Remnant's Hope & Pastor Tim Butler
Tim Butler is a former member of the Brother Stair commune in South Carolina. He claims he gave Stair significant amounts of money before breaking with the aged radio figure (for more on Stair, see the ProFile under False Prophets). As I had been monitoring the burgeoning scandal alleging Stair's sexual contact with underage girls, I was interested in Butler's then independent Shortwave broadcast entitled Remnant's Hope, where he exposed Brother Stair's illicit activities.
I was also hoping to find a conduit to reach Stair's many Shortwave radio listeners as I had become convinced that Stair's moral mis-behaviour was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of his shortcomings. Recognizing Brother Stair to be completely false in the prophetic vein, I had hoped to be able to minister prophetic truth to radio listeners that might otherwise turn away from the truth of the Gospel because of disenchantment with Stair.
Even though Butler was post-tribulational, I discerned he still had a significantly Dispensational orientation; however, I hoped he would grow with Christian Media and offered him an attractive slot on the broadcast schedule. I also spent a considerable amount of time teaching him things about audio streaming as his computer skills were deficient. Butler subsequently became very active on our Internet forum, but I began to detect a subtle pattern of self-promotion as he invariably seemed to make posts designed to draw Christian Media people to his website.
After some months of listening to what could fairly be called the "Anti-Stair Hour," I began to have some concerns about the wisdom of building a ministry on antagonism to one subject. The refugees from Stairland that were a regular feature on Butler's program began to sound obsessive. I also grew tired of hearing how so many people blamed Stair for taking their money when they moved to his cult-like commune.
I don't recall ever hearing anyone take responsibility for being deceived. I don't think I ever heard any former Stair devotee say "I refused to study my Bible, so it was easy for Stair to deceive me." It is self evident that anyone with a solid foundation in Scripture is unlikely to be deceived by the false prophet from Walterboro South Carolina, so this constant blame of Stair began to take on a bit of Adam's "it was the woman you gave me, Lord" flavor.
Don't get me wrong, Stair is a real stinker; but this was becoming the spiritual equivalent of 'the dog ate my homework' and it was wearing thin.
The break began when Butler sought to intervene in a matter he clearly had no knowledge of. A friend of his who also had a history with Brother Stair was removed from fellowship at CMN for lying and deceiving the Internet group over begging for money from other members. This person, a man named "brother" Frank Smagghe, was apparently placing posts on our forum pleading poverty, then privately emailing members on the group, and manipulating them into donating to him. This seemed inappropriate enough, but when asked about the practice, he lashed out at me with great indignation.
When I contacted this person to inquire as to what he was doing, his response was to attack and vilify me for questioning his monetary practices on the Christian Media fellowship forum. I recalled he had periodically emailed stating he was chronically out of work, and still wished to receive our multiple periodicals - which we were happy to provide to him. I reproved him for at least one of his statements on the board and for his anger at being questioned, and he responded with direct attacks on the ministry. It became clear to me that he was already under the conviction of the Holy Spirit for sloth.
Frank Smagghe then stated that when he received gifts of money from friends of Christian Media, he was careful to purchase supplies from a source other than Christian Media, alleging that we charge too much! He stated that although he did periodically purchase items that we distribute (MSM, Colloidal Silver, and so forth), he got them from another vendor - and although it seemed to be vaguely improper to me, he was certainly free to do that. Even that wasn't so bad, but he went on to criticize our order-processing backlog that had, at that time, reached about 3 weeks in order to receive items ordered from Christian Media.
He claimed he "couldn't wait" weeks for products from our apparently inadequate order processing department (which he railed on in his email) - an order processing "department" which consists of my wife who works 14 hours a day trying to keep our "friends" (like "brother" Frank Smagghe) happy. It apparently never occurred to him that by channeling the support elsewhere, the revenue drain helped to ensure we won't be able to hire someone to help to shorten the backlog. How much easier to smite those that are working their posteriors off for the cause, while this lazy bum apparently couldn't work because he was too busy biting the hand that was feeding him!
To make matters even more egregious, he was touting, on our media, another vendor that has a public posture espousing the false Christian Identity doctrine - a vendor that has publicly attacked Christian Media in the past! So Frank Smagghe was begging for funds through Christian Media, taking those funds and purchasing materials he could get from Christian Media, but sending the orders to an enemy of the ministry, publicly urging others to do the same, and back-handing us in the process!
Attacking my wife's best efforts was the last straw, as I quickly (and calmly) removed him from the group, and told him why. He sent me a vicious email indicating many hostilities towards me that were previously veiled. Smagghe's response was to then contact Tim Butler, his friend from their Brother Stair days, apparently to enlist his help by getting Butler to intervene to get him back in the CM group. Instead of looking into the facts of the original clash with Smagghe, Butler simply came back at me and began to snipe at the ministry in the same vile spirit as Smagghe.
In the process, it is apparent that he revealed his true nature. His private WRITTEN attack on me (which I kept), was quickly followed by a correspondence made to his public mailing list stating "I guess I committed the great sin of trying to make peace between brethren.(so much for "blessed are the peacemakers)." This was a bald faced lie, for Butler was not removed for trying to "make peace," and he knows it. I was very unambiguous in my correspondence to him. He was removed from fellowship with CM for his unfair and vicious attacks on me.
This was an almost identical sequence of events as the clash I had experienced with Pastor Butch Paugh some time earlier (see the snapshot on Butch Paugh under B). Butch had sought to retain his relationship with Christian Media Network, and at the same time he sought to simulcast his CM program on the Genesis Network. Butch knew the history of GCN and their sleazy tactics, but the promise of a larger listening audience apparently had him salivating.
This effort to straddle both networks and support the reprobates at Genesis at the same time brough a sharp rebuke from me for having fellowship with the devils at GCN; and his pastoral response was to publicly slam me through his newsletter. Perhaps the reader has noticed how so many "pastors" preach about reproof and accountability, yet they invariably seem to lash back defensively when confronted over clearly unscriptural behaviour.
In this bulk email attacking me that was sent out to the people on Tim Butler's mailing list, Butler continued to vehemently criticize and attack me. He characterized me as among those "who seperate themselves and build their own little kingdoms" -- a description that hardly sounds like his earlier statement that this was an effort to "make peace." The criticism just exploded in this email, as Butler wrote "James Lloyd....thinks so highly of himself that he be beyond reproof" (the bad grammar and misspellings are Tim's and they are repeated here precisely as they appeared in his original e-newsletter).
In the written criticism of me, Tim Butler maliciously manipulated information in a grossly unfair fashion. A particularly offensive aspect of this was the way he posted quotes from an email from Frank Smagghe that he claimed was the reason that Smagghe was kicked out of the group. The reprint of the email from Smagghe reprinted by Butler was not all that offensive, so Butler made it look as though I ousted Smagghe in a capricious fashion implying there was no legitimate reason for denying him access to our Internet group.
However, the email Butler posted was a different letter than the attack letter Smagghe sent that caused the original problem! To put it another way, either Tim Butler foolishly believed Mr. Smagghe and Smagghe lied to Butler and presented a different email than the abrasive one that was the source of the conflict, or Tim Butler's rebuke and subsequent public attack on me was made without even bothering to research the actual facts of the matter.
The written attack circulated to believers on Tim Butler's mailing list -- a list that was developed at least partly due to the fact that he was broadcasting on the Christian Media Network -- was filled with recriminations and issues that plainly demonstrated Butler was already antagonistic towards me long before the problem with his friend came about. In other words, he criticized the ministry, and other's efforts in the ministry, over many unrelated issues when the conflict was theoretically over my rejection of his "friend."
For example, Butler wrote "I purchased airtime off of you, don't you think I had a right to expect my broadcast to be aired at the appropriate time for the full hour it was on? I had good service until you got to messing around with that "C" band satillite crap."
After wincing at the "you got to messing with that C band satillite crap" statement, I sought to remind myself that this was just an ignorant (and evidently nearly illiterate) man just venting his frustrations on me. Incidentally, this satellite "crap" was Christian Media's dispersal of the ministry's funds in an ongoing attempt to reach satellite dish owners with the Gospel.
In this statement, Butler also seemed to be implying that he did not receive the Shortwave radio time he had purchased - an assertion that was simply untrue. As all experienced Shortwave broadcasters know, when a program fails to air due to the periodic circumstances that invariably occur at all networks, what is called a "make-good" broadcast is routinely produced to be sure the programmer receives all the airtime he or she has purchased. Unfortunately, Butler was also taking this opportunity to criticize the efficiency of our radio network.
The truth is, although we had difficulties airing Tim Butler's program on a few occasions, he received many more hours on the air than he ever paid for.
The attack piece then made the inevitable comparison of me to the cultic Brother Stair:
"Don't you realize that when you "Cut people off" and will not receive reproof you are mirroring R.G. Stair to a tee? You do many things just like him, with the exception of raping young ladies and stealing money from people). I have also been amazed at the number of people who literally worship you James. On the CMN Folks group there are actually people who believe you can't do any wrong, now where have I seen that before?"
At least he didn't accuse me of seducing anybody's teenage daughters.
Even though Tim Butler was extremely offensive in his indefensible defense of his buddy from the Stair Wars, I chose to remain calm and did not lash back. After politely informing Tim that he was no longer to be welcome as a part of Christian Media, he not only attacked us via his newsletter with a barrage of criticism, he arranged to air a broadcast where he and another party verbally attacked me on the radio in the same critical fashion. That broadcast was not dissimilar to the above statements, in that his facts were in error; even as they demonstrated that he is incredibly sloppy in his reconstruction of events.
This is hardly the mark of a leader one should trust as a spiritual shepherd. The simple fact is, in his supposed effort to "make peace," it's likely he still has no idea what actually happened.
This isn't the first time we've seen a party ousted from our fellowship, that then sought to use every bit of influence they have to turn others against us in a misguided attempt to justify their own position. In this case, I believe the LORD allowed the episode to occur so that we would not have "pastor" Tim Butler in our midst.
-- James Lloyd