Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 16, 1957

A House Or A Home?

Robert H. Farish, Lexington, Kentucky

The home in the sense of family is a divine institution. The house in which the family dwells is no more the family than the meeting house is the church. If the brethren who are trying to defend human benevolent societies would observe this distinction, much of the confusion which currently prevails would be removed. Observing the distinction, however, would be fatal to the institutional concept, so, naturally as long as they are wedded to their idol they will continue to befog the issue by avoiding the use of precise terms to express their ideas.

Will brother Thomas Warren favor us with a list of the divine "component parts" of the divine "whole", the home? The home (family) is a divine institution; it is that which is ordained by God.

Will brother Guy N. Woods then favor us by taking up those divine "component parts" and pointing out each of these component parts in his orphan society, and showing us that his "total situation" contains exactly these parts, no more and no less? If the so-called "orphan home" is the divine institution, the home (family) restored, then it will have all of the "component parts" and no additional. The lack of any of these parts or the addition of other parts will destroy its identity as a divine institution. It is not the divine institution restored. Surely these brethren and those associated with them in the efforts to defend and promote human institutions must know that many brethren think that they use home in the sense of house, as a dwelling place. This idea is certainly suggested and encouraged by the chart used in some of the debates which has a picture of a wrecked material house to represent the "broken home" and a picture of an intact material house to represent the "restored home". This is misleading; a home has not been restored; a house (shelter) has been provided. The divine institution, the church, is sufficient organization to provide shelter, food, clothing and care. For any future debates, I suggest that a clear and honest chart be prepared. Instead of picturing material houses which do not clearly and accurately suggest family, have a picture of a woman surrounded by children or just a group of children huddled together to represent the broken home; then on the other side, have a picture of a family with all divine component parts presented in the picture to represent the "restored home"!

In the scriptures when "house" is used figuratively for family, it is clear that the material shelter is not intended. There is no proper place in religious discussion for trickery of any sort; honesty requires that we use plain, precise terms. Do the brethren use house in its literal sense? Then let them make it clear that they are contending for the "restoration" of the material things of which the needy have been deprived by reason of the home being broken up. Do they use house in a figurative sense? Then let them make it clear that they are contending for a restoration of the divine institution, the home or family. Let them, also, tell us how the divine parts can be secured and combined into the divine whole, the family! Failure to secure all the divine parts to combine to make the divine whole is failure to restore the divine institution. An institution to supply the lack of the needy is not the home restored, but is simply a human organization. The church has no more right to contribute its funds to such an institution than it does to any other good human institution.

It is clear how some of the things, of which surviving members of a family are deprived by reason of a broken home, may be supplied; but I confess my utter inability to see how a home (family) can be restored without replacing all the parts that are lost. I fear that a human institution, cunningly camouflaged by logical subtleties, has been palmed off on some brethren.

For the benefit of earnest souls who simply desire to do the will of God, I suggest a careful study of our Lord's assurance found in John 7:17. You can know the will of God by studying the scriptures, even though you do not have formal legal or logical training. In the scriptures you will find that you as an individual are required to help the needy of both sexes, regardless of their age. (Matt. 25:31-46; Jas. 1:25-27; Gal. 6:10). You will find that the divine organization, the local congregation is to help those of its number who have "need"; (Acts 4:35) the "widows indeed" (I Tim. 5:3-16); congregations which have more members who are in "want" than they are able to aid (Acts 11:27-30; I Cor. 16:1-4; II Cor. 9). Study the revelation of God; it was designed for the understanding of "babes". Determination "to do the will of the Father" is worth more than knowledge of "component parts", "constituent elements", "syllogism", etc. etc!

We sorely need to return to the practice of "speaking where the Bible speaks and remaining silent where the Bible is silent". Let us put forth a determined effort to speak "as the oracles of God", and quit talking about restoring a divine institution when all we can do is to create another human organization.