"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.IV No.IV Pg.12-14
November 1941

Try It On Murch And Witty

W. Curtis Porter

In The New Millennial Harbinger, edited by Bro. Claud F. Witty, a serial-- "How Denominationalism Was Doomed In One Town"-written by Bro. Benjamin Franklin, who died more than sixty years ago, is being reprinted. The fact that it comes from that great writer and preacher guarantees it to be an interesting series. I have read and enjoyed the first installment, which is but an introduction to what is to follow. But the preliminaries revealed in the first article tell us that the members of various churches in a certain town—the town of Unity—decided to do something about denominational division. So they had a meeting—I suppose we might call it a "Unity Meeting" and decided to do something about it. Their decision and course, however, were entirely different from the course followed in the more recent "Unity Meetings" that have been staged by Claud F. Witty of the church of Christ and James DeForest Murch of the Christian Church. In the unity meeting of Franklin's serial, the member of various churches deplored the divided state in their town. They lamented not only the unnecessary expense of maintaining so many different meeting houses but also the many evils that grew out of such a denominational set up. After views regarding the matter had been exchanged, they passed the following resolution: "Resolved, That after the first day of January, 1853, we will not contribute one farthing to the support of our respective ministers, till they determine the Scriptural basis of Christian union, that they may unite upon it themselves and ourselves with them; after which, we will support one of their number as our pastor, and send the other five to preach Christian union so far as they are able, to all the children of God throughout the world, and sell the five surplus meeting-houses, and appropriate the proceeds to the support of our poor brethren."

This serial by Benjamin Franklin, for which this resolution formed the background, is being printed in The New Millennial Harbinger with editorial endorsement. Concerning this serial, Bro. Witty says editorially:

"Just imagine all the preachers in a town being told that they must get together and agree on a Scriptural basis of Christian Unity or starve. How they fuss and fume, threaten and complain, but it does them no good. The churches all stand firm. Every time the preachers try to get their congregations to relent and restore their salary, they are told that there is just one way to get back on the payroll. Find the Scriptural basis for a United Church. Week after week the preachers meet and try to melt their denominational names and creeds into a New Testament Church: but it cannot be done. At last they see the light, and cheerfully give up all that is peculiar to their respective denominations and become one in Christ."

So Bro. Witty finds the experiment very interesting. And since he has thus given editorial endorsement to the serial, it has touched the spring of my curiosity and started me to wondering. Another Unity Movement is now in progress. Bro. Claud F. Witty of the church of Christ and James Deforest Murch of the Christian Church are the promoters of it. Instead of involving a few weeks, it has involved several years. Four National Unity Meetings have been held in various sections of the United States. What has been the purpose of these Unity Meetings? To unite the two bodies known as the Church of Christ and the Christian Church. What progress has been made? Not even the men who are promoting it have been able to reach unity. As far as we know, Witty and Murch are as far apart after four National Unity Meetings and several years as they were before the movement started. If they are any closer to each other, we have no list of the things on either side that have been given up. But what I am wondering about is this: Why not try the plan in Franklin's Serial on Murch and Witty? Since Witty has endorsed it editorially, he should be willing to have it tried out on him. And, personally, I have an idea that results would occur before the passing of a few more years and a few more National Unity Meetings. Let the congregation for which Murch preaches and the congregation for which Witty preaches resolve that "they will not contribute one farthing to the support of their respective ministers, till they determine the Scriptural basis of unity and unite upon it themselves." Paraphrasing the statement of Bro. Witty: "Just imagine Murch and Witty being told they must get together and agree on a Scriptural basis of Christian Unity or starve." There might be some more fussing, fuming, threatening and complaining, but if their congregations would do that and "stand pat," they might get some results. Perhaps the preachers would "try to get their congregations to relent and restore their salary," but let them be told that "there is just one way to get back on the payroll," and that is to reach unity themselves on a Scriptural basis, that others may do likewise. I wonder how long it would take Murch and Witty to get together.

If this plan worked successfully on preachers of various churches in the town of Unity, it has possibilities if tried out on Murch and Witty. And if Bro. Witty can endorse the plan for the solution of division among various denominations, and he has done so, why does he not suggest it to the congregations for which he and Murch preach? Bro. Witty, will you propose this plan to the congregation for which you preach? Will you suggest to Murch that he propose it to the church for which he preaches? Let us know what you think of this plan. Perhaps it would be a good thing to give some consideration of this in one of the unity numbers of the Harbinger. I await with interest the reaction of Bro. Witty to the plan he has endorsed. I hope my curiosity doesn't kill me while I am waiting.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Winston-Salem, N. C., October 14, 1941, The Bible Banner, Oklahoma City, Okla.

Dear Brethren;

The statement below, headed; "Winston-Salem, N. C.," appeared in the Christian Ledger, September 16th; and since it is so misleading, our brethren, of Goldfloss Street Church here in Winston-Salem, decided that we were entitled to space in the same paper, to refute such a glaring misrepresentation of facts. So we sent a statement to Brother Rowe, and asked that he print it; but notwithstanding we have written him several times, he has failed, so far, to grant our request.

We, therefore, will appreciate your printing this brief note in the Bible Banner and follow it with the statement he printed for the faction now meeting at the Y. M. C. A. and following that, print the statement we sent, in order that the public may not be misled.

It will be noted that our statement is signed by five of us who have been leaders in our assembly for several years.

Fraternally, Jno. W. Kurfees:

September 16.

"Winston-Salem, N. C."

"There are 20 or 25 members meeting in a class room of the Y. M. C. A. Brother Winston W. Tynes preaches for these brethren. He preaches for Statesville and Warner's Chapel every other Sunday and Warner's Chapel is 20 miles from Winston-Salem. The Sunday he preaches for them, he preaches at 9;30 for Winston-Salem and then goes on out there. He is giving his services free and will preach a radio sermon. He also teaches the Bible class every Wednesday afternoon. These brethren need help to meet the radio cost. The leader of this new work is H. L. Knight, 2641 Peachtree Street, Winston-Salem, to whom help may be sent for the radio work.

Brother Tynes is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman College. In a short meeting for this group, held last summer, he baptized nine. The brethren hold him in highest esteem as one who is out for the good he can do."

Winston-Salem, N. C., September 23, 1941, Editor, Christian Ledger, 434 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Sir

In your issue of September 16 we notice a statement headed "Winston-Salem, N. C."

Since this statement contains such a glaring misrepresentation of facts, we feel it is due the public, and especially due our loyal brethren here in Winston-Salem, that a correction be made in your columns.

Therefore, we, the undersigned leaders in our congregation, respectfully request that you give the following correction the same prominence in your paper, that you gave the statement referred to.

In the first place we have a loyal congregation of brethren in this city which meets for worship in a meeting house of our own at 719 Goldfloss Street.

During 1940 we engaged the services of Winston W. Tynes, of Belle, Mo. He came and preached for us once per month, and held one series of meetings.

We kept him nearly one year, when we decided that, because of certain circumstances, it would be best to let him go.

So notwithstanding, nothing had been said as to how long he was to be with us, the leaders in our assembly decided that as he only lacked two months of having been with us a year, we would pay him up for the entire year, and dismiss him, which we did.

Because of this dismissal, a few of our members became dissatisfied, formed themselves into a faction and because they could not dictate how things should be carried on in our assembly, they "went out from us," and began meeting at the Y. M. C. A.

The writer of the statement, to which this is a reply, says, in speaking of the man Tynes : "In a short meeting for this group, held last summer, he baptized nine."

This statement is absolutely false. If he has baptized a single one, for that "group," no one here know about it. The meeting he held, and in which nine were baptized, was held in our meeting house on Goldfloss Street, in the summer of 1940, while he was preaching for us.

Furthermore, the statement that Winston W. Tynes is a "graduate of Freed-Hardeman College" is also untrue; and if anyone wishes to verify this statement, we respectfully refer them to N. B. Hardeman, Henderson, Tenn. Signed, Jno. W. Kurfees. W. J. Forcum, Cromer Grubs, Hix F. Carter, Ralph S. Church.

* * * *

Winston-Salem, N. C., July 10, 1941, Mr. Winston W. Tynes, Clemmons, N. C.

Dear Bro. Tynes:

As one of the principal leaders in Goldfloss Street Church, for a number of years, it is my judgment that a few things need to be said, which I shall endeavor now to say; and I trust you will give them serious consideration. Our congregation was moving on in a most excellent way, fully united, and the spirit of brotherly love was manifested on every side for several years.

But, unfortunately, some people came among us who proved to be trouble makers, instead of peace lovers. Then it was that trouble began. They began to criticize us, and find fault of this, that and the other of our affairs. They did not charge us with doing anything unscriptural in our work and worship; but began to complain at our humble circumstances and to make light of our location and church building, etc.

You, of course, remember how all this kind of talk went on for a time, while we were explaining to them that we were doing the best we could, considering our financial circumstances; and that we hoped some day to have a better building; but that we did not want to go in debt for other quarters; neither did we approve of begging others to assist us, when we could meet there and worship God in a manner acceptable to Him.

Well, as you of course remember, all this criticizing continued, and grew worse and worse, until finally a faction began to develop in our midst.

You will also remember talking this all over with myself and family, in our home, and that there in the presence of us all you held up your hand and solemnly vowed that you would not take sides in a church "fuss," as you termed it. You said; "I'll leave first. I will not take sides in such case."

You did all this, too, of your own accord and not at the suggestion of any one.

Not only did you make that solemn pledge in the presence of myself and family, but Sister Addie Darnell says you made the same declaration to her and family, in their home.

But, notwithstanding, you had pledged yourself not to take sides in such case, you did take sides with the faction, even going so far as to promise to preach a sermon for them in defense of certain things they were clamoring for.

Thus, your taking sides with, and upholding a faction, the very thing you had solemnly declared you would not do, is, as you well know, the reason for your dismissal from our congregation as our preacher.

The four men, who had been appointed to look after the business affairs of our congregation, discussed the matter among themselves, and decided that, under all the circumstances, the best course to pursue would be to pay you up in full for the year, which they did, and let you go; thinking that by so doing they might prevent division in the church.

But, lo! to their surprise, and the surprise of us all, with your continued assistance, the faction grew and multiplied; and finally decided to deliberately divide the body of Christ, which for years had loved and labored together at 719 Goldfloss Street, converting and baptizing more people than any other loyal congregation in one hundred miles of our place.

Yes, the faction withdrew and we learn they are now meeting for services at another place; and, behold, we are informed that you are preaching for them!

Not only have they, by your assistance, done this terrible thing—divided the body of Christ—but are now being upheld by you, as their preacher, in following this unscriptural course.

You are helping them to ignore such plain passages of scripture, as the following references will indicate; Rom. 16;17, 1st Cor. 1:10; James 3;16; 1st Cor. 3;16, 17; 1st John 2;19; Eph. 4;1-6; and John 17;20-21.

If you had stood up, like a Christian man should, and advised against such action, it never would have happened; and you my brother, will have to answer to the Lord for the course you are pursuing.

If you have the cause of Christ at heart, you should at once, right-about-face, and say to those brethren "You have pursued a wrong course; and so have I by encouraging you; and I now advise each of you to return to Goldfloss Street Church, and ask its forgiveness for what you have done; and may God forgive each of us, is my prayer."

If you will act as a Christian should and give them that kind of advice, Goldfloss Street Church, I feel sure, will forgive both you and them; and we will ask the Lord to do likewise.

No other course, on either your part or theirs, will meet God's approval; if the Bible means what it says.

I have talked with a number of our brethren, and feel sure I have expressed the sentiment of all.

I wanted you to know our feeling about these things, and I want all those brethren who left us to know also; and I shall, Lord willing, furnish them a copy of this letter.

I shall be glad to hear from you regarding these matters.

Sincerely and fraternally, Jno. W. Kurfees.

* * * *

Clemmons, N. C.,

July 14, 1941.

Dear Bro. Kurfees:

I am willing and feel sure that the other brethren will be glad to meet with you and discuss our differences. Two rules should govern.

1. That all things be done in love.

2. Let all things be done in decency and order. (Signed) Winston W. Tynes. * * * *

Winston-Salem, N. C.,

July 18, 1941,

Mr. Winston W. Tynes,

R. F. D., Clemmons, N. C.

Dear Bro. Tynes:

Yours of the 14th is received. I note you say: "I am willing and I feel sure that the other brethren will be glad to meet with you, and discuss our differences."

To what "differences" do you have reference? I said nothing about "differences" in my letter to you.

I made certain charges against you, in my former letter, and it is entirely up to you to acknowledge or deny said charges.

If you acknowledge them, all well, and good. (An honest confession is good for the soul.)

But, if you desire to deny said charges, and wish to make your denial before an audience at Goldfloss Street Church, I shall be glad to face you there, and prove, by honorable witnesses, every charge I have made against you.

However, it is my sincere desire and prayer, that you act in this matter, so as to set yourself right with God, and the whole church at Goldfloss Street.

I know of no better plan than the one I suggested in my former letter; namely: Go to each member, who "went out from us," and acknowledge your mistake, giving them the advice I suggested.

Of course, I know it will be humiliating, to some extent, for you to do this, but you should not let that deter you from pursuing the right course.

You are a young man, with your life before you; and if you wish to succeed as a true gospel preacher, you should, at all times, acknowledge mistakes and rectify them so far as possible.

This is the only course that will be well pleasing to God. I am an old man now. My race is nearly run; and I assure you that I have no other motive, in advising you to pursue the course I have outlined, except for your own good; and to restore the unity for which Christ so earnestly prayed, and which had prevailed for years in the church at Goldfloss Street.

Praying that you may act wisely in this matter; and that God may over-rule it all to His own glory.

Shall be glad to hear your decision.

Sincerely, your brother, Jno. W. Kurfees.

* * * *

After all of these events and correspondence the following report appeared in the Christian Ledger Oct. 28, 1941:

"Winston-Salem, North Carolina"

"Different brethren and sisters came into the city from different parts of the country, and after diligent search located a congregation meeting in the outskirts of the city where they worshipped for a time; but seeing the great need of making efforts to carry the message to other parts of the city, deemed it wise to begin work in another locality to build up an influence so as to carry the message of life to as many as possible. This being the purpose, there was no factious feeling whatever toward the old congregation. When they saw the great need, they secured the use of a room at the Y. M. C. A., in which to meet as a center whence the influence could go out into other parts of the city. This was without any intention whatever of hindering the work in any way in any locality. They will be most happy to cooperate with other brethren to spread the pure gospel in this city of 80,000 people."

* * *

The above report attempts to leave the impression on the public that there is no division, but the facts are that there is a division, caused by this faction and was led by the young preacher. These facts are being published that the truth may be known to all the brethren.