Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 29, 1958

Binding Where God Hasn't Bound

Dudley Ross Spears, Cookeville, Tennessee

Those opposing churches of Christ in building and maintaining such Benevolent Agencies as Tennessee, Orphan Home, Boles Home, and others of like character, have been accused of binding the church to one method of benevolent work where God hasn't bound. A publication called The Spiritual Sword (not the Bible) paints a picture of the opposition as chaining a local church to one method of doing their duty by an alleged and supposed creed of "anti-ism." But this, like the papers' name is false. There is not a man of the opposition that has ever tried to bind a church to one method of doing their duty in benevolent matters to making a cash donation to some benevolent agency other than the church to care for widows and orphans that are destitute. The creed says this is all that the local church can do in relieving widows and orphans. If this is all a local church can do, then other methods used in relieving widows and orphans would be out of the question — the outside agency must use the methods. If a local church were to rent or buy or build a house for a widow with three of her children and provide them with the necessities of life, the creed says it is not doing the work God wants the church to do. Therefore, they have bound a local church to only one method of doing anything about relieving widows and orphans who are destitute. If the advocates of this creed don't consider their position as binding the church to one method of benevolence toward destitute widows and orphans, let them tell us plainly just how many methods may be employed by a local congregation of Christians.

If all that God permits a local church to do in the matter of benevolence is to make a cash donation to some Agency like those named in the beginning, then all local churches not making a cash donation to some of these Benevolent Agencies are not doing the benevolent work God wants the church to do. Therefore a congregation that cares for a widow and her own children in their own locality by building, buying, or renting her a house and providing her with the things she needs is not doing the benevolent work God wants the church to do. Who really believes such stuff ?

Those who have carped, cavilled, and quibbled all the while about "anti-ism," "hobbyism," and "creed-making" are guilty as victims of their own accusations. They have made a system of benevolence in the work of the church that God knows nothing about. Just where does Gods revelation (not Fort Worth's substitute — "The Spiritual Sword") reveal such a confused doctrine that limits the local church to making a cash donation to another agency in benevolence?

Sincere children of God who love peace, unity, and fellowship will not force others to be bound to their opinions. But if we are to have peace, unity, and fellowship with the camp that formulated this theory it will happen by all bowing before the enshrined creed that says a congregation cannot provide for widows and orphans but must only send money to another agency. This is certainly not the way to peace, unity, and fellowship.

The way to maintain and preserve peace, unity, and fellowship is for each local congregation to care for the widows and orphans in their own community to the best of their ability, using all the methods supervised and directed by elders of every church. This course is insurance against an inward division and strife.