By Dudley R. Spears
At 3:45 EST on April 2 of this year, brother fames P. Needham and I will begin our journey toward the Philippine Islands. There we will work for four weeks among the brethren. It will be our primary objective to encourage them by stirring up their pure minds, provoking them to love and good works. This trip is being made possible by the generosity of many brethren all over the land. Both Brother Needham and I have been greatly impressed by the way brethren have responded to our appeals for financial help. Without that help we could not have planned this trip.
The cause of Christ among the Filipinos is very encouraging. The brethren there are standing for the truth on the institutional questions that have divided the Lord’s people so severely here in the states. Two years ago, brethren Roy Cogdill and Cecil Willis made the trip and strengthened the brethren by their teaching and very presence. Last year brethren Connie Adams and J. T. Smith went and were instrumental in converting over 200 to the truth. This year, brother Needham and I agreed to accept the responsibility for going.
There are a number of congregations and individuals here in the states that support one or more native preachers. It is very likely that we will be seeing most of the supported native preachers in person while we are there. On a limited basis, brother Needham and I will try to make reports to any interested congregation or individual about the work they are supporting when we return.
Originally we had planned to depart for the Islands in February, but we learned that this time would be unsuitable for the brethren there. It is their busiest season and the weather is not the best. Also, we learned that it is an election time and therefore not the safest time to be in the Philippines. At the request of the Philippine brethren, we agreed to delay our coming there till April. This involved rescheduling and canceling some meetings and other things in our schedules, but all in all, it is for the best interest of the work there.
We also had planned to conduct four schools, training sessions, or whatever they might best be called, but that has had to be modified somewhat. We were planning materials primarily designed to help preachers, though not limited to them. We have the material nearly finished that we intend to present. At the present time we lack only getting the final touches put on the teaching materials and getting it all in a small booklet. We will have the booklet printed and shipped over before we go. It will be a booklet of the outlines of our proposed teaching work while there.
Several months ago, I got together a set of debate notes on Pentecostal Doctrine. I plan to take that book with me and may be able to get it printed while over there. Several of the native preachers are asking questions about the Godhead, baptism in Jesus’ name and Holy Spirit baptism. My book deals with those questions in a rather complete way. If we have the available funds and can get it done, we may have the book printed over there and distributed among the brethren that need it. Plans are not final on that now. Pentecostalism is one of the Filipinos’ greatest foes.
One congregation sent me a box of tracts on the identity of the church. It is a well written one by L. A. Mott, Jr. We plan to distribute them while there also.
Our first work will be done in Manila. It should begin on April 5, 1972. Then we will go to Baguio City, a place where no American preacher who stands for the truth on institutionalism has gone yet. Baguio City is the location for “headquarters” of liberalism in the Philippines. It is the site of the Philippine Bible College, a preacher factory that turns out liberal native preachers. PBS is a church of Christ supported school, offering degrees in Theology. The American preachers of the liberal hue there have been very hard on what they call “antis” in the Philippines. They have resorted to the same old ungodliness that people of their persuasion have used here in the past. So, we plan to go to their citadel of strength and teach the truth.
We will then journey southward and spend two weeks on the Island of Mindinao. We will be working with Brother R. B. Agduma, one of the finest men over there. We will be in at least two places while there and in as many more as time will permit, but we plan to limit our travel time to a minimum so we can have a maximum of teaching time.
Brother Needham and I want to express our sincere gratitude to all who have had a part in our trip. We will make a full report to you when we get back. Those who have gone before us have informed us that this involves much hard work. It is certainly not a pleasure excursion. We will be living with natives of the Islands, eating food we are not used to, being 12,000 miles away from home and living in conditions that are rather primitive. We solicit the prayers of all our brethren. While we did not volunteer for this task, but were urged to go by both Filipino brethren and brethren here, we do accept the work in the spirit of Paul, “not knowing the things that will befall us … hoping to finish our course with joy.” (Acts 20: 22-24).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 23, pp. 5-6
April 13, 1972