Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 22, 1954
NUMBER 11, PAGE 13-14b

This And That

H. Osbv Weaver. Greenville. Texas

The above title is given to an article that appeared in the Firm Foundation of June 22nd written by Brother Batsell Baxter in regard to orphan homes. I think the article is well named. After reading it, I couldn't quite decide whether the author was for it or against it. I first thought he was in favor of "this," then I decided that it must be "that." He said there was a time when he "thought that any private home was the best place in the world for an orphan child." Obviously he no longer believes that. Later on he decides "that a good Christian home is the best place to rear a child," but there are not many of these available and even of this number that can qualify, they wouldn't have but one child and that arrangement would not allow the real parent or parents to reclaim the child if they were ever able and wanted to do so, therefore the orphan home is the best place after all. First it is "this," then it is "that" and back to "this" again. The writer of the article further said the orphan homes "bear an excellent reputation in both moral and religious training and in health care. So, while the private homes are begging for orphans, orphan homes are swamped with applications." In other words, private homes have such a poor reputation in regard to child care that no one wants to commit a child to one, while orphan homes have done such a splendid job that everybody wants to turn their children over to them. Surely such an implication was thoughtlessly made, and I believe the hundreds of Christian homes who desire children and the thousands who already have them will not appreciate Brother Baxter's inference.

Why is an orphan home so much better than a private home? What kind of personnel do the orphan homes have that are so superior in child care, and where did they obtain this "know-how" that private homes do not have? Some orphan homes that I know of maintain at least a partial staff of bachelors, old maids, widows, and elderly people who have not the physical Strength and, or ability to hold down a higher paying job, and this certainly is not meant as a reflection on the good people connected with the orphan homes who have dedicated themselves to service in what they believe to be a good cause. But who believes that an old maid or an elderly widow can take twenty children and do a better job of rearing them than a young mother can in caring for three of her own? Just what is it that makes the orphan home superior in child care? Brother Gayle Oler, an expert in orphan home management, will not agree with Brother Baxter on this. In a recent letter to me with reference to some children in Boles Home Brother Oler said, "I doubt very much if these children will ever have the kind of home that God originally intended that they have until they are married and establish their own families." They were in Boles Home at the time, therefore it follows that Boles Home is not the kind of home that God intended that children have according to Brother Oler, and I believe he is right about it notwithstanding, Brother Baxter to the contrary.

Now if Brother Baxter has finally settled on the orphan home as the best place to rear orphan children, what caused him to adopt the position? "There was a time when he thought any private home was the best place in the world for an orphan child." Even though Brother Baxter will be severely criticized by some of our brethren for changing his position, I commend him for making a change when he is convinced that his former position is wrong. Some brethren seemingly had rather be consistent than correct. However, I am a bit prone to stick my tongue in my cheek at the thing that Brother Baxter said caused him to change his position. Was it an argument on a Bible principle which he had not formerly considered? Was it something from the word of God? No, it wasn't that. It was a screaming, kicking child in a fit of temper. After seeing such a demonstration, he changed his position and decided that a child should not have parents to rear him, for after all he wouldn't have been acting that way if he hadn't had parents, so the children ought to be sent on to an orphan home. What a wonderful deduction! God's plan for rearing children turns out to be a flop and is vetoed by Brother Baxter in favor of a "superior plan." If Brother Baxter hid looked a little deeper, he would have seen beneath this fit of temper something a child needs that orphan homes cannot provide. We do not commend the child's conduct or his parents for allowing it, but underneath it all was the feeling in the child that some one cared especially for him, and he would get their consideration even if it required kicking and screaming. Does the orphan refrain from such antics because of superior training? Not at all. But because of the futility in his little heart that no one would pay him any attention, because no one cared particularly just for him.

Our brother further adds, "This writer is not questioning the wisdom of the brethren who object to Christians supporting orphan homes. These brethren themselves tell us they are both wise and scriptural in their course. If a man knows he is wise and scriptural, it would only raise a fog of dust to try to convince him that he is neither." I do not know to whom Brother Baxter has talked, but I know that I claim no wisdom for myself. However, I cannot be as charitable as our brother, for I very definitely question his wisdom in allowing a kicking, screaming child to determine for him his position with reference to such grave issues which threaten the Lord's church today, and I know it isn't scriptural for him to do so. The child could not raise a greater "fog of dust" by kicking the ground than our brother could raise with this kind of argument.

I am not sure what he had in mind when he said brethren object to "Christians supporting orphan homes." Individual Christians can support a number of things which the church as such cannot support. Of course an individual Christian cannot support anything that is wrong. The only reason that I object to a Christian supporting an orphan home, the kind I have in mind, is the relationship which the home has to the church. Let the orphan home cut itself loose from the church, and I know of no one who would object to Christians as individuals supporting it if all things else in connection with it were right. But as long as orphan homes remain in which churches pool their resources through which to do the work of the church or all the churches, whether they be under a board of directors chosen from the elders of several churches or elders chosen from one church, I shall oppose both churches and individual Christians supporting them, unless someone will produce the scriptural authority for their existence and operation, and I don't mind saying that I have changed my position. I formerly believed in them, and it wasn't a screaming child that changed me.