Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 8, 1958
NUMBER 2, PAGE 1,12b

Lanier Answers Woods -- II.

Roy H. Lanier

5. After representing me as holding a position which I do not hold, treated under No. 3, on page 246, GA 1957, you say, "Brother Lanier will insist, in answer to this, that the colleges and publishing houses are not in the same category with the orphan homes, because these receive contributions from churches; whereas, the colleges and publishing houses receive their support from individuals." How did you know that is what I will say? Is it because Sommer and Ketcherside have said such things? and you think I have sold out to them so completely that I will parrot them in my answer to you? Now Bro. Woods, if you had wanted to be absolutely fair with me as one whom you have loved and respected through so many years, do you think you would have put words in my mouth which you knew you could easily answer instead of seeing what I would say and then trying to answer my words? But as usual when one man puts words into the mouth of another, your statement is positively and wholly false; I would not make such statement in answer to your argument. You are exactly right when you say in the following statement, "If he is right in his affirmation, it makes no difference how the organization is supported, it has no right to exist." Don't you think I have sufficient mental ability to know the consequences of my position? Sure, the logical conclusion from my position is that organizations outside of the framework of the local church which are doing work which the Lord intends for his church to do have no right to exist. You make the same conclusion when you state, "Were the church a child-care agency, the orphan homes would be equally unnecessary and sinful." (p. 247) You are saying that the orphan homes under boards would be as sinful as the missionary society. I would not go so far as that. I do not believe they would be as sinful as the UCMS, but I do say they have no right to exist. But more of this later.

6. In GA, 1957, p. 247, you say, "Lanier argues that there is a parallel between the missionary society, and the orphan homes managed by boards of Christian men." Now, again, Bro. Woods, you admit you never heard me say anything on this subject; all you know of what I believe on this subject you got from my series in FF. Where in that series did I say the two are parallel? If you cannot find in that series where I said the two are parallel, you are guilty of a false statement and an unfair accusation. I never have believed, I do not now believe, the two are parallel. I have re-read my series to see where you might have picked up the statement; I did not find anything which even remotely resembles such a statement. One of these three things must follow: 1. You do not know the meaning of the word parallel; or 2. You do not know my position; or, 3. You have willfully misrepresented me. For the present I rule out No. 3 on the ground that it is impossible for a man who has been so free with his statements of love and appreciation as you have been in the past to turn so quickly to the opposite, and on the ground that I believe you are a Christian. To tell you the truth I suspect you are guilty of a little of both Nos. 1 & 2. This word parallel has been handled around by a lot of people who either do not know or do not care what it means. Webster says it means, `Conformity in many particulars or in all essential points . . . Anything equal to or resembling another in all essentially particulars." I have never believed, nor do I now, that the orphan homes under boards conform to the missionary society in all, or many, essential points. I simply believe they are alike in one point — they are both human organizations outside the framework of the local congregation having as their sole purpose of existence the doing of work which the Lord expects his church to do. In York, Highways 81 and 34 cross, yet they use the same street for a short distance of two or three blocks. But the fact that they use the same street for this short distance does not mean that they are parallel and no one ever thinks of them as being parallel since their general directions are opposite. So orphan homes under hoards and missionary societies have one thing in common, but that one thing does not justify us in saying they are parallel.

Now, on the basis that I say the two organizations are parallel, you have drawn several conclusions, on p. 247 of April 18, to my disadvantage and embarrassment. If I believed them parallel, I would deserve the treatment; but I do not believe them parallel and so do not deserve to suffer the embarrassment. I am not complaining; I am not suffering personally under the misrepresentations, but I am afraid the church of our Lord will suffer. I am satisfied that my influence has suffered terribly in the East, but that is not going to hurt me personally. But it could hurt the church. And whatever harm comes from this destruction of my influence will be caused by your unnecessary misrepresentation of my position.

7. The seventh misrepresentation is more excusable than the others. I made a loose statement and you took advantage of it and really poured it on me. That is legitimate in debate and I had it coming. However, I think if you had been prayerfully desirous of knowing my position and of replying to it, you would with an ounce of charity have spared your readers of a false idea of what I believe. In GA, 1957, p. 227, you quote my statement, "The work being done, caring for the needy, is a church work." The statement "caring for the needy" is too general and includes a lot more than the matter under discussion. In the context of this statement, one paragraph before and one after, I used the statement "care of aged and orphans" five times and "caring for the needy" occurs only twice, including the one under fire. And the expression "taking care of orphans" occurs once, making six times as compared to two for the unhappy statement. Since I used the statement "caring for aged and orphans" a total of six times, but "caring for the needy" only twice, should you not have concluded that I meant aged and orphans who have no one but the church to look to when I used the expression "caring for the needy" But if I ever expected you to deal charitable with my statements, my mind has been thoroughly disabused of the idea. But I am not asking for charity; I made a loose statement, got a whipping for it and will try to profit by the experience.

But while we are on the point, let me tell you what I do believe. The church is not obligated to take care of all aged and orphans. There are some in these classes who either have financial ability to care for themselves, or have relatives who will accept the responsibility, as you so clearly point out in the teaching on I Timothy 5:16. Christian men may bound [bind] themselves together to form corporations for the care of those people and receive pay for services rendered. But the "aged and orphans" which I had in mind in my series are those who have neither the finance nor relatives who are able or willing to care for them. It is this class of people Paul says the church is to be burdened with. It is the care of this class which is the work of the church, which work is to be under the oversight of the church. Certainly I know that children are to be under the oversight of their parents, regardless of how extreme may be their poverty; but they are not orphans and should not rightly be brought into this discussion. Your conclusion that I must give up my whole position or admit that the church cannot help a needy family unless the elders supplant the parents and become overseers of the home has no foundation when you give the statement "caring for the needy" the interpretation which the context demands, as well as common sense. But if you had given that expression the interpretation which the context demands you would not have had anything to write about in your first article.

(To be continued)