"I Visited Childhaven"
On the front page of the GOSPEL ADVOCATE, September 13th, there appeared an article under the above caption by brother Hugo McCord. If one did not know that it was written by a gospel preacher, and judged it by its appeal to emotion, its plain perversion of scripture, and its attempt to justify a purely human institution, one would conclude that it was written by a modern Methodist preacher. The article is a thing of beauty in its pathos and eloquence, if not a joy forever to those who imagine that they see Childhaven justified by it. It is filled with bitter insinuations against all who may object to Childhaven and do not support it, and shows an utter contempt for the New Testament pattern. After one dries away the tears, gets control of his emotions and really studies the article he will realize the many ugly and dangerous things in it. If you are properly prepared let us examine it together.
Misapplies The Scripture
Brother McCord speaks of "the little ones" and seeks to imply that the scripture in speaking of "little ones" means orphan children. He says, "Little ones! ... Woe to me if I hinder, mistreat, or do not give what I can to help one of them. Better that a large rock fastened me under the sea than that I deprived one of the little ones who are so precious to angels and to God." Anyone who has read the passage in Matt. 18:1-6, where reference is made to "little ones," knows that Jesus had no reference to orphan children and helping them in their need. "Better that I had never been born" than to so pervert the word of God to try and impose a human institution on the church
In paragraph two brother McCord speaks of going "over part of the grounds of the three hundred fifty acres that are Childhaven." He tells of the building being reconditioned. He mentions the "five hundred white chickens, just ready to enter the ministry," the "forty acres of corn" which "will soon be feeding ten white pigs and their mother." Then brother McCord puts in an appeal in behalf of the above as follows, "your checks will encourage the self denying Barney Brock family, sister Jean Thompson, as well as all who have had a part in this work of faith and labor of love." Does brother McCord mean that the "five hundred white chickens," the "forty acres of corn," and the "ten white pigs and their mother" make up this "work of faith and labor of love." It certainly seems that he does. The churches are urged to hurry with their checks to support this "work of faith and labor of love"—looking after the white chickens, gathering the forty acres of corn and feeding the pigs!
This would have the church engaged in raising chickens, corn and pigs—all a part of the work of the church! If the church can thus engage in the farming business to help look after her dependent (?) orphans, why not engage in the same business to help preach the gospel? If scriptural on the one hand why not on the other?
Neglecting Weightier Matters
Brother McCord says, "Regrettable it is that such men, zealous for the bulwarks of Zion, have neglected weightier matters of the law—justice, mercy, the milk of human kindness." Brother McCord thus charges that all men who object to Childhaven have left undone these weightier matters. By what means or standard has he determined that they have neglected the weightier matters? Is it because they object to such human organizations as Childhaven? Are all of us who may object to such things guilty of his charges? This is the insinuation of the statement. Does he know all of these men personally whom he says are "zealous for the bulwarks of Zion," yet have neglected weightier matters, well enough to substantiate his charge? Again I ask, who are these men? Jesus named the group about which he made such charge. Brother McCord's statement leveled in such a positive, sweeping way reflects on a great number of Godly men. Who made brother McCord the judge of such matters? Even if the charge were true would that prove that Childhaven is scripturally right? Such blind logic and appeal to prejudice is beneath the dignity of a gospel preacher.
Would brother McCord say that none of those who are ardent supporters of Childhaven have left undone any of the "weightier matters"? Are they the only perfect group among "us"? If some of them may be guilty of the same charge then why the charge, unless it is done to prejudice the people against these men and their objections to Childhaven. Would brother McCord like to compare figures and see who has left undone more of the "weightier matters"?
If so, what would it prove? (2 Cor. 10:12) It would seem from brother McCord's statement that he thinks the "weightier matters" are all wrapped up in Childhaven and supporting it is the only way such "weightier matters" can be done.
Prejudicial Appeal To Silence Opposition
Brother McCord says, "Personally, I do not care to listen to the men who criticize unless they have adopted children into their own homes (some have) or otherwise are helping the unfortunate." Brethren, just stop and really analyze that statement. Just how does 'brother McCord determine who among those "who criticize" have "adopted children" or are "otherwise helping unfortunates." Does he know all those who speak out against such human arrangements as Childhaven that well? When he perchance picks up a paper containing objections to Childhaven (and many fine men have so written) and brother McCord doesn't know the man, then he must lay the article aside before reading it, and in some manner determine whether the brother will fit into the class to whom he will listen. What silly reasoning, if it can be called reasoning. Brother McCord thus contemptuously throws aside any and all information from any and all who do not meet his requirements to speak. Thinking people who are interested in the truth have no such prejudiced attitude. A man may have a large family of his own, all he can well care for, and may be doing an excellent job with them, but if he hasn't adopted children in addition, he is not entitled to speak. Brother McCord will not listen to him. This is about like saying, "personally I don't care to listen to men who condemn adultery, gambling, and murder unless they have done enough of such to prove that they know what they are talking about." How absurd!
Suppose I should say, "personally I do not care to listen to these promoters of human organizations unless they have each one contributed $1,000 to the home they are promoting." What would such an attitude prove? Does brother McCord wish to compare figures as to whom is doing the most for orphans—the promoters of Childhaven (and such homes) or those who object to such? What would such prove as to what is scriptural?
Throws Gate Open
Brother McCord makes this statement: "Jesus says that if children suffer through your arguing over a point of organization, that he does not endorse your legalistic religion any more than he did the Pharisees." Yes, brethren, that came from a gospel preacher and was published in an old reliable (?) paper. Brother McCord just asserted this as though Jesus actually said such a thing. Jesus never made any such statement or expressed any such idea. That is a plain misrepresentation. The "point of organization" is a very important matter to us who love the church and I know it must be to Him who died for it.
Brother McCord has thus committed himself to the position of all too many in the church, that it doesn't matter HOW we do it, what the scriptures say about it, just so we get it done! I read a statement from a brother J. P. Sanders, of Rockford, Illinois, in which he said in effect, "I don't have time to stop and argue whether it is the right way or not, I am too busy getting it done." I had an elder (?) of the church tell me once that he had rather "do it in the wrong way than not to do it." What an attitude for people to assume who are supposed to follow the Bible. This, to me, shows an utter disregard for the divine pattern. If it is done in the wrong way will God approve it? Will God, His Son, and His church be glorified? Of course not. If the "point of organization" is not important then why not look after the orphans through the Masonic orphan homes, Methodist homes, State Welfare, or the Catholic homes? Why argue over a "point of organization"—let's get the job done! These groups already have the facilities, therefore just do it through them!
This idea will approve anything from the missionary society on up and down. Try the same logic (?) on the matter of preaching the gospel. (1) We must preach the gospel to the whole world. (2) Let's not argue over a "point of organization." (3) Hence, the missionary society will be all right. Perhaps it may be, if such reasoning is sound, as one of the ring-leaders of Childhaven is purported to have said: "It may be that we have been too hard on the missionary societies."
Brother McCord charges that those who contend for the proper organization, the church without the affiliation of all these human arrangements, have a "legalistic religion" no more approved by Christ than "the Pharisees." That "legalistic religion" expression has a familiar ring to it. I have heard it charged against us for years by the sects, and in more recent years with increasing frequency by some among "us" who have been exposed to too much modernism. Is brother McCord among this number? His article would indicate such. He charges that those who contend against human organizations assuming and doing the work of the churches, and demanding (yes, just that) that the church support such; who preach that the church is fully sufficient within her own framework to do everything God requires of her, have a "legalistic religion." Is this what "Seminary learning" will do for one? Let's not be afraid of the charge about a "legalistic religion!" The digressives have made it through the years. It seems it will be an oft-repeated charge by those among us who have learned better than to respect the divine pattern—modernists!
Other Charges And Insinuations
Brother McCord says, "brethren are mistaken who drag the red-herring 'organization-apart-from-the-church-doing-the-work-of-the-church" across the paths of those ready to loosen purse strings." Why are they mistaken? Just because brother McCord says so? To speak of the objections to Childhaven as "the red-herring" is an appeal to prejudice. Will brother McCord deny that Childhaven is "an organization apart from the church?" Is Childhaven the church? The so-called "red-herring" has seemed realistic to some thoughtful people and they have not loosened the "purse strings." This is what bothers the promoters.
Brother McCord tries to make the family a parallel to Childhaven. There is no parallel there. The family is a divine organization. Childhaven is not.
Brother McCord speaks of a religious paper and acts like he thinks it is "an-organization-apart-from-the-church-doing-the-work-of-the-church." He says such "is the counterpart in feeding men's souls to the orphan home in feeding children's bodies as well as souls." Does brother McCord really mean that he can see no difference in Childhaven and the GOSPEL ADVOCATE? If they are "counterparts" there is no difference and what one is justified in doing the other will be also. Hence, the Advocate could urge churches to send their checks to them to help them in their "work of faith and labor of love"—publishing a paper, selling books (religious and non-religious), operating a printing business, and all such. How many churches have put the Gospel Advocate into their budget? Brother McCord has justified (? ) such! They are not parallel at all. The papers are individually owned, individually operated, and individually financed. Not a one of them that I know is supported, as such, by any church. If Childhaven would cut itself off from the churches and just let the churches buy her services then there might be a parallel and a lot less objection.
Brother McCord speaks of some papers as "sometimes dictating to the churches." Which paper, or papers, is doing this? Let him tell us. What is his article if it is not "dictating" to the churches. He is telling them to support Childhaven. Is that not dictating? If not why are those who oppose Childhaven and similar institutions "dictating" to the churches?
The article closes with this paragraph: "Legalistic Pharisees had no difficulty salving their consciences with 'it is Corban' when they neglected old mothers and dads. God forbid that a technical point of 'organization' (which is as unfounded as 'Corban') cause you to be told, 'I was hungry, thirsty, cold, sick, and all you did was to argue about how I should be cared for'." This shows the real spirit of the promoters of such institutions as Childhaven. If one objects to their human arrangements and doesn't support such he is like the "legalistic Pharisees"—like they "neglected old mothers and dads," the ones who do not support Childhaven are arguing over "a technical point of organization" and will "be told, I was hungry, thirsty, cold, sick, and all you did was argue about how I should be cared for." According to brother McCord, the only way to avoid being told such is to support Childhaven. Truly such things become idols of devotion to the promoters of such and they get to believing that to be saved and fulfill these weightier matters, the only way such can be done is through Childhaven.
May I suggest in closing that if any digressive preacher, or paper, is running short of some teaching to justify (?) his innovations, that he take brother McCord's reasoning (?) and just substitute whatever he wants to justify for Childhaven and it will justify (?) it.