Brother Warnock’s Fifth & Sixth Weeks in a Row
By Jeff Belknap
It gives me absolutely no pleasure that it has become necessary for me to do what brother Connie W. Adams did in March 1986, in Searching the Scriptures Magazine, when he deemed it crucial for him to reprove the public error taught by brother Weldon E. Warnock. See: Brother Warnock’s 19 Year Progression of Error
When I began the mental divorce website, it was because I received abundant documentation that brother Ron Halbrook had been working to convince brethren in numerous states of his post-divorce “putting away” for post-divorce fornication doctrine, over many years’ time. At that time (Spring of 2000), starting a website was not even a consideration, but my initial desire and intent was to restore Ron Halbrook through the influence of his close associates (See: A Letter of Concern and Plea for Influence of Fellow Workers). But, alas, such was not to be, as I found that the associates of Truth Magazine were the very brethren who advocated and/or defended fellowship with this unauthorized “application.” It was not until after that effort, that I began thinking of starting a website that could expose what Truth Magazine refused to publish. (Note the statement at the top of my frontpage: www.mentaldivorce.com)
More recently, it has been a most regrettable experience (for the past six weeks in particular), to listen to brother Warnock’s radio program, “Searching the Scriptures” (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley, WV; sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV). Since he has once again commenced public advocacy of the same error that brother Halbrook has disseminated, Weldon has made it necessary to warn brethren of his own teaching, as well (I Timothy 5:20-21; II Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:10-11; II Peter 2:1-2). Links to the transcripts of brother Warnock’s February 22nd and 29th (2004) broadcasts (which this response examines) are provided at the bottom of this article, and readers are encouraged to study the complete content of his lessons.
For numerous months, especially these last several weeks, brother Warnock has continued to propagate what brother Adams equated with “‘mental divorce’” and “the ‘waiting game.’” Moreover, according to the words of brother Adams, to arrive at the position Weldon has advocated in the past (and is now again advocating), one “must trade on the silence of the scriptures” (emp. jhb). Connie also revealed that the flaw in Weldon’s post-divorce “putting away” position was that the cause of fornication occurred “after the fact of divorce and not before…for one waits (post-divorce, jhb) until the other sins and then claims scriptural cause” (emp. jhb).
In brother Warnock’s radio programs on February 22nd and 29th, he expressed resentment that I exposed his error “all over the country” on my website (Play Clip!). Brother Warnock also stated:
“I want to tell you, I believe strongly what I preach, and nobody’s going to get by with calling me a false teacher.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Although “false teacher” was not a term used in the article to which Weldon was referring, I don’t deny that my exposure of his public error implies such. However, would not this be the same implication of what brother Adams asserted back in 1986 (after Weldon publicly taught the exact same thing) and described it as trading “on the silence of the scriptures”? Regarding Weldon’s teaching, Connie stated, “But I feel strongly on this subject and don’t want one single reader to have the impression that the editor of this paper accepts the position mentioned above” (emp. jhb). See: The Warnock-Deason Exchange Apparently, brother Weldon isn’t the only one who feels “strongly” about his position.
Moreover, the reason I defined brother Warnock’s teaching and unfounded accusations as the “Progression of Error” is because, where he had discontinued the dissemination of his views after brothers Deason and Adams exposed his error in 1986, he has now joined other brethren who are currently publicly pressing their views on this issue. Furthermore, in his radio broadcasts, he strongly condemns and ridicules those who oppose the doctrine which he espouses and is now asserting that we are the ones who are the “false teachers”!
Moreover, those who take their belief that Weldon’s (and others) doctrine is unauthorized and therefore results in adultery to its logical conclusion (i.e. a fellowship issue, I Corinthians 5; cf. II John 9-11), are now accused of causing “dissention in the church, and unrest in the church, and confusion in the church” and deemed unworthy of fellowship! Brethren, this is “progression” indeed (I Corinthians 5:6-8; Galatians 5:9)!
Weldon cited in his February 22nd radio lesson that he maintained relationships with men like H. E. Phillips and others who differed with him on this issue after he taught his error in the past. However, he also admitted in this same broadcast, “My friend, I want to tell ya, I was in Beckley for 10 years, and wonderful people there. Enjoyed the city, the community, and this was never mentioned.” (emp. jhb). Additionally, in a letter that brother Warnock sent to each of the various members of the church in Beckley (dated June 25, 2002), Weldon wrote:
“Jim Deason and I had the exchange between us, then dropped it, and went on with our work in the Lord. We remain the best of friends. In the 10 years I preached in Beckley, this issue never came up.” (emp. jhb).
According to brother Weldon himself, after the STS exchange, the “issue” was “dropped,” “never came up” and, as stated in Weldon’s radio lesson, was “never mentioned.” Hence, it is obvious that this is precisely the reason why, in the past, brother Weldon was able to maintain his association with those who differed with him on this issue! Conversely, this is not the case today! If Weldon had forcefully continued to assert his doctrine in 1986 after the STS exchange (as he is doing on his radio program today), I seriously doubt that he would have been able to maintain those relationships with the brethren who differed.
In brother Warnock’s reply letter (July 8th, 2002) after I responded to the letter he wrote to all the members of the church in Beckley, he made the statement:
“Concerning Connie Adams, he and I remain the best of friends. I just talked to him on the phone last Saturday. I was a staff writer for Searching the Scriptures, which Connie edited, for many years, even to its final publication in 1992. We differed on this point, but we didn’t go around calling one another a heretic. Such shenanigans would have been stupid. Connie’s attitude toward Ron Halbrook, Larry Hafley and others is one of tolerance and moderation. Why can’t you be of the same persuasion? As you perhaps know Donnie Rader holds the same position you do, but we have no problems as we work together in the Guardian of Truth Foundation. I don’t consider Donnie a heretic and he doesn’t look upon me as one, either.” (emp. jhb). Public Correspondence With Weldon E. Warnock
For the record, though I have publicly exposed the error of brother Warnock’s public doctrine, I have never called him “a heretic.” Nevertheless, if brothers Donnie Rader and Connie Adams choose to maintain fellowship with those who are now fiercely advocating what Connie and Donnie once exposed as error, I am sorry, I cannot go along with them (cf. Romans 16:17-18; II John 9-11)! They will have to answer for themselves when they appear before the Almighty (II Corinthians 5:10-11).
In brother Donnie Rader’s book [“Divorce and Remarriage: What does the text say?,” Lesson 8, Mental Divorce (May Some Put Away People Remarry)], he also condemned the second “putting away” theory as an erroneous “application” (p. 74). Within this chapter, brother Rader equated post-divorce “putting away” with “instrumental music in worship” and “ice cream on the Lord’s table”. Moreover, he called it “sin,” “adultery,” and what the Bible “emphatically forbids” (p. 78).
Regarding the teaching of Donnie’s book (that is presently advertised on the Truth Magazine website) the following reviews are cited:
“An excellent work for class study. We believe brother Rader has rendered a valuable service in the production of this work and commend it to all into whose hands it might fall.” – Connie W. Adams (Connie W. Adams also wrote the Book’s Foreword)
“I believe it is well written and gets right at the heart of the issues on all the questions you discussed. I would highly recommend it for class study and for personal study. It is objective, clear and thorough. Most of all it is scriptural.” – H. E. Phillips
Brethren, I cannot explain how one can equate something with “adultery,” “instrumental music in worship” and “ice cream on the Lord’s table” (or how one can commend such a correlation via a commendation of the book that contained the teaching) and then claim it is a non-fellowship issue (Matthew 23:3; Titus 1:16). Can you? If such is acceptable, then so is fellowship with all the other unauthorized practices which brother Rader listed! Moreover, I guess we all have been guilty of causing unnecessary division in the church for failing to maintain fellowship with all the other errors that brother Rader equated to mental divorce.
Because brothers Adams and Rader have been inconsistent during the past three years by their practice of tolerating some who actively advocate “adultery,” “sin,” what the Bible “emphatically forbids” and doctrines which “trade on the silence of the scriptures” (while rejecting others who teach other doctrines that result in the same immorality), brother Warnock perceives their actions to be right. See: When Silence Is Not Golden
On the other hand, because I am trying to be consistent and not have fellowship with any who advocate “adultery,” “sin,” what the Bible “emphatically forbids,” and doctrines which “trade on the silence of the scriptures,” I am supposedly guilty of causing division and trouble in the church, and engaging in “stupid” “shenanigans.” If Isaiah 5:20 does not apply here, pray tell, where would it (cf. Galatians 1:6-9)?
Moreover, at the conclusion of Donnie’s Divorce and Remarriage book, under the subtitle, “Divorce And Remarriage And Fellowship” (pp. 145-149) brother Rader wrote:
“The attitude of many is that issues that surround divorce and remarriage are so difficult and since we all disagree we should let the matter alone and let each individual settle it for himself. If so, shall we ignore those who live contrary to the teaching of Matt. 19:9? Shall we allow people to divorce and remarry and live in adultery and never say a word? Shall we let the preachers and teachers who encourage such relationships pass without notice?
When there are opposing views on divorce and remarriage, somebody is wrong! The question is: are the issues of divorce and remarriage of such significance to break fellowship? Let’s consider a few simple points.
1. We are not to fellowship sin or those in sin (Eph. 5:11; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Cor. 6:14).
2. Fellowship must be with those who ‘walk in the light’ or abide in the ‘doctrine of Christ’ (1 Jno. 1:7, 2 Jno. 9).
Thus, we can’t fellowship (1) the adulterer (I Cor. 5). Those who divorce and remarry contrary to the teaching of Christ cannot enter into or continue in the fellowship with God’s people. Neither can we fellowship (2) one who teaches error. The church at Thyatira was rebuked for continuing to tolerate those whose teachings lead to fornication (Rev. 2:18-21). Those who disturb congregational peace by their teaching must be marked (Rom. 16:17; Tit. 3:10). Those whose teaching causes others to become adulterers and adulteresses cannot be fellowshipped anymore than the adulterer or adulteress themselves (cf. 2 Tim. 2:17-18).”
Similar reviews by brother Rader of the same erroneous teaching (and fellowship with it) that brother Weldon and others are engaging in, can be read at the following links:
In his February 22nd radio lesson, brother Warnock complained that he doesn’t have access to the internet and didn’t even know about my articles that addressed his broadcast teaching until brethren told him. Nevertheless, neither did I know about his public preaching that addressed me and my teaching, until some of my brethren here informed me of it. (One of the members that notified me said, “he’s after you.”) For years now, almost every Sunday evening after services, my family and I get together with brethren. Thus, it was only when I was informed that brother Warnock’s broadcasting of this issue was becoming routine, that I started obtaining tapes of brother Warnock’s programs.
Since brother Warnock knows that I’m addressing his radio program on my website, I can safely assume that his brethren with internet access will continue to share my articles with him, just as he has assumed that I will continue to secure tapes of his broadcasts.
His Self-Confirmed Credentials
Brother Warnock apparently thinks that numerous brethren’s faith in him (as exemplified by his numerous speaking engagements) prove that his doctrine is not erroneous:
“You know, I’ve been holding meetings, many of ‘em. Last year, got meetings this year, lectureship. And I’m writing, staff writer for Truth Magazine, I write some for Biblical Insights, I was on the Florida College Lectureship two years ago - spoke to about 2,000 people one night, I’m on a lectureship in Florence, AL, coming up here in June, I made four speeches along with three other preachers, I’m on a couple more lectureships, one speech at each lectureship, and then I’m on the lectureship they’re going to have at Bowling Green in July, Truth Magazine is having a lectureship. And I’m to speak on a Tuesday night on that. Now this is this fellow that’s supposed to be promoter of error. Why haven’t these other brethren found it out yet?” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
“Oh, he said, I’ve been preaching this for, this error for 19 years. Let me tell you something, I was preaching before you were born. And that’s for sure, and I’ve been at it a long time, and my reputation is intact across this country.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
“I believe what the Bible teaches, I’ve preached it for 50 years. And they’ve got this article, Weldon Warnock’s 19 Year Progression of Error. Well, that’s funny that nobody else has ever found that out, if I’ve been preaching this for 19 years. But he didn’t give me enough credit, I’ve been preaching for 50 years, and preaching the same thing and believing the same thing that I’m teaching tonight. No, I didn’t disagree with the decree of Jesus Christ, Ladies and Gentlemen.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Nevertheless, remember that Weldon’s public promotion of this error has only recently re-emerged, as has the exposure of it. Whether his “reputation” will remain “intact” when brethren become aware that he is both publicly pressing his uninspired views and condemning those who oppose his doctrine, remains to be seen (cf. I Corinthians 4:6; II Corinthians 10:3-6; Galatians 2:4-6).
In brother Weldon’s radio broadcasts, he has reminded his listeners that he was preaching “before you were (I was, jhb) born,” and that he has “been at it a long time” and has earned a “reputation” that “is intact across the country.” Conversely, he has referred to those who oppose him as “boys,” and mused about what “some younger fellow may come along and decide” (emp. jhb). Nevertheless, if age and reputation prove who is right and wrong, please note that many of the articles on my website which expose the Mental Divorce error have been written by preachers of solid reputation that are older than brother Weldon, and who have preached even longer than he has.
His Assertion That a Sin would be a “Good Thing”
It has been bad enough over the last several months that brother Warnock has repeatedly aired the church’s “dirty laundry” i.e. “problems in the church”) before those in this community whom we hope to interest with the gospel. Nevertheless, he has gone one step further in actions that will, no doubt, further damage the influence of the Lord’s church among the community in and around Beckley.
On his Sunday, February 22nd radio program, brother Warnock actually asserted – to the entire community surrounding Beckley, WV, that it would be “good” if someone “stole.” Note the context of brother Warnock’s shocking statement (cf. Romans 3:8):
“And I want to tell you, these computers, it’d be a good thing if somebody walked in over there, and stole the thing. The brotherhood would be a way ahead, they’d cut down on all of this argumentation about this one issue preacher, obsessed with it, day and night, all that’s on there is about marriage, divorce and remarriage. And it takes time, hour after hour after hour after hour, on this one issue.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
What is ironic is that for five weeks in a row, Weldon has brought up this particular issue of “trouble/problems in the church” in one way or another (in addition to the several times he has broadcasted it in previous months). Within those very broadcasts, he has referred to me as a “one issue preacher” who is “obsessed with it.”
Nevertheless, in contrast to brother Weldon’s month after month and week after week public broadcasting of his views on this issue, the fact of the matter is that the last time I had preached on MDR in Beckley was over one and a half years ago. However, in light of the many recent misrepresentations against me and my teaching, just a short while back, the men requested that I preach on it again, in order to address any questions that our brethren may have, which request I honored on February 9th (2004). See also: The Charge of “Hobby-Riding” by the Error-Siding!
On July 8th, 2002, brother Weldon expressed concerns regarding the controversy on my website in a letter, stating:
“This saddens me that this issue is alienating brethren, and while we are fighting one another, the world out here is being by and large, ignored. Brethren are bludgeoning, ripping and tearing one another while the world goes to hell in a ‘handbasket.’” See: Public Correspondence With Weldon E. Warnock
Nevertheless, where is his concern for the lost, now? Does he not realize how counterproductive it is to rant and rave of “trouble/problems” within “the church” before those of the world, month after month and week after week? This is much worse than if the lost had really been simply “ignored,” for they are now being poisoned against the church by the repeated “bludgeoning, ripping and tearing one another” in brother Warnock’s radio broadcasts. In addition, when you compare how the two sides of this issue are conducting themselves, who is really guilty of “bludgeoning, ripping and tearing one another” in this controversy? See: Tactics of Intimidation and Interference
In his February 29th radio broadcast, Weldon confirmed his awareness that those he is exposing the church’s “troubles” to, are non-members:
“We’ve got members of the church of Christ all across Southern West Virginia listening to us. As well as those of various churches. And those who are not members of anything I guess. And we’re happy to have you in our radio audience each Sunday night.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Contrariwise, my website is designed for, and aired to those who are members of the church. The church in Beckley supports a 30 minute radio program, which is aired Sunday morning on the same radio station as brother Warnock’s broadcast. I would consider it an abuse to use the avenue that the church has given me to reach those outside of Christ, in order to repetitively air a controversy that is within the body of Christ.
Words cannot express the sorrow and disappointment among our members due to Weldon’s recent actions.
His Collusion with Others to Falsely Accuse the Beckley Church and its Preacher
Just recently, two of our members inquired of brother Tom O’Neal as to how he received the addresses of those who attend church in Beckley, when he mailed them all an eleven page letter filled with numerous false allegations and evil surmisings against me. He reported that brother Warnock had sent Beckley’s church directory to him. See: Open Reply Letter to Tom O’Neal
However, within his latest broadcast (2-29-04), Weldon denies that he sent brother O’Neal the addresses of members of the churches in WV, which (whether intended or not) leaves the impression that he denies having given brother O’Neal the Beckley church directory. (Nobody has ever accused him of providing as brother Warnock stated, the addresses of “churches across the country.”)
Not only has brother Warnock been a “partaker” (I Timothy 5:22) of the above mentioned effort to slander a brother, but even after those inaccuracies were proven as false, he has continued to propagate some of the same things in his February 22nd radio program! When you compare some of Weldon’s assertions with Tom O’Neal’s false accusations in the eleven page letter he sent out at large, they are identical. Brother Weldon made the following statements:
“And yet, this preacher in Southern WV, led the brethren to cancel a preacher’s meeting in Tampa. He was from Tampa, FL, that, you can’t come to hold a meeting. Why? Because you won’t answer our question, which he answered it. He didn’t answer it according to this preacher in Southern WV’s satisfaction.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
However, as was answered and restated in my replies to brother O’Neal, it was the unanimous consensus of all the men in the business meetings that he never answered our specific question (after we asked him three separate times), and this may be verified by our written exchange. See: The Complete E-mail Exchange With Tom O’Neal
Additionally, Weldon went on to falsely accuse us of “picking on the brother in Tampa, FL” (i.e. Tom O’Neal) by being inconsistent. Weldon stated:
“And he was asking this fellow about marriage, divorce and remarriage and said, well, said we ask them all that come our way. Well, that isn’t true. What about the ones are coming, next, going to be coming over there in the future? You ask them? According to a couple of ‘em, you didn’t ask ‘em, you didn’t ask ‘em anything. But they’re coming anyway. It’s only picking on the brother in Tampa, FL, it seems to me, and let the rest of ‘em come on anyhow.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
I have no idea what (or who) brother Weldon is referring to. The fact of the matter is, ever since the men at the business meetings made the decision to ask the preachers who are scheduled for our upcoming gospel meetings about their convictions on this issue, we have been consistent (past, present and future). The only two exceptions were men who have already manifested their views on this issue. One of these men had previously written an article exposing the error (which is on my website), and another had written to thank me for the website, and to highly commend it.
Also, please note that in my written exchange with Tom O’Neal, I consistently denied his implication that he was singled out in this regard. The brethren here are witnesses to the fact that I obtained information on the stance of the others who had been scheduled for meetings prior to brother O’Neal, and that he was not treated any differently from the others. Nevertheless, he treated me very differently than any of the others had, simply for having asked the question.
Weldon also made the following statement in his lesson:
“But you see what’s going on, see friends, we don’t know what all’s going on here. And I don’t know whether I know what all’s going on, but I know enough that’s going on that it doesn’t sound very good, I’ll tell you that.” (emp. jhb) Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
Of course “it doesn’t sound good” when people go on hearsay without knowing the facts, and then persist on spreading that hearsay over the public airwaves (cf. James 1:26; 3:1-18)!
In brother Warnock’s February 29th program he falsely accuses me of being up “more than half the night with services in the morning,” to put something on my website “at 1:06 AM.” The fact is, there are several reasons why the website may have recorded such a time. However, I deny that I put anything on my site at that hour in the morning, I was sleeping. Why must Weldon persist with all his personal attacks, especially when he admits “I don’t know what’s all going on here.” Why all the untrue personal assaults apart from the issue?
Even if this charge were true (and it is not), why would it matter anyway? Is he insinuating that any preacher who has ever stayed up until 1 on Sunday morning are sinners and in need of repentance? Such outlandish charges are unbecoming of a mature preacher, and indicate his desperation to charge me with something – anything at all, even if it is not true and would not matter even if it were!
He also stated in his February 29th radio lesson:
“I was told that he took off the letter I wrote to the church over in Beckley, I wrote a letter in 2002 to the church at Beckley and he put that up on his website, now here was a letter I wrote to members of the church in Beckley and he stuck it (laughs) up there for everybody in the country to read. And then he took it off.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Although I just recently put brother Warnock’s public letter to the church members on the site (along with the evidence of his other public “tactics of intimidation and interference”), the letter also reveals the advocacy of his erroneous doctrine.
He tried to portray the reason that I “took it off,” (which I didn’t), as being my supposed realization that the posting of his letter was “inconsistent,” since I had criticized brother O’Neal for publishing a “personal correspondence”:
“And, so, he was thinking, I suppose, that he was inconsistent of criticizing the preacher in Florida for sending a personal correspondence to members of the church in Beckley, as well as to churches in WV. And then he took my letter that was addressed to the members of the church in Beckley and put it up on his own website for everybody to see. But he took that off.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Nevertheless, just like the numerous other things that Weldon publicly “suppose”(s) about me, none of it is true. First of all, I never took the letter down. Secondly, there was no inconsistency, as the problem I had with brother O’Neal sharing his letter to all of the members in Beckley (and at large) was not because it was personal, but because it was a flagrant attempt to poison the brethren against me with slander and evil surmisings.
Weldon’s animosity is also apparent by his indictment against the church in Beckley for having fellowship with someone who would censure his second “putting away” theory. Weldon said:
“My, my, my, what have we come to? And he causes dissention in the church, and unrest in the church, and confusion in the church. And you know, brethren, there’s something to think about. When members of the church give on Sunday of their money, and you pay somebody of this kind, you’re having fellowship with him. Philippians chapter 1, verse 5, Paul said to the church at Philippi, that you had fellowship with me, thanked them that they had fellowship with him from the first until now, first day until now, and that had to do with money. They sent money to Paul and he called it a fellowship. When we support somebody that is causing havoc in the church, dissention in the church, then we’re having fellowship with him, by supporting him, Ladies and Gentlemen. And so it’s a serious matter indeed.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
It is important to note that brother Warnock labored with this church for ten years prior to my arrival to Beckley. Understandably, he has many very close ties with this congregation. Hence, it is not surprising that Weldon’s recent efforts (phone calls and repeated radio broadcasts to our members, and his sharing of their addresses with Tom O’Neal), have certainly shaken up some in the local church, especially women. It has been reported to me that prior to his February 22nd radio broadcast, some of those who have been especially close to Weldon were encouraged to listen to that night’s program in particular.
As a result, there has been talk recently among them of bringing down the website – not because our brethren disagree with the teaching on it (they agree that it teaches the truth). Nevertheless, they believe that Weldon will continue his broadcasts which damage the church’s reputation, for as long as the site is up.
It is sad that though brother Weldon professes care for the “wonderful brethren” in Beckley, he has no qualms about causing them hardship and embarrassment by his actions.
In his February 8th radio program, he stated “This is a serious matter, to, to, to upset the equilibrium of a congregation.” Nevertheless, contentment and peace reigned among our congregation (during the entire three years that my website has existed with the brethren’s knowledge) until brothers Warnock and O’Neal joined forces to disrupt the harmony in Beckley. Hence, it is apparent that my website is not the cause of the disrupted equilibrium that this church is currently experiencing.
His Misrepresentation of the Facts and Emotional Cases
In Weldon’s February 29th lesson he stated:
“And if she is put away, if he, this fornicating husband gets a divorce, puts her away, she can’t remarry. That’s his position. You know what his advice is, as well as these others that hold the same position? Their advice is, if your mate is committing fornication, don’t try to reconcile or resolve it, you rush quickly to the courthouse because the fornicating spouse may beat you there and put you away and then (laughs) you can’t remarry. Now that’s how absurd, friends, this thing has become.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Since brothers Connie W. Adams, Donnie V. Rader, J. T. Smith, Gene Frost, Maurice Barnett, Willie Ramsey, Carrol R. Sutton, P. J. Casebolt, Jim Deason, Greg Gwin, Don Martin, and John Humphries are among those “that hold the same position” as I do, I wonder how they would feel if they became aware of such an ungodly and unfounded charge as this? If brother Warnock had made such a comment in the days when H. E. Phillips was living, do you really think that their cordial relationship could have continued?
Regarding my writing to the elders in Paden City, WV. Weldon stated:
“Now, this preacher to whom I’ve referring, of whom I’m referring tonight, sent e-mail up to Paden City church of Christ in Northern WV, Northern panhandle. Some preacher had come there and quoted one statement from this brother in Southern WV. He sends an e-mail up to the elders. I’d like to have all of my material distributed among all the members. And yet, he (laughs) has opposition, he’s critical of a brother in Tampa, Tom O’Neal, who sends his response to this preacher up to Beckley, WV, and he says he’s interfering and yet, he wants his material distributed in Paden City, WV and I’d like to see a debate up there. Well, he was told to have a debate down there (laughs) in your own back door, in that case.” (emp. jhb) Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“Yeah, he wanted to send his material up to Paden City, WV, and have them distribute it up there among all the members. And he wanted to have an oral debate up there. He didn’t want to do it up there, but he suggested they have one up there. And he was told, ‘have one down there in your back door.’” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
It is true that “some preacher” went up there and “quoted one statement” from an article I wrote. However the quote was taken completely out of context! Hence, my letter to the elders at Paden City pointed out that although brother Osborne’s one-sided lesson professed to address a “needless controversy,” he didn’t even begin to address the real issue. My letter and suggestion for an oral debate were appeals to the elders to consider allowing their Paden City brethren exposure to the real issue, and both sides of it. Contrariwise, brother O’Neal’s letter was nothing more than an avenue to slander a brother. See: A Review of Harry Osborne’s Sermon
Furthermore, I mailed my review to the elders to be shared with the Paden City members - at their discretion, whereas brother O’Neal’s letter was mailed to everyone who attends in Beckley, as well as various other brethren, strictly at his own (and Weldon’s) discretion.
Additionally, some brethren have asked me regarding Weldon’s quotes above, “Did someone from Paden City really tell you ‘to have a debate’ down there ‘in your own back door?’” My response to them has been absolutely NOT! The fact is, brother Mo Hafley (one of the elders and the evangelist in Paden City) wrote a short note to me in June (2003) after he received my request, and promised to reply to me after he got caught up with a backlog of correspondence due to PC problems. Nevertheless, to this day I have never heard another word from him or the other Paden City elders. [However, recently brother Jack Glover (one of the elders there) did write and post an excellent article (to his website) that exposes the mental divorce error.]
Secondly, brother Warnock again referred to the case of Jewish women in the first century and the Muslim women of today in this lesson. Please refer to Weldon E. Warnock, Week After Week for an explanation of the first century Jewish woman’s right to remarry following her husband’s fornication, and how Muslim women can divorce their husbands today, contrary to the assertions of brother Warnock. In Weldon’s February 22nd lesson he added yet another group of women – the Bedouins. Weldon said:
“Now I introduced the Muslim women, and you know, if you couldn’t go with me, I’ve been to Israel 16 times and Jordan. I’ve traveled around and seen the Bedouins and you know the man, the husband comes to the tent with the tribal chief, he takes hold of the tent rope and he says to his wife, I divorce you, I divorce you, I divorce you, he says that three times and walked away. She’s divorced. She couldn’t remarry, according to this theory that’s being propagated today. Oh yeah, Ladies and Gentlemen, marriage is permanent, with husband and wife, one man, one woman, but fornication will break it if a woman is innocent women or innocent husband puts away the guilty one, just like death does in Romans chapter 7.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
However, to clear up any doubt, the Bedouin women (as well as all the others that Weldon has mentioned) can divorce their husbands! At the following website you will read:
“One might think that this leaves women completely at the mercy of men, but a women does have some recourse. Divorce is easy and without shame. If a woman can get back to her parent’s home and refuses to return, she is granted a divorce. This is true through Arab society.” See: http://joyfuldancer.home.comcast.net/writing/Bedouin.htm
Brother Warnock’s February 22nd radio program contained one emotional story after another, and there was a noticeable deficiency of scripture throughout his entire 30 minute broadcast.
The next case in point that Weldon brought up was the “story” of a man from Texas whose wife divorced him while he was fighting in the Vietnam War:
“Now that’s it, friends. I told this story some time ago, about a soldier during the Vietnam war, over in Texas. He was gone 12, 13 months to Vietnam, he left for Vietnam, a wife behind, and when he returned a year or a little longer, she had divorced him and married somebody else. Now, the question: Could he remarry? He did about two or three years later, brethren thought nothing of it, could he remarry? Not according to the preacher in Southern WV. No, no, no, no. It was post-divorce fornication.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
Because “brethren thought nothing of it” (cf. Isaiah 55:8-9) and because the man was a soldier who was away, fighting a war for his country, in no way affects whether this man’s actions were in accordance with the will of God or not (II Corinthians 10:12). Brethren, we all know that this is not the way to establish authority (cf. I Peter 4:11). If we can deny what God Himself stated regarding the put away (Matthew 5:32b; 19:9b and Luke 16:18b) because of sad stories such as these, then what about the man who was killed on the way to be baptized? Will God make concessions to His law whenever things are inconvenient or unfair (Matthew 5:32; 18:7)? I sincerely hope that we have not digressed so far from the ancient landmarks of truth that we now resort to reasoning like the sectarians (I Corinthians 15:33; II Timothy 2:16-21; 3:13-14).
Later in this same lesson, Weldon discussed this same Texan “story” again, and impugned the depth of conviction among those he opposes:
“And what about this man over in Texas who’d gone to Vietnam and he came back, and his wife had divorced him. What would you tell him to do, my friend? What would you tell him to do? Ya-oh, you can’t marry. I tell you about some of these preachers, if we got in a fix like that, they’d be remarried in six months. There’s a few of ‘em like that, anyway. Now, that’s not true with all of ‘em. But there’s some of ‘em, they’d see their position a little bit differently.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
The ease with which brother Warnock surmises that preaching brethren would adjust “their position,” if they were in a different circumstance is shameful.
Making things even worse, according to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act which was enacted in 1940 (19 years prior to the beginning of the Vietnam War), brother Weldon’s scenario could have been prevented by the “innocent” mate because the Act precludes legal action from being taken against military personnel who are on active duty. Please note the following links which prove that by law, brother Warnock’s scenario could not legally have taken place without this man’s consent:
What makes this matter even worse is that brother Warnock brought up this “story” again, with even more fallacious baggage to arouse the emotions, and stated:
“I mentioned about this soldier went off to the Vietnam War, he was gone 12 or 13 months, he left his wife behind, had to go to war, he came back and she had divorced him, and married somebody else. Now his position is that he could not remarry without sinning because he was the put away. He didn’t know he was put away, couldn’t have done anything about it. But that’s how, that’s how ludicrous this position is, Ladies and Gentlemen.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
Weldon has once again resorted to the well exposed propaganda of the possibility that, in our country, someone could be “put away” without their knowledge! This has been a recurrent misrepresentation of reality by those who advocate the second “putting away” error! It is unbelievable that the promoters of this emotionally-charged scenario of deception keep repeating this falsehood, in spite of the fact that this perversion has been exposed as IMPOSSIBLE (according to US laws – which protect the interests of both in a divorce – and the SSCRA of 1940, which provides even more protection against law suits when military personnel are on active duty)! Sooner or later, their sin(s) will find them out (Numbers 32:23; I Timothy 5:24)! See: The Nevada Straw Man
His “Only Outlet”
Brother Warnock claims he must use his public radio program to broadcast his version of this controversy because it is his “only outlet, when a fellow takes his website and plasters it all over the country.” Weldon stated at the close of his lesson:
“But time is about to get away from me, here. I wanted to say I appreciate you listening tonight and sorry I had to present this stuff, but this is my only outlet, when a fellow takes his website and plasters it all over the country, then I’ve got to say something about it.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.] Play Clip!
Nevertheless, this claim is supremely ironic when you consider that the reason why I started the website in the first place, is because Truth Magazine (for which Weldon is a staff writer and on the board of directors) refused to discuss this controversy within its pages. Thus, I had no other “outlet” to expose what was really being taught far and wide by brother Ron Halbrook, and the website was born.
Nevertheless, with all of the gospel meetings that brother Weldon mentioned, he could use those opportunities to air his views among brethren. Additionally, brother Tim Haile’s website has devoted the majority of its space to airing the same views that Weldon espouses. I am fairly certain that brother Warnock would be welcome to “plaster” his own views about this issue and about me “all over the country” via Tim’s site, giving exposure of his views to the very same brethren who have internet access and read my website. (Brother Tom O’Neal was given space on it to do just that, when he posted his 11 page “letter” of false accusations against me there.)
Furthermore, brother Stan Cox publishes a website and has posted other materials that have addressed different facets of this controversy. Tom O’Neal (Weldon’s good friend and partner in his present effort against me, personally) publishes Walking in Truth. Since they are one in purpose, they could both use that publication as an “outlet.” Moreover, what about Truth Magazine? The church in Beckley presently receives a bundle of that publication twice a month, and would thus have access to any writing Weldon published within its pages.
It seems to me that these avenues would give brother Warnock a greater readership among members of the church at large while at the same time, sparing those who are of the world repetitious lessons on “trouble/problems in the church.” These would make for a much better “outlet” for all concerned, unless Weldon’s objective is only to reach members at Beckley (regardless of the prejudice against the Lord’s church that such radio broadcasts about all of the “problems in the church of Christ,” “in Beckley” will cause in the community).
Since brother Weldon felt the need to apologize to his listeners for presenting “this stuff” on his radio program, he must realize that repeated broadcasting of the discord present within the Lord’s body is (at the very least) inexpedient.
His Unwillingness to “Debate” in Writing before the Brotherhood
“…And I’m writing, staff writer for Truth Magazine, I write some for Biblical Insights, I was on the Florida College Lectureship two years ago - spoke to about 2,000 people one night, I’m on a lectureship in Florence, AL, coming up here in June, I made four speeches along with three other preachers, I’m on a couple more lectureships, one speech at each lectureship, and then I’m on the lectureship they’re going to have at Bowling Green in July, Truth Magazine is having a lectureship. And I’m to speak on a Tuesday night on that...” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
As we see above, since Weldon is obviously capable of writing for these magazines (not to mention the texts that must be written before his lectures), why is he unwilling to accept my offer to debate him in writing before all to witness? (Either or both of the magazines for which he writes would be great venues for the debate!)
However, Weldon made the following statements in his radio lessons:
“But I want to do it orally, and I want to do it publicly and I want to do it with the brother who’s causing dissention in the body of Christ…And we could have a public discussion in Southern West Virginia.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-8-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“Now, this brother, this preacher in Southern WV, he said he would debate me on his website…his response has been that more people can hear it, read it on a website.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“But I want to tell you, I accept the challenge, you get it ready and we’ll have it in Beckley, WV, an oral, public debate.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-22-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“Now, I haven’t heard a word about a debate. And I want an oral debate, and I’m going to keep insisting we have an oral debate. Now let me tell you something, brother. You don’t intimidate me. No siree, you want a debate, we’ll see how much courage you have, how bold you are. We can have a public discussion, you don’t want to call it a debate, we’ll call it a discussion over in Beckley....We’re going to have an oral debate where we can discuss it eye to eye, and then you can put it wherever you want to, the audio part of it, and let people hear both sides.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“And maybe some of the people over there who are standing with him could goad him and dig him a little bit, and get him to debate.” (emp. jhb). Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
“But, my time has come and gone and we appreciate so much you listening and we’ll get on to some other things next week. Let me hear from you. I’d like for to see what you think. Let’s have this debate in Beckley, don’t, don’t try to back out of it.” Weldon E. Warnock, [2-29-04 Radio program (WJLS 99.5 FM, Beckley WV) sponsored by the Beech Creek church of Christ, Meador, WV.]
1) Why do you think it is so important to Weldon that he debate me (not another), and to make it an oral debate (not written) to be held at Beckley (and nowhere else)? In my debate offer to brother Ron Halbrook (which offer Weldon specifically expressed interest in accepting in Ron’s place), I stated that “I am not a debater,” but “having gained a little more experience throughout the past two years (though none in actual debate), I am now directly inviting Ron to a written debate of the actual issue.”
Why would someone who boasts of preaching before I was born, of having abundant public preaching experience and a “reputation” among the brotherhood have the desire to debate only one whom he considers to be a “younger fellow,” a boy among “boys,” who is admittedly inexperienced and “not a debater?” Play Clip!
There is no give and take with brother Warnock. He wants everything his way – or he’s going to use his “outlet” to exert pressure upon myself and the church here, regardless of the fact that it ruins the influence of the church in Beckley among its community! (“And I want an oral debate, and I’m going to keep insisting we have an oral debate.”) Are these the actions one would expect of a mature brother who has been “preaching for about 50 years” (II Corinthians 12:14)?
2) Why is it so important to him that he use the “outlet” of his Beckley radio broadcast to affirm his post-divorce “putting away” doctrine with untrue “scenarios” and to make constant false charges against me, when there are so many other “outlets” available to him to reach far more brethren, including those at Beckley? [I am also desirous that the brethren here have access to the debate, but not any more access than is available to the rest of the brotherhood. Apparently brother Weldon is not too anxious for the brotherhood to have easy, written access to his propagation of error, but he just can’t contain himself over his desire to put “eye to eye” pressure on the Beckley brethren, with whom he maintains personal relationships. In fact, he is so anxious to debate me before these brethren that on his February 29th radio broadcast, he actually encouraged them to “goad him (me, jhb) and dig him (me, jhb) a little bit, and get him to debate.”]
3) Why did brother Warnock encourage some of the members at Beckley to listen to his 2-22-04 radio program in particular? (This is the same broadcast in which he accused those who “give on Sunday of their money,” then “pay somebody of this kind” of “having fellowship with him” who “causes dissention in the church and unrest in the church and confusion in the church.”)
4) Why did Weldon send Tom O’Neal the directory of all those who attend the church at Beckley, so that Tom could send them his 11 page letter of false accusations and evil surmisings against me?
Consider the necessary conclusion to these questions, and you will understand why I (as well as the men at Carriage Drive) have no intentions to engage in an oral debate with Weldon in Beckley, WV. I continue to pray that he will consider his course (Matthew 5:44-48).
• For numerous sound clips of Weldon’s recent radio broadcasts, click Audio Clips and scroll down.
Note: Unfortunately, brother Warnock (and his associates) are disseminating many misrepresentations. Sadly, they are getting worse and worse. Frankly, there is no telling what he (and they) may begin to affirm next. On one occasion Jesus told His disciples, “Take heed what ye hear” (Mark 4:24). Because of the effectiveness of the Mental Divorce website, “every where it is spoken against” by those who are relentlessly attempting to overcome the truth with “a lie” (II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
Since his radio programs are becoming quite redundant, if the Lord is willing, I believe that I will just simply transcribe his weekly programs on this issue, and post his words whenever they are aired. I intend to make notation within his transcripts of any false charge he may make against me in the future, but do not plan to spend time or space “proving” my innocence against evil surmising and false charges (as I have in the past three articles), unless I deem it necessary to do so.