Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Brief Defense of Pastor Brian Schwertley against the Lies, Slander and Gossip of and Dr. Frank Smith: Part 6

 A Brief Defense of Pastor Brian Schwertley against the Lies, Slander and Gossip of and Dr. Frank Smith: Part 6

by Brian Schwertley

Part 6 Sections:
Dr. Frank Smith’s Further Deceptions and Slander (part 2 of 2)
Appendices A and B

       The reason that it was necessary to go into such detail regarding Frank Smith’s phony continuing Manawa session is that fact that many of Fred Fleming’s lies are based upon it. His contention, for example, that Rev. Schwertley stole $50,000 is based on the incredibly absurd notion that the real Manawa church is obligated to hand the church funds over to Dr. Frank Smith and to the few families who left the Manawa church well over a year prior to these events. (Remember, they left [the Brown’s and the Waltho’s] because they did not think that Mrs. Brown should be disciplined for leaving her husband.) Rev. Schwertley did not split the church, nor did he take any money. The money remained in the same church account where it had been since the church was organized in 2000. The idea that Rev. Schwertley was involved in some conspiracy to take the church’s money and split the church is pure fabrication. The Manawa church and its funds are intact. The Manawa session does not see any obligation to give its money to a few families who were removed from the rolls of the church for breaking their vows of church membership (non-attendance, neglect of tithing, rejection of the session’s decisions and authority, etc); and, who rebelled against God’s Word and the authority of the Manawa session; because the session holds to the position that people who commit public scandalous sins should be required to repent as defined by Scripture. If Dr. Frank Smith or Mr. Brown or Mr. Waltho thinks they can prove that the events as related in this defense of Rev. Schwertley can be demonstrated to be inaccurate, they are welcome to meet with our session (Pastor Schwertley, Elder Olev Tauts and Elder Dwayne Riendeau) and make their case. We will digitally film the whole proceeding and put the meeting on the internet.

            (4) That Frank Smith’s plan to set up the continuing Manawa church was dishonest, fraudulent and essentially a ploy for revenge and money to plant a new church (After the continuing church was set up they expected our church to give them half the money in our church account. Since we do not think that antinomians who leave the church because they reject lawful church discipline and have long ago been removed from the rolls of that church are allowed refunds of tithe money, we did not comply.) is proved by the fact that Frank Smith, his own church (Sheboygan) and the so-called continuing church (New London) all seceded from the CRPC in 2007. Note the following letter written by Ron DeTroye (one of the elder’s at Frank Smith’s church) on behalf of the Sheboygan and New London churches (which they named Reformation Presbytery of the Midwest.)

February 1, 2008

The Rev. Geoffrey Donnan
13950 122nd Street
Fellsmere, Florida 32948-6411

Dear Mr. Donnan:

I am writing on behalf of Reformation Presbytery of the Midwest.  Enclosed you will find various pieces of correspondence which you have recently sent to members of our Presbytery, which correspondence we are hereby returning to you.

As should have been evident from the action of the Sheboygan and New London congregations in withdrawing from the Covenant Reformed Presbyterian Church (CRPC), we no longer recognize your authority over us.  At this point, we don’t desire to get into a lot of back-and-forth conversation with you: we would simply appreciate if you would be kind enough to leave us alone.

Our position does not imply that we are unwilling at some point down the road to attempt reconciliation and the healing of relationships.  However, it is abundantly clear that the continued pursuit of a defamation campaign by yourself and other members of the CRPC against those who have left the CRPC, will not lead to any such reconciliation….

Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.


Ron DeTroye

[email of January 5, 2008]

(Feb. 1, 2008, Presbytery Minutes, pp. 4-5, Note that Frank Smith was the clerk of this presbytery.)

            Further proof that Frank Smith’s church in Sheboygan and the New London church (supposedly planted by the so-called continuing church from Manawa) seceded from the CRPC is seen from the minutes of the CRPC Presbytery (American Presbytery Short Report for Sep. 17, 2007) which reads:
·         Milton CRPC Session sought advice since they had received a response from Sheboygan regarding the charges against Rev. Frank Smith, and that Sheboygan dismissed the charges based on a letter of defense which Rev. Smith wrote. Milton was advised to appeal the actions of the Sheboygan Session; that a trial is necessary.
·         Rev. Frank Smith also wrote a letter renouncing jurisdiction of the CRPC. It was agreed that such action amounts to an unlawful action which is not at all supported by our Book of Church Government and is a violation of his covenant with the CRPC.
·         The Sheboygan Session also reported that they now hold the ministerial credentials of Rev. Smith. It was agreed that the Session does not have the authority to do so, based on the Book of Church Government (DCO 23:19,20). The action of the Session amounts to usurping the authority of the American Presbytery which in fact holds those credentials and must therefore be requested to pass on those credentials to another authority, and until such action is taken the American Presbytery of the CRPC continues to hold the ministerial credentials of Rev. Smith.
    • A letter was received wherein the Revs. Frank Smith, Marty Waltho, Gene Osborn, and Justin Stodghill declared their credentials to be removed and to have renounced jurisdiction of the American Presbytery, along with the withdrawal of the Sheboygan and New London churches. It was agreed that this action is unlawful since it violates the covenant made within the American Presbytery. Therefore charges must be brought against the three men (Smith, Waltho, and Osborn), to be heard and tried at the November Presbytery. It was decided that a committee will draft these charges and submit them to Presbytery, and that the Clerk will send out the subpoenas for the trial. (See; emphasis added)
At the November 5-7, 2007 meeting of the CRPC Presbytery said in their short report:
·         Drafted a “Chronology of events leading to schism within the CRPC (by one church, one mission work under a temporary session, and three ministers)”, as a reference for responses to various communications from Justin Stodghill, Frank Smith, and delegates from Sheboygan and New London.
·         Discussed and agreed on charges against Frank Smith, Marty Waltho, and Gene Osborne, and settled on a statement regarding their ministerial credentials as continuing to reside in the CRPC. (See; emphasis added)

            Why is the fact that Frank Smith and the Sheboygan and New London churches seceded from the CRPC significant? It is important because the whole justification for the formation of the so-called continuing church was based on Frank Smith’s arbitrary idea that since the church in Manawa (at the time called Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church; with Rev. Brian Schwertley, Elders Olev Tauts and Wayne Reindeau) had seceded from the CRPC and the CRPC Book of Church Order did not have a provision for secession, then our vote to secede or dissolve the relationship with the CRPC could be ignored and they could set up a totally new church and pretend they were the real, original Manawa church that still existed. If Geoffrey Donnan and the CRPC wanted to follow Frank Smith’s reasoning and procedure they could set up another church somewhere in Wisconsin and claim that it is the true Sheboygan church, appoint a new session with Geoffrey Donnan as moderator and then bring Frank Smith up on charges and then go around the United States telling people that Frank Smith was brought up on charges by his own session. This of course would be exceptionally dishonest and corrupt, but that is exactly what Frank Smith did to Rev. Brian Schwertley. Frank Smith’s actions in this whole matter have been exceptionally dishonest and hypocritical and we encourage him to repent and admit that he pulled off a scam to get revenge. Frank Smith could argue that his church did not secede but merely “dissolved” their relationship with the CRPC. That assertion, however, would be a distinction without a difference.

            It has been the personal experience of the elders of Covenanted Reformed Presbyterian Church of Manawa (presently called Westminster Presbyterian Church of Waupaca County) that when people support Frank Smith politically (i.e. they support his plans or ideas on a local church, session or presbytery level), then Frank Smith is willing to overlook, sweep under the rug, or justify wicked scandalous behavior (e.g., desertion, adultery, deliberate non-attendance and non-tithing to the local church, refusal to submit or even meet with the local session, slander, gossip, violating Matthew 18:15ff and 1 Timothy 5:19, lying to Presbytery, using deception to try and keep people on the church rolls, etc.). But when someone disagrees with Frank Smith and says he is wrong or goes against what he is trying to do, then if he has the power or ability to try and destroy his opponent he is eager to do so. In our opinion, he has an obsession with ecclesiastical power and control.

            If there is anyone who has any doubts regarding the truth or accuracy of the main assertions of this account, then one’s doubts can be easily answered by asking Dr. Frank Smith, PhD, DD or his minions the following questions. (1) Regarding the original charges against Rev. Schwertley from the CRPC Presbytery, in accord with the CRPC Book of Order, can you provide the written out, dated, signed and sworn charge of the original accusers and all the witnesses in accord with Matthew 18:15ff and 1 Timothy 5:9? (Do not be satisfied with hearsay or excuses. The CRPC Book of Order requires signed and dated documentation [see footnote 11 of this paper]). (2) Regarding these original charges, why was there no indication of charges on the presbytery agenda of December 29, 2005? Why was Rev. Schwertley charged after he and the elder from Manawa were dismissed by the moderator of Presbytery? Why was a trial never held? Why were Mt. 18, 1 Tim. 5:19 and the local session completely ignored and bypassed? (3) Regarding the rationale for the formation of the so-called continuing church (the CRPC Book of Order does not have a section on secession). If the original Manawa church could not sever their ties to the CRPC and the severing of these ties was worthy of charges (Frank Smith wrote the charges), then how could you and your church do the exact same thing a few years later? Does not your blatant hypocrisy merit an admission of fault and a request for forgiveness? (4) Regarding the charges that originated with the new pretend “continuing church,” in accordance with Scripture and the CRPC Book of Order, can you provide the required signed and dated documentation that proves that Matthew 18:15ff and 1 Tim. 5:19 were followed? If not, why not? Who were the witnesses? When did they meet with Rev. Schwertley in person? Where are their dated, sworn statements with signatures? (If Frank Smith and his new appointed session obeyed the CRPC Book of Order, this should be very easy to prove.) (5) Regarding the barring of Mrs. Brown from the holy supper for leaving her husband, please explain why this church discipline was unjustified biblically and was unloving. Explain why a woman who gets her own separate apartment, refuses to return home, refuses to attend her church and for several months refuses to speak to the elders, should be served the Lord’s supper. Please explain why people who have not tithed or attended church for several months should be served communion as if nothing has happened. Also, explain why people who have left the church several months before, have made it clear to the session they are never coming back, have been off the rolls of the church for months should be declared as members in good standing by Presbytery and be allowed to take communion and vote on the future of the congregation? (It ought to be obvious by now to any clear thinking Bible-believing Christian that in this whole affair Frank Smith was not concerned with truth or justice, but rather ecclesiastical power.) (6) Regarding the accusation that the Brown’s did not receive proper notification as to their being removed from the rolls of the Manawa church (this was the rationale of the CRPC Presbytery for declaring Mr. and Mrs. Brown as members in good standing), please explain how you (instead of the Manawa session) are not responsible for this lack of notification when: a) you promised in the presence of witnesses to hand deliver the letter; and b) you admitted to Presbytery (on tape) that the letter was in your filing cabinet. Is what you did honest? Was it the Christian thing to do? (7) Regarding the repeated accusation that Rev. Schwertley was unloving and unpastoral towards the Brown’s, please give detailed, specific examples of things that Pastor Schwertley did that merit such an accusation? (To this day, Rev. Schwertley and the Manawa session has not received one specific or genuine accusation as to what was unloving. Our conclusion is that our opponents in this whole affair do not believe Mrs. Brown’s actions merited church discipline.)  

Appendix A: Letter from Rev. Justin Stodghill

Sun, Jan 16, 2011 at 8:27 PM

Good Evening, Pastor Schwertley:

In reference to our phone conversation this evening, I hope that you will find the following observations to be helpful.  It is impossible to recount all of the events that have taken place over the last nearly six years involving the CRPC and Frank Smith.  However, I do hope that the following first-hand notes will assist you before the Body of Christ in clearing your reputation.  Please know that I personally do not have anything against you, your session or your congregation.  I know of no solid evidence whatsoever in favor of any of the allegations that may have been made against you.

In regards to the matter of the CRPC in dealing with Pastor Schwertley (December 2004-June 2005), as far as I am aware, the elders in the CRPC never followed the Biblical mandates of Matthew 18 or I Timothy 5:19 when dealing with the charges levied against him.  I am also unaware that any trial, of any kind, was ever held by the CRPC against Pastor Schwertley.  In reference to the Grace Christian Reformation Presbyterian Church in Menasha, Wisconsin, we organized the congregation originally in New London.  It was NOT a continuing Manawa Church, but a new work--first as a mission work in the CRPC, then as a congregation in the Reformation Presbytery of the Midwest, later a member congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly (RPCGA).  In the matter of the restoration of Natalie Waltho, I confess that I was a member of the court, with Frank Smith, that restored Natalie to fellowship and membership in good standing.  As I have already confessed to Pastor Schwertley, that was a gross error on my part and I continue to regret it to this day.  Natalie never attended worship after she was restored.

I left the pastorate of Grace Christian Reformation Presbyterian Church, Menasha, Wisconsin, in September of 2008 pursuant to a pastoral call to a PCA congregation in Ellisville, Mississippi.  After I left, the congregation continued for more than one year.  However, it has come to my attention from one of the members of that congregation that Frank Smith, independent of the RPCGA or the RPCNA, "ordained" Fred Fleming as the pastor of the Church and made Fred the moderator of some new Presbytery that Frank formed.  It is interesting to note that Fred Fleming's ordination--by his own admission to me on more than one occasion--was from an internet Universalist Church.  According to Fred, his ordination was mailed to him after he sent of $10 for the certificate. 

Again, I deeply regret the unlawful restoration of Natalie Waltho and have repented of that error.  After several conversations with Pastor Schwertley over the past couple of years along with personal knowledge of many of the events that took place subsequent to his secession from the CRPC, I am completely unaware of any wrongdoing on Pastor Schwertley's part and can personally attest to the fact that he has been the victim of character assassinations on the part of Frank Smith, Dan Gibson and Geoff Donnan.  It is my sincerest prayer and desire to see Pastor Schwertley's reputation restored so that he can peacefully continue the good work of the Gospel to which Christ Jesus has called him.

If you have any further questions, or need further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours Aye and Semper Fidelis,
Rev. Justin B. "Piper" Stodghill, Captain/USMC (ret.)

Appendix B: November 28, 2010 Meeting with Sheboygan Elders

            The elders from the real Manawa church (now Westminster Presbyterian Church of Waupaca County) met with the elders of Frank Smith’s old church in Sheboygan and we were informed that they had nothing to do with the formation or organization of the so-called continuing church. At this meeting (Nov. 28, 2010) they said that after Justin Stodghill and Frank Smith left, they instructed the people in the continuing church saying, “You guys need to reconcile yourselves with Brian…. They [the people in the continuing church] had their own problems with that. At that point I’m thinking you people do not even understand proper church government; you don’t understand covenanting; you need to get reconciled with the people you walked away from…. We recognized their unwillingness to take good counsel and the sin that was involved.” After the Sheboygan elders were asked, “To the best of your knowledge, do you believe or think that Jim and Beverly [Brown] followed Matthew 18 and 1 Timothy 5:19? Do you have any evidence that they did at all?” One of the Sheboygan elders answered, “I would say in good conscience that I could not answer that question. I do not know.”

            We were also informed at this meeting that Ron DeTroye, who Frank Smith placed on the session of the so-called continuing church, did not know he was listed as a member of that session at the time that Rev. Schwertley was charged and he did not take part in the meeting or vote to charge Rev. Schwertley. In other words, the charges originated with Frank Smith and did not even originate from a legitimate session meeting. Regarding Marty Waltho we were told, “It seems to me that Marty is only into them [the so-called continuing church] for the sole purpose of getting his [excommunicated] daughter restored…. He [Marty Waltho] was only up there for a brief period of time…about the time they restored her Marty was gone.”

            We also learned at this meeting that after Marty Waltho had been removed from the rolls for not attending church for six months without an excuse [i.e. minor excommunication with rebuke] that at a presbytery meeting Frank Smith and Justin Stodghill attempted to get the minor excommunication reversed (apparently Marty Waltho had complained to either Frank Smith, Justin Stodghill or both). At this meeting the motion to reverse this judgment failed because the elders at Sheboygan believed the ruling was correct and just. Then after Justin Stodghill moved to Mississippi and Frank Smith was fired and moved to Georgia to work for the RPCNA, Frank Smith fabricated a letter representing the Presbytery of the Midwest (which at this time no longer existed [Sheboygan severed their relationship with the Menasha church]) removing the sanction of minor excommunication against Marty Waltho, replacing it with a letter of standing. Even though the Presbytery of the Midwest no longer exists and the supposed continuing church has for all intents and purposes ceased to exist, Frank Smith has kept up the charade that the Presbytery still exists, even though apparently the only people still involved are Fred Fleming who wears clericals and pretends to be a minister and Jim Brown who reportedly Frank Smith has appointed as an elder.

            Before the meeting ended, the elders at Sheboygan acknowledged that they have not seen any evidence that Matthew 18:15ff or 1 Timothy 5:19 were ever followed. And they said that they never, ever regarded the preaching station in New London as a continuing Manawa church. In addition, they indicated they would be willing to give us a statement regarding Matthew 18 and 1 Timothy not being followed, however, they do not want to stir up a hornets’ nest with Frank Smith. Since they have continued to drag their feet on releasing a statement, we have given a summary of the meeting instead.       

No comments: