Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 8, 1962

"In Loco Parentis"

A. C. Grider, Louisville, Kentucky

In every endeavor of the Lord's people, when they undertake to do something for which they have no scripture, confusion reigns. If I were selecting one single word to best describe the Orphan Home Advocates among us, the word would be "Confusion." For instance, they say, "If the church can build a preacher's home (house) then it can build an orphan's home (an institution). See, they don't know the difference between a building and a board of directors!! If they do, then they are dishonest. I had rather not know any better than to deliberately use such deception. As another example of the confusion which characterizes them, I have before me a tract. It was written by Brother Ben Taylor. You would think Brother Taylor wouldn't be confused, but listen to him, on page 1. "The Potter Orphan Home and School is what its name indicates A HOME...." Again, on page 1, he said, "The Potter Orphan Home and School is a home." But, on page 12, he said, "The Potter Orphan Home and School is an institution, or call it an organization, if you wish, TO FURNISH A HOME...." (Emphasis mine ACG). Now, which is it? Is it a home like he said? Or is it something else which is to furnish a home like he said?

But nowhere are our brethren as befuddled and confused as in trying to tell us who acts as "parents" in their orphan home organizations. Several years ago, they came out strong with their "in loco parentis" argument. They talked about "Daddy Brock" and "Daddy Richter", etc. It sounded good and I thought maybe they were right. I thought that maybe these Superintendents were actually "in the place of a parent" to these children. But then somebody raised the question: If the superintendent is standing in place of the parents, in whose place are the directors standing? Then the orphan home advocates did a back flip and said the board of directors were actually "in loco parentis" (standing in place of parents). That confused me, for if the board took the place of parents, whose place did the superintendents take?

I attended the Cogdill-Woods debate in Newbern, Tennessee, and heard Brother Woods declare that it didn't make any difference who the daddy was! But it sounded like he was pulling for the "Board-Daddy" idea since he was defending the TWO homes in Texas which are under only ONE board. Surely he wasn't contending that Gayle was the "Daddy" of both families.

But if the "Two Daddy's" ever one home confuses you, or if you are confused over the "One Daddy" over two homes, wait until you hear this!! When I returned home from the Newbern debate, I had a letter on my desk from the Tennessee Orphan Home. It was written to "Dear Brethren." It was signed by W. B. Richter, whom I thought was "in loco parentis" to the children in the home. But, in this letter, Richter said, "You stand in lieu of parents to these children." Webster says "in lieu of" "in place of." But THAT is what 'sin loco parentis" means. If I should say that Richter said CONGREGATIONS are standing in lieu of parents, he might say he was talking about INDIVIDUALS! But if I say he was talking about INDIVIDUALS standing in lieu of parents, he might say he was talking about CONGREGATIONS! So I will just have to say he said somebody other than the Superintendent or the board were "in lieu of parents" or "in loco parentis."

Well, then, somebody is "in loco parentis," but who is it? Is it the superintendent? Is it the board? Is it Christian individuals? Is it congregations? Brethren, if these "homes" among us are RESTORED HOMES, why can't somebody tell us who "the real daddy" is. Here is a "natural home." We know who the daddy is. We know who the mother is. But the home is destroyed, as Woods is wont to say. And they "restore" the home, they say. All right, who is the daddy? Is it the superintendent? Or is it the board? Or is it the congregations? Or is it individuals? I am never going to believe that an orphan home is a natural home restored until somebody tells me who took Daddy's place. And when they tell me, I am going to go to work on "Daddy" and make him exhaust his own means before he becomes a perpetual beggar! And then when the children get out on their own, I am going to try to get them to help take care of their Daddy lest they become WORSE THAN AN INFIDEL! (1 Tim 5:8)

"Daddy" (?) Richter, in the letter referred to above, said over twenty thousand children had been provided for in Tennessee Orphan Home. If these children had been scripturally taught, they would be providing for "their own" at the home. But the children were NOT taught the truth relative to the parent-child relationship. They were taught that it was scriptural and right and honorable to BEG!

Let our brethren "tell us plainly" who are the "parents" of these children. Then let the parents spend their own resources in support of their "families" as far as it will go, THEN it will be time for somebody to come to their aid. But our basic question remains; Who are the parents? Who stands "in loco parentis"? Who knows?