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

Orphan Homes And How They Should Be Conducted

A. O. Colley

(Editor's Note: In the Gospel Advocate, September 27, 1934, Brother John T. Hinds had an article entitled "Orphan Homes," in which he argued that, "As it now appears, papers, schools, and orphan homes stand or fall together.' Brother A. O. Colley took issue with the article in the G. A. of May 28, 1936. Brother Hinds attached a note, repeating his former contention. To which Brother Colley replied in the Firm Foundation of July 14, 1936. Here is Colley's reply.)

Brother John T. Hinds and I have exchanged a few things in correspondence in the Gospel Advocate, of which he is editor, on the above question. I have no desire to "route some one" or to bring trouble to any one. For that reason I will offer but little reply to what Brother Hinds had to say in his last reply. I hope he will bear in mind, and also our readers, that we are not talking about what individuals can do in preaching the gospel or in caring for orphans. But my part of the correspondence is directed to "organization" for either purpose. I do not directly accuse him of switching the issue, but it seems that he did so whether purposely or accidentally.

I offer the above upon the grounds that he tried to show three ways of preaching the gospel, namely, by the press in papers, in a book written for the purpose, and by word of mouth. Now, plainly, Brother Hinds, Do you believe the Lord has three organizations to preach the gospel? If so, to my way of thinking, you belong on what they please to call the "Liberal Side" or the Christian Church side of the missionary contention. I do not believe that about Brother Hinds. But the idea of organizing anything larger or smaller than a congregation through which to do anything the Lord wants done drives him or anyone else to that position.

Brother Hinds and others who are trying to pattern after him in this "organization" craze that is hitting the church tries to show that the "Christian Schools" are organizations like orphan homes, also the papers published by the brethren like the Firm Foundation and the Gospel Advocate, and other papers of like purpose and nature. They are not alike. Have never been. One is for the purpose of "Pure and undefiled religion," and the other, both schools and papers, are competitive organizations, competing with other schools and papers of like nature and purpose. They charge tuition, pay their teachers and editors from the income of the institutions. No such thing is even thought of in the care of orphans and dependents. They are not competing with anyone else, no income except through the generosity of those who want to practice "pure and undefiled religion." If they could be shown to be the same, then we have no right, as members of the church, to advocate either. For there is no organization, small or great, known to the New Testament, to carry forward the Lord's work, that is larger or smaller than a congregation.

An orphan home, with its board distributed over a given territory, or a Church School or a Sunday School that is not directly supervised by a New Testament church, with its bishops, is an unscriptural organization and the quicker the brethren come out in the open and refuse to cooperate with such unscriptural organizations, the quicker we will drive from our ranks designing men who, whenthey fail, or are accused in one place, rush to another and start something else and ask for support, claiming it to be the Lord's work. Brethren, there is no use in trying to apologize for such conduct as that. Any man who does not hold undisputed membership in a local congregation has no right to call for support from "the brotherhood at large" for anything he may start.

I am ready to discuss this with any fair-minded man in the brotherhood. We are either right on the mission question that we have practically fought out and won the fight until our digressive brethren will not even meet us on the issue of their right to "organize something," or we are wrong. If right, I am willing to die by the guns we have used successfully on them. If wrong, I am ready to yield to them. I am also willing to try these guns on some of these "organizers" in our own ranks.

I have been told that we helped organize an Orphan Home and that I should now try to defend it. Those who refer to it in this way do not understand all about how that home (Boles Orphan Home) was started. It was organized under a congregation. The money that went into it (at least, three of the buildings), was asked for, with that in the deed. That was one of the specific requirements. It was later changed. The ones in charge of it then said, as an emergency, to a distributive board. That emergency no longer exists. I insist that it be put back, as it was, under the first deed, before men created "emergencies" to change the deed and then the organization. As it now exists it is like all other unscriptural organizations. It is a worthy cause; but not a scriptural one. I believe it can be; should be; and will be fixed as it once was.