Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 6, 1961
NUMBER 47, PAGE 5,13b

"Objections To The Restored Home Argument"

Ward Hogland, Houston, Texas

One of the most popular doctrines among certain brethren is the "restored home" argument. I would like to make a few observations about this affirmation. First, the argument goes like this: "The church may support a home and the orphan home (like Boles Home) is a restored home therefore the church may support Boles Home or one like it."

It is my firm belief that we have given these brethren far too much rope on the above proposition. I shall file scriptural objections to this claim for your consideration. Please bear in mind this position is not held by all brethren who have tried to uphold innovations in the church. This position is espoused largely by brethren East of the Mississippi river. Many brethren in the West support the view that the Orphan Home is not a restored home but is an integral part of the church. So there is some difference among these brethren on this point. However, it is my purpose to deal with the issue as it has been given in certain religious journals and in public debates.

1. I object to the "restored home" argument because it is based on assumption. We are told that the church may support a home. Pshaw! Where in all the Bible are we taught that the church supported a home? Book, chapter and verse please! I read where churches supported saints or individuals but not homes. Someone might say, "But the individual is a part of a home." Yes indeed. An individual is also part of the church but he isn't the church. Is one man the church? Is one person a home? Here are a few of the scriptures that tell us who the church supported: 1 Cor. 16:1-4 -"Collection for saints"; Acts 6:1 -"Widows were neglected"; Acts 11:27-30 - "Relief to the brethren"; Rom. 15:26 - "Poor saints which are at Jerusalem" etc. In order to support their doctrine, the Bible should say the church supported "Homes of widows"; "Homes of saints"; "Homes of brethren". The Holy Spirit knew how to spell HOME if he had desired to use it!

Now, in these scriptures plus all others on the subject not one of them say the church supported a home. If so, which one? The word home in both the Bible and the dictionary is used in many different ways. For example, the home is called a domicile, dwelling place, habitat, society formed by a family living together, family relationship, etc. Let us observe all these definitions and see if the church supported a home in any sense. Did the church support a domicile? A unit of society formed by a family living together? A habitat? Family relationship? Indeed it did not. The church supported saints.

The most popular definition given for a home by these brethren is that it is a "unit of society." Brother Guy Woods, who is perhaps the champion of the restored home argument, gave this definition in the Cogdill - Woods debate. On page 35 of the book, he quotes from Winston Dictionary for Schools and says, "A home is the unit of society formed by a family living together." Then in the next breath, brother Woods says, "What is a home: It's a unity of society." How ambiguous can one get? He cut off the last part of the definition which says "formed by a family living together." How deceptive can one be? He says the home is a unit of society. So is the church! So is the Lion's Club! So is the Ladies' Aid Society! There is a great deal of difference in the unit of society formed by a family living together and in a unit of society. Now, when the Lion's Club meets, you have a unit of society but you don't have a unit of society formed by a family living together. In such a club, men of kindred minds meet but it is not a family. They are from many families! The same is true with Boles Home. You do not have a family living together but children and adults from many families living together. I have before me Webster's new Unabridged International Dictionary, considered one of the best in the land. Webster says the word society means "Any portion of a community regarded as a unit distinguishable by particular aims or standards of living or conduct; a social circle etc." So here we have it. Isn't a church regarded as a unit in a community with certain aims. Yes indeed. The same might be said of many clubs and organizations. The truth of the matter is that all of these are units of society — the same definition that brother Woods gave the home. These brethren do what many sectarians do to the Bible; they leave off the part that doesn't suit their doctrine. Webster says the home is "The social unit formed by the family residing together in one dwelling." The latter part of the definition explains what kind of a social unit it is. Remember the church supported individuals not families. A little reasoning would tell any honest person why the scriptures teach this. For example, if the church supported homes (Units of society formed by a family living together) as these brethren teach, if a fine young Christian man needed charity and his parents were infidels, the church would have to support the infidels along with the boy. The parents are part of the "UNIT" therefore would receive part of the support. We can take brother Woods definition as given by Winston and prove that the church did not support homes. We should insist on liberal brethren being more specific in their definitions. They seek to muddy the water with these ambiguous terms and keep their sophistry from being made known. Let us bring the restored home argument out in the open.

2. I object to the restored home argument because of their misuse of the word "restored." As we move along, you will find that the entire argument is based on the misuse and abuse of words. They tell us the orphan home is a restored home. I deny this. It is not a restoration of the home but a substitution! I shall prove this by the definition of words. Webster says that restore means "To give back (something which has been lost or taken away); to make about Sarah claiming she was his sister, the Lord spoke restitution of, to return — to bring back or put back." Then he gives Gen. 20:7 as an example. When Abraham lied to Abimelech the King and said, "Restore the man his wife." When Sarah returned, this was restoration according to Webster. What if Abimelech would have given him another woman? Would that have been restoration or substitution? Webster also says the word substitution means "A person or thing put in the place of another, one acting for, taking the place of, or held in readiness to replace, another." We are told that the Board of Directors or Superintendent stand en loco parentis' to the children. The meaning of en loco parentis' is one who stands in place of parents. Webster says this is substitution not restoration (see definition).

Gentle reader, when a child loses its parents by death, there isn't a way under heaven they can be restored except by a miracle. When our Lord raised Lazarus from the dead, if he had children, then their father was restored. Any other man or group of men en loco parentis' would have been substitution not restoration. When foster parents take children who have lost their parents and rear them, this is not a restoration of the home but a substitute. Many foster parents are kind, gentle and do a fine job of rearing children who have lost their parents but this is still substitution not restoration. If a child loses its home (parents of family relationship) it can never be restored unless a miracle is performed! This cannot be successfully denied.

When the church of our Lord was restored, men had to go back to Jerusalem, the fountain head for all of its practices. Has the church been restored when men obey only part of the Bible? The Baptist, Methodist, and Catholics practice many things in the Bible, but are they the restored church? They do not have all the marks of identity for the New Testament church. Have they not substituted many things not found in the Word of God? The same is true of the home, that family relationship. Fortunately the Lord allows for substitution in the family but not in the church. However, when substitution takes place, we need to remember that the marks of identity as far as the original home is concerned have been lost. Therefore if the first part of their argument could be proved, the second point would fall flat! If they could prove by the Bible that the church supported a home they would fail on point two and thus the entire argument would collapse. Their own use of en loco parentis means substitution not restoration. Therefore Orphan Homes are not RESTORED homes but substitutes as confirmed by their own testimony.

In the near future I plan to file two more objections to the restored home argument. One objection is their assumption that the church is to support non-saints, The other objection is their denial (by practice) of the all-sufficiency of the Lord's church.