The Epistle of Lamb to Houghton
- I was researching some stuff on the internet and I came across this letter that was sent to Hank Houghton by Scott Lover Boy Lamb, in regards to the demand that had been made to Bill Coolidge to resign the Yuma church.
There are several interesting aspects to this letter. For me, one of the most obvious is that Scott Lover Boy Lamb would be so arrogant. This is a guy who got "involved" with a married woman in the El Paso, Texas church, while he was pastor, who was in his band. He was going to run off with her, and only the crying pleas of his wife and children stopped him. According to the reports we had, Lamb had also taken a sizable chunk of money out of the church coffers to make running over with his doll baby even more pleasant. Why would a man with a past like this think that he was able to sit in judgment on Coolidge and Houghton? Because he danced the Wayman so well after his fall from "leadership." All Wayman had to do was say, "Sick em, Lamb," and it was a done deal.
Another aspect of this letter that is interesting to me is the reference to other men who were removed from being pastor, without moral failure "strictly speaking," as Lamb says. My sense is that it was one time too many for Houghton. He watched two of his men that he sent out being judged by this process that Wayman set up, and removed from being pastors. Now it was happening to his close friend, and he decided that he had had enough. So, Houghton wrote a letter protesting the judgment of Coolidge, and this is Lamb's response.
The key to the letter is that Coolidge is accused of saying things that were "divisive." In other words, he dared to disagree with Wayman O. Christ. All the accusations of abuse are silly, since the fellowship is built on abusive pastors, modeled after that chief abuser in Prescott, Lord Wayman. This is why Wayman can always trump up charges of abuse against any pastor in the fellowship. I have heard stories from people who attended Wayman's church and how he abused people. But Wayman will never be called into one of these meetings where the pastors in his fellowship will be able to speak freely of Wayman's abuses. However, Wayman can subject any pastor in the fellowship to one of these inquisitions. As I have mentioned, with his new an improved system of removing pastors, this would not be necessary in most cases, but with a higher up leader it still might be. It some doing to get David Vicary out of Perth, but Wayman once again prevailed.
There is no offer made to Bill Coolidge to repent of any abuses, and remain pastor of the Yuma, Arizona church. He is simply told to surrender the church, and the so called board of elders all sign off on the demand. Lamb sees this as all perfectly justified. It amazed me to hear about this, as I had been out of the fellowship for over 6 years when it came down. Wayman had once said that Bill Coolidge was the best preacher in the fellowship. When I left, from where I was looking, I thought that Coolidge and Houghton were seated on the left and right sides of Waymanchrist. They were the defenders of fellowship style legalism and all of Wayman's ways. They lifted up, exalted, and extolled the name of Waymanchrist throughout the Earth. And now they were on the outs with Mitch? Pretty wild.
I found Bill Coolidge to be quite a nasty fellow. He had a short fuse, and exuded arrogance. But, after I left, I considered that those qualities contributed to him being one of the foundational leaders of that religious cult. As I saw it, Mark Aulson was every bit as arrogant and nasty as Bill, but Aulson apparently knows better than to say anything against Waymanchrist at all. Bill Coolidge got a bit too loose with his tongue, and that's all it takes to cause Wayman to bring the hammer down.
I thought it might be interesting to post this letter almost 12 years after it was written. Typical Waymanite loyalist junk.
- September 6, 2000
- Dear Henry,
- I have read your letter regarding the board of elders judgment of Bill Coolidge and frankly, in your words, I'm dismayed that such a travesty of a letter could come from your pen. Apparently, gone are the days of the clear thinking Hank Houghton. To address the "disingenuous issues" you raised.
- 1. You say that Don Taylor admitted that the signatories in the complaint had not spoken to Bill as per Matt. 18. You fail to clarify that though they had not spoken as a group to, they had, on numerous occasions, attempted to address many of these individually to him only to de dismissed, stonewalled or assaulted by Bill. What was dismissed as irrelevant is that they did not do it as a group. You know quite well that the entire reason for enabling men to reach beyond their pastor to ask for help from the board of elders is for situations just like this. When people are frustrated again and again in attempting to reconcile problems with their pastor, be it in their church, or as men on the field, they have been given recourse to appeal for help. It is then up to the board to determine, a) if they will even hear the issues and, b) if there is any validity to the issues. This mechanism is in place to keep men from abusing the Godly principals of authority and loyalty. In the final analysis, if a person is so intimidated by past experience with their pastor he/she has the right to appeal. It is then up to the board as to whether they should refer that person back to their pastor or proceed to hear the issues. It is clear that these men felt they had exhausted the path of direct discussions with Bill. I marvel that your concern is with the protocol of Matt. 18 and not with the abundant testimony you heard of Bill's abuse; testimony of such a nature that Godly leaders (though you take issue with that statement, a remarkable posture I'll speak to in a moment) felt Bill had unfit himself for ministry. IF half of what these men had said is true, a clear picture of censure and abuse of those who challenge Bill exists, making it very clear that these men were justified in appealing to the board for help. It is a sad disclosure of your own heart when you hold the minutiae of protocol over the welfare of good men on the filed. I say minutia because the issues is not whether these men have ever approached Bill on the issues, which they did, but they didn't do it as a group before sending the letter. You strain at gnats and swallow camels.
- 2. Your accusation that Joe Campbell, Harold Warner, Kevin Foley, Richard Rubi, Mark Aulson and Paul Stephens were incapable of fairly hearing the issues is insulting and typical of Bill Coolidge's (and your own) arrogance throughout the events of the last couple of weeks (and for quite some time in the past). You suggest that they were all motivated by some kind of bias against Bill. You give no credence to the possibility that upon listening to five hours of testimony, which quite clearly could not be refuted, these men unanimously came to a decision based on facts! "It had to be a conspiracy. Harold Warner was "pressured" into this unrighteous act by Paul and Richard. Paul, Richard, Mark and Kevin all had bitter vengeance in mind. None of these men have a conscience. None of these men can be impartial." You have passed judgments on the hearts and motives of these men that leaves me stunned. If we follow your thinking, anyone who pretends to know your heart and motive is free to cast off your authority. Hank! I am astonished that you so readily discredit these men of good reputation in defense of your friend. If anyone is guilty of partiality in that meeting it is you. If anyone is guilty of putting on blinders throughout this affair it is you! Bill has spoken words of division and dissent to you that he has spoken to others and you've never called him on any of it. Your Bill's number one fan. Anyone who has been in this fellowship for any length of time is aware of that. And you have the audacity to accuse these men of bias!
- 3. Bill had no idea as to who would be there! Hank, where has your mind gone? Unless Bill has lost the capacity to read as well as reason, he knew the ten signatories, he knew the board of elders. Are you asking me to believe that he didn't expect any of these people to be there? And he didn't know he could bring his own witnesses? I am amazed. You both have been in leadership positions all these years, have sat in on any number of dispute hearings, know full well that there is an open door to witnesses on both sides, and suggest Bill didn't know? From the mouths of two witnesses in the Yuma congregation, the council of Yuma church approached Bill with the desire to go to the hearings in support and Bill said, (and I quote) "That wouldn't be a good idea"!!! And you tell me he didn't know he could bring witnesses? Well either Bill lied to you, which doesn't make him much of a friend, or you are lying for him, which doesn't make you much of a friend.
- 4. "If all the charges brought against Bill Coolidge were true, nothing of a magnitude to merit removal form his pastoral duties was tabled!" How marvelously Clinton-esque. You Hank Houghton sat in on the removal of Rick Swicegood from the pastorate of the Las Cruses congregation for a breakdown in credibility and trust. No moral failure (strictly speaking). No doctrinal issues. You Hank Houghton sat in on the removal of Les Uptain from the Albuquerque church for a breakdown in credibility and trust. No moral failure (strictly speaking). No doctrinal issues. But when it comes to your friend Bill, these are not impeachable issues. Rick's and Les' violations were a stroll in the park compared to the allegations brought against Bill, but when it comes to your friend, the rules change. Bill removed the Staneks from his church based on what he construed as undermining his authority, a couple in good standing for, I believe, 17 years. But when clear statements of undermining Pastor Mitchell's authority are made by Bill, they merit no discipline. Your duplicity is a wonder to behold.
- 5. You suggested in point 5 that Pastor Mitchell dis-fellowshipped the Yuma church. You quote him as saying "As long as you remain the pastor there, they cannot retain fellowship status." You fail to quote when he first said. "That's a Fellowship church." You twist Bill's refusal to submit to the board of elders to imply that discipline is being taken against the Yuma church. Talk about disingenuous. Bill is being discipline, not the Yuma church Bill takes the Yuma congregation hostage to his own refusal to submit to discipline (something neither you not he would not tolerate for 30 seconds in your church or in your men on the field) and you imply the board threw the church out. Bill's statements to the Yuma church were of the same nature. He didn't have the courage to say, "I will not submit to eh fellowship and if you want to join me in this refusal, come along with me." Instead he said, in effect, they have removed the church from the fellowship. Funny, I remember Bill saying that if Ron Jones and Ray Kirkland and their ilk were men of God, they'd surrender their churches back to the fellowship and go do what they wanted to do. Ah but when Bill stands to loose, the rules change. And you agree.
- 6. Pastor Mitchell's statement, " the blood will flow and it's on your head", a statement of fact, is distorted by you to be indicative of a vindictive spirit. I suppose when Nathan said to David, "The sword will never depart from your house" that was a vindictive and un-conciliatory statement. I suppose when Peter said to Sapphira, "The men who carried your husband out will now carry you out he was being vindictive. Kevin Foley preached and incredible sermon two conferences ago where he likened the spiritual losses caused by rebellious men to blood running in the streets, and Henry, we all saw the spiritual bloodletting in the past rebellion of Jones, et al. That you can support Bill in his actions regardless of the costs to the flocks of God again is an open disclosure of your own heart.
- In conclusion, I'm encouraged by the fact that these men on the board of elders, long standing friends and co-laborers with Bill were able to get past the issues of "friends" and address legitimate issues of pastoral abuse and divisiveness. It enhances their credibility because I know personally that the ones I have spoken to did so with much sorrow and anguish. No one wanted to see this happen to Bill. No one wanted to see Bill pull the pin on his life. These men did what they had to do in the light of Bill's choices and intransigence. I am not ashamed of them I am ashamed of you. Of course I know that means nothing to you. After all you're the man who stood in a conference body and made the statement that there were only two people in the world that would make a ripple in your day if they died (that must have been a very comforting thought to the people you were pasturing at the time). When you said it, we all laughed and said, Well, that's Henry. But those words stuck with me because they rang so true. I knew when you said it one of them was Bill Coolidge. I wasn't sure when you said it who the other one was, but I have, through the years, had a growing suspicion that it was you.
- Scott Lamb
- Scott Lamb wrote to Hank Houghton:
[Funny, I remember Bill saying that if Ron Jones and Ray Kirkland and their ilk were men of God, they'd surrender their churches back to the fellowship and go do what they wanted to do. Ah but when Bill stands to loose, the rules change. And you agree.]
This was indeed an interesting point. I am sure that the differences between Bill Coolidge's situation and that of Ron Jones and Ray Kirkland could be pointed out. Jones and Kirkland just decided to leave, but Bill Coolidge was more or less forced out, or had to resign. Actually, in the case of Ron Jones, he had a stronger case for leaving, as the church he pastored was given to him by Foursquare, not by Wayman, whereas Coolidge was given the Yuma church after it was running about 150. However, the previous pastors of that Yuma church, Greg Johnson and Mike Mastin, also ended up leaving the fellowship in this exodus that started with Coolidge. What is notable is that the people in the church are left out of the loop. They are just pawns on the fellowship chess board.
It is part of Wayman's system that the members of the church have to go along with Wayman's decisions to remove and replace pastors. Since Scott Lamb wrote this, I would have to ask if the Las Vegas, Nevada church knew what they were getting? That's why people in those churches need to vote with their feet and get out of there.
The property issue was behind the scenes. Wayman has become fond of obtaining church properties, and both Yuma and Santa Fe had valuable properties. I am sure that Wayman is determined that no one else will pull out of his fellowship with such assets. Again, shouldn't the local church own the properties? Wayman promised, in a document that he sent out in 1983, that our churches would be autonomous, own their own properties, and be able to determine their own destinies. But as it turns out, they can't even decide who their pastor is going to be. They must accept Wayman's selection in all these things.
Wayman's problem is that his discipleship program worked. He created men who are just as much arrogant religious megalomaniacs as himself. The savvy ones have learned that they can indeed be these type men as long as they continually praise and exalt Waymanchrist, and they keep money flowing up the line. In those cases, they can be as abusive as they like.
- How CFM became a personality cult with all the names of these guys ...
geez enough with the names.
And who did what to whom and invoked so and so's name to do it.
Such silliness was always beyond me, even when we were in it.
I'm starting to get that old feeling of inferiority that I had back then because I wasn't up to date on the score card. (j/k) So many conference flyers without autographs. So many tapes I didn't buy. I must have been the worst example of a disciple.
Doesn't it sicken you now more than anything to even think of those damn flyers and how all these phony used car salesmen were being passed off to the flock as "great men of Gawd" and worse now looking back that their whole accountability was weak and a foundation built on sand.
So glad to be gone.
--- In Escape_from_the_Fellowship@yahoogroups.com, kenhaining777 <no_reply@...> wrote:
> Wayman's problem is that his discipleship program worked. He created
> men who are just as much arrogant religious megalomaniacs as himself.
> The savvy ones have learned that they can indeed be these type men as
> long as they continually praise and exalt Waymanchrist, and they keep
> money flowing up the line. In those cases, they can be as abusive as
> they like.