Defender, Vol. XXIV, No. 1, January 1995


Review Of Goebel Music's New Book - W. Terry Varner
Withdrawing Fellowship - Michael Hatcher
"Teachest Thou Not Thyself?" - Robin W. Haley
Righteousness Plus Affection - Shan Jackson
Among The Scholars
Make plans to attend these lectureships

W. Terry Varner

[The following review of Goebel Music's new book, Easy-To-Read Version Easy To Read OR Easy To Mislead? was given at the monthly preacher's meeting on December 5, 1994 at the Hillview Terrace Church of Christ, Moundsville, WV.]


    To review the latest book of our beloved brother Goebel Music of Colleyville, Texas will take much longer than the 30 minutes allotted in this meeting. It is a massive tome of gigantic proportion and importance involving a review of the Easy-To-Read Version (henceforth, ERV) and the World Bible Translating Center (henceforth, WBTC) operated by our brethren. We encourage all present to purchase their copy after the meeting.


    Brother Music's work contains 1,207 pages of text and 24 pages of additional introductory materials. The Foreword is written by our good brother Robert Taylor, Jr., who read the book in its entirety and to whom the book is dedicated, along with his precious wife, sister Irene Taylor.

    The book is a hardback with dust jacket and the price is $6.00 plus postage. As with brother Music's earlier work, Behold the Pattern, he is making no profit from its sale. The book is a labor of love for God, His Word, and the kingdom of God.

    The book required better than two years of daily, diligent research. Time and diligent research is an absolute in any writing, but especially in the writing and production of this volume.

    Correspondence behind this work is unbelievable, to speak nothing of the cost involved to do the necessary research. The failure of many to correspond, who were involved with the ERV and the WBTC or who could have given valuable assistance, required extra time and money to bring this great work into reality. Documentation, which is a must, has been checked and rechecked.

    Brother Music's health has not been normal for the past several years and was not good during the time of writing this book. One may feel he has wasted his time but when he knows the long hours of diligence, dedication and determination by brother Music in writing this work under great physical affliction, he will come to appreciate it. To all of us, we need to understand the Biblical philosophy that motivates brother Music, not just in the production of this book but in his entire life; i.e., he is committed to do his best to serve God. 1 Thessalonians 2:2 and 2:4 serves as a Biblical guideline for him (and for each of us), "...bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention...not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts."


    Brother Music's book is a multiple purpose volume. It is a review of the ERV and a carefully researched study of the "highly questionable" WBTC of Fort Worth, Texas. It deals with the involvement of Eastern European Missions, Houston, Texas, Richland Hills Church of Christ, and the work of Bob Hare, Vienna, Austria.

    Being a multiple purpose volume, the reader does not need to read the book from Chapter One to the end. He can begin reading anywhere. The work contains 15 chapters. It advocates the verbal, plenary inspiration of the Bible and the translations where they are accurately translated. A section on "Versions and Versionists" is mandatory reading by all. So many do not understand the translation philosophy behind the various translations. Only when we understand these translating principles will we be able to better evaluate translations and versions.

    A history of the WBTC is given with careful accuracy, which when read will produce serious questions about the WBTC. While all are interested in seeing the Bible is translated, it must be done accurately, clearly and in a dignified and reverent manner. The book reviews carefully the ERV (English New Testament), the ERV in Russian (our good brother from this congregation who makes trips to Russia will want to read carefully this chapter), ERV for the Deaf, and the ERV in various India dialects. (We will return to this last section in a moment).

    The three chapters titled "Major Minuses" (260 pages) are written by men selected by brother Music and assigned their respective articles which all have interacted with the translating principles of the ERV. The following men writing in this section are: Roy J. Hearn, the late Guy N. Woods, Robert Taylor, Jr., Roy Deaver, Wayne Price, Wayne Jackson, J. E. Choate, Tom Bright, Thomas B. Warren and W. Terry Varner. The subjects covered and interacted with the ERV are: Inspiration and 2 Timothy 3:16, The Virgin Birth, The First-born Son, Monogenes, Covenant, Law, Fornication, Music in Worship and 2 Timothy 2:15. Throughout the other chapters, brother Music has used many other men in discussing and exposing the fallacies of the ERV and the WBTC.

    The book raises several serious and various ethical questions concerning the claims and work done by the WBTC. Reuel Lemmons has written his evaluation of the ERV as "One of the finest translations of the Scriptures in the modern age. Written in simple terms that a child can understand, the text is as true to the book as Christians can make it" (Christian Chronicle, December 1994, p. 10). This misleading ad has occurred almost monthly and the Chronicle will have to make a decision about its future appearance once they have read the book. I cannot imagine the Chronicle supporting false claims. The Preface of the ERV (1980, Third printing revised) makes some staggering claims: "...a serious translation, based directly on the original Greek of the New Testament...Ideas not found in the Greek text are not introduced, and nothing expressed in the Greek text is omitted...both clarity and accuracy." Nothing could be farther from the truth. If they have omitted 1,000s of words they have added 10,000s!! The translation is based on the "dynamic equivalence" theory which is translating from the "thought" of the text with little regard for the "words" in the text. Verbs are made into nouns; nouns are changed into verbs; singulars have become plurals; plurals have become singulars. Sentences are exploded from one sentence into 30 sentences; i.e., see Ephesians 1:3-14! This misrepresents the Greek text and misleads the reader. By what authority can they explode a sentence into many. The sad results of the translation theory of the WBTC is a translation that is inaccurate, unclear, lacking dignity and reverence. God is mocked and truth is changed, and all of this done without a blinking of an eye. The Greek text behind the ERV is the UBS Third edition which is basically the unsound Westcott-Hort text.


    We cannot spend a lot of time reviewing this book because of our time frame. We will briefly look at Chapter XIV, "The Easy-To-Read Version and India." If you listen carefully, the following information will terrify you, shock you and anger your righteous indignation.

    Richard E. Walker, a former WBTC employee and a language expert in the India dialect of Telugu, states that the "WBTC's main theory, that the New Testament must be in the language of the common man (and understandable to everyone), faces its greatest challenge, for Hinduism colors not only the lives of the people in India but their languages as well" (p. 1,055). Walker goes on to state that WBTC used non-Christian Hindu people to translate the Bible into the Indian language. He raises a valid question: "If he himself [translator, WTV] does not fully understand Christianity, how can he explain it in Hindu terms?" (p. 1,056). Walker makes an astounding admission and claim: "Many of these Indian brethren are just as intelligent, talented, sincere, spiritual and well educated as US counterparts" [sic] (p. 1,058). This being so, WHY did the WBTC use non-Christian Indians to translate the Bible into their language with its potential Hindu problems, when we have Indian brethren scholarly enough to do so?

    To add even more concern and questions, our Indian brethren using the Telugu dialect are fearful of WBTC's translation! WHY???? A long-time missionary (32 years) to India, J. C. Choate states he cannot understand using non-Christian Hindus to translate the Bible (p. 1,062). Further, brother Choate believes the brethren in the USA who are supporting the WBTC work in India "may not be aware of the great harm they are doing in helping to bring out such translations" (p. 1,063). Brother Choate claims "the old translations are far better than anything these brethren [WBTC, WTV] have done" (pp. 1,063-1,064). Choate concludes his material with the startling statement concerning the ERV in Telugu: "There is no possible way that I could recommend it" (p. 1,064).

    Now listen to something unreal and arrogant? The WBTC released news of the new version of the Indian Scriptures with the phrase: "God's Word Reaches India!" Remember, J. C. Choate has been a missionary in India for 32 years! But, the "worst" is yet to be heard! Sit tight and hold on!

    Two Indian brethren, Joshua and Nehemiah Gootam do not approve of the ERV in Indian dialects done by the WBTC (p. 1,072). Sunny David, another Indian brother of New Delhi, "does not endorse the New Testament (Hindi) ERV" (p. 1,073). This is taken from a letter by Perry B. Cotham, a ripe missionary to India and great gospel preacher.

    Sunny David of New Delhi, India wrote material for brother Music's book. He is willing to travel to the USA and take a lie-detector test to verify the following information concerning Dale Randolph, president of WBTC. Consider:

    1. Dale Randolph visited New Delhi, India and Sunny David met him concerning the Telugu Version being produced by the WBTC.

    2. Brother David asked Dale Randolph, while visiting in his hotel room, who the man was in the room on the bed. Dale replied, "he was from Andhra Pradesh, a southern state in India, and that he was involved with him in the translation work of the Telugu language" (p. 1,079). Brother Randolph went on to identify the man as a denominational member.

    3. Sunny David mentioned the fact that in all the India cities where Dale Randolph visits, when he makes trips to India, are congregations of the Lord's people. He encouraged him to visit and worship with them. Randolph's response is shocking, filled with mockery, and arrogant! Hear it and weep--"I like to worship with these people because they are better Christians than the churches of Christ, in fact, I have problems even in the States with some members of the church" (p. 1079).

    This troubles me greatly. Are you not also troubled? Think of the fact that brethren have been duped into supporting a brotherhood work in the WBTC and their very president, Dale Randolph, is too good to worship with brethren, but will worship with denomination people whom he calls "Christian." Brethren, we must ask for an accounting from the WBTC. If we do not, God will ask for an accounting from us at the judgment. We know He will ask of those involved in the WBTC.

    Let me shock your mind with the following documented materials. The WBTC has an office in Bangalore, India. It is staffed by eight people. Those in charge are P. Joshua and his wife, Sylvia. These two and the other six are ALL MEMBERS OF DENOMINATIONS!

    There is no member of the Lord's church working in the WBTC, a brotherhood project, in Bangalore, India! Shocked? P. Joshua and his wife, Sylvia, are not even members of the same denomination. He is a member of the Brethren church and she is a member of the Evangelical church. They often visit different denominational churches each Sunday! This makes the WBTC in India operated totally by denominations and not the Lord's church who pays the funding to support its operations there. We are supporting salaries of denominational people!

    Ready to be shocked again? On November 13, 1993 in Pune, India, the WBTC arrived in town to release their new Marathi New Testament Translation. Consider the following documented information:

    l. Our own brethren in Pune and other parts of India were not informed by the WBTC of the event, but learned it from a religious bookstore.

    2. The ceremonies were held at the local YMCA. About 300 attended, brethren not present by invitation.

    Again, when the Hindi ERV was released in New Delhi, the home of Sunny David, brother David was unaware that it took place on October 12, 1992 in the Christ's Methodist Church and that the Methodist Bishop Param was the guest of honor along with various other denominational heads and members. THE BRETHREN WERE NOT INVITED! A denominational Bishop was "honored"--by WBTC, but not by God! Is WBTC ashamed of these Indian brethren?

    The WBTC officially dedicated its India Bible Center on October 8, 1991 in Bangalore, India. Dale Randolph, president of WBTC and Ervin Bishop, vice president of WBTC, were present. They held a "three- day Bible seminar for preachers and church leaders" (p. 1,117). From this you would assume that the seminar was held for the preachers and church leaders of the Lord's church, but will you be shocked when you read these were not brethren!


    As I stated, time prevents a thorough review of this multiple purpose volume. However, you see its significance and its importance. Let me offer a few suggestions:

    1. Buy, read, sell, and give brother Music's book to others so as to inform them of the inaccurate work involved in the ERVs and warn the brethren concerning the unethical practices of the WBTC. We do not advocate that the WBTC be destroyed, but that they produce accurate translations and handle the money and programs correctly. We do not need denominational people operating works supported by brethren!

    2. Write brother Music a note thanking him for his dedication, work and love for God, His Word and His kingdom. Hold up his hands. He would do so for you if the roles were reversed.

    3. As elders and preachers let us investigate before we contribute money to brotherhood causes. Then, our stewardship of the Lord's money will be spent more properly. We will give account to God at judgment.

    4. I want to make a prediction--the WBTC will dismiss any serious answers to any letters you send them. I encourage you to send letters and raise questions concerning the ERV and the various foreign translations and that a financial and ethical accounting be given by the WBTC brethren. [Following this review, there were those present that indicated they had helped WBTC, EEM and Bob Hare that were going to discuss these matters with their elders and brethren. At least four who indicated dropping their support. Brethren, need to review the book in preacher's meetings, inform brethren who have for too long been duped into supporting that which supports denominationalism.]

PO Box 104 Marietta, OH 45750

Editor's Note: This book can be ordered from Goebel Music: 5114 Montclair St., Colleyville, TX 76034-5401. His phone number is, (817)283-3634. Cost of the book is $6.00 per book. Postage for one book is $3.00, totaling $9.00. If you buy a case of books (ten books) the postage is $15.00, totalling $75.00. Talk to brother Music about other postage rates. If you order one of these please send your money with the order.

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Withdrawing Fellowship

    One aspect debated, even among faithful brethren, is whether one congregation can withdraw from another congregation. If one congregation cannot withdraw from another, several congregations have erred, because they have withdrawn from another congregation. The Bellview congregation (which oversees this publication) took this action with the Gateway congregation in Pensacola (where Buddy Bell presently preaches) and has had no fellowship with them since July 10, 1977. The congregation I formerly worked with, Burkburnett Church of Christ, withdrew from the Central Church of Christ in Burkburnett, Texas, in April 1989. The August 1994 issue of Contending for the Faith documented that Trinity Lane Church of Christ withdrew from Woodmont Hills. Others congregations have done the same thing. If this action is wrong, then these congregations who have practiced withdrawing from another congregation need to repent of their actions and again have fellowship with those apostates. However, we are convinced these actions, one congregation withdrawing from another, are right Biblically.

    If congregations cannot have fellowship with each other, then it would be impossible for one congregation to withdraw from another congregation. Thus, we ask the question, can fellowship be on a congregational level? As the apostle Paul, writing by inspiration of God, wrote to the saints at Philippi, he thanked them for their fellowship with him. "For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now" (Phi. 1:5). Later Paul would write that " church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only" (Phi. 4:15). The ASV has " church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving but ye only." Here is an individual having fellowship with a congregation. Paul had fellowship with the church at Philippi, thus fellowship can be and is on a congregational level. If the Philippian church apostatized, certainly Paul would have withdrawn his fellowship from them. Since fellowship is on a congregational level, one congregation can withdraw from another congregation.

    We also realize that we are members of the church universal (Mat. 16:18; Acts 2:41,47). As members of the church universal, we have fellowship one with another. However, the church universal is made up of the church congregational (1 Cor. 1:2; Gal. 1:2). It is inconceivable that a group of Christians in one location (congregation) could not extend fellowship to another group of the church universal in another location (congregation) since they are both members of the church universal. If one congregation can extend and have fellowship with another congregation, then it follows that they can and must withdraw and have no fellowship with that congregation, if they no longer walk in the light (1 John 1:7).

    Would one congregation withdrawing from another congregation destroy the autonomous nature of local congregations? This objection is simply a smokescreen to confuse the real issues involved. Autonomy does not nullify our common fellowship. We are still members of that church universal, though we are members of a local congregation. When one congregation withdraws from another congregation, it in no way infringes upon the autonomy of the congregation withdrawn from. The congregation withdrawn from still has the right to rule herself. An eldership practicing withdrawing of fellowship from another congregation has not tried to rule over the other congregation nor her elders. They have not tried to depose or supplant the existing elders. The elders are only acting in the relationship of the members under their care. They are protecting their flock from wolves. It is not an infringement of autonomy for the elders of one congregation to inform their flock and others that such fellowship that was once enjoyed is no longer permitted, it is withdrawn, for the good of the flock over the which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers (Acts 20:28).

    It is the obligation of Christians and the church as a whole to oppose sin and error wherever it might appear. If it infiltrates a former faithful congregation, then the church has the obligation to oppose that apostate congregation. We will have more to say on this subject in the next few months.

4850 Saufley Field Road; Pensacola, FL 32526

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Robin W. Haley

    This is the question of Romans 2:21 that Paul asked of the Jews who felt they had it made over Gentiles. His point was simply: do not be hypocritical. Such is the question we would ask of many of our brethren today who seem not to be able to recognize their own short-comings in this very regard. Some, it seems, are able to correct those of us who "object" to the liberalism perpetrated by many, yet are unable to see that they themselves are guilty of some of the very same things. Consistency has always been a rare jewel, I offer no guarantees of my own consistency, but I try. I offer the benefit of doubt to many of my brethren, that they are trying to sincerely be consistent. There comes a time, however, when we must go beyond "doubts" and realize that a brother simply is wrong and is continuing in an erroneous direction. Such is the case with brother Howard Norton and his work at the Christian Chronicle, the organ of OCUSA. I want to compare two statements brother Norton has made in his editorials, with some things he said to me during a luncheon we had together. These statements were made exactly one year apart in his editorials in the Christian Chronicle. In September of 1993, addressing the subject of "Lessons We Can Learn From Denominations," his closing remark was: "One last word, please. Let us not be timid about presenting the Restoration Plea to "churched" people whose churches have left them desolate." Amen! But, will brother Norton be consistent in this plea? Judge ye: Within the body of that editorial he made a few fine points. He spoke of such things as "the importance of teaching, preaching and honoring God's infallible Word; holding to Biblical doctrines that make us distinctive is a key to the church's spiritual health, not a sign of legalism; leaders who don't share the spiritual values of people in the pew, the church is in serious trouble." To all these, we say amen! Yet, was it not our own brother Norton who appeared on the Tulsa Workshop where appear such teachers of apostasy as Rubel Shelly, Marvin Phillips, Terry Rush and Jeff Walling? Verily! Have not these false teachers been exposed long enough to the brotherhood for all who are even the slightest bit informed to know that they do not teach the kinds of things brother Norton just outlined? Absolutely. How can one who is the head of the Bible Department at a Christian University not know these brethren's folly? He does know! He admitted as much to me in our lunch together at Pryor, OK, on August 8, 1994. Why then does he not join others of us to expose these brethren for what they are? Why will he join with them and fellowship their error? Does he think he is immune to the folly they endorse and represent? Truly, he is guilty of it himself. Ephesians 5:11 still reads "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." So, though he says we ought not to be timid about the restoration plea to the "churched," why will he not plead with his apostate brethren and try to bring them back?

    The second statement is from his editorial of September, 1994. He was writing on "The Unity of the Spirit." Again, his closing remark was: "We desperately need people today who, regardless of their other functions, will make peacemaking within the church a top priority." These are swell words. Or perhaps they would be better called "great swelling words" (2 Pet. 2:18; Jude 16). They sound good, but they are empty. In making several points within the body of his article, he tells us that it is a waste of time to deal with division. He tells us that "the real work of the church comes to a screeching halt while Christians fight." Though that may be true if the "fight" is over options and methods which are not contrary to doctrine. But it is simply not true when the "fight" is pitched because of brethren who will not walk the old paths! It then becomes the work of the church to deal with it swiftly. He could help in such things by allowing his Christian Chronicle to be an organ for good, and not compromise as it now stands. Much of the apostasy the church feels today could be averted if brethren like Norton and others would lend their influence to the battle, rather than to the foe. Yes, peace is very important, and indeed it is a virtue to be a peacemaker. But he has overlooked what the prophet said, "They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, SAYING, PEACE, PEACE; WHEN THERE IS NO PEACE" (Jer.6:14, emph. RWH).

    So, as we see from these two statements, "peacemaking within the church must be a top pri-ority...(and)...let us not be timid" is just so much hot air, or rather, cold ink. Brother Norton would do well to teach himself what it really means to be a peacemaker, and not be timid about confronting the false teachers with whom he runs! Brother Norton charged me and the brethren I was with at this lunch (brethren Cliff Lyons and Ron Cosby) with being "right extremists" because we dared question him regarding his part in the Tulsa Workshop. He was being a peacemaker when he said this, I guess. But I gather from our exchange that he was being timid, not able to answer.

912 E. Teresa, Sapulpa, OK 74066

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Shan Jackson

    "Speaking the truth in love." Righteousness plus affection. This striking sentence serves as the very heart of Paul's beautiful and persuasive plea to the Ephesian church. He exhorts them to two things which are fundamental to the life of any home or congregation, namely, purity of heart and unity of spirit. If there is no unity of spirit a bond cannot hold together, and if there is no purity of heart it ought not hold together. Without unity we cannot exist and without purity we ought not exist. Paul is exhorting these Ephesians to these two things, and right in the very heart of this plea he says in substance that with the "speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things..." (Eph. 4.15).

    First of all, speaking the truth in love brings into our lives things that are fundamental not only to our lives, but also fundamental to each other. After all, what is truth without love? We know that truth without love is cool to the touch and harsh to the heart. Likewise, what is love without truth? We also know the answer to that. Love without truth brings tragedy. Either, without the other, is hard pressed to stand alone. We must have the two. We must have the truth, but it must be encased in love. However, just as we cannot allow truth to be without love neither can we allow love to be a lie. You see how fundamental this is to the home, to life, and as Paul addresses here, to the work of the church. Here is a man, for instance, who tells the truth but he has no love in his heart. His life is as accurate as a mathematical equation, but without love he will have no influence on another. We might agree with his every word, but without love we will not desire to listen.

    Here is another man. His heart is bursting with love. So much love that he cannot bring himself to chance offending someone by telling them the truth. We might enjoy his loving attitude but we would never turn to him for knowledge. Righteousness plus affection. Purity of heart and unity of spirit. Without unity we cannot exist and without purity we ought not exist.

    Another element of Paul's divine comment concerning speaking the truth in love is that this is the ideal way in which to communicate. There are many ways in which Christians speak the truth. In our normal, friendly conversations with other, as we approach them in a Bible study or class, as our men enter the pulpit, etc., but our effectiveness is dulled, or even dissolved if they cannot recognize that our speaking flows from a heart filled with love. Speaking with indifference never accomplishes anything positive for the Lord's cause. Even truth, if it is spoken without love, leaves a sting that is hard to heal.

    Speaking truth in love is ideal for yet another reason. That is, it enables us to say things that ought to be said which otherwise we would not dare speak. There are some things I need to say, but I hesitate until I know the hearer will see they come from a loving heart, and that I can say them in a loving way. If we are speaking the truth in love we can say anything that needs to be said. In fact, there are some things that must never be said unless we can say them truthfully in love.

    Speaking the truth in love is still ideal for yet another reason. That being, it keeps us from saying something that should not be said even though it is true. One who speaks the truth in love will make sure it is the truth before he speaks, and, will make sure it is needed and helpful to the hearer. However, the most charming aspect of Paul's statement is that it causes us to most resemble our Savior. That is the heart of the text. "Speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him (Christ) in all things; which is the head, even Christ."

    It is a laudable ambition to want to be like Jesus. And there is nothing that would do more to bring that to pass than for us to catch the spirit and meaning of this text. May God help us in this effort.

P.O. Box 904 Palacios, TX 77465

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We recommend a new book, AMONG THE SCHOLARS written by David W. Hester. The book is well documented, exposing those individuals who would pervert the Lord's church. It warns against apathy and indifference and calls faithful brethren to action. The cost of the book is $6.95. You can order directly from David W. Hester, Rt. 4, Box 138, Tuscumbia, AL 35674.


Make plans to attend these Lectureships:

Memphis School Of Preaching Lectures -- Memphis TN -- March 26-30
"Shall We Restructure the Church Of Christ"

North-East Oklahoma Lectures -- Sapulpa, OK -- April 7-9
"Things Which Do Not Change"

Southwest Lectures -- Austin, TX -- April 9-12
"Music In New Testament Worship"

Bellview Lectures -- Pensacola, FL -- June 10-14
"The Doctrine Of Christ Versus The Doctrines Of Men"

Houston College Of The Bible Lectures -- Spring, TX -- June 18-21

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