Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1963
NUMBER 20, PAGE 9,13

The Dallas "Unity Meeting"

Jack L. Holt

The week of July 1-5, a so-called unity meeting was held in Dallas. Coordinators and promoters of this meeting were Leroy Garrett and W. Carl Ketcherside. It may seem strange to many who have beheld the antics of these two in the past to see them over in "unity" meadow, but they claim to be there, and they feed upon and offer to others their own brand of unity hay.

The meeting took place at the Wynnewood Christian Chapel where Leroy Garrett preaches — but still is not located. I attended this meeting at his invitation and with the assurance that I would be allowed to freely speak what I believe. I also served on the panel for three periods of open discussion in which we were to answer and ask questions. Brother R. L. Burns served with me on one of these panels. We were treated fairly and with courtesy. Brother Carl Spain was also scheduled to speak but according to reports, he declined when pressure was brought to bear by brother John Banister. I understand that brother Banister informed him that if he appeared on the panel it would put "the cause" in Dallas in a bad light.

I first appeared on the program on Thursday morning. I was to follow Robert Myers, who preaches for the Riverside church in Wichita, Kansas. I must confess that I had only a vague conception of the features of this professed unity movement until that day. However, after a few minutes of "hearing and seeing," the features of the movement began to stand out and before the meeting closed the picture became clear and plain. Myers spoke on the subject: "What Is The Unity We Seek?" In his speech he suggested that unity is possible and as a basis for unity he suggested that all of us should allow others to believe what they want to believe and accept them "as brethren" as long as they are honest and sincere. The only belief that is really important is belief in the person of Christ. He set forth the old sectarian plea that we are all going to the same place, just travelling different ways. He ridiculed the idea that anyone should believe he is right and that all who differ with him are wrong. He asserted that we do not have a definite standard of truth; that with the passing of time, in various ways we learn new truths, hence cannot be dogmatic about what we know today for tomorrow we may change. Myers, along with the others in this movement, taught that we may be Christians, but these in the "church of Christ" are not the only Christians. To him, the real church of Christ is composed of those everywhere who believe in the person of Christ regardless of church affiliation. He followed the familiar modernistic trail and accused those who take a firm, positive stand for God's word of shutting the honest and sincere out of the kingdom. And when we refuse to extend fellowship to such, just because they do not believe as we do, we are filled with a conceited smugness and have a pharisaical attitude toward the gospel! Since we are all striving after truth, we should extend fellowship and forbearance to all.

In my speech which followed, I showed first that unity of the spirit is both good and pleasant. Next, that unity is possible and God has provided a plan for it. This plan is found in Eph. 4:1-7. To have this unity is to have the "unity of the Spirit." Unity may be had with men on another platform, but not unity with God. With reference to Myer's assertion that we do not have a definite standard of truth we showed that the Holy Spirit, who revealed all truth, never contradicts himself. And beyond this revelation one does not have the truth, or Him who is the truth. (2 John 9) And further, when the Holy Spirit gave us the truth, He not only gave us an adequate Gospel but one we can understand. The truth revealed by the Holy Spirit is complete; hence if we believe the truth, we will believe that all truth is revealed and complete. To say that there is only one way may appear to be conceited smugness to some but it is what the truth Himself taught. (John 14:8; Matt. 7:13, 14) Further, God is definite and dogmatic in all His utterances. To illustrate: the origin of all things (Gen, 1:1); the creation of man (Gen. 1:28); marriage, etc. Hence, to lean upon God's word, to contend for it and faithfully follow it is not "conceited smugness," but a demonstration that God is our Guide and we believe Him. We then showed that the effort to do away with law has long been the refuge of the modernist who wants to put away all thought of responsibility.

In the process of discussion the real purpose and pattern of the unity movement became clear. It is a movement to throw the arms of "love" around any and all who pretend to believe in Christ, to accept them as brethren, and cause no division over differences. To Ketcherside, there is no basis for disfellowshipping anyone. Eph. 5:11, 1 Thess. 3:8, Rom. 18:17-18 are, seemingly, mere warnings against the dangers of paganism. And this to Ketcherside is the only darkness involved in Eph. 5:11.

The argument that we should accept all those who believe In Jesus "as brethren" proceeds upon the basis that all who believe Jesus Christ is God's Son stand related to Christ — a person, not a doctrine or doctrines. Since each man stands related to Christ, no man can affect that relationship and thus put his brother out of fellowship of Christ for, "to his own master he standeth or falleth." Hence, if one believes in Christ, he is your brother and the mere fact that you may differ with him does not affect his relationship to Christ. Your differences do not put him out of Christ, and if you love him as you should, he will not be excluded from your fellowship.

If you insist that one must be a member of the church of Christ to be saved it is asked: "Very well, but tell me which segment. Shall I become a member of the anti-war, anti-clans, anti-uncovered heads and bobbed hair, anti-Herald of Truth, anti-orphan homes, or should I join the segments that favor all these matters? Just where do you find the true church of Christ? What right do you have to go to your brother who stands related to Christ, hand him a bill of particulars and tell him to believe it and be identified with your group or be damned? Or why should you be so dogmatic as to say: 'I have a monopoly on truth, all who do not believe as I do shall be circled out of my fellowship and I will consign them to hell. Is this the way to extend Christian love toward a fellow believers in Christ? Do you deny him his liberty in Christ?"

But you may say: "I am only trying to help my brother know the truth which is able to make him free." Well and good; it is commendable for you to be interested in your brother. But we ask: "Do you have a perfect interpretation of truth?" If you say that you do then you profess infallibility. If you say you do not, then why do you force your brother to accept what you admit are fallible interpretations? And besides, have you ever changed your position on a passage of Scripture? Surely so, then why be so dogmatic and conceited in forcing your brother to accept your interpretation now, for after a while you may change on this. Let us further ask: "Do you know all truth?" If you say yes, then you have a perfect knowledge of truth and never need to study. If you say no, then it is asked can you be saved and not know all truth, why cannot the sincere and honest Methodist be saved who does not know all truth? Or is God a respecter of persons? Does He measure you by one rule and the Methodist by another? Did the Gospel come to you only? Is God the God of the church of Christ (Which segment) only? Incidentally, do you expect your brethren to love you and extend fellowship to you while you are learning the truth? Then why can't you extend fellowship to the Methodist while he is learning the truth? Or are you unwilling to extend to others what you expect others to extend to you?

In this connection it is asked: "If you have ever changed your view of the Scriptures, and what they teach, upon what basis did you do so? Was it upon the basis of the truth? If so, tell us, were you saved before you changed?" Well, if it were important enough to make you change it must be important enough to save. If, therefore, you were saved before you knew and obeyed a truth important enough to make you change, why can't our Methodist friends be saved before they know truths important enough to make them change? And if you expected your brethren to love you while they waited for you to learn the truth and thus change, why can't you love and fellowship "brother Methodist" while waiting for him to change? Or do you have two rules to follow?

In a word, if you were not lost before you changed to an important truth, why say the Methodist is lost before he changes to an important truth? To illustrate the matter and bring it closer home, it may be asked: "Must one believe the Herald of Truth is unscriptural when he is baptized to be saved?" If no, then why make it a matter of contention? If yes, do you require alien sinners to believe this before you baptize them? And did you believe such was unscriptural when you obeyed the Gospel? If you did not believe it unscriptural then, were you saved then? Very well, if you could be saved then regardless of what you believed about it, why can't you be saved now regardless of what you believe about it?

Let it be remembered by the reader that the primary purpose of this article is to set forth the basis upon which Carl and Leroy propose to unite the brotherhood, and all so-called believers in Christ. We have tried to give a clear picture so that the movement can be seen for what it is. Space does not permit us to give a detailed account of every twist and perversion they make of God's Word. In time, we shall, the Lord sparing our life, and brother Tant giving us space, try to recall the answers we gave to their errors during the discussions with a little "extra" review thrown in. Watch for them in the Gospel Guardian.

We also wish to state to brethren everywhere that the sound and faithful brethren in the Dallas-Fort Worth area came to the meeting and in the arena of discussion stood like a stone wall against the efforts of these men who would make the Gospel of God of none effect. These men stood in the breach, the error did not pass. May the God of all comfort bless them and may their tribe increase. It is not likely that the "antis" will be invited to any more "unity" meetings.

Finally, let no one write off this movement as just a passing fancy. Carl and Leroy are shrewd enough to see where the liberals are going. They well know that the liberals have led the people away from God and have caused them to lose all respect for His word. What Carl and Leroy present is precisely what a people prepared for such seek. The liberal preachers know it and are running scared. The liberal preachers are not ready to go as far as Carl and Leroy at present. But with the passing of time, and with the searing of the conscience, they will soon be with them. The liberals have planted the tree, fed and watered it, now they must reap the fruit.

— 8440 Stults Road, Dallas, Texas