Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 28, 1960

Brother Guy N. Woods On Orphan Homes

Judson Woodbridge, Mulvane, Kansas

Sunday afternoon October 18 at the Emporia and Lincoln church building in Wichita, Kansas brother Woods on the orphan home subject. His speech was of thirty minutes duration and then he permitted thirty minutes of questions from the audience. His speech was direct and to the point and so were his answers to the questions.

He began by telling us the church was sufficient and complete, and the Bible was our only authority. He then emphasized that the church had a work to do in benevolence using Jas. 1:27 and I Tim. 5 to prove this obligation; but the method the church used was not in the New Testament — therefore, this was a matter of expediency. In the case of orphans the natural home was destroyed and a legal home was to replace it. When this was done the church could contribute to this legal home as it had done to the natural home when the natural home was in need. His contention was that the church could not feed the baby, clothe the baby, play with the baby, nor oversee the baby. (He did not use these terms, but this was the point he made.) This was a business separate and apart from the church and he used Acts 6 and Gal. 4:1,2 to prove this contention. Said he, These men of Acts six were put over a "business", which meant it was something apart from the church. In other words these seven men of this chapter who were selected by the church did not do the work for the church; but organized themselves into a company and did this work of feeding the widows independent of the church. 0, yes, the church paid the bill, and they had been selected by the church, but these men could not act as servants of the church. This point was made plain when he was asked about the elders directing Maude Carpenter's Children's Home. He would favor the home for it stated in the Home Journal, "Supervised and directed by Elders of Riverside Church of Christ" They were not doing this as elders, but independently of their duties as elders, just as they were heads of their families independently of their work as elders. Yet, he would not allow this to be classified as separate organization between the church and the home. He said an idea was a "figment of imagination."

As Bro. Woods talked the following are some thoughts which came to my mind. The church is obligated to do something; yet the elders and deacons cannot do this work as elders and deacons; but these elders and deacons must organize themselves into an organization which can be incorporated to do a work for the church. But if this is spoken of as being between the church and the work that is a "figment of imagination". These men, who are so organized and who have been appointed by the church, are to supervise and direct a business which the church is obligated to do, which supervision included begging money from the churches at large for a brotherhood home; and this corporate body will hire the nurses to care for the children. These men as elders cannot hire nurses, but these men as a corporate body can; but don't say that there is something between the church and the work, for that would be a "figment of imagination."

Bro. Woods was asked about the plans the brethren had for caring for children who opposed his plan and he answered by saying there was no agreement among them as to how to do it. At this point I wondered if the Lord had a plan, and for the life of me I could not recall anything in the New Testament that was a 42nd cousin to what Bro. Woods had presented; no, not in the sixth chapter of Acts.

Then, I thought of things the church would need in carrying out the command to worship; such as, a house to meet in, light and heat for the building, song books from which to sing, etc. If the church must provide for the needy by organizing it's elders and deacons into a benevolent corporate body to build a home and hire and fire the help; then it should do the same in providing these other expediencies. The elders as elders couldn't hire a carpenter, but these same men can forget about their work as elders, organize a company, and then they can hire the carpenter to build the meeting house. They would then have the right to appeal to all the churches to place this organization in the budget and they would hire the carpenters to build the meeting houses for all the churches. This organization wouldn't want to destroy the autonomy of the local congregation, so it would not come in and hire the carpenters to build the house for the church at Podunk unless the elders of Podunk agreed. But if the elders agreed there would be no autonomy destroyed, and if someone suggested that it was, there would be something wrong with that person's imagination.

Now I am sure Bro. Woods knows that all of us believe in the church hiring work to be done and believe in paying for a service. We pay for electricity and gas, we hire a carpenter or constructing company to build a house, and we buy books from a printing concern. Yes, the elders as elders can see that these services and needs are supplied. All of this comes within the realm of their work in overseeing and feeding the flock. The elders can also hire or appoint men and women to feed the hungry, buy the groceries, treat the sick, administer the medicine, shelter the orphan (yes, play with them or spank them when needed) and provide a hospital room. They can do all of this without walking out of their position as elders and walking into a board. They can do all of this without putting the church in the farming business, grocery business, drug store business, doctoring business spanking business, and hospital business. They are hiring services which are necessary in carrying on the work of the Lord. They hire these services to meet their own needs and not the needs of many congregations. If some congregation is unable to hire such services for it's own needs then let the other congregations send support to the elders of that needy congregation so it can hire such services.

Bro. Woods is a good speaker, but as I told him I certainly couldn't agree with his position.

I suggest you get the Cogdill-Woods Debate and read it. This was the position Bro. Woods took with Bro. Cogdill and which was thoroughly exposed by Cogdill.