125. Beware deacons who still cannot answer Scriptural questions
Our friends, Hazel and Philip Baker, sent us a copy of the letter they sent to the deacons:
13 March, 1999
Dear Derek and Deacons,
We have read your letter of 10th March very carefully and feel that we need further clarification of the facts to enable us to pray about a clear direction.
Firstly, in your letter you stated that it was considered that David and Zoë acted in an unbiblical manner when distributing the letter. This we understand was based on the passage in Matthew 18. We would like to know upon which Biblical principles you are basing the disciplinary action to be brought against David and Zoë. If it is not on Biblical principles, is it part of the Baptist constitution and, if so, what part?
Secondly, are we to understand that it is only the manner in which the original letter was distributed that is causing concern? If that is the case, then can we assume that you do not disagree with the content of the letter? and if that is the case, then why are David and Zoë being disciplined in this way whilst Roger goes away with an £18,000 golden handshake, free to carry on in the same manner somewhere else? Are we in danger here of "straining out a gnat, but swallowing a camel"? (Matthew 23: 23-24).
Thirdly, you have concentrated on the hurt caused to the fellowship by David and Zoë's letter, but what about the hurt caused by Roger's teaching, which has done incalculable damage to the spiritual well-being of all those who sat under his ministry?
Finally, in the 'Stop Press', you referred to the church observing a period of "repentance and reconciliation". Does this refer to the church repenting and being reconciled to God as for example in 2 Chronicles 7:14, or did you have something else in mind?
We are deeply concerned about these matters, and look forward to receiving your answers to these questions.
[The Bakers also failed to elicit satisfactory answers from the deacons, despite receiving a visit in their home.
We also received a letter expressing sadness 'because you do not feel you can apologise for the hurt and confusion many people in the fellowship felt over the way your letter was distributed.' Included was a 'parable' to try and illustrate reconciliation--which instead amply illustrated the Scriptural, and relational, ignorance of our former elders. When the church had been refurbished, at considerable expense, a superb sound system had been installed. Our sister: 'felt money had been spent unwisely and, as the equipment had subsequently been stolen and was being replaced by the insurers, I felt God was giving us a second chance to act more wisely; the elders took my letter to the person who had purchased the equipment. He was not happy, to put it mildly, and said he was going to leave the church. When the pastor told me of this persons reaction, my immediate response was to try and put it right. I still felt the purchasing of the equipment was wrong, but that was now out of my hands. I had done what I felt God wanted me to do. Now I had to put the relationship back on line.' The truth of the matter was that the leadership of the church was so proud of the work done in the sanctuary that they held 'open days' when the world could come in and inspect the 'treasures' - just as Hezekiah foolishly showed his treasures to the king of Babylon in 2 Kings 20:12-19:
At that time Berodach-baladan a son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that Hezekiah had been sick. 13 And Hezekiah listened to them, and showed them all his treasure house, the silver and the gold and the spices and the precious oil and the house of his armour and all that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah did not show them. 14 Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah and said to him, "What did these men say, and from where have they come to you?" And Hezekiah said, "They have come from a far country, from Babylon." 15 And he said, "What have they seen in your house?" So Hezekiah answered, "They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing among my treasuries that I have not shown them." 16 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, "Hear the word of the LORD. 17 'Behold, the days are coming when all that is in your house, and all that your fathers have laid up in store to this day shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left,' says the LORD. 18 'And some of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall beget, shall be taken away; and they shall become officials in the palace of the king of Babylon.'" 19 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, "The word of the LORD which you have spoken is good." For he thought, "Is it not so, if there shall be peace and truth in my days?"
It was the easiest thing in the world for the thieves to break into a building with minimum security and take a sound system more in keeping with a recording studio then relaying the Word of the Lord. Hezekiah 'rejoiced' in the words of Isaiah, just as the church in Britain believes that the treasures of her buildings will see out this generation. But soon there will be a famine for the Word in this land - and it comes all the sooner for the toleration of the Wheelhouse's of this world (Amos 8:11-12):
11. "Behold, days are coming," declares the Lord GOD, "When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the LORD. 12 "And people will stagger from sea to sea, And from the north even to the east; They will go to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, But they will not find it.
Finally, our sister advised us by quoting I Samuel 26:8-11:
8 Then Abishai said to David, "Today God has delivered your enemy into your hand; now therefore, please let me strike him with the spear to the ground with one stroke, and I will not strike him the second time." 9 But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?" 10 David also said, "As the LORD lives, surely the LORD will strike him, or his day will come that he dies, or he will go down into battle and perish. 11 "The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go."
The conclusion? 'I believe God is saying to us all now - leave Roger to Me.' Apparently, church discipline, as detailed earlier, becomes irrelevant and Wheelhouse should be allowed to prey on other fellowships. Hopefully, there was no suggestion that Wheelhouse was to be counted as the 'Lord's anointed'?]
126. Beware the church which covers up and installs an un-Scriptural 'Moderator'
31st March 1999
Dear Brothers arid Sisters at Calvary,
In our letter to you on 10th March, the deacons advised you that we were considering the appointment of a Moderator. During the last Interregnum the Church had an Eldership and a larger diaconate and it was felt that a Moderator was not necessary. However, the deacons have discussed this issue and with advice from Peter Manson, have decided that in the current circumstances, a Moderator will give support to us and the Church throughout the coming months as we seek the way forward and the appointment of a new minister.
We have approached Rev Bob Evans, who chaired the AGM, and asked him to consider taking on the task. He is married with a young family and lives in Cardiff. He has been a Baptist minister for 17 years, serving in several churches, as [sic] is currently the Free Church University Hospital Chaplain.
As Moderator his role would be to chair deacons' business meetings and attend and chair Church Members' meetings as required, to facilitate but not to make any decisions on any church business matters. When the time is right he will give guidance on the calling of a new minister. He will be available to take an evening service about once a month, but not participate in midweek meetings. The deacons and housegroup leaders will continue to take responsibility for pastoral matters but he will be available to deal with the more serious pastoral concerns which will be referred to him through the deacons. The role of Moderator is that of a supporter and adviser, so he will not take on the duties of a pastor other that [sic] what is stated.
At the Church meeting on 8th April, the deacons will bring to you the recommendation that we appoint Rev Bob Evans as Moderator. We ask that you will continue to pray about this matter and seek the Lord's will concerning it.
We also ask that you prayerfully consider the 'Making Sunday Best Project' and 'New Millennium Challenge' which we will bring to the April meeting for discussion. More details of this are available at the Church Office, on the notice board or please ask one of the deacons or Kevin Dare who will be pleased to explain further.
I would, on behalf of the deacons, remind you that we are available at any time to discuss any queries you may have. If you are aware of any pastoral needs, such as hospital visits, please let us know either directly or through the Church Office.
Our prayer is that as a fellowship we will diligently seek the Lord's will in all things and that as we are obedient to the Holy Spirit's leading we will see the Lord's blessing.
"I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge - that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God'.
Ephesians 3 v 16-19
[Calvary Baptist Church denied the evidence before their eyes and disobediently failed to discipline Wheelhouse, but still think they are being obedient to the Holy Spirit's leading by considering more man-made ideas in the 'Making Sunday Best Project' and 'New Millennium Challenge'!]
The deacons had apparently followed our request and informed Manson and Lewis that we sought further discussion with them to clarify the points above, but we were informed that they refused to meet with us so we wrote to him:
127. Beware the fence-sitting un-Scriptural 'Area Superintendent'
Dear Reverend Peter Manson,
for the past 18 years we have worked in ministries reaching out to those trapped in various spiritual deceptions, caring for their spiritual welfare and leading them to a knowledge of the truth.
Our experiences have helped us to recognise the damaging nature of the Wheelhouse's pastoral ministry and deceptive handling of the Word of God.
The Calvary Baptist Church deacons informed us that you do not wish to meet with us and so we will detail our concerns over the recently terminated pastorate of Roger Wheelhouse at our church.
We seek your personal reassurance that:
1. This spiritual abuse is never repeated by them again in any other church;
2. You will personally ensure that the churches where they have 'ministered' are led to a place of real healing.
The persecution of the church in Britain today is coming from within fellowships through infiltration of false prophets, wolves in sheep's clothing and counterfeit signs and wonders (Matthew 7:15-23; 24:24; 2 Corinthians 11:14; 2 Peter 2:1).
We will continue to seek the Lord's will for further action to deal with these problems, warning others of the dangers and encouraging the Body of Christ to be more diligent when inviting men to lead the flock.
In the Precious Name of the Lord Jesus Christ,
David and Zoë Williams
Peter Manson 'replies':
April 2 1999
Dear David and Zoë,
Thank you for your recent letter following up your concern for Roger and Sue Wheelhouse.
Naturally I am concerned about those things which are distressing you but you will realise on reflection that it is not mine to do as you request.
Our practice as Baptists is to centre our work in the local church and congregation. Therefore I am responsible to the Church Meeting in the first instance. Where there is a matter that concerns a local church beyond their own immediate situation then the local church from its Church Meeting refers it either to the Association or to the Ministry department of the Union or to both. I am then responsible to act on whatever decisions are made in their councils.
I am sorry not to be able to be more helpful to you and hope that you will understand our church order in these matters.
We have remembered you prayerfully through what has been a very difficult time for the Church at Calvary and trust that you will both find peace in your ongoing service and witness.
[So Calvary Baptist Church utterly failed to recognise the damage caused by the Wheelhouse's and took no action to refer the matter to 'either to the Association or to the Ministry department of the Union or to both.' Is this any different from the cover-ups by the cults, Roman Catholicism and Islam? Which 'truth' are they expecting to 'set them free'?
(James 4:4): You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
128. Beware those who dis-fellowship you for standing on the Word of God
We received the following letter from Calvary Baptist Church:
6 May 1999
Dear David and Zoë,
It is with much regret that I write this letter but I have to advise you that at the last Church Members' meeting the decision to suspend your membership from Calvary was confirmed.
This does not mean that you cannot continue to worship at Calvary and although we appreciate that this is not easy for you, we hope that if you feel able, you will join with us. You are very precious to your friends at Calvary and we sincerely pray that at some time in the future you will return to us as part of the fellowship.
This has been a very painful time for all of us and we pray that the Lord will graciously show us all the way forward.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that god [sic] has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
Reply to Calvary Baptist Church
12th July 1999
I am replying to your letter of the 6th May 1999 (instant), in which you belatedly informed Zoë and I that "at the last Church Members' meeting the decision to suspend your membership from Calvary was confirmed."
We thank you for your invitation to worship and fellowship at Calvary and we continue to hold you in our hearts and prayers.
However, the same barriers to fellowship remain that were pointed out in our letter of the 4th March 1999, namely that we have not received a single Scriptural exposition from any Christian involved in this matter which details the ways in which they considered us to be in error in our interpretation of events. The phrase used in the deacons letter of the 10th March 1999 included this accusation directed at us: "the action we took and the manner of distribution of our letter was not in accordance with Biblical principles."
Presenting a Scriptural basis for any decision should be 100% normal in any matter decided by a Christian fellowship but this was not done at either the January or February meeting this year or in any verbal or written exchange between the deacons and ourselves. We therefore ask you once again to detail, in writing, the Scriptural grounds for this statement and for our suspension.
In Jesus' Precious Name,
David and Zoë Williams