June 21, 2018

Is This Factual?

By C. D. Plum

Brethren, is it true that at least one, maybe more, of "our" orphan homes is like an organization, as I shall describe here? I am told that such is true and I have no reason to doubt the word of my informant. And I have received and read much literature from such homes as to confirm much of what I am about to write. I shall number these things that are represented as being factual.

1. A certain local church of Christ in a distant state has "3" elders. These three elders appointed ''7" men, elders in local congregations other than itself, to compose a Board of Directors.

2. This seven man Board then selected a superintendent for the orphan home.

3. The orphan home is "under" the "3" local elders, "15" miles away.

4. The orphan home has a hospital, playgrounds, church, and school.

If Factual, What Is Wrong Here?

1. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." I have entered my middle sixties (65), and have been preaching for 45 full years of that time, and if there is anything in the "oracles of God" which remotely resemble something like this I have failed to find it. I have failed to find a "command," "example," or "necessary inference" for a local group of elders to shepherd anything like this. About the best that can be said about such an arrangement as this is: "They have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge."

2. Such an arrangement puts "elders over elders" ("3" elders over "7"). And a superintendent thrown in for good measure. Is this speaking as the oracles of God speak?

3. This arrangement also puts one set of elders over two congregations. Again I ask is this speaking as the oracles of God?

4. This arrangement puts elders of the church, and for the church, in the hospital, school, and playground business because the orphan home which has such is under the local church elders "15" miles away. But even if the church and elders which have this oversight were in the same city where the orphan home is, still, is such speaking as the "oracles of God speak?" If so, where?

5. This orphan home program is too big for the "overseeing elders" to carry on financially, so have to have some help. The orphan home superintendent sends out a "trained chorus of singers" from the home to the different congregations and asks for help to pay the upkeep of this "foreign" institution which the "oracles of God" forgot to even mention.

6. And this orphan home church is quite unique in another way also. Quoting from its own publication, we note this. "Almost all of our boys above the age of "six" years are able and willing to lead prayers and songs." Do the oracles of God want boys from "6" years and up to take public part in church worship? Now the three elders who oversee the local church, and also this second orphan church, do they have "6", "7", and "8" year old boys praying and leading in church worship? Have these boys at this tender, and "innocent" age been baptized? If so, for what reason were they baptized? Were they lost? Were they under condemnation? If they died at such an age would they have missed heaven? Do these boys commune as well as sing and pray? If these boys are not members of the church, do the oracles of God encourage them to take a "leading" part in the service? Do the oracles of God encourage us to encourage them to take a "leading" part in church worship?

Principles of Truth

Relatives "first," before the church is "charged," seems to be a principle of truth laid down in the oracles of God." True, the specific thing being discussed is the care of "widows." But, surely, the following principle of truth cannot be limited to widows: "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Tim. 5:8). This principle will surely include orphans. Too, farther on in this same chapter: "If any man or woman that believeth have widows, (and surely orphans--CDP), let them relieve them, 'and let not the church be charged'; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed." Then, again, care for the "fatherless" (orphans), and "widows" in their affliction is put on a "personal" basis by the apostle James. Note the command to those who "visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep 'himself' unspotted from the world."

But people wonder what the church will do where there are no relatives to look after orphans. The church should consider that we cannot improve upon God's plans. God wanted children to be in a home like my home and yours. That is his own arrangement. There are many Christian homes that want children. Could not the elders where orphan children are find such a home for children, if they tried? Really tried, I mean. They could advertise for takers could they not? Or if need be, could not the elders pay for the support of children in private homes with church funds?

Such a way as here described is in keeping with what our own children have. Here is access to the same schools, hospitals, playgrounds, and church our own children have. Could orphans ask more? Should they expect less from us? This will save the expense of great buildings for regimentation of orphans, with specialties in "subsidiaries" unknown by even our own children. Yes, and it will save the salaries of many people, which may be greater than the expense of caring for the orphans.

Are we trying to ape the Catholics, or other sectarians, in accumulating land and buildings? Russia boasts she will cause the United States to spend itself to death. Who is back of this movement among us? Is it true that the way God has planned for our children, and their well being, is surpassed by our human institutions? Brethren, I still believe God's way is best. Did you know that most (by far) of the children in our so-called orphan homes have one or both living parents? They, then, are not orphan children, yet homes beg from the churches to support them. For shame! 1 Tim. 5:16. "Let not the church be charged."

Truth Magazine VIII: 12, pp. 1-2
September 1964