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of Approach to Jim McCotter and Other Leaders of Great Commission International on the Basis of Matthew 18:15-17 Concerning Disagreement and/or Sin

By Lawrence A. Pile

    1. February 1973, Tucson, AZ: Following a teaching time at the home of Brian and Ruth Catalano given by Jim McCotter I approached him to express my disagreement with his use of Isaiah 34:16 as a promise to him by God that he would eventually have a wife. I told him the context and proper interpretation of the entire passage indicated the subject matter to be judgment and not blessing, and thus his application was highly irregular. Jim replied that he knew his application was not the actual interpretation, but that he felt it was permissable anyway. He would not agree that maybe he was stretching the passage to say something he wanted to hear.*

    2. October 1976, Columbus, OH: About a month after Bill Taylor's excommunication from the Solid Rock Fellowship of Columbus I wrote a letter to Jim McCotter to inform him that many of Bill's concerns were my own, expecially my belief that Jim had begun acting (at least on occasion) as if he had apostolic authority over all the churches in the movement. (See my book Marching to Zion, pages 80, 156-157, for details; the latter pages deal specifically with examples I cited of Jim's "first among equals" actions.)

    3. December 1976, Columbus, OH: I finally received a reply to my letter to Jim, in the form of a phone call. In the course of our approximately forty-five minute to an hour conversation Jim attempted to justify his actions in each case I had cited by saying he had merely acted as an apostle in the sense of Paul, being concerned for the churches founded by himself or his disciples. He never entertained the possibility of impropriety in any of the situations. All in all a most unsatisfactory conversation.

    4. May 3, 1977, Lyndhurst, OH (suburb of Cleveland): Shortly after leaving the Columbus fellowship and moving back home a series of events (see Marching to Zion, pp. 99-102) led me to write to Brian Catalano, who had been one of my elders during the time I had been a member of the church in Tucson (December 1971 to June 1973). In that letter I spelled out many concerns I had with the teaching and practice current in the Columbus church and in most others in the movement. These same concerns I had already communicated to the elders of the Solid Rock Fe1lowship (see next item.) The text of this letter to Brian is found on pages 55-64 of The Blitz Papers.

    5. January through April 1977, Columbus: During these last months before my departure from the Solid Rock Fellowship and the city of Columbus I spoke directly with all three then-current elders of the church (Mike Keator, Dennis Clark, Terry Bartley), the first two at least two or three times, again expressing the problems I saw in the teaching, practice, and general direction of the church. I also wrote a multi-page letter outlining my concerns in detail and in orderly fashion and gave them each a copy.

    6. May 1977, South Euclid, OH (suburb of Cleveland): Within days of writing my letter to Brian the latter was asked to come to Cleveland for consultations with the elders of Gracemount Gospel Chapel, which had commended him to the work of the Lord in Tucson. While he was in town I met with him for about three hours walking around the neighborhood of his brother's house and talking about the issues I had raised in my letter, and others that arose in the course of talking. For most of the talk Brian attempted to defend and justify his own, but mostly Jim McCotter's, actions (those which had disturbed me because of their apparent dictatorial or irresponsible nature). Finally Brian seemed to me to become more subdued, and willing to entertain the possiblity of wrong having been done and/or taught.

    7. October 31, 1977, Columbus, OH: Five days before my wedding Dennis Clark, Mike Keator, and Terry Bartley visited me at the home of my fiancĂ©e, Linda Cochran, to complain about my having written a critical letter to Solid Rock deacon Jim Zuber (I had already spoken with Jim earlier that same day and apologized for having caused him offense, though did not acknowledge that I was out of order in anything I had said in my letter to him--I am still of that opinion). Most of our discussion concerned the proper way to handle disagreements, they being of the opinion that Matthew 18 was the way, and I disagreeing. In the course of the discussion Mike made the assertion that some of my views (as expressed in letters and verbally) were "unscriptural," but he refused to explain, saying, "That's not what we came here for."

    8. February 1978, San Leandro, CA: About 6 months after moving to California and 3 months after my wedding, I wrote a 14-page letter to the "Dispersion"--various individuals who had previously left fellowships of the Blitz movement. The total number of copies sent out were probably less than a score. I did also send copies to Dennis, Mike, and Terry in Columbus, and (I believe) to Jim McCotter and Herschel Martindale, with a cover letter to them personally. My letter to the "Dispersion" is reproduced on pages 119-132 of The Blitz Papers.

    9. May 2, 1978, San Leandro, CA: A month following the particularly heinous excommunication of "Pete Richardson" from the Solid Rock Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio, I wrote a strong letter of rebuke to the elders there (still the triumvirate of Dennis, Mike, and Terry) taking them to task for their roles in the unbiblical disciplinary actions against Bill Taylor, Bill Hulligan, and now "Pete Richardson." This letter is found on pages 163-170 of The Blitz Papers (see my list of charges in the second-last paragraph).

    10. Spring 1979, San Leandro, CA: In preparation for the final rewrite of my book Marching to Zion I sent pertinent portions of the manuscript to Jim, Herschel, Brian, Mike, Dennis, Terry, and Danny Groveman (all of whom were current Blitz leaders portrayed more or less negatively in the book) to ask for their comments and corrections. Only two responded: Brian (by phone) and Herschel (by letter--see The Blitz Papers, p. 343, and my response to him on p. 359).

To the best of my recollection these are the total of such occasions of communication and/or confrontation between me and Blitz leaders concerning my differences of conviction or incidents of sinful action on their part.

Lawrence A. Pile

August 30, 1986

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