"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.VIII No.II Pg.22
October 1945

E. G. Couch And Manhattan Digression

Ted W. Mcelroy

Efficiency, honesty, and soundness in the faith do not require a veil of secrecy. Brother E. G. Couch writes me and sends his reply to the public criticism, and says, "This statement was not prepared for publication." His reply is for those, "Who inquire concerning the Bible Banner article," (Bible Banner, June 1945 page 34). His statement is a kind of "mail order" thing, you get one only if you write in and ask for it. I got mine free, but if you other folks want one, you ought to send a dime with your request to cover the cost of handling and mailing. It appears a peculiar quirk of mind to want to circulate a private reply to a public criticism. The compromise of brother Couch and the Manhattan church is not my private grievance, it concerns all loyal Christians and all have a right to know the facts. This thing took place up in the Northeast corner of the United States, but I shall do all that I can to prevent it from being hid in any corner. The New York lectureship or conference covered 4 days, but only the one session devoted to "unity between the church of Christ and the Digressives" is under fire at this time.

Brother Couch scolds me for saying he did not answer my letter to him. He admits that no reply came for over two months. After the lapse of a reasonable time I assumed that he did not aim to reply, and I prepared and submitted the article to the Bible Banner. Then after more than two months, I got a letter stating that he had "just received" my letter, he did not deny the Christian Unity (Witty-Murch Publication) report, and made no explanation that changed anything; therefore I let the article stand as sent. Possibly brother Couch did not receive my letter addressed to him at his home in New York for two months; but if he did not receive and attend to his electric bill during that interval, I will venture they cut him off—and who would blame them. He must be a very busy man not to receive nor answer his mail for a period of two or three months, brethren should provide him a private secretary to help take care of his manifold responsibilities.

In his "mail order" reply to my article brother Couch says, "Brother McElroy 'assumes that the meeting was in some way connected with the Unity Movement of which Witty and Murch are the leaders. This is entirely incorrect. The meeting had no connection with that movement." My assumption is well-founded. It is perfectly obvious to the most superficial observer that someone around the conference had some connection with and interest in the Witty-Murch brand of unity. On no other ground can you explain the fact that the report was sent to and published in their paper. The digressive preacher who sent the report was in sympathy with Witty-Murch, so there is at least on one side a sympathetic connection. Furthermore, editorially Witty and Murch claimed that the "Unity Sessions" in the lectureship, boosted their brand of unity and they were encouraged by it. Anything that pleases and encourages Murch and Witty "stinks" like compromise to me. But if it is not connected with Witty-Murch, it is an independent "Couch-Darsie movement" of the same order.

In the Christian Unity Quarterly April, May, and June 1944, the same issue that published the report "New York Ministers Confers," Witty and Murch gave editorial approval and honorable mention to brother Couch's lectureship: "We call attention to the two articles "Unity in Louisville" and "New York Ministers Confer." Here are recounted actual efforts of brethren to get together in meetings for better understanding.'

According to the Unity editors the meetings in Louisville and New York were similar in nature and identical in purpose. Brother Couch did the arranging in New York, who did it in Louisville? E. L. Jorgenson, premillennialist of the Highland church, and assisted by a digressive preacher.

Brother Couch in the "mail order" reply said, "The consensus of opinion was that good had been done after the meeting was over." Whose consensus of opinion? The Christian church preachers were evidently, from their report, highly pleased. To them it must have been a sweet morsel, savored with sugar and spice. Witty and Murch thought "good was done." Does brother McGaughey "who had to go home" before this session came off, hold the opinion that good was done?

These facts remain undenied, sustained by the report in the Christian Unity Quarterly and by the admissions of brother Couch in his correspondence: 1. There was a meeting in New York of Church of Christ and Christian Church preachers to discuss unity. 2. E. G. Couch and the Manhattan church arranged the meeting and the program. 3. J. P. Sanders represented the view of the church of Christ. 4. The Christian Church preachers were invited to be representative speakers on the program. 5. The digressive preacher who reported the meeting, Witty and Murch, and E. G. Couch, are all happy over the affair, and are of the opinion "good was done."

It is my conviction that any meeting that pleases the digressive preachers and receives the approval of Witty and Murch is a compromise.