Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 3, 1961
NUMBER 13, PAGE 7,14b

An Open Letter To Brother Raines

R. Ervin Driskell, Plano, Illinois

Dear brother Raines:

I have read your article, in the Guardian, and 'I am writing this letter relative to some of the things said. You ask, "If a legal home, by utilizing a church contribution, does the work of the church, why does a private needy home not do the work of the church when it utilizes a church contribution?" Is it possible you do not recognize the difference in a "private home" and what you call a "legal home?" The necessaries of the "private home" are supplied by funds made by the church, TO the "private home" while the necessaries of the "legal home" are supplied by funds, made by the church, TO the human organization, which in turn makes all the arrangements for the necessaries of the "legal home" to be supplied. In other words the first is a contribution, from the church, TO those in need while the second is a contribution, from the church, TO a human organization, which in turn makes all arrangements for those in need. Now, brother Raines, if you do not see the difference I am sure you do not want to see it for, I am persuaded you are intelligent enough to do so.

Then you ask, ".... would they (orphan homes and homes for the aged — RED) be doing the work of state welfare departments if they were financed by welfare departments instead of churches?" Brother Raines, in your own language, "I now wonder how my reasoning could have been so shallow." If the welfare department's rules are not violated, in any way, when it contributes to these human organizations, which in turn makes all the arrangements for those orphans and aged, the answer would be no! But, the church is circumscribed by New Testament law and "that law" has not only not made any provisions for the church to contribute TO those human organizations but has actually specified the church itself, as the only organization.

This work, under consideration, has to do with the benevolent work done by the church. Or, do you deny such benevolence is the work of the church? If you deny it, I will prove that it is. And, I'll prove it not only by the Bible but, by Roy Deaver. He said, (in a discussion with W. L. Wharton, Jr., in Joliet, recently) the church was to help widows. (1 Tim. 5:16, and, since James tied widows and fatherless together in Jas. 1:27, the church was to help both. Of course he was too blind to see that the widows of 1 Tim. 5:16 (relieved by the church) excludes the widows, of Jas. 1:27 (and therefore the fatherless of the same passage) inasmuch as the widows and fatherless, of Jas. 1:27 are the obligation of the individual and not the church (see text and context) as is seen in the first part of 1 Tim. 5:16, and most he cared for by the individual. Jas. 1:27 and the widows mentioned in the first part of 1 Tim. 5:16 are the same kind of widows and the latter part of 1 Tim. 5:16 rules out the church relieving such fatherless. But back to the beginning of this paragraph--The church is to relieve "widows indeed" thus showing there is a work of benevolence that relates to the church. Now, brother Raines, if this is so (and it is) and the church contributes to a human organization to enable it to make the arrangements for relieving the wants of such, what is the difference in that and the church contributing to a Missionary Society, to enable it to make all the arrangements for preaching? If, in these two cases, the homes and Missionary Society are not parallel, then brother Raines or someone should point out wherein they are not. If it is not pointed out, it stands as proof they cannot. If they are parallel, in this point, it is enough to condemn both or neither.

Brother Raines says, "The work of the orphan homes would be the same work if they did not receive a cent from the churches; the same is true of the homes for the aged." Well, "the work of the Missionary Society would be the same work if it did not receive a cent from the churches" too. What both the homes and Society need to do is to produce scripture that authorizes the organization of either one; either to do the work of the church (in either field of that which is assigned the church) or, to look to the church for support. Yes, brother Raines, the work would be the same but the relationship of the work has changed. Paul teaches me to "bear my own burden" but when I am unable to do so then, brother Raines is to "bear my burden" for me. The work (or need) has not changed but relationship of supplying that need has changed. In the former case I am doing the work; in the latter case brother Raines is doing it. However, if brother Tant sets up a Society and brother Raines contributes to the Society, which does the work, or provides, neither he nor I am doing it. He is simply contributing to a Society to do the burden bearing God has told him to do.

Brother Raines wants someone to "prove that the work of the homes is the work of the church" and, until it is done he says it cannot be said the boards, of these homes, supplant the elders. Well, what is the work of a local church (through its elders) toward "widows indeed" but to relieve? (1 Tim. 5:16) Now, what are these homes doing but relieving? Hence, if in these homes there are any who are the charge of the church and the elders are contributing to these organizations (from the church treasury) these boards have supplanted the elders. Brother Raines, I'd like for you to make an effort to deny this.

You say, ".... elders cannot scripturally oversee anything, as elders, except New Testament congregations." But, we've just shown elders are doing that very thing and that's what the furor is about. Elders cannot scripturally be over a diocese of churches either but they have done so, and these elders over these homes (such as Tipton, Lubbock, etc.) have likewise become unscriptural overseers.

Brother Raines, you misrepresent us (at least me) when you say, "They say that legal homes may be financed by individuals, but deny the Missionary Society may be financed by individuals." Now, brother Raines, if these "legal homes" will cut themselves loose from the treasuries of the churches, Yes! For, then they would not be doing the church's work. There is a work of benevolence that relates to the individual (he is to do good unto all men. Gal. 6:10) that does not relate to the church. The charge of the church is only to saints. But there is no work of preaching that excludes the church and is peculiar to the individual. This being true, and since God has specified the church as the organization, for preaching then, I would no more contribute (finance) to a Missionary Society, doing the church's work in this field, than I would a benevolent Society doing the work of the church in this field. So, brother Raines, your supposed inconsistency is not inconsistent after all. And he knows no one has claimed the Missionary Society and these homes are parallel in every respect, as pointed out above.

If brother Raines is not too out of humor with Yater, (and with me after he reads this) maybe he'll change the third time!