Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 25, 1958

A Proposed Study

Edgar J. Dye, Cardwell, Missouri

On Monday and Tuesday nights, July 28th and 29th, I attended the services of a gospel meeting being conducted by the Mountain Home Church of Christ, located a few miles Northwest of Paragould, Arkansas, where Bro. Lowell Brown, a young preacher, from Bogata, Texas was doing the preaching. On these two nights Bro. Brown spent two hours and forty-five minutes answering a question which had been handed him by one in the audience at a previous service. The question read something like this: THE ORPHAN HOMES AS THEY EXIST AMONG US TODAY, ARE THEY OF FAITH OR OPINION?

Outside of his frequent references to all who opposed Boles Home and similar benevolent organizations or societies for doing the work of the church in benevolence as "anties" or "anti-brethren", and his liberal use of the term "anti-ism", Bro. Brown's attitude was very commendable. I think a great deal of him and believe that he is honest and sincere. However, he did not pin-point the issue and tell us whether the benevolent organizations, such as Boles Home, which exist among us today were of faith or opinion.

Before services started on Tuesday night, I requested that the elders permit me to speak for just five minutes at the close of the service in order to point out wherein Bro. Brown had not correctly represented the opposition. He had constantly referred to those of us who oppose benevolent organizations operated and maintained by the church, such as Boles Home and the Children's Home of Paragould, as being "anti-orphan home" and "anti-cooperation brethren." Brother Brown knew what he meant and how he was using these terms (as he later explained) but the audience did not. Such lose and unkind expressions succeed in creating nothing but prejudice in the mind of the majority of the people who have not studied the issue and do not know what it's all about. However, the elders refused to grant me that privilege on the grounds that "they did not want to cause any trouble." No reply could be made or questions asked, except to Bro. Brown in private. So, I complied with their request to say nothing publicly at the meeting house.

After services on Tuesday night, Brethren Bill Taylor and A. M. Baker, who were visiting Mountain Home from the Brown Church of Christ. near Jonesboro. Ark., asked me if I would meet Bro. Brown at the Brown Church building on the following Thursday morning for the purpose of discussing our differences and allow the audience to ask questions of each of us. To this both Bro. Brown and I readily agreed. In the meantime, an announcement was made of the proposed study at Wednesday night Bible study of some of the churches in this area and on radio station K.L.C.N.. Blytheville, Arkansas.

Thursday morning came and we gathered at the Brown meeting house to engage in the study. Then Bro. Brown declined to enter into the study on the basis that he had misunderstood the nature of the meeting and did not have time on that date to enter into such a discussion. However, he said he would be happy to conduct the same type of study at a later date. Since some had driven a long way, Brethren Eugene Britnell, Brooks Webb, and others insisted that we conduct some kind of a short study at that time so that the day would not be entirely wasted. At this suggestion, we conducted a short debate (40 minutes) during the course of which Bro. Brown admitted that a Human Benevolent Organization or Society operated and maintained by the church, or otherwise, to do the work that God gave the church to do would be wrong. He said he was opposed to such as much as anyone, but that we had no such thing in existence and that Boles Home and others were simply homes and nothing else. Of course, I showed by their own legal documents that we did have what he said would be wrong. But, in such a short time, we were able to create nothing but a greater interest on the part of the audience to engage in such a study as we had originally proposed, and for which, he did not have time then.

However, our time was not entirely wasted in this meeting. In addition to having the short discussion, tentative plans were made for Bro. Brown and myself to meet at Brown Church of Christ, near Jonesboro, Arkansas, on November 3, 1958, to conduct the same type of study which was proposed for Thursday, July 31, 1958. We have not fully decided how many nights it will continue. That will probably be decided on the basis of the interest that is manifested in such a study and the good that can be accomplished at that time. Personally, I believe it is high time we had more of these round-table studies or panel discussions on the present issues confronting the church. I am looking forward with much joy and anticipation to the good that is bound to come out of just such a study as this for the cause that all of us love — the cause of Christ.

Brethren, I solicit your prayers and any help that you can supply me in this study. I am very much in favor of cooperation and help in time of need.