This letter is being sent to selected friends and workers who we have felt very close to and with whom, in each instance, we both feel a very strong bond of love. It is the ‘toughest’ letter we have ever written! We have purposefully allowed several weeks to elapse, trusting that prayer and time will take the edge off of this personal crisis. We don’t know how to relate what follows. Hopefully, you will not be upset with our doing this which we feel is so necessary. Please try to forgive us when we say things which you feel are erroneous. We do not intend to hurt anyone. We are trying to explain.
After prayerfully considering what course of action we should take related to our decision, we felt that not advising you could be more harmful than sending you this very brief explanation. For sure, we can’t hide it, and you should know why.
Our long struggle to know what is believed, indeed what we now are told must be believed, to be in good standing with this fellowship is over. After approximately thirteen years of questioning workers and friends in this fellowship, after constantly enduring an unwillingness on their part to answer our questions, and being told that one day we would “see it”, we have now, finally, been advised by one of our most senior and respected workers [Everett Swanson] that, without exception, there can be no salvation for anyone unless that person hears the gospel from one of the workers!
We are very grateful to him for being willing to tell it like it is; to tell us the truth, even if it is the most shocking revelation we have ever had. We knew that some, perhaps even a lot of you felt this way. And although a bit tough to take at times we could accept this. But to realize that all of the workers, as has been stated, believe this is almost unfathomable.
Joan and I both strongly believe that we met all of the Biblical conditions for salvation many, many years before we moved to Oregon and met this group of very lovely folks. Time after time after time we have told our story to worker after worker after worker. With just a few exceptions in 13 years, until now, all workers would either not answer our questions or would intentionally evade our questions. And even though we have asked the same questions over and over, because we did not want to be too pushy or objectionable, sometimes months or even a year or so would elapse. We feel that we were not honestly dealt with by many. (Is evading and avoiding the truth honest?)
We should have believed the few who did answer our question regarding salvation. If we had not let others of the workers and friends confuse us on this issue, we would not be in the situation we are in today.
Jesus clearly says in His Word that we will be known by our fruit. It is absolute that works can never save us. Our salvation is a free gift of God. “By grace are ye saved, not of yourselves, lest any man should boast.” It is also clear that ‘works’ and ‘fruit’ will follow salvation. Indeed, ‘works’ and ‘fruit’ testify as to whether or not we really are saved!
So the question for us comes down to: Have we been so long among you and you have not seen and heard of ‘works’ and ‘fruit’ in us? How can we have been accepted by saints and workers alike for so many years and now be advised that we are not now saved, and have never been saved? And indeed there is ample and overwhelming ‘proof’ of our being accepted as ‘one of you’. The audacity of any man judging another’s salvation, no matter who he is, constitutes an arrogance which, to us, is absolutely unscriptural and to us is false teaching. We have not been false, we have not hid our beliefs!
We are heartsick and feel devastated.
We hear eloquent messages, publicly and privately, that seem to tell and illustrate some great truths related to the workers’ position about this fellowship being the only true expression of God’s way. Yet when we study the matter we not only see differently but we are convicted in our hearts, as best as we can honestly know before a righteous Father, that we have been saved for forty years or so. So our questioning has persisted. And of course, we feel strongly that others who have never heard of this fellowship are saved also.
We were not and are not confused about our salvation. To those who speak of the necessity of “leaving our past behind us” we thought we agreed. You see, it is absolutely necessary that we leave our sinful past behind us. But we cannot leave the portion of our past which has to do with when God saved us! We cannot deny our salvation!
It has been said that we are confused. If so our confusion is only with what we are told we must believe.
Although we believe no man can really know, there are others (perhaps many, many others) just like ourselves who are not perfect, but who love the Lord Jesus and have committed their lives to Him. They have obeyed His teachings which is essential to salvation and have obtained the precious gift.
We have now been judged (I said judged) as not being saved, now or ever, and we are told that all workers would agree with this! And that really is devastating!
And unless God shows us differently, again we say, this appears to us to be false teaching. And if you know us at all, surely you know that we would not take lightly the responsibility for stating this possible conclusion.
As we believe you can also attest, we have tried to be faithful, over the years. In what did we lack? Wherein did we fall short?
We pray that you will not be concerned regarding our souls being lost any more than you would for other brothers and sisters in the Lord. We know we are children of God. We can say with John in I John 3:1, 2 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is”. Although terribly human, prone to error, and absolutely unworthy, we have that peace that passes all understanding, because of what Jesus did for us.
That notwithstanding, more than you can possibly know, we are saddened and distraught that we will now miss your fellowship. And although we are quite certain no one would exclude us from Gospel meetings, we all know that “unsaved” people are not expected to participate in home meetings.
And we feel, right now at least, terribly cheated. And we would be absolutely dishonest if we did anything other than what we are doing. So all we know to do is wait upon the Lord. We have no place to go. We don’t know what else to do.
With much love and affection,
Bob & Joan Daniel
June 6, 1990
P.S. Although this letter was typed on a computer, each of you has been individually thought about and you have our assurance that it was personally written to you.
Thanks for your honesty!