Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 2, 1961
NUMBER 42, PAGE 1,13b

Support For The "Restored Home"

Walter N. Henderson, Ocala, Florida

In articles which appeared in the Guardian of December 3. 1959, and January 8, 1960, I pointed out some of the things which are binding on the men who constitute the various boards of orphan homes, and on the children who are raised in these homes. That is, if the contention of brother Woods' is true. He contends that the boards controlling the homes "stand in loco parentis, that is in the place of parents" to the children of the homes. If he is right, all of the duties of parents to their children taught in the New Testament are binding on the men constituting the board. Furthermore, the children in these homes would stand in loco liberorum, that is in the place of children to the members of the board. Their obligation to the home and to their parents (the members of the board) would be the same obligation of children to their natural parents and their home which was destroyed. Thus the home would become a self-supporting institution under normal circumstances.

If brother Woods would teach the boards and the children in the homes their duty as parents and children toward one another and to their home the churches would be relieved of a great burden, and peace would be restored to a troubled brotherhood. Yes, this would be a solution to a great problem.

For some reason brother Woods doesn't get excited about the obligation the Lord has placed on the members of the original home to one another. When a man and woman decide to build a home together, they should realize the obligation of husband to wife, wife to husband, parents to children, and children to parents. Among the obligations, is the obligation of support; the Lord placed this obligation on the parents while the children are unable to support themselves, and when the time comes the parents can no longer support themselves, the Lord has placed the support of the parents on the children provided they are able to assume the obligation. Brother Woods is greatly concerned about the church's obligation to the so-called restored home; doesn't he teach the church and the "restored homes" about family obligations? It is rather difficult to see how an institutional orphan home can be a "restored home" without family obligation being restored in that home. I would like to hear something from brother Guy along this line.

Brother Woods is not as interested in family obligations as he is in getting the church to support institutional orphan homes. He says: "Now then when that home is broken, if there are Christian brethren sufficiently interested in the welfare of destitute children to re-establish a home, then the obligation which the church sustains to the original home is the obligation which the church sustains to the re-established home." (Cogdill - Woods Debate, p. 37) If this is true, how should the church perform this obligation? If the church's obligation is the same in both cases, it must follow that the same procedure should be followed in both cases. In chapter two, four, and six of Acts, we find that the church in Jerusalem took care of the needy within the frame- work of the local congregation. Brother Woods doesn't think as much of this as he once did. Since he contends the church's obligation is the same in both cases, this is the way it should be done. Institutional-minded brethren are not willing for each congregation to take care of its own the same way the Jerusalem church did. If this course was followed, it would do away with every "brotherhood" benevolent institution among us. Let the churches take care of their needy as they did in the days of the apostles — then we can have peace on this subject.

But some of the so-called restored homes are too large for the local church to supply all of their needs. What should we do in such cases? (My answer is based upon the assumption that brother Woods' contention is right.) lust follow the examples given in the New Testament. There were times in the days of the apostles when the burden of caring for the needy was too great for the local church. If we will do as they did, all will be well, and the "cid ship of Zion" will sail on a safe course.

The churches of Macedonia, Galatia, and Achaia sent help to the poor saints in Jerusalem This contribution was sent to the local church; the church in Jerusalem, is conceded by all, I think. During the reign of Claudius Caesar there was a great dearth, and the brethren at Antioch sent relief to the brethren in Judaea. This relief was not sent by the Antioch brethren directly to the homes of the needy in Judaea; it was sent to the elders of the local churches. (Acts 11:27-30) Since brother Woods says the obligation is the same, why doesn't he advocate following Bible examples? The helping churches did not send the money to the original homes; why should contributing churches send their money directly to the "restored homes?" If the church's obligation is the same, and if the elders of the local church can't administer this relief — something is wrong. If the "restored home" takes the place of the original home, and the church's obligation is the same to both, then the same scripture should govern how the relief to both homes is to be administered. If not, why not?

Brethren, if we had enough love in our hearts for God, the Lord's church, and for needy individuals, and enough reverence for the word of God to follow it in taking care of the poor saints, orphans and widows, the wounds of a bleeding church would be healed, and all of the benevolent work the Lord expects us to do would be done. Furthermore, all of the benevolent societies and "brotherhood" homes would disappear from the land. This, institutional-mined brethren do not want to happen.

In the matter of benevolence, we have lost sight of Bible language; we no longer speak as the Bible speaks. The scriptures do not speak of "helping homes," nor do they use the term "giving to homes." Peter said: "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." (I Pet. 4:11) The expression "give to homes" is related to the expression "join the church" in that both are foreign to the New Testament. It may appear to you on first glance that the New Testament teaches us to help homes; it may also appear to a sectarian that one should join the church. Take a second look at the language of the Bible on relief for the needy.

The Scripture speaks after this fashion: "And they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need." Again: "And distribution was made unto every man according as he had need." (Acts 2:45; 4:35) We read in Acts 11:27-30 of relief being sent to brethren in Judaea; it was sent to the elders of the churches where the dearth was. In First Corinthians 16 we read about a collection for the saints; Paul speaks of them as poor saints. (Rom. 15:26) The poor were to be remembered. (Gal. 2:10) Again the admonition is "give to him that needeth." (Eph. 4:28) There was the daily ministration to the widows in the Jerusalem church, and the widows indeed were to be relieved by the church. (Acts 6:1-7; I Tim. 5:16) This is the language of the Bible; it expresses the mind of God.

There is a great deal of difference between a needy person and an organization; between an orphan and a "restored home" with its board of directors. Even though the poor saints had homes, the contribution was for the poor saints — persons, individuals — not organizations as such. It is possible for one member of a family to need help while another member might not need it. The idea taught in the Bible is to help every one in need and not every institution. "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matt. 25:40) The Lord wants us to see the poor — "him that needeth" and help the same.

It is much easier to reason from one institution to another institution than it is to reason from an individual to an institution. So they leave the individuals and the language of the Bible, and reason from the "original home" to the "restored home." Before brother Woods starts reasoning from the "original home," let him prove that which he assumes: namely, that the "original home" is the organization through which the churches in the days of the apostles did their work. Name the home through which the churches did a brotherhood work similar in scope to his "restored home."

Brethren, would it be right for the churches to do their benevolent work through my home? Let my home become the institution through which the churches do all their benevolent work? I am not asking about the church helping some destitute member of my family which I might not be able to help; neither am I asking about the church deciding to help an orphan, and send that help by me or some member of my family. I am asking about the church turning over funds to my family for us to decide who should be helped and the amount of help each should receive. In other words, we would be the administrators of the funds sent to us from the churches. Would it be right for my home to become a permanent arrangement through which the churches would do their benevolent work? Remember my home is an "original home." Until this is proven right, how can any entertain the idea that the "restored home" is right?