SPRING CHURCH OF CHRIST
Sponsor of the Annual CFTF Spring Lectureship
1327 Spring Cypress Rd. ~ Mail: PO Box 39 ~ Spring, TX 77383-0039
Phone (281) 353 -2707 ~ Fax (281) 288-3676
December 9, 2009
Statement by the elders, Spring Church of Christ
The elders of the Forest Hill Church of Christ (“FH”) announced in the December 1, 2009 issue of The Forest Hill News (“TFHN”) that they had marked brethren David P. Brown and H. W. (Dub) McClish. Both are overseen by the Spring elders.
In the announcement, the FH elders asserted that brethren Brown and McClish have engaged in a “continual pursuit of sowing discord among brethren and for their outright lies concerning” the FH “elders, evangelist, the Memphis School of Preaching,” and the FH congregation. The evidence for such was purportedly to be found “once again” in the October, 2009 issue of Contending for the Faith (“CFTF”). The “once again” descriptive would imply, at least, that evidence may be found in other issues of CFTF.
Since 2005, many brethren including, but not limited to, those at Memphis School of Preaching, Southwest School of Biblical Studies, Schertz, Texas, Church of Christ, and by implication at least, their overseeing elderships, have engaged in fellowship practices not authorized by the New Testament. CFTF has chronicled and exposed these compromises in Scripturally authorized fellowship. We are fully aware of what brethren Brown and McClish have written in opposition to these compromises and commend them for their efforts.
In the February 10, 2009 issue of TFHN, Barry Grider, currently the pulpit minister of FH, wrote two articles entitled “I Got Used to It” and “I Drew My Circle Again”. These articles, which, in effect, question the singularity of the Lord’s church and its doctrine, were critically reviewed by Dub McClish in the April 2009 issue of CFTF. In his editorial in the October 2009 issue of CFTF, David Brown again referred to these two articles. In the same February 10th TFHN bulletin, Grider also included an article by Tyler Young excerpted from Young’s manuscript for the 2008 Lubbock Lectureship. The import of Young’s article supported Grider’s two articles and was likely included for that reason. Young was publicly and appropriately rebuked by Tommy Hicks, director of the Lubbock Lectureship for presenting this material when he had been expressly forbidden to do so by Hicks (Hicks had excised this material from Young’s manuscript). As a matter of information, Hicks is in close fellowship with the staff of Memphis School of Preaching and likely the FH elders. We assumed that the FH elders were opposed to the sentiments expressed in these bulletin articles as was Hicks and others. We were wrong. Not only were the FH elders not opposed to the loose views expressed in these articles, but by virtue of their “marking” action, they agree with and endorse these views.
With our assumptions now corrected, it is still the case that assertions are not proof. In order to be credible, the FH elders must provide adequate evidence to support their assertions made in their “marking” announcement. In a letter to them of this date, we have invited them to provide such proof. As a matter of record, previously we have invited the principals at MSOP, SWSBS, Schertz, Apologetics Press, et al, to participate in an Open Forum, but such efforts were spurned or ignored.
If the response to our letter to the FH elders is either silence, dismissal, or a soliloquy similar to the self-serving lead article of the above mentioned December 1st bulletin, then we must assume that the “marking” has no merit.
As a further comment, we express surprise at the timing of this “marking”, the necessity of doing it formally, and the limitation of the same. The fellowship issues that have divided us began in 2005. We have not had fellowship with MSOP, FH, SWSBS, Southwest Church of Christ (Austin, TX), Schertz Church of Christ, AP, and others similarly disposed, from the time they demonstrated that they would condone or practice, or both, unauthorized fellowship. So why now? Also, they have “marked” brethren Brown and McClish but not the elders who oversee their work. Do the FH elders still consider themselves in fellowship with the Spring elders? Will they now mark all those who remain in fellowship with Brown and McClish? In the marking of brethren Brown and McClish, the proper approach would be to provide the Spring elders with the adequate evidence to substantiate their action. Once proved, they should then call upon us to act accordingly in a disciplinary action against Brown and McClish. Their marking action will likely extend far beyond their expectations and result in consequences that are both unanticipated and uncontrollable.
Perhaps our aforementioned letter will accomplish what they have thus far failed to do.
Kenneth D. Cohn, Buddy R. Roth, Jack T. Stephens, Jr.