P.O. Box 210614

Montgomery, AL  36121

July 10, 2005

 

 

Dear Mr. McClish,

 

I heard about your “Summation of Information Relating to Apologetics Press Scandal” but had not seen it until last week.  Since that time, I have thought long and hard about what kind of response, if any, I should make.  It would be hard to describe how much your publication has hurt me and a considerable number of other people.  I decided that your own scandalous remarks needed to be answered by at least one of the people whom you have hurt – me.

 

My first thought was, “Why in the world would Dub McClish publish a document like this?”  What on earth was your reason, your motivation?  It certainly was not to help Apologetics Press.  It certainly was not to help the Lord’s church.  It obviously was not out of concern for the souls of the young men who have been hurt or concern for Bert’s soul.  And it was obviously not out of love or concern for me or my sons.  What were you thinking?!!?  I do not even know you, but I cannot help but think that you must have a tremendous ego.  Do you honestly believe you are above reproach?  Do you honestly believe you are such a pillar of the church, that you are seen as such a beacon of righteousness, that others welcome unsolicited gossip from you?

 

What makes you think you have the right to gather such information, much less share it?  Since when did God give you the right to be prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and the media???!!!?  How would you like it if others were sending out letters and e-mails about you?  But, from what I understand, at least one eldership has sent out letters about “questionable” behavior on your part.  How did that make you feel?  You were likely angry or hurt, but you obviously didn’t learn anything from that experience, or you would have avoided this ridiculous use of your God-given time and abilities.

 

Do you not care at all that a host of innocent people have been affected – first by Bert’s actions and then repeatedly by supposed brethren, like yourself, who feel compelled to be talebearers?  How can you possibly justify that?  There are 16 families at A.P., including myself.  We are all trying to “walk the high road” in regard to gossip and allegations, all of us intent on continuing the work that we believe is so important.  But first one article, then another, then your “Summation” – all adding salt to the very open and painful wounds we have all experienced in our own ways.  How would you feel if brotherhood journals and “Summations” were written about you?  Wouldn’t you be hurt that others were so determined to add not only to your pain but to that of your family and coworkers?  Obviously you have missed the significance of the Lord’s admonition in Matthew 7:12 and have failed to apply it to your own life.

 

Neither you nor any of these other “brothers” can logically or scripturally say that you have published your materials because “the brotherhood has a right to know.”  If it’s the right of every Christian to know all about what Bert has done, then why doesn’t every Christian have the right to know about the sins (both public and private) of every other member of the Lord’s church? If it is really the right of every Christian to know about every sin committed by our preachers, elders, and members in general, that’s all you would be printing!  If it is really the right of every Christian to know about the sins of every other Christian, then you would logically expect access to the private files of every minister and Christian counselor, and to the notes from every elders’ meeting – just so you, and others like you, could “have your facts straight.”  I can’t believe that even you would stoop that low.

 

You cannot justify publishing this damaging information on the basis of Bert’s name recognition or stance in the brotherhood either.  The sins of every member of the Lord’s church hurt the Body, no matter what the sin or where his/her congregation might be.  What you and Bert and Wayne Jackson and Frank Chesser and Dan Jenkins do reflects on the Body of Christ just as surely as what John and Jane Doe do.

 

I was puzzled and astonished by your statement to Frank Chesser.  “I assured him that it was not my intent to publicize it [information about Bert] in The Gospel Journal, which he seemed to assume was my motivation.”  If you had no intention of publicizing in your Journal, then what gave you the right to publish your “findings” at all??? You were dishonest, Mr. McClish – or to put it another way, you lied.  And I believe you know the scriptures on that topic as well as you do the ones on homosexuality.  Both sins separate one from God.

 

You said, you “wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction” because of the calls you would be getting from others.  Why weren’t you honest enough to say that you wanted lurid details for your own gratification and satisfaction?  If you cared about any of us – the innocent or the guilty – you could have answered those who called you with a simple statement like this: “I don’t know the details, and it’s not important that I know.  A brother’s sin has affected our Lord’s family, and we need to pray for everyone involved.”  It’s interesting to me that you expected people to call you for the lurid details!  That says something to me about your character and your motivation.  It is apparent from your published notes that you believed only brother Conley and Wayne Jackson honest, reliable sources because they gave you the information you wanted to hear.  Again, the fact that your mind even wants to go there says something to me about your character and your motivation.

 

I resent very much the multiplicity of phrases you used to indicate your own personal attitudes and biases.  For example, you wrote, “[Frank] strangely went out of his way to put a very optimistic spin on the future  of AP.”  Why is it strange that Frank, or anyone else who has been affected for good by the work at AP, would want it to continue?  You obviously have no idea what good is being done or how many people are being touched worldwide.  It is not right or just or fair to hang a dark cloud of “scandal” over AP when the character of the good people who remain is not even in question.  Sounds to me like you’re expecting – even hoping – that the good work that is being done at AP should be destroyed because of the actions of one man.  All of us at AP – and, yes, I’m including myself – believe 100% in the work itself and believe we can do great things for the Lord and His church.  We are committed to that work because of our commitment to the Lord, and we are all optimistic about the future of the work.  That is not “spin” – just hopeful, prayerful expectation.

 

Other examples of your biases:  “These statements made me think that the details must be very bad indeed.”  “They’ve really ‘stepped in it’ now, in my judgment.”  “I fear they are in for a rude awakening.”  “The WPB letter oddly referred several times to ‘Dr. Bert,’ never mentioning his last name.”  What should they have called him?  Why should it bother you that they did not call him “Bert Thompson” or “brother Thompson” or something else?  What were you insinuating?  The WPB elders, and dozens of other people, call him “Dr. Bert” and have for many years.  You had the nerve to make an innuendo out of that statement when you admittedly had not yet seen the packet of letters yourself.

 

You wrote, “[One of the letters in the packet] almost made [Bert] out to be the victim rather than the perpetrator.”  Again, you wrote that without even having seen the packet yourself.  I can tell you that from my vantage point, as one of the people most affected by all of this, I did not see that viewpoint – or anything close to it – when I read any of the materials in the packet.  What I read on every page was the carefully worded, heartfelt expressions of godly men trying to do the right thing.  Whether you agree with what they wrote or how they have handled the situation is a moot point.  They were trying not to add further pain on me and my boys and the AP family.  They were concerned about the young men affected over the years.  But you felt compelled to publish your gossip sheet slanted with your point of view.  And, as hard as it may be for you to fathom, they were (and are) concerned for Bert’s soul.  I do not read one iota of that concern and love in anything you have written and spread abroad.

 

It is clear, Mr. McClish, that the concept of “objective reporting” is beyond your understanding as well.  I’m sure that you have used these and other statements in your conversations with the multitudes who have called you seeking out factual (?) information on this “scandal.”

 

You stated correctly that Bert “responded to the invitation on May 25…”  Then you added, “I do not know what Bert confessed.”  Since when do you need to know what he confessed?  Yes, all sins are “personal sins.”  Yes, that is vague.  But how many times, in all your years of preaching, have you had someone come forward and state publicly, specifically what his own personal sin was?  From my own experience, I dare say, not many.  What would you have someone do who comes forward confessing sin and asking for the help of his brethren?  Would you deny him help and comfort until he states specifically what the sin is?  Would you have him state how many times he has committed that sin before praying for him?  That smells like the Catholic confession booth to me!

 

I am also angry that you felt obligated to “report” that I have filed for divorce.  Since when is that any of your business – or the business of any who might listen to you?  And, again, you admit that you got the information second and third hand.  Did you get some kind of pleasure “reporting” that another home has been divided?

 

I could go on and on, but I will spare myself the agony of going over your published notes again.  I am sickened by your publication, by Contending for the Faith, by Christian Chronicle, and any other publications which make it their business to draw attention to evil – and thereby support other kinds of evil.  I have been embarrassed and humiliated, but if I were your wife and children I would be equally embarrassed and humiliated that you spend your time and use your influence in such ways.

 

I hope you will do some serious soul-searching and repent for your actions.  I hope you will pray for everyone involved, rather than cause any of us more harm.

 

 

 

Rhonda Thompson

P.O. Box 210614

Montgomery, AL  36121