Ruth Nelmes stated: "It was purely un-Scripturally written and I do feel that, at the very least, we could have been given an apology by David tonight. For the fact that he could acknowledge that he'd gone about this in a very un-Scriptural way . . ."
Proverbs 26:4 shows us clearly when to answer:
Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. 5 Answer a fool as his folly deserves, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
Again, just like the deacons and the Smith's, there was no attempt to answer the Scriptures which deal with this matter of the factious heretic. I wonder if Ruth really understands what the word "purely" means, for there is no way that Matthew 18:15-17 deals "purely" with this kind of deception - and it is always dangerous to take one Scripture on its own!
Most people fail to realise that Matthew 18:15-17 clearly deals with private (not public) sin committed by one brother or sister in the Body against another. We read: "Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee..." (KJV). All translations agree that the subject is sin or trespass, not false teaching. Although a few do not specifically state in verse 15 that this is a trespass by one Christian against another, the context makes this clear in all translations. Look for example at verse 21, where Peter, in response to the Words of the Lord, asks Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?" (KJV). Note, other translations render these words as: "how often shall my brother sin against me" (RSV); "how many times can my brother wrong me" (Phillips); "how often shall my brother sin against me" (NASB), etc.
The entire context clearly has to do with a strictly personal problem between two Christians, where one has wronged the other, and is therefore to be kept private unless it cannnot be resolved in that manner. In contrast, many other Scriptures make it very clear that sin which is known publicly is an offense to the entire Body and must be dealt with publicly: "Them that sin rebuke before all that others also may fear" (1 Timothy 5:20, KJV). This is both for the benefit of the body of Christ and also to let the world know that the church does not tolerate sin. Although, today, we know that it does! False doctrine is not the subject of Matthew 18:15-17 but something else entirely, and does not come under the instructions Christ gives in that passage.
It is impossible for erroneous teaching that is presented publicly ever to be considered a private trespass of one person against another which must therefore be dealt with privately between the two.
Check out our letter in which I wrote:
'I recently promised that I would let you know the Scriptural objections that I had to any teachings you brought through your ministry. I have therefore carefully detailed some of the messages that you have recently brought to Calvary Baptist Church and brought them to logical and Scriptural conclusions. Obviously I write out of a deep concern for the well-being of Calvary Baptist Church as represented by my brothers and sisters in Christ - but I also write because I am most seriously concerned for you and Sue & your family, as well as others who may have come under your ministry in the past, or who may come under your influence at any time in the future. The transcript I have typed contains the essential points from your work and I have not removed any material that radically alters the thrust of your message in any way whatsoever. Of course, if anyone wishes to question the truth of this statement they can easily obtain the taped messages which are readily available via the tape ministry and verify these facts for themselves.'
The remainder of the letter dealt with prophecy/word of knowledge concerning the Wheelhouse ministry. There is a clear Scriptural example of a prophet writing to an offender to warn him of his appalling behavior, in verse 12 of 2 Chronicles 21:
1 Then Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Jehoram his son became king in his place. 2 And he had brothers, the sons of Jehoshaphat: Azariah, Jehiel, Zechariah, Azaryahu, Michael, and Shephatiah. All these were the sons of Jehoshaphat king of Israel. 3 And their father gave them many gifts of silver, gold and precious things, with fortified cities in Judah, but he gave the kingdom to Jehoram because he was the first-born. 4 Now when Jehoram had taken over the kingdom of his father and made himself secure, he killed all his brothers with the sword, and some of the rulers of Israel also. 5 Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. 6 And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, just as the house of Ahab did (for Ahab's daughter was his wife), and he did evil in the sight of the LORD. 7 Yet the LORD was not willing to destroy the house of David because of the covenant which He had made with David, and since He had promised to give a lamp to him and his sons forever. 8 In his days Edom revolted against the rule of Judah, and set up a king over themselves. 9 Then Jehoram crossed over with his commanders and all his chariots with him. And it came about that he arose by night and struck down the Edomites who were surrounding him and the commanders of the chariots. 10 So Edom revolted against Judah to this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time against his rule, because he had forsaken the LORD God of his fathers. 11 Moreover, he made high places in the mountains of Judah, and caused the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot and led Judah astray. 12 Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet saying, "Thus says the LORD God of your father David, 'Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you, 14 behold, the LORD is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives, and all your possessions with a great calamity; 15 and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day.'" 16 Then the LORD stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines and the Arabs who bordered the Ethiopians; 17 and they came against Judah and invaded it, and carried away all the possessions found in the king's house together with his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, the youngest of his sons. 18 So after all this the LORD smote him in his bowels with an incurable sickness. 19 Now it came about in the course of time, at the end of two years, that his bowels came out because of his sickness and he died in great pain. And his people made no fire for him like the fire for his fathers. 20 He was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years; and he departed with no one's regret, and they buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
Our letter dealt entirely with Wheelhouse's doctrine directly, then with the 'word from the Lord' and, finally, with the outworking of this doctrinal aberration. As stated earlier, it is no coincidence that there is about twice as much Scripture in the New Testament dealing with doctrine as with right conduct. This is because it would be impossible to know what right conduct is unless it was clearly enunciated in our doctrine! We will see this more clearly later when we look at the history of Antinomianism. Having repeatedly challenged the Baptist Union and Calvary Baptist Church to prove this to be wrong, resulting in no meaningful response from them, we have no doubt that this action was fully Scriptural and challenge anyone to prove otherwise.
72. Beware those who try to make false doctrine a private matter - when Scripture makes it clear that it is always to be dealt with publicly!
On the wider issue, there is always someone who asks questions in the ignorant way Denis did: 'wouldn't it be better to just critique the teachings and let the personalities remain anonymous?' Or at least, why not address criticism of doctrines (such as 'Word-Faith teaching' or 'Dominion Theology' or 'The Toronto/Pensacola Experience'), rather than on people such as Benny Hinn, Nicky Gumbel, Gerald Coates, Rick Joyner, Colin Dye, Marilyn Hickey, the Copelands, etc. This doctrine of addressing the errors of a preacher or writer as publically as they taught is not held to by many denominations today, and is usually handled in a hushed up manner through un-Scriptural bishops courts or the equivalent, such as the Baptist method, or Elim's 'superintendent' system. In response to this I would say:
It is Biblical to name names. Paul did it both positively to commend ministries (Stephanas, Fortunatus, Achaicus in 1 Corinthians 16; Epaphroditus in Philippians 2; Onesimus and Ephaphrus among others in Colossians 4; and so on) and negatively to warn against ministries (Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1 Timothy 1:20; Alexander the coppersmith in 2 Timothy 4:14; cf. 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:15; 2:17 & 3:1; Titus 1:10-16). The beloved apostle John is also unafraid to be specific: 'Diotrephes, who loves to have the pre-eminence among them, does not receive us. Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words' (3 John 9,10). Thus we see that much of the New Testament was written to publicly correct false teaching. Would Calvary Baptist Church and the Baptist Union presume to accuse the Apostle John of lacking love?
It is consistent to name names negatively if we are happy about praising people positively. Nobody objects to biographies detailing the mighty works of men greatly used by God, such as Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Whitefield or Spurgeon. These biographies are written not that we might admire them, but rather that we might 'imitate [them] just as [they] also imitate Christ' (1 Corinthians 11:1). Is it not equally just that we should speak as clearly about men who are instrumental against God and who resist discipline by the body of Christ? When we write letters it is not so that anyone might hate the perpetrators of error and heresy, but rather that believers might 'beware of [them], for [they] have greatly resisted our words [the words of Scripture]' (2 Timothy 4:15).
It is practical to name names. The sad facts are that people, as a rule, follow preachers rather than preaching - and this was clearly shown to be the case with the faction that followed Wheelhouse! It is not so much that we hear that: `Brother Kendall is speaking on the law of Christ' that is said, as much as: `Dr. R.T. KENDALL is speaking on the law of Christ'. It should be no surprise that people like Wheelhouse fall into Antinomianism when they are clearly influenced by Kendall's books and the Doctor has clearly been shown to have an Antinomian outlook! Principally, people go to hear men like Kendall because he is a big name and not so much because they are interested in the topics or passages of Scripture that are advertised. If people will follow personalities, then we have no choice but to attack these `personas', because they have become, to a greater or lesser degree, idols in the minds of their followers. This is why we hear people say things along the lines of: `If Dr R.T. Kendall, or Pastor Wheelhouse says it, then it must be of God'? Or the Yes-men who are in the heretics faction even go so far as to try and frighten you away from a Scriptural appraisal of a man's work with the ludicrous and un-Scriptural: `touch not the Lord's anointed' if you dare to level critique at their man!
It is historical to name names. Throughout church history, believers have not shrunk from clearly naming the men and women against whom they were objecting, as well as detailing the teachings that they spoke out against. Look at the titles of works by early church fathers, such as Contra Celsus or Contra Pelagius. Luther wrote Bondage of the Will as a direct criticism of Erasmus' Freedom of the Will, and was vociferous in his criticisms of that individual. Of course, those were the days before flabby, mealy-mouthed, spineless Milquetoasts came to power! In the apostolic, and post-apostolic era, men who daily lived in fear of death were still speaking out bravely in defence of the 'faith which was once for all delivered to the saints' (Jude 3:3). Where once men spoke out in the power of the Spirit, now the pre-eminent dictum is `be nice and inoffensive and as vague as possible at all costs'. `Not hurting people's feelings' has become more important than 'speaking the truth in love' (Ephesians 4:15). It is incumbent upon us to speak the truth in love, to protect our brothers and sisters who are in slavery to men who lie to them, cheat them of their money and take the minds captive to carnal philosophies and experiences. We will not keep quiet while these men practice their foul trade on the body of Christ.
The Apostle Paul withstood the Apostle Peter to his face publicly for his false interpretation of the law that caused him to disassociate himself from fellowship with Gentile believers (Galatians 2:11-14)! In the private meeting with the deacons of Calvary Baptist Church, I asked them to check out this Scripture as well as the clear example of 1 Corinthians 5-6. I pointed out that the apostle Paul does not mention love once in these passages. Only one deacon, Nesta Bowen, read the Corinthian passage in the meeting and agreed that love was not mentioned once! In Galatians 2, verses 11 and 14, it clearly states how Paul opposed Cephas (Peter):
'I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned … when I saw that they were not straightforward with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas in the presence of all …!'
Paul had a great deal to say about discernment and correction and practiced what he preached. He discerned that some of Peter's actions were not only contrary to the gospel but were forms of hypocrisy which caused Jewish and Gentile believers alike to stumble in the faith. Paul administered correction. His rebuke of Peter seems harsh according to today's heretically psychologised and 'religiously correct' mindset. Yet the Holy Spirit presents it as God's standard and the absolutely righteous thing to do. Paul saw that Peter, his beloved brother in Christ (as well as his co-worker, Barnabas), in reverting to the law, "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" (Galatians 2:14). They and others, in fear of Jewish legalists, withdrew from the Gentiles, who were considered unclean under the Mosaic law. Rather than a private dialogue which could have protected Peter's prestige, ministry and self-esteem, Paul, "before them all," opposed "him to the face, because he was to be blamed" (Galatians 2:11-14). If one is willing to believe God's Word, one can only admit that Paul did the very best thing for Peter--according to the Psalmist:
"Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head.' (Psalm 141:5).
So how did Peter respond to Paul's 'attack?' Was there a 'counter-attack?' Did Peter complain that Paul was causing untold damage to his ministry? Did Peter complain that Paul's public correction could cause a severe drop in financial support for Peter's work? Wouldn't unbelievers be put off by the 'airing of dirty Christian laundry' or this public demonstration of discord among Christians? Wouldn't the church suffer and make it necessary for years of 'psychiatric pastoral-counselling' to repair the damage? And wouldn't Peter take the personal bitterness generated by Paul's public 'attack' to his grave? The answer to every question is - No! Instead, some time later, Peter called his public disputer 'our beloved brother Paul' and proceeded to commend 'all his epistles,' which he tells us were 'according to the wisdom given unto him' by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 3:15-16). Amazingly, especially from today's ego-sensitive, self-esteem-nurturing perspective, Peter included the very epistle which displayed for all time his own public 'embarrassment' at Paul's hands. Rather than causing emotional trauma, Peter's experience affected him in a way foreign to the teachings of today's deterministic and humanistically oriented 'Christian' psychotherapists.
Paul's approach to discernment and correction was faultless. Peter and Barnabas weren't the only ones he admonished. To them we can add Hymenaeus, Philetus, Demas, Phygellus, Homogenes and Alexander (cf. 1 and 2 Timothy). The beloved John makes the readers of his third Epistle aware of the problems caused by Diotrephes. This follows the pattern of the Old Testament where we should note that all of the prophets, from Moses and Joshua onwards, were addressing error and named those who were erring - whether it was personal sin, such as David with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12), or Micaiah prophesying defeat for wicked king Ahab (1 Kings 22) - or a letter from Elijah the prophet to wicked king Jehoram (2 Chronicles 21) in which God judged him:
12 Then a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet saying, "Thus says the LORD God of your father David, 'Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father and the ways of Asa king of Judah, 13 but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel, and have caused Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to play the harlot as the house of Ahab played the harlot, and you have also killed your brothers, your own family, who were better than you, 14 behold, the LORD is going to strike your people, your sons, your wives, and all your possessions with a great calamity; 15 and you will suffer severe sickness, a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the sickness, day by day.'"
It ought to be clear to all that such warnings and public correction were what God desired. And we are to do likewise--with one important qualification. How we do something in obedience to the Lord is just as important as what we do. Paul made that clear to Timothy:
'And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will' (2 Timothy 2:24-26).
Gentle to all, able to teach, patient, and showing meekness in dealing with opposing views are qualities in too short supply today and the reader will have to determine for himself whether he believes we were too strong in the wording of our letters, or in the words spoken during the meeting. The tapes are still available to show that Wheelhouse and his followers were the ones who frequently ranted and raged. The reader should also bear in mind the bluntness of correction demonstrated so often in disciplinary action in Scripture, such as Nathan's 'You are the man' (2 Samuel 12:7) to David. Indeed, in Galatians we find that Paul has no kind words for those who were leading the flock astray and wrote (Galatians 5:12): 'Would that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves'. The Greek translated here 'mutilate' means, literally, 'castrate themselves.' This is the Holy Spirit speaking and, if He speaks in this way, who are we to say this is wrong! This is the same hostility shown to deceivers in the Old Testament, such as the Midianites (Numbers 25:17-18):
17 "Be hostile to the Midianites and strike them; 18 for they have been hostile to you with their tricks, with which they have deceived you in the affair of Peor, and in the affair of Cozbi, the daughter of the leader of Midian, their sister who was slain on the day of the plague because of Peor."
We no longer strike deceivers with a literal spear or sword, as Phinehas did (Numbers 25:7-8):
7 When Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation, and took a spear in his hand; 8 and he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked.
But we must follow the example of Phinehas, who checked the plague by striking first his deceiving brother and then the adulteress, by striking today's deceivers with the 'sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God' (Ephesians 6:17), 'living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Hebrews 4:12). Only by correct application of the Word of God would the plague on Calvary Baptist Church be stopped--and the incorrect use of the Word of God (as demonstrated by the elder and deacons of the church and the Baptist Union) would be shown to be ineffective! Of course, the Wheelhouse's may take their plague to another idolatrous church, for there are many to choose from here in Britain! This is a plague that is on most British denominations who are committing adultery with the world and its false religions through ecumenism and compromise of every kind.
In today's flabby Christian environment it is difficult to get Christians to any meeting - even the Sunday services - so how could we oppose Wheelhouse to his face except by goading his followers out by making much of the evidence against him clear in a letter. Writing a letter to warn others of error is clearly 100% Scriptural as proven above. What did we do that was un-Scriptural? Why do the so-called leadership of Calvary Baptist Church and the Baptist Union have no answers to these facts? In these days of easy communication through the mass media, and through the tape ministry of churches such as Calvary Baptist Church, it is obvious that teaching will rapidly be spread far and wide - both good and bad! If we are denied access to equivalent media outlets the only method of public correction of false teaching is to write letters, tracts, books, or rely on the Internet to call the attention of the Body to errors that affect the whole of Christianity.
In keeping with many other scriptures that could be cited, 1 Corinthians 14:29 clearly states: 'Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the others judge.' Clearly the issue is not whether an individual listener is offended by what a preacher has said, even if one could stretch that to be a 'sin' against his brother. It would be entirely inappropriate for a listener to take aside the prophet or teacher he felt had spoken falsely and have a private discussion with him and, only if he refused to hear, then tell it to the church. The issue is the doctrinal purity of the Body, which must be guarded at all cost - what has been publicly stated must be discussed publicly. This applies to teaching as well as prophecy. It may well be that the prophet spoke truly and the offended listener was wrong. So when he speaks out against what the prophet or teacher has said, he himself will be corrected by others. It is this kind of open discussion among believers that the Bible teaches, and that is the only protection against error being introduced and allowed to corrupt the church. Never is it suggested that no one must disagree with what is being taught because to do so would cause 'division.' On the contrary, we are told that we must correct error in teaching and do so publicly.
Furthermore, what has been said in sermons, books, on videos, tapes, on TV, etc., is part of the public domain, subject to review, analysis, and critique of any kind. Anyone who makes public declarations intended to influence large audiences through these media ought to know that he is responsible for what he says, and will be held accountable. Some reviews and comments are going to be unfavourable, but that is to be expected.
It is also obviously not necessary to talk with a writer or speaker in order to be accurate and fair. It is a rather weak excuse to say that a writer or speaker really didnt mean what he said, he made 'a mistake', or 'sometimes we wish we had used different words.' The speaker has no excuse - he should have said what he meant. Unfortunately, there are thousands and sometimes millions who have read or heard a particular teaching and taken it at face value, as any reasonable person would. Words have meaning and it is assumed that the normal meaning applies. That is all we did in critiquing these sermons. Even if Roger Wheelhouse does not believe the doctrinal slant that came from his mouth, we must still deal with what has been taught for the sake of those who may have been affected by it. If a person has changed his beliefs, then he ought to publish or speak about this matter just as widely as he did when making the original statements. His renunciation of any false or misleading teaching he has given in the past should be corrected publicly rather than make a private explanation to an individual. This is logical and Scriptural and we can read Paul's self-denunciation in Acts 22 & 26. If Paul never attempted to duck the issue then why do Roger Wheelhouse, Calvary Baptist Church, and the Baptist Union believe that they can?]