Thursday, January 31, 2002
A meeting was arranged with three elders at 4:00 pm. The elders in attendance would be Bob Hamm, Jim Kelsoe, and Pat Holder. I asked two fellow members of the congregation to attend as my witnesses. The meeting would take place in the elders conference room at RHCC.
In addition, my wife, Barbara, and another wife came along with us to the church. Since one of the stated reasons for doing away with deacons was to be able to recognize the role of women in the church, these ladies were quite interested to see what the elders had to say in this matter. The elders in attendance refused to allow these ladies to attend this meeting. How amazing. The very men who said they wanted to be able to recognize women as "special servants" were refusing to allow two ladies to sit in on a discussion of this very matter. And let me assure yoiu, there are no two servants any more "special" than these two women. The Christian work these two women have done for RHCC is immeasurable. But yet they are not allowed to attend a meeting to discuss the scriptural basis for the position of "special servant." How appalling!! How hypocritical!
We brought along tape recorders so we could have an accurate record of exactly what was said at the meeting. The elders refused to allow the meeting to be tape recorded. If these men are absolutely confident of their decision and actions in this matter, why are they reluctant to have a tape recording made of their statements? The services at RHCC are tape recorded every time someone is in the pulpit. This is done with complete approval of the elders. If the decisions the elders have made and the statements and actions they are taking are scripturally sound, why in the world would they object to their words being tape recored?
The meeting started with Bob Hamm asking Jim Kelsoe to lead a prayer. After the prayer, Bob Hamm presented a list of scriptures about unity in the church. He said God has always hated division and we should all work for unity. He read three of the scriptures and handed me the list. He also handed me another paper that had the following statement:
"I want to communicate with you in regard to a decision yoiu have made that puts my eternal soul in jeopardy."
He said that any further correspondence I had with the elders must start with this statement. He then stated that the mailout my wife and I had sent was divisive and was the source of all the current upheaval at the church. He was critical because he said the mailout was not signed by me personally. All of this criticism and condemning was leveled against me in this meeting but not once did any elder there ask about my motives, intentions, feelings, concerns, spiritual situation--NOTHING. It was obvious that they were there to condemn me but yet not one of these Christian men had come to me or corresponded with me on a one on one basis to discuss this situation. I'm almost certain that the scripture still says that if you have "naught with your brother you go to your brother." Have the elders decided that we can ignore that part of the scripture also?
Finally, after silently listening to about 15 minutes of Mr. Hamm's condemnation, I was allowed to speak. I ssaid that his statement about God hating division was not true. Was it not God's only Son that said "brother will turn against brother because of me!" God's relationship with mankind has always been characterized with division. On judgment day, the ultilmate division will occur!! The question is which side are you going to be on? Personally, I plan to be on God's side and my Bible tells me the way to do that is to follow the scripture. Don't add to it, don't take away from it--just obey God's Word!
I reminded Mr. Hamm and the other elders there that I had personally written each of them a letter(shown under Letters to the Elders) expressing my concerns about their decision and their actions. I sent the letter to each of their homes and I sent a copy to the church to their attention. I had a copy of the letter with me and read it to them emphasizing my request for further guidance and open discussins with the congregation. Not one of them - I repeat - not one single elder bothered to respond to my correspondence! Is this the scriptual actins of an elder?
I provided the group with a copy of the mailout my wife and I had done. I asked how is it divisive to ask people to come to church. Is it divisive to encourage people to study their Bible, pray to God, and come to church to hear what their preacher had to say about this matter? Is it divisive to wonder if the foundation of the church is on the Rock or in the sand when our elders have just made a decision that changed what RHCC had done for 45 years? And a good part of this 45 years was under the leadership of most of these elders. It seems only reasonable and logical to me that the members of the congregatin are going to be confused and deserve some sort of explanation and guidance. After all, some elders said that they had been studying this matter for up to a year and a half. Gee, shouldn't some of this divine wisdom they have acquired over that period of time be shared with the congregation?
As far as the mailout not being signed by me personally, I pointed out to the elders that there were many "Concerned Members," not just my wife and me. We had discussed this matter with numerous Christian friends, especially at our care group and after Sunday school. Everyone was concerned as to what was going on. The major concern was that the elders were taking this action and not being open and candid with the flock. Numerous times the elders have sent out letters simply signed "the elders." Is it divisive that these mailouts were not signed by each and every elder? So am I to assume that it is okay for the elders to mail out correspondence with a group signature but it is divisive if members of the congregation do exactly the same thing?
The simple fact is there was nothing divisive about our mailout. Our intentions were pure and holy. The elders should be rejoicing when members are so dedicated to their church that they go to the trouble and expense that my wife and I went to to get people to come to church. This is an extremely important matter and all the congregation needs to know what is going on. The division is not being caused by a simple mailout. The division is being caused the the decision and actions of the elders.
There is no doubt in my mind that the office of deacon is required by scripture. My opinion is shared by many Christians at RHCC because we have been taught that for years. I am equally confident that the elders have erred by eliminating this position. But I, like most people, am willing to listen to their reasoning and study the scripture to see what God said about the matter. Unfortuntely, the elders had no intentions of bringing this matter before the congregation. I can't speak to their motives but their actions in this deception are absolutely wrong!! The elders should go before the congregation and repent of these actions, confess their transgressins, and beg the forgiveness of the congregation. There should be open forum discussions about this matter with the entire church body. But Mr. Hamm emphatically stated, " This is not going to happen."
I also brought to this meeting a copy of a World Bible Study pamphlet called "How to Become a Christian and start a Church of Christ." Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of these pamphlets have been mailed out over the years by the RHCC. They have been mailed to new converts all over the world. My wife, as well as many other "special servants" have sent them out for years. This pamphlet and their mailing has had the full support of the elders at RHCC. On page 8 of this publication it plainly states that when there are qualified men, a church should have elders and deacons. How in the world can we expect the "new" in Christ to persevere when the more mature (RHCC) is not abiding by the instructions we are distributing. Does the scripture not say that it is better for you to have a heavy millstone tied around yoiur neck and thrown into the sea than to cause a babe in Christ to stumble? I asked the elders at this meeting how we could possibly explain our lack of compliance in this matter to anyone "new" in Christ. The elders had no reply.
Mr. Hamm and Mr. Kelsoe indicated that they were confident in their decisions and it was obvious that they were correct because of the growth that God was giving the RHCC. They also stated that all 17 elders were in agreement on this matter. Surely it isn't possible for all the elders to be wrong. They said they had to make these changes because other churches were doing it and changes had to be made to insure continued church growth.
I pointed out that RHCC had exceptional growth to the point that we had gone to three Sunday morning services. And we had enjoyed this phenominal growth while still following the scriptural requirement of having deacons. One of the other members attending the meeting, who has served as an elder at another church, pointed out that mere numerical growth does ot mean that God is pleased with what a church is doing. He stated that there are numerous churches in the DFW area whose attendance and financial position is quite superior to RHCC. He is absolutely correct. As a matter of fact, if you are looking strictly at numbers, the Muslim religion is vastly out pacing anyone else in growth. I certainly doubt that their blessings are coming from God.
I also pointed out that throughout the history of mankind there have been numerous situations when the leadership of entire cities, countries, and kingdoms were wrong as far as obeying God's commands. I reminded them that God was displeased with the entire leadership of the earth that he destroyed every living thing except for those on the ark. So, yes, it is possible for 17 men who agree to be wrong. My real question is just how much do they agree?
I again asked the elders there why it was ot a good idea to have open meetings with the congregation. Hillcrest C of C in Abilene has had such meetings and they were quite successful. Mr. Hamm replied that that is why every C of C us autonomous. They do what they want to and we do what we want to. He emphatically reiterated that there would be no open meetings.
I asked the elders about the scriptures that states that overseers are to first be servants. Wouldn't a good and faithful servant make certain that his master knew exactly what was going on? Mr. Holder replied that the elders were shepherds. And shepherds don't ask the sheep what they want. A shepherd leads the sheep to water and they drink!! How sad!! I'm quite certain that Jesus as a shepherd had a totally different attitude about His flock.
Mr. Hamm asked me if I was familiar with the 13th chapter of Hebrews, specifically verse 17. I said I was. He asked what it said. I opened my Bible and read, "Obey your leaders!" he said they were the leaders and I was to obey them. He then stated that the elders as a group had discussed this situation at the men's retreat over the weekend and their instructions to me were to be quiet!! I was stunned. I asked him to repeat what he just said so everyone there knew they did not misinterpret what had just come out of his mouth. Mr. Hamm repeated that it was the instructions of the entire eldership that I was to be quiet. I could not believe what I was hearing.
I told Mr. Hamm that the ultimate leaders of the church were God, his son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I said that the inspired Word of God as recorded by the Apostle Paul specifically refers to deacons and their qualifications. So if the instructions of the elders conflict with the scripture, then who am I to obey. His reply was that I must obey the elders. Once again Mr. Hamm is absolutely wrong!!
Another one of the members who attended with me voiced his concern about the decision of the elders as well as their deceptive actions in not discussing this matter with the congregation. He also brought up the problem of an increase in a charismatic movement in RHCC as well as other churches. He reminded the elders that he had corresponded with them in the past about his concerns. He also mentioned that he had never received any reply to any of his correspondence other than. Mr. Hamm referred to him as an "annoyance." This Christian is a good and godly man who loves the Lord and wants to live by the Word. He has been a faithful member at RHCC for over twenty years. He leads a Sunday School class and he and his lovely wife sponsor one of the most successful care groups at RHCC. I have never met a couple more supportive of the Lord's church. It is absolutely heartbreaking to sit and listen to an elder at RHCC refer to such a faithful Christian man as an annoyance. How shameful.
Mr. Hamm finally stated that the elders had made their decision in this matter. There would no longer be deacons!! Their decision was final and irrevocable. He said they had announced their decision to the entire congregation on Wednesday night and everyone knew what was going on. (This statement is absolutely not true.) He further stated that the majority of the congregation was in agreement with the elders and that this entire controversy was being caused by less than 20 people that had always been troublemakers. These few people represented less than 1/4 of one percent of the congregation.
I looked Mr. Hamm straight in the eye and said, "Bob, what you just said is not true." There were more than 20 people at our last care group meeting that had no idea of the decision of the elders. When informed of the decision, everyone disagreed with it. I personally know more than 20 people who have already left RHCC because of this controversial plan and the deceptive actions of the elders. I reminded Mr. Hamm that the attendance on any Wednesday night represents only about 1/3 of the congregation. In addition, the person making the announcement never once stated the fact that there would no longer be deacons at RHCC. As a matter of fact, approximately 1/2 of the current deacons had not even been notified that they were being replaced. How in the world do you treat your fellow man much less fellow Christians in such a manner. This entire fiasco is absolutely unbelievable.
After pouring my heart out for an hour and a half, it became suddenly obvious to me that I was wasting my time. These men had no concern whatsoever about my spiritual well-being. Not once did one of them ask about my feelings or motives. Their intentions were obvious. They were there to tell me to be quiet. Just as they gave absolutely no consideration to the letter I had written each of them, they gave absolutely no consideration to what I had to say. The problem was that they had made a very controversial and unscriptural decision to do away with deacons at RHCC. They knew that if the truth got out about what they were doing then there would be much concern and confusion. So they made a conscious decision to not inform the congregation. Their problem with me was that I was spreading the truth. Somehow, I think that is what all Christians are supposed to do. I definitely beleived my fellow Christians at RHCC had a right to know. So often around RHCC I have seen the letters WWJD. I wonder exactly what would Jesus do in this situation.
This web site is not part of or approved by any Church!
What Happened At the Madison Church of Christ?
There are thousands of churches being taken over across America.
This book is only about one of those churches. It's about the Madison
Church Of Christ. By studying the methods used here along with the resource
references you might be able to inoculate your church. At the very least
you will recognize the signs early on.
Many of the current members of the Madison Church of Christ still don't
know what happened.
Some never will know! This book is for them as well.
Madison Church of Christ was a 60 year old church. At one time it was
one of the largest churches in the US, and the largest Church of Christ.
It thrived for many years on the vision of it's elders and those of
it's ministers. Those visions undoubtably came from the the inspired word
of Jesus Christ.
At sometime in the last 10 years there was a deliberate plan by a majority
of the elders to take the Madison Church of Christ into a more worldly
They used secrecy, covert planning, and outside sources to scheme and
to change the format and direction of the Madison Church of Christ.
The Elders knew that the membership would never approve such a plan.
Using the tools of the "Community Church Movement"(consultants, books,
seminars, meetings,planters,seeders) they slowly started initiating change
so it was never noticed by the members until it was too late.....
At the heart of the plan was the fact that old members were going to
be driven off so new techniques could be used to go out and reach the unchurched
through new "Contemporary Holy Entertainment" methods developed by the
"Community Church Movement"
Old members had to be kept on board long enough to get their plans ready,
or the funds would not be there to pay for the new building. So by the
plans very nature, it had to be secret.
The church had no plan in effect to renew or approve elders. There was
never any need. The elders had always been "as approved by God". 10 of the last
15 elders would begin to shed some doubt on that.
The Elders did not even need a majority at first, because some of the
elders went along unwittingly.
This edition starts shortly after some of the members begin to smell
something strange in January 2001. Later editions may go back and fill
in some of the timeline.
To even start to understand whats happening here, you must read the
background materials in the first of the book.
This is only the first edition, and not the end. New editions will be
printed as needed. To keep abreast of current changes, please visit our
web site; http://www.concernedmembers.com/madison
Here is the list of players;
5 Godly Elders
10 Not so Godly Elders
120 "Deacons" (allegiance unknown)
2,800 - 4,000 church "members"
2 "teners" (people who have publicly confessed to have broken all ten
Unknown number of "sinners" (This is what the 10 elders call us.)
Unknown number of "demons" (Flying everywhere, to many to count)