Tom White: What Happened (and What Might We Learn)

Tom white what happened to Tom White vom

Tom White has been the face of Voice of the Martyrs for the past two decades. With Tom White as its head, the ministry of Voice of the Martyrs increased exponentially.  What will happen next to that ministry is in the Lord’s hands (which is the best place for it to be).

The tragic details of Tom White’s death are just now coming to light. I searched two days for answers after first learning of White’s death on Wednesday. His death was so sudden. It seemed something had to be wrong.

As it turns out, something was wrong indeed. Word is now leaking out from Bartlesville, OK (headquarters of Voice of the Martyrs) that Tom White was being investigated for inappropriate relations with a young girl.  The official blog page from Voice of the Martyrs has posted an announcement admitting there were allegations and acknowledging that those circumstances apparently led Tom White to take his own life.

I do not report this gladly. I have wept over the tragedy. Tom White has been a great influence in my life and has shaped to some degree my desire to know the persecuted church of Christ. I have fond memories of an evening I was able to spend with him in Cincinnati. Between the various courses of sushi, we spoke of the church in Iran, Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos, China, and Iraq. His knowledge of particular examples of persecution was unparalleled. Even more edifying was his ability to recount example after example of Christians being wise as serpents yet innocent as doves in the face of horrendous suffering. I told my wife that night that I hope to be like that some day—able to unfold global gospel encounters one after the other as an encouragement to all believers.

Sadly, I can now be reminded of an even more crucial lesson from Tom White. The evil one prowls like a lion seeking whom to devour. Sin is not limited to the down and out. Sin is capable of destroying any of us, and, certainly, the evil one desires for it to ruin pastors and leaders—striking the shepherd in hopes of causing the sheep to flee. It is an old strategy—but still a terribly effective one.

My response to all of this is not to doubt Voice of the Martyrs and most definitely NOT to doubt ministry to the persecuted church. My response is to remember that the real battle we must win is the personal battle over sin and death. Or, better put, we must remember the battle Christ has won over sin and over death and remain extremely close to Him. May the Lord bring His miraculous power to Tom White’s family, especially his wife and children. May the Lord remind us all to pray diligently for our pastors and leaders.

7 Pounds

The newest movie by Will Smith, 7 Pounds, not unlike I Am Legend, deals substantively with the human dilemma.  Specifically, Smith portrays a man who has unexpectedly come face with face with the frailty of the human condition.  Death comes suddenly, and he is unprepared for its arrival.

As a result, Smith (not his name in the movie, of course), devises a scheme whereby death might somehow be defeated.  In the unraveling of his plan, Smith becomes something of a Christ figure, using death to extend life.  Without giving too much of the movie away, I want to offer four key observations from the movie.

First, Smith clearly becomes a Christ-like figure.  In the movie, Smith plays a character who is willing to sacrifice for the well-being of others.  Indeed, the sacrifice motif plays itself out throughout the movie as an integral part of the substance of his character.  The movie intends for Smith’s character to be one who sacrifices.  Ultimately, the Christian will see sacrifice in its quintessential display through Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for many.

Second, and again like Christ, Smith acts on behalf of a certain group of individuals who most assuredly will be helped by him.  Beyond mere sacrifice, Smith—in acting this way—demonstrates great love.  He is willing to lose so that others gain—but not everyone gains.  The objects of his affections are particular.

Third, and in this instance not like Christ, Smith plays a figure whose righteousness is self-imposed.  Never in the movie is there a hint that righteousness is alien to the main character.  Smith plays a character who—though he has been devastated by unexpected death—is still perfectly capable of determining the righteousness of others and making determinations about their worthiness to receive (or not to receive) the blessing he will offer.  One may leave this movie with the mistaken view that righteousness consists of not getting angry or being overly selfish.  Giving and being considerate of others is apparently righteousness enough.  (There is one thing that is absolutely forbidden, but I will not mention it here because it isn’t revealed until the end of the movie).  The main point to make on righteousness is that it appears to reside in the character himself.  Thus, there are judgments made against others, but the title character himself is not judged, even though he might be guilty of fornication, forgery, impersonation, theft, espionage, and, potentially, self-murder. 

Finally, and again unlike Christ, Smith plays a character who is willing to sacrifice only on the condition of perceived righteousness.  In this way, I believe, Smith’s character is the most unlike Christ.  Though I found the movie to be a well-acted, very worthwhile production, I could not help at the end of it to quote Romans 5: Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Though I appreciated the thoughtful plot of 7 Pounds, I left the movie thanking God for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Choice Is Abandonment

I link a blog here which describes two different stories concerning our pro-choice culture.  In the one story, a woman dies after drinking anti-freeze.  In the other story, a man loses his arm.  In both stories, the medical community is unsure of how to respond to people in need.  It seems the freedom to choose is paralyzing the healthcare industry.  Yet another downstream and destructive effect of abortion.

Doctors of Death

There is an inextricable link between abortion (the idea that a human life at an early stage of development can be destroyed for the sake of convenience) and our present culture’s fascination with death. Where abortion was supposed to clean up the back alley butcher shops, in reality, it only moved butcher shops into mainstream hospitals and created new venues for ridding our race of “useless” and unwanted human beings. We now have doctors promoting death.

The euthanasia “debate” is driven by the same death thirst driving abortion. Schaeffer and Koop told us this would soon follow the Roe v. Wade decision, and it certainly did. We have states like Oregon offering to foot the bill for “Physician-assisted suicide,” while at the same time refusing to pay for necessary cancer treatments. And, as this article points out, the natural progression from “safe, legal, and rare” abortions to actually killing any life considered “not worthy” of life is inevitable. We remember Terri Schiavo. She was a logical consequence of abortion. Sadly, the attitude that the “unfit” are disposable is taking over what used to be the honorable enterprise of medicine. Medicine which once was designed to heal is now being used to kill. Doctors which were once on the side of life seem now to side with death.
More Bad Fruit: Doctors of Death