Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 25, 1951

Brother Walker's "Parallels"

Robert C. Welch, Florence, Alabama

(Editor's Note: The editor's long-time friend and former room-mate at David Lipscomb College, D. Ellis Walker, has made the same mistake that we pointed out three weeks ago in brother Ira Douthitt's article—he has assumed that a secular college and the care of orphan children are both "works of the church." Because we pointed out the "deadly parallel" between an institutional orphan home and a missionary society in the two particulars of (1) organization and (2) purpose, brother Walker has tried to force us into saying they are parallel in ALL points. We think brother Welch's letter will point out the things to be kept in mind in this study. Incidentally, we commend brother Walker for writing on this matter. Even though he misapprehends our position, he is thinking on the subject. And it is only by earnest and careful study, together with full, free, and unhampered discussion, that we can hope to work out these problems.)

Dear Yater:

I have just read "The Absolute, Deadly and Undeniably Parallel" by D. Ellis Walker in the Gospel Advocate of September 20, 1951. He takes some things in which schools, orphan homes, and missionary societies are not parallel and accuses you of being forced to such conclusions as he has made. I am enclosing a little diagram to help in pointing out what is not included in your parallel, and to point out the "deadly" features of the parallel. Because things are not parallel in all respects does not deny the fact that they are parallel in others. You may use the letter and diagram in the Guardian if you like.

Individual Support SCHOOL Schools claiming to do church work, Human Institution to get church support, not included.

Cannot Support ORPHAN HOME (Tennessee or Childhaven) Human Institution Attempts work of churches; Solicits support from churches. Homes operated by a congregation not included (see proposition). Neither are "Homes" Included which make no claim on churches.

Cannot Support MISSIONARY SOCIETY Human Institution churches; solicits Attempts work of Governs churches it organizes as church support ' missions ; etc.

Brother Douthitt's proposition affirms that it is right for churches to contribute to schools, thus he would extend the school-line as far as the orphan home-line. He wants to make them parallel in doing work of the church and in receiving funds from the church. If he extends the rights of the school that far, he has made it also parallel with the missionary society that far. If it is wrong to have a human institution doing the work of the church in one respect it is also wrong to have another human institution doing other work of the church. Human institutions are not wrong of themselves, but they become wrong when they become connected to the church doing the work of the church.

Brother Walker's first set of parallels supposes that because you say individual support to the college is right that individual support to the orphan home like you named and to the missionary society is also right. The diagram will show why one is right whereas the others should be excluded. Also, you do not deny the right of existence and support of all orphan homes, you named a specific kind in your counter propositions.

His second parallel assumes that church support of missionary societies and schools would be right if they were integral parts of congregations, because such an orphan home would be right. If you are contending for a separate organization under the elders of a congregation he would be justified in such a conclusion. But the caring for orphans by a congregation, in a house with facilities which the congregation has provided, does not make a separate institution. He has taken your statement about the work done within a congregation and applied it to the parallel you used of a separate institution for orphans. The diagram points out this misapplication. Surely he knows the difference, for he quoted the two statements which specifically show the difference. Such mishandling of quotations looks vicious to me.

His last "parallel," trying to force upon you the position that individual support of schools is wrong because it is wrong in the case of the missionary society, does not take into consideration the fact that in some things the two are not parallel, whereas in others they are. The diagram points out that merely being a human institution is not all that is characteristic of the missionary society. The other features of it make it wrong for either the individual or the church to support it. It will apply to the orphan home or to the school if they also acquire these characteristics. The fact that it is merely a human institution does not prohibit individual support. The other characteristics determine the right of individual support in the case of any human institution. The scriptural right of the church to support any human institution is denied.

He says in the last sentence of his argument, "The 'absolute, deadly and undeniably parallel' may exist in their imagination, but it does not exist either in fact or in their conduct." Now if there is no parallel why did brother Walker spend two columns of precious Gospel Advocate space trying to make three sets of parallels in an attempt to refute your parallel? If his statement be true, it was nothing more than "pot calling kettle black." The tail he put on his kite is too heavy, it won't let it fly. He "downed" his argument with the last sentence.