On February 23, 2003, Chuck Miller posted two messages to his daughter Pat on the Assembly bulletin board in response to Mike Zach's letter of repentance to the Omaha Assembly.
Please read carefully Mike's letter of repentance. To me, there are several phrases that cast doubt upon his sincerity....I would love to be reconciled with Mike and others in the Omaha Assembly, but am not going to accept qualifying statements that cast doubt upon the integrity of his letter.
1. “My intentions were good.”
I believe that a truly repentant man would have to say, “I admit that my intentions were not always good.” In saying that “my intentions were good,” it is tantamount to saying, “Yes, I did some wrong or evil things, but not intentionally.” I’m at a loss to understand how the two are compatible. When (biblical) David’ s sin was exposed by Nathan, he didn’t waste any time making excuses, but immediately said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
2. “I am not leaving, but am using this opportunity to 'seek to clear myself' in every way of all wrongdoing.”
I believe that a truly repentant man would say, “I am going to use this opportunity to confess all of my wrongdoings, repent of them, and make whatever restitution that I can to those whom I have sinned against.“ In saying, I’m going to use this opportunity to “clear myself,” it sounds as if Mike would like to justify some of the things he did. Surely he should be given the opportunity to clear himself of any false charges, but the paramount issue in his mind at this time should be confession, repentance and restitution. This might have just been an unintentional slip on Mike’s part, but this is not the time for any more unintentional errors. When God convicts the heart, he breaks a man of any false humility
3. ”I have not acted above reproach as an elder and for this reason I am stepping down as an elder and Leading Brother.”
I believe that a truly repentant man would have said, “I have not BEEN above reproach, and am therefore UNQUALIFIED to be an elder.” It is not Mike’s choice whether or not to step down. The word of God disqualifies him. He was brought down, in God’s eyes, when he continuously violated those qualifications and refused to repent. Oh, he may have retained the title and office in the Omaha Assembly, but God set him down a long time ago. Is that nit-picking? Then charge me with nit-picking, but I believe that Paul would have picked a few nits in Mike’s repentance statement.
Please, understand this. Mike and I were once as close as two brothers could be and I cherish some of the fond memories and good fellowship we had together. I jealously want that relationship fully restored for my sake, and FOR MIKE’S SAKE. If we truly love Mike we want to see him fully restored to fellowship with God. He doesn’t have to answer to me or anyone else, but we should expect to be seeing some fruit in keeping with repentance
Incidentally, I’ve heard all of the pleas for allowing more time to repent, yet I haven’t heard anybody say, “Sure, George’s repentance doesn’t sound genuine, but it’s a start. Let’s give him some time.” Would not have Paul said, “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” And didn’t Paul’s exhortation eventually lead to the sinful man’s repentance? It is restoration, not punishment that is the purpose of discipline. With all my heart, I desire that for Mike.
It seems like, in the eyes of some, I’m becoming the bad guy for not just “forgiving and forgetting.” But, I want my grandchildren to hear from those who slandered me, “Your grandfather is not a liar and a rebellious man.” Sure, I know everything will be made right at the judgment seat of Christ, but is it entirely wrong for an old man to want to have his name cleared with his own children and grandchildren and those whom he loves? I don’t want to settle for anything less.
And please don’t imagine that you know how I feel until you’ve walked in my shoes for 25 years. Do you know what it’s like to sit down with your grandchildren and wonder what they truly think about you in their hearts. Oh, I’m not on a pity party ---- or maybe I am. Pity me for wanting my reputation restored. Pity me for wanting a genuine reconciliation with Mike. Pity me for wanting to spend my remaining time on this earth seeing my children’s relationships genuinely restored. Pity me for having a concern for the next generation of Assembyites who will suffer if the crux of the problem isn’t dealt with by this one. Pity me for wanting my kids to get down on their knees and beg their mother’s forgiveness for the 25 years of anguish and heartache they’ve caused. And, most of all, pity me if, after 25 years of prayer for genuine reconciliation, I would settle for a cheap imitation.
I thank God that the bitterness is gone, but I left the Assembly on principle 25 years ago. Some would now have me compromise that principal and just chalk it up to a bad experience. These things might be painful for Mike to hear, but he must understand that I am more eager to forgive than he is to ask forgiveness. We talk a lot about showing “true” love. Let’s quit talking and do it, God’s way.
My kids have written me many letters thanking me for my strictness in not allowing them to do things that their friends got to do when they were growing up. They didn’t thank me at the time. I want them to thank me some day (even if it’s in the Kingdom) for not giving in to the pressure and settling for less than God’s best for all concerned.
I have heard from Mike and we will be talking this week. Please pray for us.
Chuck posted this on February 28: " The conference call was not all that we would have hoped it would be, so we will reserve judgment until we receive a letter from them, giving their perspective on the events preceding and following our departure from the Omaha Assembly."
[The editors of this website have not heard the ultimate outcome.]