SUMMATION # 3 OF INFORMATION RELATING TO TGJ RESIGNATIONS

 

            In Summation # 2 Of Information Relating To TGJ Resignations (with attachments) there were included: (1) sister Rhonda Thompson’s first letter to brother Dub McClish; (2) sister Lavonne McClish’s letter to sister Thompson; (3) brother Dub McClish’s letter of apology to sister Thompson; (4) and brother McClish’s letter of apology to brother Bert Thompson. Also included were: (5) sister Thompson’s second letter to brother McClish accepting his apology; and (6) brother Thompson’s e-mail letter to brother McClish accepting his apology. Several have asked if any of the TGJ Board Members read these letters prior to the meeting on July 20, 2005, when brother McClish was forced to “resign” as Editor of TGJ. The answer is “yes.”

 

            On July 15, 2005, brother McClish sent an e-mail message to all TGJ Board Members concerning his letters to the Thompsons: “Dear brethren, attached are letters I wrote and sent today to Bert and Rhonda Thompson. I believe they will be self-explanatory. Please circulate these as freely as you wish. Thanks. See you soon, Lord willing.”

 

            On July 16, 2005, brother Michael Hatcher wrote the following e-mail message to brother McClish: “Dub, Curtis and I are at the Sunny Slope lectures. I received the copies of your letters to the Thompsons after arriving here. I mentioned it to Curtis and let him read the two letters also. He and I both want you to know that they were greatly appreciated and appropriate. We look forward to seeing you Wednesday at Schertz.”

 

More recently (8/26/05) brother McClish questioned brother Hatcher concerning his time at the Sunny Slope lectures with brother Curtis Cates. Brother McClish wrote:

 

I know that you and Curtis were together at Sunny Slope the weekend before the meetings at Schertz last month. I still have your e-mail in response to receiving my apology letters to the Thompsons (reflecting the fact that not only you, but Curtis also had read them [with appreciation no less]). Did Curtis talk to you any that weekend about phone calls, letters, e-mails, etc., he had received concerning my AP “Summation” and/or about me, my alleged failed reputation, and the effects these would allegedly have on TGJ and on MSOP? If he did so, would you say he did so very little, some, a good bit, a great amount, or “constantly” (i.e., every time you were with him)?

 

Brother Hatcher discussed this matter in a phone conversation with brother McClish (8/28/05) saying that “constantly” was too strong a description but that the next degree down (“a great amount”) would be an accurate description. This is proof that brother Curtis Cates was already campaigning for the removal of brother McClish as Editor of TGJ prior to the meetings in Schertz, Texas on July 19 – 20, 2005.

 

            On July 26, 2005, brother Tommy Hicks (TGJ Board Member) wrote an e-mail message to brother Kent Bailey in response to questions concerning the “dismissal” of brethren McClish and Watson saying:

 

You did not use the word “fired,” but you used “dismissal” which, to me, implies the same. Neither Dub nor David was “fired.” Furthermore, neither was asked to “resign.” By their own volition, both did resign. I cannot speak as to how Dub and David perceived their situation relative to TGJ Board, but if anyone says, “They saw the handwriting on the wall and resigned,” I can assure you that TGJ Board had done no “writing on the wall.” No vote was ever taken, therefore, no decision was ever made, by TGJ Board to “fire” them or to ask them for their resignations.

 

On that same date, when brother Bailey questioned brother McClish via e-mail concerning brother Hicks’s “spin,” brother McClish wrote brother Bailey saying:

 

Dave and I have discussed Tommy’s responses to you. The parsing and spinning as to whether or not we “resigned voluntarily” is interesting. A good question might be to ask Tommy if he will send you a copy of the “unanimous resolution” of the Board which Michael read at the beginning of our meeting. It carried a not-so-thinly veiled threat that Dub and Dave “may” need to be replaced….If they invited us to the meeting without our being under threat, it is strange that when we resigned, not a single Board Member suggested we should talk about it some, discuss some possible way to avoid the resignations, or that it was a drastic or unnecessary action on our part. After we said, “We resign,” they simply excused us from the meeting for 10-12 minutes for discussion of the resignations. Tommy then came and got us, and Michael read the “unanimous resolution” of the Board to accept our resignations—no attempt to ask us to reconsider, no questions of us or to us in any way that related to any alternative to our departure from our editorial responsibilities. They can pretend all they want to, but our resignations were exactly what they wanted before we walked into the meeting, and objective men, possessing the facts that transpired, can reach no other conclusion. It was just like elders who call a preacher in and ask him if he wants to resign or be fired. Then when he resigns, they whine, “But we didn’t fire him; he resigned.”

 

Brother Jerry Parker voluntarily handled TGJ’s book business in order to help the paper. He met with the TGJ Board on July 20, immediately after brethren McClish and Watson left the meeting in which they were forced to “resign.” Brother Parker has recently discontinued his work with TGJ because of his complete disapproval of the Board’s decision. In an e-mail message from brother Lynn Parker on July 29, 2005, he included the following summary of the situation by brother Jerry Parker: “1.) Dub and David were fired, dismissed, removed, etc. by ALL of the board, 2) the board spent Tuesday working on their position, 3) they were removed because of their stand against what was going on at AP, 4) they (TGJ Board) have no idea what great harm they have done.”

 

            On July 28, 2005, brother Michael Hatcher sent an e-mail message to his fellow TGJ Board members in which he made a motion that brother Dub McClish be reinstated as Editor of TGJ. On that same date brother Hatcher received a four-page e-mail message from brother Curtis Cates and a response from brother Joseph Meador in which he opposed brother McClish’s reinstatement as Editor of TGJ stating that the Board was dealing with “a few who are in a small, but no less toxic, loyalty circle…negative faction, who if they gain control, will only rupture fellowship in the church even more than they already have.”

 

On July 29, 2005, brother Hatcher resigned from the Board of TGJ and as Interim Editor of TGJ. In his resignation statement he wrote:

 

The “spin” that the board has put on this is just that—“spin.” The fact is everyone knows that it is also. While we are stating publicly that there had not been a vote taken (there had not) thus no board decision had been made (technically there had not) we all know that basically there would need to be a change made regarding the editor and associate editor. The differing terms used (“fired,” “dismissed,” “accepted their resignations”) all boil down to the same thing, and brethren know that. Dub (and David) were placed in a position in which they were forced to resign (if you don’t believe that, ask either one of them). While our spin is fine and technically true, everyone else realizes the situation also. (This is especially true when Brian Brazwell’s [sic] understanding of what Barry Grider said to him conveyed to Dub was the end result—that Dub is no longer with the paper.)

 

            At the beginning of the July 20 meeting of TGJ Board and Editors, brother Michael Hatcher, speaking for the Board, read a statement, “unanimously determined” by the Board, relating to a change in the “editorial staff” (see “Summation #2, pp. 1 – 2 for full text of this resolution). Upon reading the resolution, it should not be difficult for one to see why brother Hatcher characterized the Board’s denial that brethren McClish and Watson were “dismissed” as mere “spin” concerning what actually transpired. In addition, it should not be difficult for one to see why brethren McClish and Watson believed they were given no alternative but to resign.

 

In his July 29 resignation statement quoted earlier, brother Hatcher referred to a phone call that brother Barry Grider had made to brother Bryan Braswell on July 13 or 14, 2005 (one week before the TGJ Board meeting when brethren McClish and Watson were forced to resign). In that phone call brother Grider informed brother Braswell concerning the Board-Editors meetings planned for July 19 – 20. This call caused brother Lynn Parker to question brother Curtis Cates on July 21, 2005,  asking: “Was it the case that a young preacher in Texas was privy to the firing of McClish and Watson prior to its occurrence? Before McClish knew about it? If so, why?” This call also caused brother Kent Bailey to question brother Tommy Hicks on July 26, 2005, asking: “If neither Dub nor Dave were removed by TGJ board what motivated Brian [sic] Braswell to inform Dub that both he and Dave were going to be dismissed from their respective roles at TGJ? Brian [sic] stated he received this information from Barry Grider of the Forest Hill Church.” When brother McClish saw what brother Bailey had asked he wrote:

 

Let me correct some information that is in your question no. 2., because I know you would not want incorrect information to be circulated, even inadvertently. I have not actually even talked with Bryan Braswell about his call from B. Grider. Here is how I found out about the call from Memphis: Sunday night a week ago (July 17, 2005 – DBW), I called one of the Roanoke elders to tell him of the upcoming Board-Editors meeting at Schertz. I told him I would likely come back as ex-editor of TGJ. Since the elders and Bryan have pretty well been “in the loop” on the development of this snowball relating to my AP “Summation,” I didn’t have to explain much. They had told me some time ago that they had gotten the Chesser letter and some other letters/calls from people who didn’t (along with some folks who did) like my “Summation” statement. They didn’t tell me who they were from and I told them I didn’t even want to know. But, knowing that they had been hearing from some who were not pleased with me, I just said to the elder that Sunday night, “You may already know about the upcoming meeting at Schertz for all I know.” He told me that, as a matter of fact, they did. He then told me that Bryan received a call either Wednesday of Thursday before (a week before the meetings) from Memphis, telling him of the Schertz meeting, and apparently indicating some knowledge of the agenda. However, so far as I know, he did not actually say that Dave and I were going to be dismissed, although he may have known this and he may have even said as much. I simply don’t know the details of what he said to Bryan, except, as I mentioned above, what the elder conveyed to me. The elder then told me that the call came from Barry Grider.

 

            On July 29, 2005, brother Barry Grider wrote an e-mail message to brother Dub McClish falsely accusing him of making a false statement. He wrote:

 

Dear brother McClish,

In recent days I have received word of my name being circulated among some brethren regarding a supposed statement that I made to brother Bryan Braswell. The statement that I supposedly made indicated that Brother Cates had “already made up his mind” to seek your dismissal as editor of Gospel Journal before he left Memphis to attend the board meeting. This statement is not true. I know that brother Cates agonized for days and with tears over what to do concerning the problem that you caused with your “summation of Apologetics Press” email. At the time he left Memphis he was still not sure of the course of action that should be taken.

 

I did speak briefly to brother Bryan the week prior to the board meeting. I expressed my concern and brother Cates concern over your “summation of the A.P.” email. I had also received brother Chesser’s letter, and heard from numerous brethren who, like me, were gravely concerned and disappointed in what you had done through the “summation of A.P.” email. However, at no time did I suggest brother Cates had made up his mind concerning your continuing as editor of the paper. Had I suggested such it would have been a falsehood.

 

I have once more talked to Bryan to make sure he did not misunderstand me and to make sure that I did not leave him with the wrong impression. Bryan stated he knew what I said, and that I did not indicate a decision had been made by brother Cates as to what your future with Gospel Journal should be. Hence, I do not know how this rumor started, but I would ask you to please help make sure it is not perpetuated.

 

While I strongly condemn your “summation of A.P.” email and believe it did much harm to an already painful situation, I commend you for stepping aside as the editor of the Gospel Journal. I pray that you will take a more constructive course in days to come and encourage others to do likewise.

 

Sincerely in Christ,

Barry Grider

 

            Brother McClish responded to brother Grider’s false accusation in a letter dated August 3, 2005 (see additional attachment). That same evening, after reading brother McClish’s letter, brother Grider called brother McClish. He spoke in very complimentary terms, claiming he “loved” and “respected” brother McClish and that he had admired and appreciated him for several years. He did not complain about brother McClish’s letter to him in this conversation, but spoke in congenial terms.

 

            On Sunday July 31, 2005, brother Barry Grider sent an e-mail message to brother Michael Hatcher concerning his July 29, 2005, resignation statement. Brother Grider said: “Needless to say I was saddened by the news that you had resigned from the Gospel Journal board. It appears that the pressure from others got to you. I pray you have not chosen friends over principle. The board standing together was needed during this critical hour.” He then went on to falsely accuse brother Hatcher of making a false statement about him saying:

 

It has come to my attention that you and others are attributing to me a false statement. The statement indicates that brother Cates had already “made up his mind,” before he left Memphis, that brother McClish should no longer be editor. This statement is not true. While I did speak to brother Braswell the week prior to the board meeting, and while I did express brother Cates’ and my displeasure and concern over the “summation of Apologetics Press” email, sent out by brother McClish, I never said brother Cates had made up his mind. I even called Bryan to make sure that I did not leave him with the wrong impression and he said I never made such a statement. Had I done so it would have been untrue. I, along with brother Elkins and brother Joey Davis, were with brother Cates leading up to his trip to Texas and know firsthand the agony that he suffered over what to do about the situation that Brother McClish has caused. Brother Davis and I both witnessed his tears over this situation. Part of him just wanted to walk away from the whole situation, but you and others would not let him. I just simply ask that you please stop attributing something to me that I did not say and encourage others to do likewise.

 

In Christian love,

Barry

 

On August 6, 2005, brother Hatcher responded to brother Grider as follows:

 

Barry,

 

Thank you for letting me know that brother Cates read you part of my resignation letter. As you will see in the email you sent me, you did accuse me of attributing to you a false statement. You apologized when we talked at the Power lectures and I accept that apology. (If I could change one thing in that statement, I would have made it clearer that I was speaking of Dub’s understanding alone, not what anyone told him which lead to his conclusion.)

 

You also stated in the email that it appears that pressure from others got to me. If that is true, it was pressure from board members stating that Dub’s reputation was destroyed and that if he remained as editor of TGJ that the paper would die. After the decision was made, I came to find out that this information was wrong. While it was important for the board to stand together during this time, it is more important that the board do what is right, and not give in to pressure from others.

 

As to my resignation from the board, I am including a copy of it in this email to allow you to see that it was not pressure from friends.

 

I do not mind this email being made public, as long as it is not changed and done so in its entirety.

 

Michael Hatcher

 

On August 8, 2005, brother Grider responded to brother Hatcher as follows:

 

Dear Michael,

 

Thank you for the email. I appreciated having the opportunity to speak to you last week. I appreciate the kind disposition you demonstrated in the email, despite our disagreement over what has transpired. How different that was from brother McClish, who, after I sent a brief email asking him about the rumor, sent me a 4 page diatribe filled with viciousness and falsehood against me. This only reaffirms my belief that such a man did not deserve nor need to be in the position he was in. I had not done anything to the man, but disagreed with him about his “AP summation” email, and only did that in the same brief email in which I asked about the rumor. But, as one older preacher told me, you really do not have to do anything to Dub, he will do whatever he needs to do to serve his own purpose. That is becoming clearer every day. I believe you are a good man who, because of his closeness to those involved, has not been able to see the damage that brother McClish and a few others are capable of doing. I trust that in time you will.

 

brotherly,

Barry

 

Readers should compare the congenial tones brother Grider used in discussing brother McClish’s letter with him on August 3, as noted earlier, with brother Grider’s harsh words of condemnation of brother McClish’s letter (and of brother McClish) in his comments to brother Hatcher. Brother Grider apparently withheld his true feelings about brother McClish from him in the August 3 phone conversation, but revealed them clearly in his August 8 e-mail message to brother Hatcher.

 

            Brother Michael Hatcher said in his public apology to brethren McClish and Watson: “It now appears to me that there has been a concerted effort to destroy the reputation of a good man—Dub McClish.” He correctly observed: “This…began with Frank Chesser’s hate-filled response to brother McClish’s summation of the Apologetics Press Scandal.” Brother Chesser falsely charged that brother McClish has a “judgmental, censorious, self-righteous, unforgiving spirit that characterizes a small and diminishing group of brethren in the church.” Brother Joseph Meador, as earlier quoted, joined in this campaign with very similar rhetoric, falsely charging that brother McClish is one of “a few who are in a small, but no less toxic loyalty circle…a small negative faction, who if they gain control, will only rupture fellowship in the church even more than they already have.” Brother Curtis Cates falsely campaigned that “brother McClish’s reputation had been ruined and that if he remained as editor the paper would die.” Now brother Barry Grider has inserted himself into these matters with an aggressive hardball attitude of condemnation for brother McClish, charging him with “viciousness” and “falsehood” and claiming that he “did not deserve nor need to be in the position he was in.” Would the reader like to guess who will be one of two new Co-Editors of The New Gospel Journal?

 

David B. Watson                                                                                  September 8, 2005