Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 14, 1951

Orphan Homes -- In Conclusion

A. M. Plyler, Jasper, Alabama

With this third article, we purpose to let the question of orphan homes rest for the time being, leaving others who are better prepared to have something to say with reference thereto. We have pointed out in a former article that the Church of the Lord is his divine institution and in it alone as an organization, can we honor and glorify him.

We can work as individual Christians, and work with other individuals, and even work together as an organization; but that organization must not be formed to supplant the church or to take over its work, and call for support from the church. It must not in any way mix, mingle, or become entangled with the church, and its work so as to hinder it in its God given mission. The church needs no other organization to act as an adjunct, or as an auxiliary, to aid it in its work.

In this article we want to notice some arguments that have been made in favor of these organized board-operated orphan homes. It has been said by those who seek to defend and advocate such organizations that "if we preach the gospel through the Christian College, (which is an organization, and does a work of the church) why cannot we have the orphan homes to take care of the orphans which is also a work of the church?' I think that is the nearest an argument that I have heard on the question. At least it looks more like an argument and the most plausible. True it that the primary mission of the church is to preach the gospel and save souls. Jesus said in the Great Commission, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.' So the mission of the church is to carry the gospel to all the world, save souls and teach them to observe the commandments of the Lord.

The mission of the Christian College is not to carry the gospel to the world; it does not function in that field. The mission of the Christian College is to educate; and its work is in the field of education. The work of education is the responsibility of parents. (Eph. 6:4) This is not the responsibility of the church; the burden of teaching and training children is in the hands of fathers and mothers. Those who teach the Bible in the Christian College do not act in the capacity of the church, but they act as individuals; in doing that work they are not operating under the Great Commission, but under the commission that Paul gave to Timothy. (2 Tim. 2:2) "The things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.'

Note-: Now the mission of the church is to make believers, 'baptize, save souls; the chief work of the Bible department of our Christian Colleges is not primarily to make believers, but it seeks to do what Paul told Timothy, an individual, to do—to commit to faithful men, men who are already believers and make them able to teach others The college operating in the field of education, teaches Language, Math, Rhetoric, and many other subjects that are necessary in the field of education; but the church cannot operate in this field; it has no God given mission to that end. Thus we can see that the church and the Christian College, operate in two different and distinct fields, one has one mission and the other another. Let the church then operate in its God given, God authorized, God planned work of saving the world. And let the college operate in its mission, its human planned and authorized work. Let neither of the two try to run the other's business. Nor make the other responsible for the work one tries to do.

Now the orphan home, what field of work does it have? What is its mission? Its mission and purpose is to take care of orphans. I ask is not that field already covered by the church? We have pointed out in other articles that it is the work of the church; and a work that we as individuals can engage in. The orphan home a human organization then proposes to take over and do the work that God planned that the church his divine organization should do. We make this distinction that we may see just where we stand. The college has a place: and it is legitimate, appropriate, and good, so long as it stays in its place. The orphan home has no place; of its own, it is a human organization that invades the Holy and God given field of God's divine organization the church. A human leach; a parasite; which has no place of its own but lives on the life of another. Brethren if that is not the truth, what is the truth? Let the church operate in its field, the college operate in its field, and every fellow attend to his own business and all will be well.

Another argument that we have heard put up to try to defend these homes is "That it is such a fine place for children to grow up in; the institution has so many advantages that cannot be had in a private home.' Now surely such reasoning would not be done by those who have either studied or had experience. The government statistics show the reverse of that to be true. The records show that regimentation in large groups as is common in these institutions is not the best for children. On this point we herewith quote from a book that lies before us (Infancy Without Families, published by the International University Press, New York, N. Y., authors, Anna Freud and Dorthy Burlingham): "It is recognized among workers in education and in child psychology that children who have spent their entire lives in institutions present a type of their own and differ in various respects from children who develop under the conditions of family life. Knowledge about the nature of these differences has been gained partly through individual observation where such institutional children have in later life turned anti-social criminal.' Next we quote from the Tennessee Public Welfare, record published by the Tennessee department of public welfare, Nashville, Tennessee: "What is it that these children need that all children need, black or white, yours or mine; regardless of all else? We have learned to say, as if by rote that children need love and affection. How loosely we use the words and how little we understand their expressions. How often we view an impoverished home or a broken parent and, seeing misery, resolve to remove the child and give him more. Yes a child needs love and affection, the love and affection of his parents; anything we offer must needs be a substitute. — The child needs to be a part of a family group. It is the natural thing, the accepted thing sharing in its joys, its stresses and strains. He belongs to it and it to him. He has a place; there is anxiety if he fails to come home or if he is ill. There is a give and a take between him and his parents, between him and his brothers and sisters. He does not always get first choice of things, but he has his time of first choice. He can talk to the kids at school about My Mother, My Father, My brother, My sister, My house. There is unity and strength and sureness and courage in belonging. Yes, a child needs to belong."

Other quotations could be given but this is sufficient: these statements coming from those who are in authority in their field and have a right to know, the things that they say are the truth. We have discussed these matters with both county and state welfare boards, and juvenile judges; they all state the same thing—that a good private home is the best place in the world for a child to grow up.

We submit these thoughts in the spirit of love and kindness; may God help us all to come to a better knowledge of His truth, and live closer to Him while we sojourn in the land of the living.