Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Brief Defense of Pastor Brian Schwertley against the Lies, Slander and Gossip of reformedonline.org and Dr. Frank Smith: Part 5



A Brief Defense of Pastor Brian Schwertley against the Lies, Slander and Gossip of reformedonline.org and Dr. Frank Smith: Part 5

by Brian Schwertley

Part 5 Section:
Dr. Frank Smith’s Further Deceptions and Slander (part 1 of 2)


Dr. Frank Smith’s Further Deceptions and Slander

            Thus far we have seen how a simple, clear-cut church discipline case became a wider, more serious problem through an unwillingness on the part of the Brown’s to obey Matthew 18:15ff. and 1 Timothy 5:19. In addition, they rejected the authority of the local session, violated their vows of church membership and began a campaign of gossip, tale bearing and slander against the pastor and session of the church in Manawa (a number of their lies are still being propagated by Fred Fleming’s [a non-member and welfare thief who refuses to work] website [reformedonline.org]). We have also learned how Dr. Frank Smith encouraged the Brown’s rebellion by listening to their accusations and treating them as true. He also refused to follow Matthew 18:15ff. and 1 Timothy 5:19. Moreover, we looked briefly at how Dr. Frank Smith, working with the corrupt CRPC-Am. Pres., used many of these false allegations to bring charges against Rev. Schwertley after it became known that the Manawa church was going to withdraw from the presbytery.[1] (That these charges were simply retaliation for the Manawa session’s unanimous decision to leave the CRPC is demonstrated by the fact that the vast majority of the charges were based on the accusations that were several months old. It is telling that they were not regarded as serious sins or chargeable offenses until the presbytery knew that the Manawa congregation and Rev. Schwertley were leaving the denomination.

            As noted above, once the CRPC presbytery decided to either table or drop all the charges against Rev. Schwertley because they violated their own Book of Discipline, the only method open to the CRPC to retaliate against Rev. Schwertley would be to create a phony, “continuing” Manawa church with a completely new and different session and have that new session draw up charges.[2] This is precisely what Dr. Frank Smith did.

            The great deception and fraudulent nature of what Dr. Frank Smith did will be exposed as we examine what really occurred. There is indisputable proof that the so-called “continuing” church was simply fabricated by Dr. Frank Smith long after (i.e. several months) the Brown’s and Waltho’s had already left the Manawa church and had been removed from the rolls. Note the following indisputable facts. (1) The new supposed continuing Manawa church session was constituted on June 27, 2006 almost six months after the true Manawa church seceded from the CRPC on January 8, 2006. The elders consisted of Frank Smith (the pastor at Sheboygan) and Marty Waltho. Mr. Waltho resigned from the eldership of Manawa in July 2005 and stopped attending the church in August 2005. (At a recent meeting with the Sheboygan elders [November 2010], they claim that they deliberately refused to be a part of this charade and refused to serve on this new session.) Marty’s resignation from the session was ignored by Dr. Frank Smith and he was never re-elected to any session. He was simply appointed by Frank Smith. The date noted above raises some important questions. If the families involved in forming this true continuing church always considered themselves to be a continuing church then: a) Why did they stop attending Manawa several months before the secession? b) Why did they not form a continuing church immediately? c) Why did they not begin meetings or worship services until about nine months after the secession? The bottom line is that Dr. Frank Smith was attempting to plant a new church with some disgruntled ex-members of the Manawa church and dishonestly made it a supposed continuing church so the new phony session (that had nothing to do with the real Manawa session which still existed) could bring charges against Pastor Schwertley.

            (2) The two families that left the church (the Brown’s and the Waltho’s) did not continue to worship as a group or even have a Bible study together and had never claimed to be the true continuing church in Manawa prior to this tactic of Frank Smith. Remember, Mrs. Brown stopped attending the Manawa church in February 2005 and Mr. Brown in April 2005; that is nineteen months and seventeen months before Dr. Frank Smith came up with a petition for the “continuing” church. Mr. Waltho had not attended for thirteen months. During this period of over a year, the Brown’s usually attended church in Milwaukee (they now lived 2-1/2 hours from Manawa). Marty Waltho only occasionally attended the church in Sheboygan during this whole time. There is absolutely no historical evidence that these families ever considered themselves to be the true continuing church or had ever even planned to form a continuing church prior to this time. If they did then: a) Why did Mr. Waltho resign as an elder? b) Why did both families ask for a transfer of membership to the Sheboygan church where Dr. Frank Smith was pastor? c) Why did they never meet as a group for worship or study until after Dr. Frank Smith or the CRPC came up with the idea of a continuing church?

            That Frank Smith’s actions in attempting to force the Manawa session to keep people on the active roll of the local church, serve them communion and allow them to vote on the future course of that church who have not tithed or attended worship in several months is hypocritical and disingenuous is proved by the ruling of his supposed continuing church (Actually, the New London work, which later became the Menasha church, was supposedly a church plant of the so-called continuing Manawa church. The supposed continuing church only met a few times in Manawa at Marty Waltho’s house and then the whole group moved to New London. Therefore, technically, the so-called continuing Manawa church only existed for a month or so, just long enough to charge Rev. Schwertley.), taken in August of 2008:

Pastor Stodghill reported that Martin and Phyllis Waltho and Natalie Waltho Shillington have not been in attendance for more than six months, and that no excuse has been offered for their lack of attendance. The Moderator called the court’s attention to the following provision of the Book of Church Order: “Any member that fails to attend worship for six months (without legitimate excuse) and does not transfer shall be erased (with censure, if he is not attending a church of like faith and practice0” (BCO D3:3B6.). In accord with that provision, the Presbytery hereby erases the names of these members from the roll with the censure of admonition, by adopting letters of admonition, by adopting letters of admonition (see pp. 12-14). With the erasure of Natalie Shillington from the roll, the name of her non-communicant child, Virginia, is also hereby removed from the roll. (see August 14, 2008 minutes, p. 7)

We would like to ask Frank Smith how Natalie Shillington (formerly Natalie Gulotta) became a member of this church in good standing when: a) she was excommunicated from the Manawa congregation for habitual adultery and desertion; b) she never sought reconciliation with her former husband; and to this day is attempting to get money out of him (remember he is the innocent party, she rejected Christ and her marriage in order to habitually commit adultery); c) she never publicly repented before the church that excommunicated her; d) she never broke off the adulterous relationship with Mr. Shillington. The relationship continued and then she eventually married this whoremonger. Apparently, Frank Smith and Marty Waltho believe that after a certain period of time sin just goes away.

            We would also like to ask Frank Smith and Marty Waltho how they could sanction Natalie’s marriage to her adultery partner when Jesus Christ says explicitly that the women who marries another who is not the innocent person in a divorce is guilty of adultery (see Matt. 5:32). Paul says that a woman is not free until her husband is dead; that if she marries another man while her husband is still alive she is an adulteress (Rom. 7:3-4). Apparently, Frank Smith and Marty Waltho have adopted the position that the guilty party can remarry lawfully, with God’s full blessing, if he or she lays low for a few years and find some antinomian elders to bless their adultery. (Rev. Schwertley and Elder Olev Tauts spoke with Pastor Justin Stodghill on January 16, 2011. He acknowledged that restoring Natalie Waltho, who was not even attending the church, to membership was wrong, unbiblical and should have never been done.)    

            (3) That the “continuing Manawa church” was fraudulent in nature is strongly supported by the fact that the “continuing Manawa session” was constituted on June 27, 2006 two months before a signed petition to form a new church was provided. When this was pointed out to Dr. Frank Smith by the clerk of the WPCUS presbytery, signatures of continuing members were provided on September 11, 2006. The petition was left undated which is highly irregular. This likely indicates that the petition was put together after a session was already formed.[3] This is excellent evidence that the continuing church was a new idea, a pure fabrication eight months (August 8, 2006) after the Manawa church seceded from the CRPC presbytery.[4]

            To get an idea who wicked and deceptive this fraudulent tactic was, let us briefly consider what would happen if disgruntled church members several months and even years after they stopped attending church could arbitrarily claim to be the true church and charge the pastor with being unloving and then spread these charges throughout the whole world through gossip and the internet. If Presbyterian denominations allowed such a practice, the result would be judicial chaos and the repeated abuse of pastors and sessions by libertines and theological perverts. Perhaps, this is the reason that a number of reformed denominations (e.g., the Orthodox Presbyterian Church) do not allow church members who have left the church and/or rejected the authority of the local session to make accusations or bring charges against the pastor or session. Such denominations have wisely recognized that people who are unwilling to abide by their covenant vows of church membership and have by their behavior exhibited a blatant disregard of biblical procedure and Presbyterian practice, have no business availing themselves of the same courts to attack their elders.

            Frank Smith refused to follow Mt. 18:15ff. and 1 Timothy 5:19, brought charges through the corrupt CRPC presbytery and, when that did not work, created a new session that had nothing to do with the real Manawa church to charge Rev. Schwertley again. He was exceptionally persistent in his desire to damage Pastor Schwertley’s reputation. But then, as in the case with the presbytery charges, Dr. Frank Smith never had a trial but rather quietly dropped the charges. If Rev. Schwertley had committed such serious offenses why wasn’t the trial ever held? Why wasn’t Rev. Schwertley ever convicted in a church court? Dr. Frank Smith hand picked the members of the new phony continuing Manawa session. Every member of this phony session had an ax to grind against Pastor Schwertley. Why no trial?

            There are likely two reasons for the refusal to try Pastor Schwertley. The first reason is that they knew they really had nothing with which to win such a case and knew that a trial would expose their house of cards. (For example, Mr. Brown’s charges were based on the testimony of one man who was not a church member. In addition, Mr. Brown’s method of following Matthew 18:15ff., in the case of the new charges used by the phony session, was to send a few nasty e-mails. [It was a case of “How can I say I followed Matthew 18 without actually talking to Rev. Schwertley or being subject to cross examination?”] There was no attempt to follow 1 Timothy 5:19 at all.) The second probable reason, which the real Manawa session (presently the Weyauwega session, as the church moved its location since 2005 to better meeting site) believes to be the case, is that Frank Smith’s goal was not the seeking of biblical justice or corporate sanctification in this whole affair; but, rather, was to retaliate against Rev. Schwertley for leading the Manawa church (along with the session) to leave the CRPC presbytery. Dr. Frank Smith and his minions made these charges as public as possible (Remember, we have proof that Dr. Smith was giving Fred Fleming [the non-church member and non-working welfare thief] information to post on his website [reformedonline.org]. The many people that Dr. Frank Smith told throughout the United States that Rev. Schwertley had been charged with serious offenses by his session were probably totally unaware that the real Manawa session rejected all the original charges as fraudulent; and also were made without following biblical procedure. In addition, they were likely never told that the session that charged Rev. Schwertley had absolutely nothing to do with Pastor Schwertley’s church. Therefore, people would think, “Pastor Schwertley must have done something bad if his own session has charged him.” The real Manawa session was in agreement with Rev. Schwertley and, contrary to Frank Smith’s lies and slander, things were fine in the Manawa church. Frank Smith, Mr. Brown and others in their camp were telling people that there was some kind of disaster in the Manawa church, when the truth was that only the small group of people who were against the disciplinary action taken against Mrs. Brown had left. What Frank Smith, Mr. Brown and Fred Fleming were engaging in was deceitful, dishonest and wicked. Think about it. The very people who refused to follow Matthew 18:15ff. and 1 Timothy 5:19; who refused to take their alleged offenses to the Manawa session (twice Mr. Brown was asked to meet with the Manawa session and twice he refused); who had completely broken their vows of church membership; who had not tithed or attended church in well over a year, were used by Dr. Frank Smith to bring charges against Pastor Schwertley. Such behavior is so blatantly unscriptural it is astonishing.


[1] To understand the full story behind this controversy we would do well to briefly consider the reasons why the Manawa church seceded from the CRPC-Am. Pres. in January 2006. The stated reason to the CRPC-Am. Pres. was essentially that we had an opportunity to part be of a denomination with more biblical worship (the WPCUS). We also told the presbytery at the November 2005 meeting that Frank Smith’s interference in our congregation’s affairs (that according to Scripture [at that point] were still matters for the local session) was intolerable. (Once the Brown’s had Dr. Frank Smith as an advocate for their rebellion, they became emboldened in their sinful course of action). There were a number of other issues that were left unstated that strongly influenced the decision of the Manawa session to leave the denomination: (1) We learned that Geoffrey Donnan had to give up his ordination while in the RPCGA for sexual immorality on the mission field. Therefore, he is no longer lawfully ordained. (2) Marty Waltho was ordained by one man even though he had no theological training whatsoever, had no ability to teach and admitted he was not called by God to the ministry. Therefore, he was never truly lawfully ordained. (3) The minister in Janesville, Wisconsin (Mr. Gibson) had failed his tests for ordination in the RPCGA and likely was not lawfully ordained or at least was unqualified. The only minister left besides Rev. Schwertley was Dr. Frank Smith who we regarded as antinomian, unjust and power hungry. We regarded the CRPC as thoroughly corrupt and incompetent and wanted to be in a denomination that respected biblical procedure and God’s law.
                The CRPC-Am. Pres. Book of Discipline has a procedure for a church to withdraw from the denomination. We were willing to follow this procedure. The reason that we ended up seceding rather than going through the normal process are as follows: (1) The CRPC-Am. Pres. was attempting to force us to recognize the Brown’s and the Waltho’s as members in good standing even though they had not attended church or tithed for several months; were walking disorderly (e.g., gossip, slander, violating Mt. 18 and 1 Tim. 5); and had said they would never return to our church. To allow them to vote when they had rejected their vows of church membership and left the church was absurd. We recognized that it was an unbiblical, immoral power play and refused to compromise with such sinful behavior. (2) The CRPC changed the rules for withdrawal in midstream and put requirements on the Manawa church which were unacceptable. The CRPC BOD would have allowed members of presbytery to be present at the congregational meeting to make their case as to why withdrawal was not a good idea and why remaining in the CRPC would be good for the congregation. The arbitrary changes that were added by the CRPC in midstream, that were not part of the original BOD stated that the session had to give members of the presbytery all the addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses of every member of the congregation in Manawa. This would be so that presbyters (i.e. Frank Smith) could privately (without the Manawa session present) attempt to persuade each family to stay in the CRPC and/or get rid of their pastor/session. This coercive tactic was deemed unacceptable to the Manawa session because not only did it go way beyond the original BOD, but it had come to our attention that Dr. Frank Smith was lying to others about the situation. Dr. Frank Smith was on the one hand ignoring and even encouraging the sinful behavior of the Brown’s and Mr. Waltho and on the other blaming the Manawa session (especially the pastor) for that behavior. In other words, Dr. Frank Smith had completely adopted the Brown’s version of reality even though it was based on the explicit rejection of Mt. 18, 1 Tim. 5, was a rejection of the authority of the session and was excusing unrepentant scandalous sin. The session did not allow Mr. Brown and Mr. Waltho to vote because they had long been removed from the rolls of the church. The vote to leave the denomination was unanimous with one abstention from a member who wanted us to join the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland instead. The campaign by Mr. Brown and Dr. Frank Smith to split the church in Manawa continued and thus their refusal to follow biblical procedure and their habitual lying and slander continued.   
[2] According to the CRPC-Am. Pres.’s Constitution, at that time, when it comes to charging ministers of the gospel with the violation of ethical or moral matters, the local session is the court of original jurisdiction. (The charges that Dr. Frank Smith had brought to presbytery at the December 29, 2005 presbytery meeting were unanimously rejected by the Manawa session and sent back to the CRPC-Am. Pres..)
                It is noteworthy that the proposed charges written by Dr. Frank Smith were not on the agenda of the December 29, 2005 presbytery meeting. Further, members of the Manawa session were dismissed (i.e. officially permitted to depart from the presbytery meeting by the moderator) before Dr. Frank Smith brought out the charges. It appears that none of the members of presbytery knew that Dr. Frank Smith had charges with him. Moreover, the CRPC presbytery did not review the proposed charges with Rev. Schwertley prior to accepting the charges from Frank Smith. The presbytery apparently simply rubber stamped them.
                On his slanderous website (reformedonline.org) Fred Fleming makes the accusation that Rev. Schwertley simply walked out of presbytery without permission to avoid the charges. This version of events is totally inaccurate. After all the business in relation to the Manawa church on the presbytery agenda was completed, Elder Olev Tauts asked the moderator if there was anything else relating to Manawa left to do. The moderator responded that presbytery was finished with Manawa. Then Elder Tauts asked if we could be excused; the moderator, Dan Gibson, then excused the Manawa session from the presbytery meeting. When we stood up to leave, Dr. Frank Smith said there were other matters and indicated he did not want us to leave. But, since there were no more items on the agenda relating to Manawa and we were excused by the moderator, we left (this whole interchange is on tape).
                If Matthew 18:15ff and 1 Timothy 5:19 had been followed and alleged offenses had first been brought before the Manawa session as the CRPC BOD clearly required, then the Manawa session would have been aware that charges were coming. But neither we, nor apparently any other members of presbytery, had a clue. Fred Fleming’s accusation that Rev. Schwertley was afraid to face justice or was fleeing the charges is libelous.
                The Romanist manner in which the charges were brought and dealt with by the CRPC presbytery after the Manawa session was dismissed is indicated by the fact that the very man (Frank Smith) who had clearly violated Matthew 18, 1 Timothy 5:19 and the CRPC BOD was placed in charge of every aspect of the charges against Pastor Schwertley. He was appointed Presbytery Judicial Convener, Presbytery Representative to deal with proposed Manawa withdrawal, and moderator of Temporary Session if needed. The very person who was making all sorts of accusations without the required procedures and independent witnesses was essentially given a blank check to do as he pleased. The CRPC presbytery at the very least should have appointed a completely independent group of elders to look into Frank Smith’s charges. They should have investigated the Manawa session’s contention at the November 2005 meeting that proper procedures had not been following with regard to the Brown’s. They apparently were not interested in the truth, proper procedure or justice, but rather in punishing Rev. Schwertley for leaving their corrupt denomination.  
[3] In presbyterian church government, sessions are not formed to then go out and find a church. First, a group of people petition the presbytery to form a mission work. Then when the group is ready, they choose elders from amongst their own members and elect a pastor. Dr. Frank Smith circumvented this whole process by simply pretending that a few families who had been removed from the rolls of the Manawa church were the true Manawa church.
[4] It is ironic that Dr. Frank Smith’s reasoning behind creating the new session was that the CRPC BOD has no specified procedure for a church seceding from the denomination. Note, however, that about a year and a half after these events, the Sheboygan church seceded from the CRPC and eventually joined the RPCGA. Therefore, given Dr. Frank Smith’s reasoning, a few families that had long ago left the Sheboygan church and been removed from the rolls could start services, get a new session, claim they were the true Sheboygan church and then accuse Dr. Frank Smith of splitting the church. Like Dr. Frank Smith, they could also demand the church’s assets. I hope you are beginning to see the absurdity of what Dr. Frank Smith did in making up a “continuing Manawa church.”

   

1 comment:

Friend for Life said...

Here is the content of a letter I sent to the owner of ReformedOnline.org:

RE: http://www.reformedonline.org/

Dear Sir,

What good do you hope to accomplish with your website? Yes, the story it presents is sad and one that does not glorify the Lord. Why not put an end to this horrible mess by putting out the fire, so to speak, instead of adding fuel to it? Why not use your website for good? I for one am heartsick over this sorry mess and ask if you will play the part of a man and change the purpose and content of your website. If you are in the right, the good Lord will prove it on your behalf. Or do you really think Pastor Schwertley poses some dangerous threat to the Church of Jesus Christ? If so, then present the facts, have him prosecuted, declared guilty by a legitimate church council and stop this “he said, she said” nonsense. Do you want the man run out of the United States? Just what do you hope to accomplish besides destroying the man’s reputation? It might not hurt for you to review the Westminster Catechism on the Ninth Commandment. May God speak to your heart and prick your conscience in this matter. I find it absolutely disgusting.

No king but King Jesus!
Angela Wittman

Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain:
but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31:30 KJV

www.angelawittman.net
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Angela Wittman