Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 30, 1951
NUMBER 17, PAGE 1,8b

More On Orphan Homes

G. K. Wallace, Wichita, Kansas

"Pure religion" includes visiting the widows and orphans. (Jas. 1:27) This visit is not just a social call. It includes providing for the widow and the orphan. Without such visitation there is no such thing as pure religion. It is well to note that God said widows and orphans. The way widows are cared for is the way orphans are to be cared for. God bound the care, and He loosed the how.

The care of the destitute widow is the responsibility of the church. Paul says that "It (the church) may relieve them that are widows indeed." (1 Tim. 5:16) There is a difference between a widow and a "widow indeed." The widow "indeed" is the widow who is unable to take care of herself and has no relations who can provide for her. "But if any widow hath children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety towards their own family, and to requite their parents, for this is acceptable in the sight of God. Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, hath her hope set on God, and continueth in supplication and praying night and day—But if any provideth not for his own household, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever." (1 Tim. 5:4-8) It is not right for a man to put his aged parents in an old folks home when he can provide for them. If he does, Paul says that he is worse than an infidel. It is not right for the church to take care of any one who can take care of himself. It is not right to relieve parents of their responsibility of providing for their children. That is a man's duty to his family. He ought to provide for his own—if he does not he is worse than an unbeliever.

However, in this land of ours there are often destitute (desolate) widows and orphans. For the destitute widow, Paul says, the church is to make provision. This is what James calls pure religion. An old folks home operated by the church should be careful to see that it complies with Paul's entrance requirements in 1 Tim. 5.

In the care of orphan children by the children's home in Wichita, Kansas, great care is exercised to see that only destitute children are admitted. Every orphan is an orphan by nature or by law. There are two ways a child may enter a family. One is by birth and the other is by adoption. There are two ways a child may become an orphan. One by death of parents and the other by a due process of law.

It is some times asked if there are children in homes operated by our brethren whose parents are living and who have been relieved of the responsibility of caring for their offspring? Certainly there are children in the home in Wichita, Kansas, whose parents are both living. There are three children, whose father left them and refused to provide for them. A father thus doing may be arrested and placed in jail but he can't earn anything in jail. When he gets out he will not provide for them. What is the court to do in such a case? The mother abandoned the children in an old house and the sheriff picked the children up and brought them into court. After due investigation the judge declared the parents to be unfit to be with the children and made the children wards of the court. Now what is the court to do with these children? You say, adopt them out. But that is not so easy. The law will not permit the judge to put a child up for adoption unless the parent is willing to give him this right. The parent objects and the judge is left with the children on his hands. He does have the right to place them in a home until they are of age. The above is a due process of law in certain cases. The court must handle every case in harmony with the law.

Too, it is asked, why don't these superintendents of the homes adopt these children out? Be it remembered that all adoptions are handled by the courts and not by Orphan Homes. No Orphan Home, at least none in Kansas, has the right to adopt children. All adoptions go through the court. If you must quarrel about adoptions, fuss at the judge and not the children's home. Then, too there is no need to fuss at the judge as he is under oath to uphold the law. Who made the law? You did when you voted. If you did not vote, you do not have a right to say anything. If you don't like the law, say so at the polls. When I served as superintendent of the Home in Wichita, Kansas, I did not want to be held in contempt of the court. I strictly obeyed the court order.

It is to be regretted that more children cannot be placed in good homes. Did God instruct the church to do so? If so where? Most states have laws that provide for "Boarding Homes," "Child Placement" and "Orphan Homes." So far as my knowledge is concerned, the church has only entered the work of permanent care of children.

In view of the teachings of the Bible maybe this is as it should be.

It is also asked about the annual cost per child in these homes. This question is hardly related to what the Bible teaches. If the Bible requires us, as it does, to have pure religion, we could not refuse, if the cost seemed a bit high. However, the cost of caring for a child in most Orphan Homes is less than the cost in a private home. Usually it takes a little over forty dollars per month per child to provide for them. That is better than most of us can do in our homes. However, this question is irrelevant.

Does a home have the right to force a child to live in it when there are homes in which they may be placed? The home receives and keeps the child in harmony with the law in the state in which the home operated. It would do some of us good to study the law relative to child care in the state where we live. What is the law in the state where you live? If you do not know, please go slow in criticizing the care of orphans in your state. Do you know the circumstances of admittance of each child in the orphan home? If not, please be careful. There may be some things that neither the judge nor the home cares to make public. What is the law for each circumstance of child placement in your state? An institution receives and keeps a child according to the law.

I sincerely wish that more churches would qualify for child care in their state. Get some good lawyer, preferably a Christian lawyer, to help you meet state requirements and then practice the "pure and undefiled religion" in your community. There are many fine churches that could rent or buy a piece of property and take care of ten or fifteen children. You can get a house to take care of the preacher and his children. Why can't you get a house to take care of a widow and an orphan? Hundreds of churches should be busy with this good work and then large institutions would not grow up over the land. Why not take care of the children in your community? Be sure and meet the requirements of the law. You can get into serious trouble if you do not.

I am thankful for the effort that is being made to care for widows and orphans. I do wish that brethren would not set up some organization that God did not authorize to do the work of the church. If it is the work of the church, let the church do it. If it is not the work of the church let the church stay out of it. The care of orphans and widows is the work of the church; so let the church do it. The church would do it too, if preachers would not get out and start an organization unknown to the Bible and beg churches to turn their work over to a human organization. There is no discussion today about the church supporting an orphan home out of the church treasury. The discussion is about the kind of a home being supported. If it is a work of the church being done by the church and under the direction of God's elders, no one objects to supporting it out of the treasury. If some organization has taken over the work of the church you cannot blame good elders for objecting. Let the church be the church.


Herbert Fraser, 1390 Lansing, Aurora, Colorado, Aug. 4: "I began work with the church meeting at 13th and Boston, Aurora, Colorado, July 22nd. One was baptized, one rt.-stored, and five transferred membership. Am anticipating an enjoyable work with this thriving congregation."