Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 23, 1953
NUMBER 11, PAGE 2-3b

Dealing With Dangers

Vaughn D. Shofner, Lubbock, Texas

We notice another powerful penman who gave vent to his prejudice by way of the pages of the Firm Foundation (or should it be considered so firm?), issues June 23, 30, which of course gave the articles the advantage of being "untouchable" by any who might be touched with what sheer misrepresentation calls "anti-orphan-homes."

We don't know that he did it understandingly, but the writer, and we think a lot of him and have nothing against him personally, charged falsely. He also failed to present one unimpeachable argument for the position he is generally shouting for. His sounds are as usual, the sounds which vibrate the popular chords, animate emotions and fail to scripturally establish a single argument.

For example, his "classical" contention which enters the "non-class" auditorium and comes out with the "unanswerable" question, "What method should we use that will accomplish as great a result?" and then proudly parades down the popular path of the brotherhood waving his "victory-banner" which reads, "I for one, appreciate the warnings of our non-class brethren concerning the dangers in the class system. There are dangers in the way. Is it better to do nothing because of dangers in the way, or to go down striving to accomplish something for the Lord, which men may pervert to evil or worthless ends?"

Why, his "classic" won't hold shucks! Firstly, if the gentleman is bound and gagged by methodism, we reckon he can "methodize" through the Masonic Homes, the Baptist Homes, and all other "methods" of caring for the unfortunate children and use a method "that will accomplish as great a result." But if the "method" is not justified by the result, why call attention to the "classic" in the first place?

Secondly, the churches which teach the Bible in classes, when challenged, present scriptural proof for so teaching. But "our classic reply" just sounds off on method without giving scriptural foundation for the method, and like worldlings, emphasizes the great result as the giant of justification for the method. Why not teach people how to become Christians in the Baptist Church, as a part of it, in the Methodist, or maybe by joining forces with Billy Graham or the Missionary Society of the Christian Church? After all, says our friend, it's just the method that's giving the trouble, and methods do not amount to anything. Or do you know of a plan, a method that will accomplish as great a result? Or do you think it worth trying, from that viewpoint which you emphasize?

We notice in his "prostituting-the-purpose-of-the-church" plea, our "F.F." writer says some have said the purpose of the church has been turned from preaching the gospel. He offers the churches who support orphan homes as proof that this is not true, because they do so much preaching. We have not said this, but we think there is need for some consideration here. Being well known for preaching the gospel with the money supplied from scores of smaller churches, as though they did it alone, causes some of "our" churches to be a beam in the eye of some. For, per individual member, some of these small, unknown churches are preaching a lot louder than some who manage to be heard to the far corners of the earth even if they do no more than snore aloud. And, too, friends, caring for unfortunate people which are the responsibilities of any given church, known and read of all men in that community just like all the other scriptural acts and teachings are known and read, may be heard in heaven above this clamor about "pooling resources" to take care of the brotherhood's business under one eldership, and big enough to cause the denominations to envy.

Now this "institution business" that our writer brother kicks up a lot of dust about can be seen more clearly if we allow the dirt to settle. It isn't necessarily the "talented brother" who superintends (oversees)" that has been the reason for institutions which are being opposed. Let's face the realities. The plan, the force, that is making institutions, as always, is the plan of one place, one eldership, taking over the supervision of the work of many churches, whether the activity be caring for the unfortunate or preaching the gospel. See! a lot of fuss is made to no avail.

No, it isn't the same quarrel we have had with the non-class brethren. The brethren who use classes in teaching prove their position by the Holy Scriptures.

We have never said all orphans should be placed in private homes, but we do say, that is one way of caring for them without violating the Lord's plan. And as has been suggested by others, why get so stirred up about our orphans and make not a single plan for our widows? Why get so emotional about the thousands of orphans and cry not even a "crocodile tear" for the thousands of widows? We'll tell you why. There are no "Widow Institutions" that need to be justified!

We agree with the critics who "are sickened by the silly question, 'What are you doing'?" Does our enlightened writer think we can change this popular way miraculously in the twinkling of an eye? We first have to enlist the help of those who howl so loudly for the present system. And, sad it is, the paper for which he writes, and all like him, in order to keep this from happening gives sound to only the voices like his. With this system "rigged up" and going, the odds are against the opposers of it. With the popular swing against the offer of a way that will change the present system, and ears closed and the pages of papers closed to a better plan, it is indeed silly to ask such a question. Therefore, we are forced to partially accept what is being done while trying to open eyes to the better way.

Now if you "feel that you have scored when they hang their head in silence," please know that the silence is brought about by your closed ears, the closed pages of papers against us; and even then the sound of "the critics" has made its way to you, and with a plan you acknowledge in your writing. What goes with this charge of silence? We therefore challenge you to "hang your heads in silence" until you allow us the right to meet you in honorable discussion! This is to you, and to all who are with you in your stand, big or little, small or great, a direct challenge!

Yes, there is a better way — the Lord's way! That is, let each individual congregation of the Lord's church remain individual in its government, not merely by word of mouth. Then the responsibilities of each church will be met without destroying the autonomy of it, but as long as we "pool our resources" under one head greater than the governing power of the local church to do our benevolent work, to perform our worship in partaking of the bread and fruit of the vine, or to preach the gospel to the alien sinner, the heads of those who have not bent to Baal will never be hung in silence!