Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 9, 1960
NUMBER 6, PAGE 5a-6,14a

Brother Wilhite Meddles Again

Hoyt H. Houchen, Lufkin, Texas

Brother J. Porter Wilhite continues to be a meddler and a busybody. In the November 19, 1959 issue of the Gospel Guardian, the elders of the Tenth and Francis church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, administered to him a thorough and much deserved spanking for meddling in the affairs of the Tenth and Francis church. Even after knowing the truth, Brother Wilhite deliberately misrepresented that good church. This writer concurs with the statement that the elders made of him and others like him: "Really, we are being too charitable when we style them simply meddlers and busybodies. There are terms more appropriate and less complimentary that could well be employed." But Brother Wilhite has not learned his lesson. Under the disguise of "Peace," the caption at the head of his bulletin, he continues to agitate, meddle, and go about as a busybody. Jesus warned of false prophets and their disguise in sheep's clothing. (Matt. 7:15).

As another example of this brother's meddling, he now injects his nose into affairs here in Lufkin and makes false charges against the good elders of the Fourth and Groesbeck church where this writer is serving as preacher. In his April 1960 bulletin of "Peace" (more appropriately "Division, Disturbance, and Discord,") he makes mention of a warning by the elders here at Fourth and Groesbeck in our bulletin of February 21, 1960. The warning read: "Today, another congregation is being formed in Lufkin. This church is being started mainly by some members from Diboll. This group is meeting in a dwelling house and Bill Thompson is to be their preacher, at least part time. This church is not recognized by the four congregations here in Lufkin, It is a faction and is institutional (favors the support of human organizations out of the treasury of the church. It represents the liberal element in Lufkin. We cannot give this group any endorsement or encouragement whatever. Should any of that group contact you and attempt to confuse your minds in any way, please call for us or the preacher and we shall be happy to come to your assistance."

This was painful to our meddling Brother Wilhite and he screamed about it in a good part of his eight page bulletin. The only comfort that he could find was in the fact that the Union Road church here in Lufkin had sent a letter to the Fourth and Groesbeck elders, objecting to the statement: "This church is not recognized by the four congregations here in Lufkin." Our busybody Brother Wilhite seized upon this in an effort to lick his painful wounds. The Union Road brethren took the statement in a way that the Fourth and Groesbeck elders did not intend it, namely that they were speaking for other churches. The other churches in Lufkin did not take the statement that way. However, in our March 20, 1960 bulletin, the Fourth and Groesbeck elders explained their reason for making the statement. They were NOT speaking for other churches, but simply stating a fact that they believed to be true, meaning the statement as a commendation. By request of the Union Road brethren, the statement was retracted as applying to Union Road. The elders also added that they regard Union Road as a sound church. As far as we know, the misunderstanding about the statement was settled. But not for Brother J. Porter Wilhite, meddler and busybody operating under the guise of "Peace." In an apparent effort to drive a wedge between the two churches, he must agitate the matter and accuse the Fourth and Groesbeck elders of taking away autonomy from other congregations, and being "the dictators of the Lufkin Diocese." There is not a word of truth in his charge. This writer has never worked under more humble elders than these here at Fourth and Groesbeck. Never have they at any time ever shown even the slightest desire of running the affairs of another congregation, much less have they ever attempted to do so. These men understand that their oversight begins and ends in the Fourth and Groesbeck church and that is where they are exercising it. (I Pt. 5:2). Brother Withite's charge is a willful misrepresentation because the meaning of the statement had been explained to him in the bulletin to which he referred. Rev. 21:8 describes the destiny of such men as Brother Wilhite.

Under the disguise of "Peace" that heads his bulletin, he seems pained that anyone does have peace. It so happens that some of the Union Road brethren believe now that their letter was wrong and have expressed regret that their letter was ever written to the Fourth and Groesbeck elders.

But to let the readers know how much this meddling busybody loves "peace" he has stooped to the low down, dirty, malicious tactic of referring to the past trouble between Fourth and Groesbeck and Timberland Drive. Has this brother been so busy snooping into the affairs of others that he does not know that the breach between these two churches has been completely healed years ago? He cannot convince us that he did not know it. Just how low down can a man stoop? Perfect harmony exists between these two churches and it has ever since the trouble was entirely settled years ago. But this meddling brother seems killed by this fact and it is evident that he would like very much to drive a wedge between the four churches here in Lufkin. He writes of Timberland Drive: "I wonder if it was a faction, and is yet, according to the belief of the dictators of the Lufkin Diocese." See what we mean? He seems delighted in any effort that he makes, unscrupulous though it is, to divide. Surely even those brethren who agree with him on the issues confronting the church are ashamed of his ungodly efforts along this line. The four good churches in Lufkin are at peace with each other in spite of Brother J. Porter Wilhite of Houston. He stands guilty before God of trying to sow discord among brethren, one of the seven abominations unto Jehovah (Prov. 6:19).

Our meddling brother is not lacking in his estimate of himself as a querist. He reminds us of the colored lady's remark after she had heard a stump speech by a politician. She said, "He sho do give himself a powaful recommendation!" He directs a question to Brother Robert McDonald, preacher of the Timberland Drive congregation here in Lufkin. Brother McDonald is capable of answering our brother's "difficult" question but since I am writing this article, I shall take this means of exposing some of his debating "depth" while I am exposing his meddling ability. In reference to the Discerner, our brother asks: "HOW DID THIS PAPER MANAGE TO STOP WORKING "IN THE INTEREST OF TRUTH DISCERNING GOOD FROM EVIL" under the elders of Greens Bayou church, and is now working "IN THE INTEREST OF TRUTH, DISCERNING GOOD FROM EVIL' under the elders of another congregation, with a different set of elders more than a hundred miles apart? My dear readers. Robert McDonald is NOT GOING TO EXPLAIN THAT. HE CAN'T. ALL READERS WATCH AND SEE IF HE ATTEMPTS TO EXPLAIN THIS DIFFICULTY." Indeed. he must think that we are succumbed by the blow of such a sagacious interrogation! He thinks that he has presented to Brother McDonald a real "juicer." Since, no doubt, he believes that such a question would be staggering to all of us, including Brother McDonald, we would like to be permitted, in our state of desperation and perplexity, caused by the shrewdness of such a deep question, to make an attempt to reply. Our meddling brother, the answer to your stupendous question is: The same way that a preacher discerns good from evil when he moves from under the direction of one group of elders to the oversight of another group of elders! Is his question a sample of the technique of a man who has had fifty debates?

But our erring brother is still hurting from the warning in our bulletin about the institutional church that is meeting on North Second street here in Lufkin. As pointed out, he has willfully misrepresented the Fourth and Groesbeck elders, and then continues to do so by saying that they are overseeing four congregations here in Lufkin. But it should be clear enough that this is his attempt to divide us. However, he of all men, refers to Acts 20:28 and comments: "THE FLOCK over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers and that doesn't include another congregation or another business, society or another anything." Exactly! A stopped clock is right twice a day and so we shall credit our brother for making a true statement on the verse. And now if our meddling brother will make his application to The Herald of Truth, he will realize that the elders of one church cannot even oversee the funds of another church, and he will understand that The Herald of Truth is unscriptural.

The Houston busybody refers to a statement made by Brother Yater Tant in the Gospel Guardian, June 26, 1958: "We DO believe now that a MAJOR DIVISION is a distinct possibility." He then tries to saddle on us who oppose churches supporting human institutions out of their treasuries, and centralized control and oversight, the responsibility of causing the division. But it is interesting to observe in his propagation of division under the disguise of "Peace" that he states: "Since I was present, at the invitation of these loyal brethren in Lufkin, on the Sunday they began to worship in the resident purchased for that purpose, because IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO DO THEIR WHOLE DUTY OTHER PLACES IN LUFKIN." (Caps mine, H.H.H.) Who cannot worship with whom? Is it not a tragedy that among the four churches in Lufkin the institutional hobbyists found it impossible for them to do their whole duty? They had to begin another congregation! Why? Because they HAVE to give a few dollars out of the church treasury to a benevolent society! Who is driving the wedge? Who is causing the division? The brethren who are promoting practices not authorized by the word of God! And too, if these brethren are "loyal" and are going back to the old order of things, where was a benevolent organization among us seventy years ago? Incidentally, the warning in our bulletin about the faction stated that it was started mainly by members from Diboll. Brother Wilhite denies that any of them live in Diboll. That is not what was said. These brethren were members from the Diboll church who were the main ones instrumental in starting the faction. We cannot believe that our Houston busybody brother is so native as to not know it.

Brother Sidney Smith, one of the elders of the faction church here in Lufkin, became a member of the Fourth and Groesbeck church when he first moved here from Corsicana. He told this writer back then that whether a church gave to a benevolent home or not was all a matter of opinion. It did not matter to him either way. According to him, he could work with a church that did not engage in the practice. It was not long, however, that it was obvious that he was attempting to drive a wedge because of his institutional hobby. When he failed, he angrily left, and finding no place in Lufkin where he could worship, he went to Diboll, and then later started with the new group here in Lufkin. These "mild-mannered," "sweet--spirited," "peace-loving" brethren are not what they at first appear to be when they cannot have their own way.

Brother Wilhite, meddler and busybody, asks: "What human organization do they want to support from the church treasury? . . . Is it the preacher being supported out of the church treasury, to which you object? They will never answer, but I am having fun asking." Our meddling brother can poke fun all that he wishes, but we shall answer his question, for any who think that his question has any merit, by simply stating that there is authority in the New Testament for paying a preacher a salary. (2 Cor. 11:8). Now, if he will oblige us with the book, chapter, and verse, that authorizes the church support of benevolent organizations out of its treasury, we shall acknowledge his parallel. Does he not know the difference between making a contribution to a charitable organization and paying a preacher wages? We pity him if he does not know the difference! The issues that are confronting the church are serious matters with us, for unscriptural practices are dividing the body of Christ. These are not joking matters as far as we are concerned. However, by the time our meddling brother has read this far, we doubt if his gizzard and funny bone are quite so tickled as they were.

Now, our brother who has engaged in fifty debates says: "They will tell you that I Cor. 16:1-4 is the only place in the New Testament that shows us how to gather our money together. If that is true, and it is, then I want to inform them that they have no authority to use that money at all in their local work. It is every bit to be sent off. Poor preachers. Where do you get your money to pay for your local preacher?" Isn't this rich? Imagine this argument (?) from a man who has had fifty debates! He can hardly be excused on the ground of inexperience. Actually, the liberal brethren have worn this old tune out, one that is so old that it has whiskers. So, our brother is not informing us on anything. I Cot 16:1-4 tells us how to raise money, but the use of the money is not to be confined to the purpose given in the passage because Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 11:8 that he took wages from churches. It was from churches, and we shall take what Paul said about it rather than relying upon our meddling brother.

Brother Wilhite gives a glowing report of the Lufkin faction on North Second. He tells us that they borrowed $1000, paid it all back in five weeks, paid for their seats, song books, and communion sets and all. That is not so amazing, however, because we happen to know that two men, Brother Raymond Tremble in the Insurance business, and Brother Jamie Pearson in the furniture business, could easily do what has been done financially and much more if they wanted to do so. It is strange, though, that with such accomplishments and a contribution of over $300 the first Sunday of their services, according to Brother Wilhite's report in the Gospel Advocate, that he would make an appeal as he did in that report for money to be sent to that church to help support a full-time preacher. Why the appeal?

If Brother Wilhite would help to promote peace, we suggest that he find the scriptural authority for his practices, and that he keep his nose out of other people's business.