Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 23, 1957
NUMBER 4, PAGE 1,10b

Some Questions To Brother Guy N. Woods

John T. Lewis, Birmingham, Alabama

Dear Brother Woods:

I was up at Central church last Friday night to hear "Mars Hill Bible School Chorus sing" and I picked up a Childhaven News." In it you had a lengthy article under the caption "Objections Considered" (No. 2). You seem to be anxious to give the brethren the benefit of your profound learning and experience that you have gained in "the twenty debates we have conducted with anti-Sunday school preachers."

I hope I may never get too old to learn, and it makes no difference with me as to where you get your learning and experience. I would like to ask you a few simple questions. You say: "Recently, an appeal was made to one of our orphan homes to take nine children who have been abandoned in a small Texas town where there is a congregation of not more than one hundred members. Suppose this congregation had attempted to follow the advice of these critics and had established a home to provide for them locally. Had they been able to duplicate the per capita cost per month characteristic of Tipton Home, the outlay would have been $427.68 per month, approximately the entire contribution of the congregation. They would have thus been compelled to suspend all other activity requiring financial outlay — dispensed with all preaching of the gospel, both local and foreign, terminated all other benevolent activity — and henceforth employed themselves in one phase of Christianity only." Now, brother Woods, if those nine children were charges of that congregation, would you deny that their care was the responsibility of the congregation? And if they had provided for them would they have been following "the advice of these critics", or the New Testament teaching? And if caring for them had been all the benevolent work that the congregation was able to do, do you think God would have condemned them for not doing more? Do you think God will condemn a congregation when it is doing all it is financially able to do?

Let us look at this case from another angle, suppose the care of those nine children was in no sense the responsibility of that congregation. If they had assumed the responsibility, got two young preachers with plenty of gab, and one of their elders, to travel from California to Maine, and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf telling of the great work they had assumed, don't you think it would have been possible for them to have gotten enough money to start an orphan home that would have made the "Tipton Home" look like a country school?

For instance brother E. R. Harper reported in the Gospel Advocate of February 7, 1957, the great work that the Highland church in Abilene, Texas, has done during the eleven years he has worked with them. He Says: "I began at Highland with about four hundred fifty members and the old auditorium, with basement for classrooms. Highland has grown to almost one thousand members, and has one of the most beautiful auditoriums in the country, seating some eighteen hundred people, with over fifteen hundred seats at present. We have bought ten houses and lots, and two vacant lots. These have been used for building and parking purposes. The church here has a plant worth between seven and eight hundred thousand dollars. This has been done without any outside help. Not one penny of the money sent to us for our radio program has ever been used in the erection of this building, as has been indirectly suggested in certain sections. Our total contribution for 1956 was $102,548.22, an average of $1,934.87 per Sunday. Highland has spent during these twelve years, some $250,000 in mission and benevolent purposes. She has helped to establish congregations in various parts of the world and has given generously to struggling congregations and to preachers who were working in hard places." Of course brother Harper was too modest to tell about the great radio program they are sponsoring, to which about a thousand congregations are contributing around two hundred and fifty, or three hundred thousand dollars a year. He did assure the brethren that Highland had not used any of their money in erecting their great church building. Now, brother Woods, do you think a great brotherhood that is responding so liberally to Highland's sponsored program, would have turned a deaf ear to the appeals of that little church, if they had sponsored a great orphan home? If you say we already have orphan homes, we already had radio programs all over the country, and the big program doubtless has closed several little programs.

Now, brother Woods, I will not stultify myself by asking you to prove it by the Bible; but can you give any common sense reason for a thousand churches sending two hundred and fifty, or three hundred thousand dollars a year to a congregation with "a plant worth between seven or eight hundred thousand dollars" and whose "total contribution for 1956 was $102,548.22" for any purpose? Do those thousand churches have any voice in selecting the preachers to do the preaching?

Brother Woods, would you have any idea why the church at Antioch did not sponsor the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles and why they did not call upon the churches and individual Christians to send them the money to support the preachers instead of sending it direct to the preachers in the field? The Holy Spirit, wrote letters to churches scattered throughout the then known world, mentioned the evangelist, and their work, gave the qualifications of elders and deacons, described their work, and restricted their labors to the congregations of which they were members. There can be no argument about the above facts. Will you tell me why the Holy Spirit never mentioned, never wrote a line to, or about an orphan home? Never told whether orphan homes should be run by trustees selected from all over the country, or whether they should be under the oversight of the elders of a congregation? I hope, brother Woods, you will give me the above information, and not lecture me about my ignorance nor call me a hobby rider. I grew up on a farm and never saw a horse I was afraid to get on when I was a youngster; but you have mentioned some animals that I never heard of in those days. (More to follow)