By O.C. Birdwell, Jr.
The following is a copy of the statement read by brother Cecil Willis to the Highway 287 Church in Groveton, Texas on 23 July 1986.
My purpose in coming before you at this time is to make acknowledgment of each and every sin of which I have been guilty. I am sorry for whatever reproach might have come upon the name of Christ as a result of my sins. I ask your forgiveness, and your prayers that God might forgive me. I will be willing to serve the church in any way you request, and whenever you think appropriate.
My work schedule, at present, hinders me in attending many services of this congregation, but I do worship each Lord’s Day with a small church in Trinity, Texas.
My marriage to __________ is ending; divorce proceedings are underway at present.
This statement is made to renew my relationship with this church. A copy thereof will be sent to the church in Huntsville for them to use as they see fit. Any additional questions you may have regarding my circumstances, feel free to ask.
Copies of the above statement were sent to the church in Huntsville, Texas, and to numerous friends and interested individuals.
Because of the fact that Mike Willis, editor of this journal, is a brother in the flesh to Cecil, he has asked me to comment on the statement from Cecil.
It is my understanding that the church at Huntsville, Texas had withdrawn from Cecil because of his courtship, in view of marriage, of the woman from whom he has now been separated since March of this year. As noted already, this statement was mailed to the Huntsville church.
We accept Cecil’s confession as being from a sincere heart, and from one who intends to do right. If you wish to contact him, write him as follows: Cecil Willis, P.O. Box 15, Woodlake, Texas 75865.
As Jesus discussed the prodigal son he said, “And while he was yet afar off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him” (Lk. 15:20). If you will permit a personal expression of emotion on my part, may I say that I have this same feeling toward Cecil. No preacher has done more for me in my preaching efforts than Cecil Willis. Outside my family, there is no one I have loved more than Cecil. If I had the vocabulary to state my deep feeling about Cecil and about his confession of sin and new resolve, emotion would stand in the way of a proper expression.
Several have been anticipating a statement from Cecil concerning his spiritual condition. To m) knowledge, in recent months he has had lengthy visits from such friends and brethren who love him as Ron Halbrook, Connie Adams, Steve Wolfgang, and his brother, Mike Willis. In some of these discussions, Cecil explained that he had been thinking seriously about his need to make a confession in order to correct his life and influence, then to live a celibate life and to devote himself to the service of God in any way possible.
Brother Cecil is no longer involved in the courtship and subsequent marriage which alienated him from the Hunstville church. He acknowledges and expresses sorrow for his sins, and asks for forgiveness and prays that God will forgive him. I am deeply thankful for his statement. My prayer is that his life, extensive knowledge, and no small ability, may be rededicated to the Lord, and used to advance His teaching and His church. I would not hesitate to recommend him to any church needing a preacher.
(The above statement and comment is being printed with the knowledge and consent of brother Cecil Willis.)
(Editor’s Note: Praise the Lord! Rejoice with us in Cecil’s restoration to the Lord. Many prayers have been answered. I bear such a load of debt to Cecil. He has given me many books, encouraged me in every good thing, and advised me in so many ways through the years that I have been preaching the gospel. We look forward to him being more involved in the Lord’s work in the future but rejoice that he is already restored to our Lord.)
Guardian of Truth XXX: 17, p. 518
September 4, 1986