60. Beware those who rush to put both feet in their mouths!
Graham Davies : Following on, really, from Ruth there - I have to say, David and Zoë, I massively question the motivation behind the letter. Just in its content. I don't think I would have had it in me to slate a brother or sister in Christ in that way. And I find that very, very difficult to come to terms with. And I also have to say, Rog, you do drop gaffes. You drop big ones at times. I've taught you that and you know you do it. I think we do it [sic]- we all know he does it. But then - I think it's very difficult to say there's never been a preacher at the front of this church who hasn't dropped gaffes. I've dropped massive ones up there - leading worship, doing other things. And I have to say I'm very glad that, when I did do it I was treated with a lot of grace and a lot of respect. And I don't feel, perhaps, that we've given Roger a lot of respect that he has deserved - at times. The other thing I have to say - it is obvious to me that there is a big rift between the leadership and the minister. You don't need to be Einstein to work that out. It is painfully obvious. I think we have to remember, though, as church members - we're responsible for both those factors. When we voted to bring Roger - sorry, when we considered Roger's suitability as a pastor of this church there was a huge, if my memories right, Howard, something in the region of 98% of the church backed Roger. Now are we saying that that was wrong? We were that massively wrong that night? Because my - my limited knowledge of us - is that we don't always agree on much at all! I've never ever known us agree so wholeheartedly on any one thing. Certainly over the last ten years that I've been here. Am I right or am I wrong? We agreed big-time. We also agreed, big-time, on the content of the diaconate that we have at this time. So therefore we have to take a responsibility for those people who serve this church at this moment as leaders. Now - there's obviously a working out to be done here. I'm not sure that the majority of the things that we're talking about - a lot of those things can be dealt with, or should be able to be dealt with, by the minister and the deacons within the confines of the church meeting. If they can't be then there's something wrong and that needs to be resolved. And I think that's probably the fault of both parts there. But I think that's to a certain extent not our business; it's the business of the leadership that we've elected as a church and the minister that we've elected as a church. And I would urge you, brothers and sisters, to get a grip. Because it's obvious that you haven't got a grip at the moment and something needs to be done for the need of the church here. Cos I think that at the moment the church is going nowhere. We're like a ship without a rudder and, as well, as a people we're quite conservative. We're not all that keen on change and Roger, perhaps, had come in and, perhaps, Roger, you've tried to do too much, too soon. That's my own opinion. But, there's got to be love and there's got to be a willing(ness?) [sic] from every person who is a member of this church tonight, to do something about it. Because if we don't I actually believe we've got big, big problems. So I would urge you to love each other and do something about it. And let's be constructive instead of being destructive.
[Graham's flair for gaffes is obvious as he opened with a line contemporaneous to a court scene in 'A Few Good Men.' I 'massively question' the motivation behind the letter? We did not mince words - we called Roger a 'hireling', a 'wolf in sheep's clothing', and made it clear that he is 'divisive at every turn and continue(s) to do Satan's work'! You need to be utterly certain of your facts and revelation from God - and these must totally check out with Scripture - before you take action against heretics and deceivers. We never make statements we cannot support and we certainly would ignore the plethora of statements based on feelings which poured forth on this night. We will see later what the Wheelhouse's retaliatory answer was to this challenge - Scriptural or based on feelings? As for the claim that: 'I don't think I would have had it in me to slate a brother or sister in Christ in that way', some people never learn from the 'grace and . . . lot of respect' others give. It is always advisable to consider your own ministry(s) and ask whether disciples flourished or dwindled under your leadership. We are called to bear fruit that lasts (John 15:6). You should seriously consider the way in which you have spoken to others in the church, particularly in the realms of your own ministry, before making such statements. Some Christians are drawn to mimic leaders like Wheelhouse. We had an awful struggle to convince our children to avoid being 'yoked with unbelievers' (2 Corinthians 6:14-18), because they would go into Cardiff and see 'Christian youth leaders' such as Graham sitting there in the very pubs and clubs we had told the children to stay out of! The rod would have done these leaders good too!
Clearly some are indifferent or even proud of dropping 'gaffes!' Why claim: 'I've taught you that and you know you do it. . . . we all know he does it.' If everyone knows Roger 'does it', why was nothing ever done to stop it? The truth is that his faction in the church enjoyed his 'humour' - gaffes and all. It is only now, after he was challenged over this behaviour, that some, like Graham, attempted to slightly distance themselves from the heretic. By using words like 'gaffes' they tried to dilute the seriousness of what had gone on. We were not talking about 'gaffes' - we were talking about HERESY! To make the ludicrous assertion that: 'I think it's very difficult to say there's never been a preacher at the front of this church who hasn't dropped gaffes' besmirches the previous genuine 'men of God' who occupied the pulpit of this church. Our previous Pastor, Byron Jones' worst 'gaffe' was probably a slip he made during a sermon when he said: 'There's nowt as queer as folk - as it says in the Old Testament!' he quickly corrected himself to say: ' I mean, 'As the old Northern saying goes!' That is a gaffe! On a doctrinal note, Byron once said of the people in this verse in 1 Peter 4:6: 'These are the only people in the history of the world who will be given a second chance of eternal life. I'm quite sure of this as I have looked it up very carefully.' Well, I have also looked this up very carefully and I'm certain that this verse does not say that (the Greek word 'kerusso' is translated 'hearken' or 'proclaim,' and the Church Fathers took it to mean 'proclaimed,' but not with a view of having preached to cause conversion). There is no evidence in other Scriptures to support his view, so I questioned Byron about it and he certainly didn't make excuses, refuse to discuss it, or insist his viewpoint was correct. But, I never heard him preach this again in Calvary Baptist Church! To try and compare this honest servant of God with the dishonouring ministry of Wheelhouse, or yourself, is an insult to Byron and God. I don't suppose there is the integrity present to contact Byron and apologise to him.
We really shouldn't be surprised that some people didn't give Roger 'a lot of respect that he has deserved - at times'. Respect is earned, it is not something that comes with a position. I doubt that any true Christians at Calvary Baptist Church gave Roger anything other than total respect as a supposed 'man of God', until he proved that he was anything but the man they thought they had called. People have less respect for a hypocrite in the church than for most other deceivers anywhere else. We expect frauds in the world, but not in the church. Even the world respects holiness - but they run a mile from hypocrisy.
'It is obvious to me that there is a big rift between the leadership and the minister. You don't need to be Einstein to work that out. It is painfully obvious.' If it was so painfully obvious before why did you do nothing about it? Then both feet go into Graham's mouth at the same time, as he declares: 'I think we have to remember, though, as church members - we're responsible for both those factors. When we voted to bring Roger - sorry, when we considered Roger's suitability as a pastor of this church there was a huge, if my memories right, Howard, something in the region of 98% of the church backed Roger. Now are we saying that that was wrong? We were that massively wrong that night? . . . We also agreed, big-time, on the content of the diaconate that we have at this time. So therefore we have to take a responsibility for those people who serve this church at this moment as leaders.' Thanks for pointing this out, Graham. Calvary Baptist Church did indeed vote Roger Wheelhouse in - and on the night that people voted for him, of those physically present in the church ONLY one woman, Jill Carnell, abstained from voting because she admitted being unsure of him. Calvary Baptist Church also, many years previously, made the decision to un-Scripturally abolish elders by voting for a ludicrous 70% positive vote for each man and, as a result, they seriously weakened the church by installing women deacons and male deacons and treating them all as if they were elders. This is also un-Scriptural. If non-conformist churches such as Calvary Baptist Church continue, through the foolishness of ecumenism, to ally themselves with the Apostate Church of England and Church of Rome, as well as a multitude of other deceivers, such as Quakers, Methodists, and United Reformed, then they will slide further and further into error. Yet, of course, they are too proud to admit this as a fact. When Graham says: 'I think that's probably the fault of both parts there' concerning the problem between the pastor and deacons, he needs to admit from the evidence that the deacons and church were at least guilty of arrogance in refusing to believe that they had been deceived in bringing this man into the fellowship. But, of course, the church won't ever admit it. The claim that: 'I think that's to a certain extent not our business; it's the business of the leadership that we've elected as a church and the minister that we've elected as a church', is wrong when it allows inaccurate teaching from the pulpit and secret abuse of the Body of Christ. That immediately puts it in the public domain and does not require a brother to go to Roger Wheelhouse as Matthew 18 elucidates. I return to this point later (Section 70).
Why is it that 'at the moment the church is going nowhere'? At the time of the vote for Wheelhouse this same youth leader, Graham, had stood up and declared that he was in the spiritual state of being 'like a ship without a rudder', and he declared that he needed a pastor to give his life direction. Is Scripture, and the indwelling unity of the Triune God not enough for you? After all, many 'felt' that this was the right man, and where did these feelings get the fellowship? Wasn't following Christ in Biblical accuracy good enough for you? This is what happens when you put your trust in a man. Every fellowship needs leaders who follow God's order of things, yet here we have a multitude of witnesses to the fact that Roger Wheelhouse did not follow that order, and yet they refuse to admit that they erred in choosing him or that the problem lies massively with Roger Wheelhouse! Why? Graham seems to think it is because 'as a people we're quite conservative. . . . Roger, you've tried to do too much, too soon'. If you examine what Roger actually did, it was not a question of trying 'too much, too soon', it was a question of : insulting elders and deacons, and removing them from positions they had been appointed to by the church, by the use of constructively dismissive language and action; disparaging the spirituality and usefulness of individuals in the Body; dishonouring God and His Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, in speech and action; seeking monetary gain at every opportunity; jealously seeking self-aggrandisement; and using 'counselling' opportunities to verbally sexually and spiritually abuse Christians! Ironically, Graham returned to the accusation that the church was 'too conservative' at the meeting a month later--forgetting that he had promised another youth worker that there would be outreach to the youth of Canton once he had established the youth group. Sadly, the opportunity arose shortly afterwards, and his bluff was called, when a small group of local youth who were not church-goers turned up--and he refused them entrance! Truly a man out of the Wheelhouse mould whose own ego-trip matched the pastors!
Graham says: 'That's my own opinion. But, there's got to be love . . .' Is this true? True love means that there has got to be discipline (q.v.), or this man will continue unrepentant! To continue as before and allow this man to walk away without so much as a slap on the wrist would, indeed, result in 'big, big problems.' Anyone knowing their Bible recognizes that discipline in love leads to something 'constructive', and turning a blind eye leads instead to something 'destructive.']
Mike Nelmes : I've been mentioned earlier - in the talk of the person who stood up in the service - and I'd like to apologise to you. I upset you by being the person who got up at the end of the service and blew things out of proportion. Um, but I did feel that, as people have said, that it was important to actually find out what was going on. Because this letter had been circulated and it was evident that, as the service went on, that I began thinking 'well they're not going to say anything obviously' so that's why I said what I said. I then wrote a letter to the deacons and I'm just going to read portions of that letter to you because I think it addresses very important issues which they, I feel, ignored: Dear Deacons please excuse me for speaking out at the end of the morning service on Sunday, but I was compelled to voice what I later found to be the concerns of many. Let me assure you that I take no pleasure in being a party to controversy . . . .
[Bad church editing of the tape meant that Mike's statement finished here. I had waited patiently for the devastating 'subjective' and 'objective' statements which he promised in his earlier outburst in the church - but all we heard were repetitions of Matthew 18:15-17, a complaint that a letter of this kind 'could set a precedent', and more of the kind of accusation he had made earlier about the state of David Williams' 'heart'! Apart from that, it was more 'much ado about nothing'!]
61. 'THE TRUTH shall set you free . . . ' (John 8:31-32) - if you tell it!
[the beginning of Neil's testimony was likewise omitted by the church editor]
Neil Jones (deacon) : (Some things had been brought to)…the attentions of the deacons meeting through one of us as deacons. Or, um, some other means. I have been there when Roger, unfortunately, dismissed, almost without any chance of discussion, of the issue [sic]. Um, by bringing into question either the spirituality or the intelligence of the member of the church that was concerned. And I found that very upsetting and very hurtful. I also found that, much as I tried to befriend and get alongside and help Roger, that if ever is said a word in criticism I would be shunned for some weeks on end. It made my position very difficult. On one hand I wanted to support and love and reach out to my pastor; on the other hand I wanted to support and help the fellowship. And I've just found myself torn between two stools. And, and, I really don't know where to go - from this point. What I will say, in answer to something that Graham raised. I don't think I'm alone amongst the diaconate, certainly, in believing that we did the right thing under God in calling Roger to the pastorate of this church. I believe that it was in God's will. I believe it's still in God's will. I do believe that Roger has come to this church because God wants him here. I do believe that God still wants him to be here and I believe that God has a glorious purpose in this. But I also believe that it's not just for us as a fellowship to be led by Roger. I believe it's because God also wants us as a family to embrace Roger and we work together for the future. I still firmly believe that is in God's purpose. Um, I believe that Roger, when he came to this church, came with hurts and difficulties. And I believe that most people who got anywhere close to Roger would agree with that. I find it to my regret that we haven't been able to get close enough to Roger to help him deal with his situations. Um, I believe there's fault on both sides. I believe Roger found it very difficult to let us in and I think some of us have found it very difficult to try and break through that. Um, I don't really know what else to say, so -.
[Neil was one of the most honest witnesses but wrong in his conclusions. Clearly very hurt and emotional about having to speak about his pain and the suffering of the diaconate he, nevertheless, still cannot believe that it was wrong to call Roger to the church and believes that God brought this man to Calvary Baptist Church. I agree that God allowed Wheelhouse to come to the church, not for the reasons that others give, but in judgement for their sinful pride and lack of love for His Word. However, since they would not openly reply to such a thought, I would have to goad their true response from them later. Naïvely, many believed in a similar way to Neil, that Wheelhouse was at Calvary Baptist Church 'because God also wants us as a family to embrace Roger and we work together for the future . . . get close enough to Roger to help him deal with his situations'. Like Kevin Tugwell, there is little chance of anyone getting this opportunity with an unrepentant man such as Roger Wheelhouse. He is locked by Satan into his own ego-trip which keeps everyone else out. He allows some to get a glimmer of being close to the 'the man on the pedestal' , the 'guru.' But this is just to keep them in his 'glee club', a group of 'Yes' men and women, syncophants who will defend their man no matter what he does. How can people fail to see that the way Roger subjugated Roy James and the deacons is part of the description of a heretic? The way God could bring good out of a situation involving a man like Wheelhouse is in the same way he has used appalling leaders in Israel's past!
Neil was the brother referred to in the Wheelhouse letter. According to Roger, Neil was the one who said that I could 'hardly bear to set foot in Calvary Baptist Church.' This was going further than the truth, but there was an element of truth in it which I had certainly never fully shared with anyone in the church. I was tired of beating my head against the brick-wall of ignorance, pride and apathy. The church, like many in Britain, had long been apathetic to prayer, evangelism, and Bible study and was seriously luke-warm. When we had called a meeting to plan evangelism several years earlier it was to be led by Robert Hiett - and how many turned up? Robert Hiett, Ian Jones and David Williams! Three out of a church supposedly boasting over two hundred members! Since then the Hiett's marriage had disintegrated over this same issue (errors in the call to evangelise, coupled with contradiction in the supposed 'word' they had received from the Lord), and still the penny didn't drop that there was serious error here. Once the Baptist Union joined itself to the move to unite with Rome under the Pope - which is all the Ecumenical movement is really about - I was certain to leave the denomination. I had been tracting Cardiff with a few friends for many years, warning about the errors of Rome as well as the more 'recognised' cults. There was no way I would remain in a church practicing such hypocrisy. I was also tired of having to answer questions from cult members who questioned me about the way Baptists choose elders and deacons, for instance, and I could not defend the churches interpretation of Scripture over these offices. Churches like Calvary Baptist Church are too insular to ever consider that they could be in error, and so the masquerade continues. It was mainly Zoë's involvement teaching Sunday school which kept us there and, once the apathy of the church damaged this ministry and allowed Wheelhouse to attack the teachers, it was only a matter of time before we left. The outcome of this night's meeting was going to crystallise everything, once and for all.
As I stated in the Wheelhouse letter, once Roger knew something of Neil's pre-Christian past he attacked his spirituality by saying: 'Oh! There is still a little bit of the past, a residue, left. That explains it!' Just as people testified on this night to the manner in which Roger attacked people's spirituality and 'walk with the Lord,' he immediately jumped on the 'perceived weaknesses' of Neil to excuse himself for using gossip to attack and undermine people. People who tried to say that the problems in the church were caused by 'a residue' from the past of Calvary Baptist Church are only correct in that pride from the corporate past, including that brought by the Wheelhouse's, was a major problem.
Ironically, this appearance by a self-centred deceiver was not the first experienced by Calvary Baptist Church in the many years we attended the church. 'Pastor' Bob Blair appeared from out of nowhere about ten years earlier and quietly began to infiltrate the church. In my conversations with him he gave accounts of his work evangelising Jehovah's Witnesses at the Cardiff Arms Park meetings. He lied on every occasion! On the first occasion, when he claimed that he had led a group of 10-12 people at the Arms Park meetings I asked him how this could be true because I was present at the Arms Park at those times and there was no sign of anyone else witnessing there! Realising he had been caught in a lie he blurted out: 'There's no need to be bitter about it!' The deceiver readily attempts to turn his lying deceptions onto others. Beware of people who act like king Saul when he failed to follow God's instructions through Samuel and tried to pin the blame on 'the people' (1 Sam 15:15-20).
Blair tried to set people up against each other in other situations in the church, but his career was eventually brought to an end by a court appearance which explained his presence in the Baptist denomination. It transpired that he had been a pastor in the Elim denomination and had been offering to get children out of Rumania for adoption and, after taking people's money for the transaction, had apparently been 'scammed' by Rumanian gypsies and lost all the monies. Whether this is the truth or not, Blair was disciplined by Elim by being placed 'under' a senior pastor to prevent repetition of this fiasco. But he walked away from this discipline and, since the disappointed adoptees lost their money (whether Blair took it or Rumanians conned him), he was subsequently jailed in Britain for the deception. Blair was another deceiver, allowed into the congregation by God to test the spiritual perception and determine who Calvary Baptist Church loved most - God or the appearance of godliness? Incredibly, before this deception was discovered, Blair was invited to participate in the Summer Outreach to children. After discovering his nature I found that the organisers of the Outreach were unwilling to accept that he was a deliberate deceiver and would not listen to any warning. Blair pulled another scam which involved preparing food for an event. His promises never materialized, but to cover himself he paid for the food out of his 'own pocket.' Or was it the pocket that contained the Rumanian money? If you've ever been invited to a false banquet, beware of being caught twice. Those who refused to believe that Blair was deliberately deceptive now refused to believe that Wheelhouse is a deceiver. Calvary Baptist Church also failed to learn, even when the same pattern appeared again, and how much did it finally cost? I have grown very tired of hearing idiots in the Baptist Union saying: 'The action you took was premature - you should have waited for the 'leaders' to deal with the matter.' Waited how long? Until everyone who was trampled on had left? This is what you choose in the end when you dither. Scripture is clear - remove the guilty man from your midst (1 Corinthians 5). It is no wonder that the inspired Paul called those who refuse to accept truths which they should have known as 'fools' (Galatians 3:1).