Sterl A. Watson Denies Facts
Brother Sterl A. Watson has written an article entitled "FOOT IN THE MOUTH DISEASE" which has been printed in the Childhaven News. This article is being circulated and I am, therefore, answering it. It is surprisingly strange that brother Watson's article of denial has been written and printed in the Childhaven News because both Watson and brother Barney Brock, Superintendent of Childhaven, knew at the time that Brock had been withdrawn from by the East Cullman church which believes in contributing to Orphan Homes organized like Childhaven. East Cullman church contributes to Mt. Dora Orphan Home in Florida, which is similar in organization to Childhaven in Cullman. Brother Brock went back one Sunday night and made a public confession at East Cullman church, which had earlier withdrawn from him.
Another surprising thing about brother Watson's article is that he quotes my article, then comments upon it. In so doing he gives my article wider circulation. About 38,000 copies of Watson's article in Childhaven News have been printed. As a result many are going to learn about the matter who would not have known. The more Watson writes the more it will cause more brethren to wonder and be suspicious and will result in more questions being asked.
In brother Watson's article in Childhaven News he charges that I have made "slanderous, baseless charges" . . . "heartless and murderous attacks" . . . "libelous insinuations" . . . "baseless slurs" . . . "groundless, insidious attacks." Watson further said, "Weaver made the charges and the burden of proof is on him." Readers, I have adequate proof. The truthfulness of what I wrote can be amply and readily substantiated.
Brother Watson said, "Richard Weaver knows not one thing about Childhaven." To the contrary, I know a lot about Childhaven - more than he likes for me to know. Watson also said, "He has spent not one minute on the premises (sic)." Wonder where Sterl Watson gets all his misinformation? The truth is, previous to his article being written, I have been on the premises of Childhaven several times and for more than one minute.
Watson also said, "His slur that Childhaven Road church is the only one of 27 in Cullman County that supports Childhaven is advertisement that we appreciate. That may be the truth." However, Barney Brock inserted one comment in the reprint of my article in question. Notice that in contrast to Watson's statement, Brock said, "Childhaven has been receiving contributions from more than one church in Cullman County for years, and is continuing to do so." If so, brother Brock, why are they not listed along with others? Readers, search the columns of Childhaven News and you will see that only one congregation in Cullman County is listed, namely, Childhaven Road church where the Superintendent, personnel and children of Childhaven attend and where Sterl Watson preaches. I have looked through every issue printed this year and have not found other congregations in Cullman County listed. Brock says they are continuing to contribute. Wonder why they are not listed from month to month then?
In WALKING BY FAITH, the paper published by the 4th Street church in Cullman, Alabama, where I preach, I wrote the following article:
How Many Churches Contribute?
In Cullman County there are about 27 churches of Christ. Have you noticed in Childhaven News that only ONE is listed, as a contributor in recent months? In all the papers I have seen, only TWO of the 27 contribute. East Cullman used to send but even they ceased their contribution.
East Cullman is where the Superintendent and children attended until about two years ago. It is reliably reported that they withdrew from him. The Superintendent and his group have started the Childhaven Road church. For many months this is the only congregation in Cull-man County that has been listed as contributing to Childhaven.
Childhaven receives support from those at a distance. Haven't you wondered why the churches in this very county where it is located do not support it and why even liberal East Cullman withdrew from the Superintendent and ceased their contribution to the institution? If every county in the state of Alabama and other states had a "Chiidhaven," the brethren would soon learn what brethren here have learned and these human benevolent institutions would die a natural death for lack of support from the brethren. --R. W.
My above article in the summer issue was mailed August 6, 1963. On August 15 brother Sterl Watson telephoned me about it. (Watson has been on the pay roll of Childhaven since last February. He also preaches for the Childhaven Road church that is considered a faction by some brethren in Cullman.) Watson denied that Barney Brock, Superintendent of Childhaven, had been withdrawn from and said that I had written a "pack of lies."
Watson called me again on September 3 and 7 and still denied that the East Cullman church had withdrawn fellowship from Barney Brock. He stated that I would have a chance to prove it. I suggested that he talk with the elders of East Cullman church and that they would tell him that what I wrote was true.
After talking with brother Watson, I learned that the elders of East Cullman church that they had withdrawn from brother Brock had previously informed him orally; however, Watson continued to deny it being true when we talked about it on September 7. Moreover, I learned that upon Watson's request the elders of East Cull-man wrote Watson a letter dated August 20, 1963, in which they stated clearly and plainly that they had withdrawn fellowship from Barney Brock.
Relative to Watson's denial he said, "He (Weaver) had the unmitigated gall to ask me if I could DISPROVE his charge. Though I had done that to my entire satisfaction, I let him know that was not my job." Now, in view of brother Watson's knowledge of the facts, note that his denial of the facts in his article in Childhaven News was written and printed after he had been informed by the East Cullman elders that they did withdraw fellowship from brother Brock.
If anyone desires, he may write the East Cullman elders, Box 233, Cullman, Alabama, for their statement of the facts of their withdrawal of fellowship from Barney Brock. Please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope for their convenience.
It is significant that what brother Watson intended for me applies to himself! In Watson s article of denial entitled "FOOT IN THE MOUTH DISEASE" he said it, "He has put his foot in his mouth."
Truth Magazine VIII: 3, pp.23-24 December 1963