My removal from Mar’s List


     It is just five days after my removal from Mar’s List and already a cover up has been launched by the list owners and some others in an apparent effort to escape having to answer any questions as to my removal. Anticipated attempts are being made to shift me being kicked off the list over MDR to something totally my fault, mistreating good brethren on the list and defiantly going against the list rules. It would seem that the devil would have to once in a long while invent some new tactic to call evil good and good evil, but if his old tricks work, why change? Always, the goal is to refocus the attention from the sinner to another. Defeat the message by destroying the messenger and abandon the tangible for the intangible. Knowing full well that the guilty will try to deny, deflect, and disarm by making me the bad guy, I offer the following facts.

     David Arnold and Jon Quinn wrote to the list members:

     "Don Martin has taken issue with the way the list owners have attempted to maintain proper decorum as we manage the list.

     Don had posted to the list a message characterizing as ‘insidious’, ‘deceptive’ and dishonest those who had opposed his view on the role of civil government in MDR. While not naming names, there are a handful of people on mars-list with whom he had discussed this and with whom he differed….."

     In my posts immediately preceding my removal, I dealt with a number of subjects, MDR being one. I mostly made these references to illustrate basic points I was making. The list owners had just recently invited back to the list a known and notorious false teacher. I was attempting to minimize the man’s efforts to gain followers from list members. Instead of appreciating my efforts, the list owners, at least Jon Quinn, apparently took some of my generic teaching as applying to him. I, frankly, did not even know that Jon so strongly held some of his positions regarding the Christian in the case of biblical marriage and divorce being able to effect these states totally outside of any applicable civil law and the innocent put away being able to later put away and marry another.

     List owner Jon Quinn stated to me:

     "You most certainly have improperly conducted yourself. David Willis was not the only one confused by your post. I was too. So was at least one other who wrote me privately early this morning before the blow up and asked  ‘Have I missed something? Who is he (referring to you and your post - JQ) ’fingering?’"

     Jon’s case is that of the proverbial "hit dog." I was told by the list owners to desist such teaching, even though the teaching was not addressed to any particular person. Hence, the ultimatum precluded any teaching on MDR.

     Jon Quinn continued in reply to one list member who was also apparently hit by some of my generic teaching:

     "I have no idea what he is driving at.

     I am thinking he might be incriminating most of the conservative brethren he has ever had a difference with (on civil govt. and MDR - J.Q.). He has had several with me, but has always spoke highly of our exchanges. He might be referring to Dudley Spears or David Willis or Jeff Smelser or who knows who. He might be excluding some or all of them too. I don't know."

     The list owners often said that ML is not moderated, yet they would closely monitor my teaching and some of the other sound brethren on the list. My teaching in this instance had been generic, not addressing a specific list member or even mentioning names. Yet, some others personally attacked me, addressing me by name in their posts, assigning all manner of evil to me. Instead of simply telling these men to desist, they grouped me along with the men and came down hard on me. I objected and asked the list owners to read the posts and be informed before they blanketly issued public rebukes. It had gotten so bad and one sided that in view of Jon Quinn maligning me on list that I asked him to apologize on the list (I provided proof for the appropriateness of my request).

     Jon flatly refused to apologize and more determinedly came after me. The list owners further stated to the false teachers on the list: "To those who have felt injured by Don's remarks, we urge you to privately seek for and pray for peace and reconciliation. Both of the list owners want it known that this is what we truly desire, but that we will do what we determine to be necessary to make mars-list a profitable and good place to study God's infallible word."

     One well known false teacher residing in Australia and who had caused many problems over his belief that all men, simply stated, are entitled to marriage, even the guilty put away person responded to the list owner’s statements and wrote the following:

     "Hello Don,

     As you are aware, all on Mars-list have been advised of your temporary removal, as a discilinary measure, because of your behaviour. It is hoped this slap in the face will have the desired effect, rather than result in the self righteous attitude that you are right and everyone else is wrong. If it has any other result you would do well to make your removal permanent, and do all a favour. Time will tell a story either way. All will see if you have the quality of humility." (Max Burgin.)

     David Arnold and Jon Quinn said that I was definitely off the list for one month and if I would apologize for upsetting some of the errorists such as Max Burgin, they would consider letting me come back to the list. The list owners knew that I would not apologize to such men as Max Burgin or compromise truth with other resident false teachers. Hence, it was understood from the onset that my removal was permanent:

     "If he will …apologize for the above mentioned behavior, he will be reinstated and all will be forgotten. It is our hope that such reconciliation will be possible."

     The list owners further stated: "To those who have felt injured by Don's remarks, we urge you to privately seek for and pray for peace and reconciliation….."

     Such is the fruit of unity-in-diversity and the good ole boy fellowship philosophy. Keep false teachers happy, even at the expense of those teaching the truth. When errorists rear up when hit by the truth of the gospel, make it all simply a matter of "reconciliation" and lets all agree to disagree. Such is becoming the norm in terms of fellowship in too many churches of Christ. It is a day for the purveyors of damnable error, they are allowed to teach their false doctrines and any who oppose them are considered the bad guy (cp. Jeremiah 23).

     At this point, I shall do two things, in case you are interested in reading more. I want to insert immediately below some brief dialogue that is illustrative of what happened and how the lines of "fellowship" were drawn by these list owners with the approval of a number on the list, some of whom respected preachers, widely used by churches of Christ and then present in unaltered form the posts that precipitated my dismissal from the list. I shall withhold the names to protect them from also being the recipients of reprisals from the list owners and some of the list members, the good old boys with honey dripping from their chins.

     When given the ultimatum, the following was my closing post on ML:

Don Martin to the list:

     It seems that my general teaching has caused some to specifically react to some of my posts.  In most of my posts relative to false teachers and their modus operandi, I have named no names but have dealt with manners and protocol.  Such has evidently identified some on the list and they are mad. I have mentioned a number of specifics such as baptism and MDR.  While I have had general posts without even mentioning names, some have had posts in which my name has been supplied and all manner of evil said about me on the list.  The list owners have grouped us all together and presented me as attacking others, impugning their motives, etc.  I have resented such treatment and I have asked Jon Quinn for an apology on the list.  Jon has refused.

     I suppose that the ones on the list who hold and teach false doctrine are now going to claim personal attack when I present the truth and expose error, without even naming them.  Then when they react as they usually do with further slander, malignment, and personal attack, I am publicly rebuked and grouped with them.  I have even been told not to mention one list member by name on ML.  Next, I suppose I will be told, I suppose I already am, not to deal with any of the false doctrines held by different ones on this list.

     I suppose I have a couple of choices in view of the practice now in place.

     (1). I can continue to post and be removed from the list.

     (2). I can play along and participate in the kind of fellowship and good ole boy philosophy some practice on the list.

     (3). I can remain a member, but just not post.

     As to number three, I can not do this.  Rank error and false teachers make my blood boil and I am not the kind to idly sit back.  The only way I can do this is by simply deleting my ML digests and not reading them.  Why, then, even be on the list?

     Number two certainly is not an option.

     Number one is the only option that I have.  I shall continue to post as I have done and if Jon and David do not like it, they can remove me from the list.  Therefore, if you do not see me posting, you will know that bad boy Don Martin was kicked off ML.   What a joke, Al Maxey is invited back; Don Martin not good enough.

     Jon and David, the ball is in your court.  I shall not tip toe through the tulips and ignore rank error so you do what you feel you have to do.  I shall continue to post as I have been doing without misrepresenting others, abusing them by singling them out by name and assigning all manner of evil to them, and, I suppose, unless you remove me, having to put up with you, the list owners, grouping me with those who do personally attack.

Don Martin

List owners (name of list member withheld),

     Maybe I missed it, my apologies if I have, Is Don Martin kicked off the list?

….(name of person omitted):

     In case no one answered you and most especially the list owners; yes, the list owners kicked Don off the list. I know Don personally and think he is a very sound Christian and respect him. He was told that he could stay on if he apologized to them. I do not think Don owed an apology to anyone.

Have a great week-end.

(Name withheld)


     Well!!!! That does it for me. You are one of the few sound men on that list. It just makes me sick!. I told mother that I was thinking about unsubbing because I noticed that after Al got back on, so did Robert Waters. What a crying shame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please continue to mail me what you have been Don from your web page.

(Name of list member not disclosed)

…(name not provided),

     Thanks for your comments, I also believe that the list owners took the high road and probably prefer Don to just  go away.

(Name withheld)

(No name supplied)… here:

     Don, I am amazed that you have been quarantined from posting to Mar’s List.  As the old saying goes, it just depends on whose ox is being gored.

     I believe that there are two horns of power among us today - Florida College and Truth Magazine.  When we stand independently upon the truths of God's Word we don't always line up as the two horns of power would like for us to.  I just wanted to write to let you know that I have always appreciated the great lengths you go to as you deal with error among brethren.  I have not detected anything out of line with your usual and recent posts on the List.  If we would just all post comments exposing liberalism, institutionalism, denominationalism, etc. everything would be okay, I suppose.  But, if we dare question the "powers that be," look out, because we may be kicked off the List. I think this may backfire on them.  "Hang in there, don't let the brethren do the hanging."


(Name omitted)

     I shall now insert my explosive posts that caused such an uproar. Keep in mind that one man invited back to ML taught the non-essentiality of water baptism:

Don Martin to the list:

     All this discussion about "What he believes about baptism, etc." and then, "This is what I believe" reminds me of so many instances of others defending false teachers and a man who teaches error attempting to hide his error. A man can be fully known as believing and teaching all manner of error and, still, there will be defenders of the man.  Max Lucado is a man regarding whose teaching is fully documented.  Lucado is a leader today in terms of progression and liberalism among "Churches of Christ."  Yet, he has many defenders, people who are willing to anathematize any who would draw attention to the error taught by Lucado.  One of the articles in that produces regular response is, "The Oak Hills Church, a Model."  I point out that from a historian's perspective, the Oak Hills Church (where Lucado preaches) is a study and model pertaining to the progression of liberalism among "Churches of Christ."  In this article, I quote an article that appeared in the San Antonio Express-News (September 06, 2003) in which the leadership of the Oak Hills Church and Lucado were interviewed and quoted.  Notwithstanding the apparent accurate way in which these men were quoted by the paper and the fact of their elsewhere well documented teaching, I continue to receive emails such as the following in defense of Lucado:

     "... your creditbility is at risk, and perhaps you establish the precedent for some one reviewing your own statements in a public media like a newspaper incorrectly concluding your meanings or views ... and making those damning statements as sufficient evidence that you have left the faith.  "Remember, 'What goes around comes around!'"

     In the above alluded to article that I wrote, I quote the statements about the dropping of "Church of Christ" and the new name being Oak Hills Church. "Oak Hills drops 'Church of Christ.' This is the title or caption of the article written by Lisa Rivas, staff writer for the San Antonio Express-News," wrote I.

     I include the news paper article quotation of Lucado, "We hope that renaming the church, opening new campuses and adding musical instruments to the worship service will help bring more people to Christ."

     I wrote the following in my article:

     "Rivas wrote based on her interviews with Oak Hills representatives:

     'Oak Hills core values are similar to those of other evangelical churches, emphasizing the need for faith in Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection for salvation. Oak Hills also believes salvation doesn't come through baptism, but that baptism is the initial step of obedience after salvation."

     Again, notwithstanding how fully documented Lucado and the stance of the Oak Hills Church is regarding "dropping Church of Christ," mechanical instruments, and baptism not being absolutely essential regarding responsible individuals becoming Christians, I continue to receive emails such as the above.

     Defend errorists and find some way to denounce those who expose false teachers, this is the name of the game.  It seems this game is not limited to any particular time, culture, or setting.  Those to whom I have replied do not really think that Lucado and the Oak Hills Church were misrepresented in the article published by San Antonio Express-News, they just do not like the fact that I reference it in my article.  I have had a number of threats designed to make me remove the article from Bible Truths.  Why, I ask? Lucado teaches what he does and the Oak Hills Church has thus migrated to their present stance, why all the effort against any and all who simply and accurately state the pertinent facts?  Again, there are always those who make it their life's passion to defend false teachers and condemn those who teach the scriptures in doctrinal purity.  I shall conclude this post as I concluded my article in Bible Truths:

     "...The Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, stands before all churches that seek to become progressive. Change the worship service, put in place a new government and structure for the local church, and change the plan of salvation to attract the masses is the statement resonating from the example of Oak Hills. Alas, many churches of Christ are following in the steps of Oak Hills. In view of the warnings in the New Testament and statements that apostasy will be ongoing, it should be no surprise when such happens (cp. Acts 20: 28ff., I Cor. 11: 19). We must remember, though, that to become progressive means, '...hath not God' (2 Jn. 9). If others must follow the lead of the Oak Hills Church, I would that they also drop 'church of Christ.' As Vic King said, 'We are changing to a sign that more accurately reflects who we are.'"

Don Martin

Don Martin to the list:

     As to why "false teachers cannot simply state their position," I think it all comes back to audience and climate.  If they are in the environment of similar false teachers who believe and teach as they do, they speak very openly, but if they are in a setting involving those who know and teach the truth, these false teachers twist, play word games, and mask their real beliefs and teachings.  "You are judging their motives," I am sure some will at least think.  What other explanation is there for their "modus operandi"?

     I have been on various lists as a debater and have observed fellows such as Max Lucado openly speak.  I have seen some others on some of these lists who want to be viewed as conservative, but when in the climate of these "liberal lists," they either speak their language or remain absolutely silent. However, pinning down some of these fellows when in an atmosphere not conducive to their anti-biblical positions is a challenge and you are usually painted by them and others as the "bad guy."

     I have never understood the difficulty in either saying, "I believe water baptism involving responsible individuals is essential to their salvation" or, "I believe water baptism involving responsible individuals is not essential to their salvation."  What is the big deal, anyway?  I have been on progressive Internet lists where some freely teach that baptism is not necessary, but when they are on a list where most believe baptism is essential, they are seen writing such things as, "I believe baptism is necessary."  Of course, they do not believe baptism is necessary to salvation, but, perhaps, necessary to being a good example, etc.

     Why cannot we be open and honest as opposed to insidious and deceptive?  I recall one list where a man who had many false beliefs joined and some began to expose him.  The man provided very deceptive and elusive answers and even refused to answer some pertinent, posed questions that were designed to extract his doctrinal positions.  All of this, however, was dismissed and those thus exposing him were anathematized.

     Ask me any question you may or pose to me any situation that will pin down by application of what I believe and teach, this should be the honest person's attitude and "modus operandi."

     For instance, some among us do not believe that applicable civil law is required for biblical marriage and divorce and, yet, when they are accurately represented, they yell and shout that they are being maligned. Why must we always go through such?  I believe applicable civil law is involved in both biblical marriage and divorce, see, this is not hard to affirm.  Notwithstanding, some say:  "I believe that an innocent put away may later put away and since there is no civil law provision for such a putting away, they must put away in their heart."  When accurately quoted that they believe biblical putting away can be detached from applicable civil law protocol, they emotionally charge:  "You are misrepresenting us, we do not believe in any such doctrine!"  Why must it always be this way, why cannot men simply and honestly state their position, answer probative questions, and then defend what they believe and teach?

     Whether we are talking about baptism or divorce and marriage to another or any other subject, when you are dealing with false teachers, do not expect everything to be open and forthright.  Also, expect efforts expended to always make you appear as the bad guy for even questioning and challenging error.  When all else fails, "It is not what you teach that I oppose, but the way you teach it!"

Don Martin

     The foregoing is offered not out of personal aggrandizement, vengeance, or defense but as a historic narrative to trace the status of the division now occurring over marriage, divorce, and marriage to another within non-institutional churches of Christ. It is also presented to show how this division is taking place, the movers and their rationale. We are now living in what will be tomorrow’s history.  (Click here to return to the article or click "back," below, to return to Archives.)