|Corruption in the Philippines|
I am one of the elders serving with the Downtown Church of Christ in Rogers, AR. We had heard reports from Jim Mc Donald, Ron Halbrook, and others of the many conversions in the Philippines, and were amazed at the numbers being saved, especially Denominational preachers. The Lord's church here is very active in supporting faithful gospel preachers who are trying to fulfil the command to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-16. We were interested in first hand information, that is why the church sent me to the Philippines, so I could see the situation with my own eyes.
Prior to March 1999, I had never met Jim Mc Donald or Ron Halbrook. We learned thruogh Jim that Ron was planning a trip to the Philippines in late March 1999. We contacted Ron and asked if one of our elders could accompany him to gather information concerning the work over there. Ron graciously consented, not knowing what type personality person he would have to deal with while preaching and traveling on his busy schedule. We greatly appreciate his willingness to allow our representative to tag along.
I was selected by the other elders to make this fact finding journey. At first I was planning to only stay for 10 days, but when I found out that Ron would be alone when I left, we changed our tickets, and I stayed with him throughout the 39 day trip.
My observations of Jim and Ron during the short time I had with them are as follows. I found them to be very humble in nature, dedicated to saving lost souls at great personal sacrifices, and hard workers who are not ashamed to declare the whole council of God in love. In my 40 years as a christian I have never found anyone with a greater love for the truth and more willing to defend it. In my judgement, they are beyond reproach, men of sincere hearts, honest and trustworthy. I found that they do not falsely charge our liberal thinking brethren without documenting their false teachings from their own writings and tapes. They then confront this person and ask for a discussion and a study of the issues they are not agreement with, as they see things that are not taught in God's word. Some of those who have been chalanged, refuse to meet and study, but rather have labeled them as trouble makers, and "watch dogs". This approach is often taken when teachings can not be supported by book, chapter, and verse authority. The liberals just label us "anti", "orphan haters", or just a bunch who are against the church programs such as Herald of Truth. Lets remember that we are to do all in the name of the Lord, or by His authority. Col 3:17. Also, whosoever goeth onward and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. 2 Jn 9-11.
Now, Glenn, I have a few questions regarding your email to Charles and Betty Waller.
1. You accuse the Filipino preachers of being liars, deceivers, providing false chaims top receive benevolence. The scriptures teach us that before we condemn a person of sinning, we must establish the facts by 2 or 3 witnesses. Num 35:30; Deut 19:15; Mt 18:16; 1 Tim 5:19. Can you prove these charges by 2 or 3 witnesses? I would be very interested in seeing your proof.
2. You state that Jim and Ron allow themselves to be deceived, and that the situation in Mindanao is not as bad as they pretend. These are pretty strong words against these men. Do you really think they are that naive and they are just pretending?
3. You stated that the Government is at peace with the Muslims, that they are no big threat, and that the brethren having to flee is a lie. I beg to differ with you. While we were there the rebels had taken a General and his Aide captive and held them for several months, during which time there was fighting between the Rebels and the Government. I served in Viet Nam, so I know the sound of artillery, and I heard it while we were at Midsayap, Mindanao April 17-18, 1999. Also, as we travel in Mindanao, we saw numerous check points, maned by armed soldiers. If there was no real problem, why were they there? We heard from several gospel preachers, not just one, that some of our brethren had to flee. They reported that some were killed in the cross-fire between the Rebels and Government troops.
4. You stated there can be no christians among the Tribes. We baptized some of them and heard from the Filipino preachers of others, even the whole tribe being converted. We also baptized at least 2 Muslims.
5. You stated that no deaths were due to starvation, citing the Press as your proof. Do you trust the press to report all the truth all the time? Their government tries to surpress any unfavoirable news that would adversely affect their economy.
6. You accused Jim and Ron of wasting the Lord's money. Also, that many call it the Great Motorcycle Benevolence. Can you give me the names of these many who say this? I only observed 2 preachers who had their own motorcycles, very few had any transportation at all that we saw. They rode Jeepnees or trycycles to the services.
7. You stated that accountability was non-existent, and that multiple receipts were used for the same distribution. Please send me proof of this claim.
8. You stated that less than a fourth of the benevolence was distributed Mindanao and Palawan. How do you know this? Please give me some creditable names who will verify this statement.
9. You stated that many churches divided over how the benevolence was distributed. What churches, please give me the names and addresses, or the preacher's name.
10. You stated that Jim and Ron did not really know any work there. The scriptures tell us that we can know a persons work bu their fruit. We saw lots of fruit.
11. You stated that you hate to see good people waste the Lord's money. Amen, I do too! You stated that massive benevolence in the hands of incompetent men will not solve any problem. Does this refer to Jim and Ron?
You have made some very serious charges, not only against Jim and Ron, but also the Filipino preachers. I find these charges to be false and groundless. Before you open your mouth and slander God's people, you need to have proof, otherwise your message is evil speaking and evil surmisings. Mt 5:11; Jas 3:8; 1 Tim 6:4-5; 1 Thes 5:21. God hates those who spread discord among the brethren. Prov 6:14.
Please let me hear from you on this matter.
Earl S. Mitchell