"Berating Charity"

Alvin O. Raney
Saratoga, Arkansas

In the Dec. 25, 1962 issue of "BOLES HOME NEWS," Bro. Gayle Oler filled the back page with an article titled with the question: " WHO MAY BERATE THE CHARITY OF ANOTHER?" The inference is that someone, whom he did not name, had been critical of his personal charity to the poor and to the orphaned. We are left to wonder who in the world it could have been. Is there really someone so hard-hearted, so mean, so unfeeling as to berate a person for exercising the grace of Christian charity? Who IS IT who has said to ANYONE, "You ought not to be charitable!"? WHO has said that it is wrong to pity and to relieve the widows, the orphans, the aged and the poor? Just WHO has ever really berated the charity of any man? Can he be identified? Does he have a name? Does such a monster really exist?

Of course he doesn't! This is just another instance of raising false issues with which to do battle, in the hope that the demolition of such "straw men" might appear to be a victory over those who oppose, not charity, but the prostitution of the church to human institutionalism. None of those who are seeking to alter the divine design and purpose of the Lord's church will face and admit the real issues upon which they are challenged, because upon such issues they must inevitably suffer defeat. They will, however, and DO, erect by false inference, faceless enemies stuffed with the straws of their own misrepresentations and label them "Orphan Haters," "Charity Opposers," and "Anti-evangelists" and "Church-Splitters!" Against these nameless, and thus defenseless, "enemies" they rush bravely to conflict, posing alternately as martyrs and conquering heroes. Wielding the pen of outrage, they hack and hew until the "enemy" lies broken in the dust of defeat, then stand back to be applauded for their victory in the name of the Lord!

The gauntlet of challenge is hereby flung:

WHO ARE the "Orphan Haters"? What are their NAMES? Will any of the promoters of Institutionalism publicly affirm, "Alvin O. Raney is an Orphan Hater!", and accept the responsibility that attends the charge? Here is an identifiable person who stands opposed too much of what is being done in the name of church benevolence. Will any of those, who by inference lump this person with a vague, unidentified group of "Church-Splitters," have the courage and manhood to publicly affirm his conviction that "Alvin O. Raney is a Church splitter!"? --and honor the obligation inherent is such a charge to publicly lay the proof on the line? Indeed, is there a champion of the idea of attaching human organizations to the church who has the basic honesty and courage to point the finger of accusation at ANY identifiable man and publicly declare, "Thou art the man!"--and face God and the Body of Christ to prove it?

The thought persists that it might be of more than passing interest to examine Bro. Oler's "charity" to the children of Boles Home to see if his particular brand of charity deserves berating. In just what does his personal charity to these dependents consist? What sacrifice does he make on their behalf for which he is not richly repaid in cash, goods and services? One wonders if he would be willing to serve Boles Home in his present capacity if his total support were cut to the average support of Gospel preachers serving congregations of the Lord's church.

The principal point here, however, is that there are, in reality, no such "enemies" as these brethren so lustily smite. The real enemy opposing them is that ever growing multitude of New Testament Christians who challenge the right of ANY human organization, however benevolent, to dip its insatiable fingers into the treasuries of the Lord's churches. If they are inclined to joust with an "enemy," here is one worthy of their courage and their steel.

The article hurls again that cherished challenge, "If you dispute the scripturalness of our way of doing things, you are obligated to show us the scriptural way to do them." This is ridiculous on its face. There just isn't any scriptural way of doing unscriptural things! Because we deny the scripturalness of the Catholic way of selecting a Pope, are we then obligated to show them a scriptural way of doing it? "Otherwise," observes the article, "he should understand that if God has made no regulation, it hardly behooves any man to do so." This is foolishness. God has made no regulation of the means or manners of selecting a human head for His church. Does it then "hardly behoove" us to oppose anyone who might figure out a way to do this? The principle involved here is this: if God has made no regulation -- concerning ANYTHING -- it is because that thing is no part of the "eternal purpose, which He purposed in Jesus Christ our Lord." Therefore, if God has made no regulation, DON'T DO IT! We are not obligated, because we object to their way of doing it, to find for them a scriptural way to siphon off the money laid by in store in the churches' treasuries. There IS a scriptural plan or pattern for EVERYTHING the church may be or do! If there is no Bible plan, no Bible pattern, no Bible way expressed or implied, then DON'T DO IT! It is not their CHARITY, which is berated, but their DIGRESSION!

We are challenged to show them a "better way" to operate the homes for orphans and the aged. Well, here IS a better way: Get your unauthorized fingers out of church treasuries. Stop trying to make benevolent institutions a part of, or an extension of, the church of the Lord. Recognize and admit that such institutions are the fulfillment of CIVIC DUTY, as citizens of community and Nation. Cease from all unscriptural practices and pretensions. Stop all fraudulent and unethical promotions. Unburden the institutions of graft, corruption and over-paid administration. Publicly wash the faces of management. Then ask all individual Christians AND ALL OTHER RESPONSIBLE CITIZENS to support, out of the goodness and humanity of their hearts, these civic institutions of mercy. And if, or when, there are needy in any congregation, let the kin and/or that congregation care for them. THIS IS A "BETTER WAY," but it is seriously doubted that it will be followed. It would deprive too many fat cats of too much cream.

Truth Magazine VII: 7, pp. 20-21
April 1963