Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 17, 1955

Are We Failing In Our Duty?

Paul Foutz, Fort Worth, Texas

I am sure all will admit we have as great a responsibility to the sick (Mt. 25:36-45) and the poor (Mt. 26:11; Gal. 2:10; Jas. 2:6, 15-16) as we do to the orphans and fatherless.

Since this is true what would be wrong, what scripture or "principle" would be violated, if the elders at Castleberry planned, assumed the work and oversight and eventually built a $10,000,000 brotherhood hospital. We would thus do a work for, and render a service to, the church — the brotherhood. We would put several elders and preachers on full-time support, soliciting the brotherhood for funds necessary to build this great hospital and medical center. Then, when all the facilities were ready for operation we would notify the brotherhood, "send us your sick and diseased, we are now open and ready to take care of them." After all our buildings and quarters were full we would then urge the brethren to "remember us when your budgets are prepared — send us regular and monthly contributions and, if possible, all of your fifth Sunday contribution, in order for us to maintain and carry on this ministry to the sick and infirm." We would tell the brethren, "send us YOUR money to enable us to carry on OUR work in looking after YOUR sick people." Then could we not sell the brotherhood on the fact we were planning and wanted to build a $10,000,000 poor house and relief center to provide care and material assistance for the unfortunate of earth? By sending our preachers and elders to speak before various congregations and having fund-raising rallies we might eventually raise the necessary amount. After this great institution had been built to help the poor we would again notify the brethren that we were now ready to render them a service of caring for their poor. When our facilities were full we would then call upon the brotherhood to send us their money and pool their finances into our treasury that under the oversight of OUR elders we might carry on OUR work in caring for THEIR poor and needy people.

Now the questions I have in mind are these: Could this be done? If not, why? What would prohibit it? What scripture or "principle" would not allow it? What would make it wrong and a departure from the New Testament pattern of things? And above all, WHAT WOULD MAKE THIS WRONG AND PROHIBIT THE CASTLEBERRY CONGREGATION AND ITS ELDERS FROM DOING THIS BUT WOULD ALLOW THE FOLLOWING:

One congregation plans and decides to build and put in operation an orphan's home, or a children's home, for the benefit of the CHURCH — the brotherhood — or the West Texas area such as the South Plains. By soliciting the help of many churches, money is obtained and spent by this one congregation in building various buildings, cottages, and units which will serve as the quarters to care for such children. When the proper number of buildings have been built and are available the brotherhood is then notified that the home is open for children and for the churches to send to this one congregation and one eldership the children for which they might desire a home and proper care. Soon it is announced that the home is filled and no more children can be received from the churches until the churches see to it that more buildings and facilities are provided. Then letters are mailed to and personal contacts are made with many congregationssoliciting their regular and liberal support in order to maintain this West Texas or brotherhood home. Churches are asked to put the home in the budget, send regular monthly offerings and give them the fifth Sunday contribution. It is still a matter of "Send us YOUR money to enable us to carry on OUR work, under OUR eldership, in doing YOUR work and looking after YOUR orphans.

Are we inconsistent or am I just wrong in this matter? Will someone explain why we could not do, under one eldership and through one congregation, the brotherhood works I have suggested in the first two instances, but the last example (which IS being done) is not only right and scriptural but should not even be called in question?