Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 23, 1969
NUMBER 25, PAGE 1-2a

My Position On Fellowship

W. Carl Ketcherside

In his first article entitled "The Pulse of the Brethren," my fellow-editor and brother in the Lord, William E. Wallace, writes, "The loose uninhibited, unscriptural fellowship espoused by the Ketcherside movement is naturally repulsive to brethren of strong convictions against institutional and sponsoring church errors."

I shall not judge the motives of my brother, but it is obvious that his choice of words will militate against unbiased investigation of my position which I have constantly sought to express in love for all of God's precious children. The use of terminology such as "loose uninhibited, and unscriptural" creates an emotional reaction which builds walls and erects barriers and makes sober evaluation of a position difficult for many brethren in our tension-filled world.

My position is not at all loose or uninhibited. It is restricted by God's love and acceptance of all of us. I simply propose to receive all whom God has received, and on the same basis as He receives them. If they are good enough to be His children they are not too bad to be my brothers.

Every truly penitent baptized believer under heaven comes into the fellowship of the Father and of the Son, and I am in that fellowship with him. I share in the fellowship of grace with every other person who is joined unto our Lord as head of the body.

Our good brother Wallace bases his accusation of "unscriptural fellowship" upon his own understanding and interpretation of the scriptures. I do not share his understanding of the word koinonia. My own earnest and prayerful study has led me to the strong conviction that fellowship is the sharing of a common life, the life of the Father and of the Son, through the indwelling Spirit of God. Fellowship is not something we can extend or withdraw, but something we share through divine love. It is a state or condition into which we are called by the faithfulness of God (I Corinthians 1:9).

There is no "Ketcherside movement," nor will there ever be. I have not sought to line up anyone with my views, and I desire no personal followers.

I have expressed my own views openly and freely and I love those who disagree with them as much as I do those who concur with them. I represent only myself and I am not a front man or defender of any faction, fraction, sect or segment among us. I have urged all within the various splinter groups of the restoration movement to stay where they are as they learn new truths and share them with those with whom they have always labored. It is only as they withdraw and attempt to form a "loyal party" that they will create another division and crystallize into a movement.

I regret that what I write is dubbed as "naturally repulsive to brethren of strong convictions" and yet I have found that many of those who claim to be repulsed have never read what I have written. They do not know my position. Having operated on hearsay some of them have made absurd and ridiculous charges about what I am alleged to believe. These have no basis of fact. But this in no sense militates against my love or regard for these brethren, for I grew up with a factional attitude where loveless disregard for brethren in other parties was sometimes made a matter of levity and was generally accepted as proof of loyalty. I am ashamed of that period of my life. I have asked forgiveness for such a work of the flesh.

I am in the fellowship with William Wallace and Yater Tant. I am also in the fellowship with Reuel Lemmons and B. C. Goodpasture, and with Jimmie Lovell and Baxter Loe. I am in the fellowship with Edward Hayden and James DeForest Murch. None of these agree with me fully, nor need they do so, for I am as human and fallible as they are. I can no more choose my spiritual brothers than I can choose my physical brothers. We are not brothers because we have the same views but because we have the same Father. And while I cannot choose my brothers, I can recognize them and love them. And I do — all of them!