By Larry Ray Hafley
(Addendum: Below is Margaret’s follow up response to the review you read in the last issue of Truth Magazine. Using the same format, my reply is also included below. LRH)
Sad to say, your response was typically what I expected. By the format you used, I can only draw the conclusion you intend to publish this at some point in time, obviously to embarrass me.
(How did you learn that my purpose was to “embarrass” you, “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him” [1 Cor. 2:11]? What did you say that would prove embarrassing to you? If you were to publish the complete text of my remarks, I would not be embarrassed. Neither would I be embarrassed by your comments upon my words, for I would be free to review them, too. So, in what way could I “embarrass” you?
Further, why did you not cite portions of my remarks which justify your “conclusion”? Your assumptions and assertions are not sufficient to sustain your allegations. Where is the evidence of your charges?)
That is also typical.
(If such attempts to “embarrass” are “typical,” that means you have numerous examples of such behavior. Please produce them. Cite similar cases. Surely, you are able to do so, for you say my remarks are “typical.” If you cannot document your charge, will you kindly withdraw it? We shall soon see.)
My reply to you was a personal one, but by publishing it in a publication, you only serve to prove my point. Your purpose is not to teach, correct, or anything of the sort. It is to puff yourself up before your peers.
(If I confirmed and proved your point, why complain? Further, if I fell into your hands and proved your point, in what way could I “embarrass” you?
I dealt with a public situation in a public medium. Thus, your claim to privacy rings rather hollow, especially since you said nothing about your desire for privacy in your first response. Again, how did you learn what my “purpose” was? How did you learn what my motives are? I documented my purpose in my initial article; you ignored that documentation and repeated your unproven assertion. Is that fair? Worse yet for you, is it godly?
If my goal is to “puff [myself] up before [my] peers,” evidently I have done a poor job, since, according to you I have succeeded only in displaying a partisan, bullying spirit of self aggrandizement.
 Was Paul’s “purpose” to “puff [himself] up before [his] peers” when he wrote the severely critical letters of 1 Corinthians and Galatians? Shall we say that Paul’s purpose [was] not to teach, correct, or anything of the sort . . . [But] to puff [himself] up before [his] peers”?  Since what I have written allegedly sustains your unproven accusations against me, do the serious charges in the book of Hebrews prove the same allegations against the writer of that letter? If not, why not?  When Elijah sarcastically ridiculed and “mocked” the prophets of Baal, was his sole purpose to “embarrass” them and to “puff [himself] up before [his] peers” [1 Kings 18:27f.]? If not, explain the difference between what he did to expose Baal and what I did to oppose Billy? Margaret, “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth” [Gal. 4:16]?
Please, cry no tears for me; nor be concerned that I have been “led astray” by the likes of Bro. Shelly. I have come to my conclusions through Bible study and prayer, and am more assured of my salvation now than in my many years in the doctrine of fear.
(Sorry, Margaret, but despite your request to the contrary, I shall shed tears for you [cf. Luke 13:34]. As Paul said of certain ones, “For many walk, of whom I have told you often and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ” [Phil. 3:18].
Since you say you have come to your “conclusions through Bible study and prayer,” would you be so kind as to show us from the Bible what you have learned that authorizes fellowship with Billy Graham [2 Cor. 6:14-18; Eph. 5:11]? Why did you not take the fruit of your “Bible study” and show the error of what I wrote? To this point, Margaret, you have not dealt with a single argument I have made. No, not one! Rather, you have resorted to unproven charges, indicting my motives and demeaning my character. Why not take the knowledge you have gleaned and gathered from your “Bible study” and show me what you have learned so that I, too, may know the truth?
According to you, I am a brother who has “erred from the truth;” it is, therefore, your job to convert me [cf. Ezek. 3:18; Jas 5:19, 20]. Since you know the truth, and I do not, you are bound to share that light with me. You have not done so. You have made no effort to do so. [As an aside, let me remind you that I dealt in some detail with James 5:19, 20, in my first reply to you. You failed to deal with my point and the questions I asked you, just as you ignored my explanation of Mark 9 and other passages.]
Margaret, would you please be so kind as to define what you mean by “the doctrine of fear”? Also, are the following statements examples of “the doctrine of fear” which you have renounced?  “Fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” [Matt. 10:28].  “He that believeth not shall be damned” [Mark 16:16].  “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” [Luke 13:3].  “If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” [John 8:24].  “But unto them that are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every soul that doeth evil” [Rom. 2:8, 9].  “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” [2 Thess. 1:7-9].  “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” [Heb. 10:31].  “For our God is a consuming fire” [Heb. 12:29].  Other words of Jesus — Matt. 25:41, 46; Mark 9:43-48 — are they part of “the doctrine of fear” you now oppose?  “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” [Rom. 11:22; cf. Rev. 20:10-15; 21:8].
What is it about what I preach that may be castigated as “the doctrine of fear” that differs in tone and content from the very words of the Lord himself? Please show me why I preach “the doctrine of fear,” but that the passages above do not qualify as part of that alleged doctrine. Will you do it? Or, will you ignore this as you ignored everything else I gave you to study in our first exchange? If so, is this how you seek to foster a “polite discussion”?)
I prefer to keep our conversations between you and me, but if you choose to exploit them (I did not reply to you in a ‘letter to the editor’ format, remember). This is not in any way to imply that I am unsure or ashamed of my views. I write articles, too. I mistakenly, perhaps, thought you might want to have a polite discourse on the matter — apparently not.
(Margaret, I deny that I have sought to “exploit” our exchanges. Too, I deny that my remarks have been contrary to the spirit of “a polite discourse.” I confess that I have used your remarks to display a number of things which I believe to be dangerous to the faith once delivered. I have done so with objective reasoning and with scriptural appeals [2 Cor. 13:5; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Tim. 2:15].
For example, I dealt with your abuse of 2 John 9 and showed the error of your misuse of the passage. If I had sought to embarrass you, I would have cast personal aspersions against you and your motives. If I did not care for you, I would not have taken the time to explain at length and in detail the error of your way. Why did you not respond as I did, using Scripture to establish your position? Why did you not attempt to overthrow my remarks with well defined scriptural analysis such as I used in an attempt to help you? I used many Scriptures to show the truth in contrast to what you had said. Instead of accusing me of seeking to “embarrass” you and of attempting to “puff” myself up, why did you not deal with the objective, scriptural arguments that were made? I have answered you from Scripture, with Scripture. Now, who is it that is truly interested in having “a polite discourse”?
Again, you responded to a public review of a public affair and requested no privacy. If your remarks are so devastating to my course and so helpful to your own, I see not why you object to their publication. It seems to me that you should delight and rejoice in the notoriety of our exchanges, since, according to you, they display the corrupt character of folks like me and the wisdom of folks like you and brother Shelly.
I will be happy to correspond with you. If you will take the Bible and show me the error of my way, I shall examine your remarks with all candor. If you will reply to the questions I have asked you, and show me from the Scriptures that I have been mistaken, I shall happily correspond with you, either privately or publicly. If, however, you do as you have done thus far; namely, ignore questions and scriptural arguments, make personal charges which you cannot prove, and refuse to show divine authority for your preaching and practice, then you may have the field to yourself [Acts 13:41, 46].)
Larry Ray Hafley
4626 Osage, Baytown, Texas 77521 LarryHafley@compuserve.com