrinal
stance on a topic prior to letting him speak. He actually supposes
this mindset ignores the "blood of Jesus." Then, brother West
snidely calls for "Perry Mason" to aid him against the midnight
caller. But, I declare that Mason evidently did not arrive in time
to keep brother West from indicting himself on the count of "unity
in doctrinal diversity" For, this is exactly what his criticisms
imply if they have any substance at all. Should we never question
anyone's doctrinal stance? Is it wrong to withhold fellowship
from those "who hold certain positions on some subjects?" Should a
Christian never be placed "on the witness stand?" The Crier cries
Second, brother West complains that he had "to defend
himself on a subject he had not even been invited to address."
Well, if the patient reader did not see his unity in doctrinal
diversity thus far, there is no mistake now. But I know his
position to be biblically false and the mover of church seditions.
This is also the chief feature of liberalism and demonstrates that
brother West has been reading a different book than the rest of us.
Yes, this proposal of West's is the grand tactic of every false way
to spread whatsoever they wish to whomsoever they will and the rest
of us are simply invited to shut our mouths and let them do it.
Third, brother West says, as has each heretic to the
faith from Marcion to Ketcherside to Shelly, "I have obeyed the
Gospel of Christ and all the fundamental doctrines of Christ."
Obviously, the dogma for which HE has been called on the
carpet he classifies as non-fundamentals. But see: he condemns
"each group saying its own position is fundamental to personal
salvation" when he comes to the divisions in the churches of
Christ. However, he eats the same cake when he answers the midnight
mysterious phone-caller. "I have obeyed the fundamentals." Now,
that is a distinction with a difference! He casts off on those who
say "their own position is fundamental" when he says "If each group
were not saying that, there would not exist any breach of
fellowship among us ...." Hence, when we say "our position is
fundamental" we cause breaches in fellowship. But he turns right
around with this one: "I have obeyed all the fundamentals." Well,
then, brother West, you must be a causer of division and I admonish
you to quit it. Perhaps the anonymous caller is paying heed and has
learned what he needs. Indeed, what IS The Crier crying?
But he brings in the "anti" divisions, just like Shelly
and Woodroof and all the digressives do, to shoo us away from
cross-examining a person as to doctrinal belief. The antis are
supposed to make us ashamed to the extent that we will relieve the
pressure on the ones whom we suspect are out of doctrinal
conformity, lest we contribute more to the problem of division. But
the anti error is not per se that they BELIEVE positions to be
fundamental enough to be concerned with them, but WHAT ARE THOSE
DOCTRINES? They are theological twistings which carry their
refutation on their face. Thus, the conclusion of West: "shame on
us for each thinking his position is fundamental" should be: "shame
on us for holding absurdly false positions as if they were truth."
For, if we cannot believe that doctrinal stands are fundamental,
then West might as well quit holding "all the fundamentals."
Again, I wonder if brother West would desire to know a
speakers' belief upon these "fundamentals" before he allowed him to
address an audience in West Monroe? If so, his whole denunciation
of questioners who have been saved "by the blood of Jesus" is
called into question. If not, what are they allowing to be taught?
Would he permit the phone-brother to speak from HIS pulpit? One
whom West thinks has forgotten the blood of Jesus in his
Fourth, to cut through this thick smokescreen once more,
hear brother West: "In the blood of Christ, may we, please, give
each other room to grow, to examine, to learn, to change" (p.7). Of
course, Christians need room to grow. But, as is customary with the
liberal set, brother West has NO INTENTION of "changing" or
"growing" into the particular doctrinal belief that is held by the
one who questioned him. As a matter of fact, in his entire crying
thesis what he demanded was NOT "time to learn better" or "to grow"
but to halt the belief that we must agree! If he would respond to
this, as he did in the article, by pointing out that we do not
agree with the antis, then his soft-shell peddlements of "allowing
one another to grow and change" does not apply, does it? That is,
unless he is telling us all to grow up to be like the antis. No,
"room to grow" is a grandstand play that is worthless, as far as
real substance is concerned, in this context. It is all an "off the
point" sympathy appeal which has lurking beneath its surface a
despising of the idea that some folks care enough to ask questions.
"Leave us alone!" Is this what The Crier is Crying? It
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THE OSTRICH COMPLEX
The ostrich is the largest of all birds. A full grown male
may reach eight feet in height and weigh up to three hundred
pounds. The fastest of all land creatures, ostriches have been
clocked at sixty miles an hour. The ostrich has great strength as
well as stamina. It is capable of killing a man or an animal as
large as a horse with its powerful legs and feet.
Legend says that the ostrich is one of nature's biggest
cowards in spite of its size, speed and strength. Traditionally, it
has been said that an ostrich, when confronted with danger, will
bury its head in the sand leaving the rest of its huge body
exposed. Foolishly, the ostrich believes he is safe because he can
not see or hear the danger which threatens him. Although this
alleged practice of the ostrich is now questioned by naturalists it
has given rise to the proverbial saying, "He's hiding his head in
the sand," which describes one who purposely chooses to ignore
danger, problems, or issues that he does not want to confront.
Tragically, there are many in the Lord's church today who
suffer from an "ostrich complex." They are "hiding their heads in
the sand" in regard to critical issues facing God's people. "Wolves
in sheep's clothing" have entered into the flock of God and are
ravaging it (Matt. 7:13-23; Acts 20:28-32). These brethren,
however, refuse even to acknowledge the presence of these false
Among the pernicious doctrines being proclaimed from
pulpit, periodical, and platform are the following: God's laws of
marriage, divorce and remarriage do not apply to the alien sinner
(Matt. 19:9; John 3:16); the guilty party in a divorce has as much
right to remarry as the innocent party (Matt. 19:9); there are
sincere, knowledgeable, devout Christians in all denominations
(Acts 2:47; Eph. 4:4; 5:23); the blood bought body of Christ is a
sect and must change if it is to survive into the twenty-first
century (Eph. 3:9-11; Acts 20:28); the Bible is only inspired in
"thought," not in words (Jer. 1:9; I Cor. 10:13); we have no
inspired Bible today since we do not have the autographs of the
books (Matt. 24:35; 1 Peter 1:23); Jesus Christ is not the only
begotten Son of God (John 3:16; Matt. 1:18-25); one does not have
to understand why he is being baptized as long as he has a vague
idea that he is obeying God (Acts 2:38; 22:16); the Lord's true
church has never existed - except in the mind of God (Matt. 16:18;
I Cor. 1:2; Eph. 5:25-27); the non-use of choirs and mechanical
instrumental music in worship is based on tradition and culture,
not Scripture (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16); there is no New Testament
pattern (Rom. 6:17; I Cor. 4:17; I Tim. 1:13); one cannot determine
God's will by command, example, or implication and the use of
reason to understand Scripture is unreasonable (II Tim. 2:25; I
Thess. 5:21; Eph. 5:10,11); opposition to women in authority over
men in the church is not of divine origin but a remnant of our
patriarchal past (I Cor. 14:34, 35; I Tim. 2:8-15); condemnation of
the social use of alcohol is not based on the Bible but is a
hangover from our puritan past (Prow 23:29-35; Eph. 5:18); and
other equally heinous and damnable doctrines.
In the past few weeks, I have talked to a number of
intelligent, educated, active members of the church, many of them
in positions of leadership in different areas of our nation and
have been shocked by their apparent lack of knowledge of prominent
problems in the church. It cannot be that these brethren are
ignorant of what is happening to the body of Christ for lack of
opportunity to know, for false teachers have disseminated their
heresies far and wide and concerned Christians have just as widely
opposed them by pulpit and pen. It seems to me that these brethren
do not know what is happening because they have chosen not to know!
This has been indicated by the annoyance, even resentment, shown
when the presence of these problems has been pointed out.
Problems do not just go away because we choose to ignore
them. Neither do false teachers cease to pervert the right ways of
the Lord just because we do not acknowledge their existence. Some
of these brethren with the ostrich complex have admitted that there
are problems, but say that as long as they are not affecting the
congregation where they worship, they see no reason to become
alarmed. The foolishness of such thinking is that if brethren are
not warned ahead of time, it may be too late to save them when
error becomes entrenched. False teachers usually do not announce
their arrival to subvert the saints but enter in unawares (Dude 4).
To be forewarned is to be forearmed!
Elders must become aware of what is happening in order
to protect the flock and to "convict the gainsayers" (Titus 1:9).
Preachers must know what is happening in order to warn brethren and
to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:26, 27,31; II Tim.
4:2-5). All Christians must "contend earnestly for the faith once
for all delivered to the saints" (Dude 3)!
Brethren let us get our heads out of the sand and face
the dangers which threaten us before it is too late!
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