Thursday, April 10, 2014

Will the Elders of the Church of Wells Answer?

For some time, now, I have had growing concerns about a group called the Church of Wells, which is led by three, young open-air preachers. More recently, I have begun to publicly express my concerns. One vehicle for sharing my concerns was a three-hour edition of my BlogTalk Radio program, Cross Encounters Radio.

There are others who share my concerns: individuals (both Christian and non-Christian), families of Church of Wells members, para-church ministries, and many Christians who are part of the open-air preaching subculture around the world. Two strong and respected apologetic ministries, Christian Apologetic & Research Ministry and Striving for Eternity Ministries, have begun independent investigations into the Church of Wells. I have joined them in their effort. Together we are quickly amassing a large amount of data; the more we dig, the more troubled we are all becoming.

I realize, as do my Christian brothers from the other ministries, that what is being shared through secular news sources must be looked at with a somewhat wary eye. Without questioning the integrity of these secular news sources or individual reporters, or the veracity of the information they are disseminating, these secular sources cannot help but to apply a secular worldview to their journalism. And one's presuppositions, one's particular worldview, will effect one's interpretation of evidence.

I also realize that the passion and intensity fueling my own rhetoric, at times, may have been less than helpful in creating or maintaining lines of communication. I take responsibility for that, and apologize to anyone who may have been troubled or offended as a result.

So, in an effort to draw accurate conclusions about the specific doctrinal beliefs of the Church of Wells, we are going to produce a series a very short videos. In each video, we will publicly ask one specific and concise question of the church elders. In return, we will ask the church elders to answer each question in either a video on the church's (or designated church member's) YouTube channel, or a written response posted on the Church of Wells website, or both. This way the elders can dictate how their answers are disseminated to the public, and so that no accusation of spin or tampering with content can be levied by either side of the discussion.

In an effort to show there is no attempted gamesmanship on our part, we want to share the questions we will ask with the church elders, as well as all those who are watching events unfold in Wells, TX, before the videos are made. Our hope is to have videos for each of the following questions posted to my YouTube channel before 5:00 PM (PST), today, April 10, 2014.

We believe the principles, goals, and motivations that govern not only what we are trying to do, but also why we believe it is reasonable to expect answers from the church elders, are biblical. Some of the verses to which we have gleaned wisdom for this approach are:

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).

"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" (Colossians 4:6).

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (1 Peter 3:15).

With the above in mind, hoping the elders of the Church of Wells will receive these questions in the spirit in which they are asked, we ask the church elders to answer the following questions:
  1. Please explain your understanding of the biblical Doctrine of Persecution, and explain the relationship of this doctrine to the Church of Wells. Please also provide specific examples of how the Church of Wells has been persecuted prior to April 1, 2014.
  2. Please explain the Church of Wells doctrine of “unwilling sin.”
  3. Given that it has been stated by the elders of CoW that a person can lose their salvation, please explain the following: John 8:29, “And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” John 6:39, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” If Jesus always does that which pleases the Father, and the will of the Father is that Jesus lose none, and that those who are given to Jesus will be raised (to glory), then how is it possible for Jesus to lose somebody by them losing their salvation?”
  4. According to the Church of Wells, what must a person do in order to obtain and retain salvation?
  5. Can a person whose salvation is once lost return to a state of grace?
  6. Please explain where Scripture supports one ability to declare a person’s salvation upon first meeting them.
  7. Do any of the elders of the Church of Wells have formal, theological training?
  8. How were the elders of the Church of Wells qualified and selected?
  9. Is the Church of Wells a true church, and if so, can the elders provide the names of other true churches?
  10. Do the elders of the Church of Wells believe that Paul Washer once walked in the light, but no longer does? If so, why has the Church of Wells’ opinion of Paul Washer changed?
  11. The Church of Wells website shows the faces of men implying the church sees them as the church’s “cloud of witnesses.” Many of the men shown held to the Doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints. Will the Church of Wells be removing the images of these men since your church believes a Christian can lose their salvation?
  12. When did each of the elders of the Church of Wells come to faith in Jesus Christ?
  13. Have any of the elders ever lost his salvation? If so, how did he regain it?
We pray the elders of the Church of Wells will answer these questions, not only for the benefit of three ministries represented in this article, but also for the benefit of all those, both inside and outside the Body of Christ, who truly want to know what the Church of Wells believes, teaches, and practices.

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