October 23, 2017

Bible Classes and Orphan Homes

By Larry Ray Hafley

Ben F. Vick, Jr. has said:

Those who oppose Bible classes and orphan homes to the division of the church are not walking in the light. Therefore, we do not have fellowship with those who oppose Bible classes and orphan homes to the division of the church . . . . The brethren who oppose Bible classes and orphan homes fit into one barrel. They have divided the church by binding where God has loosed. God said, "teach." He did not say how to do such. Bible classes are one way. God said to "visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction." He did not say how . . . and . . . I have not been told "how" it must be done (Ben F. Vick, Jr., The Informer, Nov. 11, 1990, p. 2).

Brother Vick equates opposition to Bible classes and orphan homes. Such items, he infers, "fit into one barrel." Would not the same be true of support for institutional Bible classes and orphan homes? Would brother Vick endorse a Sunday School society, an organization set up to provide facilities, teachers and literature, for churches of Christ? Could churches send contributions to a board, an edification organization, which exists to promote Bible classes for the churches?

Does our brother think that a Boles Bible Class organization or a Schultz-Lewis Sunday School society, arranged like the "orphan homes," would be scriptural? Would they "fit into one barrel"? Could churches support them as they do the "orphan homes"? After all, "God said, 'teach.' He did not say how to do such." Therefore, Sunday School societies, like benevolent societies, may be supported by churches (?). Or does brother Vick now have two barrels?

"God said to 'visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction.' He did not say how." So, brother Vick concludes that churches may support institutional benevolent boards such as Schultz-Lewis. Likewise, "God said, 'teach.' He did not say how to do such." So, does brother Vick conclude that churches may support institutional edification boards? If not, then these items are not parallel; they do not "fit into one barrel."

Indeed, churches may "teach." God did not say "how." But he did say "who," namely, the church, and not an organization separate and apart from the church. Churches are to provide relief for certain needy ones. God did not say "how," but he did say "who," namely, the "church" (1 Tim. 5:16), and not an organization separate and apart from the church. However, since the church, according to brother Vick, may build and maintain benevolent boards to provide care for the needy, then the church in its teaching can build and maintain Sunday School societies to provide edification. Both concepts "fit into one barrel." Is brother Vick in that barrel? If he is not in that barrel, he is over it.

Christian Church Argument

Suppose a Christian Church preacher, speaking of brother Vick's position, were to say:

Those who oppose Sunday School societies and Missionary organizations to the division of the church are not walking in the light, especially since they condone the same principle in benevolence that they condemn in teaching. Therefore, we do not have fellowship with those who oppose Sunday Schools and gospel preaching to the division of the church. . . . The brethren who oppose Sunday Schools and preaching to the lost fit into one barrel. They have divided the church by binding where God has loosed. God said, "teach." He did not say how to do such. Sunday schools are one way. God said to "preach the gospel to every creature." He did not say how . . . and . . . I have not been told "how" it must be done.

Would brother Vick think that the Christian Church preacher had correctly represented his position? Would he like his "fit into one barrel"? I think not. Brother Vick recognizes that a missionary society is not a way, a "how," to preach the gospel. It is an organization that must use means and methods to preach. Just so, the Sunday School society is not a "how" of teaching. It is an organization that must employ means and methods to teach. Likewise, the benevolent society is not a "how," or a "way" of caring for the needy. It is an organization that must utilize means and methods to provide for the needy. All such organizations "fit into one barrel." And that barrel is not found in the New Testament.

The church is God's divine organism and organization. It is completely, thoroughly furnished and equipped to do the work God assigned it to do. It can conduct Bible classes, preach the gospel and care for the needy (Eph. 4:12-16; 1 Thess. 1:8; Acts 11:22; 1 Tim. 5:16). The church does not need human boards or barrels to do the work God gave it to do.

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 6, p. 174
March 21, 1991

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