The Excommunication of Gary HenkeBy Jim McCotter, Dennis Clark, Harry Poindexter, David Bovenmeyer and others
Recorded: February 11th, 1985
Location: Cornerstone Church, Kansas City, Missouri
Transcription from an audio tape of a meeting of the Cornerstone Church, Kansas City, Missouri, held on Monday, February 11, 1985. This meeting was not extraordinary in the Blitz/GCI of the 1970s and 1980s, but was rather typical of such meetings at which excommunications were announced. I have audiotapes of at least two of these meetings (the ones in which the excommunications of Bill Taylor and Kandy Kline were announced) and they are not significantly different from this one. [- Larry Pile]
JIM McCOTTER: I really missed being in on everything. I heard the Saturday conference time really went good. I heard a lot were sharing a lot of good things the Lord gave them and I got indirectly blessed by a lot of different areas and different reports from ones. I heard the saints that went back down to Lawrence… some of them said they had a hallelujah meeting this morning, and Dick and J D, who are up here, even though they weren’t there, they said all the saints were rejoicing and sharing all they got. So that blessed me just to hear how others got blessed.
It’s good to be back here again. How many were at the conference up in Iowa? Raise your hand if you were there… Good. A number of you. That’s really good. You know, I don’t know why I keep coming back in here from time to time. I think of this room where we had a lot of conferences with elders, and different times we’ve been with some of the brothers, and even long before they ever had this building. But I was just asking Dennis when we were coming in here what year it was when when we came in here. I think it was, uh…
DENNIS CLARK: ’49?
JIM: Pretty close, Dennis. But, you know, Bill Hake was one of them. I never will forget, Bill… Where did we meet that first Sunday? Was that in your house, or your living room?
BILL HAKE: Up at the airport conference, the week-long conference between Christmas and New Years of ’70 or ’71.
JIM: Yeah, but where did we meet? I know why I was here, but why were you here, Bill? That’s what I want to know, ha, ha. Was it your house we met in the first time? I kinda thought so.
BILL: Val Hall was the first one to get saved about the third week.
JIM: And Val Hall. That’s right. Praise the Lord. Yeah. Amen. That was exciting. And I know Bob Bury would want me to give you his greetings. He was one of the first ones, I think, that got saved when we went down to KU [Kansas University] and started preaching down there. My wife was an alumnus [sic] of Kansas University and we were up here having no plans to go to KU, but she said, “Oh, you guys gotta get down there,” and I don’t know if you were there or not that night, Bill, or if Ray was. Ray was one that was one of the early ones here, and Val Carroll. In fact, every time I see Val Carroll sometimes she reminds me of my wife. And probably she wonders now how does she remind me of…
When I married Barbara she was a blonde just like Val. And now she’s a redhead, my wife, and after seven children her hair has seemed to change colors. I have seven children. I hear, “Seven? Seven?” Yes, I have four boys and three girls, and I thought the quiver would be full after four or five, but the Lord didn’t seem to see fit to have it full, and we have seven. Our oldest ones are Nathan and Naomi. They’re twins, a boy and a girl. They’re really growing. Some of you know them. They’re… my goodness, they’re about up to my shoulder, I guess Nathan would be. It seems like he grows every day, and Shalom and Shannon and Titus, Mark… let’s see… ha, ha… April. I think that’s seven.
But I remember down at KU when we were down there Barb got us to go up there. We weren’t married then. In fact, both Dennis and I both ended up marrying… uh, I married Barbara and he married Thelma. Both were girls that were on the team. Thelma came from the state where I came from, and basically it was my family that introduced Thelma to Dennis, and Dennis introduced Barbara to me, so we basically got each other wives. We’ve been helping each other out ever since. But I think it was down there that Bob Bury got saved when we were preaching down there, if I’m not mistaken.
And so anyhow, it’s good to be in and out and back again tonight.
Let’s pray. Ask the Lord to bless us tonight.
Father God, we thank you that you’re so faithful. It’s such a joy just to see different ones – to see even Bill and Val and others here – many, Lord, some that were here in the very first days when Dennis and I and a few of us came in here to start the work here. And many that have been raised up and have carried on that love you. And we just thank you, God, that we’ve all been born into your family.
And Lord, we want to call on you tonight to come into our midst ands to be here with us. We thank you for the promise “Where two or three are gathered in My name there am I in their presence.” And Lord Jesus, I’m glad you’re here tonight because we’re here in your name. And that’s why we’re talking to you. We want your help tonight. We want you to take the reins. We want you to be Lord in our hearts. Remember what Peter said, “Sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts.”
And we want you to just take this time tonight… We think, Lord Jesus, of the church in Laodicea in Revelation where they had meetings. They were involved and active, breaking bread in their home. And yet you said to be zealous and repent, and then you would be at their door knocking. And if we hear your voice, to open the door and you’d come in and dine with them.
Lord, don’t let us be involved in Christianity without Christ. Lord, we want to have fresh fellowship. We don’t want to be involved in breaking bread and dining without you. And Lord, tonight we call on you to come in and have your will and have your way. Speak to each one of us tonight. Might we see you, Lord Jesus, tonight, high and lifted up. Might you alone be exalted. You said, “I am the Lord. That is my name. I will not share my glory with another, nor my praises with the graven images.” And God, we thank you that you’re the Lord of lords and the King of kings. And we invite you to take over tonight. Thank you, God. Whoever puts their trust in you has never been disappointed. And we just thank you for that. You’re such a faithful God. And we just, as we look out tonight and as we think of all your faithfulness, we just want to bless you, and praise you. We want to tell you we’re looking forward to seeing you. Thank you, he who shall come and will not delay. Now, Lord, we just call on you to use this time for your glory and honor, and I want to say thank you that you will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Turn if you would to 1 Cor. 5:1. “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you and of a kind that does not even occur among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud!” We can stop right there.
1 Cor. 5:1. There was a sin that was unrighteous in the church and Paul had not been there for some time. Many had never seen his face. He said he was coming, though some questioned that and he wrote this book ahead of time and said there is sin; the sort of sin was sexual sin of immorality. And he said in verse 2, “And you are proud!” And I think it’s interesting what happens with sin, that sin always brings pride. Sin never brings humility. Sin brings pride. Sin brings pride. You look in chapter 4 and the apostle Paul said, “I would like to come with a spirit of gentleness.” But he said if the sin was not gone by the time he came, he said, “I’ll come with a rod.” You never give opportunity for sin. Because, as it says in chapter 5, it’s like leaven and it grows. Most of you have not been in the military, I presume. Maybe some of you have. But I know I was in Vietnam. And when people were shot in Vietnam, it was a matter of minutes – to save the whole body sometimes you had to amputate a leg or both legs, or maybe even a whole arm or part of a chest cavity, because of gangrene that would set in. My brother-in-law today has an artificial leg and an artificial arm, but his life was saved even though half of his body was lost. As much as he wanted to save that leg and arm, it would have been a very unwise doctor to have tried to have saved the leg and killed the body.
Look with me, if you will, in chapter 5, and read verse 3: “Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit, and I have already passed judgment on the one who did this just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit… and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast [a little leaven] works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast – as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice…”
Here he started out talking about an immoral person, but here he’s talking about “the yeast of malice and the yeast of wickedness, but rather with the bread that is without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” You don’t have sincerity and truth if there is malice or wickedness. Verse 9: “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral.” And now Paul takes advantage of this principle to expand it to other areas of sin that he considers just as grave, just as spiritually devastating to the body, just as unrighteous as immorality, and he says “sexually immoral” and then he says “or greedy…” (and sometimes greed can
be more than just money) “…or an idolater or a slanderer, or a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.’ ”
Who was this chapter written to? The wicked man? No! In chapter 6 Paul said, “Is there not one wise man?” Is there not one? You don’t have option by God to tolerate sin.
And we have spent time with the leaders in this church for many years in the past, and because sin has not been cropped out, this church in years past has had divisions. And some have shown repentance last night, some of the leaders here. Praise God for their heart. And other brothers, even John, who shared here last night, has repented of certain sins in his life. Since then there has been others that have come to us and repented, several.
Turn with me, if you will, to Numbers 25:1. “While Israel was staying in Shittim, the men began to indulge in sexual immorality with Moabite women, who invited them to the sacrifices to their gods. The people ate and bowed down before these gods. So Israel joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor. And the Lord’s anger burned against them. And the Lord said to Moses, ‘Take all the leaders of these people, kill them and expose them in broad daylight before the Lord so that the Lord’s fierce anger may turn away from Israel.’ And so Moses said to Israel’s judges, “ ‘Each of you must put to death those of your men who have joined in worshiping the Baal of Peor.’ ”
You see, they didn’t identify it as idolatry. But every sin – be it slander, be it immorality, be it drunkenness, be it greed, be it slander, be it faction, be it gossip, be it covetousness – takes on the form of some religion. In this particular one, who is the Baal of Peor that was related to immorality? In verse 6 he says, “Then an Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman, right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” Notice the arrogance, almost the bold parading of the wicked. They didn’t just do it – they paraded it right in front. It was an open display, flaunting itself. And verse 6 says “the Israelite man brought to his family a Midianite woman right before the eyes of Moses and the whole assembly of Israel while they were weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.”
Verse 7: “When Phinehas, son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest saw this, he left the assembly, took a spear in his hand and followed the Israelite into the tent. He drove the spear through both of them – through the Israelite and into the woman’s body. Then the plague against the Israelites was stopped; but those who died in the plague numbered 24,000.” With all sin it’s like a plague.
Hold your finger here. I want to come right back, but turn with me to 1 Corinthians. Paul said in Galatians, “Do not be deceived. God will not be mocked. Whatever we sow in the flesh we will reap corruption.” Every farmer knows that you can sow and it will take time. And you can think things are fine, but if the sowing is of the flesh, in time you will reap corruption. If you sow in the spirit, in time you will reap life. Now look at 1 Cor. 10:1. “For I do not want you to be ignorant of this fact, brothers…” Seven times in the New Testament Paul said, “I don’t want you to be ignorant of something.” It’s good that we know the different times. One of the seven is this portion: “…of this fact, our brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea.” What is that saying? In a sense, they were all the household of God, they were all the children of God, they were all getting the blessings of God. There was no distinction, or you could say they were all in the household of God. God was in them or God was with them. They all passed through the sea – every one of them, all of them. But look at verse 2, what he says now: “They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink.”
God burns with wrath every day at unrighteousness. And Jesus was anointed with the oil of gladness above his companions, and that’s why he was so strong. As Dennis was singing earlier, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” And joy, with joy comes power and fruitfulness, and that comes from loving righteousness and hating iniquity, and you don’t love what is righteous any more than you hate what is wrong. And humanism focuses on “love” so-called. And if you’re not able to identify what you hate, your love is shallow. Jesus loved righteousness and he hated iniquity. He loved righteousness and he hated iniquity. So God anointed him above the others.
And look at Numbers 25:10. It was this young priest. And brothers and sisters, do you realize that you’re all priests? And not just men. Jael saved the day when some of the men were a little fearful. She put the tent peg through the wicked man. Do you know what it says in the book of Proverbs? “Like a polluted stream and a muddy well is the righteous man who gives way to the wicked. [Repeated with emphasis.] The doing of justice is a joy to the righteous, but to the workers of iniquity it is a calamity. [Repeated.]” Think of that, Proverbs. Let that be your measuring stick. A standard…
Sister, do you have a question? Is that your husband next to you? Can you ask him later tonight at home? Okay?
“The doing of justice is a joy to the righteous, to the workers of iniquity it’s a calamity.” God gives us a lot of measuring sticks. Look back at verse 10 here. “ ‘And Aaron, the priest, has turned my anger away from the Israelites.’ ” You see, there wasn’t growth growth in Israel. And brothers and sisters, it may be arrogance on your part if you think you’re flourishing. And if you think that, you’ve got your head in the sand. You are not flourishing. And it’s because you are unholy. Because it is inevitable that you flourish and multiply. “The righteous will flourish like a green tree.” You don’t need to learn little tricks and little programs. Like Dennis was saying of Brother Terry. He didn’t have the programs. He didn’t have the gifts. He didn’t have this and that and the other. But I know Terry real well today. And
what he has is a spirit of righteousness. And he flourishes and he flourishes. And it affects the rest. Even though you may be innocent like Jonathan. What about Achan, or whatever his name was there, in Jericho where he put his little silver under the tent? You see, as a body we all suffer. And that’s why under the Old Testament Scriptures as well as in the New Testament Scriptures we were all under the mandate to promote and stand up for righteousness. And what it says in verse 10 (I still haven’t finished the verse)… the last of this verse: “ ‘for he [for Phinehas] was as zealous as I am for my honor.’ ” That’s what it says. I don’t quite know how it words it in the NASB. The NIV says, “ ‘for he [or Phinehas] was as zealous as I am for my honor.’ ” You wouldn’t think of someone being zealous for honor to go put someone to death. His own brother. His own brother! Notice verse 5: “Moses said to the Israelite judges, ‘Each of you must put to death those of your men…’ ” The judges did not act. Phinehas was not a judge. But Phinehas feared God and he acted. And he saved the nation though thousands died. He saved the body, and look what else. God said “ ‘he was zealous for my honor as I am for my honor.’ ” The rest of the verse says in the NIV, “ ‘so that in my zeal I did not put an end to them.’ ” Verse 12: “ ‘Therefore tell him I am making my covenant of peace with him. He and his descendants will have a covenant of a lasting priesthood because he was zealous for the honor of his God.’ ” [Verse repeated.]
Turn if you would to the book of Galatians. Remember Paul in Corinth in chapter 5 he only addressed the immoral person once, twice he addressed the people who were proud and arrogant. It’s one thing to have sin in the camp. It’s deplorable if there’s not a humility, and a brokenness, and a holy zeal to eradicate it. You see, we forbear, we endure, we are patient with anything and everything, with opinion, with ideas, with different thoughts, with different programs, with different methods, but not with unrighteousness. That’s gangrene. Look at Galatians 5:19. “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry, hatred, witchcraft, discord…” Discord. It puts discord right after hatred and witchcraft in the list with immorality. Then it says, “jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition” – that’s usually where it comes from. It’s cloaked in other terms, but it’s selfish ambition. “Dissensions” and then “factions.” These are the acts of the flesh, and it puts it with witchcraft. It puts it with sexual immorality! You know what the word “faction” comes from – from the word “party.” “Party spirit” or “a party” or “a clique,” a little group. A group that gathers. That is of the flesh. That goes along with immorality and witchcraft. Because that destroys. Immorality, unchecked and unrepented, can in time destroy a physical body. A little party, a little clique, in time will destroy a spiritual body.
Look if you would in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 6:10: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” I think it’s interesting what comes after this; it may be worse than just poverty of money. But look at verse 12: “A scoundrel and villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart – he always stirs up dissension. Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant; he will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy.” One who stirs up dissension; one who stirs up. And notice the different ways: it can be a corrupt mouth, a wink with the eye. Have you ever seen that? You know, someone just kinda winked to show disrespect. Just a smirk. In fact, look what the next verse says, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him,” or, yeah, seven is an abomination. In other words, what he’s trying to say is, “…six, but I want to reinforce the seventh one, because you won’t believe that it is as bad as the other six.” He’s giving double emphasis for the seventh, but notice the first one. Seventeen: “a haughty eye,” “a haughty eye,” or an arrogant eye. God hates an arrogant look; a smirk, or “one who winks,” it said earlier.
I want to tell you, “The eyes of the Lord are beholding the good and the evil.” One of the first verses my little children memorized. ‘Cause Mommy and Daddy couldn’t always be around to see every little thing, and we wanted the children to see, though we may miss, God will not. “The eyes of the Lord are beholding the good and the evil.” And the first in the list that God says he hates is how we look, with a haughty and arrogant, or a wink, as it says earlier. At our eye. And then verse 17 says, “a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood” – that’s what you would think would be very common, if God hated something. How many of us abominate a haughty eye as much as someone who commits murder? Someone in this church, if they committed murder, how many of us would get upset over that? And yet someone can say a little gossip, a little slander, be disrespectful of some brother, some sister, and we’re so indifferent. God’s not indifferent. You see, you have set your moral standard on the basis of the voice of the people instead of the voice of God. God put the way you look first, then he put what you say second. And then he talked about murder. And really, if it isn’t checked, every murderer, every man on death row today, started out in most cases as a little child being arrogant, of some fashion or another, and it grew. That’s why God puts it on the list. And he says, verse 18, “a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil.” You know, it is one thing to go into evil, it’s another thing to be quick. Verse 19, “and a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.” That’s the last. That’s the last. “Six things I hate, yes, seven are an abomination… Stirring up dissension, dissension.” That’s making little divisions, little cliques, dividing, forcing divisions.
Turn if you would to Numbers. We don’t have time to look at another Scripture in Chronicles, but there was a king in the Old Testament who was in Judah, and Israel had a larger army than Judah. And the king of Judah hired the armies of Israel. Now get this, listen close. These were all Jews, they were all Israelites in that sense. They were all from the children of Abraham. Or you could say they were all God’s people, if you want to call them…, use that title. And the king of Judah hired some of the Israelites in the north country to come down and help fight their battle, which was a righteous thing that they were involved in. And the prophet of God came. We don’t know his name, but he came to the king because the Israelites in the north, there was some unrighteousness with those brethren. And the king in Judah thought he needed those brethren to fulfill the mission of God. He had already invested what would have amounted to years, maybe decades, of hard work, and poured out an equivalent of, no doubt, millions, or maybe in our economics, billions of dollars. Which was the hard-earned money and time, and they had invested, in a sense, their life into their fellow brethren in the north country that had come in. And the prophet said, “Send them back” because they were unrighteous. And the king said, “But we need them, and not only that, I’ve poured out all this money and we’ve given them so much.” And the prophet looked at the king, and he said this to him, “If you don’t send them back, you will not only lose your life, you will lose the war, you will lose the battle. The very reason you want to keep them is the very thing you’re going to lose.” The very reason Saul went ahead and sacrificed the animal was to save his army, and he lost the whole army. His logic was twisted because it wasn’t lined up with the Scripture. And the king, his logic was twisted, and the prophet came and said, “No, send ‘em back.” He said, “If you don’t, you’re going to lose the battle, and King, O King, you’re going to lose your life.” “But what about all we’ve given and poured out? All our life’s earnings?” And the prophet said to the king, “God has much more for you than that. God will give you much more.” And I want to tell you, it must have been a step of faith for that king – it was. He sent the brother Israelites back. He went into battle in what would have been a weakened state. He won the battle, and God, faithful to his promise, certainly gave him much more. But, you know, as you read on in the Scriptures there you see that they scourged some of the land as they went back. They suffered some for what went on. But they won the battle and God gave them much more.
Look at Numbers 30. Does your faith rest in the Word of God, like that prophet? Or in the voice of the people, like Saul? You’ll listen to one or the other. Numbers 30:13. There’s a little principle I want us to learn from this. “Her husband may confirm or nullify any vow she makes or any sworn pledge to deny herself. But if her husband says nothing to her about it from day to day, then he confirms all her vows or the pledges binding on her. He confirms them by saying nothing to her when he hears about them. If, however, he nullifies them some time after he hears about them, then he is responsible for her guilt.” What is this saying? In my Bible, in the NIV, I have underlined the three little phrases “says nothing,” and then the word “confirms.” To hear and say nothing, you’re confirming. And even to speak later you take on guilt, according to this verse. And that’s a principle that carries through in the Scriptures, in the Old Testament as well as in the New. This is why in the Old Testament they didn’t have a police force: because the people themselves knew the Law. They knew what was moral, they knew what was right, and they carried it out. Only churches today who are equipped and know what is right and wrong and what to say or what to do when something is spoken or said to them can be the way they were in the book of Numbers. To say nothing is to confirm. You say, “Well, I haven’t said anything.” If you hear something that’s not right, if it’s disrespectful to a fellow believer, to a fellow brother, to a fellow sister, you are confirming it. You are an accessory to a crime. In fact, this is where our judicial system, our legal system today, gets that as accessories to crime, from the Old Testament. If you do nothing, but you just ride in the car and they rob the bank and it’s their ideas, and you don’t say a thing, if it’s a righteous judge and he follows our statutes, you’d go to jail with him. And they get that from the Old Testament. Because, you see, God wants all of us to be righteous, and to be like Phinehas. And to say nothing is to confirm. That’s why some have spoken up as they repented, and John last night and others that will, as they repent sin. And God will bless those men and they’ll… and women… and they’ll be like Phinehases. And God will bless them. Fearing God more than the people, and God will bless them. And God will bless them.
Look if you would to the book of Leviticus. In times of trouble and times of problems are your times of opportunity. And I’ll show you that in just a minute. Lev. 19:18. Well, start with verse 13. “ ‘ “Do not defraud your neighbor or rob him.” ’ ” Isn’t it interesting that the Law puts defrauding and robbing as the same? “Defraud” relates to a man’s reputation, “rob” relates to his pocketbook. Some brother or sister who says a little gossip or something that does not honor or bring, in your eyes, respect for this person, be it a leader or be it some other believer or saint. They can say that and you may not think anything of it. But what if they pulled out of their pocket and said, “Hey, here’s $100 that I took from that person.” You’d look at him and say, “You robbed him.” You’d condemn him; you’d say, “Brother, that’s wrong. You give it back. That’s theirs.” When you say something that’s disrespectful, that defames a brother or a sister, you’re robbing them. It’s just as wrong as stealing from them. You’re robbing their reputation, and they are made in the image of God, and if they’re a born-again saint, they’re the very apple of God, they’re the very body of Christ. And you have touched the Lord Jesus. “Because whatever you do to the least, you’ve done to me.”
My, how we live paradoxical lives. If a Christian would murder, how strong you would stand. But if they wink, or are arrogant, or say a little slur or something, you’re so indifferent. If they would rob someone of $100, my, how strong you would stand, but if they would rob them of their reputation, my, how indifferent you are! What sort of hypocrisy is that? And then you wonder why God has not made you fruitful. You wonder why you have not seen people raised up, you wonder why the church is about at the same number as it was five years ago, ten years ago – why you’re not leading people to the Lord, multiplying your life.
And you go on through here in the Scriptures and look at verse 16. “ ‘ “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life.” ’ ” Isn’t that amazing? You see, even the heathen know better than that. Because Christians are merciful and kind, and don’t take one another to law, some of you, living in the world, would have been sued for the filthy mouth that you have. And you have used your freedom as a license for evil. But God will judge you. Don’t you be deceived – God will judge you. And if he or she is deceived, Brethren, don’t you be deceived. God will judge. Sometimes you might think it’s not worth it. David didn’t think it was worth it at the time until he went into the temple of the Lord and then he said, “I see the end.” But look, look what the Scripture says in verse 17. “ ‘ “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt.” ’ ” You are as guilty hearing or knowing as the one who initiates and does, if you do not rebuke such a one, sharply. You incur that guilt, you take it upon yourself.
Turn if you would to 1 Cor. 11. Brothers and sisters, I want to tell you, the most joyful life is a holy life. The most joyful life – not the easiest life – the most joyful, the most fruitful. Look at chapter 11:17. “In the following directives I have no praise for you.” Some of you might have felt, “Oh, Jim, take it easy, be patient.” Paul said if there was repentance he would be that way. If not, he said in chapter 4, “I will come with a rod.” Do you know what it says in the book of Proverbs? That if you do not diligently discipline your children, you hate them. And I don’t want to hate you – I love you. And there is sin in the camp. And though my children often-times do not think it’s right to get a spanking… And some of the other children… I don’t know. You don’t have a family of seven. You might not realize this, but sometimes all of the children will think, “Oh, Mommy and Daddy are gonna spank him, and I don’t think they should, and I don’t want them to.” And sometimes it’s almost like… If you just have two or three, I don’t know. It’s a little different. But sometimes it’s kind of like four or five of them feel sorry or feel it’s wrong, but they don’t know. But the mature know. That’s why Paul said in chapter 6, “Are any wise?” The mature know. In Gal. 6 it says, “Those of you that are mature, to do that.” To put it back in joint, like dislocation, and that hurts. You could leave it out and feel more comfortable and think things are fine, and go along better for awhile. But it’ll hurt worse later. And the Lord Jesus said those who he loves he disciplines, not pampers. You see we have a whole mis… distorted thinking of what love is. Love is showing mercy and kindness, but God never, NO … NOT … ONCE … EVER … did that where justice was not met. NEVER. And that’s why he had to die on the cross, and that’s why he’ll still inflict eternal wrath on people who don’t repent and come to Christ. And though we’re free from the eternal doom, we’re not freed from that principle through life. We grieve the Spirit, we quench the Spirit. And we will not be fruitful in the Spirit.
Chapter 11:17: “…the following directives I have no praise for you.” You might have said, “Oh, Paul, couldn’t you cheer us up a little more?” You know, my children, when they go to a doctor… They don’t like to go to the doctor. How many of you have little children? Have you ever heard them say, “Oh, I don’t want to go to the doctor”? They don’t like doctors. Huh? How many of you have ever had that happen? Raise your hand, real quick. Put it up there. Yeah! It takes maturity, doesn’t it? It’s only little babies or little children. Because it seems like the doctor hurts them. And it takes a mature person. In fact, my wife, when one of our little boys got a cut, we took our little boy to the doctor, and it was hard, ‘cause it was in a hard place and they gave him a shot to kinda deaden it, but it didn’t deaden it, and I was having to hold him down, and my wife, she couldn’t stomach it. She had to go out of the room. And I held him down. That was hard. There’s only one thing that would have been worse – if I would have done what the humanist said, and loved him and let him loose.
And look what Paul said here. He loved them, and I love you, and that’s why I’m saying this. So you can have true joy. So the Spirit can flow and things will move, and sometimes we have to go through the relocating of a shoulder or even sometimes where there’s an amputation, but we save the body. And look at what Paul says here: “In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good.” Verse 18: “In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval.” You know what that says? And it always does it. With the sins of immorality, with the sins of idolatry in a church, or the sins of greed and different kinds of sins, it affects certain individuals. But the sin of division, the sin of faction and party spirit, cliquish spirits – that sin does more than all the other sins to reveal those that are approved of God. Because, as one brother said, it seems like you have to take a side. And that’s what Paul said right here. To show those that are approved.
When we came into town the other night there was some interaction with a few that we were with. And where I thought some of the concern was with Dennis and myself, and some things that we interacted with. As we spent more time we began to discover where the real problem lies. There has been in this church, though the leaders may not be perfect (and no leaders are)… Nonetheless we are commanded of God to obey our leaders, to respect our leaders, and to honor our leaders. In this church there has been a high element that has disrespected, disobeyed, and dishonored their leaders. The issue is not with Dennis or myself. I don’t care what they think of us. I could care less. Their reflection on us only revealed their tremendous disrespect. If we were no more than long gone friends, lost friends, such distrust of their leaders, when Dennis and I are some of their best friends, shows they don’t trust their leaders. Like a father who has maybe been away from home, for a long time, and they say, “Oh, we love Mother.” Maybe some didn’t even know Father. And they come in and the fact that there’s no respect for the fathers shows they don’t have any trust for their mother, and go contrary to what their mother has said. And I want to tell you, my desire is to re-establish the local leadership here. There has been a blatant rebellion with the local leaders right here. Like Korah’s rebellion. There has been an indifference. We were with one last night. The leader didn’t ask him to do anything bad; in fact it was good. To not foster further a rift that had been started for months now. He said it was wrong, but went right ahead. Being admonished, being pled with by his leader. The disrespect. You see, the issue doesn’t matter – how mature or how perfect they are.
Look at Saul. David cut off the hem of Saul’s garment. Saul was out to kill David. But David felt guilty, because he knew Saul was ordained of God. And such blatant disrespect, dishonor. That’s the problem. It’s because, as it says in the book of Judges, “When the leaders led and the people volunteered, there was great joy.”
The leaders have been hanging on and others have been leading. And that’s why some of our coming in heightened and brought to the surface the problem. And there’s been a disrespect, there’s been a dishonor.
Turn with me to the book of Hebrews. I want to show you one last verse. Hebrews 13. You know, there’s one verse that says to remember the Lord. Heb. 13:7 says, “Remember your leaders.” You see, remembering the Lord will keep you pure. Remembering your leaders will also. You’re commanded to remember also your leaders. In fact, Paul, who started the church at Corinth, many years later, in chapter 4 of 1 Corinthians, he sent Timothy back. He warned them. He said, “You may have many teachers, but you only have one father.” And he said, “I am your father in the faith.” He said, “I don’t write these things to shame you, but to warn you.” And he said, “I am sending Timothy back to remind you of my ways” – not his doctrines, but his ways – his holy ways, his righteous ways, his zealous ways, his loving ways. And they were proud. He said, “Oh, you’re so prudent. We’re dishonored. We’re weak and you’re so strong.” And Hebrews 13 here says, “Remember your leaders.” And much of this chapter is on that.
And then look at verse 17. “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy…,” or will be done in joy, and not in grief or “…a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you…” or unprofitable “…to you.” Do you see that verse? This is a very unique verse in all of the New Testament. There are not too many verses that can give you a measuring stick of your future. If you’d like to know how your future is going to go… is it going to be profitable or advantageous for you in the future? Where is a verse that indicates that? There may be others, but I can’t think of any right at the moment. But for sure this is one.
We say, “Well, as long as the Lord is pleased.” Yes, if the Lord is pleased with you, guaranteed, you’re going to have a good future. Here’s the problem with that. The flesh and the devil can deceive you about whether the Lord is pleased with you. Oh, you can say, “Oh, I know the Lord is pleased with me.” The Bible says, “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool.” Balaam, as he was going on his donkey, he could have said, “I know the Lord is pleased with me. I prayed to the Lord. He told me to go.” Was the Lord pleased with him? His donkey spoke to him; he was a dumb prophet. Some of us are so dumb, if we keep going it’ll be an ass that will have to speak to you. You say, “Oh, I prayed.” You see, God isn’t going to tell you two or three times. He told Balaam once and Balaam came back again, and God said, “Alright, go.” It says in the book of Psalms, “He granted them their requests. God answered and sent leanness to their soul.” Yes, the devil will feed you now and it’ll taste good now, but it’ll be gravel later. With the Lord it’ll seem like gravel now, but it’ll be honey to your soul. You’ve got the choice. That’s always the way of the devil. Remember Esau and Jacob? Esau wanted the beans, now, and he gave up the birthright. You can get it now. You can get what’s best. You can make choices tonight, that are good for you, tonight, that are best for you, tonight, or you can suffer tonight and give up your birthright and you can weep and you’ll lose out in the future.
This is a unique verse, because it’s as a barometer; it’s like a thermometer, to indicate your spiritual health and what your future’s going to be like and it’s unlike any other verse that I know of in the New Testament. And here’s why. Indeed, if the Lord is pleased, that’s right. But the problem is knowing if the Lord is pleased. You can say, “Oh, I think the Lord is pleased.” But you see, though Jesus has a body, you don’t see it; though he has a voice, he is not audibly talking to you. If you think so, you’ve got a problem. Because he said he’s going to be seated and stay at the right hand of God until he comes back, and he’s not back yet. His Spirit is in us; his Spirit bears witness with our spirit. But there’s verses that tell us how to test the spirits and try the spirits.
The Bible says that “the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing the spirit and soul, joints and marrow, discerner of the thoughts and intents of the mind.” Our “heart is deceitful above all and desperately wicked, who can know it?” You can’t know your heart and mind. So God gives you some tangibles. Not how you feel, not how you think. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not to your own understanding,” your own thinking. Thomas Aquinas thought everything fell but the mind. And he got us off. You’d better not trust in how you feel or how you think. Is there a clear verse for it? Confirm it by counsel. “I got counsel!”
But notice what this verse says. God promises you in verse 17 that your leaders, your authority, your elders, that they are your gauge for your future. And it’s not a tricky thing, you know. It’s not something you can twist and adjust. It’s not even what they say. You know, sometimes leaders say, “Oh, great, everything’s going fine,” but really, it’s not. And, you know, I’m with leaders all the time, all over the United States, all over the world. And as we work together to help the different flocks, they pour out different things with different ones, and we counsel and confer together, and pray together, and go over the Word together with different problems. And they’ll say, and come across just like a parent, like a mother and a father and a family, “Oh, this son, he’s so encouraging.” But you know, as parents, mothers and fathers, you’ll say, “This one has been so testing, so trying, Honey. He’s been bothering me all day. It’s been so difficult. Oh, this little sweetie, she’s been so kind, she’s been so helpful.” It’s the same way with shepherds in a flock, in a spiritual family and the spiritual shepherd, the overseer, the leader. You’ll mention different saints and say, “Oh, yeah, they’re a believer, they’re knit in. This saint, oh, yeah, that brother, that sister has brought me such joy, such encouragement.” I know this is true with many of you with different ones. I know Harry [Poindexter] has shared different ones – many of you have brought joy. I… Harry was mentioning Jim [Smart] since he was the lawyer for the [Cornerstone’s equal access] trial some time ago, and I was talking to him about it, and he says, “Yeah.”
And I said, “How’s Jim doing?”
And he said, “Oh, he’s doing great. He encourages me so much.” He’s got a future, I guarantee you. God’s got a promise in his life.
And I asked him about another brother, “How’s he?”
He said, “Oh, he encourages me; he’s so encouraging.”
“What about that sister – how’s she doing?”
“She’s so encouraging.”
“What about that brother – how’s he doing, Harry?”
“Well, it’s been rough. It’s been a real burden.”
And I want to tell you brethren, unless God is a liar you’ve got this verse hanging over your head. It’s going to go unprofitable to you, …or sister. Your profit, your advantage. You see, isn’t that nice of God, because, you see, we can be easily deceived what Jesus thinks. And Jesus in his mercy has given us tangibles, the Word. And a leader or leaders that you can get tangible, clear evidence of your spiritual future and your condition.
If you wrote down on a piece of paper tonight… you see every saint comes into one of three categories. Most are in the middle. Some – a few – come in the category… you think of them… you say, “Oh, they bring me joy.” The others come in the category “Oh, they’re a burden. They bring me grief – there’s been grief.” And then there’s just a bunch of neutral ones that don’t bring joy or grief; they’re just kind of neuter. You don’t have any promise in your life. But there is promise in your life: it’ll go bad for you if you bring them grief. And turning it around it’ll go well for you if you don’t.
Isn’t it very interesting? It’s the same principle as with parents. Have you ever thought of that? In Ephesians chapter 6 it gives the command and it carries it over from the Old Testament to honor your parents, and obey them and be subject to them and respect them, and it will go well with you. My, how we preach that verse! There’s only one verse that says that. Most of you are not children in your parents’ home any more, and you can’t operate that one as much any more. But for most of your adult life you can operate… whether you like the analogy or not, God puts it there – the same principle is true with your spiritual leaders. If you’re a grief to them it’s going to go unprofitable to you, or if you bring them joy it’ll go profitable.
You know this verse applies to me – I’ve got leaders over me: Dennis and many other men that I labor with. And you know, I spend most of my waking hours in the work of the Lord pleasing those men. Most of my waking hours. I do not spend most of my hours preaching and teaching in conferences and churches. I spend most of my waking hours in the work of the Lord, serving my fellow leaders, bringing them joy. And I know, and I think, by God’s grace, as they report to me again and again, “Jim, I appreciate you so much.” That encourages me. And I know it’s going to go well with me. ‘Cause I have leaders just like you. And above everything else I make sure those leaders, I’m bringing them joy. I may displease some saints in the flock, but I wait, I’ll never step past the line where I know I’ll displease my leaders. Like Saul, who was anxious because of all the men with him – he didn’t recognize Samuel his leader, and he went ahead and he lost it. Even the death of his son.
Brothers and sisters, you’ve heard a lot tonight. My prayer is that everyone will be humble and respond. My next prayer is for those who don’t, if they do not, it is not for them, but it is for the rest of you, that you’ll be like Phinehas. Like Paul said, “I suppose it must be, to find out those who are approved of God.” And those are your opportunities. And Hebrews 13:17 – it says if your leaders are joyful with what you do it’s going to be profitable in your life. Don’t ever forget it.
God, thank you for your Word. Thank you, God, that we don’t have to guess, we don’t have to say prayers and like Balaam the dumb prophet. He prayed and he even got answers from you, but he was so twisted that you had a donkey finally talk to him, after you bashed him against the wall and twisted his leg. O God, I pray that we’d have a broken and a contrite spirit. I pray that we’d be able to be led with your eye on us. Lord, I thank you, though any here that will not be led with your eye, in time you’ll put a bit and bridle in their mouth.
You’ll take the circumstances of life… Maybe not tonight. Tonight there may be a choice to look at your eye. But tomorrow, next week, next year, the bit will be tightened into the mouth, and they’ll be led that way. God, I want to be led by your eye. I want to see your Word. I want to see my fellow leaders… I want to see Harry… I want to see the other men… I want to make these men joyful. I thank you. I know I’m making you joyful then. Because you commanded it in Heb. 13:17. Thank you, Lord Jesus. It’s so easy if we’re broken and humble. It’s so easy to see. It’s so simple. It’s only hard for the hard-hearted. Help us to humble ourselves as little children, so that we can inherit all the blessings. To be willing to suffer with you so that we can reign with all that you have. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I know we’ve gone a little longer. There’s been several things. Of course, I’ve been building up a little bit of steam for two or three days laying in my bed. But there are some things that can come as grief to some of you, and in some ways it is grief. But in other ways doing of justice is a joy to the righteous, because we believe some things are going to work for good, so that there can be more fruit in the future. And Harry’s going to share some thoughts for just a few minutes, and then Dave for just a few minutes.
HARRY POINDEXTER: You know, I want you to realize that if you’ve been convicted of sin, and you’ve seen God work in our midst and deal with blinders over your eyes, in situations in your life, I’m responsible for that as well. And God needs to work in my life as well as he needs to work in your life. And I am one who is needy before the Lord as well. And I want you to know that.
Some time ago Gary Henke called a meeting of men, and he called me and asked me what my opinion was about it, and I told him that I had serious reservations about it and that I felt that it would be an opportunity for people to grumble and that there could be very serious consequences as a result of it. I asked him who he had invited to the meeting, and I don’t remember every name or every person, but in the process of his telling me people that he asked he said that “There were some ones that I didn’t ask because I know that they don’t have any concerns.” And what he was doing was he was calling together a group of people that he knew would be upset and would feed each other’s anxiety and concern and would stir each other up. And indeed, Sunday after worship, ones came to me, one gal, one girl came to me and said, “When John was up here talking about division that I was right beside him in my own heart.” And she asked my forgiveness, and she said, “I was in that same manner of conduct when I was there.”
Another brother came to me and said that the night before that he had been reading through the Word on his own and said that God had convicted him of the same verses in Galatians, about how the deeds of the flesh are strife and dissensions and factions. And he had been at the meeting and he had had a factious spirit and a party spirit, and he wanted to ask my forgiveness and commit himself to me.
And, you know, saints, I’m not perfect and I need to learn, I need to grow. I’m so grateful to these men that they are here to teach me. I need to learn from them and you need to learn from them.
Anyway, I had Gary over to the house and these men spoke to him in a loving, kind, gentle fashion. And Gary said, when he started out, “You know, I reluctantly called that meeting because I was well aware that it could lead to dissension and faction.”
And we discussed with him… we said, “You know, what does the Word say about things that you know might… even when you have a question about it, should you do it? No, you shouldn’t do it.” We said, “In the Word when it says, ‘Wives obey your husbands,’ what is the wife’s responsibility in a situation like that?” Well, the responsibility of the wife is to obey her husband. And so, if your husband asks you to do something, what do you do? Well, you obey him. If he asks you to do something unreasonable, you obey him. And in the Scriptures it says for the saints to obey your leaders.”
Gary knew my desire. Now, I wasn’t strong with him. I didn’t say, “Gary, don’t do this,” but he knew and even admitted there last night that – he said he knew that my desire was not for the meeting. Now Clint even affirmed and said, “It’s okay.” But when you get conflicting reports from two different elders, you don’t just go ahead and do what you want to do. You wait, and you don’t pursue things in your own strength and in your own counsel. And he shouldn’t have done that.
Now, Gary wasn’t disciplined for having a meeting. Gary wasn’t disciplined for inciting people. Gary was disciplined because he wouldn’t even say he was wrong in that. When we talked to him… and, you know, we said, “This is what it is – you shouldn’t have done that. It was wrong.” Now he didn’t have bad intentions. He had legitimate concerns; he had good intentions. He wanted to have people together and he wanted to talk about things, but it wasn’t the way to do it. It was against my desires and it was wrong.
And, you see, all of us do things that are wrong, many times without someone telling us to do things, telling it’s wrong before in advance. You know. But nonetheless, when you find out it’s wrong you need to confess it and repent and forsake it. And Gary wouldn’t do that. He said, “Brothers, I’ve prayed about it and I just feel in my heart, I feel in my heart that it’s not wrong.”
But, you know, he was confronted with facts, not feelings. And it’s not a matter of how you feel – it’s a matter of what is presented to you and you must then… you don’t even need to feel remorse – you just need to say that it’s wrong. And because he was unable to say that it was wrong, we disciplined him. And he wasn’t disciplined on the basis of Matthew 18. Matthew 18 says that you go to him with another, then you go to him with two, and then you take him before the church. He was disciplined on the basis of this verse, in Romans 16:17 (and let’s turn to that): “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves not of our Lord Jesus but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and innocent in what is evil.”
And saints, Gary is outside of the church now, and it’s not for his punishment, it’s for his discipline. Gary is still a member of our church and he’s being disciplined until he changes his mind and comes back. And it’s not to hurt – if it causes him grief it’s good for him. But when Gary repents and comes back, he’s a member of this church in good standing.
MEL BOCKELMAN: Brother, I mean this as no disrespect, but I spoke to Gary before he even had the meeting, and he said it was not his intention…
DAVE GUMLIA (breaking in): I think, Mel, it would be good at this point…
HARRY (breaking in): That’s right. It’s not the intent that counts.
MEL: He did not try to divide people. He went to help people, to [gather?] their concerns into one [unclear on tape].
HARRY: That’s right…
MEL: And the reason that…
HARRY (breaking in): And the point is it’s not a matter of his intention, Mel – it’s a matter of what he did.
DAVE: Mel, I think we should let Harry finish. Let God confirm out of the mouth of two or three witnesses the facts. There were nine of us men there. I think it’s good to just sit and listen to all that is said, okay? And to trust God. This is our opportunity, your opportunity to trust God through your leaders.
MEL: But first, Dave…
SCOTT WILCOX (breaking in): “The first to come and plead his case seems right until another comes and examines him,” as it says in the Word of God. Are you going to allow a time for another to come [unclear on tape]…?
JIM: I might add there was many that came and examined him.
SISTER: Where’s Clint?
JIM: I don’t know.
BROTHER: Wait a minute. Harry, are you done speaking?
HARRY: No, I’m not.
BROTHER: Why don’t we let him finish?
SCOTT: Is there going to be time for someone else to examine him other than [unclear on tape]…?
DAVE: I want to point out right now this is part of the difficulty in this church.
DAVE: Right here. Ones rising up, asserting themselves and not trusting God to lead through the leaders. Are you bringing them joy? Are you trusting God? Now, we’re not going to be defensive. Moses never rose, he got on his face when there was rebellion, because he trusted God to intervene. And we are trusting God to intervene and to help. Because we want righteousness to reign.
JIM: Maybe I could just add, Scott, ‘cause I think that’s a good verse that you shared, and I think it sometimes gets confused in the context. In the context of that verse in the Old Testament that was the responsibility of the judges to do that very thing. In fact, as I mentioned there before, Phinehas… I don’t even know if he was in that category. And it’s because the judges did not judge. And in the New Testament that’s the blessing, that’s the purpose of the leaders. That’s why God gave us leaders. That’s their whole purpose. And the exciting thing is that, actually, as little as I know about it, I know at least about a dozen people… and especially the responsible parties, which were the local elders who heard him out. And it’s on that grounds. You see, in America there’s what we call democracy. In the Old Testament there was not democracy. You don’t vote, in the Old Testament. Many churches today vote. That’s unbiblical. We’re not going to have a vote. [Disruption of tape while changing sides.] He judged them. He judged them. For example, in the Old Testament there were some of the men that came forward, and God faithfully destroyed their lives. And if you give opportunity you ask “How.” That relates a little bit in your trust for God because you can’t see anything. It doesn’t mean that God isn’t faithful.
SCOTT: We thought Phinehas… I mean, he was not a judge and he intervened, and God empowered him and stopped the plague before it got too far.
SCOTT: It’s well to mention that the people in the Old Testament knew about the Law and they were able to know what the Law was. And they could decide, and it wasn’t said, “Well, you all don’t understand these things,” and so they didn’t need a police force to enforce them, because the people themselves knew. Because as we stand before God we can examine all the facts…
JIM (breaking in): …And that’s why your leaders, Scott, are giving testimony.
SCOTT (tries to speak but is cut off again): …And that’s why…
JIM: And that’s why you’ll be judged by God if you do not respond to them. Because, you see, there’s testimony by men, and you’ll be judged by God if you don’t respond.
SCOTT: If I don’t respond?
JIM: Okay, well, I just thought I’d explain that verse.
SCOTT: A question. Will we be allowed… will someone speak in Gary’s defense?
HARRY: Gary has already spoken in his own defense.
SCOTT: Will somebody speak for him now in his defense?
DAVE: Yeah, I’ll speak in his defense, and, uh…
SCOTT: You will speak in his defense?
DAVE: Yes, I’ll speak in his defense. Gary openly admitted…
SCOTT: You are a prosecutor, Brother!
DAVE: Scott, I think it would behoove you to be quiet right now, and would you please listen? (Tape unclear for a few seconds.)
JIM: But you’re assuming leaders are always against, and that comes from a distorted view in your mind. You see, the leaders are going to give an account for Gary, not you. Not you. The Bible says in Heb. 13:17… I don’t know if you read that verse…
SCOTT: I did.
JIM: But in Heb. 13:17 it says the leaders give an account, not you.
SCOTT: But I will give an account of the responsibility that I have as a brother and as a servant of the Lord Jesus in this body, as I’ve served in this body for over ten years…
JIM: Well, obviously you disagree, Scott, and it’s good to know that, so what you’ll have to do… You have never disagreed with a decision that the leaders made.
SCOTT: Well, from having heard some of the evidence and being familiar with the situation, and from knowing Gary very intimately for over ten years, I’m really amazed.
JIM: Let me just share. I’d like to just react a little bit with principle. I know, Dave and Harry, you guys want to speak, but I’d like to interrupt a little bit for principle, because I think this is a good opportunity. Let me just share a little bit of principle here and then, Dave, you can go ahead, Brother. But let me just share a little principle. The basis of a person’s innocence is not how much good you’ve seen them do.
SCOTT: Right, I agree.
JIM: For example, if somebody, a judge, put me in jail because I ran a stop light. A good buddy of mine, and maybe my wife and several would say, “Oh, Jim never runs stop signs.” Well, the judge says, “Well, I didn’t put him in jail because of the 101 stop signs he didn’t run, but it’s the one he did.”
SCOTT: Yeah, I understand.
JIM: And all you need is two or three witnesses of that. So if you don’t have any knowledge of Gary doing wrong, Scott, then you have nothing to say. And I think you have no knowledge, so you have nothing to say.
SCOTT: But you see, what my point in speaking is not to condemn, to convict Gary of wrongdoing, but to vindicate him of doing good and doing right [sic], and not at all in doing wrong.
JIM: Well, we’ve been vindicating Gary…
SCOTT: We are being brought to convict Gary of wrongdoing, and I would like to speak in defense of Gary.
JIM: You can vindicate Gary in a lot of things, Scott.
SCOTT: Well, God will vindicate Gary too, I’m sure, or God will condemn Gary…
JIM: You know what you just said?
SCOTT: God knows the truth. Yes, that’s what I said.
JIM: Well, you’ll have to call the leaders that are responsible for Gary’s life liars, but you’ll still have to abide by the decision. And if you’re right, God will judge those leaders. If you’re wrong, you’ll be judged unless you repent. And I think you ought to hold your peace and leave it there. If you have more questions you can see some of us afterwards.
DAVE: Like Harry said, Gary openly admitted that he realized he was calling a factious meeting. And he said it was a time in his life where there was a lot of decisions he was trying to make. And he forced himself. He prayed about it, and he said, “I’m going to go ahead with it.”
We asked him, “Was it wrong?”
He said, “Yes.”
And when we asked him, “Did you violate Scripture by disobeying your authority?” he said, “No,” until we helped him to see one thing. And we gave him the example that if he as a father called his wife and said, “Charessa, I want to come home, I want to discuss our family – its welfare and its direction. And let’s gather the kids together tonight, because I want to make sure our family is in order. I want to give us some direction.”
And having heard that, if the oldest child gets together the other child… or, if it’s a family of five, gets together with the other children, and he says, “You know, Daddy’s coming in, and I’m not sure there’s going to be anything good come from this meeting…” – quote (from a letter that was sent out to different ones of you), “I don’t think there’s any good that’s going to come of this meeting” – “…so let us decide what the agenda should be when Daddy comes home to discuss with Mommy what we’re doing with our family.”
And you see, when Daddy comes home, you see the kids got their agenda of all their complaints: “Daddy doesn’t love us and we’re not going to listen to him. We’re going to do our own thing.”
Now, what kind of father would that be that has children like that? Now you see, if my children got something to bring to my attention, they come to Daddy, because they know I love them. And they know I’m accountable to God. And so there’s a right way of doing things. It’s wonderful. I mean, there’s nothing to defend.
Our lives… a leader’s life should be an open book – transparent. And if someone comes and brings something to your attention, I think you should be quick to listen. “A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.” Now, I don’t know about you saints, but I’ll tell you, one of my kids came to me one time and he shared something. He said, “Dad,” …she or he, I forget who… might have been both… They shared something with me. Broke my heart. I wept. One little child. God used that little child to build into my life righteousness. And I’ll tell you something, it’s a fool that has to have a hundred blows over and over again. And brothers and sisters, if one saint came to you and brought something to your attention…
JOY McCANN (breaking in): …To continue I think maybe…
DAVE: Uh, okay. Let me finish, please. [As Joy is trying to speak – her part is garbled on tape.] Can I just finish and then I’ll let you… Can I just share and finish?
JOY: I don’t believe you’ll let me speak if you continue.
DAVE: Well, we’re willing to dialogue if I could just finish the analogy and help you understand what I’m trying to say. Will you please let me finish?
JOY: I think that if I continue…
DAVE: I’m going to ask… Is that your husband sitting next to you?
DAVE: Okay, well, I’m going to ask you, Sister…
JIM: Are you married?
JOY: No, I’m a single woman.
JIM: Where’s your father?
JOY: Uh, I assume he is at home, Sir.
JIM: Is he a believer?
JOY: No. I think it is important that the facts be understood here in that…
DAVE: We do have an appeal process, and as children have a right to appeal to their father, and it would be a different situation if…
JIM SMART: Sister, I rebuke you! Please sit down! Sister, please!
SEVERAL MEN’S VOICES: Amen. Amen.
JOY: Is that the consensus of the group?
BROTHER: You’re out of order.
ANOTHER BROTHER: It’s what’s right.
BROTHER: Please let the men finish, and then we’ll have a time, okay? They’ll give us a time to speak. I just want to remind everyone, our God is not a God of confusion. Let these men finish, and they’ll address our points, okay?
OTHER BROTHER: And if you’d like to speak, I think you would be right to ask their permission to speak. These are reasonable men. There’s nothing wrong with that. God’s got an order.
DAVE: I asked Gary, and said, “Gary, what would you think when you came home and found out your kids didn’t want to meet with you because they had their own agenda? They don’t want to listen to you. How would that affect you as a father?”
And Gary said this (I don’t think he was being honest with himself): “That’s fine with me. They should have their right to decide for themselves.”
And I said, “Gary, you’d be an unloving parent to treat your children like that.”
I don’t know about you fathers, but we have good family discussions and my kids know that I’m available to listen to them at any time. The leaders are that way. I’ve seen Jim and Dennis spend hours with anyone that has questions, be patient. I’ve spent hours. I’ve been up late at night. And I reminded you saints a couple of days ago the situation I when I was last here and there was a public outburst toward me I spent the whole night with Jonathan talking to someone who had a problem with me. And there’s not… My conscience is clear, if there was a problem. Because I wanted to make sure that brother wasn’t stumbled. That’s the spirit we have.
And we were appealing to Gary just like Nathan did to King David. You see, David had sinned against Bathsheba, against Uriah. And one year he hid it. I remember being with Terry Bartley at Gary and Charessa’s home a little over a year ago. He had never known there was anything going on in his life that was evil. But you see, sin can creep up. And when a man…, when the leader says, “I don’t want you getting together for a meeting like this,” and he goes ahead and does it, God has strong things to say. Titus 3:9 – “But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because they are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.” He is self-condemned. He is warped. Remind him or reject him if he refuses to repent, when he is dividing a body, when he is fostering a party and a faction. And I want you saints to know, nine men patiently, for about four hours, lovingly, talked to Gary and pled with him, “Please acknowledge your sin before God so that he doesn’t get the blame for your unrighteousness.” You see, down deep the refusal to repent… it’s because we want to justify ourselves. In so doing we condemn the Lord and we condemn others. And “God is opposed to the proud and gives grace to the humble.” And this is God’s loving way of restoring a man. The goal of disciplining is to restore the man so he’s a functioning member of the body.
JOY: Brother, I want to ask your forgiveness for interrupting you.
DAVE: I forgive you.
JOY: May I speak?
JOY: I just feel very strongly that we need to see this as an attempt to make an appeal to an authority. And I just don’t think that’s being understood. And Gary was careful to make it appear as an appeal, that we wanted to make an appeal to you men. And it grieves me tremendously that he’s being judged after the fact. We thought we could make appeals to you. And he was putting together an appeal. And now he is being judged after the fact in something that he thought was right – that he thought that as a brother in this church that he could do that.
JIM: I don’t know if you heard what Harry said. I think what you said is absolutely right. I mean, what you said is absolutely right. And that’s exactly what we felt. In other words, you need to realize we understand and agree with what you say. That’s not what the issue is. I don’t know if you heard what Harry said.
JOY: The issue is that you don’t think he got Harry’s permission. And that’s the issue, isn’t it? That he did not repent of not getting Harry’s permission.
HARRY: No, the issue was that he didn’t do it in the right way. It’s not the fact that he had… You see,… No one… I’m not questioning Gary’s motives or what he wanted to accomplish. He had sincere, good desires. But he did it the wrong way. And he wouldn’t say, “I did it the wrong way.”
JOY: But did he do it the wrong way as we have known things in this church?
JIM: That’s a good question. You see, you’ve known things the wrong way.
JOY: But if it’s after the fact…
JIM: It is and that’s why he was not put out until he was talked to, because it was after the fact. We were giving him the benefit of the doubt. And so we talked to him and said, “No doubt your intent was very good and very right, but this is not the procedure that is consistent with the Bible to do things blatantly contradictory to what you know your ordained leader says not to do.”
JOY: Well, it just seems…
JIM: You can’t have freedom to operate that way in any system, in civil order, parental order, or church order.
JOY: Yes. Yes, I see what you’re saying. But wouldn’t…
JIM: No, the problem wasn’t that he did it. The problem is… is that he did. That’s not the problem. The problem is by not being willing to say that is wrong indicates on his part a blatant commitment to persist in doing things contrary to what the leadership thinks and says, and in effect it causes division or faction. So the problem isn’t if I gossiped or did something that’s wrong. We all have done things that are wrong. I suppose you’ve done things that are wrong.
JOY: I’ve done a lot of things that are wrong.
JIM: That… We would… we, we have to have mercy with one another.
JOY: I agree.
JIM: But the issue is if we don’t when we are confronted with things that are wrong. If we don’t acknowledge those things, and if it’s in the nature of faction and division, then it will only perpetuate, as the Bible says, and ruin a whole body, as already the body is affected to a great degree. And that’s why this has to be stopped. That’s why we have an appointment as soon as this meeting is over to get with another brother. We’re going to be getting with Scott soon. We’re going to be getting with each one and… and we’re going to go over things so that… because sometimes in a large meeting like this we recognize it’s hard to understand real clearly. Sometimes if you’ve been a part of something you might be defensive. That’s why we want to take time. Of course, some have already come to Harry and repented. Without talking to him, they said, “I’m sorry. I did wrong.” Some of them that were at the meeting repented that they were even there at the meeting. They said, “I’m sorry I even went. I see it was wrong.” And I’m sure others will as soon as this meeting is over, will come up to Harry and say, “Harry, I’m sorry.” There will be others we’ll sit down with, and Harry will sit down with, and others will sit down with and go over it and we’ll take a lot longer than we’ll take tonight, and show the whole understanding of this. And after they see it, after maybe an hour or two hours – however long – after they see it, they’ll say, “I see what you mean in the Scripture. I see that’s wrong.” And they’ll say, “I really didn’t mean it.”
And we’ll say, “Boy, we know that; you maybe meant it for good.”
But they say, “I see what you mean. In time that would destroy a church. And I see that as wrong, and I don’t want to persist in that.”
And we’ll say, “Praise the Lord!” We’ll put our arms around them.
But if someone says, “No” in arrogance and rebellion and wants to persist, for their sake and the sake of the body, then we’ll have to say, “We have to avoid such a one like that,” because the Bible commands us to. You see now, the sin upon us will be if we don’t avoid such ones. And some of you we’ve not had enough contact… some of you brothers and sisters have already come up and repented. Others of you we want to take more time with if you don’t understand it. But it,… laying it out… and it’s clear in Scripture as Gary, he acknowledged it as being wrong himself, but he would not repent of it.
JOY: He did not think he did wrong at the time.
JIM: Well, look, Ma’am, don’t tell me what he thought. I was sitting there listening to him.
JOY: Well, you’re telling us what he thought.
JIM: Well, I was sitting there listening to him. And I don’t know what he told you.
JOY: Well, I’m sure he thought…
JIM: By the way, were you at the meeting?
JOY: Yes. I, I…
JIM: Then we’ll need to make an appointment with you sometime.
JOY: That’s fine. I am willing, you know. There is a big issue here…
JIM: Okay. You’ve stood up a long time. Let’s see if anyone else wants to talk.
JOY: Please. Please. Those who do speak…
JIM: Anyone else? Scott, you’ve said your piece. We’ve got an appointment with you later. Sit down. Yes?
MIKE HILLBOLDT: I have several questions. I don’t know quite how to start…
JIM: Well, make it quick, because we don’t want to keep the meeting here all night. We’re going to break up in a few minutes, and we’ll talk with you personally if any want to stay later.
MIKE: I’ll make it short. Uh, I’ve been in this church for a couple of years and I’ve grown to love the people here. And I want to ask everybody… where did the division come from? I don’t see that the division came from Gary or Clint or Scott. And although I know that there’s many in this room that disagree with me, but I believe that the division came from some place else. And it’s drawing us apart from each other, not together. It’s working against us. And all of the goals are honorable. I question the tactics. In 3 John it says… I can’t remember how to pronounce the gentleman’s name, but he was malicious and conniving…
MIKE: Thank you. It said that, basically, “Don’t associate with him.” He was proud. But I don’t see that what Gary did… and I don’t agree with, and I wasn’t invited to the meeting, but I did talk to Gary about it. And I understood what he wanted. He didn’t want disunity or disharmony. He wanted to mend things and put them together. He didn’t want to take them apart. And I feel that what is happening now is improper, and I can’t stand for it. And although I love you very much, I don’t know that I can agree with you.
And, I also have another question. Who is the head of the church? And who is the ultimate authority but the Lord?
SEVERAL PEOPLE: Amen. Amen.
MIKE: We have his Word to live by and to guide our lives. And I don’t see that what is happening to not only Gary, but what is happening to this church is scriptural or proper or in accordance with the Word. I can be labeled a rebel or an outcast or whatever term fits. I don’t feel that I’m being rebellious, and I don’t believe that I’m being proud. But I’m being hurt. And although I see that what is happening here is hurting a lot of other people, I have to side with what I believe is right and what I believe the Word says.
MIKE: And I believe that I must join with Gary, and I must join with the others that… who I guess will later be called rebels or whatever – proud and arrogant. But my witness, as I stand before God, I’ve examined my heart and I’ve examined my motives, and I can’t see any pride. And I’m not saying that in a prideful way. I’m saying that as the truth, as I reach out to you, as my brothers and my sisters, as my friends, as people that I’ve come to love. And I just hope that you can understand, and that you can see what is happening.
ANOTHER BROTHER: Jim, may I just briefly…
JIM: Brother, are you done?
JIM: I’d like to just amen a lot of what you say, because I don’t think Gary was the initiator, either. It says in Hebrews, “A root of bitterness will spring up [unclear] it will defile many.” And I agree with you. I don’t think he has caused all this. But still the Bible says a root of bitterness will spring up, and many it will affect, and there’s others it can affect. And that’s sad when the righteous one where it talks about in Proverbs is led astray. [Unclear] …that were more of what we believe false. But the righteous can be led astray, it says in Proverbs. So I can appreciate much of what you say. …Yes, Brother?
DAVE ROGERS: Jim, I’d just like to say that I’m very encouraged by what you shared tonight. And Brother Tony Alvarez?
OTHER BROTHER: Brother Tony Alvarez.
DAVE ROGERS: Will you forgive me, Brother? I didn’t get a chance to get to you today… Thanks… Jim, I really appreciate what you said, and I had shared something with some brothers I teach, and there’s a school I went to and there’s a… The first thing I ran into in this school, there’s this small, factious clique among the teachers. And immediately they kind of wanted to share their opinions and find out where I was at. And I found myself divided between obeying the principal of the school or going with this little clique. And there was another teacher [unclear] …and we were talking and we finally had come to the point, I’m going to obey the leader.” I won’t necessarily agree with everything he said. But I came to the point where I’m going to obey him. And I started getting up in front of my classes, because the students… there was discontent moving among the students. And I said, I’m going to obey the principal. He’s a wonderful man, has a lot of wisdom. And I started to find out – ’cause I taught in a school that was young and we didn’t have principals and things, and this man had been principal for many years – I started to find out that… I started obeying his rules that I didn’t agree with at first, and I started to realize, “Hey, he’s right, he’s right, he’s right, he’s right.” And you know, another thing I found out in that school, much like a church in certain ways, that when there’s a dispute between two people… I had a disagreement with [unclear] who was raising all this factious spirit… and we might have a disagreement with one another or something like that… and I found (not this teacher, maybe it was someone else), I found that someone tried to take up his defense and defend him [unclear] would have the guy I had a problem, we’d forgive one another. And this fellow here’s still mad, and we’re good friends now. Don’t be surprised if Gary comes back and says [unclear].
SEVERAL PEOPLE: That’s right. Amen.
DAVE ROGERS: Just like at that school. You know, it says in Psalm 73 (I got a chance to share this at my school)… you know, it says, “My steps had almost slipped”; and I remember Saturday I was just walking down and I went to make a phone call. I heard some people talk, and boy, I tell you, when you’re at school and there’s gossip… God, watch my tongue. You know, we can’t… I can’t, uh, [unclear] …sometimes. I walked by, and I started listening, and I can guarantee you, I almost slipped this weekend, you guys. And I can guarantee you, I almost slipped. And I shared with Jim Smart and my brother Jeff here from Psalm 73: “If I had said, ‘I will speak thus,’ behold I should have betrayed the generation of thy children.” You know, this psalmist here in Psalm 73, he was dealing with a problem… It’s not the problem that we’re dealing with, but he had a problem. He was comparing his little Sunday school verse he learned in first grade, verse 1, and he had a problem. And he said, “When I ponder to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight.” I had a lot of trouble understanding what was going on. And then in verse 17, the [truth?] of Psalm 73: “Until I came into the sanctuary of God, then I perceived.” And I told myself when I started hearing… I didn’t know all this was going on… and when I started hearing this dissension, you know what I said to myself? “David, I don’t want to say anything or do anything until I can enter into the sanctuary of God.” [Tape interrupted at end of side.] …and you know I don’t mean to go on, Jim [unclear] …I got Jim-itis. [Unclear] …I mean that lovingly. But it says, “As for me, the nearness of God is my good. I have made the Lord my refuge that I may tell of all of thy works.” Before he couldn’t talk because he says [if?] he did, “I’m going to cause division, split up.” He says, “Now I came into the sanctuary of God, and God dealt with my heart,” and he says, “Now I see.” Jim and the elders, I’m in your support. Thank you.
JIM: Maybe just Jim… Before you go, maybe this brother could stand and maybe you, Jim, and then if there’s others we’ll have to talk later because I want to close this off. Brother, you’ve been standing, and Jim Smart has some [unclear]. So, Brother, you go first, and then… Ah, Brother, will you be seated? I want to have those two brothers get on. If you have more to say, say it Wednesday or some other time.
PAUL RANDALL: I had a question first for Dave. He mentioned several times in his speaking earlier that when a child appeals for a time with his father that he could be able to give it to him when he’s in need as soon as possible. Yesterday I spoke to Dave and introduced myself, and I requested to soon have some time to speak with him because I had something important that I needed to discuss with him. And at the time he replied that he was going to be really busy, tied up in meetings all this week and would not have time to talk to me. I was very hurt when he said that. I felt like if… You know, I just felt like, well, here’s some new guy coming in that I don’t know, I’ve never met before in my life, but I’ve heard some dissension about him and I want to talk to him personally so that I can get it worked out. But then when I appeal, I’m told that “I’m sorry, but we elders are so busy we just, you know…” I said, “Hey, any time, morning, noon, night. I don’t care. You pick the time. I’ll be there.”
JIM: You didn’t realize how busy he was, did you? Ha, ha.
PAUL: He ain’t going to be up 24 hours, seven days a week.
JIM: Well, you’re not going to leave next week, are you?
PAUL: I don’t know if it’ll hold that long.
DAVE: Well, Brother…
JIM: Well, I’d call some other elders.
DAVE: …let me be real honest with you. When I said that, I didn’t want to promise you something I couldn’t fulfill. I said, “Tomorrow is full,” and I’ll be honest with you, I got to bed at 4:30 last night. I woke up at 7:30. I was with my family till 10:00 and I’ve been in meetings all day till now. And I’m willing to stay up all night and talk with anyone, because I think it’s that important. So I was being honest with you in love. I didn’t want to say something to you that I couldn’t fulfill – that’d be dishonest. And so I said to you, “This first day I just know we’re going to be in meetings all day,” and I don’t want to say yes and then say no, ‘cause that’s not the will of God. I’d rather say no and then yes. And so, in love, I just said that to you trusting that you’d trust my judgment. And my confidence now, because you’ve heard dissension about me, it’s infected me. You have to examine your heart before God. God has to examine this. Maybe you’re questioning my character, because you… We’ve hardly spent any time together, Brother. And I’m willing to make sure that you understand I’m concerned. Okay?
PAUL: Well, you know, I don’t feel any bitterness towards you…
DAVE: Good. Great.
PAUL: …as a result of the dissension. What I am concerned about is my brother whom the dissension came from. And I would like to talk to you, and I would like for both of us to talk to… go talk to him.
DAVE: Great, great. Okay. I gladly will do that, and we need to work out our schedule. We made an appointment with someone after this. I’ll stay up all night if need be. Can we talk after the meeting?
PAUL: Of course.
JIM SMART: I just briefly want to say I think a lot of us know better than to allow what has happened to happen. And I’m, and I’m one of those people who knew better. And I have not taken a stand against criticism or dissension. I’ve had critical attitudes toward leadership myself. I confess before God that it’s wrong. I confess to you, my brothers and sisters, that that’s wrong, and I think part of the problem… that why we’re reacting, number one, we love Gary, but number 2, we know in our hearts that many of us need also to acknowledge our guilt. And I think when we do that we’ll be more understanding of the circumstances. And I really appreciate the verse that Dave shared. He didn’t think that made much impression on me that day out of Psalm 73. But it did, and I went home and shared with Tally. But I think the actions that happened were uncharacteristic of Gary, and I believe in my heart that Gary will acknowledge that it was wrong. And I know I was wrong and the Bible is clear. Factions and dissensions is wrong. And whether the elder says “Do it” or not, the Bible says it’s wrong. You know? It doesn’t take much education to see that. And I think we in our hearts know that we’ve done a lot of things wrong. And we ask for forgiveness… I ask for forgiveness.
JIM: You’re forgiven, Brother. Ha, ha.
[Tape unclear for a moment.]
ANOTHER BROTHER: Go ahead.
BROTHER: I… I…
BROTHERS: Speak up. Speak louder.
BROTHER: I don’t want to defend anybody or nothing like that. It’s just that the only reason I can stand here with confidence is because I agree with revision, and I’m excited about what’s happened here and in the country. And I don’t see splitting the church unless there’s evil that needs to be cut out. [Unclear] I put myself under men to be discipled. [Unclear] …and it’s dependent on my life. And [unclear] …Jonathan. They’ve built so much into me, and their teaching. I guess I’m begging you not to put us in a position where we have to choose and where orders are made, in submission to you. And do we have to choose to do something that, you know, we’re not sure about? We can’t do it [unclear] …wait? We’re not sure that we can discipline Gary in faith. You know, some of us are weaker brothers. And I’m anxious to learn from you guys. I really desire the guidance [unclear]. And you know that, you know. But, uh… could we [unclear] …we’re supposed to make a choice. Do you understand what I’m saying? Personally, I don’t know. Could we have a week? Could you give us a week?
[General laughter by group]
JIM: Brother, you’re not having to make any choice tonight. You know, the choice hasn’t been with you. We talked with Gary, Harry, and the others last night because of some things that were real clear with him, and I think, like some of the brothers said, I think others here will feel remorse, and it’s… When Gary acknowledges that wrong, because I believe that will happen in his future… And we always are forced to make a choice to obey God or to disobey. So we could never put you in a position saying you don’t have to make a choice. The devil says, “Don’t make a choice.” But God says, “You have to make a choice.” When you heard the gospel you had to make a choice. When you heard about baptism you had to make a choice. When you heard about remembering the Lord you had to make a choice. When you heard about witnessing you had to make a choice. When you heard about different areas of sin you had to make a choice. And we… you’re going to have to… You feel weak. But that’s how you get strong, is to make choices of righteousness. And David said he’d show us what was right, and God strengthened him. And so choices give you the opportunity to get strong. A wrong choice can [unclear] and will ultimately destroy you. But a right choice will give you strength and make you strong. And so, yeah, we’re always forced to make a choice and [unclear] will call little groups together in the church especially when the leadership strongly urges not to. That only compounds. That’s not only a party spirit, that’s literally a party. And the Bible says those are the acts of the flesh, and we have to make a choice against them. If you don’t want to make a choice, you don’t have to. But if it’s something that bad, say like cancer that may be fatal, you can go to the doctor. You can make a choice to get an operation. You can make a choice to not get an operation. Or you can make no choice.
(Audio only available on tape.)