Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 20, 1967

Dialogue Or Disarmament

Elvis Bozart

Last fall notice was received that Brother Carl Ketcherside was speaking in a series of meetings with a Christian Church in south Chicago and a daytime session was scheduled for preachers of the various groups engaged in the Restoration Movement. Since I was invited I attended this session along with several others with whom I share fellowship in Christ. Also present were preachers of the Disciples of Christ, Christian Church, and one liberal Church of Christ.

Carl was the spokesman and set forth his plea for "dialogue" which has been characteristic of his teaching the past ten years. His platform is that "all segments of the Disciple Brotherhood" should have brotherhood because we have Fatherhood. Basically, he believes that anyone who has submitted to water baptism (burial and resurrection) as a result of believing in Christ, is in the body of Christ and therefore, worthy of fellowship. We should discuss our differences over instrumental music, congregational cooperation, premillennialism, Bible classes, literature, etc. , but we should not break fellowship with each other over these differences.

The error of this reasoning has been well pointed out by many writers of this journal and other papers that circulate among the brethren. This is not an attempt to do this again. It is an attempt to show that Brother Ketcherside is not interested in joint discussions of the scriptural issues which may lead to common faith and practice, which will produce unity among the brethren. He, and those spouting the same claptrap and flapdoodle, are interested only in getting us to sit and listen to their blubberish overtures of disarmament before we consider an armistice.

In a genuine effort to test their desire for unity, the Grand Avenue church wrote Carl and proposed that a series of three or four days of meetings be set up in which representatives of the "heirs of the Restoration Movement" could come together to discuss our differences. In our letter we emphasized that we undertook no endorsement of anyone so appearing, each participant pay his own expenses, and that our differences not agreements be discussed. Brother Ketcherside's letter is shown herein:

"Mission Messenger"

W. Carl Ketcherside, Editor 139 Signal Hill Drive

Saint Louis, Missouri 63121 January 19, 1967

My dear brother in the Lord:

I am appreciative of your good letter and of the proposal made to the brethren of the Grand Avenue congregation by yourself and I am also deeply grateful for their willingness to conduct such a meeting as you have suggested. I wish that it could be done but I rather doubt the possibility with any degree of success.

I shall give my reasons for my doubt. After we talked in Chicago about the possibility of such a meeting, I sounded out a limited number of the brethren whom I could reach about the feasibility of it, and I found them reluctant to commit themselves to any such meeting. The view was expressed that a meeting in which brethren can come as equals and with acceptance as brethren might contribute to meaningful dialogue leading to proper results for the Kingdom of heaven, but where they come with some regarded as "brethren in error" while others are regarded as having all of the answers the possibility of any real accomplishment is very slight.

I had to admit that you had told me that you would not even feel that you could call upon the other brethren to lead in prayer and thus to meet at Grand Avenue where only those who are allied with a certain segment could even be recognized as worthy to address the Father would make a rather strange situation. I doubt that many of the brethren would feel free to come. I insisted in the meeting that Fred Thompson arranged that all of our brethren be treated as brethren, lived in deed and in truth, rather than merely in word and in speech and it seems to me that to eliminate prejudice we'll have to proceed on that basis. With love for you and all of the brethren there I am Yours and HIS,

/s/ Carl The terms, then, to get such a meeting arranged, is that we must agree in advance that we are one in Christ before we discuss the issues that obviously keep us from being one in Christ! Such an arrangement has been offered us by Catholicism and Protestant Denominationalism for many years. The purpose behind such terms is compromise. Let us not be taken in by such disguised olive branches. Let us offer to one and all with whom we differ the opportunity to meet with us to discuss these differences on any fair basis. Let us agree to treat one another with courtesy, fair play and charity. Beyond this, we make no concessions concerning our surrender of our faith in advance. We will not ask from others what we are not willing to give.

Let those with whom we differ take up the word of God and show our faith and practice is in error. We will do the same. Then those who will be bound by the word will be brethren in Christ and they will have fellowship with each other and with Christ. Before we have done this, even if I would accept those from every "segment" as brethren that does not mean that God would accept them.

-3769 W. Grand Avenue Chicago, Illinois 60651