MSOP: The Meroz School Of Preaching

Jerry C Brewer

 So long as the church is in the world, controversy is inevitable. Spiritual warfare is the theme of the Bible, from Genesis through Revelation. It is the ongoing struggle between good and evil. It is chronicled in Holy Writ from the tempta-tion of Eve in Genesis to the war between the Lamb and the beast in Revelation, and it was a principal characteristic of Jesus’ life and personal ministry.

The continuing spiritual battles that men must wage is figuratively alluded to in Paul’s reference to the “whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:10-17),  his admonition to Timothy to, “war a good warfare” (1 Tim. 1:18), to, “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Tim. 6:12), and his charge to, “endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim. 2:3). In those battles, there is no middle ground. Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matt. 12:30). Our spiritual battles are either fought in Christ’s kingdom for His cause, or in Satan’s kingdom to advance his.

The city of Meroz,is mentioned only once in the Bible, subsequent to the battle in which Deborah and Barak defeated Jabin’s Canaanites led by Sisera (Judges 4). Meroz remained indifferent to the battle of God’s people, refusing to come to their aid, and in the song of victory by Deborah and Barak, they said, “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty” (Judges 5:23). God could—and did—defeat the Canaanites without the help of Meroz, but the lesson is that if one claims to be a child of God, he cannot remain neutral in spiritual battles.

If there was anything good that could be said about Meroz, it would be noted that they did not actively oppose the Lord’s people. They just turned a blind eye to the battle. On the other hand, both things can be said today of the Memphis School Of Preaching (MSOP) concerning Dave Miller. When Miller’s false doctrines became widely known in 2005, the MSOP administration, staff, and faculty jumped aboard his bandwagon, defending him and opposing faithful brethren who called for his repentance. Their claim was that brethren were being hateful to Miller because, according to them, he “had repented.” That claim is, of course, false. In all of Dave Miller’s public writings and pronounce-ments in the ensuing years since then, he has never once confessed sin or uttered the words, “I repent.”

Miller’s elevation to the directorship of Apologetics Press (AP) in 2005 brought him paeans from financial and prestigious interests—especially in Alabama. Miller, who had replaced Bert Thompson at AP amid objections from faithful brethren, was instrumental in the unscriptural elder reevaluation/ reconfirmation process at Brown Trail in Ft. Worth in 1991. He also taught the false doctrine that two married people may divorce without the scriptural reason if they did not “intend” to marry—false teachings of which he has never repented.

Miller’s errors created a great schism in the church between those who opposed them, and those who defended him. Many of us who oppose his errors have pondered the great paradox of his defenders, who in previous decades would have opposed such error, yet wink at his. After 13 years, the only logical conclusion is that there has arisen in the church a cabal whose interests are actually limited to funding their pet projects and not to the “faith once delivered.” Keith Mosher confirmed that, though he probably did not intend to do so, during the open forum in the Sunny Slope church’s lectureship in Paducah, Kentucky, July 15, 2006. His allegiance to “works” (pet projects) was evident when he said,

     His tirade against what he called a “vile” group was directed at men like Michael Hatcher, David P. Brown, Dub McClish, and others of us who have spoken and written against Miller’s errors.  I find it strange that Mosher is more concerned with, “nine good works” than he is the faith once delivered. He also surmised evil against them saying, “This isn’t about Dave Miller,” and attributing their motives to an attempt to destroy “nine good works.” What those “nine good works” were, he never explained, but it would probably not be far amiss to say that one of them is Apologetics Press.

On May 24, 2005 Bert Thompson was fired as director of AP and Dave Miller was appointed to replace him. That announcement was made one week later in an “open letter” from the elders Palm Beach Lakes church. The motley combination of a board of directors and elder oversight of AP (a thing unknown in the New Testament) was noted in that letter which stated, “For the past eighteen months, the eldership of the Palm Beach Lakes church of Christ has overseen the work of Dr. Bert Thompson and Apologetics Press. With great sorrow, on May 24, 2005, this eldership supported the Board of Directors when they terminated Dr. Bert’s association with A.P.” Along with the letter was a plea for financial support, which included the following statement:

     The late Curtis Cates was Director of Memphis School of Preaching when he signed the letter of support, while claiming that he did not support Miller’s errors, and later defended Miller. Since that time, MSOP directors who succeeded him—Bobby Liddell and current director, B. J. Clarke—have also defended Miller. Barry Grider, preacher at Forest Hill in Memphis, and teacher in MSOP, also signed it. Robert Taylor and Garland Elkins, who both signed the letter, publicly stated their opposition to reevaluation and reaffirmation of elders, but Taylor continues to remain silent about Miller and his false doctrines, and Garland Elkins uttered not another word before his death. After actively opposing those who exposed Miller’s false doctrines, MSOP may now be properly characterized as the “Meroz School Of Preaching.”At the beginning of the controversy, they had ample opportunity to discuss these matters in an all-day open forum conducted Feb. 28, 2006 during the Annual Contending For The Faith Spring Lectureship in Spring, Texas. The Spring elders, Kenneth D. Cohn and Buddy Roth, planned the forum on that date to bring brethren together and openly discuss Miller and his doctrines, and contracted with the Online Academy of Biblical Studies (OABS) to provide internet coverage of the forum. They publicly invited Miller and his staff at AP; the Palm Beach Lakes elders; the administration and faculty of MSOP; the elders of the Forest Hill church in Memphis who oversee MSOP, and their preacher; the Bellview church’s elders and their preacher from Pensacola, Fla.; elders and preacher of the Roanoke, Texas church; Frank Chesser, Montgomery, Ala.; elders and preacher of the Southside church in Lubbock, Texas; Dub McClish; the Southwest elders and director of the Southwest School of Biblical Studies in Austin, Texas; Ken Ratcliff, elder of the Schertz, Texas church and board member of The Gospel Journal; and David Watson, preacher and elder, Sapulpa, Okla. (Contending For The Faith, Jan., 2006, p. 5). Of the approximately 40 individuals invited, only three accepted. To further silence Miller’s critics, OABS reneged on its commitment to provide internet coverage of the forum only 24 hours before it was scheduled.

And to this day, the powers that be—and their fellow travelers—in the OABS/MSOP/SWSBS/AP/TGJ cabal, continue to stand by Miller and his errors in silence. “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty” (Judges 5:23).

Source: July 2018. Jerry C. Brewer. Bulletin Sound Doctrine. Sent early by email. Published Weekly By The Northeast church of Christ. P. O. Box 267, Elk City, Oklahoma 73648. Volume 13, No. 19. July 22, 2018.

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