On a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Los Angeles, I served a cup of coffee to a nice young lady. That meeting would change my life. She was the first person that I had met that I am aware of who was in the truth. We became good friends and it was through that friendship, I started to attend gospel meetings, Wednesday night Bible studies and Sunday morning meetings. I met many wonderful, dedicated people through that experience. I studied with workers and after a period of time, I professed. That was February of 1979. It is hard to believe it has been thirteen years. I will always be grateful for the experiences of those years and still admire and appreciate the ones who were involved.
The purpose of this letter is threefold. I have agonized over whether to pen these thoughts. A couple of the friends questioned the reason for an “exit” letter in the first place. I appreciated that concern as it really caused me to search my heart to examine my motives. Purpose number one would not in and of itself justify a letter. That would be to simply state that I attended my last meeting June 30, 1991 and have decided not to return.
I was told by an overseer that some who believed Jesus was fully God had been asked to leave the fellowship. They were excommunicated. I knew that if I did not leave on my own that I would probably be asked to leave, as I believe with all my heart that Jesus was God come in the flesh. I will mention more on that later. The delay in this letter is due to the fact I really wanted to give the decision lots of time. Please know that I don’t write you that I am leaving because I think it constitutes an earth-shattering announcement.
It is just that after thirteen years to merely not show up without any word from me would not say much for the depth of my feelings for the many friends I made and those terrific people I have met with. One I know of called everyone in his field when he decided to leave meetings. I would prefer that approach myself if not for the fact that I know many would be uncomfortable. I will opt for a letter and at the same time apologize for it being so impersonal.
Through this experience, I have been made aware of a number of folks who have left the fellowship. Their reasons are varied. Some who had been told this way went back to the apostles found it has a very well-documented history and identifiable founder through the book, The Secret Sect, by Doug and Helen Parker. These facts were also verified through newspaper articles and first-hand accounts of folks at that time and now.
Some were in situations where love and compassion were not shown as is so clearly commanded in the Bible, and in fact, the lack of love was justified, resulting in the hurting of friends and loved ones. Some have left because of immoral behavior of church leaders that went unchecked and Biblically uncorrected. There are other reasons, but there is a common thread that runs through each experience. That is that no “one” experience led to the people involved choosing to leave. That initial experience naturally led to further study, and further questioning, which uncovered other serious considerations. The second thread of commonality was that after the person left without ever consulting that individual, therefore misrepresenting the true facts. That leads me to my second purpose which is more of a request.
As our friends, or even merely someone who hears of Carla and I, my heartfelt hope is that you always allow us to speak for ourselves. I have heard a lot of speculation since Carla’s decision to leave last fall. None of it has been accurate. There is no need to speculate, our home will always be open to anyone who would be interested in visiting with us. We welcome you to come, write, or call anytime. You may also feel free to give anyone a copy of this letter and in that way, allow me to speak for myself.
For those who know us, and have wondered about us, and would be concerned, maybe I should just say this. At the Mt. Peak convention, it was said that Carla was “doing good physically, but not so good spiritually.” It is unfortunate that what I mentioned earlier concerning speculation without consulting the one involved has occurred in this case. Someone had spoken without having the facts. The person who said that has not visited with Carla about where she is spiritually at any time. It is even more unfortunate that this was a member of our own family. So maybe it is needful that I say Carla is doing really well on both fronts. Many of you knew Carla was battling a serious disease. I am thrilled to say, and grateful to God, that with much courage on her part and help of capable loving people, she has found healing. Long awaited, but welcome all the same.
It has also been said that I have “been intentionally working weekends to avoid going to church with Carla.” That also could not be further from the truth. I know how many of you feel about churches that are outside the home being false. To you, this will bring little comfort. We have found a beautiful family of believers right up the road from us at Midlothian Bible Church. We have found much love, wonderful Bible teaching and opportunities to reach out to others. We could not be more grateful for our new church home.
Before I close with purpose number three, please allow me to express my deepest thanks to those of you who know us and some who may not, as our lives were touched by many. In particular, I would like to express my love and gratitude to those in the last meeting place we attended; Mansfield.
On that last Sunday morning in June, I paid special attention to each testimony. I shook hands and bid a good morning with more focus on each one as I knew I might not return. For all those we have met with in the Dallas area, I want to say your lives have changed mine. Thank you. Now finally, for purpose number three. This will be the most difficult to communicate and not offend. Let that be a testimony to how strongly I feel about what will be my last testimony to you, so to speak.
The journey that led to my decision and this letter began with something that took place almost two years ago. That experience caused me to seek counsel from overseers, workers, elders and friends. I gave this thing lots of time. The explanations that came from those discussions really concerned me. Those talks led to other issues as well as doctrines of the fellowship coming to light. Primarily and most significantly, the things said to me about the person of Christ. I would be dreadfully wrong in not making that a part of this letter to you. I hope as well that if you can see where I have missed something in the scripture you will feel compelled to let me know. We know that is at least part of the purpose of scripture, II Timothy 3:16.
I would like for you to consider that the one most important question we can ask ourselves regarding salvation is this: Who was/is our Savior Jesus Christ? Without an answer to that question, nothing else falls into place as HE is the Chief Cornerstone. On the other hand, with that question answered, all the cogs fit and the machine runs smoothly and eternally. It defines who we believe in knowing that if we worship anything but the true Christ, we worship an idol. It was that question concerning Christ that I never asked the workers about thirteen years ago. I take full responsibility for that. I felt the Bible was so clear about the person of Christ, it just never occurred to me to ask.
I have sought the counsel of many since I first heard that the leaders of the fellowship do not believe Christ was fully God and equal in “all” ways to God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. Out of the visits, I remember two in particular. I was told by a brother worker, “I believe and as far as I know, those in the truth believe that Christ was a created being. “Secondly, I was told by one with great responsibility that, “Christ sweat drops of blood in the garden because he feared losing his salvation.” I had never heard these things before. Having trusted the workers for so long, I asked for teaching and began to dig into the scriptures on my own. That was “my” biblical responsibility.
I was told some had been asked to leave the ‘truth’ because they believed or taught that Christ was fully God. I will continue to welcome teaching from those concerned, but that seems pretty straight. I am always open to Biblical proof of that teaching, and I have made that clear to those involved. The Bible, however, must be the standard. Again, our home is always open to anyone who might help me see where I have missed something.
In short, I believe Christ was/is fully God and I have always believed that. He is one of the three persons that make up the Godhead. I simply believe John, the first chapter, when it says the Word was God and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. It was Emmanuel, God with us, God Himself who came to live on earth so He could relate to us and become the perfect sacrifice for us on the cross, an understanding intercessor for us in Heaven saving us from our sins. I do not believe some created being could ever accomplish that. I do not believe that trusting in that same created being could ever save me.
This subject could fill books, so I will not attempt to do it justice here. My earnest prayer is that if any of you who believe what I was told and can show it to be true Biblically will share that with me. If you should find it in your heart to ask the workers about Christ, I can only hope that you will give me equal time to make the case for His being God and not created. I am genuine in that request. You will not be encouraged to contact us. You may even be told that in the last days there will be those that cause many to fall away and that is how Carla and I should be thought of.
It is likely that you will be told that we have not been willing for the Holy Spirit to reveal His truth to us. I do not believe the Spirit will reveal anything that cannot be read in the scriptures. I believe the scriptures are complete. Some who have left have even been said to be of the devil. That way of thinking saddens me. From my perspective, I can only encourage you to examine your beliefs in the Christ “you” believe in and trust to save you. I hope you will give it the consideration it deserves, knowing no one can do it for you.
Please know that one reason Christ died for us, was to tear the curtain in the temple in two so we could do what the old law could never allow us to do. That is to draw near to God. Before, sin separated us, but now through the perfect sacrifice for sin, we can cry Abba Father. We need no intercessor but Christ our Lord. He is found in the Word and embedded in our hearts through belief in that word.
Just please know again we are here if you wish. Truth can withstand “any amount” of honest examination. We are encouraged to do just that, examine. Paul admonished the church in Thessalonica to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” 1 Thess. 5:21. I am grateful for that admonition.
March 30, 1992
Dale Knott’s Letter #2
October 19, 1992
It has been since my letter of March 30th that I wrote you last. The purpose of that letter was to share with you the fact that I had decided to leave meeting and say a few things in that regard. At that time, I really didn’t consider another letter. As time went on, I couldn’t see not writing you again. I want to thank you in advance for your time.
I know that many of you will question my motive. I know that many of you already have. I don’t blame you. Why would any sane person take the time to write and send out over 250 letters to people that, for the most part, don’t care to receive them? If you have made up your mind about what motivates me, I hold little hope of you opening yourself to what I would like to share. But in hopes that some will read on and trust me, I promise to open my heart to you as honestly as I know how. My motive? Honestly? I care.
I would like to thank those of you who responded to my letter. Your concern and the frank way you shared with me was appreciated. I received replies from five states and two foreign countries. Thanks!
I want to talk to you about a group of people who are greatly misunderstood. There are a growing number of people leaving the fellowship now that certain truths are emerging. I only request an opportunity to share some thoughts with you about us. When others speak for us, it only prevents us from speaking for ourselves. First, let me give you a couple of examples of the kinds of things that are being said. These kinds of statements have become far too common. Sadder still, they are, as a whole, untrue. These excerpts are taken out of context. I would be glad to share the complete letters with you if you would like. The first is from convention notes, because they are notes, the wording is a little choppy.
“1 John 2:19 ‘They went out from us because they weren’t of it.’ How can we leave? If of us, they’d continued. Not feel as God’s children, so goes out. Love not in those who go out. Not of the right spirit when they leave. One time loved it but goes out. Lost something previous before they went out.” (From A Saint’s Notes From A Texas Convention -1992)
“When a person quits meetings, they don’t read their Bible as much and they don’t pray as much, etc. We drift from God.” (Everett Swanson in a 1991 Letter)
I hope we agree that for anyone to speak this way is sad. I only hope William Lewis will discourage this kind of thing from occurring at the upcoming Mt. Peak Convention. I would be glad to speak to the convention about ex-fellowship members. Worse than that, these kinds of statements are so untrue. How would Everett Swanson know how much time someone spends with their Bible or how much they pray? I know how untrue these statements are. I have come to know many who have left. Let me tell you a little about them if I may.
Over the past year, Carla and I have been really blessed. Many who have left the fellowship have stayed in our home. Still others write and call. We have met with some as we travel. Do some leave for wrong reasons? Sure they do, but I haven’t met them. I have met lovely, caring people who hold their Lord first in their lives. Who share with us the joy and fulfillment of their relationship with the Creator. Who love the inspired Word of God and believe it is infallible. I can only say there is no resemblance between these people and the things being said about them. I would love for you to get to know them.
If you have had friends, family, or people in your meeting to leave, I would encourage you to visit with them. Share with them with an open heart, the Bible being your standard. I guarantee a blessing.
Would you allow me a personal note in concerning being misunderstood? It is still being said by some who you trust far more than you trust me that I left because of “family” problems. You can imagine how difficult that misrepresentation is to overcome. I want to make it clear again. No doubt that things concerning the handling of Mt. Peak convention concerned me and caused me to begin to think about some issues, but the final decision was based on what came to light later. They were doctrinal considerations, the foremost being the fellowship’s beliefs about the person of Christ.
Another said, I left and wrote my letter because I was angry. I really am not angry. My overriding feeling is gratitude. I have never met the person who said that. I would like to. I think a visit would be helpful.
I only hope that you will make informed decisions about those who choose to leave the fellowship. I only appeal to what is fair. I know things that are not true are being said about me and others. Our home is open to anyone. You will be welcomed with open arms and a hot cup of coffee if you are so inclined. Come and see us!!!
Can we spend just a minute together on this subject of standard? Do you believe the Bible is the infallible inspired Word of God? Do you believe the absolute standard by which everything should be measured is the written Word of God? If your answer is no, then I encourage you to pitch this letter and letters you receive from me in the future as we have no common ground on which we can communicate. If your answer is yes, you do hold the scripture to be sufficient, read on if you will.
Would you agree with me that every time we have a thought or experience concerning the things of God that we should measure that thought or experience against the Word of God? Would you agree that when we read material that is written about the scripture or when we hear a worker speak, that we should always test that message by examining the scripture to see that it is so?
The Bereans did in Acts 17 after Paul spoke to them. And Paul was an apostle!! If you do not agree, would you share with me or just consider within yourself why you do not? I just want to ask you, is what a worker says, your standard? I would like to give you just a few examples of some of the things I have heard workers say that concern me. Again, I have nothing but love for the workers as people, but this stuff is far too serious, in my view, to ignore. See what you think and check it with the scripture.
(1.) In a Sunday morning meeting, a saint spoke on how the Bible should be our standard and nothing else. When William Lewis gave his testimony, it was on how his “experiences verified what he believed.” Friends, our experiences cannot be the standard. We end up with as many religions as we have experiences. We must judge our experiences by the standard of the Bible. We cannot judge the Bible by the standard of our experiences.
(2.) At Texarkana in the summer of1991, Dale Spencer spoke on the servant in Genesis 24 who went out to find a wife for Isaac. He said the servant was a foreshadow of the workers. Again, I personally like Dale Spencer, but he does not have the authority to make the Bible say things it does not say. When we take that kind of liberty, we can make the Word of God fit our personal agenda rather than us fitting into the Word of God. I realize most will say that for me not to see workers in the servant is a lack of revelation and willingness to trust the workers. You are right, I only trust the scripture and you have to go beyond the scripture to believe what Dale said.
(3.) In a gospel meeting, June Douglas spoke on the Good Samaritan. Again, June knows I love her and she has been in our home several times. Again, June made the Samaritan man out to be a worker bringing the gospel. Again, that is going beyond what is intended. The meaning of the story is that we would love our neighbor and not be religious on the outside as those who passed by, but live our beliefs in good deeds for others. We can often bring out thoughts that are not authorized by the text that are beautiful and helpful, but they should always be identified as such.
I hope that at convention, meeting, special meeting, or gospel meeting, that you will always measure everything with the scripture like those Bereans did when Paul spoke. There is a saying and it is true concerning Biblical study.
~If the literal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense lest you come up with nonsense~
I know the workers discourage reading books written to help us in our understanding of the Bible. They even, regrettably, discourage the use of anything but the KJV. Why? William Irvine did the fellowship a huge disservice when he started this way. He left the Faith Mission Church where he got his education and promptly said all churches were wrong. Let me just say, William Irvine was wrong and the fellowship’s doctrine is paying the price.
At the same time, William Irvine instituted the “Living Witness Doctrine.” That doctrine said that a person could only be saved through a worker. That gave workers far too much authority and made them the standard. The implication is that the workers have something that the saints do not. There is no Biblical justification for that. The Bible makes us responsible for our own salvation, dependent on no one but Christ. These two doctrines are dangerous and have been a detriment to the fellowship over the years.
I hope you will not hesitate to read other Bible translations and books written about the Bible. The newer translations are much easier to read and present a more accurate representation of the original text. The KJV is so beautiful and I love it, but for study, others are better. One argument is that man has changed the other translations to mean what they want them to say. Did you know the KJV has been revised many times to keep up with that we have learned to help us in translation?
Did you know that you would not even have been able to read the original KJV because it was so deeply entrenched in the Old English style of the time? Workers say we should not read books about the Bible because they (workers) are against Biblical education and those educated scholars are false and not led by the spirit. (Interpretation is workers are the only ones who are led by the spirit. Living Witness Doctrine again.) Using that argument, they cannot endorse the King James Version. It was written by the best-educated scholars of the early 17th century for the King James.
Can you imagine the workers accepting a Biblical translation ordered by President Bush to be accomplished by our country’s best Biblical scholars? I doubt it very much, but that is exactly what happened in 1611.
In closing, James Walden spoke of the fact that the fellowship was seamless. It is not!! There is deep division over things like divorce and remarriage. There are many changes ahead as the workers teaching on divorce and remarriage has changed. I encourage the workers to include the saints in the process. Especially the elders.
Elders should hold a much more biblical place in teaching and leadership than they do in the fellowship. There is even division over who Christ is. Some workers say He is God, some say He was created. Think of it, workers disagree on who the person is that constitutes the very foundation of the way. Elders, I encourage you to get involved. Ask questions of workers.
Please understand that those of us who have left did not do so for trite, insignificant reasons. We feel passionate, as a result, about sharing with you. Give us an ear and an open heart. Compare what we have to say with the scripture.
There is a substantial amount of information now available to those who have the heart to search for the truth. The teaching of the workers has been documented as well as the irrefutable truth that this way was started by a man named William Irvine in 1897. It did not exist prior to that time. No, not even in the New Testament.
I will be back for another visit soon. In the meantime, I encourage you to call me if you like. I love you very much!
October 19, 1992