Children's Homes Versus Preacher's Homes
Brethren who favor institutional Children's Homes supported by the churches quite often resort to the argument that if the church can maintain a "preacher's home" it can, by the same authority, maintain a "Children's Home." Many good brethren are deceived Eby the idea. I wish to point out to you that they are not parallel.
In the first place, the word "home" as used in reference to the Children's Homes and to preacher's homes have different connotations. Webster defines home as "one's dwelling place; abode of one's family." This definition will fit the "preacher's home" for it is the dwelling place of one's family. It is the HOUSE in which he and his family reside. But Webster also gives the following definition: "The social unit or center formed by a family living together." This is NOT the HOUSE. It is the family living together — the HOME.
The elders of the church have control of the HOUSE in which I abide with my family, but they are not over my FAMILY. I am, or at least, I should be! Thus, elders are not over the "Preacher's Home"; they do exercise control over the preacher's house — the place where his HOME is. But elders of the church in some places claim to be over "Childrens' Homes." May I ask kindly, yet candidly, who put the elders of any church over any home? Did the Lord? If so, where? Elders are over "the flock of God which is among you," (1 Peter 5:2), and they are to "feed the church of the Lord ... over the which the Holy Spirit" made them overseers. (Acts 20:28.) Where did the Holy Spirit ever make elders the "overseers" of any home?
My home is an institution which is "not the church and cannot be a part of the church." It is another institution from the church. The Lord is the head of the church. (Eph. 1:22-23.) I am head over my family — my home. (Eph. 5:23.) Elders are head over the church under Christ. I am head over my home under Christ. I can no more be head over the church — another institution, than elders can be head over my home — another institution from the church.
We fail to distinguish between a HOME and a HOUSE. A Children's Home is an institution — not just a house. If I rent a house, the landlord is over that house, but he is certainly not over my HOME, my family, an institution!
Now, if some church some place should decide to build a "Preacher's Home" to provide the "social center and unit formed by a family living together," and take all the preachers in a given locality into that Home, and put this Preacher's Home under the elders of the sponsoring church, and the sponsoring church ask the surrounding churches to contribute to help them do their work, then there would be a parallel between such a Preacher's Home and a Children's Home, such as we have in our midst today. Perhaps if some church would do this, it would enable some of my preaching brethren to see the difference between a preacher's home (the house owned by the church in which the preacher lives with his family) and the Children's Homes, (other institutions than the church).
Brethren, the difference lies that in the case of a "preacher's home" (the house for the preacher to reside in), you only have a building just as you may own a church building. In a Children's Home, or an Old Folks Home, you have another institution which "is not the church and cannot be the church." When the preachers are supported by the church, and the church furnishes the dwelling where he lives, you have only one institution — the church, doing the work. When you have a Children's Home or an Old Folks Home, you have two institutions (one too many) doing the work that the church is to do. Let the church be the church, and let these other institutions be the institutions of men. The two cannot be combined without violating God's Will.