Those Unanswered Questions
by Gene Frost
May 14, 2000
"There is a time when things need to be stated plainly. When one knows what he believes on a particular subject, he should be willing to let others know what he believes. He should not try to deceive people in getting them to think he believes something which he does not. Such is characteristic of false teachers." - Ron Milliner.
I agree. That's why when I was questioned by Ron as to what I believe, I answered his questions without delay. For one to remain silent, after repeated efforts to get him to reciprocate, is certainly cause to wonder why he behaves in a way that he says is characteristic of a false teacher. If he is not hiding what he believes, then why the silence?
In the February issue (downloaded the first of March) of The Seeker, in his article, "Tell us Plainly", Ron Milliner addressed some ten questions to me. I answered all of them in my response, "'Tell Us Plainly,' Please Do." In his next article, "The Three Musketeers," he falsely declared that I had ignored his questions. In my last article, "No Attempt to 'Tell Us Plainly'," I showed that I had answered them, and I also answered his quibbles. In closing that article, I made the following observation from my dealings with Milliner and the Welch faction:
"I know the tactic Milliner and his associates use. They ask questions and demand answers, hoping to keep their opponent on the defensive. Yet, when asked questions, they are silent ... except to present more quibbles to keep the opponent busy, hoping that the reader will forget they have not answered. I plan to keep these questions alive, and demand of Milliner what he demands of me."
I am not a prophet or the son of a prophet, but I stated exactly what Milliner would do. He and his associates are so predictable. Upon reading my response, "'Tell Us Plainly,' Please Do," friends of mine commented: "You don't really expect Ronny Milliner to answer those questions, do you?" "He will never answer those questions." Yes, I know that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to get him to forthrightly answer them. Even so, I do not intend to let him forget them. I plan to keep them before the readers.
Sure enough, as I predicted, he delays, making demands that we first answer additional questions:
"Brother Frost has asked seven questions in his latest article. I have answered brother Frost's questions and have saved the file. I will be most happy to post my answers to those questions, when these brethren have answered the above questions. As noted above, some of these brethren have proven themselves untrustworthy. I have been trying to get plain, simple answers for months now. Why do they delay? My answers are ready; what about theirs?"
Ron, deal with me. You asked me questions, and I have answered them. I cited the references in my last article. In turn I have asked you questions: why do you delay? You reference three of us in your articles, and obviously your point is that all three are to answer all questions in your article. I don't answer questions addressed to others. Deal directly with me. The questions you asked me, I answered. I suppose I could do in kind and address some of your associates in the Welch party, and wait for answers from everyone to all of the questions. That certainly would bog down a discussion and confuse the exchange. That is the tactic of false teachers. For error to succeed, it relies on confusion. Truth has to be clear and focused. If you think for a moment you are teaching the truth, then address my questions and deal with my arguments as I have with yours!
In Fashion As A Man
We entered this discussion with Ron Milliner because he falsely accused me of believing and teaching that Jesus was not really a man, but just appeared to be a man. He cited a statement that I made which was an observation of Paul's statement in Philippians 2:7-8, where he wrote that Jesus "made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." I noted that Paul said "that Jesus was not in fashion a man, but 'as a man.'" This is what the text says. There is a reason why Paul said that Jesus was "found in fashion as a man," and I discussed the context. It would be interesting to hear Ron Milliner explain why Paul said "in fashion as a man" instead of "in fashion a man." My noting this fact, Ron Milliner says proves that I believe that Jesus just appeared to be a man. His surmising is not true. I have corrected him, and those before him, stating plainly that I do not believe that Jesus just appeared to be a man. Nor do I believe this was what Paul meant by saying Jesus was in fashion as a man.
To make this false charge, and especially after being corrected, makes Ron Milliner guilty of lying against me with malice aforethought. I have called for proof of his charge. Let him cite the article, give the reference, where I ever said that Jesus just appeared to be a man. He does not because he cannot. But does this stop this man from being a false accuser? No; he persists, and tries to justify it. (In his article addressed to Tim Haile, "Brother Haile Plainly Admits...," he addresses me in two sections, "Not in Fashion a Man" and "Who's the Better Man," to which I now refer.) Milliner tries to justify his false charge that I believe Jesus just appeared to be a man, despite my denial that I believe any such thing:
"What I object to is brother Frost's statement 'that Jesus was not in fashion a man, but "as a man."'
I want the reader to understand that Ron does not quote the complete sentence. I do not start sentences with the first word in lower case. He leaves off the first word. Why does he omit the word, "Note..."? The word means "to make observations," to "refer to," or to "point out." Obviously, I was referring to something in the context of my writing. To what was I referring? In what context was I making an observation? My reference was to what Paul said in Philippians 2, and I observed what he actually said, putting it in quotations. The quotation was what the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2. This shows to what I was referring. Only a malicious desire to find some fault could cause one to miss the point, or seeing the point to deliberately misrepresent it. This raises the question as to why Milliner omits the word of reference: is Ron that poor of a reader, or did he understand that I was referring to what the apostle said and deleted it so as to misrepresent what I said? Only by misrepresenting me could he make his case. Is there no shame? Will he continue to slander me?
Ron, did Paul in Philippians 2 say that Jesus was in fashion a man or in fashion as a man? Tell us plainly. My statement was in reference to what Paul said in Philippians 2, and in context that is the truth. But, now look at what Ron does. He turns to a different context and says:
"Paul referred to Jesus as a man (1 Timothy 2:5)."
In a different context, so do I. In November 1992, I presented six lessons with printed outlines. In the text I wrote:
"The Word became a man: Phil. 2:7-8." "In becoming a man, Jesus humbled Himself: Phil. 2:8." "Was He then a man? Yes: Heb. 2:9-15."
In the January 1993 issue of the Gospel Anchor, I wrote an article entitled, "The Man, Jesus." The first subtitle was: "He Was A Man." I pointed out what constitutes the being of man, and concluded,
"So it was with Jesus." "As a man, Jesus lived." "The humanity of Jesus was never questioned. The people saw Him. He ate, slept, wept, became tired, expressed anger - He showed all of the emotions and physical frailties of mankind."
It is dishonest to take a statement out of its context and quote it in a different context. To take my statement in the context of Philippians 2 and use it in a general context is dishonest. Ron maliciously states, "I, like Paul, believe that Jesus was man. It is Gene Frost who says that Jesus was not 'a man.'" Did you note that "a man" is in quotes? That quotation is from the apostle Paul. Milliner could as easily have misrepresented the apostle Paul. He could say, "I believe that Jesus was a man. It is the apostle Paul who says in Philippians 2 that Jesus was in fashion as a man; he did not say Jesus was a man. That means that Paul believes that Jesus just appeared to be a man!" You see, Milliner cannot stay within a context and make his case. He arrays statements against each other by shifting from one context to another.
Milliner delights in searching through the writings of an opponent to find a statement, which is true in a particular context but is not so in a different context, and then pretend the statement in the different context is what he believes!
His Modus Operandi
Just here I want to make another observation, and this concerns Ronny Milliner's modus operandi in quoting others. He reminds me of the wicked Pharisees and Scribes, who scrutinized everything that Jesus said, seeking to catch Him in something He might say, that they might accuse Him. (Luke 11:54) His enemies resorted to misquoting Him and quoting Him out of context. (Matt. 26:61) The Scriptures describe them as "false witnesses." When I first became involved in the deity of Christ controversy, the Welch party scoured the country in searching of sermons, debates, and articles by me so that they could "take hold of my words" to my hurt. Various brethren have told me that they were approached by members of the Welch faction, who were seeking to obtain such material. One church where I preached on the deity of Christ at their request informed me that the tape recording of the lesson has been removed from their library. They don't have it, but it is being quoted by the Welch party. It is obvious from the many sources that Ronny and others quote that he has a tremendous collection of statements lifted from many brethren. They use incomplete statements, statements out of context, and misrepresent statements. I have documented where this is true of others. I know it is true concerning what I say and write, the present quotation of my observation of Philippians 2 being an example. I have learned that when Milliner and his associates quote a brother not to take it seriously; they cannot be trusted. Of course, it takes time to research every quotation, and that is why Ronny gives quote after quote of brethren and asks me to comment. He would like for me to spend valuable time in "chasing rabbits." Even then, when we find that he misuses the quotations of others, we have to deal with numerous quibbles. A case in point is his false charge that I believe that Jesus only appeared to be a man. How many times have I corrected his false charge in article after article? ... and still he quibbles. That's why I refuse to try to track down every misuse he makes of quotations. I am content to discuss the Scriptures with him. When you read his articles and leave out all of his references to who said what, and whether I agree with them as he represents them, there is precious little to which to respond. This is a tactic of false teachers: they want to confuse the issue so that readers in disgust will turn away. I have already wasted a lot of time in answering Ron's quibbles. He has lied about what I believe. He cannot prove what he charges because there is no truth in what he says. But he continues unashamedly with quibble after quibble. He possibly hopes that I will quit the discussion in disgust. Not so; after he has exhausted all of his quibbles, and unless he repents and confesses his sin, I will continue to post that Ron Milliner is a false witness, that he misrepresents what I believe and falsely charges me.
Who Is The Better Man?
Welch Apologizes For His False Teaching
Under the subtitle of "Who Is The Better Man," Ronny Milliner leaves all pretense of dealing with issues to level a personal attack. In so doing, he rewrites history and relates fiction rather than facts.
First, he says that Welch is a better man because when his errors are pointed out, he apologizes, but when he points out my "errors" (like believing that Jesus just appeared to be a man, as he falsely charges), I respond. And he gives us a specific example of Welch's "correction." It is an interesting case, but not exactly as Milliner relates it.
Ron quotes John Welch:
"Brother Haile, Ronny Milliner, whom you are calling on to repent, was the first brother that I turned to review the things I wrote. I did this many years ago as some called me into question. It was Ronnie Milliner who pointed out certain things I said for which I have apologized. He said at the time I should correct these things and I did."
Welch wrote of this matter in 1990 in Faith and Facts, dated October (although the magazine was usually printed and circulated one or two months later than the publication date):
"In addition, I asked Ronnie Milliner to review that sermon and my articles and make any suggestion he felt worthwhile. He found a phrase in one of my articles that, frankly, I had not noticed, till he mentioned it. He suggested that I might consider changing it, since he was sure that negative remarks would be made about it. Sure enough, since his review, and before I could write this, someone finally read my article from three years ago and called attention to that quote.
"The statement is, 'He divested himself of the glory, honor, divinity, and Godhood and became subject to the Father as a man.'"
Note that 1) Because some had called into question what he had preached and written, Welch asked Milliner to review the sermon of March 15, 1990, and his articles written three years earlier. 2) He had not noticed - he was not aware - that he had written that Jesus had divested Himself of divinity and Godhead until Milliner found it. Astounding. He wrote it, but was not aware of what he wrote until Milliner called it to his attention.
There's a problem in this chronology. Notice that Welch says that he turned to Milliner to review his sermon and articles "as some called (him) into question." But the very thing called into question was the statement that Jesus divested His Godhead (Deity). So the statement had already been called to his attention and challenged before he ever called Milliner. Doy Moyer had already talked to him on the phone, and asked him specifically about this very statement. Only then, after Welch refused to correct it, did Doy Moyer write his article in the July 1990 issue of the Gospel Anchor. At the time the article appeared, Milliner did not even have a copy of the sermon Welch had preached. He wrote Allan Turner for a copy of it after Welch's statement was quoted and reviewed in the Gospel Anchor.
The revised history that Welch spins was exposed in our Beaver Dam, Kentucky meeting on January 8, 1991. Moyer wrote in his open letter to Welch, presented at the Beaver Dam meeting:
"When you make a statement that says He divested His Godhead, what else are we supposed to think? Now you tell us you didn't mean to write that, that you didn't even notice it until after Milliner pointed it out to you. But, John, my review was already in print, and I quoted that statement as one of the main quotes to show your position. Furthermore, I pointed that quote out to you on the phone. (Milliner wrote Allan Turner asking for a copy of the tape. His postcard was dated July 27, over a week after my first article was in print.)"
This is Milliner's "better man" ... a man who will not even tell it as it is. This is typical. Welch and company misrepresent and are corrected. They remain silent for a time - in this case, some eight years - and then they bring it out again, I suppose thinking that no one will remember. I now ask Ronny Milliner, if your "better man" corrects his error when it is called to his attention, why did he not correct the false statement earlier when Doy Moyer called it to his attention? Why did he tell Doy that the statement represented his view correctly? Remember, it was only after he refused to renounce this statement of error that Doy wrote his review and I published it. Why did he continue to sell and distribute the booklet containing the false statement, without an addendum or the statement marked out, for years? Why did he wait until our debate in 1995 to admit that the statement itself was false? A statement so egregious needed to be corrected immediately; its effect is damning. (John 8:24) If it were I that was guilty of teaching this false doctrine, upon repenting I would have corrected the book immediately. I would not have allowed it to be circulated without correction. However, John Welch continued to sell and distribute it for years. In this incident, Milliner says John Welch is the better man.
Next Milliner says that I falsely charged John Welch with "misquoting" me and of "changing a word" in the statement. Milliner says: "The charge is false."
I leave it with the reader to compare what I said with what Welch quoted. Here is my complete statement, with the part Welch quotes underlined and the changed word in bold face:
"While we all agree that Jesus laid aside the exercise of certain rights and abilities which He has as God, so that in effect He was without them, we do not agree that He was stripped of them so that He did not possess the characteristics that make Him God." (Gospel Anchor, August 1994.)
Here is Welch's statement:
"Brother Gene Frost said, 'We all agree that Jesus laid aside the exercise of certain rights and abilities which he had as God so that in effect he was without them.'" (Welch First Negative and First Affirmative, as appears in his publication of the debate with Tom O'Neal.)
Compare the two statements: are they the same?
"While we all agree that Jesus laid aside the exercise of certain rights and abilities which He has as God, so that in effect He was without them, we do not agree that He was stripped of them so that He did not possess the characteristics that make Him God."
"We all agree that Jesus laid aside the exercise of certain rights and abilities which he had as God so that in effect he was without them."
Can any man in his right mind honestly say that the two statements are the same? Did John Welch leave off the first word and last twenty-two words of what I said, or not? Is presenting just a portion of what one says and presenting it as a full quote (capitalizing a word in the sentence to represent it as the first word and closing it with a period to signify the completion of it) misquoting or not? Is omitting words, that change the original sense, misquoting, or not? Was John Welch's change from "has" to "had" a misquotation, or not? That's the charge I made, and Milliner says the charge is false!
Milliner says that John Welch did not misquote me; rather his daughter admitted that she made a typographical error in preparing his charts. Interesting, but I did not complain about what was typed on his chart, but for what he said. But Milliner would have us believe that Welch is not responsible for what he says. The problem is with a fifteen year old girl who typed the quotations he wanted on his charts. She, not the one who gave her the quote to type, omitted the first word, and began the sentence with the second word ... just a typographical mistake? She left off twenty-two words, and closed the quote with a period ... a typographical mistake? Apparently, we are supposed to think that John Welch did not know that she had found the quote in my article, then on her own copied it on a chart, and in doing so made a mistake in her typing that caused nearly half of the words to be omitted and one word to be misspelled. It is Miss Milliner's typing that is responsible for what John Welch said! Therefore, Milliner concludes that I falsely charged John with misquoting me.
Now Milliner says I "never did repent and apologize" to his daughter for things said in my letters to her. What things? In my first letter, I said, "Now, he [John Welch] can plead that he didn't really know what I said, that he had been misled by Martha Milliner, who really is the one at fault, if he wants to. I don't blame you for his failure to verify his quotations of others before he uses them. He misrepresented me publicly, and I corrected him publicly, and he can only make correction by apologizing publicly. You cannot do it for him in a personal letter."
Miss Milliner responded: "I only apologized for the word 'has" (which was my mistake not John Welch's) and you didn't even accept my apology!"
"How can I accept an apology or not accept an apology when no apology is due? I do not feel that you owe me an apology. Rest assured that if you ever commit an offense against me and apologize, I will accept it. As is, you have not offended me, and I hold no hard feelings against you at all. No apology is due. ...
"So you see, Martha, I have no grievance against you. Rather, I feel sorry that you have been placed in such a position. This is not your problem. I think it unconscionable that John Welch's guilt has been laid on you so that you feel that you need to apologize. ...
"Thanks for writing. Again, I repeat, I have no ill-will toward you."
Ronny, you and John Welch must be desperate to try to make an issue of your daughter. John Welch misrepresented it in our debate; he said, "You wrote a girl who was fifteen years old at the time, a two page letter, fussing at her. ... You were calling her a liar." None of which is so. And now you insinuate that something ugly was said: "I know you never did repent and apologize to my daughter for the things you said in your letters to her." Would you like to send me the statements of which I should repent and apologize? (To the reader, I will be happy to send the complete correspondence I had with Milliner's daughter to anyone who requests.*)
Now notice further. After John Welch misquoted me and Miss Milliner apologized for her typing, ten months later John Welch was still misquoting it! In his debate with me in Louisville, he said in his first negative speech (page 130 in his publication of the debate):
"We all agree that Jesus laid aside the exercise of certain rights and abilities which he had as God so that in effect he was without them."
Now that Miss Milliner has apologized for her "typographical error," what is Welch's excuse for misquoting? It cannot be laid on Miss Milliner or some typographical error. My charge of misquoting is valid. There has been no correction; no apology. This is the man that Milliner thinks is the "better man." He has a greater respect for John Welch. No wonder: they are alike.
It is of no great importance whether Ronny Milliner has little or no respect for me, since he is not my Judge. More than his respect for any man, I would that he had respect for God (so as not to denigrate the Son of God), and for truth (so that he would not maliciously lie against one he refers to as "brother"), and for righteousness (so that he would deal fairly with all men).
Those Unanswered Questions
Without further delay - no more stalling, excuses, quibbling - we ask for the answers Milliner claims to have answered, but has hidden in his files. Boasting of what he has hidden away and what he could do, if he were willing, does not meet the issue. If there are answers to our questions, let's have them.
Tell Us Plainly and Unequivocally
1. Was the Spirit of Jesus on earth no different from other men?
2. With what attribute is the spirit of man created that is unlike God? What innate quality (not degree or extent) does the spirit of man have that the Word did not and has not, so that for God to be manifest as a man He has to be make in a spirit likeness of man?
3. Is there a nature (phusis) which belongs to God, without which a spirit cannot be God?
4. Was the nature of the Word the same after He was manifest in the flesh as it was before?
5. Did Jesus die spiritually on the cross in addition to His physical death (when the Spirit left the body)?
6. Did Jesus suffer rejection by the Father on the cross in order to make atonement?
7. Do you believe that Jesus was at risk on earth, that He could have sinned and frustrated the eternal plan of God and made God a liar relative to His prophecies?
8. Why will you not apologize for falsely accusing me of believing that Jesus just appeared to be man?
9. Did Jesus possess (have access to as resident in His body) all of the divine attributes and not use them, or did He not use them because He did not possess them?
An additional question in this article:
10. Did the apostle Paul in Philippians 2 say that Jesus was in fashion a man or in fashion as a man?
* For a copy of the Martha Milliner correspondence please send a self addressed envelope with two 1st class postage stamps to Gene Frost, 712 Victoria Place, Louisville, KY 40207.
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