Recorded: September 12th, 1976
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Verbatim transcript of meeting held in Indianola Presbyterian Church,
Columbus, Ohio, on 12 September, 1976
- Sermon on Faction ("Tell it not in Gath"), by Fred Colvin page 303
- General discussion and "explanation" of Bill's "sins," by page 310
Fred Colvin and Mike Keator
- Question and Answer Session, led by Fred Colvin page 315
Fred Colvin (elder of Solid Rock Fellowship): I never in my life felt so strongly that God had a message for me for the people of God. I've spoken in front of a lot greater audiences than this in size, but never one more precious. I've spent the last few days with others -- not the last few days, the last few hours, maybe the last -- I don't know how many hours -- a day, much of it with tears in my eyes. I can say, "I have a message from God." This is no -- this is no three-point wonder. This is no -- this will be no feat of eloquence -- I'm not that way. What I have to say is not very well organized; much might be lost in just mere communication, but I ask you to listen today, because I really think I have a message from God. The Lord said to me this morning through His Word, "In whatever you do, I am with you," in specific answer to a prayer about what we're gonna talk about right now. If you catch a pause between a verse or two, you can ask the Lord to help me. Listen to what I say, and take very good notes.
Ephesians, chapter two, verse eleven. The book of Ephesians, chapter two, verse eleven. [Unintelligible] portion of God's Word, one that we've had our attention drawn to many times; it's been emphasized again and again, very important, very crucial -- it's on the Lord's heart. He prays for us His last days here on earth. Verse eleven: "Therefore, remember that you formerly, the Gentiles in the flesh who are called uncircumcision by the so-called circumcision which is performed in the flesh by human hands -- remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ, for He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall by abolishing in His flesh the enmity which is the law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; and through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow-citizens with the saints and are of God's household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole body, the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit."
It's almost so familiar you don't even have to look at the page. The work of Christ on the cross. The Lord Jesus Christ suffering the agony of death and by His blood abolishing any enmity that is between the Jews and the Gentiles -- any enmity that's between black and white, any enmity caused by social, former religious, national pride, or origin. The Lord Jesus Christ has offered one new man to God. He's talking about the church, the mystery of God. What a price. He reconciled them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. Notice what God calls us: "fellow-citizens with the saints"; "God's household"; God's family. You know you're the family of God? Little chorus we used to sing: "I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God. I've been washed in the fountain, cleansed by His blood" -- that's what it says here -- "joint-heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod. I'm so glad I'm a part of the family of God." A family -- think of that -- a family, brothers and sisters. And Jesus said, in so many words, in Matthew chapter twelve, that that relationship is really closer than the family relationship we had as we grew up as kids. That relationship I have with you as a sister, or with you as a brother, is more important in a sense… it's closer, it's more intimate than it is with my little sister in El Dorado, Arkansas. We share the life of Christ. We've heard a lot about that. We share in His death, His resurrection, and His life. We're a family. And of course, this is speaking about the one Church worldwide, having been called the universal church, the mystical church, the group of those that have been called out, sanctified by the Holy Spirit, saved by the grace of God, between the time the Holy Spirit fell on the church at Pentecost, and when the Lord comes again to receive us to Himself. The Church. You know, and sometimes it's really easy to be philosophical about that and really deny it in practice. Here in this little city we're by no means the only representation, or maybe not even the most biblical in this city, but we are a representation of the body of Christ. We have a unity that God's given us via the Holy Spirit.
Turn over to chapter four and verse one. "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat" -- notice he doesn't command, he begs -- can you imagine Paul on his knees begging? -- "I beg you to walk, conduct your lives, in a manner worthy of the calling with which you've been called, with all humility and gentleness with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love," -- and note this -- "being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." "Preserve," not conjure up. It exists, it's real, you see it. Before this is ever taught in any didactic way you see it in the early chapters of Acts -- the unity of the body of Christ. And certainly it's developed in the epistles. It exists, it's real. The Holy Spirit's ministry is to bring us together. But he says, "You be diligent -- you work hard at it." "Preserving the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Why? Because there's one body, the church; "one Spirit, just as you also have been called in one hope of your calling." We'll all be together there with the Lord Jesus. "One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father who is over all, through all, and in all." He permeates creation. What an important thing to keep in mind -- the unity of the Spirit.
You know what family spirit is? You remember as a family, if you were indeed a happy family. This is in a sense that, that comradeship, etc., because of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Let me tell ya, if the Holy Spirit is controlling your life -- if you really know what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit, it won't be evidenced in some exotic way, it'll be evidenced in love for one another. It'll be evidenced in unity with other Christians, whether they agree with you on a premillennial or amillennial view of the Scriptures; whether they're dispensational or covenant; whether they baptize with sprinkling of water, or whether they immerse. There'll be a unity there. And especially in a local church. The Holy Spirit's ministry is to bring us together. The Holy Spirit brings unity to the family of God. I want you to keep that in mind as we look at a few other verses.
Let' s turn to. First Timothy, chapter three. I just want to run through a few verses here, expanding on some of this. "I am writing these things to you" -- verse fourteen of chapter three -- "hoping to come to you before long; but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God" -- the household of God -- "which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth." We're like… as a church we're like a pillar in several ways. We're a pillar in the sense that we hold up the truth, like a pillar on one of the… if you'll notice… remember from your history classes in junior high school or high school -- the Doric or Corinthian columns that held up the roofs of the temples and houses in those days. The pillar holds weight -- it's a weight-bearing thing. And yet the pillar was used for more than that in New Testament days -- it was used -- I can't remember that word -- what do you call those things on campus you put your notices on? Kiosk! The pillar was used to post notices. It proclaimed what was happening, and we as a church, by our very existence, are to be holding up the truth, and we're to be proclaiming the truth. And one of those truths is the unity of the body of Christ. It's a precious thing to God. And that we are part -- notice here -- of the family of God. The family of God, the household of God.
Now turn to Titus and chapter one. You'll notice some false teachers here from among the Jews in chapter one. Notice what they were doing. Verse ten: "For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families" -- and I think that's a reference to churches -- "whole families." That's the point we want to get from this verse: the church is a family -- we're a family. God wants us to be united. You know how it is when Mom's not speakin' to Dad and, uh, or, uh, there's a communication breakdown in the family, an alienation and hatred, and it seems to boil, and your temper seems to boil, and you're really irritable and any little thing is taken as a deliberate cut? Have you ever experienced that in your family? How many have ever experienced that in your family? Now, at one time I don't imagine that made much difference to you -- it didn't to me -- I rejoiced in it, myself, for awhile. Shows how perverted I was, as a kid. I really did, 'cause I knew if I could get a wedge between my mother and father, I could get my own way. "Mom, you don't think my hair's too long, do ya?" "Well, no, Son, it doesn't look too long." "Hey, Dad, guess what Mom said about my hair!" Did you ever do anything like that? How many did that kind of stuff? I'm not talkin' about your hair length… Well, a few have. But you know what I'm talkin' about. And what if, what if, uh, I were in a family of about six or eight people, six or eight kids, and I were the oldest -- let's say I was, I was, uh, sixteen years old, and I went out and got in some trouble and my parents took the car away. They said, "You can't drive the car any more for a month. You're grounded. You gotta stay around here, you can't leave." And I start going to my little brothers and sisters, and I say, "Don't listen to what your old man has to say. He doesn't know what he's talkin' about. He grew up in the '30s." You know that kind of thing happens in families. What does that do to a family? I know a Christian brother right now who's really grieved because some of the members of his family are really shipwrecked, and their lives are ruined in the world. And he told me that when he was a young man, and the oldest, and in high school, he deliberately undermined the authority of his parents, and deliberately turned them against his parents. He doesn't know where his brother and sister are today, and he's grieved. A very serious thing, isn't it? A very serious thing to happen in a family.
I want you to look at a verse in Titus chapter three. We'll just read through this quickly. This is talkin' about the same thing in the family of God that I was just talkin' about. Chapter three, verse nine: "But shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a factious man…" or someone who spreads division, a divider, or someone who makes parties, makes one take sides against others, against others or another person…"reject a factious man after a first and second warning, knowing that such a man is perverted and sinning, being self-condemned." Now the only comment we'll make on this little trip through this verse is that this is pretty tough medicine, isn't it? That's telling us as a church, if there's a factious man, and he's been warned, and it's been brought to his attention in a forceful way two times, what do y' do after that? You put him out. Well, y' say, "Well, Brother, y' know, doesn't it say that if someone comes to you, and, and, asks for forgiveness, the Lord said seventy times seven?" Not with this man, not with this man.
Let's ask ourselves why it's so serious. Let's ask ourselves why God says, "Two warnings, and if those warnings aren't heeded you reject that brother."
Turn with me if you will please to Proverbs chapter twenty-six. We're just gonna look at random verses here -- there's no order involved. Write 'em down. I want you ta think about 'em and meditate on 'em. You'll probably get more as you, as you meditate on these verses than I could ever share in this time today, than I intend to share, so I think it would be to your profit to write these things down and ruminate on 'em. Chapter twenty-six of the book of Proverbs, verse twenty: "For lack of wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, contention quiets own" Think of the family again -- somebody's whispering about somebody else. Contention begins to build. What's the root of it? The root's the whisperer. It says if there's no whisperer, contention quiets down. "Like charcoal to hot embers and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindle strife." He's the source, he's the fuel that causes the fire to continue to burn. "The words of a whisperer are like dainty morsels; they go down into the innermost parts of the man… the body." Isn't that true? You start to hear something about somebody, and if you don't judge it at that moment, you know what you'll do? You'll tune right in, won't you, to hear what they're sayin'. "A dainty morsel" -- "Boy, that was a good one!" And let me tell ya, they lodge, they're not eliminated that easily. It says they go down into the innermost part of the body. They're defiling things. I know. Some sisters called me just this last week asking for counsel on how to handle gossip at school. They don't know how to handle it. What do you do when somebody starts walkin' up to you and talkin' to you about… gossip? It's terribly defiling. It's probably as bad or worse in a sense than to just hear a plain old unadulterated dirty joke, 'cause you've learned that that's not funny to you any more. But you've still got your old nature, and the words of the whisperer are like dainty morsels. They're very defiling. They really… they really affect us in the deep inner recesses of our lives.
"Like an earthen vessel overlaid with silver dross are burning lips and a wicked heart. He who hates disguises it with his lips, but he lays up deceit in his heart. When he speaks graciously, do not believe him, for there are seven abominations in his heart." Remember that -- we're gonna talk about those seven abominations in a minute. "Though his hatred covers itself with guile, his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly"…"his wickedness will be revealed before the assembly"…"He who digs a pit will fall in it, and he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. A lying tongue hates those it crushes, and a flattering mouth works ruin." Do you like flattery? You like somebody to really flatter you? If they're really flattering you, they're really hating you. Did you know that? We ought to spurn flattery, because it is, in a sense, a lying tongue. If all flattery were true, it wouldn't be flattery. (OK, that's just a tangent that I'm liable to get off on.)
Chapter sixteen, verse twenty-seven. I want you to remember this verse and
reflect back on it. "A worthless man digs up evil." Well, I thought the district
attorney was paid to do that. "A worthless man digs up evil, while his words are
as a scorching fire." It's obvious here from the context that he's digging up
evil with the intent of passing it on verbally in a way that's like a scorching
fire. This is no research project to get your Ph.D. This is with intent to kill.
"A perverse man spreads strife, and a slanderer separates intimate friends."
Remember that: "A slanderer separates intimate friends." Just reflect on some of
these verses on what we've talked about -- the church is a family. We've got a
slanderer in our midst; what's it gonna do? -- anybody.
Unidentified member of audience: It's gonna hurt the whole group.
Colvin: It's gonna hurt the whole group. How's it gonna hurt the whole group?
Separates intimate friends. What is faction? Somebody define it for me.
Colvin: Division. Anything else? [U/I]
Colvin: OK, taking sides. It's a party spirit. You see it in the book of Corinthians: "I am of Paul; I am of Cephas; I am of Pepsi; I am of Coca Cola." (We were talkin' about [it] last night.) What does Paul say? "You weren't baptized in my name; I didn't die for you. What are you sayin' 'I am of So-and-So, I am of So-and-So' for? You're carnal and you're fleshly." And those who would be intimate friends -- those who would be much more than intimate friends, but brothers and sisters sharing the life of Christ, exhibiting to the world in a local testimony what's true about the Lord Jesus Christ, that He is the Messiah, that He is working today, those ones had bitter envy and jealousy, contention among themselves. "A slanderer separates intimate friends, and a worthless man digs up evil." We'll talk about that in just a minute, but I want you to keep that in mind: "A worthless man digs up evil."
Turn to Proverbs chapter six, verse twelve. "A worthless person and a wicked
man is one who walks with a false mouth, who winks with his eyes, and signals
with his feet, who points with his fingers" -- he's talking here about cheating
in the business world, underhanded business dealings [U/I] what he's talkin'
about there, I think. He says, "Yeah, I'll make a deal with you about… I'll pay
you $5000 for that, uh, silo full of wheat." And then it comes time to pay, and
he says, "Oh, but I had my fingers crossed. You didn't see it." Same sort of
thing; not really that silly -- you know you'd get shot for that. But cheating,
being deceitful about things. "Who with perversity in his heart devises evil
continually, who spreads strife -- who spreads strife." It says literally, "who
sends out strife." Define strife for me, somebody. One of you brothers -- what
is strife? Sometimes these words go right over our heads. What is strife? I know
how to spell it; what does it mean?
Colvin: Fighting? OK.
Colvin: Fighting amongst ourselves. Anybody else got any light on that? Strife.
Colvin: 'Scuse me?
Colvin: Conflict -- that's really good -- conflict, 'cause it doesn't have to be
physica1, it doesn't have to even be verbal. Conflict. You can, you can
feel it in the air. You ever seen that? You can feel it in the air. Strife. And
what does it do? What effect does strife have on the family?
Colvin: Divides us. I have somethin' against Gary. I have somethin' against Jim. Why? 'Cause Jim hangs around with Gary, and I don't like Gary. Why? Because he's taller than I am. You just don't understand how it is to be short your whole life and have some big ol' tall guy walk around -- and Jim's tall, too. Boy, that's a double one on you. That probably is a silly illustration -- but strife. And it turns us against one another. Strife -- and it separates intimate friends. It separates the family. It breaks the harmony of the family unit. It'll do it, it can do it in this church. "Therefore his calamity will come on… will come suddenly; instantly he will be broken, and there will be no healing. There are six things the Lord hates, yes," as we said before, "seven which are an abomination for Him." We know the number seven speaks of completion, speaks of perfection. This is a perfect set of abominations. This is the black list. God says, "I want to call your attention to this thing. There are seven things I abominate, I utterly hate and loathe." And notice what it says: "haughty eyes" -- pride -- "a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies, and one who spreads strife among brothers -- one who spreads strife among brothers." Well, you know, you can do that all day long and never get thrown in jail. You murder somebody, you shed innocent blood, you'll go to jail for sure. You'll never go to death row in this country, to the gas chamber in this country, but you'll go to jail. And if you devise wicked plans and carry 'em out, you're liable ta wind up there too. But you know, there's really no social stigma to spreading strife among the brothers -- especially in this country, especially in this country. But you know what the Lord said? "Seven things I abominate: spreading dissension, hard feelings, division, strife among the brethren -- I hate that, I abominate that." It's a direct affront to the work of Christ and to the unity of the Holy Spirit.
Chapter twenty-two, verse ten: "Drive out the scoffer" -- we ask ourselves the question, why is it so hard? Two times and you're out! Why is it so… why is the Lord being so hard there? Why does He say, "Drive out the scoffer"? Because "contention will go out." He hates strife among the brethren, contention. "Even strife and dishonor will cease."
Now turn with me again for another bird's-eye view at Titus chapter three. Again, we're not gonna expound the verses -- we're just gonna look at one element here that's needful at this time. Keep in mind these verses. Keep in mind the family. Keep in mind the church. Keep in mind spreading strife among the brothers, causing division. Keep in mind what we just read -- "contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease." Look at verse nine in chapter three: "Shun foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law; for they are unprofitable." Let me ask you this:… Of course in this day and time there was probably much more reference to the Law than there is today. Very few Christians today even read the Old Testament. But back in that time it was certainly -- it was the Scripture, and they didn't have the New American Standard Bible. But you… there's a lot of things in the Law back there that you can get off on, and start debating on, and you can do nothing but cause controversy.
Let me think of an issue that plagues the church today. Let me see. What about the one where the verse back in Deuteronomy says a woman's not to dress like a man, or a man like a woman? What does that verse say? Does somebody know? You know, the verse where it says… well, it says that. Take my word for it. It alludes to the sin of disguising oneself to look like the opposite sex, with obvious sexual implications, immoral implications. But today we can take that verse and say, "What are you doin' in Converse tennis shoes… and pants?" (Sorry to pick on you.) "Don't you know that Deuteronomy thus-and-so says 'A man is not to look like a woman, and a woman's not to disguise herself as a man'? You know you're sinning against God?" We can take those little issues like that and, boy, we can really cause some dissension. And I know churches today -- I know several churches in this city that split over that issue. I know of some brothers who could tell of many churches that have split over that kind of issue. I know of a group of Christians called the "One Suspender Amish." The only difference they have from the horse-and-buggy Amish is that they wear one suspender -- it's a one-piece thing -- instead of two suspenders. And they don't have fellowship with one another, either. Now, who's right? The One Suspender Amish or the Two Suspender Amish? Let me ask you that question: Who's right? Who'd venture to say? Mr. [U/I], do you wear suspenders? I thought I saw him one day with suspenders on. He can speak with authority. Well, who's right? Well, you see, nobody's right. That's a foolish controversy. And that spreads strife among brethren. I happen to have some Amish friends, and you know what? I'll clue you -- they love the Lord -- they really do. I've had wonderful fellowship with them. But some of these issues are dividing them from other Christians. "Foolish controversies." Who's right and who's wrong? Maybe it is a little bit of an issue.
Maybe another issue is, "Do we as Christians practice planned parenthood, or do we just trust the Lord?" Well, you know, that's an issue we have to face when we get married, and I'm not gonna tell you what I do either, for fear somebody would just quote me now. But, you know, we could really cause dissension about that. "Did you know, So-and-So and So-and-So, they use birth control?" Oh, my goodness! That's a sin, to say that kind of stuff. That's a sin. You can go back to Achan's sin in the Old Testament, and you can play those silly Roman Catholic games, and avoid the whole message of what the Scripture teaches, and divide Christians and cause strife. Who's right and who's wrong? Don't answer that one. And maybe, maybe it is a little more important than that -- maybe it is. Maybe it's whether we do door-to-door evangelism, or whether we, uh, we use tracts. And I know Christians who think wrongly of this church because we use tracts. "That alienates people." You know. And it's strife over whether you use tracts or not. That's sin. And especially when such things are just a matter of conscience, that are just… they don't touch on whether Jesus came in the flesh. They don't touch on whether Jesus is God. They don't touch on the work of Christ. They don't touch on the essentials of salvation. They touch on controversy. Churches split over the doctrine of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Churches split over Calvinism versus Arminianism, which are just façades for lazy thinking, because people won't go to the Scriptures and find out what it teaches for themselves. "I am a Calvinist." "I am an Arminian." And so we pull out our six-guns and have the shoot-out at the OK Corral, and the world stands by, and Ashkelon laughs, and Gath laughs, and it's a stink in the nostrils of God.
Strife among the brethren. Strife. This can be over personalities; this can be over doctrines, and usually there's a doctrinal (as we see here)… some little doctrinal area, a dispute about the Law. Notice… Can you imagine us coming together and warring over a genealogy? "Let's turn back to First Chronicles chapter so-and-so arid talk about the 'begats' today." And we get in a big argument over genealogy. Can you imagine that? They had problems with it in Titus's day, and we have no less asinine problems today. And churches are divided. Strife among the brethren -- abomination in the name of genealogy -- isn't it ridiculous? Who's right and who's wrong? Remember what Proverbs chapter twenty-two said: "Drive out the scoffer and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease." This is dishonoring to the name of God.
Okay, quickly. We'll just hit a couple more verses. Galatians chapter five. Galatians chapter five and verse nineteen: "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident…" And let me tell you, you can do every single one of these things and walk the streets of Columbus today unmolested -- they will not throw you in jail for a single thing written here. "… immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions." Deed of the flesh, "faction." Pretty serious consequences in verse twenty-one for practicing that sin, too, if it's a continual practice of one's life, if it's characteristic. Factions are a deed of the flesh.
chapter… or verse twenty-two: "The fruit of the Spirit is love." And what
is love? -- the perfect bond of unity. And you know why when I go home, Mom and
Dad and I have a wonderful time, and we talk about things that are really, that
are really, uh, important to us, and we come away just wishin' I had two more
weeks to stay with Mom and Dad? You know why? We love one another, we really do.
We love one another. "The fruit of the Spirit is love" -- and faction, strife,
is the antithesis, in a sense, of love -- "joy, peace" (I think of that peace
versus strife), "kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness. Against such
things there is no law." Why worry about controversies and silly things? Let's
worry about the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. There's no law against that.
This is the fulfillment of the Law. "Those who belong to Christ" -- underline
this verse, if you underline your Bible -- "have crucified the flesh and its
passions and desires" -- "have crucified the flesh and its passions and desires.
If we walk by the Spirit…" we live by the Spirit…"let us also walk" (or
conduct our lives) "by the Spirit." Faction is a deed of the flesh. What's the
solution? The cross. Brokenness before God in the light of what He's done on the
cross. Recognizing our position, reckoning it so, and taking up our cross and
following Jesus. Die to those attitudes that crop up in our lives. And where do
they originate? Not in the world, but in the flesh. You've got
potential for faction. I have potential for faction. I have been guilty of the
sin of faction in the last month, and I've repented of it. And I've been guilty
of the sin of faction before. And it's a subtle thing. You don't realize it,
maybe, when it first comes on. But it's nothing that hits you and bowls you
over, either. It's something that you have to allow it to grow. There's a little
seed that starts, and you water it, and you allow it to go… grow, and you think
about it, and you cultivate it, and before you know it, you're in trouble.
Faction is a deed of the flesh, and it says in First Corinthians chapter ten and
verse twelve: "Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." That's why
I just told you -- I've had problems in this area. What did I do? I went
to the cross, and I went to the brother that I had sinned against, and that I
had been a party against. I went to the cross. There's no pride in going to the
cross. I can't stand here with pride and say, "Aha, I went to the cross." The
cross is a place of execution. That faction crucified Christ.
[Part missing while tape was being turned over]
"Common to man!" It's a deed of the flesh. We've all got it, a potential for it. "Common to man." But what? "God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but will with the temptation provide also the means of escape." You've got that potential in your heart today. I've got that potential in my heart today. [?] Here it goes again. And there's no real repentance -- you just continue in your faction, or I could continue in my faction, and, and not really deal with the issues at hand. We have to go again. And if a person is unretractable [sic] in their sin (I don't mean a person stumbles -- that's not what I'm talkin' about) … a person willfully sins in this sense, we'll have to put 'em out of the church. Why? Because God says so, and we must obey God. That's the very basis of what we're doin' here in Columbus, and you know it if you've been here any time. If we see somethin' in Scripture we're not obeyin' we'll get with it. We've gotta obey God. Okay.
Now let's turn back to Titus and let's look at the verse real quick. (I've been sort of long-winded on this, but… ) Think first of the work of the Holy Spirit again in the family. The Holy Spirit is to bring us together. The Holy Spirit unifies us. The fruit of the Spirit is love, the fruit of the Spirit is peace, joy -- these things bring us together -- the perfect bond of, of, uh, of unity is love. Remember what the Lord Jesus said. He wants to as a family cause us to live abundantly. He said, "I've come that you might have life, and you might have it abundantly." But then He contrasted His work to the work of Satan. He said, "The thief has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy." And how does he destroy? Many times, by strife and faction. "But shun foolish controversies, and genealogies, and strife, and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject…" -- that word means to turn away from, to keep away from -- Mike, do you know some of the other meanings? I haven't got 'em written down… To have nothing to do with -- "… a factious…" -- that's a person who causes a party against someone, or divides -- "a factious man after the first and second warnings." And that warning sorta means to bring it before someone's attention in a serious way. After you bring it before someone's attention in a real… and you communicate, you have good communication, and it's understood, he said reject him. Why? "Knowing…" (that's an interesting word to use in this context; you don't have to worry about his motives) "… knowing that such a man is perverted and is sinning, being self-condemned." Now this doesn't mean that the factious man is totally lost in all kinds of sinful habits and acts, and that he, that he in no way resembles a godly person. It means in this area his thinking is twisted. His thinking's twisted. That's what perverted means -- it means crooked. His thinking's crooked. He's sinning. You know he's sinning. Why do you know he's sinning? Because he's making controversy over these silly little things, and dividing Christians over disputes about the law. And then finally, he's self-condemned. You don't have to say, "I condemn him." No, he's self-condemned; you can tell it by his actions. You don't even have to worry necessarily about motives -- his actions condemn him. Reject a man after a first and second warning.
Then Romans chapter sixteen. And remember this: it's not whether he's 55% right, and somebody else is 45% wrong. The issue is faction. Romans sixteen and verse seventeen: "Now, I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissension." Define dissension, someone. I'll let you do all the work for me. Somebody define dissension…"Standing apart" -- must have something to do with the original meaning. Dissension -- anyone else?…"Division" -- yes, in a sense, but it has more to do with not so much a physical separation as of quarrelling over something, I think. Yeah, go ahead, [Unintelligible]. "Bitterness"? Yeah, bitterness sorta results in dissension, I think -- it has a lot to do with that. "Disagreement"? Okay… Okay, that's good -- "disunity within a group." "Keep an eye on 'im." The King James Bible says, "Mark 'im." Put an X on 'im. Like the Jews in the Second World War. Mark 'im; like Hitler did the Jews (not in any way to go any further with that application). Mark 'im. "I want you to keep an eye on 'im. Don't let him outta your sight." Why? Because I tell you what -- a factious man is worse than a rattlesnake on a cold October morning when he's tryin' to shuffle around and get enough food to go to sleep. He's more dangerous than an immoral person in the church. He's more dangerous. "… Causes dissension and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and turn away from them." Have nothing to do with them. One brother shared with me this word means to deflect, sort of like a glancing blow. A momentary association, and then you're gone. Turn away from 'im. Have nothing to do with 'im. You have nothing in common; you have nothing to ('scuse me) nothing to do with a factious man.
Turn to Hebrews chapter twelve. Hebrews chapter twelve. The last verses here. (I know you're glad to hear it, but I never said, "One more verse," one time.) Hebrews chapter twelve. We'll read from verse four: "You've not resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin" -- only one Person's done that -- "and have you forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons? 'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him, for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.' It is for discipline that you endure. God deals with you as with sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" Notice that: in the New Testament times it was unthinkable not to discipline your children. How different from today. But let's think of this in the New Testament context instead of what we see in the world. It was unthinkable for a father to dis-… not to discipline a disobedient son. "He scourges every son He receives," ('scuse me.) Verse eight: "But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we have earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them. Shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined for a short time" -- you see, you grew up and got too big for the old man to knock you around -- just "a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful. Yet for those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." Now we know this is not referring directly to church discipline, of which we've spoken. But church discipline falls under this. You can really see several things about church discipline in this thing that's really talkin' about our discipline directly at the hands of God to teach us, uh, lessons we have to learn as sons. God uses for a very disobedient son… He really desires to use the church, in many cases, to discipline. Notice, verse six. What's the motive for discipline? What's the motive?… Louder!… Love. Well, that's strange. My Dad used to say, "I'm only doin' this to ya 'cause I love ya," and I used to think, "Oh, my goodness, I wish he didn't love me so much!" Seemed like he was lovin' me every time I turned around. I remember one night I was in the bed. I had sassed my mother and she said, "You wait till your father gets home." There I was, and I figured, "Man, if he thinks I'm asleep, he won't come and get me." So I laid in the bed, and I closed my eyes about this tight. I said, I gotta really make him think I'm asleep, and if he thinks I'm asleep he might let me alone. My father came walkin' in and there I was. He very gently picked up the covers, and without sayin' a word, I felt excruciating pain on my right thigh. You know why he did it? 'Cause he loved me. There I was being deceitful right there in front of 'im. He loved me, he really did, and I really appreciate that. I tell ya, at the time, it hurt! At the time it was not joyful. And I can remember when my mother discovered that it really hurt her hand more than it hurt my hind end when she left my blue jeans on me, and so she'd bend me over the… with my, uh, torso inside the tub, and my legs and my rear end hangin' out on the outside, pull my pants down, and really did me a job. It was not joyful! But you know, I really appreciate my parents today -- I love 'em. You know why? Because I see so many today -- and you see 'em too -- that are a product of just what we talked about. It says, "What son is there whose father does not discipline him?" Thousands and thousands and thousands walk in the streets of this city today. And you know 'em, you work with 'em, you might even have been some of 'em. Do you appreciate that? Why do you appreciate it? Because you know it's done in love. Now that's not true with every parent, but it's true with, with a godly parent. It's done in love -- the Lord loves those whom He disciplines. And let me tell ya, in church discipline if love is not our motive then we are in sin, period.
It says in the book of, uh, Matthew chapter eighteen that when a brother sins against us we're to go to him privately, and go to him alone, and try to win our brother. Why? Because we love him. He's our brother. We want to win him; we don't want to just get even with him. It's because of love. Notice, secondly, here, verse ten: "He disciplines us for our good." That's exciting. I saw that in my parents' life -- they disciplined me for my good. And when the church disciplines, it's to always be for good. It's never to get even. It's never to, in some vindictive way, "I'm gonna teach this so-and-so a lesson." No! It's always to be for their good. Why? That we might share in His holiness. God said, "Be ye holy even as I am holy." He wants to work that out in our life. He'll use situations in our everyday life to discipline us. And if we continue to sin, He'll use the church to do it.
One more thing about discipline. "All discipline for this moment seems not to
be joyful, but sorrowful, yet those who are trained by it afterwards it yields
the peaceful fruit of righteousness." You see, discipline isn't necessarily
gonna have its effect [snaps his fingers] like that. Training implies a little
bit o' time. It implies some hard knocks. It implies really learning a lesson --
not just gaining insight, but learning a lesson. And what's the fruit? The
peaceful fruit of righteousness. We mentioned before, the Scriptures say, "Tell
it not in Gath, publish it not in Ashkelon." We desire for those who are outside
regular fellowship of this church, and those especially who know not the Lord
Jesus -- we ask you to really try to understand this, and we ask you to really
bear with us -- we also ask you to leave, and we sure hope we'll see you again
Colvin: These are autonomous, indigenous decisions that Mike Keator and I made,
and Mike Keator and I alone. No one from the outside told us what to do. We
respect other brothers that are here today. You'll be introduced to some of 'em,
and I want you to know what I said about discipline being in love being
especially true in this circumstance. I love this person more than any other
person in this world, except for my wife and my child. He led me to Christ. He
taught me the Scripture. I owe him a lot. But I stand with God, 'cause I'm not a
di-… I, I wasn't baptized in his name. He wasn't crucified for me. And Mike and
I stand together on this, and, and 100% together on this, no question. We want
you to know that, and we want to remind you this is… we do this in the fear of
God. We do this knowing that nobody else in this room is gonna stand before the
judgment seat of Christ and account for this but Mike and myself.
Mike Keator (elder of Solid Rock Fellowship): "Father, we ask for grace and
wisdom in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You that You're righteous
infinitely, and we fear You, Lord. Thank You for the blood of Christ that has
washed away our sins. Thank You for giving us grace to repent, to confess, to
humble ourselves before You. Living God, we thank You that You've opened our
eyes to walk with You in this manner. We ask You to take Your proper place, Lord
Jesus Christ, as the righteous Lord here. We submit to You in Jesus' name,
Okay, turn in your Bibles to Psalm 1*: I'll just start with verse three: "I will set no worthless thing before my eyes. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me." A righteous man hates the work of those who fall away, and will not allow that work to fasten a grip on him. In this particular sin I allowed this to some degree to fasten a grip on me, and began to be involved myself in a party spirit, and I confessed that as sin to all the brothers I sinned against in the Lord, and realizing that this was fastening a grip on me I desired, by the grace of God, to take a stand against it -- to not allow it to fasten a grip on me any further.
Verse four: "A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil. Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy. No one who has a haughty look and an arrogant heart will I endure." We need to stand with God against sin, unrepentant sin, and, uh, that's what we have to do as a church today.
We've been dealing with a problem for two years. It became evident to Dennis Clark and myself that Bill Taylor was factious two years ago. Repeatedly we confronted him, reproved him, pled with him for two years. Kept it as secret as we could. He would pretend to repent, or maybe sometimes really repent, but it was continual, it wasn't lasting. And then we'd find a further act of faction down the line. We'd confront him, sometimes he'd repent, superficially at least, sometimes he wouldn't. God knows his heart; we don't. We'd confront him again and again, and finally we have come to realize, far too late, that his words have no meaning in this area, and I thank God for being patient with myself to face facts I should've faced earlier. And, um, we're gonna tell you just what has happened.
I was on my way to Colorado on vacation to see my relatives last week, and it became very evident to me, very clear conclusive facts: Bill Taylor has continued to be factious to the universal body of Christ, and to local bodies of Christ. I came here; I shared these facts with Fred; we agonized over them; we scrutinized them; we made long-dis… at least one long-distance phone call for clearer testimony. We've brought many witnesses from all over the United States today, so that this fact can be well established.
What I'm going to do is list in chronological order (some of them overlapped, so it's comprete, complete chronology -- some were overlapping, some were repeated), but basically chronological order, the offenses, the place, and these witnesses will stand and witness. The Scripture says, "In the mouth of two or three witnesses let every fact be established."
First of all, Dennis Clark and myself, two years ago… let me… I have to back up just a little bit… This faction has basically been against a particular leading brother in another city. Bill Taylor has continually turned people away from him on an unscriptural basis in an unscriptural manner.
First of all,… Let's see. I don't know how to do this. Are all the witnesses here? That you know of? Maybe what we should do is you brothers, um, those of you who were witnesses to any of these events, give your name, and, um, what [state?] you're from, what city you're from. Okay? Could we start, Gary, with you? I want you all to observe… [unintelligible] Yeah, point by point… I thought… I'm gonna… What I'm gonna do, is go through the events, give the place and the charge and the witness, and I'll just, if… I want these people to be introduced to you all right now, and then I'll just state your name as witness to these events. Did you all hear?
Gary Kellogg. [Gary Kellogg, Ames, Iowa; others introduced themselves out of mike range.] Okay, Dave, you're not a witness to a charge, right? Some of these brothers that are here with us we brought in here for counsel and, um, help with interpreting Scriptures, and, uh, so, that explains that. Are there any other witnesses? Fred's a witness. All right.
In Albuquerque, New Mexico, two years ago. The charge is faction, the witnesses: myself, Dennis Clark, Jim McCotter.
Another incident which happened here -- it involved phone calls which spread suspicion, which were factious in nature: Bill Taylor is a witness (we have his testimony quoted on paper), I am a witness to that testimony, Dennis is a witness to that testimony, Fred's a witness to that testimony.
In Indiana: the charge is faction and dissension. The witnesses are: Dennis Clark, Mike Keator, Larry Clementi, Rob Irvine, Gary Kellogg, Jim McCotter. Bill didn't confess this sin until we confronted him and pressured him weeks later, and then later on recanted, and when questioned by Fred (Fred asked this question: "Do you feel you sinned there?"), Bill said, "I don't know." Dennis Clark is the witness.
The next place is New York. In this particular incident Herschel, myself, and Dennis were pleading with Bill to please get reconciled, to please stop this attack, and what he did was make excuses, wouldn't hear us, wouldn't take action to reconcile matters.
I myself have been exposed to this faction, continual factious actions by Bill Taylor, dividing me from this leading brother.
There was another brother, Stan Berberich -- the charge against Bill Taylor was faction. In this particular time Stan was being excommunicated from another church. Bill counseled him not to repent, to hold off on his repentance -- that's the phrase I want -- he counseled him to hold off the day Stan was going to go and repent. Bill violated the disciplinary action of the church after Stan was excommunicated, spoke divisive things for the last three years to Stan against this leading brother. We have Stan's testimony written in quotes.
The next incident is a slanderous attack against this brother to Herschel Martindale. The effect was divisive. Herschel is a witness.
The next happened in Indiana. Bill spoke factious things to a brother who spoke fa… who used these things to be factious to a brother named Jer… Ja… Jay Schiller. The witnesses are Jim McCotter, Larry Clementi… Who else was?… in the case of Jay?… Jim was the only one. [McCotter: Jay was, Jay was actually the only one, with myself. Jay is not here, but he was a witness to that.]
The next incident was in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The charge is faction, the witnesses are Herschel Martindale and Jim McCotter and Brooky Stockton.
The next charge is faction in Missouri. The witness is Jimmy Schooler, an elder in Albuquerque, New Mexico -- at least, he's a member of the church there. I'm not sure if he's an elder or not.
The next one is faction in Columbus. The witnesses are Dennis Clark, myself, Fred Colvin.
These are recurring over the last three years, some very recent. [Long pause] To this minute, to this hour, Bill Taylor is unrepentant and resisting. I just want to point out that this is not some sudden thing that came up and overwhelmed Bill, but as Bill… as I believe Fred pointed out, in 1 Timothy it says if you don't keep faith and a clear conscience, you're gonna be shipwrecked. Bill's refusal to obey the Scriptures -- one, one particular Scripture that we pointed out time after time after time -- has resulted in the present situation. Some of you may be thinking, "Well, if this happened to someone as knowledgeable of the Word as Bill Taylor, what's, y' know… is there any hope for us little guys?" Y' know. You may be saying, "How do I, y' know… I'm…" Ya may be afraid that this is gonna come and overwhelm you, and you're gonna turn into a person like this. You don't have to fear that. You keep faith and a clear conscience every day. You confess your sins, you walk with a clear conscience, and this won't happen to you. You may be wondering, "How could this happen to such a person as Bill Taylor?" Well, just remember David, a man after God's own heart, a man mightily used by God for a long period of time, fell into adultery and murder, and wouldn't confess it until the prophet came to him. This doesn't mean that Bill is not going to repent. David did. God used him mightily after that. We believe, we pray Bill will, that God will use him more mightily than ever before.
Now, I just wanta turn ya to Titus chapter three again, to command you, as the Scripture commands you, what to do in this situation. This is very grave; I hope you're taking notes. You dare not forget this. You must remember what this Scripture says. Verse nine: "Shun foolish controversies, genealogies, and strife and disputes about the law." If you hear of strife and disputes, foolish controversies, shun them -- they're unprofitable and worthless. Verse ten: "Reject a factious man." That's what we have done. This was written to Titus. Paul told Titus to take action. We're the authority here; we've taken the action. You must reject him. This word means "turn away from, have nothing to do with." And I wanta warn you saints: Bill is unrepentant. He's trying to justify himself. He won't face the issues. He's going to try to justify himself to you. You must obey the Scripture, or you'll sin against God, and you'll sin against this church, and you'll sin against Bill Taylor, because the only way God can bring him to repentance is by this action. If there was any other way we wouldn't have done this. God knows best. He loves Bill more than any of us possibly ever will. God knows. You must reject him. That means "turn away from, have nothing to do with."
Romans sixteen, verse seventeen: "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching that you have learned, turn away from them." "Turn away." That 's a command to you: turn away from them. Now, uh, specifically, Bill may try to call you on the phone, or others that aren't here today. Bill may try to write a letter to you. Bill may try to walk up to you on the street or to your house. God is commanding you, "Turn away from him. Have nothing to do with him." If you sin, you are violating the discipline of this church. You will be reproved by us, and if you re… , if you persist, we'll carry out Matthew 18 on any person who violates the discipline. We have to do that. God is just; God's way is true. Whether it makes sense or not, God's Word is what we stand on. If you receive a letter from Bill, don't open it. That's a form of association. You take that letter, and you send it or give it to Fred or myself. Because, see, we need to know. If Bill is persisting in this sin in this unrepentant way, we need to know that.
Bill is excommunicated from the universal body of Christ. No Christian in any city on earth is to associate with him. And we will warn Christians all over the world, if we have any suspicion that Bill has communicated with them.
If you receive a phone call, turn away -- just hang up immediately -- and let me warn you, don't get into a discussion with him. The Scripture says in Titus chapter three that he's perverted -- doesn't mean hopelessly lost, it means his mind's perverted, twisted. He has… he'll probably come out with tremendous arguments. The Scripture says his mind is twisted. You're not to listen. And, you can do him a favor if you contact us. Any time you get a phone call, hang up immediately and contact us. If he approaches you on the street, obey the Scripture: turn away, have nothing to do with. If he follows you, run away. If he runs after you, keep running away. If he tackles you [laughter from audience] … and I'm not… this is possible… get away.
We have given him a letter stating his offense. Maybe I should read the letter to you. (Okay, Fred, if [unintelligible]?)
"Dear Brother Bill" (this is September 12, 1976) -- "Dear Brother Bill,
"In view of your repeated actions of party making…" (I'm gonna paraphrase this part) "-- turning people away from a leading brother…" (his name is here -- it's of no benefit to you to know that) "… turning away people from a leading brother, with out scriptural justification in an unscriptural manner (refusing to obey Mt. 18:15-18), we have judged it necessary to reject you according to Titus 3:9-11 and Ro.16:17,18.
"We are commanded by God's Word to take this course of action because of your actions. This is done as a last resort to produce in you godly sorrow leading to genuine repentance and to guard the people of God.
"We are acting in love for you and in the fear of God, expectantly looking for a yield of the 'peaceful fruit of righteousness', and your full restoration to the fellowship of the saints.
"Genuine repentance will be evidenced in confession of your sins to God and all those sinned against, humble submission to the elders in this disciplinary action, total cessation of any causing any division… total cessation of causing any division in the universal and local bodies of Christ and sincere attempts to bring restoration of yourself and all others you've divided from this leading brother. This does not necessitate agreement on doctrinal points with this brother, but a refusal to cause 'foolish controversies… strife and disputes' about these interpretations of scripture.
"To be restored you will have to demonstrate genuine repentance by making restitution for all wrongs done, by communicating with all whom you've divided from this brother in such a way that would take away all suspicion of him caused by you. All of this communication must be approved by the elders…" (In other words, he's not to contact any Christian without coming to Fred and me and us working together on it.) "… All Christians are to have nothing to do with you, turn away from you, and keep away from you. Do not make any attempt to communicate with them…" (We've commanded him, as elders of this church, not to make any attempt to communicate with any Christian. If he violates that he has disregard for the chain of command God has placed over him. Elders submit to one another. The body of elders, as a majority, has judged him factious. If he has regard for us he'll submit to this. He won't try to communicate to you, he'll deal with us.) "Do not make any attempt to communicate with them.
communication on the part of JoAnn to anyone that would justify you or her side
of the story, by word, inuendo, or attitude is willful participation in your
sin…" (We were faced with the problem of what God wants in the situation with
JoAnn. We don't know that JoAnn is unrepentant along with Bill. We don't… I'm
not trying to put any bad implications on JoAnn. What I'm trying to say is this:
we don't know that JoAnn is a factious woman, therefore, we didn't feel right to
reject her, nor did we feel it proper to disassociate with Bill for obvious
reasons. And so, she's ton have no communication in any way by word, action,
attitude or innuendo in an attempt to justify what Bill has done. If you see
that happening to yourself or someone else by JoAnn, she's sinned against this
church. You need to tell us about that -- for Bill's sake. If Bill… if
Bill is successful in creating a division in this church or in some other
church, in gaining a following, I don't know if he'll ever repent. Only as the
people of God stand with God against sin will he come to grips with the issue…
So… Do ya understand? Don't communicate.
Question from audience: I had a hard time understanding the language of the
letter. Has this been explained to JoAnn so she understands that? I just feel
that that might be appropriate.
Keator: Yeah, we may not have time to do… I… we didn't have time to do that yet. We may do anything that's necessary. We wanta take, uh, we're gonna open up for questions or anything here in a minute. What the letter is saying is, "Any communication on the part of JoAnn to anyone that would justify you or her side of the story by word, innuendo, or attitude is willful participation in your sin." (It is -- it's factious… )
"Any communication on the part of JoAnn that would call into question the justice of this action will be considered interference with the discipline of this church. This includes communication by word, inuendo, or attitude."
That's the letter. He received it. Um, he didn't respect Fred and I, but tried to interfere, didn't submit, tried to force his way into this meeting, very possibly is waiting to talk to some of you. You are faced with God's command to you: "keep away, have nothing to do with, turn away."
I want you to turn to 1 Timothy 5 -- 1 Timothy 5:20 and 21: "Those who continue in sin rebuke in the presence of all so that the rest may be fearful of sinning. I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Jesus… Christ Jesus and of His chosen angels, maintain these principles without bias, do nothing with a spirit of partiality." The point is: first of all, the responsibility to reject in Titus 3 is the authorities' of the church. If it was a Matthew 16 sit… 18 situation it would be the church. In Titus 3 it's the authority… we did that. That's why we didn't rebuke him in the presence of all. The point here is this: "that the rest may be fearful of sinning." I am fearful myself of sinning; I hope that you're fearful, too. Any one of us can be factious or join a party or get taken in to a factious situation and go along with it. That's sin. "I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and all His chosen angels to maintain these principles without bias." Don't be biased. Just because Bill is a mighty teacher, has great insight into the Word, and everything that God has given to him -- thank God for that -- that's no reason to be partial. Whether it was an unregenerate person who was a wretch all his life or a pers… or the most godly man who fell into sin, we're to be impartial. And I just wanta point to you Ma… , uh, verse 19, since we're here. It says, "Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses." That's why we have witnesses, several witnesses. If we didn't, you shouldn't even listen to them, but we do.
Proverbs chapter 24, verse 23: "These also are sayings of the wise: to show
partiality in judgment is not good." Do ya understand? Don't be partial, no
matter if it was… if it was Billy Graham or, or whoever is the most exalted per…
Christian man in your eyes. Don't be partial. "To show partiality in judgment is
not good." Verse 24: "He who says to the wicked, 'You are righteous,' peoples
will curse him, nations will abhor him." If you interfere with this discipline,
"peoples will curse him, nations will abhor him." If you interfere, what you're
saying is, in effect is, "the wicked is righteous." Verse 25: "To those who
rebuke the wicked will be delight, and good blessing will come upon them."
Colvin: This really impressed me here. I would just… (It's been amazing how many verses have impressed me the past few days. It seems like when you're in deep waters the Lord is really near.) Let me say this: I don't have to tell any of you that know me that I… that what I said before about loving Bill was really true. I know many of your hearts… in many you hold a special place for him. Let me tell you this: if you love him, you'll really do what we talked about today. In 1 Corinthians chapter 3 there were factions in the church in Corinth. I quoted the verses, "I am of Paul, I am of Apollos." Paul speaks in verse 10, after showing the… a right perspective on servants of Christ -- he says, "According to the grace of God…" (he's talkin' about his gift of apostleship) "… which was given to me as a wise master builder, I laid a foundation and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it, for no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." There's no room for party making; there's only one foundation. "Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw… straw, each man's work will become evident, for the day will show it, because it is revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward: if any man's work is burned up he shall suffer loss, but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."
We know that this brother's done a lot of building in this church, and a lot of good teaching. I wouldn't disparage [sic] you from listening to his tapes. I've really learned, more than prob'ly from any other brother, from him, except possibly one brother in California. But I've learned so much from him, it's unreal. I know we all have. But if you love him, you'll pay attention to verse 16: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" We are a spiritual house, as we said before, the Holy Spirit's dwelling. God dwells in us. And here he's not talking to an individual, although it's true and he alludes to it in verse… chapter 6. But in context, what's he been talking about? The church. "Do you not know that you are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are." "That" is a plural word there, the word "that" -- "that is what you are." It's a plural word, plural in the masculine gender. F. W. Grant translates it this way: "Such holy ones as ye." He's talking to the church at Corinth. "Don't you know you're the temple of the living God? Don't you know the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him." And if you're a party to promoting faction in this church and this church divides as a result of you listening to Bill Taylor, and you turning away, and you being a part of a party, because of your action God will destroy Bill Taylor. That's what the Word of God says. There's already been one faction in one church -- and when I mean a faction here I'm not just talkin' about a party, I'm talkin' about people leaving the church, people being excommunicated. We heard about that. That could happen here. And I just really wanta warn ya with my… just not to have anything to do with him.
And see, that's the… that's the loving thing we can do! When I… if I were inc… inconsistent in my discipline of Jennifer and I hugged her neck when she, uh, wrote on the walls with Crayolas, I would be doing her no service. If she talked back to my wife, and I praised her for it, I'd be doing her no service. We really have to stand with God in this matter, and I realize it's hard. You wouldn't believe how hard we've prayed about this. And that brings up another thing. I know we love him and I know we wanta see him restored, and soon. We've had problems like this before. What did we do? Remember? We prayed every day. I had little names written down in my Seven Star Diary, and I prayed every day. I challenge you -- continually consider this in prayer, 'cause we really feel… Herschel's told me, Jim's told me, Dave Gumlia, Dave Bovenmyer… all the brothers that were here told me how much they love Bill, and how much they wanta see him restored, because they wanta work together with him, as the Lord gives opportunity. Every one of 'em. And I desperately want to. So pray for us, and pray especially for him.
open it up for questions now. Has anybody got any questions? … Let me say this:
there's to be no private conversations about this. This is
not something we talk about; this is not something we mention to unbelievers,
and if you have a question, call Mike Keator or myself, period.
[Break in recording]
Colvin: "… the topic of, uh, of… the topic of conversation. I think it'd be all right for 'em to pray together, wouldn't you, Mike? Wouldn't you think… wouldn't you think it'd be all right for people to pray together about it, but not discuss it? Not discuss it. This is not something to just be talked about, but if you have any questions, we wanta have an opportunity to answer 'em now.
Colvin: We… did we, uh… how're we gonna handle those saints that weren't here
Keator: We have tapes…
Colvin: Yeah, we'll have to do that, Brother, 'cause I don't think you could
adequately communicate… y' know, we had witnesses and everything… I don' t think
you could adequately communicate that. Tell 'em there's an urgent matter that
involves the whole church, and they'll have to contact us, and what we'll…
[Break in recording]
Colvin: Partiality means to play favorites. There's a classic example in the New
Testament in the life of Jacob. He had, uh, twelve sons, but one of his sons was
his favorite, and, boy, I tell ya, he give… gave him… he gave him the, uh, the
robe that was, uh, uh, special robe. He, uh, treated him like a king, and, and,
he didn't, he didn't give equal treatment to his brothers. And what it
resulted in, in a sense, was his brothers sinning against Joseph, and for
many years he lost Joseph. 'Course, God made a curse into a blessing, but
partiality is a sin of, of, uh, acting differently toward one person than you'd
act toward another in a given situation. Does anybody have any thoughts on that?
Unidentified brother: Prejudice.
Colvin: Yeah, prejudice. Prejudice. Any other questions? 'Kay, Wayne?
Wayne Shadrick: [U/I]
Colvin: Faction? Faction means a person who causes a division. It means ta, ta…
a party… a person who cause… a factious man, or a heretic, the King James says,
is a man who, who chooses a side, takes one side against another side and makes
a party against that. It can be about a person, and it usually always implies
some doctrines, 'cause, y' know ya gotta have some justification -- ya can't
just say, "I hate this leading brother, and so I'm gonna divide everybody," so
ya naturally bring up some doctrines, uh, but it's to make a party, uh… What is
the literal Greek rendering there, Herschel?
Herschel Martindale: [U/I]
Colvin: Okay. Does that answer your question, Wayne? Okay, any other questions?
Jim Zuber: Um, all these, these instances here of faction -- were they all
against the same brother?
Zuber: Was, uh, uh,… would the definition of faction be enough to explain what
Bill did, or would it be… would it be proper or [U/I] for maybe Herschel or
someone to relate any [U/I] what happened, or is the definition of faction
enough to show what he did?
Colvin: Well, basically, brothers with whom this leading brother was working,
co-laboring, like Mike and I are… were, uh, uh… the whole oversight of a local
church was, uh, the estimation of those, of those elders was downgraded in the
sight of sheep that, that fellowshipped at that assembly. Uh, I personally… When
I confessed the sin of faction, I'm talkin' about faction against the same
leading brother, but I, I turned from that. You see, it says, "The words are
like dainty morsels that go down into your innermost being." Brother, I was
affected in what I thought, and you'll be affected if you, if you talk
and discuss this. Uh, myself, Mike, to some extent Dennis, were all turned
against this brother, and, uh, other, other people who've, uh, who we testified,
who've, … we, we talked about, and it's actually divided a church, it's
alienated churches from one another, uh… I don't know -- should I go on, or…? I,
I don't know -- is that sufficient?
[Unintelligible comment from panel]
Colvin: Have you noticed in this church particularly for the past year a
lethargic working together, sort of things just don't get done or communicated,
and all kinds o' stuff? Y' know where that started? Alienation over this thing.
We're not that terribly bad at administration -- we just couldn't get along,
because there was continually confrontation after confrontation 'n'… and that
type of thing and alienation. There was a faction in the church, whether you
knew it or not. Any other questions? Yes.
Unidentified brother: Um, would it be appropriate now ta tell us, um… like we
aren't to contact [U/I]. I would be interested in hearin' what kind o' things…
Are you going to call on Bill, or y' know, like the mechanics o' how the, the
reconciliation's gonna take place. It isn't spelled out in the letter, and I'm
just sorta hearin' … [fades to U/I].
Keator: Should I read that part of the letter?
Colvin: Sure, Brother, go ahead. [Continues immediately] And Bill Taylor knows
too… uh… he knows more about reconciliation than I do. He, he wouldn't need it
all explicitly spelled out, y' see. Go ahead.
Keator: Right. This is what… We didn't want to give him specific things ta do,
'cause in the past he said, "Okay, I repent. What do I… what sh… what d'ya want
me ta do?" We'd give him a list o' things, and he'd click 'em off, but there was
no heart change. He knows how ta repent, he knows what… how ta get
reconciliation, and so we made it general, [U/I], so that he can't click off a
bunch o' things and deceive us. [Reading from letter] "To be restored you will
have to demonstrate genuine repentance by making restitution for all wrongs done
by communicating with all whom you've divided from this brother in such a way
that would take away all. suspicion of him caused by you." See, this was the
thing, making everyone suspicious.
Same unidentified brother: Okay, can I, can I sort of just explain my question?
Ta me, that looks hard t' do if he's not allowed to communicate with any
Keator: No, see, what he's gonna do is…
Same unidentified brother: How can he get together with you?
Keator: He's gonna… if he decides to repent, he's gonna come to us, and say,
"Look, I've…" First of all, let me just read… Um…"Genuine repentance will be
evidenced by confession of your sins to God and all those sinned
against." Now, first of all he's gonna confess to God, and then he'll have to
confess to us… well, specifically, to us elders who ha… who he can communicate
with, that he sinned against us, by factioning us off from this brother. If he
will do that, and we see sincere repentance from that point, and he says,
"I wanta call others and… do the same," then we will probably monitor those
phone calls, or read those letters, or something like that, to make sure that
he's not going to communicate further to divide people. Sincere communication:
we're gonna have to see it. Um… We're gonna have to see a… a total cessation of
causing any division.
Colvin: Any other questions? Yes, Linda, go ahead, you can ask a question.
Linda Cochran [now Pile]: [Paraphrase] Was there anything at all wrong with what
Bill taught us?
Colvin: Well, Linda, I can pick apart his teaching. I… I don't know of anybody
I've ever heard teach a whole sermon where I agreed with every word they said,
so, y' know, uh, unless I'm just wrong on everything, somebody's gotta be wrong
on something. But, uh,… and I'm serious as cancer, I really am, I've just… But,
Bill's teaching, I think, has been good teaching -- I really think so. I… he…
God's given him a spiritual gift that, that, uh,… 1 Corinthians 13 says that… or
12… says churches are to covet that gift. We're really to be anxious
to have brothers who can teach as well as he can. We have to be anxious
first of all to have a righteous testimony. And, I know of nothing, myself, that
I would say would be a reason to discourage you from… or to try to wash
everything you've heard outta your mind and notebook.
Colvin: Mm, hm. Yes.
Colvin: You can have… we felt, we felt like… and there was much discussion about this, we wanta do what the Lord has… but we didn't… we decided to take the moderate course of the two courses of action we could've taken. One was, and this is done by some people, is ta, uh,… some churches… is ta just… She's his wife, and just excommunicate her, too, because, how could she,… y' know, there's a conflict of interest. But we felt like we shouldn't do that, and you're perfectly free to fellowship with her -- no problem. But not in the presence of her husband, and number two, if anything is brought up about this matter, number one, y'… you're to rebuke her, right, right there, and call her attention to what's gone on, and then, I think it'd be wise ta tell us about it. But I'd call on her ta repent right there, if I were you. Just, just… you might even mention this: if ya see her and ya know, it's probably gonna be a little… you're gonna feel a little bit difficult the first time or somethin', you sisters, but just say… you could say this, "JoAnn, I'm bound not to talk about those things -- anything about what's gone on the past couple weeks, and so if you wanta talk about the Lord, that's fine, but…" Y' know, you might even just tell her you can't talk about that, and you refuse to hear it. That would reinforce things, probably.
Any other questions? Okay, Tim.
Tim Burnham: [Gives scripture reference; unintelligible on tape, but is John
7:51.] "Our Law does not judge a man, unless it first hears from him and knows
what he is doing, does it?" I was just wondering -- is there a reason why Bill
was not allowed to speak in his own defense?
Colvin: Well, that's a… that's a good question. His defense, Tim, is what caused
me to sin. His defense is the very thing he's getting disciplined for, because
his defense is very divisive. And, y' know, like any controversy would have,
there's a ring to it, that if you didn't really know the situation, you might
say, "Well, y' know, that sounds pretty good." Let me tell ya: it wouldn't 'a'
gone on for two years if it sounded silly. So, like people can be very
convincing. But we have the testimony… now, we have looked into it, Mike and I
-- we have the testimony of every one of these men that it's not true. He has
the testimony of not one single man with him in the accusations he's brought,
and in the things he's used to promote divisiveness. He says he does, but
he's never presented 'em, and no one's ever come forward. And so the case is…
the case is of one man making accusations against others, or quite a few men who
can verify that, that he's sinned in this. And the Word of God says, "Let
everything be established by two or three witnesses," like Mike said, 'n', and I
think, I think we've, we've seen ample witness of a repeated pattern. We're not
disciplining for any one little act -- this is a pattern, y' know,
instance after instance. And there's no excuse for faction. I don't care if you
are right in your little genealogy argument. There's no, there's no right to
divide churches and to, to, to interfere with the discipline of a church. I
don't know if I should add anything else, but… I don't think in this case you,
you allow factious testimony to influence your sheep. Y' know what would
happen? This sheep… this church would go straight in half -- that's what would
Keator: I wanna answer this question. Titus 3 is very clear, too. Um, it doesn't
say, y' know, "Bring him in to the congregation. [U/I] The important thing is
that, after, after a first and a second warning… He's been warned I don't know
how [U/I]. We should 'a' done this before. Um, [U/I] God commands us to… [U/I]
"every fact is established by the mouth of two or three witnesses." Now, if we
had 'a' came and said, "Bill is factious, he's been witnessed," that isn't good
enough, see, but if we come and say, "Bill did a factious action here -- these
men saw it," that's, that's establishing every fact, y' see. I have a multitude
of facts ta establish his character. We didn't come to you with a character
charge only; we came to you with repeated action. In Titus 3 [U/I]. Are there
any other thoughts… from any of you? [Addressing panel?]
Jim McCotter: [U/I]
Colvin: Hm, hm. He really has been heard out, so many times.
Keator: But we were poisoned by it.
Colvin: We… we turned against brothers,
Keator: And he started bringin' a defense, and we checked it out an hour ago
again and found out it was a lie, A lie.
Colvin: Questions? Yes, Tom.
Tom: [U/I. Gist: Was Bill turning people against the brother himself, or against
Colvin: Against the brother himself, and using the teaching as a hobby horse to divide. Because, Brother, I disagree with… y' know, I disagree with bigger things with most brothers that I've labored with, with Bill MacDonald and Jean Gibson. I agree on… disagree on a lot bigger things than the little issues that were brought up, but you've never heard me speak, y' know, factiously against those brothers. Y' see. Doctrines… like if it was a question of the deity of Christ or somethin' like that, that'd be different, y' know. Uh… But these are tiny gnats, and, and… we… one thing we've talked about much is that with some brothers we've fellowshipped with as a church here, we've swallowed camels, in a sense, if you wanta just talk about the, the size of doctrine disagreement. We really disagree on, not tremendous things, but pretty big things; but on some other brothers we've had little fellowship or no fellowship because of gnats -- little bitty things. And it's because those little bitty things have been magnified and used as justification for turning against other Christians with whom we have had to do. Now this act is not in view of, of what other Christians think. This is a… this is a… Or no one told us ta do what we're doin'. We're doin' what we're doin' as an a… autonomous… an autonomy, looking directly ta the Lord, and, uh, keenly aware of every little doctrinal issue, and… there aren't but… ya can't count… ya can count 'em all on one hand, and they're so minute it's, it's unreal. But I tell ya, they've been real big in my thinking on occasion, blown all out of proportion.
Any other questions? Speak now or forever hold your peace. No, I'm just
kiddin'. If you need to ask a question, you can ask us, later. Okay, well, why
don't we do this… What were we gonna do about dinner, Mike? Can we have it over
at 48 [48 E. 13th St.] or some… or over at the Iuka house [house on Iuka Ave.]?
Colvin: Sisters, can we do that?… Okay. Let's… let's do this: let's spend just
about five minutes… Let's get on our… on our knees. Let's really cry out ta God
about these things.
Keator: Just before we pray... [Tape interrupted.]
Keator: Um… We're sharing this to guard you people… Um… Bill has lied to us.
Bill has been deceitful to us -- both of us -- he may be to you too. I want you
to remember in case he tries to use authority over you, that he's not your elder
at this point. He's been excommunicated from the church. You understand? He has
no authority over you. And just another thing: some of you may have been
involved in this faction. Some of you may have sinned in this area. You have
may… you nay have had… you may have taken part in what Bill has done. If you
have, come to us and confess it. Confess it to God. Come to us and confess it.
We're not [U/I]… When people repent, all of heaven [rejoices?], and we do too.
But, you need to get this straight. If you did, if you were factious, you
sinned, and you need to confess to those you sinned [against?] -- if to a
church, then to that church or its elders, and to God. Second: If you know of
incidents where Bill has been factious -- you're a witness, and we need to know
about it. If you know of incidents where he was factious, turning you
away from someone, or getting you into a party spirit, you're a witness to that.
We need to know that, so we want you to come [U/I]…
[End of tape]
(Audio only available on tape.)