Public statements made by our "earthly" family in support of the Church of Wells
An open letter to all concerned with the Church of Wells:
"Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act." -D. Bonhoeffer
It is with growing concern and trepidation that I have read these past few weeks of the recent events that have and continue to transpire pertaining to the Church of Wells, Texas. There has been much published via the internet and news reports. For the greater part, I am sad to say, of an evil report. I am intimately familiar with the leadership and many members of this church from their very beginnings and therefore feel qualified to offer, to the best of my ability, an honest and forthright account of what I have seen and heard and understand to be true concerning the Church of Wells. Most importantly, I bow the knee to my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and my allegiance is to Him and to Him alone. I pray I do not dishonor Him and that He be glorified in what I am about to write.
My name is Ted Gardner and I am the father of one of the elders of the Church of Wells, Jacob Gardner. I have known Sean Morris and Ryan Ringnald since the three of them were room mates in Waco, Texas where they attended college. I can tell you unequivocally and without hesitation that these three young men love the Lord with all of their hearts and desire nothing more than to serve Him and to see His kingdom advanced. No matter the personal cost.
As a brief testimony, I will say that like many of you I was raised in church from a young age. At 13 years old I went forward at an "altar call" and "received" Christ through a prayer I was instructed to recite. My life did not change though, albeit I recognize the Lord's gracious hand moving over the many years that passed. There was an interest in things religious and church attendance was for the most part regular. It was during those years that I began to take an interest in things reformed and began to read the history and writings of many of the great men of faith. Luther, Edwards, Bunyan, Spurgeon and many of the Puritan writer's served to form my doctrinal leanings. And still with all of this "head knowledge" my heart, for the most part was unaffected. Today that is an amazing thing to me. How can a man know and be in agreement with all of these things and still not be changed by them. I now believe that it is only through a divine revelation that a mortal man, dead in sins can ever come to know the God/man Jesus Christ. And so it was that after many decades, and in large part from my observation of the manner of life and conversation of my son and his two fellows, that Jesus Christ, in the riches of His mercy, received me.
My son, Sean and Ryan also have a great affection for the writings of these bygone saints. But their paramount affection is to the Lord and His holy word. I believe these three young men early on recognized that in large part the Church in America today has a sickness. A sickness of unbelief and apathy. There is no fear of God before their eyes and in many, many ways the church in America today is indistinguishable from the world. A thoroughly watered down version of the gospel is offered up as a band-aid on a mortally wounded soul. Doctrine has now become non grata and the law and truth have been cast outside the gates. Our music is the worlds, our dress is the worlds, even some of the very bibles we read are perversions. We have become a feel-good, get rich quick, it's not my fault, instant gratification nation and the church has followed suit. We have become so beaten down by PC speech that we fear to speak the truth. So is it any wonder that God would raise up a standard in this wicked and perverse generation? These young men and their church have chosen to pursue holiness and righteousness and to come out from among them. Have we become so far removed from historical Christianity that it is now unrecognizable to us?
Do you out there on the internet that claim Christ hear yourselves? Some of the most vile and inciteful things have been written about these people. Some of you should be utterly ashamed of yourselves for the things you have written, said and thought. Can bad water come from a good well? I fear for your soul. What have these dear people done? Did they come to Wells and build a compound? Did they stockpile guns and ammunition? Have they kidnapped anyone? Are they engaged in white slavery? Do they molest theirs or anyone else's children?
No. They have not done any of these things. And yet these are some of the things that have been said of them. I would have you remember that the early church was accused of various abominations including cannibalism. Can you see any difference?
I can tell you what they have done. They have purchased homes in Wells. They are operating businesses in Wells. They pay taxes in Wells. They have met with and been aboveboard in their dealings with the Sheriff and his department (Lord bless him and his deputies) from the beginning. They have been honest, law abiding citizens of that small town. And most of all they have loved and prayed for the people there and desire only their welfare and the salvation of their eternal souls. Would that all men and women of a community were as such.
Now concerning Catherine Grove and the controversy now in progress there are some very important points to consider, not the least of which is the fact that Miss Grove is an adult of, I believe 26 or 27 years. Early reports would lead a reader to surmise that a child was abducted and secreted off to Texas. Yes, she is the "child" of the Grove parents, but she is an adult in every sense of the word. Also, she came to the Church of Wells of her own volition and via her chosen mode of transportation. And she now desires to continue with this group of believers as she seeks the Lord and an assurance of a right condition of her eternal soul before Him. Is there any more important endeavor that we can put ourselves to in this short life than to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? Note also that the Sheriffs department on multiple occasions ascertained that these things are true and that no wrong doing has or is occurring.
There also seems to be a fascinating ecumenical movement going on in Wells, Texas. The Baptist and Methodists (and probably others) now seem to have put aside doctrinal differences and united. Even with prayer that they would "agree to disagree". Has the enemy of my enemy become my friend? Scripture tells us that on the day of our Lord's crucifixion that "Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves." This same phenomenon seems to be taking place between those who claim Christ and those who don't. Professed believers yoked together with unbelievers. Interesting subject matter for a study into the heart of man.
In closing let me say that the majority of what is being propagated via the internet and telephone throughout the whole country concerning the Church of Wells has been hearsay and gossip. To my knowledge very few (if any) have contacted these church leaders to ask their version of things. No one has been told that they can not see their children or grandchildren. No one has been told they cannot visit. I think that if you did contact them you would find them to be reasonable and open to an honest and truthful discussion. And to any out there that they may have warned about the dangers of hell, then I hope it gave you pause. And if you have not flattered yourself concerning your right standing with God in Christ, then rejoice that there are those out there who care enough to be concerned for your soul.
I have stated here the things that I believe to be true and my hope is that in a small way I have helped balance the scales against some of the terrible things that have been written and said about these my brothers and sisters in Christ. Let God be true, but every man a liar. And may Jesus Christ be glorified in all the earth.
September 13, 2013