Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 23, 1958
NUMBER 25, PAGE 2-3b

Children Born Out Of Wed-Lock

R. L. Burns, Grand Prairie, Texas

The church of Christ was not an afterthought of God, nor did it become existent by accident, but resulted from the planning of God before the creation of man. (See Ephesians 1:4-6.) The announcement of this plan was first made when man, expelled from his Edenic paradise with the blight of sin, learned of penalty. "And Jehovah said unto the serpent, . I will put enmity between thy seed and her seed: he shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15.) During this antediluvian period the forces of heaven worked to accomplish what we know now as the church. Jehovah worked first through the patriarchs, then the prophets of Israel, John the baptist and finally Christ and his apostles to realize the final phase of that plan. John 17:4 shows the perfect cooperation of Christ in doing God's will. "I glorify thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou gayest me to do." The sent Son, having accomplished "the work thou gavest me to do", now occupies the position of the head, founder, foundation and savior of the church. (Eph. 1:22,23; Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 5:23.) Since the church supports the truth (1 Tim. 3:15), which came by Christ (John 1:17) and by which we receive life, the only conclusion to which we can come is that God's purpose of saving man is accomplished by and through the church. This is precisely what the apostle Paul tells us in Eph. 3:10, 11. "To the intent that now unto principalities and powers in the heavenly places might be made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord." We conclude that the church, then, is all-sufficient to serve God's purpose A sharp comparison is drawn by the apostle Paul in the Ephesian letter, chapter 5, verses 22 through 31 between the church and the husband-wife relationship and he ends by saying, "This mystery is great: but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church." There is a likeness between the spiritual (church) and physical (family) realms. To the husband-wife relationship God gave certain fixed laws and mutual obligations. These are de fined: "Male and female created he them ... Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth ... Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Genesis 1:27 2:25.) To Christ and the church, too, God gave fixed laws and mutual obligations. This article will encompass all that the church is to do. Namely, to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 12:1; 2 Cor. 11:8), which includes teaching the church and building it up (Romans 1:15); and, to do certain limited benevolent work. The preaching was done (1) By the apostles and then others in Jerusalem, according to Acts 2, et cetera; (2) By Christians dispersed from home, for they went everywhere preaching the word, Acts 8:4; (3) By a preacher being helped by an established congregation, which supported him, sent to HIM as did Philippi, Philippians 4; (4) By several congregation sending directly to the man at some distant place, a "churches" supported Paul according to II Cor. 11:8. In no case did the church surrender its work or a part of i to (1) another church, which might do the "sponsoring" or (2) an outside agency like the missionary society

The above occasions might, then, be used to edify the saints or preach to the alien. In benevolence, (1) the church, when necessity arose, appointed men to serve the destitute of the local church, receiving necessary funds from Christians; (2) when the needs within the church exceed the ability of the members to give, that church exercised its ability and right to call upon other churches for help. These facts are set forth in Acts 2 - 6; Acts 11:27-30; Romans 15:25-27; 1 Corinthians 16:1,2; 2 Corinthians 8, 9. That the church not only was able, but did, relieve the needs of the brethren without "building and maintaining homes, such as Boles Home, Tipton Home, Gunter Home for the Aged, and other such homes among us," is evident to any person recognizing and respecting the silence of the scriptures.

With apologies to Guy N. Woods, the "best argument in 25 years and 100 debates" in favor of institutions set up by brethren to be supported by churches is, "It's a good work." From the analogy of Eph. 5, we learn that God formed both families along the same lines. God found in woman the completeness of man (Genesis 2:18), and in the church the completeness of Christ (Eph. 1:22, 23). Having opened the side of man and formed woman, God commanded them to multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28); and when the side of Christ was opened and the church was purchased, the same spiritual charge was given to the church. (John 3:5; Matthew 28:19.) In the physical, God gave emotions for a purpose. But these emotions can be dangerous when they are unrestrained. The woman, the bride of man, may through emotions unregulated have illicit relations with another than her husband and fruit may be born from that act of fornication. The fruit which results may resemble the mother, possessing all her strength and beauty, but not be the child of the husband, having been born of an illegitimate act. People might point with pride to the child as being according to God's law of reproduction and marvel at the strong resemblance to the mother, but this would not make it the child of the husband. The church, too, has emotions that are given for a purpose. We are taught to love the souls of men and to care for the needy. But many have unleashed the emotion, and this has resulted in bearing children out of wed-lock with the husband, Christ. We may point with pride to the "Herald of Truth" missionary society and the "good" it does or to the Benevolent Societies among us and the "good work" they do, how they resemble the Bride of Christ and talk about passages that discuss relieving the needy, and still not prove the right of the church to "give birth" to them. Since the seed of the kingdom is the Word of God, all "fruit" must spring from the teachings of the Bible. Since no "seed" has been produced from God's word to justify these human organizations in benevolence or evangelism and edification, we can but consider them as having been born outside the marital relationship of Christ and the church. When we, the church, allow emotionalism to have the upper hand, we cannot hope to keep ourselves pure.

Every demand of God as respects the family relationship can be met within the framework of the family. Every demand of God as respects the church can be met within the framework of the local church. If not, why not?