FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST PASTOR
EXILED FROM
BILLY HAMM'S
BAPTIST BIBLE FELLOWSHIP
PASTORS E-MAIL LIST


By Michael D. O'Neal, Pastor
Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia

E-Mail:brothermike@brothermike.com

INTRODUCTION


(NOTE: The "Exiled" articles are somewhat dated now, but I have chosen to keep them on the website for a while longer. The experiences related in the articles are still valid and profitable for consideration, although some of the circumstances have changed since the articles were first written.

Feb. 1, 1997 (See Sept. 15, 1997 update at the bottom of this article)

Hello!

The following article may be found in various places on the Internet, particularly my Web site (see address below), Delphi's FUNDAMENTAL FORUM, and a few E-mail lists of which I am a member. It is also being sent to E-mail addresses of men associated with the Baptist Bible Fellowship International (pastors primarily, not missionaries).

I hold absolutely no ill will toward the two administrators of the BBFI Pastors list, and this article is not intended to hurt either of them. I regret that neither of them (particularly the list owner, Billy Hamm) is willing to communicate with me privately to help settle the issue.

Neither is this article an indictment of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International. I have been listed in the directory since 1984 under the name of my former church, and I will be in the new directory under the name of my present church. Our most recent missionary taken on for support is a BBFI missionary. Yesterday I ordered missions posters from the missions office for display in our auditorium.

I attend Georgia BBF meetings each month, and if I had the financial ability, I would gladly attend the national meeting being held this month on the West Coast.

MY INTERNET BACKGROUND


My first experiences on the Internet were with Prodigy's bulletin boards in February, 1992. Immediately I was involved in controversy, when I encountered a large group of sodomites arguing with a few zealous Christians over their "sexual preference." My scriptural quotations, arguments, biting humor, and sarcasm made these perverts so angry they formed their own group to combat me. They called themselves "The Lavender Wolf Pack." When Prodigy went through a price change, they all left and moved to the online service, Delphi, where they began their own discussion area called the Lavender Wolf Family.

Later I became a participant on other online service discussion boards, such as GEnie, National Videotex Network, and finally on Delphi. I was attracted to Delphi by an application-only discussion forum called THE FUNDAMENTAL FORUM. I was a participant, then a co-host, and I took over the duties as host of the forum in October, 1995.

MY BBFI BACKGROUND


I first became listed in the directory of the Baptist Bible Fellowship International in 1984, when I became the pastor of a church which supported some BBFI missionaries. At the time, however, I did not get involved in the BBFI. As a matter of fact, I knew of no pastor who was attending BBFI meetings. Over the years my name remained in the directory, even after I became the pastor of another church. That church supported no BBFI missionaries until our 1996 missions conference, at which we took on our first BBFI missionary for support.

JOINING THE BBFI ON THE INTERNET


The BBFI magazine, The Baptist Bible Tribune, ran a notice that an E-mail discussion list had been set up which was open to anyone interested in the work of the BBFI. I promptly joined up, and I thoroughly enjoyed the presence of pastors, assistants, missionaries, and others who talked, gave tips, study notes, outlines, and gave advice and support to one another.

Sometimes the discussions were heated, and eventually the list owner, Billy Hamm, decided to limit the list's membership to men listed in the BBFI directory. List moderator Bob Woosley allowed my participation, although at the time our church was not supporting any BBFI missionaries. I believe he was honoring the fact that I was still in the directory, having supported BBFI missionaries in the past, and he wanted to introduce me to the good characteristics of the BBFI.

GEORGIA BBF


Brother Woosley also encouraged me to take part in the Georgia BBF meetings, going so far as to contact the state chairman at that time, Henry Van Wye, who extended an invitation for me to attend the next fellowship. I went, and I had a great time. From that time (early 1996) to this I have been a regular attender of the Georgia BBF meetings. We have a great group of preachers, and I have made some good friends. The current chairman, Carlton Cooper, is doing a terrific job encouraging pastors and organizing the meetings.

THE LEFT VS. THE RIGHT


The great uniting factor, first and last, of the BBFI is MISSIONS. Many of the old BBFI men are loyal to Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, but others are fonder of other BBFI schools, and some promote no official BBFI school.

Within the wide range of pastors, missionaries, and Christian workers who make up the BBFI (although there is some confusion, as it is often said with great certainty that the BBFI is a fellowship of PASTORS, while others claim that it is also a fellowship of CHURCHES), there are those who lean more toward the left (liberalism) and those who are toward the right (conservatism, or fundamentalism). This difference affects doctrine and practice, which continues to lead to spirited discussions on the BBFI-P (BBFI Pastors) list.

My friends, of course, have come from the "right" side of the list. Such men as Tom Cassidy, Marvin McKenzie, Jim Ragsdale, Harry Jackson, Terry Sears, Jeff Ables, Caroll Turbeville, and many others (who will castigate me for leaving their names out here) identified with my spirit, even if we did not agree on every point. I truly cherish these friends. As a matter of fact, one of them, Tom Cassidy, led his people in spending much money and time in treating Mrs. O'Neal and me to a grand time in San Diego for our 25th wedding anniversary.

Not everyone on the list thought I was an angel; I think some believed I was a devil. I received a number of private and public rebukes from the liberal-minded members of the list. I held the distinction of being the first and only (to my knowledge) member to be publicly reprimanded by the list owner, Billy Hamm, a pastor who has through the years been a promoter of the liberal (the polite term is "progressive" or "moderate") wing of the fellowship. Brother Hamm rarely takes the time to write notes on the list, although he occasionally forwards items of information.

What upset him so terribly was a spoof I wrote about Jerry Falwell's courtship of the Southern Baptist Convention, evidenced by his selection of prominent Southern Baptist speakers for his Super Conference. Apparently I angered Billy so much that rather than talk to me privately, he "blasted" me publicly on the list. I was given 24 hours to apologize. I did not apologize, but Brother Hamm apparently did accept my explanation. I felt that Falwell's actions were important due to his national influence. Later, Falwell proved me right as he led his church to begin financial support of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Recently on the list, Bob Woosley asked why so many BBFI preachers don't seem to mind taking SBC churches. The answer to that is quite simple: THEY HAVE NO CONVICTIONS. They have been affected by the spirit of tolerance of compromise evidenced in such places as the BBFI-P list, and they see no reason why not to enjoy the good of the SBC and work to combat the bad.

In the midst of the discussions between the left and the right, moderator Bob Woosley has regularly exhibited an effort to be an impartial referee, attempting to make the BBFI-P list a place where both sides are welcomed. Admittedly, it is almost impossible for a man to keep his own convictions completely removed from his administrative decisions. On two occasions (as of this writing in Jan., 1997) he has been constrained to suspend Ron Minton from the list for a week at the time.

Minton, a professor at BBC's graduate school, seems unable to abide by Woosley's rule that discussion for or against the KJVO (King James Version Only) position be kept off the list. On the occasion of the second suspension, Brother Woosley publicly stated that he had disdain for the KJVO position, but said he had to enforce his own rules because a number of subscribers had jumped on him "like white on rice." Later Brother Woosley said his note was meant to be private, to Minton, and not public. Nevertheless, it revealed to the entire BBFI-P list his position on the King James Version Only controversy.

EXILED


On Dec. 16, 1996, I wrote Bob Woosley and asked, "Have I been unsubscribed to the bbfi-p list?" I had noticed that I was not receiving notes from the list. Bob replied that he had not unsubscribed me but that Brother Hamm probably did and that I should ask him. I wrote Brother Hamm and Brother Woosley. To this date, Billy Hamm has not paid me the courtesy of replying to my note.

After several days of silence from Billy Hamm, I pressed Brother Woosley about it. He said that he understood that Brother Hamm had decided to unsubscribe me due to past actions of mine on the list and that under new rules (adopted and announced AFTER I was removed from the list), I could apply for reinstatement in 90 days.

Get that -- 90 days! Not one week, like Ron Minton, but 90 days. Ron got an official notification and one week. I got absolutely no notice whatsoever, no reason given by the one who pulled my plug, and I got 90 days suspension (this is assumed from an uncertain statement by Bob Woosley; I have no idea what Billy Hamm's pleasure will be, as he will not talk to me). I explained to Brother Bob how absurd such an action appeared to me, and he now refuses to respond to me as well.

Pastor Jim Ragsdale publicly denounced the hypocrisy and inconsistency with regard to Minton's one-week announced suspension and my unannounced, indefinite suspension (expulsion?). At this time, he says he has not heard from either Hamm or Woosley.

DOES THE BBFI-P LIST
ACCURATELY REPRESENT THE BBFI?


I do not believe that the administration of the BBFI-P list accurately represents the majority of the BBFI leadership or the local pastors. BBFI president Sam Davison seems to be a good, sound, conservative man with a good KJVO stance. I cannot speak with authority about BBFI pastors across the nation, for I am unacquainted with the BBFI in other states.

I can say, however, that the BBF in our state (Georgia) takes a much more conservative stance than do Hamm and Woosley. For instance, the list owner, Brother Hamm is a Promise Keepers advocate; a panel of Georgia BBF pastors declared PK to be a tool of the devil. The list moderator, Bob Woosley, disdains the KJVO position; Georgia State Chairman Carlton Cooper and other pastors of the Georgia BBF openly advocate that position. By the way, I am also glad to report that the KJVO position is not "off limits" at Georgia BBF meetings. We proclaim that position "LOUD AND CLEAR." Pardon my grammar. It is not a "hobby horse" at our meetings; it is just a firm conviction among many of our preachers. Praise the Lord!

I suspect that I would find the same to be true of the BBF in many other states. It just so happens that this particular ministry which bears the BBFI name tag is controlled by a left-wing member of the fellowship. Unfortunately, the BBFI-P list is really a one man show. Billy Hamm has the financial responsibility for the list, and he calls the shots. This has caused some consternation to conservative list subscribers, for the BBFI-P list is receiving financial support from pastors (churches?) through the BBFI missions office.

Things are a little more peaceful on the BBFI-P list without me, according to Bob Woosley, but a man will tend to be quiet when a rifle is pointed at his head. At present, preachers on the "right" side of the BBFI-P list are hesitant to post anything that might offend those on the left, for under Woosley's new rules, three "legitimate" complaints from others about any member's behavior will result in a suspension of that member.

A CALL TO FUNDAMENTALISTS


It is a testimony to the depravity of man that all movements of men eventually degenerate, moving to the "left." This decay is delayed by faithful men who proclaim and practice "the old paths," and are willing to suffer reproach for being unwilling to "catch up with the times." I want to encourage every old-fashioned, fundamental believer to take a stand in these days of compromise with and conformity to the world. Stand for the truth, even if the devil rises up on both hind legs and roars at you with all of the anger and ferocity at his command (1 Pet. 5:8).

Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

UPDATE - 9/15/97


Although I never did receive a response of any kind from Billy Hamm, list moderator Bob Woosley did reinstate me to the pastors list approximately 90 days after my suspension. As of this date, Sept. 15, 1997, Brother Hamm hasn't deemed it necessary to remove me again. Since he never told me my offence, I never know when I'll get the axe again. I have changed my mind about nothing except for the fact that I regret that I opposed the list moderator, Bob Woosley, on his own email list. I now limit my personal disagreements with him to private email.

The list has been open for discussion on the King James Bible issue for some time, and I have had the opportunity to take a strong stand repeatedly without problems with the administration. I did get called down once for referring to Jerry Vines as a compromiser who is a member of an apostate denomination (Brother Vines pastors a Southern Baptist Convention church in Jacksonville, Florida), but that is due to the fact that many BBFI preachers don't understand the issues that separate fundamental independent Baptists from Southern Baptists. I am trying to help them .

I was unprepared for the number of encouraging notes I would receive from new friends who would read this article on THE BIBLE-BELIEVING FUNDAMENTALIST web page. God reminded me that there are 7,000 who have not bowed the knee to Baal, nor kissed his image.

The most interesting development since I have been reinstated to the list actually took place OFF the list. Ron Minton, professor at the Baptist Bible Graduate School of Theology was called on the carpet at a national BBFI meeting in Springfield. It seems his position on the King James Bible issue was in question due primarily to things he had written on the Internet on the pastors list. Although the school retained Brother Minton, he was placed on probation status, and he no longer writes what he believes on the Internet. Such a stir was created across the nation among pastors that college president Leland Kennedy sent a letter of explanation. My response to Brother Kennedy's letter should appear here shortly. Watch for it!

SPECIAL UPDATE Nov. 15, 1997


Meanwhile, would you believe that I've been kicked off Billy Hamm's pastors email list again? That's right! Go to the link below, "REINSTATED and RESUSPENDED."

God bless...

Michael D. O'Neal (1 Cor. 15:58), Pastor
Gospel Light Baptist Church, P.O. Box 3071 (235 Roosevelt Ave.)
Albany, GA 31706 912-432-0039 (church) 912-698-2127 (Parsonage)
(Scriptures in my notes are from the Authorized Version 1611
- KJV - and are used by permission of the Author - Eph. 6:17)


REINSTATED and RESUSPENDED
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