Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 22, 1953

"Home Breakers"

Charles A. Holt, Jr., Mt. Pleasant, Texas

The above is the caption used for an article written by Brother Gayle Oler, who is "Superintendent of Boles Home." The article appeared in the November 4 issue of the Firm Foundation. The article is an appeal to emotion and prejudice in an effort to justify the work of Boles Home, which according to Brother Oler, is "big business for Christ." There is no effort on the part of the superintendent to show that the scriptures authorize the establishment and maintenance of such an institution for supporting orphan children. The superintendent has long since quit trying to find scriptural authority for his "big business." Most people have never been made to realize that such authority cannot be given, and in many cases they do not even deem such authority necessary. To them the matter of whether it is scriptural or not is of little consequence and they go right on supporting such institutions without ever stopping to investigate their right to exist and whether the Lord approves such arrangements. Hence, these people have missed the whole issue involved in our recent discussions about orphan homes. They think it is just a big ado about nothing. The issue is not and has never been whether it is scriptural and right for us as congregations and as individuals to support orphans.

We all believe that this is right and that it is our duty. The question is: How should it be done? Is it scriptural to set up institutions, under a Board of Trustees, to do this work ? Can we, as individuals and as congregations, work through such arrangements to do such benevolent work? Can the church pay some institution to do her benevolent work for her? Can the church work through such human arrangements ? Is not the church sufficient within herself and her own organization to do all God requires of her? This is the issue! With many of us the matter of how it is done is of vital importance. There is no question but that the church should preach the gospel, but it is of vast importance HOW it is done — whether through the humanly arranged missionary society or by the congregations of the Lord's people as such. The missionary society is a humanly devised arrangement by which the church was to preach the gospel. The society is not the church and is something other than the church. Through the years we have opposed the society because it is contrary to the scriptures in its establishment, organization and maintenance. Yet the institutional orphan homes violate the same principles. Shall we oppose one and condone the other? If we can do our benevolent work through a humanly-devised institution, why can we not upon the same grounds preach the gospel through such an institution or organization? Where is the difference between the modern orphan homes among us, with their Board of Trustees, their charters, their superintendents, etc., which are imposing themselves upon the churches demanding that they be supported, and the missionary society as it was introduced into our ranks nearly a century ago ? Where, brethren, is the difference in the principles upon which they propose to exist and operate? In the main, the parallel between them is too plain to be denied. Can the "Superintendent" show us the difference?

There seems to be an attitude among us that we will do it anyway whether scriptural or not. They argue that caring for orphans is a good work and "we are busy doingit and do not have time to stop to argue about whether it is being done scripturally or not." Such disregard for the Divine Pattern is pathetic. The "Superintendent" along with all those who favor institutional arrangements for doing the work of the church and of individuals, have sought to cover up the real issue. All their appeals to our emotions, compassion and love for little children are for this purpose. They know that brethren are moved more by emotion than by reason. Not one of the ardent supporters of such homes has ever come forward with a real attempt to defend these homes as scriptural. Let one of them set forth his defense in the following fashion: "Boles Home is scriptural in its beginning, purpose, and arrangements because — ." An appeal to reason and scripture would be far more convincing than an appeal to our emotion, a few tear-jerking speeches and articles, or a long tirade and bitter accusations against those who raise objections to such arrangements. To prove that I am a modern pharisee; that I have no love for children; that I do absolutely nothing to help support orphans; that I am "utterly insensible toward the feelings and desires of such little fellows"; and that I am a "journalistic blatherskite" doesn't prove that Boles Home is scriptural and should be supported by Christians. When will brethren stop falling for such sentimental appeals and demand the real proof — scriptural proof — as to the justification for such homes? Brethren, stop and think.

Those who endorse and support such arrangements as Boles Home, especially the elders of various congregations throughout the country who are pouring money into the coffers of such institutions, should stop and really take stock of what is being done. Boles Home is not the church. It is a humanly-devised arrangement for caring for orphans, and has been foisted off on the church to support on the specious plea that "it is the church at work," and/or, a medium through which the church may do her work. This is the same old plea put forth by the supporters of the missionary society years ago. What we need is the scriptural proof that such is right.

In order to test this matter and see how much faith the "Superintendent of Boles Home" has in the scripturalness of his "big business for Christ," let me present him with the invitation to come forward in the defense of his position. We hereby issue a challenge to Brother Oler for a written debate on the scripturalness of Boles Home. He is the one to defend it since he heads the institution. Let him affirm a proposition such as the following: The establishment, organization, and maintenance of Boles Home is scriptural. Will he affirm this proposition ? If not, why not ? I await his reply. Brother Tant assures me that such a discussion would be welcomed in this paper. Such a discussion would do much good. The "pros and cons" of the matter could be fully presented and examined. A discussion of this type is long overdue. We await Brother Oleo's reply. Brethren, over the country, should encourage such a discussion. Urge the "Superintendent" to come out and meet the issue in this forthright way.

(To be continued)