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From: Dan Peters <danielj.peters@pcnet.ro>
To: "Steven F. Deaton" <SFDeaton@compuserve.com>
Cc: "Bill Gunn (E-mail)" <bgunn@tez.net>,
"Connie W. Adams" <cwadams123@aol.com>,
"Dale Smelser (E-mail)" <DalSmelser@aol.com>,
"Daniel Halloway (WL) (E-mail)" <dlh10ac@juno.com>,
"David Amos (E-mail)" <daamos@earthlink.net>,
"David Dyer (E-mail)" <dyerdw@sparc.isl.net>,
"David Dyer (E-mail)" <dyerdw@saprc.isl.net>,
"Don R Wison (E-mail)" <donrwilson@jps.net>,
"Donald Hamilton (E-mail)" <dwhamilton@juno.com>,
"Jeff Smelser (E-mail)" <JSmelser@erols.com>,
"James M. Whitt (E-mail)" <jamawhit@POP1.cbu.skyinet.net>,
"Jim Mc Donald (E-mail)" <jim_mc@juno.com>,
"Joe Fitch (E-mail)" <fitchj@webwide.net>,
"Keith Greer (E-mail)" <kteach0254@aol.com>,
"Ken Guthery (E-mail)" <kenguthery@juno.com>,
"Ney Rieber (E-mail)" <ney@interpath.com>,
"Rod Rutterford (E-mail)" <TFTWORLD@aol.com>,
"Roderic MacArthur (E-mail)" <thoughtful@juno.com>,
"Rody C. Gumpad" <rodycg@cag.pworld.net.ph>,
"Steve Rudd (E-mail)" <srudd@bible.ca>,
"Wallace H. Little (E-mail)" <whlittle@snakebite.com>,
Lordy Salunga <lsalunga@hotmail.com>,
Roger Wanasen <rmw-fcss@mozcom.com>,
Steven Locklair <locklair@deltech.net>
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 12:44:32 +0200
Subject: Re: Edification or Clergy?
Message-ID: <38464D90.97F668B1@pcnet.ro>
References: <199911191826_MC2-8DDD-CB50@compuserve.com>


Hi Steve, Roger W. (see below) & all,

I don't think we have met Steve, but I hope we will some day, if not down here on earth... then up in heaven.

From your response to me I don't think you have understood the issue, nor my intentions. Ron H. nor Jim M. have replied to my letter as of yet... I will wait and be patient.

In times past I have seen that I have been too harsh in my letters. I try now to avoid that as much as possible, although I will admit I can be harder in letter than in presence (2Cor 10:10). What was wrongly accused of Paul, I have been in times past guilty. But, however I come across, too strong or too weak, does not change the truth. Jesus said, "If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?" (John 18:23)

We must understand that Ron H. can speak for himself, so can Jim M. and so can Rody G. Everyone is receiving these letters that is on the list. This is not being spoken in a vacuum. If I have spoken wrong, then please...bear witness of the wrong. If I am wrong I want to know it, as I said in my first letter. I know I have only spent 2 weeks in the Philippines, and that I am not the most informed person in this conversation. Yet at the same time, what I have heard, what I have seen with my eyes, what I beheld and my hands handled, I bear witness and proclaim to you. If I have spoken wrong on some point, please bear witness of the wrong, but if not... then what I have said stands.

Steve I want to answer your questions, yet when I am done answering them, they have not addressed the issues I have raised in my letter. My answers will be in [ ].

Steven F. Deaton wrote:

Mr. Peters,

We have the following for you to consider.

[First of all, who is the "we"? ]

Is it wrong for brethren to spend their money in the way they desire?

[Yes and No, it all depends on what they "desire".]

Are the material blessings of brethren under their control?

[Yes, Obviously]

Do you have the right (or anyone else) to tell a brother where and how he should spend his money?

[I do not have "authority" to command. But I have the right to speak up. I have preached on the subject of the christian use of money. There are many good things to be said from the Bible on this subject. This still does not address the issues I have brought up]

Is it wrong for a church to give money to a preacher?

[Generally, no. But should a church learn about a preacher claiming that he has "no regular income" although receiving support from 5 congregations, not paying any federal tax on that income, cashing his checks on the black market etc. etc. Yet this man is being supported far above any member of the congregation,... that congregation has the right to stop giving money. Should that church continue to "give money to" that preacher? See my first letter]

Is it wrong for a church to support a preacher to travel?

[No generally, but there are some exceptions if you just think about it. ]

Is it wrong for a church to give a preacher money for food?

[No generally, but Paul said if a man will not work, neither let him eat. But this does not address the issues I raised]

If you answer yes, then I suggest you get out and get a job and tell others who are supported as preachers to do the same
thing.

[I have more than a job, I am over in this strange country (Romania) trying to learn the language that I might freely teach the word of God, (while for now, I am teaching through a translator) as long as He will allow me to]

Do preachers have the right to spend their support in the way they desire?

[Yes, but what they "desire" can make it right or wrong. But this still does not answer my first letter.]

Must all preachers live in apartments or trailer homes here in the US?

[No, but I suppose it would do most of us some good. I am living in an apartment in Romania, (granted it is a nice one.)]

Should all preachers drive cars that are at least 10 years old?

[This is a rather silly question. But the fact is that most preachers in the philippines would be extremely grateful to own a car that was 10 years old, as long as they could "drive" it. Let those who know, correct me if I am wrong. ].

If a preacher uses poor judgment in finances, does that mean he is a sinner?

[1 Timothy 5:24 The sins of some men are quite evident, going before them to judgment; for others, their sins follow after. It may be that he is a sinner... it all depends on how poor a judgment he used.

Did not Peter say, "forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a dumb donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.(2Peter 2:15-16). I guess Balaam made some poor judgments in
finances.

Did God make a mistake with Gehazi? " And Elisha said to him, " Where have you been, Gehazi? "And he said,"Your
servant went nowhere. " Then he said to him, "Did not my heart go with you, when the man turned from his chariot to meet you? Is it a time to receive money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? "Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cleave to you and to your descendants forever." So he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow.(2Kings 5:25-27)

Are these as you say "poor judgment in finances"? Did not God consider it a sin? It's Obvious. With this question, you have finally come close to the issue I raised in my letter. But I will not repeat what I have written in my first letter at this time.]

Who is to judge the preacher in his finances?

[God will judge. Yet God told us how to judge too... "righteously" Jn. 7:24... and "by their fruits".Mt.7:16. We who preach must not be deceived, the congregation will look at us and judge. ]

I can tell you for a fact, and also produce other witnesses, that when Jim McDonald preaches in the Philippines and there are denominational preachers who want to be baptized, they are explicitly told that there is no promise of any money--the only promises that are made are: 1. If you believe and are baptized, you will receive the remission of your sins; 2. If you remain faithful, you will receive a crown of life.

[I never said "denominational preachers" in my letter. So I'm not sure to what you are referring. Perhaps you are referring to a different letter?]

To say anything otherwise is slander and evil surmising.

[I have said what I have said, in my first letter... for which I will await a reply. Steve, you have not answered one thing from my first letter. Nor have I expected you to... I don't even know you. But I do expect Ron H. and Jim M. to speak up, and I will reply to what they will say. If I am wrong on any point I will gladly admit it and to apologize. But if I am right, let's not keep
making the same mistakes over and over again. Perhaps this has been enough. If the attitude of American brethren has been changed for the better by such a discussion, let the discussion stop. But if more needs to be said, let us speak the truth in love. This is my goal of the first letter and this is the goal I will maintain. Even though I am a nobody and least of all saints (God is witness) yet I will speak up.

I prefer Steve, if you would be patient with me and wait for Ron H. and/or Jim M. to speak up before you reply again. I am still waiting for them to reply to my first letter. If I do not reply to you again, it is because I wait for them to speak up, and then I will reply.]

Sincerely,
Steven F. Deaton

------------------
Your brother in Christ,
Dan Peters

To Roger Wanasen,

Thanks for your letter and good spirit. But I disagree somewhat with stopping this discussion. If this discussion will have a good influence on us, and we can make the gospel more effective in the Philippines in the long run (and else where) it is worth it. I hope we will be like Christ enough to speak the truth in love. I do not want to speak just the truth, but the truth in love. Roger, your letter did not cause sin or strife. Like a friend one time told me, " there is no such thing as a touchy issue, just touchy people". For the sake of the truth of the gospel, the debate in Acts 15 had to take place. I can't imagine what we would have now on our hands if this discussion of Acts 15 did not take place. As hard as it was, it needed to happen.

I think this discussion is needed, as long as we do it honorably.

Your brother in Christ,
Dan Peters