Corruption in the Philippines

Subj: Regarding Rody Gumpad (By McDonald & Halbrook)

Date: 96-09-07 19:48:14 EDT

From: (Ron Halbrook)

To: (Andy Alexander), (DonM. Alexander), ARNOLDD@FRANK.MTSU.EDU (David Arnold), (Warren Berkley), (Stan Cox), (Steve Curtis), (Pat Donahue), (Wayne Goforth), (Keith Greer), (Tim Haile), (Bobby Holmes), (INTERNET:Timmc@citynet.n), (Jarrod Jacobs), (Wallace H. Little), (Joe Price), (Bill Reeves), (Dennis Scroggins), (Marc Shotts), (Dan Torres), (Tom Wheeler)


A number of brethren have asked for our assessment of the recent differences between brother Rody Gumpad and some of his fellow preachers in the Philippines. When we first received news, correspondence, and documents from the parties involved in this matter, we resolved to let our Filipino brethren work out their own problems. Since no doctrinal issues are involved, it is best to let the brethren who have differences among themselves work among themselves to reach an adequate solution. We have been very reserved in our comments when contacted by U.S. brethren who heard about this problem, but as the news has travelled far and wide, several rumors have gotten mixed into the story. Our statement is an effort to provide accurate and needed information to answer the sincere questions of U.S. brethren, without interfering with the efforts of the Filipino brethren to resolve their differences.

We have carefully read the reports from various parties in the Philippines and watched the video tape of brother Rody Gumpad's meeting on July 6, 1996 with the nine preachers who raised and registered objections against him in a letter a couple of months before. Their main charge was materialism, i.e., it was their impression that he received more U.S. support than he needed and was laying up treasures on earth. The immediate result of the meeting was this: The men who signed the letter admitted that they should have approached brother Gumpad to discuss their impressions and charges before sending their letter to others. Rody admitted that in sending a response to inquiries from brother Kenneth Marrs in California about this dispute, he should have explained more fully the meaning of some enclosed documents which might have been understood differently in the Philippines and in the U.S. The nine men said it was not their intention to hurt Rody and he said it was not his intention to deceive anyone. The meeting ended with everyone agreeing to sign a letter of reconciliation.

In addition to the above information, we spent August 27-29 visiting with Rody. Without taking sides, making any demands, or imposing any solutions, we prayed with Rody and explained it was not our aim to destroy him or his critics We simply urged him to correct any mistake he might have made and to seek full reconciliation with his Filipino brethren. His response was good

Our assessment is this: Brother Gumpad has done a genuine and great work in the region of northern Luzon in spreading the gospel. Also, he has faced a number of medical emergencies in his family, in addition to the many other pressing needs faced in common with other Filipino preachers.

For instance, he has a son who has fought a long battle with cancer. American brethren have been so generous at times in responding to these needs that they have sent an abundance beyond some of the immediate needs. On some occasions, brother Gumpad has returned checks to the U.S., explaining that the need has already been met. Often, those checks were returned to Rody with instructions for him to use the money any way he saw fit. He has put some of that money into land. When new emergencies arose, he has used the land for collateral on loans, while also receiving additional help from the U.S. at times. He is willing also to consider the option of selling land in emergency situations, though he then would lose the option of using it for collateral on loans in emergencies. He is in the process of building a bigger house to better accommodate his large family and the many brethren who flock to his home at various times, such as during lectureships.

Without any intention of deceiving anyone, he erred in not giving U.S. brethren some of this background information to consider in making decisions about his needs at various times. After explaining how this opens the door for criticism (even in the absence of dishonest motives), we believe he will sincerely try to rectify the matter. Brother Gumpads goal is to continue preaching the truth and saving souls, not to pursue wealth, "which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Tim. 6:10).

Even when we mean to do good, we must carefully guard against leaving the wrong impression in so far as we can help it (Rom. 14:16; 2 Cor. 8:20-21). In spite of his good intentions, obviously some of his brethren have gotten the impression that he had become materialistic. These are good men and Rody has learned some important lessons from this painful experience. He plans to meet with them again and to discuss what he has learned about the importance of "providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men" (2 Cor. 8:21). He is going to provide the brethren who are supporting him with full information on his financial situation so as to remove any possibility of doubt.

Both brother Gumpad and the other brethren realize that they must do everything possible to keep their disagreement from damaging the cause of Christ in northern Luzon. Some good steps have been taken. A letter of reconciliation was signed after the July 6 meeting. Rody has already written a letter to Kenneth Marrs apologizing for sending a document without adequate explanation.

We are urging Rody to do everything possible to remove the impression of materialism and we pray that all parties to the discussion will try very hard to avoid rumors, threats of legal action, or other expressions of bitterness toward each other. Many souls hang in the balance, both in the churches already established and among people who do not know the truth. The laborers are so few that we must do everything in our power to avoid dividing those few who are preaching the truth (Matt. 9:36-38).

Brother Gumpad recently reiterated to us his desire to apologize to any and all brethren in the Philippines or in the U.S. whom he may have offended in this matter. He explained to us his plans to prepare a statement of apology for his own mistakes, without attacking anyone else who may have erred in some way. He realizes how easy it is to become overly emotional and defensive in such situations. His desire is to correct any problem and to improve his work and his relationship with brethren who have been offended. After he signed the original letter of reconciliation, he later erased his name and offered a new letter to the offended brethren, which they did not sign. He now realizes his mistake in doing that, and has apologized to his Filipino brethren in writing. He again signed the original letter of reconciliation in our presence on August 28 and plans to provide copies to his brethren at home.

It remains to be seen what other steps will be taken and what other events will transpire. While we are waiting to see if these matters will be fully resolved, we will not recommend sending new funds to Rody. Unless there is some great emergency, we do not think he will be asking for new funds because he will want to avoid the appearance of materialism. We do believe we can send gospel literature to brother Gumpad and to others to help them in their efforts to continue spreading the gospel.

[Editor's Note: Rody began asking for more funds shortly after his return to the Philippines.]

In matters of this kind where no doctrinal issues are involved, there is little American brethren can do to help resolve problems among Filipino brethren other than praying for them and urging them to patiently bear with each other in seeking scriptural reconciliation. in the meantime, U.S. brethren need to proceed with caution before making hard and fast determinations about the parties involved in such problems so far away. Let us try to be fair and patient toward all involved in such difficulties, lest our interference make their problems worse and damage the name and influence of good men. Brother Gumpad read our assessment and agreed we were trying to be fair toward all the Filipino brethren involved in this matter. In conclusion, we shall continue to love and respect all of these brethren while praying they will resolve their difficulties, heal their wounds, and press forward in the work of the Lord.

Submitted in brotherly love, Jim McDonald and Ron Haibrook, Sept. 1, 1996


(Jim McDonald) (Ron Halbrook)