June 30, 2005

 

Mr. Frank Chesser

Panama Street Church of Christ

444 South Panama Street

Montgomery, AL 36107

 

Dear Brother Chesser:

 

I have received your letter, dated June 17, 2005 addressed to Mr. Dub McClish but sent, unsolicited, to me and apparently to many others—perhaps hundreds. You began by stating the following facts: (1) “On June 11, 2005, I received a copy of an e-mail that you had penned entitled, ‘Summation of Information Relating to Apologetics Press Scandal’.” (2) “This document contained information from conversations that you had with Darrell Conley, Dan Jenkins, Wayne Jackson, and myself.”

 

You then moved from facts to fiction. You stated: “To say that I was shocked to see that you had taken our personal conversation into the public arena is a major understatement.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise as you said you did concerning Dub’s “Summation”. First, to say that you were “shocked” is strange in view of the FACT that Dub stated: “I told him I knew that I would be getting calls and messages from others, and I wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction.” Dub told you up front that any factual information you gave to him would be passed on to those that called and/or e-mailed him. Why would you feign shock that Dub did exactly what he told you he was going to do with the information you gave him? Second, for you to now claim that your conversation with Dub was “personal” and charge that Dub did something he should not have done is the height of hypocrisy in view of the FACT that you knew before you gave him the information that he was going to pass it along to those who called and/or sent messages to him and you uttered not one word of protest then. Third, to charge that Dub “had taken our personal conversation into the pubic arena” is a major false statement. It is a FACT that sending an e-mail message to me or you (or anyone else) does not constitute taking something into the public arena any more than your typing a letter and sending it to me in an envelope with a thirty-seven cent stamp on it. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Why did you quote only the one statement from Dub’s six-page e-mail message while leaving the bulk of what he wrote unquoted? (2) Why were you so selective in the one statement you did quote but so oblivious to everything else he wrote? (3) Why did you quote what Dub said and wrote about its not being his intent to publicize the information you gave him in THE GOSPEL JOURNAL but not quote what Dub said and wrote concerning the FACT that he knew he would be getting calls and messages from others and wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction when he responded to them?


Your second fictional statement is: “However, it appears that at least part of your objective in initiating the conversation with me was to post it on public display.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you, yourself, use the word “appears” and not only make a judgment based on appearance but then you make false charges based on your judgment. Have ye not read: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24)? FACT: Your own words condemn you. Second, you again, falsely charge that Dub’s e-mail message to those who called and/or e-mailed him requesting information constitutes posting it on public display. I repeat the FACT that sending an e-mail message to me or you (or anyone else) does not constitute posting it on public display any more than your typing a letter and sending it to me in an envelope with a thirty-seven cent stamp on it. Third, you make the false charge “that at least part of your objective in initiating the conversation with me was to post it on public display.” FACT: Dub’s objective was told to you up front when he said: “I knew that I would be getting calls and messages from others, and I wanted to be able to separate fact from fiction.” It was also stated on the first page of the e-mail message you received: “The summation of these sources of information is in the interest of separating facts from rumors.” I now have some more questions I want you to answer: (1) Have you judged righteous judgment or judged according to appearance? (2) Is writing an e-mail message to one or more people who have called and/or sent e-mail messages requesting information the same as posting the information on public display? Why did you not quote either one of Dub’s statements telling you his objective in both the phone conversation he had with you and in the e-mail message you received which was written by Dub?

 

Your third fictional statement is: “You appeared to be grossly offended that those of us whom you contacted did not reveal every lurid and salacious detail of Bert’s sin.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, it is a FACT that you have used the word “appeared” and again made a judgment based on appearance and then made false charges based on your judgment. You need to read again: “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Second, Dub’s statement concerning his conversation with brother Dan Jenkins was simply: “he would hardly tell me anything.” Dub’s statement concerning his conversation with you was simply: “My conversation with Frank was also extremely unproductive, as had been the conversation with Dan Jenkins.” It is a FACT that neither one of these statements in any way indicates that Dub was “grossly offended.” It is your false charge that is grossly offensive. Third, your charge that Dub was digging for “every lurid and salacious detail of Bert’s sin” is absurd beyond belief. The FACT is that by using these terms you indicate that Dub is some sort of a sexual pervert. Then you use verbal tricks to cover up brother Thompson’s sin of sexual perversion (you won=t confirm it is homosexual behavior but call it “personal sin”). Fourth, it is a FACT that before Dub spoke with you he had already spoken with brother Conley and that he had stated that “Bert had been unmasked as a homosexual, who had been practicing such for ‘over twenty years’ and that he had been removed from AP.” Fifth, it is a FACT that after speaking with you Dub spoke with brother Jackson who said that “Bert has had homosexual partners since at least 1985.” Sixth, the FACT is that Dub specified in his e-mail message what he was trying to get brother Jenkins and you to confirm: He wrote concerning brother Jenkins “He would not even confirm that Bert was a homosexual.” He wrote concerning you: “Like Dan, he would not even confirm that Bert’s sin was homosexual behavior.” I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Have you a second time made a judgment based on appearance and have you now twice failed to judge righteous judgment? (2) How is it that a simple statement of fact concerning what you and brother Jenkins did not state in any way indicates that Dub was “grossly offended”? (3) Since brother Conley and brother Jackson confirmed what brother Jenkins and you would not confirm are you going to charge them with revealing “every lurid and salacious detail of Bert’s sin”?


Your fourth fictional statement is: “We have detected ten lies and eleven misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. One of those involves my very brief conversation with brother Weir and another my statement regarding brother Brad Harrub. All others can be substantiated and verified.” First, you use the word “We” but it is a FACT that you fail to specify any one else. Second, you charge that there are ten lies and eleven misrepresentations (totaling twenty-one) in Dub’s e-mail message but it is a FACT that you only actually mention two (leaving nineteen unmentioned). Third, you charge that “one involves my very brief conversation with brother Weir.” Dub’s statement was that you “had openly divulged considerable information to Marvin Weir in a phone call, of which Marvin had already told me.” It is a FACT that you do not specify the alleged lie or misrepresentation. Fourth, you charge that there is another lie or misrepresentation concerning “my statement regarding Brad Harrub.” Dub’s statement concerning what you said about brother Harrub was: “I inferred from Frank’s comments that Brad Harrub would be brought back and would perhaps be given the directorship of AP, which Frank apparently favored.” It is a FACT that you do not specify the alleged lie or misrepresentation. Fifth, you claim that “all others can be substantiated and verified” but it is a FACT that you fail to tell how to go about doing so. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Who is included in your use of the word “We”? (2) What are the other nineteen lies and misrepresentations you do not mention? (3) What specifically is Dub=s lie or misrepresentation concerning your “very brief conversation with brother Weir”? (4) What specifically is Dub=s lie or misrepresentation concerning his statement dealing with your “statement regarding Brad Harrub”? (5) How do I go about substantiating and verifying your other nineteen alleged lies and misrepresentations?

 

You next quote Scripture. You quote passages correctly, like Satan did in Matthew 4:6. But you, like Satan did, misapply the Scriptures you quote. They apply to you and your letter but not to Dub and his e-mail message. “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Pro. 18:13). “Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Pro. 29:20).


Your fifth fictional statement is: “The very title of your invective is incorrect. The sin lay with brother Thompson, not Apologetics Press.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, it is a FACT that the term invective means: “1 a violent verbal attack; strong criticism, insults, curses, etc; vituperation 2 an abusive term, insult, curse, etc.” For you to characterize Dub’s message as an “invective” is an abuse of your ability to reason, a curse to common sense, and an insult to your own responsibility. It is simply what the title says: “SUMMATION OF INFORMATION RELATING TO APOLOGETICS PRESS SCANDAL.” Second, your claim that the title of Dub’s e-mail message lays the sin with Apologetics Press and not with brother Thompson is ludicrous. The FACTS are that the word “sin” is not in the title and there is no mention of “brother Thompson” in the title. If this is one of your alleged lies and/or misrepresentations I can understand why you would not want to even try to list others. Third, it is a FACT that there is not one word of the title that is “incorrect.” Fourth, it is a FACT that Dub, after speaking with brother Wayne Jackson concerning this mess, wrote in his e-mail message: “Wayne’s evaluation of this mess: ‘It will prove to be the greatest scandal in the church in my lifetime’.” I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Is your letter a violent verbal attack of Dub and/or his e-mail message? (2) Is your letter a strong criticism of Dub and/or his e-mail message? (3) Does your letter insult Dub and/or his e-mail message? (4) Does your letter curse Dub and/or his e-mail message? (5) Is your letter abusive of Dub and/or his e-mail message? (6) If your answer to the above questions is “no” on what basis do you claim that Dub’s e-mail message is an “invective”? (7) What specific word(s) in the title of Dub’s e-mail message laid the sin with Apologetics Press and not brother Thompson? (8) How is the word “SUMMATION” used incorrectly in the title? (9) How are the words “OF INFORMATION” used incorrectly in the title? (10) How are the words “RELATING TO” used incorrectly in the title? (11) How are the words “APOLOGETICS PRESS” used incorrectly in the title? (12) How is the word “SCANDAL” used incorrectly in the title? (13) Did you read brother Wayne Jackson’s evaluation of this mess: “It will prove to be the greatest scandal in the church in my lifetime”? (14) Since brother Wayne Jackson used the word “scandal” are you going to charge him with making an “incorrect invective”?

 

After five statements that are more fictional than factual you finally make a third factual statement: “It was the staff at Apologetics Press (along with others) who confronted brother Thompson about his sin, especially brethren Dave Miller, Brad Harrub, Eric Lyons, and Kyle Butt.” You have obviously singled out these men (even though there were others) as worthy of commendation and heading the list is brother Dave Miller who is now “Executive Director” of Apologetics Press. First, it is a FACT that you and they are to be commended for being willing to confront brother Bert Thompson about his sin. Second, it is also a FACT that you are being confrontational with brother Dub McClish but being silent as a tomb concerning the sins of brother Dave Miller. Brother G. K. Wallace was fond of saying: “The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools” (Pro. 26:7). This treatise of yours shows vividly that you are walking with a huge limp. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Do you agree with brother Miller’s doctrine (practiced at Brown Trail) concerning elder resignation, re-evaluation and re-affirmation? (2) Do you agree with brother Miller’s doctrine (practiced by Everett Chambers) concerning marriage, divorce, and remarriage? (3) Do you believe that one who believes and/or teaches and/or practices doctrinal error should be “Executive Director” of (or even on the staff of) Apologetics Press?


Your sixth fictional statement is: “Sadly, you have shunned the spirit of the publican and adopted the spirit of the Pharisee” (Luke 18:9-14).  I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, by making this accusation and using this passage you falsely charge that Dub has adopted the spirit of trusting in himself that he is righteous and of despising others (Luke 18:9). Second, by making this accusation and using this passage you falsely charge that Dub has adopted the spirit of bragging to God and/or to other men concerning what he is not (Luke 18:11). Third, by making this accusation and using this passage you falsely charge that Dub has adopted the spirit of bragging to God and/or to other men concerning what he does (Luke 18:12). Fourth, by making this accusation and using this passage you falsely charge that Dub has adopted the spirit of not exhibiting humility, not exhibiting his need for the mercy of God, and not admitting his own sins (Luke 18:13). Fifth, by making this accusation and using this passage you falsely charge that Dub is unjust and has exalted himself (Luke 18:14). I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub trusts in himself that he is righteous? (2) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub despises others? (3) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub brags about what he is not? (4) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub brags about what he has done or is doing? (5) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub doesn=t exhibit humility? (6) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates that Dub doesn=t exhibit a need for mercy? (7) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub doesn=t admit his own sins? (8) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates that Dub is unjust? (9) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub exalts himself?


The FACT is that you are guilty of the very things you falsely accuse Dub of being and doing. First, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you trust in yourself that you are more righteous than Dub. You wrote concerning yourself: “He (brother Thompson) and I were both weeping...” You wrote concerning Dub: “Why could you not have borrowed one tear from Paul’s eye for this fallen brother and his godly wife and family?” You obviously have drawn a contrast between your own “righteousness” and Dub’s alleged “unrighteousness”. You further wrote: “He (brother Thompson) and I were both...in great anguish of heart.” You wrote concerning Dub: “...I found no expressions of anguish of heart over this human tragedy of incalculable proportions.…” You have again obviously drawn a contrast between your own “righteousness” and Dub’s alleged “unrighteousness”. You wrote concerning yourself: “I replied, ‘Pray for Bert, Rhonda and their family’.” You wrote concerning Dub: “Why could you not at least have ended your vituperative with just one tender statement such as, ‘Brethren, let us pray for Bert, Rhonda and their family’?” You have yet again obviously drawn a contrast between your own “righteousness” and Dub’s alleged “unrighteousness”. Second, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you despise Dub and/or his message. You have falsely indicated that Dub is “lurid” and “salacious”. You quoted passages and applied them to Dub, falsely charging that what he has written is a folly and a shame. You have quoted passages and applied them to Dub, falsely charging that he is a hasty fool. You have falsely labeled his message as an “invective”. You have falsely charged him with shunning the spirit of the publican and adopting the spirit of the Pharisee. These are only the false charges found on the first page of your three-page letter. Third, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you are bragging about what you are not. You have bragged (either explicitly or implicitly) about not adopting the spirit of the Pharisee. You have bragged (either explicitly or implicitly) about not digging for every lurid and salacious detail. Fourth, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you are bragging about what you have done or are doing. You have bragged about your weeping. You have bragged about your great anguish of heart. You have bragged about your telling others to pray for Bert, Rhonda and their family. Fifth, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you view yourself as being more humble than Dub is. Your statements about your weeping indicate such. Your statements about your great anguish of heart indicate such. Your statements about your telling others to pray for Bert, Rhonda and their family indicate such. Sixth, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you view yourself as being more merciful than Dub is. In claiming that Dub shunned the spirit of the publican who prayed for mercy and in contrasting your telling others to pray, with Dub’s alleged lack of prayer, you have certainly indicated that you are more like the publican (and thus more merciful) than you believe Dub to be. Seventh, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you view yourself as being more ready to admit your own sins than Dub is. You have likened yourself to be more like the publican who admitted his own sins than is Dub. You also wrote: “I am confident that if each of us would go on a mental journey across the years of our lives in serious, somber meditation upon our own sins, mistakes and failures we would be less censorious of others—most especially of a brother who has made public confession of sin.” Your letter indicates that you view yourself as more likely to do this than Dub is. You further wrote: “I come to you in the spirit of Galatians 6:1, in full recognition of my own sins and frailties, hoping and praying that you will come to realize the serious nature of your conduct (which was unethical, shameful and at variance with many fundamental principles of the gospel) and take the necessary steps to rectify this wrong.” You make a show of admitting your own sins and frailties while charging that Dub has not yet done so. Eighth, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you view yourself as being more just than Dub is. All of the above cited examples indicate such. Ninth, there are statements in your letter that indicate that you have exalted yourself over Dub. Again, all of the above cited examples indicate such, especially those statements where you contrast what you have done with what you allege Dub has not done. You would do well to hear and heed what Paul said: “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou comdemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things” (Rom. 2:1).

 

Your seventh fictional statement is: “In reading your treatise, one would be led to conclude that you are blessed with perfect vision regarding the faults of another while wholly blind to any imperfections you may have.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, your claim that you were led to your conclusion by reading what Dub wrote is to say that Dub’s treatise set forth such a conclusion either explicitly or implicitly. It is a FACT that Dub’s message, neither explicitly or implicitly, leads to such a conclusion as you have reached. Second, the law of logic known as the law of rationality demands that one should draw only such conclusions as are warranted by adequate evidence. It is a FACT that your conclusion is not based on adequate evidence. It is a FACT that your conclusion is not rational. The more you write the more wild your assertions become. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub is blessed with perfect vision regarding the faults of another? (2) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub is wholly blind to any imperfections he may have?


Your eighth fictional statement is: “A man’s public confession of sin should not be fodder for Internet talebearing and gossip. I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, the man of whom you speak is brother Bert Thompson. Second, the public confession of sin of which you speak is the public confession by brother Bert Thompson to the sin you would only label as “personal” but would not confirm (in your phone conversation with Dub or in your letter sent out, unsolicited, to—perhaps hundreds) as being homosexual behavior.  This is the same public confession of sin by brother Bert Thompson that brother Dan Jenkins would only say was “personal,” but would not confirm as being homosexual. Third, you are the one to label the information you (and others) gave to Dub (which he summarized in his message) as “fodder.” Fourth, you falsely charge Dub with posting the information contained in his e-mail message on the Internet. Earlier you falsely charged that Dub had taken this information “into the public arena”. You next falsely charged that Dub had posted it “on public display”. Now you falsely charge that Dub posted it on the Internet. It is a FACT that you keep adding more fiction to your false charges. Fifth, you falsely charge Dub with “talebearing and gossip”. I remind you of the FACT that you (and others) gave him the information he passed on in his message. I remind you of the FACT that brother Darrell Conley told Dub that Bert had been unmasked as a homosexual, who had been practicing such for over twenty years. I remind you of the FACT that brother Wayne Jackson told Dub that Bert has had homosexual partners since at least 1985. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) What specifically has brother Bert Thompson confessed? (2) Has brother Bert Thompson confessed to homosexual behavior? (3) Has brother Bert Thompson confessed to practicing homosexual behavior for twenty years? (4) Has brother Bert Thompson confessed to having homosexual partners since at least 1985? (5) Why would you not confirm that brother Thompson’s sin was homosexual behavior? (6) Do you know of any sin(s) not “personal”? (7) Is sending an e-mail message to those who call and/or write requesting information the same as posting such information on the Internet? (8) What is the world wide web site where Dub has posted information concerning the Apologetics Press scandal on the Internet? (9) Have brother Conley and brother Jackson sinned in providing information that you now call “fodder” and “gossip” and “talebearing”? (10) Did you sin in providing information that you now call “fodder” and “gossip” and “talebearing”?

 

Your fourth factual statement is: “In just two weeks this side of being confronted with his sin, Bert has made public confessions at seven different congregations.” I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Is it the case that brother Thompson did not confess his sin(s) until he was confronted? (2) What is the significance of brother Thompson’s making seven public confessions at seven different congregations? (3) What specifically has brother Thompson confessed at these seven different congregations? (4) Has brother Thompson confessed to the sin of homosexual behavior or just “personal” sins? (5) Are you and/or brother Thompson trying to cover up the fact that his sin was/is homosexual behavior? (6) Has brother Thompson confessed to having homosexual partners for twenty years (since at least 1985)? (7) Are you and/or brother Thompson trying to cover up the fact that he has had homosexual partners for twenty years (since at least 1985)? (8) Has brother Thompson made confession of sin(s) to his family? (9) Has brother Thompson made confession of sin(s) to those with whom he committed sin(s)? (10) Is it the case that homosexual accusations were made against brother Thompson about two years ago? (11) Is it the case that the Eastern Meadows Church in Montgomery withdrew its sponsorship of AP because of accusations concerning brother Thompson=s homosexual behavior? (12) Is it the case that the West Palm Beach, Florida, Church knew of these accusations when it accepted sponsorship of AP? (13) Has brother Thompson told any lies concerning his homosexual behavior over the past twenty years? (14) Has brother Thompson confessed to the sin of lying? (15) Has brother Thompson had any homosexual partners over the past twenty years who were minors? (16) Has brother Thompson been accused of mishandling AP funds by anyone? (17) Did brother Harrub accuse brother Thompson of mishandling AP funds? (18) Was brother Harrub fired from AP by brother Thompson? (19) Has brother Thompson confessed to any sin(s) involving AP funds?

 

You next ask the following question of Dub: “At this point, what else would you have him to do?” I cannot answer for Dub but I can point you to some things he wrote in his e-mail message. (1) “I fear that the ‘Information Packet’ sent out by AP principals will incite more rumors and raise more questions than they will answer, answers to which brethren who have supported this work are surely entitled.” (2) “This packet would perhaps have better served AP had the documents been more forthright and straightforward in their ‘explanations’.” (3) “It attempts to ‘sugar coat’ a grievous situation that is hardly sweet from any angle.” (4) “Faithful brethren are willing to forgive, but they will not take kindly to being dealt with in a secretive manner, especially about a work they have been supporting financially.” (5) “The irony of the matter is that the nature of brother Thompson=s ‘personal sin’ had already become widely known before the ‘Information Packets’ were ever prepared and mailed.” (6) “The documents in the packet will therefore be somewhat anticlimactic.” (7) “If Frank, Dan Jenkins, the AP board, or the W. Palm Beach elders think that the statement that Bert=s removal was for ‘personal sins’ is going to take care of this matter in the minds of brethren, I fear that they are in for a rude awakening.”


Your ninth fictional statement is in the form of a question: “Are more fruits of penitence demanded by you than those required of God? Must he crawl over shattered glass, bathe your feet in tears and beg for your personal forgiveness?” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you falsely indicate that Dub demands and requires more fruits of repentance than God does. Second, you falsely indicate that Dub demands and requires that brother Thompson crawl over shattered glass as a fruit of repentance. Third, you falsely indicate that Dub demands and requires that brother Thompson bathe Dub=s feet in tears as a fruit of repentance. Fourth, you falsely indicate that Dub demands and requires that brother Thompson beg for Dub’s personal forgiveness. These charges are so outlandish that no refutation is needed. I will simply pose some questions that I want you to answer: (1) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub demands and requires more fruits of repentance than God does? (2) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub demands and requires any one crawl over shattered glass as a fruit of repentance? (3) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub demands and requires any one to bathe his feet in tears as a fruit of repentance? (4) What specific statement(s) in Dub’s message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub demands and requires any one to beg for his personal forgiveness?

 

Your tenth fictional statement is: “I have read your e-mail several times, and I found no expressions of anguish of heart over this human tragedy of incalculable proportions or demonstration of a spirit of kindness, forgiveness, mercy or grief.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you have falsely accused Dub of no expressions of anguish of heart. Second, you have falsely accused Dub of no demonstration of a spirit of kindness. Third, you have falsely accused Dub of no demonstration of a spirit of forgiveness. Fourth, you have falsely accused Dub of no demonstration of a spirit of mercy. Fifth, you have falsely accused Dub of no demonstration of a spirit of grief. I now quote from page one of Dub’s e-mail message:

 

I have known brother Thompson for twenty-three years. We have spoken on the same lectureships. Our publications company likely sold thousands of dollars worth of AP books through the years. I have admired his scholarship, his ability, and his accomplishments. I have attended Bert’s seminars. I have learned from him. I will continue to learn from him through the books he has written. I certainly am not his enemy and it brings me only profound sorrow to learn of his “personal sins.”

 

I also will quote from page five of Dub’s e-mail message: “It also said (as noted above), that he has confessed his sins (for which we rejoice, it should go without saying).” Jesus once described some who were blind: “For this people=s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (Mat. 13:15). I do not know if the reason(s) is the same but the result is the same. You are as blind as they were.


Your eleventh fictional statement is again in the form of a question: “Did you not reflect upon the devastating effects this tragedy has had upon Rhonda and the family before firing off your missive?” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you falsely accuse Dub of not reflecting upon the devastating effects this tragedy has had on Rhonda and the family. Second, you falsely accuse Dub of firing off a missive as though he were “firing” a gun without thinking or caring about who may be hit. I quote from the first page of Dub’s e-mail message: “I have been praying and will continue to pray for him and his family.” The “him” is a reference to brother Thompson “and his family” is a reference to Rhonda and the family. There is an old saying that there is none so blind as he who will not see.

 

Your twelfth fictional statement is also in the form of a question: “Why could you not at least have ended your vituperative with just one tender statement such as, ‘Brethren, let us pray for Bert, Rhonda and their family’?” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you falsely accuse Dub of writing a vituperative (a word meaning to blame, to speak abusively to or about; berate; revile). Second, you falsely accuse Dub of not writing even one tender statement concerning brother Thompson, Rhonda and the family. The above quote from page one of Dub’s e-mail message (“I have been praying and will continue to pray for him and his family”) shows this accusation to be a lie. The FACT is that your letter is blaming Dub, speaking abusively to or about Dub, berating Dub, and reviling Dub falsely.

 

You next write to Dub saying: “You would perhaps do well to ponder, ‘For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath showed no mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against judgment’ (James 2:13).” I will now write to you, saying that you would do well to ponder:

 

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye (Mat. 7:1-5).

 

Your fifth factual statement is:

 

My phone has rung incessantly for three weeks. Every single call has pulsated with expressions of sorrow, grief, and concern for Bert and his family, the devastating consequences this could have upon the church and the great work at Apologetics Press. Questions such as, “What can I do?” and “How can I help?” have been uttered repetitiously. Yours and brother Weir’s have been the lone exceptions.

 

I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Have you been giving out information about the Apologetics Press scandal over the phone for three week incessantly? (2) Why is it not sinful for you to give out information concerning the Apologetics Press scandal over the phone but claim it is sinful for Dub to give out information concerning the Apologetics Press scandal by e-mail messages? (3) Have you falsely accused Dub again of not exhibiting expressions of sorrow, grief, and concern for Bert and his family? (4) Does the word scandal describe accurately something that could have “devastating consequences...upon the church and the great work at Apologetics Press?” (5) Did Dub and brother Weir sin because they did not ask you, “What can I do?” (6) Did Dub and brother Weir sin because they did not ask you “How can I help?”


Your next paragraph contrasts Dub’s “ignoble conduct” with “that of Paul in a kindred situation.” You quote 2 Corinthians 2:4 and then state: “In heart, attitude and spirit, you and Paul appear to live in two different worlds.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intention or unintentional) in your treatise. First, it is a FACT that the word ignoble means: “not noble in character or quality; dishonorable; base; mean.” Second, you accuse Dub of sinning “in heart, attitude and spirit.” It is also a FACT that you base this accusation on “appearance”. Further, it is a FACT that this is the third time in your letter you have made accusations against Dub based on appearance. Thus, this is the third time you have violated John 7:24. Third, you falsely accuse Dub’s conduct of being dishonorable, base, and mean. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Why is it noble for you to give out information concerning the Apologetics Press scandal over the phone for three weeks incessantly but claim it is ignoble for Dub to give out information concerning the Apologetics Press scandal by e-mail messages? (2) Why is it noble for you to give out information concerning the Apologetics Press scandal over the phone to those that call but claim it is ignoble for Dub to give out information you gave to him over the phone to those who call him? (3) In heart, attitude and spirit (as displayed in your letter to Dub) do you and Paul live in the same world? (4) Does John 7:24 have any meaning to/for you at all? (5) Is your letter to Dub dishonorable? (6) Is your letter to Dub base? (7) Is your letter to Dub mean? (8) If you answer “no” to the previous three questions, on what basis do you accuse Dub’s e-mail message of being dishonorable, base, and mean?

 

Your next statement is: “In your conversation with me, your words were clothed in ice. Not one shred of compassion did you express for Bert and his family. Why could you not have borrowed one tear from Paul’s eye for this fallen brother and his godly wife and family?” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you have made a subjective judgment concerning the sound of Dub’s voice. Second, you have, again, falsely accused Dub of having no compassion (this false accusation has previously been refuted). I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Did Dub sin in his phone conversation with you because the sound of his voice was not what you subjectively considered to be warm and compassionate? (2) Did Dub sin in his phone conversation with you because he did not then shed tears for brother Thompson and his family? (3) If others do not shed tears for brother Thompson and his family when they converse with you are they guilty of sin?

 

Your next factual statement is: “Brother Jenkins had already informed you of Bert’s confession before you called others and me.” You then ask: “What else did you need to know?” Not even “godly sorrow” constitutes repentance (2 Cor. 7:10). Neither does a confession of sin always automatically indicate that there has been genuine repentance. Judas made a confession of sin: “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Mat. 27:3-4). But Judas did not genuinely repent. Brethren need to know that in addition to confession of sin(s) there has been genuine repentance. “Art thou a master of Israel, and knoweth not these things?” (John 3:10). If you do not know this Biblical FACT then you do not need to be trying to teach Dub anything.

 

Your next fictional statement is: “The matter should have ended right there.” Even brother Thompson does not believe this statement or he would not have made confession of sin at seven different congregations in two weeks. The AP Board does not believe this statement or they would not have specified that brother Thompson can never have anything to do with AP again. You do not believe your own statement or you would never have written and sent out your letter.


Your next fictional statement to Dub is: “Yet, you ploughed on down your furrow of shame, endeavoring to gather every sordid detail you could find with the full intent of broadcasting them to the brotherhood.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, you falsely accuse Dub of “ploughing” a “furrow of shame” because he was seeking factual information about a grievous sin. It is a FACT that there is nothing inherently shameful in seeking information about a grievous sin. “And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know” (Gen. 18:20-21). Second, you falsely accuse Dub of endeavoring to gather every sordid detail he could find. The FACT is that Dub did not ask you for sordid details. Dub asked you for facts. Dub told you why he wanted the facts. Dub told you what he was going to do with the facts you gave him. Third, you falsely accuse Dub of fully intending to “broadcast them to the brotherhood”. You have falsely accused Dub of taking these things “into the public arena”. You have falsely accused Dub of posting these things “on public display”. You have falsely accused Dub of posting these things on the Internet. Now you falsely charge Dub with having the full intent of broadcasting these things to the brotherhood. I have contacted Dub and asked him how many e-mail messages he sent out. He sent out a grand total of twenty-three “SUMMATIONS” before the date of your letter. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Was it shameful for the Lord to seek information concerning the grievous sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? (2) What specific statement(s) in either Dub’s phone call or his e-mail message indicate (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub was endeavoring to gather “every sordid detail”? (3) Do you believe that sending twenty-three e-mail messages indicates a full intent to broadcast the information to the brotherhood? (4) How many of your unsolicited letters have been mailed out to the brotherhood? (5) Does your letter indicate that you believe that the matter should have ended when you told Dub of brother Thompson=s confession?

 

Your next fictional statement is: “I did not realize that the Lord had authorized an earthly clearinghouse in the penitence process.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. You falsely accuse Dub of setting himself up as an “earthly clearinghouse in the penitence process”. What specific statement(s) in Dub’s phone conversation with you or in his e-mail message indicates (either explicitly or implicitly) that Dub has set himself up as an “earthly clearinghouse in the penitence process”? Your accusations against Dub have gone past the fictional into the realm of the fanatical and fanciful. And there is evidence that this is by design. One of the ways to avoid the real issue(s) in any given discussion is to attack the person who is trying to get you to deal with the real issue(s). The real issue in this discussion is the sin of brother Thompson and what Apologetics Press has done and is doing about it. Instead of dealing with that real issue you have made an attack on Dub McClish. I feared that such a tactic might be employed on any one questioning the handling of this matter when I read the second paragraph in the letter sent to me by the Palm Beach Lakes Church of Christ elders (May 31, 2005), titled “Open Letter to Contributors and Friends of Apologetics Press.” they wrote:

 


The enemies of Bert Thompson, in and out of the kingdom, will rejoice and find comfort in this terrible tragedy. Some will gloat, rejoicing in iniquity not in truth (1 Cor. 13:6), taking delight in the adversity of a brother and not being concerned for souls (including Bert’s). Our hearts will sorrow over this ensuing tragedy as well, since the cause of Christ will not be enhanced by such behavior. We need to rejoice over repentance, not sin (James 5:19-20).

 

I feared that paragraph would practically guarantee that any one asking questions the letter writer(s) did not like or want to answer would be categorized as an “enemy” and treated accordingly. Your letter has certainly confirmed my fears.

 

You next quote the following passages to Dub: “Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people” (Lev. 19:16). “A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter” (Pro. 11:13). “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly” (Pro. 18:8). “There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health” (Pro. 12:18). “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction” (Pro. 13:3). “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Pro. 29:11). These passages are misapplied to Dub and his e-mail message, but they very much apply to you and your letter. I have some questions I want you to answer: (1) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds constitute “going up and down as a talebearer among thy people”? (2) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds constitute “revealing secrets”? (3) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds constitute “concealing the matter”? (4) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds “wound” Dub in “the innermost parts of his belly”? (5) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds “pierce” Dub “like a sword”? (6) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds indicate how “healthy” you are? (7) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds indicate how you “keep your mouth”? (8) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds indicate how “wide” you have “opened your lips”? (9) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds indicate how you have “uttered all your mind”? (10) Does sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds indicate how you “keep things in till afterwards”? By sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds you have told more than intended and to more people than intended. By sending out your letter, unsolicited, you have revealed secrets you sought to conceal. By sending out your letter, unsolicited, you have wounded yourself and Apologetics Press deeply. By sending out your letter, unsolicited, you have pierced yourself and Apologetics Press unwisely. By sending out your letter, unsolicited, you will help destroy yourself and Apologetics Press. By sending out your letter, unsolicited, you have foolishly uttered what you should have kept in.

 

Your next paragraph asks the following questions:

 

Have I missed the great good for the kingdom that you were endeavoring to accomplish by your action? Was it your aim to “provoke unto love and good works”? (Heb. 10:24). Was it an act of love for Bert and his family and support for the unique work of Apologetics Press? Was it an act of kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiving spirit toward one who had confessed sin? (Eph. 4:32). Were your words full of “grace and seasoned with salt”? (Col. 4:6). Were they, “Words fitly spoken like apples of gold in pictures of silver”? (Pro. 25:11). Were you “following after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another”? (Rom. 14:19).

 

I will ask you the same questions concerning your letter to Dub. (1) Have I missed the great good for the kingdom that you were endeavoring to accomplish by sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? (2) Was it your aim to “provoke unto love and good works” by sending out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? (3) Was it an act of love for Dub and his family and support for the work of The Gospel Journal that prompted you to send out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? (4) Was it an act of tenderheartedness and forgiving spirit toward Dub that prompted you to send out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? (5) Were your words full of “grace and seasoned with salt” in the letter you sent out, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? (6) Were your “Words fitly spoken like apples of gold in pictures of silver” in the letter you sent out, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? (7) Were you “following after the things which make for peace and things wherewith one may edify another” when you sent out your letter, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds? If you can answer “yes” to the above questions concerning your letter to Dub then Dub can much more forcefully answer “yes” to the same questions concerning his e-mail message. But I will let Dub answer by quoting from the first page of his e-mail message, a part you must have missed:

 

I have known brother Thompson for twenty-three years. We have spoken on the same lectureships. Our publications company likely sold thousands of dollars worth of AP books through the years. I have admired his scholarship, his ability, and his accomplishments. I have attended Bert’s seminars. I have learned from him. I will continue to learn from him through the books he has written. I certainly am not his enemy and it brings me only profound sorrow to learn of his “personal sins.” I have been praying and will continue to pray for him and his family.

Nor am I the enemy of Apologetics Press. Without question, this vital work needs to continue and grow. I would rejoice to be able to endorse and encourage it without reservation, as I was able to do for many years. I deeply regret that, however, under its present leadership, I cannot do so.

 

Your next statement is: “I am confident that if each of us would go on a mental journey across the years of our lives in serious, somber meditation upon our own sins, mistakes and failures, we would be less censorious of others—most especially of a brother who has made public confession of sin.” If your letter to Dub was written after taking such a mental journey across the years of your life I would hate to have seen what you would have written without taking such a journey. How could you have been more censorious of Dub?

 

Your next paragraph quotes Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinth regarding the adulterous brother who had repented. You quote from 2 Corinthians 2:7-8. You emphasize the words “forgive, comfort, confirm your love toward him!” You then write: “I ask you, brother McClish, is this what you have done?” You keep repeating the same false accusations. False accusations do not become true just because you keep repeating them. As a matter of FACT the more you repeat your false accusations against Dub the more damage you do to yourself and to your own integrity. I will ask you, brother Chesser, does your letter forgive, comfort and confirm your love toward Dub?


You next fictional statement is: “I come to you in the spirit of Galatians 6:1, in full recognition of my own sins and frailties, hoping and praying that you will come to realize the serious nature of your conduct (which was unethical, shameful and at variance with may fundamental principles of the gospel) and take the necessary steps to rectify this wrong.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, in claiming your letter was written in the spirit of Galatians 6:1 you claim that Dub has been overtaken in a fault and needs to be restored. The FACTS prove that Dub has not been overtaken in fault as you charge and is not in need of restoration as you suggest. Second, in claiming your letter was written in the spirit of Galatians 6:1 you claim that you are spiritual. If you believe you have evidenced spirituality in your letter and written in the spirit of Galatians 6:1, I fail to see how you can possibly charge that Dub failed to do so in his e-mail message. Third, in claiming that your letter was written in the spirit of Galatians 6:1 you claim to exhibit the spirit of meekness. If you believe that your letter exhibits meekness Dub’s e-mail message exhibits more. Fourth, in claiming that your letter was written in the spirit of Galatians 6:1 you claim that you have considered yourself, “lest thou also be tempted”. My letter is an attempt to get you to re-consider yourself and your letter.

 

Your next paragraph is where you contrast the righteousness of brother Thompson and your own righteousness with Dub’s alleged unrighteousness concerning weeping and anguish of heart. This false contrast has previously been exposed. But you proceed to contrast the righteousness of an un-named young man and an un-named young lady with Dub’s alleged unrighteousness concerning prayer. You then state: “Oh, how I wish that your conduct, a seasoned veteran, had matched that of these two fine young Christians.” I have detected lies and misrepresentations (whether intentional or unintentional) in your treatise. First, I will contrast your conduct (as exhibited in your letter sent out, unsolicited, to perhaps hundreds) with Dub’s conduct (as exhibited in his e-mail message made available to twenty-three people who had requested the information) any day of any week. Dub=s righteousness far exceeds that of yours. Second, since you like to tell stories concerning what others have said and done I will tell you about an elder of the church who received your unsolicited letter. He called me and compared your attitude to that of a suicide bomber. He observed that your letter indicates that you are willing to destroy yourself in order to destroy Dub. He also likened your remarks about Dub to those of a recent politician who charged that what is now going on at AGitmo@ is the same as what went on during Stalin=s and Hitler=s and Pol Pot=s time. He observed there is absolutely no valid comparison in either case. He also observed that what you are trying to do to Dub in your unsolicited letter campaign is the same thing the Pearl Street elders tried to do to Dub in their unsolicited letter writing campaign a while back. He observed that your effort is as bad as was theirs.

 

Your last paragraph begins with the false statement: “There is no way to know how many people have received your e-mail—perhaps hundreds.” When Dub wanted to know something from you he picked up the phone and called you. He told you what he wanted to know. He told you why he wanted to know it. And he told you what he was going to do with what you told him. If you wanted to know how many e-mails Dub sent or handed out all you had to do was to pick up the phone and call him and ask him, like I did. He sent out a total of twenty-three before you sent out your letter. The only reason you have for stating this lie is to try to justify your sending out, unsolicited, perhaps hundreds of your own letters.


Your next state: “No doubt, some are making copies and passing it on to others.” This is true. I have passed it on to two who requested information. If you really wanted to know how many have done so it would not be difficult to find out if you know how to use a phone. I know you do because you bragged about using yours incessantly for weeks. But, I do not believe you really want to know the FACTS.

You then state: “Though I loathe and detest this kind of action, I feel compelled to pass on this response I have made to you to at least some who likely have been recipients of your document.” When you say that you loathe and detest a certain action you indicate that such an action is evil. When you say that you feel compelled to take an action that you loathe and detest, you indicate that you subscribe to the false doctrine, which asks: “Shall we do evil that good may come?” (Rom. 3:8). You state that you feel compelled to do so. Paul did not feel compelled to do evil that good may come. Instead he stated: “whose damnation is just.” This statement establishes the FACT that you are an advocate and practitioner of situation ethics. And you are the one who accused Dub of being unethical. I also feel compelled to respond to your letter and to send my response to all who have received your letter. It would help me if you would simply inform me of the names and number of people to whom you sent your letter. If not, I will just have to guess—perhaps thousands. You sign you letter “with brotherly love and concern.” If your letter is an exhibition of brotherly love and concern I fail to see how you could charge that Dub=s e-mail was not.

 

When I read your first letter (I have now received it twice) I was shocked at what you had written. If I had read your letter not knowing the writer and someone had informed me that Frank Chesser had written it I would not have believed them. My response would have been that I know Frank Chesser. We both preached for congregations in Jacksonville, Florida at the same time. The Frank Chesser I know would not have written such a letter. But seeing is believing.

 

I will close with a quote from your letter. I am “hoping and praying that you will come to realize the serious nature of your conduct (which was unethical, shameful and at variance with many fundamental principles of the gospel) and take the necessary steps to rectify this wrong.”

 

Your brother in Christ,

 

 

 

David B. Watson