Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 8, 1955
NUMBER 18, PAGE 1,3b

"Orphanages And Homes For The Aged" -- No. 4

John T. Lewis, Birmingham, Alabama

In my last article I gave examples to show how "the fatherless and widows," who are widows indeed, have been cared for in the churches of Birmingham for nearly half century. I suppose Brother Gale Oler would say: "No charity at all," and Brother Cecil N. Wright would shout: "Revived Sommerism." Any way their Solomonic deliveries make the front pages of the Gospel Advocate.

In Brother Woods' seven articles on "Orphanages and Homes For the Aged," he quoted James 1:27 seven times, and certainly the implication was that the way to "visit the fatherless and widows in their afflictions" was to build ORPHAN HOMES. Then in his last article, Dec. 16, 1954, on front page of the Gospel Advocate, he kicked over the bucket when he said: "It will surprise our readers to learn that most of the children in the orphanages are from broken homes. The Tipton Home has not been asked to take a child which has neither father nor mother living in over four years! There is, of course, a slight variation in figures from time to time; recently, when there were two hundred three children in the home, only seven of these had neither father nor mother living — approximately three percent." That has been my contention all along. I have contended that there are not enough orphans in the church to demand an orphanage; that the congregations should take care of their own orphans, and if not financially able, to call on congregations near by for help. James 1:27 will have to be changed to read: "Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the children of broken homes and deserted wives in their affliction and keep oneself unspotted from the world." Was that what Brother Woods was trying to prove when he quoted James 1:27 so many times in his seven articles?

If I understand it the Tipton Home is under the supervision of the elders of the church in Tipton, and the Children's Home in Lubbock, Texas, is under the supervision of the elders of the Broadway church, and since Brother Woods referred to Tipton home, I am sure he approves of that kind of oversight for "our" homes. However, Brother G. C. Brewer who was selected to review my booklet on "Childhaven," and who did such a complete job of it that Brother Gus Nichols carried his review around to different congregations by the arms full, had the following to say, on page seven of his review: "As stated above, this charge made by Brother Lewis is the same charge that is being made by all who are shouting 'institutionalism' today. It must be noted, however, that some of these critics against the orphan homes insist that they will be taken out from the condemned practice of 'institutionalism,' if only such orphan homes are governed by a board of directors composed of the elders of the church in the town where such a home is located. Their contention is that the orphan home will not be an institution and, therefore, will not fall under the anathema of those who are opposing 'institutionalism.' Their arguments lead to the conclusion that a home governed by the elders is a part of the church and, therefore, it falls under the regular duty of the overseers of the church to govern and control this portion of the church which nevertheless, as an organization that is no part of the church, has its superintendent, its matrons, its cooks, its kitchens, its playgrounds, its bathrooms, its sleeping quarters and everything else that would have constituted it an institution, except that it is under the elders, and is therefore the church!! And in some of the places those who are operating homes have yielded to the forces of this quibbling and have gone so far as to make the elders the supervisors of the homes and then the elders select a board of directors to do the work the elders are named to do! This type of evasion and camouflage and hypocrisy is not endorsed by Brother John T. Lewis. However far he may have strayed from the straight line of reasoning in his indictment of Childhaven, he is not far enough gone mentally to endorse such caviling and nonsense as the above method involves."

On page forty of his review of my tract on "Child-haven," Brother G. C. Brewer, speaking of Judas Iscariot, says: "He was opposed, therefore, to any such thing as Childhaven. He makes a first-rate colleague for Brother Lewis in his opposition to Childhaven, and Brother Lewis accepts him as such." If I have gone in cahoots with "Judas," and yet have not gone as low in camouflage, hypocrisy, mentality, caviling, and nonsense, as men like Brother Guy N. Woods, the elders of the Tipton, Oklahoma, church, and the elders of the Broadway church of Lubbock, Texas, they sure are down in the valley. But Brother Brewer does not think too well of some of the brethren in Lubbock anyway. He says, on page 24 of his review of my pamphlet, "There are cranks in Lubbock who think it would be a sin to have an instrument in a church building. I know because I lived there and preached for that church seven years, and I had church weddings when we went across the street and borrowed the Methodist Church in order to have the use of instrumental music."

On page forty of his review, Brother Brewer gives me a little advice, "Why, now, should Brother Lewis decline to go on and be 'enrolled' with the rest of the Guardian gentry? He has accepted the champion of their spirit." Well why should I join the "Guardian gentry"? Since I am "not far enough gone mentally to endorse such caviling and nonsense as" Brother Guy N. Woods endorses, and he can get on the front pages of the Gospel Advocate? Brother B. C. Goodpasture, editor of the Gospel Advocate, is a good friend of mine, and, why should he not give my articles the same consideration he has given Brother Woods'?

I suppose the different methods that are used in running "our orphanages" are what Brother Gayle Oler called "the mechanics of charity," on the front page of the Gospel Advocate Dec. 23, 1954. I think he is right when he says we are so concerned about the mechanics "that we never actually visit the widows and fatherless in their affliction." I doubt that Brother Oler has any more orphans in his home than the Tipton home has.

It seems that the articles that have appeared in the Gospel Advocate recently have so confused Brother Tillit S. Teddlie that he is pitiable, and I pity him. It may be that Brother Teddlie has put in too much time fishing, and getting his information from reading the papers, instead of getting it from the New Testament. It is too bad when our religious papers can so disturb the equanimity of gospel preachers like Brother Tillit S. Teddlie. I hope before he is too far gone that he may have the opportunity to hear some more good sound gospel preaching. Read his article in the Gospel Advocate Dec. 23, 1954.