Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 11, 1954

The Devil's Stone

Thomas F. Shropshire, Ranger, Texas

Under the heading, "Fatherless and Widows," page 16, Firm Foundation, August 17, 1954, Brother George Hickey had this to say:

"Guy N. Woods has just preached in an edifying meeting here in North Carolina. He gave me several smooth stones and in the spirit of Christ, I am now throwing one at the devil."

"In 1 Timothy, chapter five, God directly discusses the duty of the church to provide for worthy widows. The enrollment of more than one is mentioned. (1 Tim. 5:9.) This God-given example authorizes a home supported by the church. If one will now read James 1:27 (`fatherless and widows') he will see God's authority for the orphan homes. The devil would like for the church to believe that the only way to care for a child who has lost its father is to place it into a private home. If the devil's angels can get the church to practice that method and that Good Method "only," then a bachelor could never fully practice pure religion. The mentally and physically handicapped child would never have a home for those opposing orphan homes would never adopt one of those precious souls."

In throwing his stone, Brother Hickey missed the devil and struck against a principle of divine teaching. He was not aiming at the devil anyway but rather at the defenders of the truth. In the first place, the stone which he threw was the devil's own stone and one the devil has been using against the Lord's people for many years. "The stone" is the idea of getting brethren to go a little farther than the Lord authorizes.

Let us look at this stone which the brother has thought to cast at the devil. The stone is not 'the scripture which he cites in 1 Timothy 5, but his use of that scripture to try to prove something which is not there. That the Lord, in this scripture, authorizes the church (local congregation) to care for (support) widows, one or more; under certain conditions and with certain qualifications, there is no question. But when he assumes the necessity or authorization for the organization by the church of separate institutions for the purpose of caring for them, he assumes something that is not found in this scripture. There are, have been and will continue to be people who maintain facilities of a public nature to care for people for a price. The scripture authorizes the church to furnish the price of support necessary for the widow or widows to be cared for properly. This scripture does not authorize the establishment or support by the church of an institution in or out of the church. The statement that 1 Timothy 5:9 authorizes a home supported by the church is an assumption of the rankest type.

In his handling of James 1:27 in connection with his assumption on 1 Timothy 5:9, he ignores one of the basic rules of Bible study — the need to understand to whom a command is directed. First Timothy 5 was written to Timothy in regard to the treatment of widows by the CHURCH. James 1:27 was written to or concerning INDIVIDUALS in regard to their practice of pure religion. The observance of this rule makes it impossible to connect the two passages in the way that Brother Hickey connected them. Even if 1 Timothy 5:9 authorized the support of a home for widows by the church (which it does not), that would not cause James 1:27 to authorizethe support of a home for "fatherless" by the church. One scripture was written to govern the church as such and the other was written to govern individuals.