by Al Maxey

Issue #434 ------- March 5, 2010
Birds in their little nests agree;
And 'tis a shameful sight,
When children of one family
Fall out, and chide, and fight.

Isaac Watts {1674-1748}

2010 Lucifer Lectures
Satan's Sad Spring Spectacle

Let dogs delight to bark and bite,
For God hath made them so;
Let bears and lions growl and fight,
For 'tis their nature to.

But, children, you should never let
Such angry passions rise;
Your little hands were never made
To tear each other's eyes.

The above words, which are part of a hymn, were penned by Dr. Isaac Watts (1674-1748), who was one of the great hymn writers for the Body of Christ Jesus. If you are not familiar with this great Christian brother, I would urge you to carefully examine my tribute to him in Reflections #347 -- The Dissident Hymnist: Reflective Analysis of the Life & Work of Dr. Isaac Watts. Brother Isaac Watts, who produced such beloved hymns as "The Lord My Shepherd Is," "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross," "Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed?," "How Shall The Young Secure Their Hearts?," "I'm Not Ashamed To Own My Lord," "We're Marching To Zion" and "Joy To The World" (to note just a few of his many works), expressed his great horror, in the stanzas of the above quoted hymn, over the countless vicious assaults being inflicted upon the children of God by the children of God (or, I should say, by those who professed to be children of God). The apostle John makes it quite clear that how we treat one another is central to determining whether we are children of God or children of the devil [1 John 2:9f; 3:10f; 4:7f]. "Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. ... Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him" [1 John 3:12,15].

The Lord Jesus boldly rebuked the hardened religious leaders of the Jews time and again for their cantankerous, rancorous spirit, and for the fact that they refused to accept anything He taught. If Jesus said it, they were against it; if Jesus did it, they attacked it. "Why is My language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father the devil" [John 8:43-44]. They had become so deluded by their dogma and tradition that they truly couldn't grasp Truth when it stood right before them! Indeed, they not only couldn't perceive the truths He sought to convey to them, but they were so outraged by His teaching that they were determined to rid the earth of Him. "You are ready to kill Me, because you have no room for My word" [vs. 37]. They were of their father the devil, who has been a murderer from the beginning of time. "You are determined to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. You are doing the very things your own father does" [vs. 40-41a]. The leaders He rebuked were outraged: "The only Father we have is God Himself," they cried [vs. 41b]. Jesus disagreed: "You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" [vs. 44].

Jesus Christ often confronted the mindset of these rigid religionists and tenacious traditionalists, and He did so with great boldness and even aggressiveness. They were leading the people of God into actions and attitudes contrary to God's will. When dealing with such men one must not mince words. Jesus lashed out at them not only with whips (as He did in the Temple courts), but also with words. Christ's words, though, were never intended to be heartless personal attacks on any one man, nor upon the family of such a man, but were rather intended to expose and demolish a particular mindset of a particular group, as well as its many misguided dogmas. And when it came to these legalistic leaders, Jesus unleashed a righteous fury against them that should strike fear in the hearts of similar men today. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites (pretenders)" [Matt. 23:13]. He called their converts "twice as much a son of hell" as they were [vs. 15]. He characterized these people as "blind fools" [vs. 17] and "blind guides" [vs. 24]; gnat-straining camel swallowers [vs. 24]; greedy, self-indulgent; outwardly clean, inwardly corrupt [vs. 25-28]; murderers [vs. 31-32]; snakes; a brood of vipers [vs. 33]. "How will you escape being condemned to hell?" [vs. 33].

Jesus Christ loved the Jewish leaders enough to die on a cross for them, but He loathed what they, as a group, had become, for these men were leading the people of God down a pathway to destruction. Therefore, Jesus went after them, as a group, as well as after their teaching, with a righteous indignation that astounded the crowds who witnessed these exchanges. There was little doubt in the minds of the people where Jesus stood on the matter of these leaders: they were the children of the devil, and He made a point of specifically saying so!! Brethren, we need to realize that these people still exist today!! These vicious, venomous vipers are still slithering about among us, seeking to draw the children of God, as well as the lost of this world, away from freedom in Christ and into their realm of bondage to legalistic, patternistic dogma. Their father is the great serpent/dragon of old, the "accuser of our brothers," the devil, Satan [Rev. 12:9-10]. And yes, these little serpents, who serve the great serpent, are still, like their father the devil, "accusing the brethren" and seeking to make their lives a "living hell." But, what else would one expect from "sons of hell"?! As with dogs who delight in barking, and as with bears and lions who growl and fight -- it is their nature.

This was demonstrated quite perfectly this week in Spring, Texas (just outside of Houston) at the 2010 Contending for the Faith Lectures, which were held from Sunday, February 28 to Wednesday, March 3. The theme of this series was "Profiles in Apostasy." Various CFTF leaders, writers and disciples of this very ultra-legalistic and contentious mindset gathered at the Spring Church of Christ to hear a number of speakers "expose the error" of about 24 books written by Church of Christ authors who are deemed to be "heretics" and "apostates" by these men. The entire series may be watched on stored videos at the Lectureship Archive. These brethren never contacted me personally about this event, but others who had seen their published schedule informed me that my book Down, But Not Out would be one of the books reviewed. This took place on Sunday at 5 p.m. The reviewer was Lester Kamp, a preacher in Denver, Colorado for a congregation of eight people. I later learned that my book would be the subject of yet another review by Daniel Denham, a preacher from Newport News, Virginia, at 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Denham had originally planned to review a number of books, but decided to reduce it down to my book and one by Olan Hicks, both of which dealt with divorce and remarriage. Then, just by accident, I discovered that the bulk of the two Open Forums on both Tuesday and Wednesday (at 3:30 p.m.) were devoted to me personally, as well as my wife. At these forums they even showed pictures of Shelly and me, dug up emails I had written from years past, and allowed a series of speakers to make personal attacks against my family and me.

Needless to say, I was very much surprised that the focus of the CFTF Lectures had taken on a somewhat different direction -- these speakers seemed obsessed with attacking Al Maxey. Not just my book, but my character, my ministry, and even my military service in Vietnam. This is something these men had actually done a few years back in a flurry of emails to one another (which they had CC'd to me for my "edification"). For example, on October 27, 2008, Mr. Michael Hatcher (a preacher in Pensacola, Florida) wrote, "I understand at one time Al was in the military. I surely hope our military men have more of a backbone than the spineless cowardly Al, or this nation's military is in more trouble than I thought." Darrell Broking, a former preacher, but now a middle school teacher, laughingly suggested that my time in Vietnam was spent hiding and smoking dope!! Then, during their Open Forum a few days ago, this same Michael Hatcher lifted a picture of me in a guard tower in Vietnam from my web page and projected it onto the large screen at the CFTF Lectures, again soliciting laughter at the fact that I placed my life on the line in service to this country in a combat helicopter squadron in the Mekong Delta of South Vietnam. This was all quite amusing to these "spiritual leaders" from the Contending for the Faith Lectures, but I personally found it to be in extreme poor taste. At a time when our military men and women are fighting and dying on foreign fields of battle, to have these portly patternists sitting around guffawing at a picture of a man in the uniform of this nation on a field of battle made my blood boil. I watched good men die right before my eyes to protect the freedoms these men laughingly abused. These little lords of legalism are beneath contempt!! I have zero respect for such people!! They are an embarrassment to the Body of Christ!!

If one had never read any of the good books being reviewed during this four day marathon of blood-letting, one might think that the scholarship of these reviewers was "sound." After all, they spoke with boldness and confidence, and they seemed to act like they knew what they were talking about. However, for those listeners who HAD read these books, and who knew the authors personally, as is true of many of us, it became obvious very quickly that many quotes were being lifted out of context and then twisted to the speaker's purpose (to prove the author an apostate). Indeed, some of the speakers simply LIED about what the authors of these books taught (perhaps hoping the audience would just accept their word on this and never read the books for themselves). Some of us knew they were proclaiming falsehoods, however ... and we challenged them on it. This did not go over well with these leaders. A brother by the name of Frank Gunnels, who happens to be one of my friends on Facebook, and who was in the crowd during one of these forums, approached the front of the auditorium and informed David Brown that the person who had reviewed Cecil Hook's book "Free in Christ" (a fabulous book, by the way ... I knew Cecil personally for many years) had spoken falsely about Cecil's beliefs. The reviewer had declared Cecil believed that the BIBLE was the source of our divisions. Frank read the quote from Cecil's own book that proved this false. It was not the Bible, said Cecil, but rather the way legalists were taking their VIEWS on the Bible and seeking to impose them as law that was the source of the division. Such manipulation of quotes went on in other reviews as well (including the review of my book). David Brown immediately began trying to redirect the focus of this discussion, sending Frank off "chasing rabbits" so as to get past this accusation against his buddies. When Frank kept coming back to the challenge, he was finally forced to sit down and shut up. I wrote Frank and applauded his courage. I can assure you, he will have some tough days ahead as the attacks begin against him and his family for his attempt to shine a light on the tactics of these legalists.

A host of ridiculous assertions were made with regard to my own book -- far too many to attempt to refute within this present article. The best refutation, however, is simply what I wrote in my book. The speakers who reviewed it would hope that you WON'T read it, for if you should do so, you will discover very quickly that their accusations are false. For example, Lester Kamp stated that because of the fact that the "exception clause" appears only in the gospel record of Matthew (not in the parallel account of Mark), and since the apostle Paul never mentioned it, that Al Maxey wanted to throw this clause out of the Bible. He stated this several times. I wanted to toss out the words of Jesus BECAUSE they only appeared in Matthew. In fact, he asked the question, "How many times does something have to be stated by Jesus for it to be true?" The answer, of course, is only once. I never stated that I wanted to throw out this clause. NEVER!! I wrote David Brown and pointed this out to him. However, in the forum, when he read to the audience my email to him, he completely missed the point, and he kept declaring that Al Maxey DID TOO declare that the clause only appeared in Matthew. Yes I did, but that was NOT my point!! Yes, it is a FACT that only Matthew mentions this clause. I stated this fact in my book. What I DID NOT STATE in my book was that BECAUSE OF this fact I wanted to THROW OUT the clause. David Brown, who has a PhD, for some reason could not grasp this distinction, and in the course of mocking me for my email only humiliated himself in the eyes of those perceptive enough to see my point. To Lester Kamp's credit, he came up a few minutes later (clearly he was aware of what I was saying), and he attempted to explain how it was Al's INTENT to throw out the passage (even though I had never said this) by INTERPRETING the passage differently than him. Therefore, Mr. Kamp said, he stood by his accusation that I wanted to throw it out (although he was now providing a different motivation for me wanting to do so than previously specified).

Daniel Denham claimed that Olan Hicks and I teach that marriage is all about SEX -- that if a spouse can't provide sex, then we have a God-given right to divorce them and go get a woman who can. He gave the illustration of a woman who was physically incapacitated for some reason (stroke, car wreck, etc.) and confined to a nursing facility. He spoke of the heartless husband walking in and informing her that he was divorcing her because she could not give him sex, and Suzy over there could. He declared this is the teaching of Al Maxey and Olan Hicks. Mr. Denham, IF that was indeed my teaching, and it is not, I would instantly disfellowship MYSELF. I have never taught such nonsense, and I challenge anyone to show me in my book, or in any of my writings, where I EVER said such a thing. Denham LIED about my teaching in his review. Sadly, however, most of those who heard him that day will never check out his statement, and thus will believe this lie about me. I think I'm beginning to understand very well how Jesus and the apostles must have felt as they heard lie after lie after lie about what they taught and practiced ... all coming from the religious leaders (just as the same slander comes from the same source today).

A couple of people, who happen to be good friends of mine, and who just happen to live in the north Houston area, attended the talk on my book that was given by Lester Kamp. Their unique perspective, which they freely shared with me, was quite interesting. One brother, for example, wrote a long two-page letter in which he said (in part): "Brother Al, I live just about six miles from the Spring Church of Christ building, so I thought to myself that maybe you could use a spy to infiltrate the Lectures and find out what they have to say about your book. So, yesterday I attended the Contending for the Faith Lectures from 5 p.m. until 5:50 p.m. Luckily, I came away without a scratch. You will be happy to learn that your book fared just as well. The lecture by Lester Kamp was well-attended; I would guess that there were about 100 to 120 people in the pews (in an auditorium that could seat about 200). Mr. Kamp offered very little substance to prove his assertions that your book is contrary to Scripture. I think we were all supposed to just accept that your explanations were wrong because he said so. I would bet that most of the people in the room already believed you were a false teacher long before they arrived at the building last night. Instead of a lecture, it was more like a rallying of the troops. Al, you are doing a good work, and the legalists do not know how to refute you because you have the Truth. Carry on, Al, and God bless you! Oh yeah, have a Happy Birthday tomorrow."

Bro. John Modgling, a dear brother and a preacher of the gospel, has also been following the spectacle in Spring. He finally had enough and wrote David Brown and the other speakers: "Brethren, I want to express my thanks for making this lectureship available to us live on the Internet. While the level of your speakers' scholarship is deplorable, and their grasp of Scripture somewhat embarrassing, yet they've done a wonderful job of turning me on to some seemingly very good reading. I truly look forward to reading the books that your speakers have been so kind as to advertise for free. I am sure that the authors appreciate the free publicity as well. Again, thank you very much!" I can't speak for the other authors that were featured in this lectureship, but I can testify that my own book sales have increased quite dramatically in the last week!! So, let me add my thanks also!! As for Bro. Modgling, he signed his name to his email to David Brown, and the latter managed to find John's picture on Facebook, and so he lifted it without permission and projected this picture and this email on the large screen before his audience ... and then began trying to tear John apart before the crowd (even referring to him as a Christian Church preacher). This prompted John to wisely inform his Facebook friends that the CFTF crowd was scouring his friends list to see what names and dirt they could dig up. "This man, and those with him, are very capable of taking any information that they may find abut you and using it against you in very vicious and demonic ways. Please be on the lookout for David Brown, and I apologize for letting your names get into the hands of such men." Yes, they are vicious, and they will resort to any means available to destroy anyone who dares to differ with them. David Brown made it very clear in the course of this lectureship that men like Al Maxey need to be "dealt with," and that they intend to "do just that." Apparently, Al Maxey has become the new "poster child" for liberalism in the church, and will be "dealt with" by the leaders of Contending for the Faith. In response to John's email, David Brown wrote back (in part), "If the false teachers whose books we have refuted 'enjoy' this kind of 'free publicity,' then we intend to give them even more cause for rejoicing in the future."

A minister from the great state of Texas wrote, "Brother Al, I want you to know that I really love your book Down, But Not Out, and I am going to buy a copy for our church library here. It's a wonderful work. Brother, I am saddened by the Contending for the Faith Lectures this week. Yes, they have taken things totally out of context in their review of your book! I want you to know that you need to just keep on doing what you are presently doing. You are making a true kingdom difference!! You have challenged and changed my faith, and I believe your writings on marriage and divorce are the best on the subject that I have ever read. So, let me encourage you, brother." I certainly do appreciate the words of encouragement from this brother and from all of you who wrote to say how horrified you were at the godless spirit evidenced in the recent spectacle in Spring, Texas. I also am gratified at the continued support of my book on the problem of divorce and the stigma of subsequent marriages. I pray that it'll keep on blessing those whose lives have taken a terrible turn, giving them the hope from God's Word that His love and grace are present for their healing. Last, to the men who conducted the lectureship in Spring, Texas, I truly pray that your eyes will be opened to the great damage you are inflicting upon the Body of Christ by your attitudes and actions. What you have done this past week, before the eyes of the world (via the Internet), has glorified no one but Satan, and it has done much harm to the cause of Jesus Christ. May you turn from your ways and begin contending for the Faith, not against it.

Down, But Not Out
A Study of Divorce and Remarriage
in Light of God's Healing Grace

A 200 page book by Al Maxey
Publisher: (301) 695-1707

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Readers' Reflections

From a Reader in Missouri:

Bro. Al, I know it seems so small in comparison to all that you do, but the day that you and Shelly came to us, at the most nightmarish time in our lives, is something we cannot even tell you just how much we appreciated. We further appreciate all of your hours of study and preparation put into helping us come to understand the LOVE of our God, and in helping us to break free of the treacherous fears that we were raised with. Thank You!! Such small words, but they are from the heart of us both!!

From a Reader in Oklahoma:

Brother Al, I have just read your latest issue of Reflections in which you reference the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. I also read your article on this parable (Issue #28). In our class on Wednesday night this parable was used in a discussion of the issue of accepting God's grace. The conclusion was that the rich man did not accept God's grace, but Lazarus did. Like you, I do not believe "the afterlife" is the teaching point of the parable. My thinking is that the point Jesus was making is that the rich man did not follow the Law of Moses (in that he did not provide for Lazarus as required). Nothing in this parable references whether either character worshipped properly or followed the correct provisions of the Law with respect to rites and rituals. Far too often our focus, when it comes to obedience, is limited to compliance with doing things right, rather than with doing the right things. Brother, I appreciate all your efforts in enlightening us as to what the Scriptures really teach, not what men think they teach. I fear that the biblical scholarship within most of our brotherhood is nowhere near what some think it is!

From a Reader in Texas:

Dear Brother Maxey, I just wanted to wish you a very Happy Birthday, and also to share a few thoughts with you. I watched the Contending for the Faith lecture regarding your book. Isn't it amazing how someone like Lester Kamp can play with words the way he did?! I think the biggest thing I noticed was that Mr. Kamp touched on very little except for Matthew 19:9. He claims that this Scripture is very clear, but then he adds all types of theories to it. I also noticed that Mr. Kamp (along with most who teach the traditional theory on MDR) never mentions 1 Corinthians 7:27-28. It seems strange to me how they always quote certain passages, but they will never mention this one. I guess Mr. Kamp and his congregation of eight figure that they are the only ones who have it all figured out enough to make it to heaven. Al, my wife and I are eagerly looking forward to meeting you and Shelly at The Tulsa Workshop. I just booked our room today. May God continue to bless your ministry.

From a Reader in Tennessee:

Brother Al, I have recently come across your writings and greatly appreciate your work!! I truly believe that your work is shining a bright light in an area of great need. Being a young guy, like I am, I'm a frequent user of several of the social media platforms that have popped up over the last few years. I am sure that you have heard of Twitter. I believe it could be used as a very effective way to spread your message even farther throughout the world. I would offer my services in helping with this if you would be interested.

From a Reader in Connecticut:

Bro. Al, It is a pleasure to read, study and ponder your thoughts each week. My wife and I are so thankful that God has allowed us to find you and partake of your knowledge. As she will very readily tell you, Al Maxey, above anyone else, saved me from myself, and from eternal damnation, I am sure! You gave me hope, and, more importantly, you convinced me not to give up during a very dark period of my life!! You have taught me that there are things worth fighting for outside of one's own personal survival. Without swelling your head too much, I hope that I have conveyed just how much I truly appreciate you!! I sometimes wonder if this is how Timothy must have felt when learning from the trials of Paul. I have learned that there are throngs of my fellow brothers and sisters who are suffering in silence from the polluted and divisive doctrines of so many. While I know that your journey, as well as Shelly's, has not been easy in many ways, rest assured that you are having a powerful positive impact for change upon people!! Each of your lessons is filled with love, and as my wife and I read each issue of Reflections we sense not one ounce of malice or boasting. The humble, and yet very bold, approach you take has focused our hearts, minds and spirits to never give up, but rather to look to our eternal Father and continue to trust in Him.

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