"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.II No.VIII Pg.8,9
March 1940

Listening In On The Unity Meeting

A. B. Keenan

Chairman Murch: Will the Unity Meeting now come to order? I think we are ready for the business of the day, to hear reports, and to get on with what we have before us.

Voice in Back: Mr. Chairman, I believe I have something of interest to the meeting.

Chairman Murch: The name please?

Voice in Back: I am Harley Patterson, associated with the Disciples of Christ in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Chairman Murch: Oh, yes! I've heard of you.

Harley Patterson: I wish to say something on behalf of the committee of which I am a member. You may recall that several of us were delegates to the Business Sessions at the recent Richmond convention, and I should like to present to this meeting just a little sample of the fine feeling which prevailed here between the Christian church and the denominational world. As a result of the World Conference of Christian Youth held in Amsterdam the following ideas have gained prominence: May I just read an item here?

Chairman Murch: Read on!

Harley Patterson: Well, here goes: "We are conscious that we ourselves, as members of the Northern Baptist Convention and the International Convention of Disciples of Christ, are two groups who have much in common. We recall the historical lines of common fellowship out of which our communions emerged and the overtures toward unity which our communions have made in recent years...We cannot forget the bond of fellowship in our common love of Christ, as we have worshipped together in the World Conference of Christian Youth." That is all, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Murch: Thank you, Brother Patterson. That is excellent, and I-

Unidentified Heckler: That sounds as if the Christian church is condemned as a denomination by one of its own supporters.

Chairman Murch: You don't have the floor! As I was saying, I wish to thank you, Brother Patterson. And now, who else has something of interest to this most important, -I may even say "world-moving," meeting!

Unidentified Man Near Front of Auditorium: Brother Murch

Chairman Murch: Yes, sir?

Unidentified Man Near Front of Auditorium: I represent the "Christian Standard;" I- I- I am an editorial writer!

Chairman Murch: "The Voice of the Standard is the Voice of God." Say on! We're all ears!

Unidentified Man Near Front of Auditorium: I hope all of you here appreciate the way we have been pounding on the Restoration Movement lately. If we can get the world to subscribe to the Restoration Movement, we'll usher in the millennium. People don't appreciate the Restoration Movement like they should. What we need is more preaching on the pioneers and the Restoration Movement. As a matter of fact-

Unidentified Heckler: Be truer to the New Testament, and quit talking so much about the "Restoration Movement" and you'll be of some use in this world.

Unidentified Man Near Front of Auditorium: Why, why, this is awful: I've never been so insulted in my life! I'm sitting down.

Chairman Murch: Whoever you are, will you please ask for the floor? Now! Just where were we? Oh, yes, I recall. Let us go on with the meeting, brethren. Oh, by the way, before we go any further! Will each pastor present get his church to donate the fifth Sunday in February's contribution to the improvement of "Bethany Beach," the brotherhood's resort on the Delaware Coast? Some of the sections of the clubhouse roof are a bit in disrepair, and we need new ropes on at least six of the swings. You will? That's wonderful, brethren! That can't be Brother Groom back there is it? Why it is Brother Groom, who went to England this summer as a fraternal delegate to the English churches! Brother Groom, this meeting can't go a bit further without hearing from you!

Brother Groom: The British brethren really got me this summer, folks. I can't sing the praises of Anglo-Saxon virtue too highly. They have many things which are characteristic of our brotherhood over here.

Unidentified Heckler: You wouldn't mean "our denomination" by any chance, would you?

Chairman Murch: I insist that you speak only when spoken to! Go on, Brother Groom.

Brother Broom: Our movement in Britain was similar to the beginnings of our movement in this country. One really funny thing was the statement by the chairman of the centennial committee that they were in possession of a lock of Thomas Campbell's hair. This statement drew fire from one man on the floor who said that it was reverting to the custom of preserving the bones of saints. I had to laff!

Unidentified Heckler: Only one?

Chairman Murch: Shut up, you, you reactionary!

Brother Groom: They've got one idea over there that I hope gets sunk by a German mine on the way over here.

Chairman Murch: Goodness! What's that?!

Brother Groom: In British congregations the elders are the boss, not the pastor at all.

Chairman Murch: It makes me shudder! How horrible!

Brother Groom: One can never tell where these lay movements will lead to!

Chairman Murch: Too true! Some of them have reminded me of the worst excesses of the Russian revolution. "The Voice of the Clergy is the Voice of God."

Brother Groom: But on the whole, their preaching is pretty much like ours.

Unidentified Heckler: I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Brother Murch: One more crack from you and we'll toss you out, you, you legalist! Thank you. Thank you very much, Brother Groom. And now I see Brother Yelderman, minister of the Christian church at Denton, Texas, sitting over there. Brother Yelderman, as we all know, has been knitting his brows these past years over what to do with the young people. Brother Yelderman, have you got that puzzle solved yet?

Brother Yelderman: I think I have, Brother Murch!

Chairman Murch: Say on!

Brother Yelderman: You can streamline your church by having young men as ushers. That ought to attract a lot of a-hem-the fairer sex. You can put them in a choir together. You can let them put on some plays. Many a Hollywood star got his start among humble surroundings. You can put young people in as teachers. That'll keep 'em coming to the Sunday School. Get it? You can have the young folks pray. The oldsters will get a big kick out of listening to them. They can be junior church officials. They might even be able to out-vote some of the old fogies once in a while. You can even have them get up their own orchestra and furnish music during the services.

Brother C. F. Witty: Mr. Chairman, object to this line of talk.

Brother Murch: Brother Yelderman, do you yield the floor to Brother W---y?

Brother Yelderman: I guess I'm through with what I had in mind.

Brother Murch: The chair recognizes Brother W--- of Detroit.

Brother W--y: We can never get our two bodies together if you keep bringing up the music question. I thought. we were going to say nothing about it, at least during this love feast.

Brother D. C. Janes: That's it! Love! Love!

Brother Murch: Don't you really think, Brother W--y, you're a bit old-fashioned with those quaint ideas of yours? You really didn't expect us "to give up our idols," as some of you radical associates have phrased it?

Brother W--y: Well, let each congregation settle the matter for itself! Don't bring the subject up here and commit all of us to it! Some of my people are not quite prepared for that.

Brother Murch: The chair recognizes the saintly S. S. Lappin, of Bedford, Indiana.

Brother Lappin: Stick by your guns, Yelderman! The silly distraction over the use of instruments in worship and the formation of missionary societies still makes inroads on the peace of Zion!

Brother W---y: May I rise for a question?

Brother Murch: Does Brother Lappin wish to permit his being questioned?

Brother Lappin: Why not?

Brother Murch: Go ahead, Brother W---y.

Brother W--y: I thought I had you fellows pretty well lined up on that music question. You were to go your way, and we were to go ours. We weren't going to agitate the issue to the dividing of the brethren any more, so that when the next church census is taken we can make a bigger and better, impression on the religious world. Is this the way to promote peace?

Brother E. L. Jorgenson: Peace! Peace! at any price! O Lord, give us peace in our day!

Brother Witty: I appeal to your sense of fair play. How about you, Brother Trinkle? You silenced your organ at our last United Meeting, I recall, and seemed to be impressed with our anti-organ arguments. How about it?

Brother Trinkle: I have always believed in being courteous to guests, particularly to those whom I have suspected of being "a bit tetched." But now that you've asked for it, Brother W---y, I'll let you have it! On November 26, the cash offering at Englewood Christian Church was more than $1,600 which cleared all our indebtedness on our property. We are planning a mortgage burning for the near future. And that isn't all: We hope to close the year with the organ which we installed last May, about the time we had that meeting you speak about, fully paid for!

Brother W--y: I move we adjourn, talk these things over with our respective peoples and come together for more searching for avenues that will lead us to a common ground at some future date.

Chairman Murch: I have heard a second to the motion. This Unity Meeting is adjourned:

Unidentified Heckler: Is there a Bible Banner in the house?