Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 5, 1962

Church In The Housing Business

James W. Adams, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

In the past decade, churches of Christ have moved from one absurdity to another in the name of "progress." Practices among the churches are common today that, ten years ago, would have been viewed by brethren with horror and disbelief. Among those which have recently come to our attention is the new "Home For The Elderly" at Cordell, Oklahoma.

The Christian Herald, Oklahoma City publication featuring news of happenings among churches of Christ and the activities of their members, February, 1962, carries a story concerning this project. It is entitled, "Church of Christ Home For Elderly Opens In Cordell." Its "punch line" carries the following information: "This month the Cordell Christian Home, owned and operated by the Cordell Church of Christ, will open its doors to elderly people of Oklahoma, Jack Cox, minister of the church in Cordell, stated recently in a talk at the Mayfair Church of Christ in Oklahoma City."

Several things are worthy of note in this statement: (1) The home is called a "Christian Home;" (2) the home is "owned and operated by the Cordell Church of Christ:" (3) these facts were stated by "Jack Cox, minister of the church in Cordell."

Money for the construction of this "home" was secured by obtaining a loan from the Federal government. A recent article in the Christian Chronicle revealed the fact that people of all "faiths" are offered the facilities of the home. In The Christian Herald article, the following information is also given: "Three types of accommodations are offered by the home, and the cost depends upon the type of unit occupied. Types of units and fees are as follows: Type A — One room, one person, $125 per month. Type B — One room, two persons, $117 per month. Type C — Two rooms, two persons, $125 per month."

It is also stated in this article that: "The home is incorporated as a non-profit organization under the laws of Oklahoma and is operated by a Board of Directors composed of the elders of the Cordell Church of Christ."

Just what does all this mean? It means, if this article is correct, that the Cordell Church of Christ is in the housing business, the boarding home business, and in the business of providing facilities for a beauty parlor and a barber shop. Note this statement from the article: "Facilities will be provided for a beauty and barber shop." Do not be deceived. This is not the Cordell Church of Christ providing a place for destitute elderly people of the congregation to live as a part of her ministering to the saints. A person who can pay $125 per month board and room a not destitute. Also, do not be deceived by the fact that this is a "non-profit organization." Some people assume that if a project is "non-profit" it is not a secular business. This is not true. It does not even mean that the business cannot make a profit. It means only that the business issues no stock on which dividends are paid.

Our question is this: Where do brethren find authority for a church of Christ to "own and operate" a secular business? We deny that she has such authority from Christ. We affirm that such is a gross perversion of her divine mission. We further allege that the "owning and operating" *such an institution by the church is undeniable evidence of apostasy. What are we coming to, and where will it all end? If a church may engage in an operation of this kind, what, in the name of common sense, is there that a church cannot do?

Lest some of our sophistical defenders of current apostasies among the churches seek to cloud the issue involved in this matter, let it be observed that (1) we do not oppose the providing of such housing for the aged; (2) we believe that there is a very real need for such housing; (3) we do not believe it to be wrong for brethren to own and operate such secular, business enterprises either on a profit or a "non-profit" basis; (4) we believe only that churches of Christ do not have the scriptural right to "own and operate" such, nor, for that matter, to contribute from their treasures to their maintenance even when they are privately "owned and operated;" (5) we believe that churches could scripturally avail themselves of the services of privately owned boarding homes of this kind in behalf of their destitute old people on the basis of paying for services rendered. Churches may scripturally purchase the services or commodities of many institutions to which they cannot scripturally contribute from their treasures such as: grocery stores; hardware stores; hospitals; electrical and plumbing contractors; and construction companies.

This Cordell venture is the fruit of the "social gospel" at work among churches of Christ. Brethren may deny it, but they are following the path that all of the popular denominations have taken to liberalism and ultimately rank infidelity.