Corruption in the Philippines

[Editor's Note: To read the note this is in response to, click here.]

Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 13:49:40 -0000

Dear brethren,

Greetings in our Savior's name.

It is strange to read that you heard "one sided" preaching about problems among the brethren when I came. You refer to the sermon "Avoid Wars & Fightings Among You" (James 4:1-10) but you forgot to mention the sermon I preached immediately before that one in the morning on the same day (Tuesday, April 17, 2001). First, I preached on "Problems in the Church" and I emphasized that God does not tolerate dishonesty or corruption of any kind among His people, and that all such conduct must be rebuked. On the one side (first sermon), I pointed out that when evidence of sin can be presented, the sinner should be confronted and rebuked until he will repent. On the other side (second sermon), I pointed out that passing unverified rumors, gossip, and slander is sinful and causes unnecessary wars and fightings.

This is the same balanced teaching I gave in my e-mail post to you dated Dec. 20, 2000, which I asked you to copy and circulate to the brethren there. Your message today dated May 31, 2001 comes with poor grace when I read again your message to Jim McDonald, Earl Mitchell, and me dated Dec. 20, 2000 stating clearly that forgiveness and reconciliation occurred on that day among the troubled preachers. You said in part, "I am happy this day because my conscience is cleared now, all of us was (23 preachers) come to the point that we will forget everything and start a new beginning...."

By the way, the sermons on "Avoid Wars & Fightings Among You" and on "Problems in the Church" were not preached merely to address Gen San problems. I preach these same two lessons all over the Philippines. I preach the same such lessons here in the U.S. I am sad and surprised that you remember only the second sermon but not the first one, and that you think the second sermon was preached only to address certain Gen San preachers. Your memory and understanding are mistaken.

Your message received today is not accurate in another way. You indicate that we are making great efforts to provide Jesse with large amounts of support and benevolence whenever he requests it, but we overlook other brethren. Jesse does not receive all these large amounts which you imagine. Perhaps you are listening to rumors. Many times he has requested help for himself and often for other suffering brethren, but we are not able to help.

If Jesse or another brother receives some amount from a church or individual, your heart should rejoice rather than experience envy. You should teach all the preachers to avoid the spirit of envy if someone receives any blessing from God. That was one of the points in the lesson "Avoid Wars and Fightings Among You." The spirit of envy will produce rumors and bitterness leading to division.

Another point of the sermon addressed anyone who threatens to turn to false teachers as a way to push and pressure for support or benevolence. I said if anyone has that attitude, and if he does not repent of it, that man is a false brother and he should go immediately to the false teachers. This will remove the spirit of envy, corruption, and division from God's true people.

When Jim McDonald, Ken Marrs, myself, and others come, please do not listen to any rumors about a constant flow of benevolence. There never has been such a thing and never will be. Benevolence in the Bible is only for emergency situations, and is only temporary. None of us has promised financial support to any man in the Philippines or any other part of the world. The gospel does not promise to change the struggling economy of the Philippines or other nations, and does not offer financial security, but only promises the salvation of our souls. The gospel is not given by God to promote our financial advantage but only to secure eternal life in heaven with God. This is what we have preached from the first time we visited the Philippines. This is what we still preach even now. This is what we will preach in the future.

I pray that God will help all the brethren in the Gen San area to learn more of His Word and to grow spiritually. I pray that everyone will carry through the reconciliation which you announced Dec. 20, 2000.

In Christian love, Ron Halbrook