Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 25, 1957

Interlocking Directorships

Reuel Lemmons

It seems to be exceedingly hard for some brethren to accept the extremes to which they have gone, and be man enough to repent of them like men and turn again. When a brother who was full grown and in his right mind when he started an agitation which resulted in grief and strife in the body of Christ, realizes what he is guilty of, he should be man enough to repent of it, even if he does have to lose face in so doing.

It is no sin to repent, but it takes big men and strong men to do it. That's the reason many go for twenty years hearing the gospel, but never obeying it. They like to tell themselves they are strong and able to withstand the gospel invitation, when in reality they are weak, and not strong enough to face up to what a person has to face when he genuinely repents and takes himself in hand to reform his ways.

It is so much easier to feint in another direction and try to turn attention elsewhere. Often this action temporarily "saves face" but sooner or later we still face the cold necessity of repentance.

And repentance needs to be without reservation. Repentance qualified with an "if" is not repentance. The face-savingest way to save face is to show character enough to face up to our mistakes, admit them, and be forgiven by both God and man.

One of the latest of these feints is an attempt to show that elders of the church MUST serve in two capacities — "as elders of a church and as directors of a separate institution" — if a home for children is maintained under their oversight. The arrangement is referred to as an "interlocking directorship." Food for thought right here: If a congregation built and maintained a home in which were cared for only such children as that congregation called "its own orphans" and which it supported by itself, would its elders, under whose oversight this work was carried on, be serving as an "interlocking directorship" over two separate institutions? Or, would the elders simply, as elders, through this arrangement, be administering the grace of the church to the children?

An eldership supervising the work of caring for orphan children is not trying to "restore" anything. A home is broken when children become orphans. It was broken by death and it cannot be restored by anything short of a resurrection from the dead. It's a task beyond human possibility to restore what DEATH has torn asunder.

When a congregation takes upon itself the responsibility for the care of a family of such children it simply commits itself to supply the things needful to keep privation from resulting from the broken home. The task is benevolence — not restoration. The Holy Spirit through James called it the practice of "pure and undefiled religion."

Unless one can prove that the church can scripturally carry on a work that the elders cannot scripturally oversee, the whole proposition is surrendered.

The care of orphans is not "a separate institution." It is the church at work. The church is acting in a benevolent capacity, and the elders are supervising the administration of the grace of the church to the unfortunate. If the Lord Jesus constituted the church an all-sufficient agency to carry out his commands then the care of orphan children can be provided by the church, under the directions of its elders, without their having to act in any sort of a dual capacity or "interlocking directorship." The church is just as self-sufficient in the field of benevolence as in the field of evangelism.

It should be pointed out that the right of such an arrangement to exist, and the right of several churches to contribute to such a work are two different questions entirely. One is the question of whether the elders of the congregation have the right as elders to supervise a work that all agree the church should do; and the other is a question involving congregational cooperation.

Brethren who have had so much to say recently about interlocking directorships and ghost companies should be doubly careful before charging that in order for a congregation to maintain a home for the care of its orphan children the elders must form just such a "separate institution" with just such an "interlocking directorship" and act in just such a dual capacity.