Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 25, 1958
NUMBER 21, PAGE 2-3b

Charles Crouch's Defection, No. 2

Robert C. Welch, Birmingham, Alabama

This is the second article dealing with a statement by Brother Charles Crouch in the Gospel Advocate, July 24, 1958. It is found on the page that Goodpasture would like to keep filled with such statements of change. The Advocate shows that it is no longer concerned with studying the truth of an issue; but that it is making its appeal on the universal church and tradition bases of Roman Catholicism. Perhaps he will eventually find a dozen who have CHANGED.

Brother Crouch thinks he has found a dilemma for those who are opposed to the society set-up such as is found in Herald of Truth.

"What the opponents to the Herald of Truth type of cooperation must do is take one of two steps: (1) Either DENY that one church may `send' anything to another church in order to help meet a SPIRITUAL NEED (in spite of Acts 11:22-24; 15:22,23; and 2 Cor. 11:8); (2) or DEFINE (by exclusive pattern) WHAT SIZE LIMIT the Bible places upon a spiritual need to which another church is authorized to contribute."

No one has been heard of who believes or wants to make his step number one. Need has not been the cause of the issues confronting the church today. Highland church in Abilene is not in need, at least she does not claim to be. Brother Crouch and all the rest should make the distinction between need and duty. Needs are beyond ability. Duty does not exceed ability. Needs are always inherent; duty may be also from without. One church has the duty of supplying the need of another; but nowhere is that church given the duty of supplying another with funds to do what is the duty of both.

His point number two is really not a point. He thinks we will have to decide the size limit of needs. No. If he would stop confusing needs with duties and ambitious desires he could see that we do not have to determine the size of needs. The Lord has not placed a limit on the size of needs; but he has specified NEEDS and has NOT authorized one church supplying another for DUTIES or AMBITIOUS DESIRES. We have no more to do with placing a size limit on a church's needs than of placing a size limit on an individual's contribution.

He has some questions which have nothing to do with size limit of a church's needs, spiritual or otherwise. One is whether or not other than members would be included in a church's spiritual needs; but that does not concern size. Some others concern the question of geographical boundary. That is the Catholic diocesan blunder; but it does not concern the size of a church's needs; if anything, it would concern the limits of a church's duties. The total of what he has on Herald of Truth is that he has found the Advocate position, but has found nothing from the Scriptures to authorize it.

On the orphan home issue he has presented some of the usual misrepresentations. He proves his case by what he assumes we have said rather than by scriptural authority, and misrepresents us. He says; "It is not a question of `incorporation' of the homes, as virtually all now admit." Nobody has been heard or read from by this writer who ever made that an issue. We have used the incorporation to show that there is an organization; because incorporation cannot be without an organization. If he thought it was wrong because it obtained a state charter of incorporation, it is no wonder that he changed!

He presents three things which we are supposed to say which proves to him that the orphan homes are not parallel with the missionary society, therefore, on such bases he concludes that they may be supported scripturally by churches.

"Besides this, when the opponents of the homes admit (1) that individuals may contribute to them; (2) that churches may buy services from them; and (3) that they may be supported with a box in the vestibule, they have clearly admitted that they are not parallel with the society."

He supposes that we teach it is perfectly in order for individuals to contribute to a human organization which pretends to be doing the churches' work and receives contributions from churches. This writer has heard no one make such an argument; but if they did, it would not make it right. On the other hand, not all benevolence is the obligation of the church, hence individuals can support an institution for benevolence which does not attempt to do the work of the churches. It is in this case of church work that the Orphan homes are parallel with missionary societies. If nothing is wrong with the service it may be bought of the orphan home society, the missionary society, or a contracting company. He needs to make the distinction between contributing to and buying services or products. Let us propose a case in study of the third objection. If a congregation is scriptural in his conviction in all respects except that some want the church to contribute to a missionary society; but they settle upon the plan of a box in the vestibule so that those who desire can contribute to the society and the society not take from the contribution of those who believe it wrong; until they can study the question and find the truth; this writer believes that Brother Crouch or any other preacher of the gospel would worship with them and try to teach them. He has failed to find a point where church supported homes and missionary societies are not parallel.

He thinks that he has another dilemma in the matter of the private home as compared to the public orphanages. He says: "If it be true that God has specified the local congregation as the only organization through which the church may do the work of providing for the needy, this either eliminates the private home or it does not." Well, granted that it does not limit from assistance in the private home. He says: "If it does not, then there is no specific pattern as to what type of management must characterize a home to which churches are authorized to contribute." The Lord in his word has provided for the family, the private home. But he has not provided for the organizations, the public homes. Brother Crouch could as easily find a general pattern to cover the church supporting a private home consisting of seven husbands of one wife and fathers of a number of children as to find a general pattern to cover a church supported institution consisting of seven or more men as its head. Neither are authorized in the New Testament. But we do have specific authority for the church caring for its needy, using the organization which God has given the church.

In his last paragraph he appeals to us to make a more thorough study of generic and specific authority, because he thinks that is where the issue lies. That is one of the problems; one which he had not studied, apparently, and one which he has yet not been able to fathom. Because his arguments in the article show a complete lack of distinction between generic and specific, as has been demonstrated in this review.