Wallace H. Little
Numbers never tell the whole story. But they do tell part of it. In the Philippine Mission News (Vol 16, No. 3, May, 1973) published by the Inglewood, California church "sponsoring" the Philippine Bible College (PBC) in Baguio City, is some interesting information. On page three, under sub-section "Statistics," we find.: "The following is a summary of the questionnaire research conducted by the author (Leonardo Corpuz, a liberal Filipino preacher-whl). This represents the growth of the Church of Christ through 1972. Luzon, 67 congregations, 46 preachers and 2680 members; Visayas, 53 congregations, 28 preachers and 1420 members; Mindanao, 81 congregations, 42 preachers and 4485 members. Totals for the three are: 201 congregations, 106 (addition error; should be 116-whl) preachers and 8585 members . . . ." It is significant to note this is the sum of the efforts of liberal brethren since the late 1940's.
I have no such precise statistics . concerning conservative brethren. However, I do know, in the Spring of 1973, there were at least 323 congregations (of these, I have membership figures on only half), 7279 members and 260 preachers. More than 100 of the preachers receive financial support from US saints. I will make only one observation: the oft-made, and apparently always-believed, liberal claim a college is either the only way, or by far the best way to get Christianity started among natives is somewhat wrong. The "wisdom" of liberal brethren says one thing; God's Word quite another. It is a good thing the Lord and His apostle did not have access to such "wisdom"! I have more to say about colleges later.
Since the PBC has started, their preacher-production rate compared with that of conservative churches lends weight to the conclusion we must be doing something right. I submit: the method of Paul, Christ and Elisha is more efficient than those cooked up by today's liberals, many still in their salad years (Heb. 5:11,12). In only one area do the liberals have more members than conservative brethren (the Visayas) and this is because we have scarcely started to penetrate there. It will be interesting to watch the results as conservative preachers increase their efforts there.
Honor To Whom Honor Is Due
In the Fall of 1974, several typhoons swept through Luzon, the largest northern island. Flooding and privation were extensive. This included destruction of crops, homes, personal possessions, sickness and famine. There was no money to purchase medicines and food. Saints were afflicted too, with their non-Christian neighbors. I received specific details on the need and was able to alert US brethren to it. A total of more than $8,000.00 I know of was sent to individual Christians and congregations in want. This shows again that God's method of handling benevolence is far more efficient than any liberal brethren scheme up. It is also Scriptural. This also points out the willingness of Christians to come to the need of suffering brethren they have never met. God is surely pleased. Those who had part in relieving this are due honor from God and man (see Mt. 25:31-40). I considered listing individual saints and churches assisting in this, but as my information is only partial, I decided not to do so for fear of omitting some accidentally. This is a good work you brethren have done. God will surely bless you for it.
Debate, Debate: Who Wants A Debate?
Not the PBC-Americans, you can be sure of that! They will not touch one with a ten foot pole, if there is any way to avoid doing so. They offer all sorts of excuses, such as accusing Roy Cogdill of seeking to make a name for himself, Hafley and Robertson of acting as "Great White Fathers" to Filipino brethren and me of being bitter because I decline to talk with them privately, as well as others equally without basis. This is like the farmer with a borrowing neighbor. He decided to put an end to it. The next time the neighbor came, this time to borrow a rope, he told him he had to use it, to tie up his milk. "Who ever heard of tying up milk with a rope?" asked the borrower. "Well," the farmer replied, "When you don't want to do something, any excuse will do." The PBC-Americans are busy tying up their milk. The truth is, they well know they have nothing to gain and much to lose by a debate. They are determined not to consent if there is any way around it. Only if the "heat" from their own forces them, will they agree to debate the PBC as it is presently organized and financed. And in time, due to the honest attitude many of the liberal Filipinos have toward our differences, I am convinced a debate will finally take place. The result will be a disaster . . . for the PBC-Americans and their cause. Their actions now to dodge debating constitute tactics designed to postpone this disaster as long as possible. Incidentally, their frequently published excuses for not debating are an open admission they feel the pressure to do so, even now.
Bob Buchanan, President of the PBC, wrote Cecil Willis, offering to debate him on the school-with some interesting restrictions. Cecil will probably discuss this through these pages, so I will mention only my judgment in the matter. I~ personally believe the restrictions are deliberately intended to make a debate counter-productive, from Cecil's viewpoint. Such tactics have been commonly used in the Philippines. And if Cecil did refuse, Buchanan would then say to the liberals, "See, I told you the Anti's don't really want a debate!" We will see what develops.
I have recent information that Brother Aufo Samodal has returned to the faith, coming forward publically repenting of his sins of adultery, stealing (selling church furniture and keeping the money) and deserting God's people. Also, he has written at least one in the US seeking financial support, that he might preach again. I am happy over his change of conduct and pray this time it "sticks". His last excursion into the sin of adultery was not his first. Although he is an effective worker, the shame he brought on God's church by his conduct more than offsets the good he did as a preacher. I have letters from saints and non-Christians in his area, alike testifying of his ungodliness, its effect and their disgust over it.
Hence, while I am filled with joy that he has returned to Christ, and I will continue to pray for his steadfastness in this, under no circumstances can I ever again recommend him for financial support. I fear for the consequences of his basic instability and the additional damaging effects this can have on the work of Christ in the Philippines. I urge any contacted by Rufo Samodal to consider carefully these things.
Of Colleges, And Things
One of the saddest results of a wrong attitude toward Scriptural authority is the proliferation of human institutions, all claiming to be doing the work of God's church, leeched onto the body of Christ for financial support. Of these, the most expensive are colleges. History demonstrates they are in the van of apostasies. Churches spend large sums on them, with brethren thinking they thus help the cause of Christ, only to find them trying to destroy the purity of the church and drastically slowing its growth. This is well illustrated overseas. Look at Japan. The so-called Ibaraki Christian College has had so much money poured into it, only those running it know the total. And today, it stands as a monument to human foolishness. If it did nothing else, it enfeebled the church in Japan. Further, now it cannot even teach Bible for credit. The Japanese have forbidden this on pain of losing its accreditation. Its stress is secular education, not Bible. Yet, congregations possibly numbering into the hundreds still provide it financial support. I wonder, had the same money been used supporting preachers, how many more Japanese might have heard the gospel of Christ?
The second example is Italy. Read carefully, Searching The Scriptures, Vol. XVI, Number 1, January 1975, p. 12, the article by Rodolfo Berdini entitled, "From Italy With Sadness." This is a gross illustration of how much damage is done by congregationally-supported colleges. The third is the Philippine Bible College. From it most of the problems among churches of Christ in that nation have come. It created and developed the causes of division and is responsible for the separation of brethren beloved in the flesh as well as in the Lord. The fight actually started earlier, and has raged out of control since 1966.
I have never heard colleges claimed as anything but expedient. They surely are: the PBC "expedited" the destruction of much of the work of Christ there. Yet, when it gets down to "push against shove," liberal brethren drive for support of the college from congregational treasuries as strongly as they know how. If the PBC had never existed, just how much more preaching of the gospel would have been done in the Philippines? The multiplied thousands of dollars which went into that school could have supported many, many native preachers. And of course, all the damage and destruction the PBC caused would have been avoided also.
I am not bitter toward the misguided members of God's church who started and maintain the PBC and other church-supported colleges. Their present sad spiritual condition wrings my heart, and brings me no joy at all. But I surely hate the things they have done, and the school which provided them the means of doing these things. Is it any wonder I long for the day that monster, the PBC, is destroyed? Or, that I will continue all I am able, Scripturally, to bring this about?
The Adams-Willis Trip
Connie W. Adams and Cecil Willis plan to return to the Philippines this Spring, for a month-long preaching visit. Both having been there before and are experienced in the situations they will face. Both are highly respected and admired by Filipino brethren. I anticipate much and lasting good from this trip. I pray for this, and their safe return to their loved ones following the trip. I encourage you to contact these men, and have fellowship with them in assisting with their expenses. (Postscript by Cecil Willis: Both Brother Adams and I already have all the funds we need for this trip. We both are very grateful for the quick response of brethren to supply our needs, as soon as our need for expense money was made known. Each of us will give an accounting for the usage of these funds shortly after our return from this trip.)
Truth Magazine XIX: 20, pp. 310-311