The Desperate Fight of the Philippine Liberals
It is obvious that the liberals in the Philippines are hurting badly. As the native, faithful Filipino preachers teach the truth among the liberals, serious inroads are being made into the liberal ranks. The liberals are fighting back, with every dirty tactic at their disposal. Many unethical and unchristian acts have been perpetrated by liberals in this country, but they could not "hold a light" for the viciousness and perfidy of the liberals in the Philippines. Particularly vicious have been the Americans who are working among the liberal Philippine churches. Were the liberals not hurting so badly, they would not be fighting with such despicable tactics.
In August, 1971 I wrote a personal letter to Eusebio M. Lacuata (whom J. T. Smith debated in the Philippines last summer). My letter was in answer to one from Brother Lacuata. The liberals in the Philippines have been led to believe that the liberal brethren in America have just driven us off the polemical platform. The truth of the matter is that a liberal in this country now has to be hemmed up before he will agree to debate, or get some kind of unfair advantage by unfairly worded propositions. Brother Lacuata wanted us to let him carry on a written debate in Truth Magazine. I responded that I would do so, if he would get one of the liberal American papers also to carry the debate.
In connection with this letter to Brother Lacuata, I mentioned that I had known Douglas Lecroy when he lived in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Brother Lecroy is a liberal American missionary in the Philippines and is now the editor of their paper Philippine Christian, which apparently goes to all, or nearly all, of the churches in America.
In my reference to having known Brother Lecroy, I was guilty of a case of mistaken identity. The man I knew in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio was Douglas Lacourse. Approximately eight years had passed, and somehow I had confused Douglas Lecroy with Douglas Lacourse. I guess the similarity of the names caused me to confuse the two men. As soon as I learned that I had made the mistake, I wrote Brother Lecroy a letter of correction and an apology, and asked that he publish my letter of correction and apology in the Philippine Christian. I do not know whether he will see fit to do so or not, but since a lengthy reference (at least five pages were devoted to it) has been made to this mistake of mine in the Philippine Christian, and since at least that issue of the Philippine Christian must have gone to all the churches in America, I felt that some explanation of my error should also appear in Truth Magazine.
Brother Lecroy entitled his article about me, "Lying to Advance the Party Spirit." In the paper, he stated, "I am pointing out that Cecil Willis has deliberately and callously lied about me." Now the truth is, Brother Lecroy in that statement lied about me. I neither deliberately nor callously lied about him. I simply made an honest confusion of personages. There is no need to lie about the deeds of the liberal American missionaries in the Philippines. They have so high-handedly and viciously treated faithful brethren there that there is not the slightest need to lie about them, even if one were given to lying.
Brother Lecroy admits that he thought perhaps mine was "a case of mistaken identity," but then goes on to say that "he and they are not afraid to lie." He refers to me as "such a low character" that he is not surprised that the American liberals refuse to meet me in debate He comments, "It may be that he is just the type person who is needed to build up the conservatives churches in the United States. . ."
Then Brother Lecroy sets out to destroy the integrity and reputation of nearly every faithful brother in the Philippines. Though it might be difficult for brethren here to believe it, this has been the tactic of the liberals in the Philippines all along. They seek to destroy in any way possible any brother who disavows liberalism, and they have the means at their disposal (i.e., the Philippine Christian) through which to do it.
Brother Lecroy states, "After all, what the Filipino antis want is the money. . ." He further says, "I know and others know that in a country as impoverished as the Philippines is, many people can be persuaded through offers of U.S. dollar support." He charges, "The antis do not only buy preachers in the Philippines: they buy them anywhere economic conditions are severely depressed. Thus their overseas successes are largely confined to nations which are in deep social trouble." It would be interesting to have Brother Lecroy and other American liberal missionaries tell us what they are paid, while they live in the same impoverished economy. My guess is that his wages would support any six of the Filipino preachers, and then our American brother has the audacity to talk about someone preaching for money. By the way, Brother Lecroy, how much are you paid? Want to tell us?
The truth is a number of men have voluntarily and insistently given up their support because they were convinced it was being unscripturally received. Several of these men are not now receiving one cent from any faithful church in this country, nor has any support been promised to them. But this is just a devious device contrived by Brother Lecroy to try to destroy the reputation of the men who stand opposed to sponsoring-church-ism.
He charges that some of the preachers who are standing for the truth are "an attempted rapist," "an ardent gambler," "a sectarian preacher who lied to a group of people to get them to permit him to baptize them", "another was so unethical that he was fired as a teacher from Philippine Bible College" and one who "could not even sell medicine and then deliver the products that had been paid for." He concludes his vicious assault by saying, "Since the ocean is very near at hand here on Luzon, perhaps you anti preachers had better send your supporters in the U.S. a pound or so of salt. Maybe then they can swallow you up and keep you down as men who are faithful preachers of the risen Christ."
You see what I mean when I said the liberal American missionaries are making vicious attacks upon the character of every man who has left their ranks? Several brethren who received this issue of the Philippine Christian have commented about the bitterness of the liberals' attack. One young preacher called me merely to state that he was very upset to learn that any brother in Christ could react as viciously as did Brother Lecroy.
The brethren whom Brother Lecroy attacked so viciously and demeaning are completely competent to defend themselves, and Lecroy knows they are, or else he would meet some of them in debate, as he repeatedly has been challenged to do. I might just add in passing, that when I was in M'lang in the Philippines in 1970, Brother Bob Buchanan who was then editor of the Philippine Christian sent me word that he would not meet me in debate, and his messenger was no other than a half-drunk liberal Philippine preacher. I went to the store where this brother buys his wine, and the store owner verified to me that he was a regular customer. The liberal brother defends his action on the ground that if he drinks some wine beforehand, he can preach better. The liberals have advanced the "end justifies the means" argument until they could not logically answer their drinking brother.
For years the Philippine Bible College was operated by a confessed Sodomist. And it seems in this country, in order to be accepted as a reputable debater for the liberals, one needs to have been married at least twice! Now with such sordid messes among the liberals on both sides of the Pacific, I believe they should not begin their mud-slinging against every brother who takes a stand against liberalism.
I am sorry that I made the mistake of confusing two brethren. It embarrasses me much. I do not use deceitful tactics. The truth of God cannot be advanced by a lie. But I honestly confused two brethren, because of the similarity of their names and because of a lapse of memory occasioned by the passing of several years. But such an honest mistake as that is no justification for a bitter and vicious attack upon me and upon all faithful brethren in the Philippines. Such an attack merely indicates the desperation of the liberal cause in the Philippines. And I predict that the cause of liberalism is going to suffer other serious set-backs in the Philippines, as long as they make efforts to defend the indefensible by personal attacks on the level of those recently made by Brother Douglas Lecroy. I pity the cause that such a vicious attack would help.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 24, pp. 3-5