Seek The Old Paths

Vol. 4   No. 5                                May   1993

In This Issue...



     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.
     (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 Revisited!"
     (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 store ...."

     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 fellowship ...."

     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 fail."

     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 congregations ....
     "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 to worship.

"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 Phillips says,

"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 Coats, pp.59-60)

     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 your hearts."


     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, 86)

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 soundness.


     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.


     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?
     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.
     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 Care Ministries.
     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 years."

     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).
     An entire lectureship was devoted to exposing this heresy at the Central Church of Christ in Bastrop, Louisiana, July 2123, 1988.


     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.
     "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 there!!
     "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 Bible authority!


     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?" (Emphasis his)

     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 27, 1993,

Would 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 touch it.

     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 correct!


     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 mixed swimming?"


     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


(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 teacher.
     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.


Johnny Robertson

     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 for Larry.
     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 don't stop.
     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 "instrumental brother."
     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.
          PO. Box 1776
          Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960

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Bill Lockwood

     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 "NO."
     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 overmuch curiosity?
     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 seems so.
          211 N. Fifth
          Marlow, OK 73055

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Rod Rutherford

     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 teachers.
     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!
          4905 Gadwall Dr. W.
          Memphis, TN 38141

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