April 29, 2008
and Fellow Preachers.
from Georgia in the U.S.A. I hope this finds you doing well, and the
work of the Lord prospering. “Beloved, I pray that in all
respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul
prospers” (III John 1:2).
My wife and I
arrived home safely just a few days ago, and we are still working to
adjust our “internal clock” to the time change. It is now
10 a.m. Wednesday, while it is 10 p.m. Wednesday where you are.
about the work in the Philippines, there are various things that come
to mind, and I thought it good to write you and share my thoughts
with you. I hope they will be received well, and that you will give
serious consideration to them.
Division among brethren
My first trip
to your country was in 1997, and I was encouraged to see the love and
unity that existed among the preachers there. You had a relationship
that was to be admired, and I spoke of it often to our brethren in
the USA. This continued for some time, until my trip in 2002. At that
time, I observed a divisive spirit, which evidently had been
introduced by some American preachers who were exporting American
problems to the Philippines. These are some things I worked on during
my 2004 stay in your area. Preachers were calling each other “false
teacher,” and in one meeting, I am told that a preacher was
cursing another, but in the Ilocano dialect, so that I could not
understand. I wonder how happy our Lord was about that.
preacher did not have a good understanding of the forgiveness of sins
under the Old Testament, and others were pointing the finger at him
and saying “False teacher!” Give me a break, brethren.
Consider two things: (1) Is everyone a false teacher who does not have exactly the same understanding that
I have? Can we not sit down and study with someone and calmly resolve
differences without resorting to childish name-calling? (2) How does
a misunderstanding of an Old Testament principle affect the gospel or
anyone’s salvation today?
2004 visit, it seemed things were better, but since then, it seems a
divisive spirit has arisen again, although not as bad as before.
Various Filipino preachers have spoken to me about this and have
expressed their concern and their regret over this.
Part of this
can be resolved by yourselves. You have the power and the right to
decide whom you invite or allow to come into your area to preach. It
is not my desire to go where I am not wanted, or where I am not
invited. If there are any who do not desire me to come, all they have
to do is let me know. I have plenty of other places where I have an
open invitation. I do not set my schedules in the Philippines. That
is determined by you brethren.
I have been
made aware that recently a preacher in Cagayan province sent Ron
Halbrook’s schedule to Ilocono. I was wondering who made that
preacher the “bishop” of your area. I would not presume
to tell Venerando Mangrubang or Rolando Azurin to send my schedule to
La Union telling them when and where I would be preaching.
that has been mentioned is that some in your area said they did not
want Ron Halbrook to come where they are, but then when he told them
he was coming, he was allowed to do so. I have been told that
Filipinos are not confrontational, and rather than say “No”
to someone, they would go ahead and agree.
I have known
Ron Halbrook since he was a teenager. He grew up in a church where
two of my brothers-in-law were preachers. I know that he preaches
much truth and has much ability, and I am thankful that he has
brought many good books to distribute among preachers in the
Philippines. I don’t have access to that kind of money.
Basically all I have to bring is myself and a few dollars to help
when there are special needs.
It is sad
that division has come to the Philippines. Ron Halbrook has charged
Wallace Little with various things, including that Wally teaches it
is OK to eat blood, and that Wally has a false position on marriage,
divorce and remarriage. I understand he has made these charges in
Truth Magazine. Wally has denied these charges, and has written to
Truth Magazine asking that his reply be printed. He has been denied
the opportunity to refute the charges. I do not believe this is
honorable conduct. I have asked many if they have ever heard Wallace
Little teach these things, and NOT ONE PERSON has said they have. Not
one person has ever told me of hearing Wally teaching ANY false
has been charged with teaching false doctrine concerning “One
Covenant.” It is charged that he and Jim Puterbaugh teach this
in order to bring in Moses’ teaching on divorce in Deut. 24.
Wally has flatly denied this. His One Covenant teaching has nothing
with Moses. His view is that God made a covenant with Abraham in
Genesis 12:2-3: “and
I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make
they name great; and be thou a blessing; and I will bless them that
bless thee, and him that curseth thee will I curse: and in thee shall
all the families of the earth be blessed.”
understand Wally’s view on this, he maintains that Christ is
the object of that promise, and since we are the recipients of the
blessings that Christ brought, we are still the recipients of that
covenant. While I might not state it that way, I see no difference in
where we end up at this time in history. If people continue to charge
Wally with teaching the One Covenant in order to bring in Moses’
law on MDR, they are making false charges, and that amounts to lying.
It’s just that simple.
was recently in the Philippines. I have known Keith for over 50
years, as we were in school together. He and I have both worked in
Jamaica. While I was with you, I heard reports that Keith is now
being called a false teacher. Will someone please tell me what false
teaching he has presented? No one I talked to when I was there could
give me an example. So do we have another person being charged with
false teaching without evidence?
told me they believe they have had their support cut because they did
not go along with Halbrook and his companions. Is this why some
continue to allow him to come to their area? Are they afraid their
support will be cut? If so, they are preaching to serve men rather
than God. “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or
am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should
not be a servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
has come to me that the word is going around that Mario Companano is
receiving support from Wallace Little. If this is the gossip that is
being spread, then so far as I know, it is a lie. Let the teller of
this gossip present the evidence. And even if it were true, what is
the problem with that?
know that preachers there have been told not to go to any of Little’s
seminars or lectureships. Who has the authority to tell you what to
do and what not to do? Who has the authority to tell you to whom you
can listen? Is there a Diotrephes there in the Ilocos region? John
had to deal with such a person many years ago. “I
wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first
among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come,
I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing
us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does
not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to
do so and puts them out of the church”
(III John 9-10).
I know that
there have been occasions where a preacher was about to send his son
to Manila for one of Wallace Little’s preacher training
sessions, but he was told that his support would be cut off if his
son went. By what reasoning was that threat made? Such threats would
not be tolerated in the U.S. If a preacher in the U.S. sent his son
to some denominational college to get an education, I cannot think of
a single instance where that preacher would be fired or get his
support cut off. Why do some American preachers have so much
authority in the Philippines which they do not have in the U.S.? Can
someone explain this to me?
I am aware that
some time ago Ron Halbrook had a Filipino brother write a letter of
repentance for having attended a lectureship conducted by Little.
Wallace was teaching on The Sermon on the Mount. Halbrook evidently
demanded the same thing of preachers in other provinces where Little
had gone. Who made Ron Halbrook the archbishop of the Philippines?
WHY DO BRETHREN
TOLERATE THIS BEHAVIOR?
The preacher who sent the letter later told me he was sorry for
having sent it, and said the words were not really his, but Ron
Back in March,
Little and Hayuhay had a lectureship around Laoag, but not many
preachers attended because they are “FALSE TEACHERS.”
please tell me what false doctrines they teach? If this cannot be
done, then those who are accusing them are guilty of slander, and
they will have to give answer for this. “He
that hideth hatred is of lying lips; And he that uttereth a slander
is a fool” (Prov.
10:18). I have repeatedly asked Filipino preachers if they have EVER
heard false teaching from the lips of Little or Hayuhay, and NO ONE
has been able to give me an example.
matter that has come to my attention is the fact that some preachers
in Cagayan were being supported from some people in the US that
Halbrook had contacted, but the checks were made out to Rody Gumpad.
Thus the preachers had to take their checks to Gumpad in order to get
them cashed. What is the point in this? Is this an effort to keep
control over preachers? I can understand that sometimes for security
reasons some checks may be sent to one preacher for distribution.
Thus the preacher becomes a “messenger” to deliver the
funds, as Paul was the messenger for funds sent from Macedonia, etc.,
to Jerusalem. But when the checks are made out to a single
individual, I question the wisdom and intent of this.
Another abuse I have been made aware of is when
Halbrook had a lectureship, he evidently rented a hotel conference
room, and then for lunch paid for all the men attending to have a
luxurious meal in the hotel at $25 each (P1,000). That would amount
to many thousands of pesos, which would have been a great help to
some preachers. Brother Mat tells me that Halbrook insists on staying
in expensive hotels (P6,000 a night) when he is in the Laoag area.
What’s wrong with Filipino brethren? In my trips to the
Philippines since 1997, I have always stayed with my brethren except
for two nights when I had to stay in the Manila Airport Hotel due to
my flight schedule.
charges Jim Puterbaugh with false teaching on the question of
Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage, and therefore we cannot have
fellowship with this “false teacher.” But Halbrook’s
position on MDR is considered by most preachers in the US to be
false. Ron teaches what some would label the “Mental Divorce,”
or “Waiting Game” position. Ron denies that is what he
teaches, but some say he is just twisting words.
Who is a False
I understand the divorce is not allowed in the
constitution in the Philippines, but of course the Bible still needs
to be taught on this matter. But it seems some have made it their
chief aim in taking the matter to the Philippines from America, and
creating division where there was none.
to Matthew 19:9, the majority view is that if a man puts away
(divorces) his wife because he is tired of her (or for whatever
reason), but not for sexual immorality, then neither has the right to
remarry. Even if some years later he marries another woman, his
former wife is still not free to marry, because the divorce was not
position is stated in his own words, as he wrote that if a man “has
unlawful sexual relations with another (whether before or after
he wrongly puts away his true mate), his true mate has scriptural
grounds to reject or put him away. That might involve countersuing in
the courts if he has a suit for divorce pending. But if he has
already been granted a divorce by the courts of man, the laws of man
make no provision for her to act. So far as the courts of man are
concerned, legal issues such as property rights have already been
settled and there is nothing else to be said in the realm of human
law. But if he commits adultery (before or
action in the courts of man), there is something else to be said by
divine law—by the moral and spiritual law of the court of God.
She now may put away, reject, or divorce him as a moral and spiritual
Notes by Ron
a lot of words. To sum it up, take the case of a man who puts away
his wife because he got tired of her, as mentioned earlier. There was
no adultery with another woman. Then perhaps ten years later he
marries another woman. Then, according to Ron, she may divorce him
“in her mind” and be free to marry another. That is his
position, from his own words. I have serious questions about that,
and so do the majority of brethren in the US. Even others on the
staff of Truth Magazine do not agree with him on that, but they do
not call him a “false teacher.”
is it that Jim Puterbaugh believes some can divorce, not
for fornication, but
then are free to remarry someone else, while others believe they are
living in adultery, and thus he is a false teacher, and we cannot
have fellowship with him? But,
Ron Halbrook believes some can divorce, not
for fornication, but
then are free to remarry someone else, while others believe they are
living in adultery, but he is not
a false teacher, and
we can have fellowship with him.
I do not
understand the reasoning that calls one a false teacher, but the
other a teacher of truth. Can someone please explain this to me?
An unmerciful spirit
now comes a sad situation. In the past few days I have received
emails concerning medical needs of a young Filipino Christian. Bot
Hayuhay sent word about Angel Carpio. An American brother passed the
appeal on to several in the USA. But Steve Wallace, one of Halbrook’s
fellow travelers, put this word out over the internet. “Nehemias
Hayuhay is an unworthy man. I suggest that you not forward his
requests lest brethren get the idea that you support him. If he has a
legitimate need regarding some needy Christian in the Philippines my
suggestion would be that you ask him to get some worthy brother or
sister to write you on that needy Christian’s behalf.”
find it hard to believe that this is the spirit of Christ! Steve
Wallace is delaying help for this young woman because he thinks Bot is unworthy! Wallace Little has helped many Filipinos with medical
needs, and so have I. Neither of us has EVER asked a question about
the “doctrinal position” of the one who asks for the
and ugly spirit cannot be what the religion of Christ is all about.
If Steve Wallace doesn’t want to help Angel, that is up to him,
but for him to hinder others from doing so is just mean. That is a
callous and Pharisaical attitude. In the Sermon on the Mount, our
Lord said, “"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall
receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7). If brother Wallace were seriously
ill, and Bot asked brethren for some help, I suppose Steve Wallace
would turn down any donations that came as the result of Bot’s
efforts. Do you really think so? Would he send out a message saying,
“Nehemias Hayuhay is an unworthy man. I will not accept any
donations that people send as the result of his appeal.”
Now it is
July 3, so you can see that I am a bit slow in getting this letter
written and sent. Since beginning the letter, our 2-year-old apo has
had another surgery several hundred miles away, and my wife spent two
weeks helping out staying with his two brothers. Then I went there to
see little Eli in the hospital. From there we went 3,000 miles away
to Oregon to our son’s home for his oldest son’s
graduation from high school.
Now we are
busily engaged in preparing for taking a group of 27 to the island
nation of Jamaica for our summer work there.
matter that concerns me is the tendency I have seen to elevate one
man to be the “head preacher” in an area. He is the one
always called upon to perform marriage ceremonies and funerals. They
may not be what that preacher intends, but others put this upon him.
This can lead to dangerous situations, and I have seen it in other
provinces. While various men may be worthy of respect because of
their age and/or what they have done for the cause of Christ, I find
nothing in the Bible that supports this practice.
I have been
in the Atlanta, Georgia area (5 million population) for 46 years, and
I am just one preacher among the 15 or so that are in the area. I
trust that I am respected for my long work here, and for having a
part in helping to start new congregations in the area, but I expect
no preference or elevation because of this. When a preacher is the
one who decides who gets support or who gets cut off, then we have a
situation like Diotrephes-- the one John condemned that I mentioned
earlier. “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone
among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think;
but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to
each a measure of faith” (Rom. 12:3). “It is not good to
eat much honey, Nor is it glory to search out one's own glory”
(Prov. 25:27). “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit,
but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than
yourselves” (Phil. 2:3).
have seen this practice lead to much abuse in other parts of the
Philippines, and I trust that brethren in the Ilocos region will not
allow this to damage the work of the Lord there, or in other places.
And to brethren who are rightly respected, I trust that you will not
allow yourself to become the “bishop” your area. This
leads to pride, which has been the downfall of many a man, even
preachers. “A man's pride shall bring him low; But he that is
of a lowly spirit shall obtain honor” (Prov. 29:23). In Mark
7:21-23, Christ marks pride along with the basest of sins: “For
from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts,
fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and
wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness. All these evil things proceed from within and defile
ago we had some visitors to the congregation where I was preaching at
that time. One of the visitors was James R. Cope, president of
Florida College. He was a man of reputation, and certainly had a high
profile as the president. With him were some lesser known brethren.
Brother Cope spoke to me before the service, and asked me not to call
on him for the prayer, but to call on one of the other visitors. This
was a mark of humility that characterized brother Cope, and I
certainly appreciated his character.
misunderstand. I do not mean to refuse to recognize the great
contributions and good influence certain men have had in furthering
the gospel wherever they are, but we must be careful that we do not
establish what amounts to a cult following and place men in a
position where they ought not to be.
Reverence in worship
matter I wish to mention, and this may not apply to all of you. My
wife and I have noted how distracting it is when we are with some
churches where little children are up and walking around, or going in
and out from the services. Little ones can be taught to sit still. In
our church services in the US, parents may bring some soft toys or
children’s books to occupy the children during the service. Our
older children, as young as 9 or 10 years old, often are seen taking
notes on the sermons.
We have seen
places in the Philippines where the children are quiet and well
behaved, but in other places they wander in and out during the
service, and this is distracting and disruptive. Please give thought
Sorry to have
taken so much of your time to read this, but these thoughts were on
my mind. May God bless you as you continue to serve in his kingdom. I
hope you will consider the things I have written carefully and
prayerfully. If I am mistaken in anything I have said, please call it
to my attention.
[Editor's Note: Little wrote a letter commenting on Tant's letter.]