Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 4, 1958

He Changed His Mind

R. Rogers, Murray, Kentucky

In the October 31st issue of the Gospel Advocate Brother W. C. Anderson freely confesses that he has "changed his mind" regarding current issues. While it is sad indeed when anyone forsakes the truth to support error, I have more respect for one who will openly state his change than for one such as Guy N. Woods, who has changed as much as anybody, but refuses to admit it.

Brother Anderson asks, "Which command of Christ is violated when a church gives money to help a group of Christians furnish food, clothing and shelter for poor children who have lost their natural homes?" One way to answer a question is to ask another one. Here is my question: Which command of Christ is violated when a church gives money to help a group of Christians send a missionary to preach the gospel to dying heathens? When our brother answers my question he will have answered his own. If the church can contribute to a human institution to do the work of benevolence, it can do the same thing in the field of evangelism.

Brother Anderson says that Gal. 6:10 is a command, in principle, for the church to help anyone who needs it. These institutional brethren are quick to saddle the church with the responsibility to support every needy person in the world. But if one of these who needs help happens to be a gospel preacher who is opposed to their man-made schemes and institutions set up to do the work of the church, they shrink not from cutting off his support or refusing him any assistance of any kind. Let none deny this; I speak from: experience.

Brother Anderson says that anyone who denies his conclusion from Gal. 6:10 will have to pervert the passage. Well, if they garble it up any worse than he did, they will be going some. If Gal. 6:10 is intended for the church as such, then the church can do anything that will produce any good for anyone. But our brother says, "The work of the church ceases when it has given to support the poor." Really, my friend, which way are you going? According to your argument, the only thing "good" about caring for the needy is "giving to support the poor". Brethren, a man who is that inconsistent just doesn't have the truth. Obviously, Gal. 6:10 is written to the individual. Paul wrote to the "churches of Galatia" and told them some things that individual members must do.

The epistle contains much instruction to the individual member of the church.

Brother Anderson says, "If some of my brethren were right in their allegation that the orphan home is doing the work of the church, then I am right in saying that a family home would also be doing the work of the church should the church contribute to it."

Here is an outstanding example of the "reasoning" that characterizes the institutional bunch as they attempt to muddy the water and becloud the issue regarding these matters. You can't tell what these men mean by "home". One time they mean a house where the children are kept; the next time they refer to the human institution that built the house. They call both of them the "orphan home." Now hear me, Brother Anderson: The church may buy, build, or rent a house, put the orphans in it and put someone there to care for them. The church may then see that they are supplied with necessities and are properly cared for. This will be the church providing a home. That home will not be doing the work of the church; it will be doing the work of the family that once existed but, for some reason, has been lost. But when you select a group of men from various parts of the country, bind them together into a benevolent institution independent of the church, and let this institution take over the work of providing a home for the orphans while the church just sits back and shovels in the money, then you have a human institution doing the work of the church. These boards and conclaves characteristic of today are doing what the church did in Acts 6:1-6. From this there is no escape! Brother Anderson, if the church contributes to a "family home" do we need to set up a board of directors in between the church and that home? You tell us that the next time you get in the confessing mood. Now brethren, don't try to hold your breath till he answers that question.

Our brother stoutly insists that James 1:27 applies to the church. Does it? If so, his theory that all the church can do in benevolence is furnish the money is gone, world without end. Hear Benjamin Wilson's translation of James 1:27. "Pure religion and undefiled with the God and Father is this, to take the oversight of orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world." Brother Anderson says that the church can't exercise any oversight of widows and orphans; all the church can do is furnish the money. Well, if that's the case, the church can't obey James 1:27! Although this verse is written primarily to the individual, as shown by the context, (Vs. 26) I agree that it describes a work which the church also can do. In Acts 6 the church did for the Grecian widows just what James 1:27 commands. The point is that the church did it, not some devilish human institution. (See 1 Tim. 5:16 & Eph. 3:21.)

I quote again from the article under review: "A group of Christians has as much right to organize and operate an orphan home as any other group has to organize a company to publish a religious journal." Brother Anderson, when we get these two things set up, can the church support both of them? If it can support one, why can't it support the other? Now I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer to that question either.

He says that the orphan home is not parallel with the missionary society. The home itself isn't, no, but the institutions which provide some of them are. Note the parallel. In evangelism, the church pays the missionary society, the society hires the preacher and sends him to the field to do the preaching. The church is subordinated and has no control whatever over the work done. The same is true in benevolence. The church turns its money over to the society and the society hires the personnel to go to the home and care for the orphans. He says that the church can send money to the preacher in the field. Yes, and that's what they ought to do. (Phil. 4:15.) And the church can also directly provide a home for orphans without turning a dime over to a human institution in the middle.