By George Harris
Three years ago when Conrad Steyn and I took a stand for the truth and repented of liberalism, there were some articles from us that appeared in the faithful journals. One such article by myself appeared in Searching the Scriptures. Ricarte S. Velonero of the Philippines wrote to me on the 23 November 1987, and informed me that he had read the article with interest. He had been preaching for the liberal church for four years.
Since that time we have been studying the Scriptures together by correspondence, and he has come to a knowledge of the truth in relationship to local church autonomy and institutionalism, and has made a public statement to that effect. In the process he has taught the congregation that he preaches for, the things that he has learned regarding the truth on institutionalism and the whole philosophy behind it, and they are all in one accord in denouncing liberalism and standing for the truth. The whole group comprises some 30 members.
On the 4 January 1988 he wrote to me and informed me that during a fire his house had burned down and he had lost all that he owned. All of us preachers would be horrified if that happened to us. If our studies were burned down there would be many years of hard labor and valuable material that would be lost and we would have to start from scratch.
On the 16 July this year Ricarte wrote to me of the devastation caused by the earthquake which they experienced; it resulted in the loss of the life of his brother who was his greatest helper in the work of the Lord in his area. The apostle Paul would probably have felt a similar loss if that had happened to one of his companions.
Ricarte needs your support, your prayers and your letters of encouragement, just as we needed them three years ago. I am pleading on behalf of this fine soldier of the cross, that you help financially in any way that you can, realizing the urgency of the need to preach the truth to the people of the Philippines. I am confident knowing your generosity that you will respond in a very beautiful way, and the Lord will bless you richly for your work of love. If you are unable to help financially, please drop him a line and encourage him for the stand that he has dared to take against the onslaught of liberalism.
You can contact him at the following address: Ricarte S. Velonero, Lampayan, Matalan, Cotabato Philippines 9322.
Statement from Ricarte S. Velonero of the Philippines
Ricarte S. Velonero
Lampayan Church of Christ
9406 Matalam, Cotabato
Republic of the Philippines
I would like to state that in the past I have been associated with the liberal churches, who practice much error in regard to the work and organization of the church. Much of my error has been in fellowship as the church here is autonomous and I have been self-supporting in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ here in Lampayan, Philippines.
After much general soul searching, much fervent prayer, and extensive study with George Harris of Cape Town, South Africa, the error of the liberal church is apparent to me. The “sponsoring church” practice violates the pattern of sound words in regard to local church autonomy. “Institutionalism” is an affront to the sufficiency of God’s organization of the local church. True New Testament fellowship, is a relation enjoyed by faithful brethren in accompanying God’s eternal purpose in the church, and this fellowship excludes church sponsored recreation and using the church’s financial resources for those other than qualified needy saints.
Beloved brethren, I have repented of any and all contributions that I may have made to those errors and teachings that those whom I have been in fellowship with have perpetrated and have asked for God’s forgiveness. I have severed all ties with the liberal brethren and you are the only brethren that I can look to for fellowship in the gospel. I ask you as faithful brethren in Christ Jesus to forgive me and receive me into fellowship. I covet your prayers on my behalf that I might use the remainder of the years which Jehovah our God blesses me with to proclaim the simple gospel of Jesus Christ found only in the pattern of sound words, and that he will bless me with caring brethren to support me, that I might serve him full time in an effort to redeem the time for the days are evil. This is our Father’s world and he wants it evangelized. Please help me in my task as I labor in the Cause we all love so dearly.
The members of the church here have also taken a stand for the truth, and we are united in our plea for the simple gospel.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 3, p. 73
February 7, 1991