Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 15, 1957
NUMBER 15, PAGE 8-9a

"Keep Them Distinct"

H. H. F., Lexington, Kentucky

Brother G.N.W. writing under the above title in the G. A. gives us some instructions on the "basic and fundamental principle, separation of church and state". G.N.W. further says, "it now appears that some brethren need to learn the equally important lesson of the difference between the church and the home!" I am unable to say why G.N.W. missed the point, but miss the point he did! No, No, G., I don't need to learn the difference between the church and the home. Brethren F. B. Srygley, J. Petty Ezell and others taught me that thirty years or more ago and they, along with my father and mother, taught me the difference between the home (family) and the house in which the family was sheltered and cared for. When my mother died, thus breaking the home, I knew, although I was only eleven years old, that our family could not be restored by the church. 0 yes, I knew that if my father had been taken, at that time the Grant street church in Decatur, Alabama would have supplied the money for Aunt Bobbie to buy food, clothing and shelter for us, and if Aunt Bobbie hadn't been there, then the church could have paid someone to care for us, but none of this would have restored my home. The church, moving in its congregational capacity could have provided the necessary things just as the Lord ordained, but it would not have thereby become a home, nor would it have created another institution through which to perform its mission. That the church can care for its needy without becoming another institution (a home) R.H.F. does most "solemnly affirm".

The point which G.N.W. missed is the distinction between the organization and the means employed by the organization. You, "not us, are guilty of denying the all-sufficiency of God's divine institution". The fact that God assigned to the church a work of benevolence teaches me that that divine institution is sufficient to perform what God ordained that it perform. Our faith in the Lord's provisions is of such a nature as to support us in contending for the divine pattern in the face of all the "frenzied" and contradictory efforts of the advocates of human organizations.

Now about the "total situation" argument which R.D. and T.W. cooked up and which G.N.W. said was the best he had heard in over one hundred debates. (After F.Y.T. and W.C.P. got through with it, it didn't look so good to G.N.W. and others.) The "total situation" argument is brother G.N.W.'s by adoption, hence, I requested that G.N.W. consider his "restoration" of a divine institution in relation to his "total situation" argument. Both these arguments are drawn from the realm of the wisdom of the world. My point was that the will of God, with reference to things in the realm of faith, is not to be learned through human reason. We must have a thus saith the Lord in precept or approved example for everything in the realm of faith. Brother G.N.W. is committed to the proposition that a "total situation is scriptural if all its component parts are scriptural". Now I simply asked G.N.W. to list the scriptural component parts of the divine institution the home (family), and then point out these parts in his version of the restored institution, the orphan home. This brother G.N.W. failed to do. This "total situation" argument is based on the mathematical axiom that "a whole is equal to the sum of all its parts". Now brother G.N.W. knows that if he lists the parts of the divine institution, the home (family) he will ruin his "restoration" argument, because he will be unable to find all the parts of the divine institution in his "restored" version. An "orphan home" is not a divine institution.

It is much easier to imply that those who disagree with you have "stultifyied their conscience"; that they think the way they think because of "the tragic effect of hobbyism on the mind", than it is to answer pertinent questions. But I am still of the conviction that the line of least resistance is not the best line. Brother G., you had best leave the matter of judgment to the Lord. He, not you, knows my heart. Rather than delivering judgments, why not just tell us what the parts of the divine institution (family) are — list them for us? If some of these parts are lacking in your restored "version", how can you claim that you have the whole? How can you have the sum of all the parts, when some of the parts are lacking? If this is too much of a puzzle for you to work out, then why not just toss the thing back to the mathematicians and resume your proper role of gospel preacher? As a gospel preacher, you are completely furnished unto every good work in the scriptures. The scriptures teach us that the church is to care ("be burdened") for certain needy ones. There is not the slightest intimation anywhere in the scriptures that the church is not the church when it is engaged in its divinely designed mission. The same thing that makes the church God's missionary society, also makes the church his benevolent society. When God charged the church with the responsibility of evangelism, that excluded any other society or organization for that mission. Will you deny that? When God charged the church with certain benevolent responsibilities that excluded any other society or organization for that mission. Upon what basis can you affirm the first and deny the second?

Brother G.N.W. crashes head on into his mathematical axiom with some more asertions. He writes, "An essential and integral element of the apostolic church was the exercise of spiritual gifts and inspiration". But Paul wrote, "Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away". (I Cor. 13:810) G.N.W. is trying to hold to these three propositions:

1 — A whole is equal to the sum of all its parts. (Mathematical axiom)

2 — "An essential and integral element of the apostolic church was the exercise of spiritual gifts and the power of inspiration" (G.N.W.).

3 — "Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away" (Scripture).

Now which will G.N.W. give up? You can't hold all three propositions, unless you can show how "an essential and integral element" can be dispensed with and the perfect (whole) still exist.

Here is the way it is, brother G.N.W.: The Holy Spirit's work of revelation and confirmation has never been destroyed, hence needs no restoration, but men's reliance upon the divine pattern of salvation, church organization and function had been destroyed. They needed to be called back to the Bible. That is what I have understood all these years as the meaning of the "restoration plea".

Brother R. L., editor of the F.F., has this to say, "an eldership supervising the work of caring for orphan children is not trying to "restore" anything. A home is broken when children become orphans. It was broken by death and it cannot be restored by anything short of a resurrection from the dead. It's a task beyond human possibility to restore what death has torn asunder.

When a congregation takes upon itself the responsibility for the care of a family of such children, it simply commits itself to supply the things needful to keep privation from resulting from the broken home. The task is benevolence — not restoration. The Holy Spirit through James called it the practice of "pure and undefiled religion".

What is this divine institution which we refer to as the home or family? We need to keep constantly in mind the difference between the family and the place where the family is sheltered, fed, and cared for. The house where the family dwells is n6 more the family than the house where the church meets is the church. The family is the divine institution. Now let us go to the word of the Lord and see where the Lord ordained the family and what is involved in the divine institution the family. We prove that the family is a divine institution by citing the passages where God ordained marriage and expressed the design of marriage. Read Gen. 2:18-25 for the full account. But notice here v. 22-24 "And the rib, which Jehovah God had taken from the man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And the man said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Marriage is the divine relationship, ordained of God. This relationship was designed for the propagation and happiness of the human race. "And God blessed them: and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth". (Gen. 1:28) This divine institution can be broken by death or by separation. If it be broken by death, another home can be brought into existence (I Cor. 7:39) but the former home cannot be restored. If it is broken by separation, the home can be restored by reconciliation, but not by the parties taking other companions. (I Cor. 7:10, 11) This is the only sense that we can conceive of the divine institution being restored.

Thank you, G.N.W., for referring to us as "good" and "intelligent brethren". Shame on you for your prejudicial appeal in the words "tragic effect of hobbyism on the mind" and implication that we had stultified our written, valuable book.