101. Beware Antinomian imbalance which creates the same 'gnat straining' as Pharisaical legalism
Our Lord Jesus gave a perfect picture of a legalist when he said to the Pharisees of his day (Matthew 23:24):
"Ye strain at a gnat but swallow a camel,". "You are so concerned with these minor, outward things, but you let the great and weighty matters of the spirit go by without a thought."
This is legalism at its worst, but is equalled by Antinomianism which behaves in the same manner through contempt for the Word of God. Some pick up the idea that it is quite optional whether a Christian lives by Law or grace and that, if grace is found too difficult or demanding, the Lord will accept sincere legalism. Nothing could be further from the truth for legalism is sin! If you want to observe it closely observe the Christadelphians who are proud of their handling of the Word and disdainful of the true gospel of salvation. Legalism blinds their hearts to the truth and corrupts their view of God's grace, producing the works of the flesh so loved by the Pharisees. It is impossible to please God by legality. He can be pleased only by grace. We are called to grace. Paul wrote: "Sin shall not have dominion over you, because you are not under law but under grace," (cf. Romans 6:14) and Peter wrote: "Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," (2 Peter 3:18).
But when grace is turned to licentiousness is it any better than legalism? Certainly not in the eyes of God or in the destructive works it brings about in the church, as Wheelhouse's ministry proved. This is one of the main reasons people join cults - in such legalistic cults as the Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Christadelphians we see people living under law outwardly behaving much better than people claiming to be living under grace. People join the cults because they are ignorant about the true gospel - but then, they've probably never seen it fully lived out in the church in Britain in the state to which it has degenerated in this generation. Men like J. C. Ryle and C. H. Spurgeon saw this trait advancing in their day and spoke out about it then (read 'Holiness' by Ryle or 'Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism - the Battle for Gospel Preaching'). Today it is with us and yet the denominations try and deny this is true. We saw it in this meeting as the Word of God was denigrated, God was dishonoured, and the body ministry controlled by the Holy Spirit was mocked.
Anyone belonging to one of the cults named here, or of another persuasion, should beware of reading into this exposure that they are alright where they are now. It has already been made clear that legalism or nomianism - which is the constant of every other religion outside of orthodox Christianity - leads only to Hell! We all need to recognise the supreme illustration of grace which is the only means of arriving safely in heaven. There are many illustrations that could be used, but the greatest illustration of grace is found before us at the Lord's Table which speaks of nothing but grace:
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
The Lord's table proclaims that grace has already given all for us: 'while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly' (Romans 5:6). We are invited to come just as we are. God does not ask us to clean up our lives, or to improve ourselves, for we are incapable of this. He asks us to come just as we are. Guilty and filthy and stained with sin (Isaiah 64:6), we may appear righteous externally through the 'good works' we do, but we are proud and rebellious of heart within (Romans 3:23). Every human being outside of life in Christ (Romans 8:2), and especially every cult member, struggles on with their bag of good works 'working, working, working' to try and be right with God, to try and be 'good enough' to get into heaven. But it is never going to work for them. 'All your righteousnesses are as filthy rags' (Isaiah 64:6), said God of the Israelites who tried to please him with their methods, their sacrifices and their good works. It doesn't matter whether you are sweating carrying the 'Watchtower' or 'Awake!' magazine door-to-door, striving to keep up the sacraments of the Roman Catholic mass, temple endowments at a Mormon temple, or the staid good works of the Christadelphian life. You will never arrive at eternal life in heaven by these methods! Not in all of eternity!
God urges you to come and receive the free gift of love and righteousness he desires to impart (Ephesians 2:8-10). That is grace. There is no need to struggle to be accepted before God today. When you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour it is written over against your name in heaven: Accepted in the Beloved! Welcomed in Christ! Already cleansed, already righteous in his sight! The appeal of grace once God has made you saints is to live saintly lives. Once He has accepted you and made you fellow-heirs with Christ, joint heirs with the Son of God, we are to live the Christian life. The heart that receives such a gift is constrained by love to honour it. We need to emphasise the real life to counteract the filth that is being thrown at God when licentious men like Wheelhouse trample on the grace that God has bestowed upon them. It is stated in this way in 1 Corinthians, Chapter 6, where Paul wrote:
What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price? Therefore [because all this is true] glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are His. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The cults, and other people working to be saved by the Law, think this reads: "Glorify God in your body and in your spirit and someday you will become the temples of God." But it is never going to happen to you - give up the struggle now and read the Bible without the blinkers of religions books and magazines that keep you in darkness. God's grace turns it all around and says, by grace, without merit, without any claim, without any reason why, God has made you a temple of the living God. Now, if you realize that, live accordingly. Glorify God in your body and in your spirit. We could never do it the other way; we could never glorify God apart from the indwelling Spirit, but grace says it's done, it's already accomplished. Believers are the temples of the living God. The man or woman who grasps this great fact in its living splendour will never be the same again. But what of those who deny the evidence before them?]
102. Beware - when Scripture is ignored, indefensible contradiction remains
Roger Wheelhouse : Secondly, the other sermon that was put was the comment on er, the sermon on, er, baptism - David, you've completely misunderstood what I was trying to say. Nowhere was I saying you had to do this - this - and this - and obey this - this - and this to be saved. The whole sermon was on the essence of discipleship. And it was saying that baptism was part of that discipleship. And as you grew as a disciple the Lord would reveal new things, new areas of your life that you had to deal with. Nowhere was I saying you had to go through and do all those things before you became a disciple. That's on the heresy.
[This sermon was addressed to a church containing many people who had come along at the invitation of those being baptised and who, clearly, would have little idea about the saving grace of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Wheelhouse had already stated on numerous occasions, prior to the sermons quoted earlier, that the world thinks the church preaches keeping the ten commandments ("that the church make out that we should do in order to be members of the church or anything else"), so he must have been aware of the way in which his words would be received unless there is no reality to his preaching. If he was seriously unaware of the impact of his words it could only be because his heart is not concerned with the salvation of the lost - which was one of his regular boasts. Go through his words and see if you come away with the impression that you have to do any more than keep the ten commandments to be a disciple of Christ - and thus get into heaven - there was simply no mention of the cross or salvation as a free gift, as you can read]
103. Beware the hypocritical deceiver who continues to accuse others of the actions he pioneered!
Roger Wheelhouse : On the pastoral issues - I think I've had an uphill struggle. I'll tell you why - because I've come to a hurting church. Because what I have picked up - and I can't believe that anybody dare say about my pastoring, when I've got a file at home full of the number of sick visits I've made. And the visits that I've made to the elderly - and to others. Admittedly I've not seen some of you because of your work, and there were limits to the evenings - right. But I came to a hurting church - hurts that go back twenty-five years -and I've picked them up in my pastoring. Hurts that have taken place in the way individuals, including ex-elders, have been dealt with in this church before I came. And I want to stand here in my defence and say, I'm the one who has got the shots - I'm the one who has been abused - I'm the one who has been screamed and shouted at! Because the hurts have to come out - something has to be kicked. And I don't see why it had to be the pastor that got it in the neck - for those hurts.
[In his defence of his 'pastoral work' he ignores the fact that many of the deacons had been trained and released into the church community as 'pastoral workers' by the previous pastor and with the approval of the church members. The sick and elderly of the church had grown to love and trust these workers and looked forward to their visits, but this was too much for Wheelhouse to bear. He forbade these pastoral visits and demanded that he and his wife, Sue, should be responsible for all such work. Unfortunately, those being visited could not reconcile their previous shepherding with the new brand which consisted of the pastor spending much of the time 'talking about himself.' This bears a remarkable similarity to the work of Case History I! It was painful to note that Roger spent much time in his sermons emphasising how we should minister to the sick and elderly and 'ask them what they wanted!' As with many of his other expositions his actions were far from the case studies he set out as ideal and this pattern was consistent with many other aspects of his ministry in which he managed to abuse most sections of the fellowship, including former elders, by his self-serving ministry. I have given just a few examples of his tirades against members of the body, yet he dare claim: 'I'm the one who has got the shots - I'm the one who has been abused - I'm the one who has been screamed and shouted at!' It is almost beyond belief to hear Wheelhouse claim that he is the one who was abused!]
104. Beware the deceiver who majors on the minors to avoid confessing guilt over the majors
Roger Wheelhouse : On my character - I confess. It's something I've got to work with. My worldly lewdness - I will try hard - not to do it. If a dog-collar offends - I won't wear one. If the word 'naff' upsets you - I'll never use it again. I can deal with those issues and with your help I can deal with those issues. But I feel that this letter deals with issues and makes statements and things that are really not fair.
[Wheelhouse's insincerity shone through from beginning to end of this statement. He even managed to gloss over 'the dog-collar' incident which was part of an offense which few outside of the diaconate would have known about. This obsession with being recognised as "the pastor" of the church was epitomised at the funeral of a dearly loved sister. The previous pastor was very close to this family and was invited to give an eulogy by them. When Roger heard this he angrily reacted: 'I'm the pastor of this church!' Thus a time of loving remembrance was marred by this jealous and childish outburst. The evidence showed that he really was not concerned with 'statements and things that are really not fair' when he was the one dishing out the treatment.
Again, I quote Tozer;
There is a namby-pamby effeminate kind of Christianity...telling the sinning world that they are not to be blamed...."Don't tell the drunkard that he's guilty, he's got a disease." A disease that he purposely and deliberately drank out of a bottle...knowing what it would do to him.....
The modern gospel doesn't say too much about sin. It makes an awful lot about a whimpering Savior who whimpers over people...excuses them, tells them, "Hush, hush, don't mention your sin. I died for you upon the tree...." This is not the [Christianity] of the New Testament It's a...watered down, perfumed kind of Christianity, that parades a pathetic...Christ up and down in front of people who scorn Him....Sin is your own fault, and it's my own fault if I sin, it's not an excuse so I can say it was an accident or it's a disease,...I can't help myself, I'm a poor weak man. The cynical irony of the sinful life is that the ones who get us into our difficulties.. .prevent us from seeing. ..the executioner on the way.. the black hole...that leads to hell below....Remember, young man, the ones that lead you into sin can never lead you out....
A. W. Tozer, "Four Seasons of Life"]
105. Beware the man still blinded to his own hypocrisy
Roger Wheelhouse : On the pastoral side - I can't go through them, I can't answer them - because I tell you why. If I do you will never let me pastor you again because you will be afraid that your situation will be brought to a church meeting. And what I've said to you - or not said to you - will be brought to a microphone here. Pastoral situations are very, very confidential. And I don't understand about all this gossip - because if my wife came here she would say that I've dealt with issues in this church that not even she knows about. And people have sometimes gone to her and said to her - something or other - and she's said, 'I don't know what you're talking about.'
[Those who have been around Wheelhouse have clearly testified in private and, partially, in this meeting, to his gossip. I gave an example of the man who Wheelhouse called: 'The most evil man I've ever met' when I went to him to try and get pastoral help for the family! Yet he claims not to 'understand about all this gossip'? Deacons who stood up and acknowledged his attempts to spiritually 'lord' it over the flock know that these statements are false. Yet still many of them attempted to sweep the abuse under the carpet. Do they yet realise that he was utterly unrepentant about the damage he had caused?]
106. Beware the exposed deceiver who continues to accuse others
Roger Wheelhouse : In conclusion - I believe that David has acted as 'the accuser of the brethren.' He has acted on behalf of Satan - and what saddens me more than anything else is that there are people here, including deacons, who have showed themselves up tonight. And have showed themselves up for being so gullible as to go along with it. I cannot believe it of them. I cannot believe it of the people that I've worked with - can be so sold down the river - to stand at this mike [microphone] - and accuse the pastor - as they have done tonight. And to speak against him as they have done, publicly. Because they've gone along with 'the accuser of the brethren.'
[Wheelhouse here follows his usual traits again - never mind the evidence but just accuse blindly. We will shortly look at the source of his accusation that 'David has acted as 'the accuser of the brethren.']
Roger Wheelhouse : We have got a lot to answer for. I've been thrilled about tonight - absolutely thrilled that it's happened. Because it showed - NO! (Shouting as Richard Lewis tried to interject to save his neck!) - I'm thrilled it's happened because it has identified the state - to all of us who are here tonight - the state of Calvary Baptist Church.
(Applause from his supporters in the congregation!)
[His final sarcastic remark shows his total lack of love for the flock which epitomises the hireling shepherd (John 10:12-13) -as we pointed out in the letter. Would a true shepherd of the flock ever react in such a way.]
107. Beware the deceived who still attempt to save the hireling
Richard Lewis : Um, no! [answering something shouted out from the floor] I'll just try, and very quickly, and it will be very quickly, try and draw together some of the stuff that's being said today - said tonight. And I have, er - I believe Kevin Dare was right, you see, when he said that one of the real issues here is pastoral. I'm not decrying the gist (?) of what Roger said, but one of the fundamental issues is pastoral. And its how the church operates - as a pastor's church. And, um, Roy James, er, helped us a bit on the heresy issue when he said, 'intentional or unintentional - we can all at times make mistakes.' And that is for you to decide. Whether it was intentional or unintentional? But I have to tell you as a ordained minister, of some 15-20 years now, that there's been occasions, I guess, when deacons of churches I've pastored may well have thought that "that's a bit of heresy, Lewis." But it was a mistake! It's the way of doing it - and I'm not someone - as you who know me know - who is tied to a script. So that's for you to decide - was it intentional or unintentional? And whichever way you think on that - that, actually, would colour the rest of it. I share Mike Nelmes' concern that a letter such as this could, indeed, set a precedent. I hope it doesn't. I hope this has been a one off. It has been perhaps necessary - as Roger has said at the end - that he rejoiced in it. I have to tell you, my brother, that I wouldn't have rejoiced in it. But you, er, perhaps are a better man of God than I am!
[The views of Richard Lewis, concerning the handling of the Scriptures, are aeons away from Christ, the Apostles, the Early Church Fathers, and any of our recent contemporaries such as C. H. Spurgeon, or Bishop J.C. Ryle who all agreed with the views of such luminaries as Adam Clarke, who wrote:
"If he be a dangerous man in the Church who introduces Jewish or human ceremonies which God has not appointed, how much more is he to be dreaded who introduces any false doctrine, or who labors to undermine or lessen the influence of that which is true? And even he who does not faithfully and earnestly preach and inculcate the true doctrine is not a true pastor. It is not sufficient that a man preach no error; he must preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth".
All of these saints stated, in various manners, that the Word of God is inviolable, that not 'one jot or tittle' could pass from the Law until all had been fulfilled. It is stunningly blind of Richard Lewis to fail to strive to preach with complete, 100% accuracy, and to encourage others to do so, for the Lord Jesus Christ IS the Word of God. He is not to be handled lightly!]
108. Beware lip-service concession & playing with words
Richard Lewis : The real issue is pastoral. And how you actually grapple with it. And fundamental to that is the relationship between minister and deacons. I have to tell you (addressing Roger Wheelhouse) I don't think you were very helpful to say what you said, brother. (Wheelhouse shouts out - not picked up by microphones!) Well - that's okay - Yeh, yeh, yeh! That's right. But there is a fundamental relationship problem there and it may be that you need to sit down with a third party and really sort out how is this church going to operate in the future? Who is responsible for what? You know - ministers are no longer omni-competent. They never have been, in fact. We're into team ministry - and the deacons must be allowed to express their concerns - and the concerns of the fellowship. In the privacy of a deacon's court where it goes nowhere else. Because it is dealt with there.
I think that both deacons and minister will reflect on tonight. Very seriously. I can't say any more about that! Enough has been said. The stronger issues are those of pastoral care. That's my judgement on what I have heard this evening. There are issues to deal with - in terms of language and manner. Misdemeanours, or whatever it is. How you understand the Scriptures. And so on. I'm quite happy when people rattle at my sermons - it shows they've been listening to them. Haven't nodded off for 20 minutes - worrying whether their roast is burning or something like that. There are issues to deal with - in terms of language and manner. Misdemeanours, or whatever it is. How you understand the Scriptures. And so on. I'm quite happy when people rattle at my sermons - it shows they've been listening to them. Haven't nodded off for 20 minutes - worrying whether their roast is burning or something like that.
When I met with Howard Bowen, earlier this week, in order that we might think about tonight, we did come to a conclusion that it might be helpful to actually ask a question - and it's a question that [finds and reads statement] : "As members of Calvary Baptist Church we AFFIRM" - I want you to hear that word - "AFFIRM" - not CONFIRM - "we affirm Roger Wheelhouse as pastor of this fellowship and as a man called of God." That gives us the breathing space to actually try to right the wrongs that have been going on. If I was actually to ask you to CONFIRM Roger as minster, then we believe that may cause us some difficulty. Now I might be wrong - in my judgement of that. But I think that's a fair reflection.
[Note: AFFIRM - words that can be used to replace this word include: assert, attest, maintain, profess, establish, validate, declare, proclaim, swear, believe, ratify, sanction - and CONFIRM. Likewise, CONFIRM can be replaced by authenticate, corroborate, substantiate, verify, ratify, sanction, settle, adopt, approve, establish, validate, uphold, assure, insure, secure, attest, and AFFIRM! Shades of Jehovah's Witnesses - this is just playing with words!]
Richard Lewis then prayed while some of Wheelhouse's followers openly sulked and talked through his prayer!
109. Beware the heretical source of the 'accuser of the brethren' slur
Sue Wheelhouse : 'I'd just like to read this to you, I think it's very important. This document came into our being yesterday. And somebody rang my husband, somebody in this fellowship, and said, this letter has come from "the accuser of the brethren". And I said, I said, 'I don't know what that is.' And this is given to me. I am not going to make any judgment on this, I leave this for you as a fellowship, you as a body - received that letter. As I understand it, it went out on the Thursday. I may have got that wrong - that it went out - we did not receive that letter until the Saturday. It went to others before us. We knew nothing about it. We heard from David's own mouth that deacons knew that it was coming. He actually said that - I wrote those words down. He said, 'They knew, that that letter was being prepared.' So, if you're unhappy with what my husband said - understand he's gone through pain, and he's a human being. I'm not siding with him. In that sense that I'm his wife. And if he has offended you - I will say I'm sorry to you as he will. But I want you to listen to this - these deacons knew about this - or some of them knew, I'm not saying all. Some knew about it. I want to read parts of this, because this is so crucial:
"More churches have been destroyed by the accuser of the brethren and its fault finding than by either immorality or mis-use of church funds. So prevalent is this use in our society that, among many, fault-finding has been elevated to the status of a ministry. The Lord has promised, however, that in His house, accusing one another will be replaced by prayer and fault-finding with a love that covers a multitude of sins."
[This long statement makes very clear the stance of the Wheelhouse's and their supporters, and I will elucidate for the sake of truth : a. The letter arrived with church members as the Post Office dictated; as I have already commented, in the context of Wheelhouse's sermons/teachings in public and private, we were under no Scriptural constraint to discuss his work in private or even with few witnesses. The "work" was public and therefore the examination of the same should be equally public as proved earlier. b. "IF he has offended you"?! Sue Wheelhouse can actually sit through this massive testimony from people who had clearly been crushed by this man and state: "IF"! We soon see the Wheelhouse's method of saying "sorry"; c. this is the beginning of their attack on those who dare use Scripture to examine ministries - accuse them of being 'demonised fault-finders' and rely on ad hominem attacks to silence them; d. switch emphasis to prayer-life and displays of worldly "love" in order to try and nullify application of the Word of God to the Christian life! We earlier examined Scriptural love exhorted by God after Ruth Nelmes' attack.]
Sue Wheelhouse : I want that. I hope you do. This chapter says 'Satan wants to stop your growth' and it's written specifically to expose the activity of the accuser of the brethren among born-again Christians. 'There are individuals who are trapped in cults where mind-control and deception are involved. We are not dealing with the uniqueness of their problems in this study, rather our goal is to see the living church delivered from the stronghold of fault-finding and to have our hearts turned instead to prayer. Satan has sent forth an army of fault-finding demons against the church. The purpose of this assault is to entice the body of Christ away from the perfections of Jesus and onto the imperfections of one another. The fault-finders spirit assignment is to assault relationships on all levels. It attacks families, churches, inter-church associations, seeking to bring irreparable breakdowns into our unity. Masquerading as discernment, this spirit will slip into our opinions of other people, leaving us critical and judgmental. Consequently we all need to evaluate our attitude towards others. Our thoughts and faith working through love we need to be aware that we may be under spiritual attack. The fault-finder demon will incite individuals to spend days, and weeks unearthing old faults or sins in their minister or church. People who are held captive by this deceitful spirit become crusaders. Irreconcilable enemies of their former assembly. In most cases the things they deem wrong or are lacking are the very areas in which the Lord seeks to position them for intercessory prayer. What might be an opportunity for growth and meeting becomes a stumbling block. In truth their criticisms are smokescreens for prayerlessness.
[Again, these people don't need any Scriptural evidence to prove that "Satan has sent forth an army of 'fault-finding demons' against the church" - because there isn't any! But this wouldn't bother the adherents of Word-Faith Charismania. Even if we assume that the 'deceiving spirit(s)' or demons spoken of in Scripture (e.g. 1 Kings 22:22-23; 2 Chronicles 18:21-22) could also masquerade as 'fault-finding demons', why would the originators of the un-Scriptural demonic title choose such a label? Simply because it is much more vitriolic and intended to strike back with 'shock' value at Christians who dare to Scripturally examine ministries using the Word of God, rather than feelings. This is the predictable Word-Faith/Charismanic accusation against those who rely on the Word of God as the touchstone of our faith, for the same claims are made by the cults.