By Larry Ray Hafley
It is easier to characterize an article as a “rambling response” than it is to answer it. “Larry has not answered my argument,” he avers. Let the reader judge.
Stanley says I have violated Matthew 18:15 by not coming to him “directly.” Stanley, let me introduce you to yourself. You say I did wrong by not coming to you directly. Well, why did you not come to me directly about my’ “violation”? You made my “violation” public without coming to me to “respond directly.” Did you not then violate Matthew 18:15? Paul rebuked Peter “to the face . . . before them all” for his action regarding the Gentiles. Shall we, charge Paul with having “violated” Matthew 18:15 (Gal. 2:11-114)? Stanley, on Matthew IS: 15, have you “perverted a beautiful passage on forgiveness and placed it in the context of a brother being saved and lost from heaven’s point, of, view, when the subject of the passage is earthly forgiveness”?
“But all one can get out of Acts 8:18-24 is saved, lost, saved, if that.” See my first response. Still, I wonder if brother Paher thinks Simon is a case of “faith failing”? Was it, Stanley? Was Simon’s salvation “interrupted” by his heart not being “right in the sight of God”? Did his “wickedness” cause his salvation to be “interrupted”? And how dare anyone mock an alleged “yo-yo” doctrine when he supports a salvation that can be “interrupted.” Further, we need to know if an “interrupted” salvation can be restored, and if it can, can it be “interrupted” again? If so, would this be an “on-off, yes-no, up-down thing”? If my “yo-yo string is jammed,” his is fluttering up and down quite nicely.
Brother Paher says, “Anyone with a profound sense of sin would not argue about how God saves and what he does about sins, day in and day out.” Who says so? Why, Stanley W. Paher! If any of you brethren “argue about how God saves and what he does about sins,” you do not have “a profound sense of sin.” Stanley, does that include arguments with alien sinners “about how God saves and what he does about sins, day-in and day-out”? Further, Stanley has argued this issue in this exchange and in Vanguard for months. Stanley, does your arguing about these matters prove that you do not have “a profound sense of sin”?
I Stanley says that, “To Larry and others of the Guardian of Truth, Faith and Facts, and Searching the Scriptures triad of papers sin is treated subjectively rather than objectively” and that such concepts do not save from sin itself,” nor do these concepts save one “from the corruption of a man’s heart.” Who are these “others” of Guardian of Truth, Faith and Facts, and Searching the Scriptures? Such men as Connie Adams, H.E. Phillips, John and Robert Welch, Ron Halbrook, James R. Cope, Eugene Britnell, Marshall and Herschel Patton, Hoyt Houchen, Dudley Ross Spears, Weldon Warnock, Bill Cavender, Irven Lee and a number of “others” will feel indicted by your remarks. Are all of the men on the staffs of these papers all lumped together with me? If not all are, which ones?
“Righteousness . . . comes through grace-faith and not solely by obeying New Testament commandments. ” True, but who has said that righteousness does not come “through grace-faith,” but solely by obeying New Testament commandments”? Who Stanley?
“Remission of sins . . . was never intended to come by mere law keeping.” Again, true, but who has ever contended that “remission of sins” comes “by mere law keeping”? Stanley, check the staffs of the “triad of papers” and name just one who has ever so argued.
In addition to his response above, brother Paher sent along a note to me with further argument on Acts 8:23, “For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” Stanley cited an alternate reading which would translate Acts 8:23 thusly, “For I see that thou wilt become gall (or a gall root) of bitterness and a bond of iniquity.” Brother Paher then commented on this rendering, “In view of v. 23 . . . I would not bet the ranch that Simon was lost. ‘Wilt become’ means that if he pursued his present course he would be bound by his sins. Nothing here to establish your yo-yo doctrine, or lost-saved-lost-saved within a day’s experience. Thus Simon is not an example of yo-yo-ism in the context of the present on-going debate. I will not be corresponding with you again on this matter, unless you change your mind. I can give you the most sophisticated arguments and you, like the Mormons merely brush them aside and not even consider them.”
Earlier, brother Paher indicated that Simon, from “Acts 8: 18-24” may have been “saved, lost, saved,” but now he “would not bet the ranch that Simon was lost. ” In five debates with Baptists on the apostasy question, I have never met a Baptist who would “bet the ranch that Simon was lost,”either. What, then is the condition of a man who has been told: (1) “Thy money perish with thee”; (2) “Thy heart is not right in the sight of God”; (3) that he needs to “repent of this they wickedness and pray” for forgiveness?Stanley, was Simon lost or saved? It is time for one of your “sophisticated arguments,” Stanley. Tell us, or will you “brush” these questions aside and . . not even consider them” and be “like the Mormons”? Stanley, would you “bet the ranch that Simon was saved”?
Finally, in a memo to me, appended to his response, brother Paher adds, in part:
“The bottom line seems to be that it is o.k. for you and your editor friends to bully your way in these types of situations. It’s o.k. for you guys to throw your weight around, exert undue influences over Christians and churches afar off. But when anyone like myself says enough and responds to your advances . . . well, somehow it’s all wrong and you are easily offended. If you enter the polemical arena, then you have to be able to take criticism, roll with the punches.
“The time has come and now is (Jn. 4:23) that many concerned Christians like myself are rising up and calling into question you and others who employ the unfair tactics you use and meeting head-on your brand of partyism, brotherhood politics, economic and journalistic control, hiring and firing of preachers, and other ungodly and unrestrained behavior. The time has come and now is to point out the inconsistency of the Guardian of Truth, Searching the Scriptures, and Faith and Facts editors and staff writers who, on the one hand rightly oppose the liberal cooperative efforts but seek to exhibit a similar if not identical sphere of influence over preachers and churches, thus similarly violating Peter’s ‘among you’ for proper limits of evangelism and edification. Is there not enough for you to do in Pekin, Illinois?”
Stanley Paher can decry and denounce our efforts in strong terms. That is fine. We can take the heat, especially since Stanley is turning his stove off. But remember who the “bad guys” are. It is alright for him to charge us as being a “joyless, loveless, semi-neurotic band of people.” It is acceptable for him to charge me with purposely and willfully trying ” to confuse” others. He can compare me to the Mormons and say that I will “brush” aside and refuse to “consider” his “sophisticated arguments.” He can state that the “editors and staff writers” of Guardian of Truth, Faith and Facts, and Searching the Scriptures and “others” are bullies who “throw your weight around,” “exert undue influences over Christians and churches,” “employ . . . unfair tactics,” practice “partyism, brotherhood politics, economic and journalistic control, hiring and firing of preachers, and other ungodly and unrestrained behavior.”
Yes, Stanley can say a that and be a “concerned” Christian, but when we respond, we are “loveless, semi-neurotic” bullies who cannot take the heat. My apologies to all you brethren on the staffs of the papers and to . ‘others” who have been summarily dispatched by brother Paher. I did not mean to drag all of you down with me. With Stanley’s view, though, do not worry. If Simon was not lost, surely the Lord would not condemn an “ungodly” partyistic bully who suffers from neurosis.
Indeed, “the time has come and now is” when all should realize the importance of these issues. Some have deemed that instrumental music separates one from God. Others say that the sins of the social gospel do not put them out of God’s grace. Consider the consequences before you dismiss this as a “diatribe” or a “preacher fuss.” Brother Paher may well oppose liberalism, but his arguments are used by the advocates of the positions cited above.
As he stated, brother Paher may choose not to respond further. He may leave the kitchen, that is his prerogative, but we are staying. He need not bandy his views about in public media and then sue for privacy. These issues will be met, and the truth will be defended.
In deference to brother Paher, however, I now relinquish my brotherhood political position. All of those under my economic and journalistic control (you know who you are) are now henceforth and forever free and independent. You may go your way. To those churches that I have controlled, you may now hire and fire preachers on your own from this day forth. You need not fear any sanctions or reprisals from me. My days as a semi-neurotic bully are over, except, of course, at Pekin, where I shall continue my tyrannical domination and woe unto all them that fear not. Amen. Thanks to brother Mike Willis who has so charitably granted me this leave of absence from my office.
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 1, pp. 8-9, 19
January 3, 1985