Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 30, 1956
NUMBER 17, PAGE 5-7b

False And Vicious Charges

Charles A. Holt, Franklin, Tennessee

It is not always easy to deal fairly with those with whom we differ. To represent fairly and honorably the position of the opposition is a virtue that should be desired by all. It is rather rare in places and it seems to be an almost impossible task for some. Some are unwilling, it seems, to represent fairly those who may oppose their teaching and practice. To deliberately misrepresent the teaching of anyone is wrong and sinful. We should all be very careful lest we fail in this respect.

In the present controversy that is raging in the brotherhood relative to the Herald of Truth, the sponsoring church type of cooperation, and the brotherhood orphan homes, it appears that the advocates of these things just will not fairly represent the position of those who oppose such. I have not read an article from any of the advocates of these things in which he purposes to deal with the basis of the opposition, which tells the truth about the opposition. The advocates of such arrangements and organizations never deal with the REAL ground of objection to such projects. Neither have I heard one of these men speak on these issues and tell the truth about what the opposition believes and opposes. And let me hasten to add that my reading has been very extensive and I have heard most of the leading exponents speak on these projects!

I recently heard Brother Gus Nichols speak for two hours and five minutes at the Pine Street church building in Florence, Alabama in an effort to justify these modern practices, and rarely did he correctly represent the position and teaching of those who oppose the brotherhood benevolent societies (such as Childhaven and Tennessee Orphan Home) and the Herald of Truth. He erected a straw man in this respect and sought to demolish it. He sought to make it appear that those who oppose such institutions are opposed to caring for widows and orphans! Brother Nichols was outwardly nervous and uncertain of himself as he spoke, which is not his usual way. He let it be known in so many words that he would not defend in public debate the things he was there advocating. Who expected to see the day come when Gus Nichols would refuse to debate and defend any position he took? Yet the positions he now occupies on these issues will not let him meet in honorable discussion the opposition to such. No one knows this better than he does. Brother Nichols' effort in the speech was weak and pitiful — and I say this with sorrow, for along with many others I have long admired and respected him as a tower of strength and a man of conviction. He never did deal with the real issues involved and, as already suggested, he misrepresented the opposition. 0, how I would have liked just fifteen minutes to answer his speech!

Typical of the false and often malicious charges which are made against those who oppose these modern set-ups, is the following. It was written by Brother Cleon Lyles, preacher for the Sixth and Izard church in Little Rock, Arkansas. It appeared in the June 21 issue of their church bulletin. Here it is:

"I wonder if the men (few in number but make much noise) who oppose the caring for orphan children would not change their attitude if they had to take the position of an orphan for a while."

This is a false and malicious charge! He charges that there are some men in the Lord's church today "WHO OPPOSE THE CARING FOR ORPHAN CHILDREN!" Can he really believe such is true! I doubt he could find men among the most hardened sinners of the world "who OPPOSE the caring for orphan children," much less find such in the Lord's church! I challenge Brother Lyles, or any other man who so charges, to name the culprit! Such ungodly men should be exposed and denounced by all. It excites my indignation to think that such monsters could be in our midst. I want to join him in fully exposing such. He should tell us who they are so we can all know them. He is obligated to do so. Surely he would not want to hide such men from public exposure! Will he name them? He will NOT and we all know he will not — yea, he CANNOT! There are no such men and Cleon Lyles knows this as well as anyone.

One may ask, "Why did he make such a false charge?" It was made intending to deceive and mislead. It is done for the purpose of closing the minds of all possible to any thing any objector to the brotherhood orphan homes may say. If he can succeed in branding all those who oppose such human inventions as monsters and villains "who oppose the caring for orphan children" as a group who would turn all the little children out in the cold and heat to starve, then he can destroy their influence with people who believe such charges! If Lyles could prove the brotherhood orphan homes are authorized by the Scriptures, he would not have to resort to such tactics. Being unable to give such authority for these projects (which would silence any and all objections!); and seemingly being unwilling to recognize that they are human appendages to the church and therefore wrong, Lyles seeks to make them acceptable by an effort to destroy the opposition.

To oppose a human institution doing the work of the church is a far cry from the charge that such men "OPPOSE the caring for orphan children." To object to the brotherhood benevolent societies among us, such as has been mentioned; to oppose churches building, maintaining and working through such human organizations is not even close to meaning that such men ."oppose the caring for orphan children"! Can there possibly be one who is unable to see this?

Also, when we oppose the Herald of Truth set-up it does not follow that we are opposed to (1) evangelizing the world; (2) preaching the gospel over radio or television; (3) and cooperation among churches. Verily I believe in all three and so does every other preacher I know. Yet such charges are being made.

Those of us connected with the 'Guardian and every preacher who writes for it, as well as all others who may speak out against "Institutionalism," have been falsely accused by some ("few in number but make much noise," as Lyles put it) as being opposed to caring for orphan children. It has been charged that we would turn all the children in the orphan home out in the "snow barefooted to freeze or starve to death." It has been said that we oppose little children having a 'home, love, care and protection!' In fact, because the advocates of the brotherhood benevolent societies can not meet the real issues they will not fairly represent matters and, therefore, try to picture all who oppose these projects as villains of the most terrible sort. It is true that we stand opposed to these human benevolent societies as appendages to the church. We believe it is sinful and wrong for churches to build and maintain such. The church is perfect and complete in organization to do everything the Lord wants her to do, without the organization of man's wisdom — either benevolent or evangelistic. But does this mean that we oppose evangelizing the world or providing care for widows and orphans? God forbid! We do not oppose the work the missionary society does in preaching the gospel. Neither do we oppose the work done by the orphan homes in providing care for dependent and neglected children. We are as anxious to see such done as anyone. We only oppose such institutions as the organization in and by which the churches are to do this work. There is a vast difference!

May God help us to fairly and sincerely study these issues in the light of His word. Also, let us deal fairly with the teaching of others. Making false and malicious charges against those with whom we differ will settle nothing as it should be settled; but will only widen what breach already exists. "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another." (Eph. 4:25.)