Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity

As You Like It

Floyd Embree, Ontario, California

Last year in February, at the invitation of the church in Dana Point, California I was invited to speak and set forth the objections that I had to the Church of Christ Children's Home located in Ontario, California, whose children and personnel are members of the church in Pomona, California and whose directors are the elders of the church at Broadway and Walnut, in Santa Ana, California. One of the main objections that I set forth that evening (in the presence of four of the elders from Santa Ana) was that the elders at Santa Ana claimed to be over the home. I showed how that elders were over the church and the church only. (I Pet. 5:2-3; Acts 20:28; Phil. 1:2; I Thess. (5:12-13). I challenged anyone to show where elders were ever over anything besides the church in the New Testament. I showed this because in a letter from Brother Jack Bates, preacher at Santa Ana, he stated that the home was under the oversight of the elders of Broadway and Walnut in Santa Ana. Also, in a letter to me, signed by all five elders at Santa Ana, the arguments were made that elders were over any outside work the church attempted to do and therefore had the authority to be over a home such as the one in Ontario. The main argument was based on Matt. 28:18-20. Also, all preachers in congregations which were supporting the home, with whom I had talked, maintained that the home was under the elders of Broadway and Walnut in Santa Ana. Brother Bates stated in a letter to me that it was so set up in the charter of 1951 that the elders of one congregation had to be over the home.

At the close of my speech at Dana Point, and in the question, answer and comment session which followed, Brother James Sewell, one of the elders at Broadway and Walnut arose and denied that they were over the home as elders. He said they were over the home as directors only, and not as elders. In a session at Broadway and Walnut in Santa Ana the next week when Brother Sewell spoke, he again emphasized when questioned about it, that the home was under the elders there as directors only and had no connection with the church. The following week when I again spoke (this time at Broadway and Walnut in Santa Ana) I asked specifically if this was their position on the oversight of the home, and was answered that it was. (I have all this on tape) Several preachers who were present at the time and in sympathy with the home assured me that this was a surprise to them and some still insisted that the home was under the elders at Santa Ana.

A few weeks after the discussion, in the bulletin put out by Santa Ana, at the upper right hand corner of the front page was this assertion concerning the Church of Christ Children's Home — "Supervision of the Church of Christ Children's Home ..."

Yesterday, I received a copy of the California Christian, a paper now being published by Brother Jack Bates, preacher at Santa Ana. On page one, column one is this statement from Brother James Sewell in regard to the Children's Home: "As the home's directors are the elders of the Broadway and Walnut congregation in Santa Ana, our advisers urged selection of a site nearer Santa Ana." (Bold mine, F.E.) One year ago, Brother Sewell said that the elders were not the directors, but as men they were trustees only. Now, he says the elders are the directors! Now, just which time was Brother Sewell telling the truth? Brother Sewell can't deny either statement for I have one on tape in the presence of many witnesses, and the other is in print in a paper published by the preacher in Santa Ana. Both statements cannot be true.

Just whom is Brother Sewell and the elders of Santa Ana trying to fool? They denied twice that they were over the home as elders, but stated that they were over it as directors only! Did Brother Sewell and these elders realize when we were in discussion a year ago that they could not defend the position of the elders being over the home and therefore made the assertion that they were not over the home as elders as a result? Are the elders at Santa Ana now advertising the home as being under elders because they know there are many churches in California who will not support something which is not under elders? Is Brother Sewell willing to again meet me in Santa Ana and discuss the scripturalness of an institution "which is not the church and cannot be a part of the church" being under the elders of the church? It is my understanding that they have told brethren over California who asked why they didn't meet me on these things that they were willing to meet me at any place at any time. If so, I suggest that they sign and return the propositions I sent them more than one year ago, after some of the elders there indicated they wanted to debate me on the proposition, and we will arrange the time and place. At least, they could afford me the courtesy of answering the letter I wrote them at that time. In the meantime, is the home in Ontario under the men at Santa Ana as elders or as directors only? Will these men answer this question?