Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 23, 1953
NUMBER 50, PAGE 4-5b

Oler-Holt Discussion


We would like for our readers to give special study this week to the articles by Brother Gayle Oler and Brother Charles A. Holt, Jr. When Brother Holt wrote on the "institutional orphan home" problem back in January, Brother Oler wanted to respond to the article, but was hesitant to do so for fear he might not get fair treatment in the Guardian. We wrote him immediately assuring him that we would be happy to give space to him, as much as he wanted; and that what he wrote would be published exactly as he wrote it, with no changes, deletions, or modifications whatsoever. Keeping with the set policy of this paper to present BOTH SIDES of these controversial questions, we were very desirous that he write. His present article was sent to us a few weeks later.

Brother Oler, perhaps more than any other among us, has been most active in promoting, defending, and enlarging the "institutional" orphan home work among the churches. He is thoroughly convinced that Boles Home is scriptural in her organization and operation, and that the care she provides children is the very best available to them. He is surely the logical one to write in defense of this work.

Brother Charles A. Holt, Jr., on the other hand, is probably as well qualified as anyone to write from the other angle. He is rearing three orphan children in his own home, whom he adopted from various state and denominational institutions, after being refused children by the homes supported by our brethren. He has made a prolonged and careful study of the whole "institutional" problem, and is thoroughly convinced that the institutional orphan home is a violation of certain scriptural principles, and that the institutional care given children is far inferior to the care and training that the children would receive if they were placed in good Christian homes. He feels deeply that such care as the children get in even the best institution is not comparable to a Christian home, and that it is unfair to the children to rear them in these environments when there are more than enough Christian homes among us eager to take these unfortunate ones and provide for them.

Meanwhile, let all of us remember that this problem will not be resolved over night. The institutional home has been fifty years in developing, and there are problems connected with it that call for careful and systematic study — not for rash judgments and hasty conclusions. There is certainly much connected with the operation of such a home that those on the outside do not know, and can hardly be expected to understand or appreciate on only superficial information. There are problems that do not appear to the casual observer. All of us will be indebted to brethren Oler and Holt for a careful, brotherly discussion of the various phases of the question. And we will pray that the study may develop along such lines as to bring full accord on this troublesome matter. Those of us who are concerned for the purity of New Testament teaching, as well as for the welfare and care of helpless, dependent and defenseless children, will not make any move or statement carelessly or thoughtlessly. We will seek first of all to be careful for the New Testament teaching on the subject, and let other considerations come after that. For if we follow New Testament principles, we know that that will be the best way (regardless of how good other ways may be) for the children. We have found the article by Brother Howard Justiss (also in this issue) intensely interesting. What do YOU think?

— F. Y. T.

From Germany

We think it still needful to urge once again that help be sent to brethren Smith and Watson in Karlsruhe, Germany. Several churches and individuals can come to their aid to meet the immediate emergency brought about by their support being discontinued by the American congregations which had "sponsored" them. If they can secure funds to tide them over for a few months, we believe it will be possible for them to work out arrangements for permanent support from other churches here in the States. Some churches and individuals have already responded to this appeal; but more is needed. Will you help?

The latest word we had from Brother Smith was to the effect that his situation was getting rather desperate. He was unable to hear from his "sponsoring" church; his pay check was long over-due; and it was beginning to appear that he might have to sell his furniture and even his personal effects to raise money to pay his grocery bills, or for travel funds to return to the States. We have written him that we feel certain this is an unfortunate and temporary situation, and that his check from his "sponsoring" church has only been delayed — not refused.

For, after all, that check is for work he has already done. We can hardly conceive a church (even a "sponsoring" church) refusing to honor so obviously honest an obligation. We would surmise he has already received the pay check by this time.

But those of us who are here in the States probably cannot understand the feeling of one in a foreign land, thousands of miles from home and kindred, who has been compelled for conscience' sake to take a stand, and then finds himself stranded and without help or succor, cut off from his support back home, and under pressure from both American backers and his fellow-workers (American) in Germany. It is a situation that calls for strength, courage, and an earnest and prayerful dependence on God. And it should elicit the sympathetic help of all who are concerned for the future of the church in Germany.

If you want to help immediately, pending arrangements for permanent support to these brethren, you may address them as follows:

R. E. SMITH MAX WATSON Vorholzstrasse 36 Augartenstrasse 69 Karlsruhe, Germany Karlsruhe, Germany

— F. Y. T.