Clouding The Issue
During the past few years I have read with much interest, careful study and prayer, the various articles written by brethren relative to methods of doing the work that God has commanded of Christians. It seems to me that the issue has become so clouded with personalities and irrelative matters until the light fails to focus on the real thing involved.
James 1:27 is always cited to prove that we are to help the orphans. Then it is reasoned, that God did not tell us how to do it, therefore the expedient thing to do is to build an orphan home. Then a barrage is leveled against anyone who opposes the methods being used today. They are accused of being heartless, of being willing to allow the poor, hungry waifs to go helpless and doomed for poverty and eternal perdition. They tell us the country is filled with these poor, hungry orphans and how that we need to do more and more of this type of work.
Question: If James 1:27 justifies the building of an orphanage by a group of brethren, why not by the same token, build a home for the widows? The country is filled with widows, many of them the mothers of the so-called "orphans" that are being placed in the existing homes.
However, be that as it may, it seems to me that the real issue is not the scripturalness of an orphan home, or the right of a single congregation to provide and maintain such if they have need for the same. I recently read an article by a brother who placed the building of such homes on a par with building a meeting house, a preacher's home, song books, etc. With such reasoning as this going out among brethren I should not have been surprised at receiving a recent request for help to build a preacher's home.
The real issue does not involve the right of a congregation to build such a home, or its right to receive help from sister congregations if the local need is greater than their ability. The issue is this: Does a congregation have the right to plan or set in motion any work beyond its ability, that will require the permanent support of more and more sister congregations? To do such, and then attempt to justify the same, by saying it is a good work is far fetched. If being a good work justifies the means, then why not go into the hospital business? Caring for the sick and wounded is a good work and Matthew 25:45 would justify a hospital owned and operated by the churches just as much so as James 1:27 justifies a brotherhood project of caring for orphans. If not, why not?
Brethren, let us lay aside all prejudice, stop clouding the issues before us and think prayerfully and soberly concerning such matters. Apostasy comes easily, but when it is on us it is very painful to those who love the truth.