Now I Want Some Questions Answered!
Recently one of the homes which is operated by some of our brethren for the care of unfortunate children sent out a "news report" to churches and individuals in which someone had written an article under the above caption. No credit is given to any individual for authorship, so I assume it was written by someone closely connected in some way with the home which published the "news report." It will be our purpose in this paper to provide answers to the questions in this article as the writer requested, and to raise just a few questions of our own concerning the business this home pursues each year.
The questions that are to be answered all have to do with the writer of the article (which I assume to be a brother in Christ) going into a particular place for a meeting. He is not kept in the homes by any of the individuals of the congregation, but is placed in "a motel or hotel and the church picks up the tab." He says this is all fine with him, but wants to ask some questions. The questions he asks, along with comments upon them, follow.
"1. If the church is 'all-sufficient'and we do believe in the 'all sufficiency' of the church-why am I put in a hotel which is not the church?"
Of course, the only logical people to answer this question would be the elders of the church with which he is working in the meeting. However, we might make an observation or two. If this preacher stayed in the home of one of the members he would not be staying in the church's home, nor a home provided by the church unless the church should pay the brother who keeps him for so doing. There is evidence here that the writer has once again confused the church and the individual in this matter. When we work in meetings and are kept by one of the families in the church, we should not thank the church for the hospitality extended to us in the home, but rather the family which provided the place to stay. Whether the visiting preacher is kept in the home of Christians in the congregation, in a motel, hotel, boarding house, or other site is entirely up to the church that is supporting the preacher.
"2. While I am in the employ of the church, and I am staying in the hotel, are the elders overseeing me or the hotel?"
This question is really an insult to the intelligence and reasoning ability of every reader of the article! It would be just as logical to ask if the church is overseeing the Light Company when we use a bit of their electricity. Just because the church uses some of the facilities and services of some outside interest, group, etc., and pails for such facilities or services rendered, we can all understand that the church is not overseeing them. However, I presume that we also understand that the church ought to retain the right to remove our brother from the hotel if the service performed is not satisfactory. Now just here I have a question that I want answered! If we should send a child to be cared for by any one of the orphan homes brethren are operating, with the understanding that "the church will pick up the tab," could the church even oversee the care the child would receive while there? Could we even retain the right to remove the child from the home if the child, or the church which sent it, should not be satisfied with the service performed?
"3. If it is the duty of the church to keep me, and I am placed in the hotel and the church pays the hotel, is the hotel doing the work of the church? Is it 'usurping the work of the church'?"
This question is asked with the assumption that all who read it will accept as a fact the thought that the churches which support the home are simply buying services from the home. Under the above arrangement the hotel would not be doing the work of the church unless the church refused to pay the bill when presented, nor would they have "usurped the work of the church." But just here I have another question that I want answered. What would be happening if the hotel here in town invited a preacher to come and stay in their hotel and then they started sending letters out demanding that the church pay for his keep? I sure would like to see that question answered!
"4. When the church purposes and plans to pay the hotel 'out of the church treasury', has not the church put the hotel in the budget'?"
Once again we have a question that does not really merit an answer. To pay a hotel for a service it performs for us is not placing the hotel in the budget, just as we do not place the United States Government in the budget because we buy stamps from the Post Office Department, thus paying them for the service of carrying our letters, cards, parcels, etc. Now if the congregation is going to make regular contributions to the hotel so that it may be available just in case they ever have a preacher that needs to stay therein, we have another matter altogether. It is also another matter if the hotel is established for the purpose of caring for preachers that need support from the church, and then begs for all the churches to make regular gifts thereto regardless of whether they send a preacher to be cared for, or not. I wonder if the fellow who wrote the article would not even object to such contributions to an organization like that. I would like for him to answer this question: Would you object to the church making contributions regularly to the Post Office Department on the basis mentioned above; that is, regular contributions to it even when it is not used in any way? Would you object to the hotel arrangement mentioned? If you answer with an affirmative, then what earthly reason could there be in the question that was asked in the article? Could it be that it was asked to mislead the uninformed? Or did the writer think that all of the brethren who read the article would be gullible enough to believe he was actually presenting questions that were parallel to the orphan home set-up among us?
"If in the performance of their duty to the fatherless the members were obligated to take them into their own homes, why didn't they feel obligated by the same token to take me into their own homes? They had a duty toward me."
Who was it that said the fatherless had to be taken into the private homes of Christians in every instance in order that they be relieved? It Is rny personal judgment that a child can be better cared for in most circumstances in the private home of a good family of Christians than in any institutional orphan home that has ever existed. There is ample evidence to show that this is also the decided judgment of those who are experienced in the field of child care throughout the nation. However, that is not to say that such must be done every time or the scriptures will be violated. It is also my personal conviction that as a general rule the preacher and the church will work better together in a meeting if he can stay in the home of Christians while in the meeting. Some preachers disagree. Again, a preacher may stay in "his own hired house," or in a hired house of the brethren without violating any passage. Now my question is this: Who said the church must place the children in a private home every time? I am sure that most would agree that it would not violate the scriptures for an institutional orphan home to exist simply for the purpose of selling its services to the public-to anyone who desired to use them; that such a home could exist, and receive funds from "the church
treasury" only as a matter of the church "picking up the tab" for services performed for it by this home, and with the church retaining the right to alter or dispense with the services rendered if, and when, they so desired. Will someone please send me the names and addresses of all the homes our brethren are operating on this basis? On second thought, I think the information on just one will do!
"6. If the church could not scripturally care for the fatherless 'in a human institution', by what right do they propose to care for me in a human institution?"
This question again "begs the question" by assuming what ought to be demonstrated. Where is the man who would say the church could not "scripturally care for the fatherless 'in a human institution'" on the same basis that it would provide room and board for a preacher in a hotel ? Echo answers, "Where ?"
"7. When the church sends its money to the hotel to care for me, is the church in the hotel business?"
No, of course not. This is true just as surely as the church is not in the transportation business when it pays travelling expenses for a preacher when it asks him to come a long distance, or go a long distance, and then pays the fare to him, or directly to the carrier that he used. Now, remember we are not talking about regular contributions to TWA because we might want to have them available if we should ever want to fly a preacher somewhere! Nor are we talking about brethren setting up an organization to do the work of churches by providing travel arrangements for preachers for whom the church is responsible-thus doing the work of the churches-and then asking for and receiving regular contributions from all churches who will contribute.
"8. It should read Is, REF) the church supporting the hotel?"
I never heard of anyone who would think they were, in the usual meaning of the word support, and in the described circumstances. Now, on the other hand, if the church should send the hotel every fifth Sunday contribution just to keep the hotel in business, or to set up a hotel in business, I am sure all would agree they were supporting the hotel. I think even the writer of the article we quote would agree. Now, is it true that the institutional orphan homes our brethren are operating are doing nothing but selling services to the public -- to churches and individuals? There is not an individual who knows anything about thern at all that would so affirm. The question is sheer deception.
"9. Where is the authority, duly established by direct command, approved example, or necessary inference, for the church to keep me in a hotel, which is incorporated, with a board of directors, etc., set up to do just exactly a work that the church recognizes is its work, namely: feeding me and providing me a place to sleep? Now when the church finds authority duly established one way or another for keeping me in a hotel, and harmonizes this with its conception of the 'all sufficiency' of the church without considering the hotel in competition with the church or 'usurping the work of the church,' I want to know why the same authority does not extend to the church caring for the fatherless in an institution that is no more 'human' than is the hotel, and why do they consider it as acting in competition with the church when they do not the other?"
This whole paragraph again completely bypasses the problem caused by the institutional orphan homes. The objection is not primarily to the "human" organization accepting money from the church for services rendered to the church. I am persuaded that no one knows that better than the man who wrote the paper in question. I know of no one who objects to the scripturalness of the church paying the hotel hill for the services rendered. I am almost sure the writer of these words above does not, even though he seemingly is implying that there is no authority to be found therefore. I would object most strenuously to any group, even if my brethren, setting up a "hotel incorporation" and buying or building a house, getting a number of preachers to come to make it their abode, and then sending the churches appeals to pay for the services they were rendering to the churches. That is a parallel to what the orphan homes are doing now. Remember also, a hotel is not "set up to do just exactly a work that the church recognizes is its work, namely: feeding" preachers and providing them places to sleep! It is a business arrangement designed to make money by selling services to the public. Oh, by the way, the answer to the question is real simple. The authority for the church to pay the bill for the preacher in the hotel is that which gives the church authority to support the one who preaches the word. "There are a number of good passages to give this authority, but I Cor. 9:6-15 ought to get the job done. However, just is there is no room in this passage for the church to establish a hotel business, nor for individuals to establish hotels and ask the church for contributions because they sometimes get someone there to spend the night that the church is supporting, neither is there room in the scriptures for the institutional orphan home set-up which is now in operation. This whole question is much ado about nothing on the subject.
The article goes on to state, "I have approved example for placing the object of charity, a person in need, in an inn. Luke 10:34 - the good Samaritan placing the wounded man in the inn." May I remind our brother that this is a record of in individual placing a man in an inn, and has absolutely no bearing upon the collective church, nor upon the orphan home question among us. What churches did the Samaritan or the inn beg to send contributions because they claimed to be doing the churches' work for them?
Again he says, "If the, church can care for the needy in a private home, does it have to consider itself as buying a service from the private home? Or can it consider itself as making a contribution to it?
"If so, why cannot the church consider itself as making a contribution to any home that is caring for needy children?"
I will answer that by asking another question or two. Before the "needy" one was placed in that private home were churches authorized to make contributions to the home? If so authorized, I would be happy to receive all contributions coming this way. May I announce an intention to care for some orphans and get some of the churches to send me contributions now? (I would like to have some orphans. Thus far I have been unable to acquire them, but maybe I shall soon. My intentions are good. Do you suppose any of the churches will be sending me contributions on those intentions?) Some of the orphan homes that are being operated received thousands of dollars before they ever started to care for one child. Were they just selling a service to the churches then? If so, what was the service? A way to dispose of an oversupply of money!! After the needy one placed in the private home by the church has 1eft the home can the church continue to send them money? If so, upon what basis and by what authority? The church is only buying a service when it places a child in any home and then pays for that child's upkeep.
I received a copy of "a report of the operation" of the same home that published the "news report" in which the aforementioned sermon was preached. Nearly every issue of this "news report" contains some sort of a "sermon." If these sermons can be preached nationwide by this medium, under the supervision of this home, which is supported by the churches, why couldn't this part of the program of work for the churches be stepped up to a higher pace? We can then have a full-fledged combined benevolent society and missionary society that many of my brethren could not consistently oppose. They are endorsing it and supporting it right now, and pressuring everyone else to do likewise.
The "report of the operation" of the home was to cover one year from July 1, 1958 to June 30, 1959. Total income for this home for the year was listed at $429,947.18! That is almost a half-million-dollar-a-year business! Total operating expenses for that same year were $275,842.68, including, all salaries, depreciation, inventory loss in tearing down an old building, INVESTMENT EXPENSES, etc. This left a "NET INCREASE IN CAPITAL ASSETS" of $154,104.50 for the year. That is quite a net profit for one year, don't you think? But, of course, this only tells a part of the story. Included in the income is "INVESTMENT INCOME" that amounted to $32,012.78 for the year. $1,797.99 of this was from "Interest on notes and bonds." It is stated in this report that "We cared for an average daily load of 215 children for the year." It does not take much of a mathematician to discover that "TOTAL EXPENSES" amounted to almost $1300.00 per year per child! I imagine the day of the large family would return very quickly at that rate of support for them, don't you?
Now I would like to have some questions answered also. Just how large is this business to come to before it begins to level off a bit? Will it ever get to the place where it is completely self supporting ? How much are present capital assets worth? (Remember, they were increased more than $150,000.00 during this one fiscal year!) What sort of an investment does it take to have income therefrom that amounts to more than $32,000.00 in a year? (Illustration: an investment of $300,000.00 worth of assets in such a way as to pay a return of 10% per year would return exactly $30,000.00, or more than $2,000.00 less than was received as investment income by this home!) By what stretch of the imagination could the compiler of the report say that this home provides an "unusual opportunity for doing so much good for such little cost"? How could he say on the page where he tells us "MONEY ISN'T EVERYTHING" and asks for our "increased interest, prayers and support" (Emphasis mine, REF), "We still sustained an operating deficit of $11, 700.81" for the year (Emphasis not mine, REF)? Brethren, I would gladly "sustain an operating deficit of $11,700.81" for every year from now on if I could just increase my capital assets by more than $150,000.00 each year. In the words of the one who wrote the article we have reviewed, "Now I want these questions answered!" I am sending a carbon copy of this article to brother Gayle Oler at Boles Home.
Truth Magazine IV:6; pp. 12015