Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 19, 1956
NUMBER 49, PAGE 12-14a

"Show Us A Better Way To Do It" (Concluded)

Cecil B. Douthitt, Brownwood, Texas

Chapter IX.

In the work of caring for homeless children and old people, the centralized control proponents are divided into three distinct parties represented by three religious papers: Boles Home, Firm Foundation and Gospel Advocate.

Every group thinks all the others are wrong, and all who oppose their peculiar hobbies are falsely being accused of being "against helping little orphans." They cry out to one another and to all: "Show us a better way to do it." Each denies that the ways of the other are "a better way to do it," but not one of these three groups thinks that the Bible way is "a better way to do it."

1. The Boles Home News Theory.

The Boles Home News segment argues that churches should care for orphans by sending donations to benevolent societies governed by "a board scattered all over the country," and that are no "part of the organizational set up" of the church. Brother Gayle Oler, editor of Boles Home News, has registered in strong language his opposition to orphan homes as a part of the "organizational set up" of a church. In the Boles Home News of 'September 10, 1954, he said:

"But why should anyone deem it to be necessary or even to be desirable that any child-caring facility, public or private, to be a part of the organizational set up of the New Testament church when it is obvious that there was no such organizational set up in the New Testament."

In this and in several other numbers of Boles Home News he reveals clearly that he thinks that the "organizational set up" of Children's Home of Lubbock and all others that are under the control of an eldership are unscriptural and wrong. He said that these child-caring institutions, "whether public or private, must have no organic connection with the church." "Must" is a strong auxiliary. (See Boles Home News, Nov. 25, 1954.)

If Brother Oler and his party can see that it is unscriptural for churches to contribute from their treasuries to such an "organizational set up" as Children's Home of Lubbock, because "it is obvious that there was no such organizational set up in the New Testament," they ought to be able to see also that it is unscriptural for churches to contribute from their treasuries to such an "organizational set up" as Boles Home or the Red Cross or any other benevolent organization separate from the church; because it is obvious that there was no such organizational set up in the New Testament."

The New Testament says a great deal about the fatherless and widows, about collections for poor saints, and about how funds were raised, transported and delivered to the churches of which the poor were members (Acts 6:1-4; 11:27-30; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; and other passages); but neither Brother Oler nor any other member of his particular school of thought has ever had the audacity to claim that any verse of the Bible even remotely indicates that any New Testament church ever contributed one cent to any human benevolent society such as Boles Home. Therefore, no man can prove by the Bible that the Boles Home way of doing it is "a better way to do it."

Every objection that the Boles Home News party can present against churches' contributing to ecumenical charity projects like Children's Home of Lubbock, the Firm Foundation group can present against churches' contributing to benevolent societies like Boles Home.

2. The Firm Foundation Theory.

The Firm Foundation is controlled by men who belong to a group that holds a theory diametrically opposed to the way that the Boles Home News supporters argue is "a better way to do it" in the field of benevolence.

This segment thinks that churches should send contributions to a church that is sponsoring a brotherhood charity project, like Broadway in Lubbock, in which the child-caring institution is a part of the "organizational set up" of the church, and which the Boles Home News says is unscriptural and "must" not be.

Brother Reuel Lemmons, editor of the Firm Foundation, in a letter to Roy Cogdill, published in the Gospel Guardian of April 21, 1955, clearly stated his attitude toward the Oler and Boles Home News Theory of "organizational set up" in caring for homeless children. He said:

"If by an 'Institutional Orphans Home' you mean one with a board scattered all over the country, if you don't have as much trouble corralling your memory as you did your reasoning, you will remember that as a high school kid I was cutting my teeth on the issue you fellows are just now raising so much sand about while you were still hooking your thumbs under your bright red suspenders, pulling your tight legged britches high on your hips, setting your sailor straw square across your head, and spitting off the curb in Frederick, Oklahoma. It was twenty years after that that you even became aware that there was an issue. I taught then that such a set-up could not be defended, and I haven't changed my mind about it since."

Also, the associate editor of the Firm Foundation, Brother M. Norvel Young, is an employee of the Broadway church in Lubbock, of which a brotherhood child-caring institution, called "Children's Home of Lubbock," is a part of the "organizational set up." Therefore, the Firm Foundation is an avowed proponent of the theory that the brotherhood child-caring institution under the control of an eldership is "a better way to do it" than either the Boles Home News or the Bible way.

3. The Gospel Advocate Theory.

On "a better way to do it" in caring for homeless children, the Gospel Advocate is a vociferous defender of a theory contrary to both the Boles Home News and Firm Foundation parties.

The Gospel Advocate argues that the churches should "visit the fatherless" by contributing from their treasuries to the sponsoring church ecumenical benevolent institutions (such as Children's Home of Lubbock) which Boles Home News opposes and the Firm Foundation defends; it also contends that the churches should contribute to benevolent institutions (such as Child Haven and Boles Home) under the control of "a board scattered all over the country," which Boles Home News defends and the Firm Foundation opposes.

With unreserved editorial endorsement, in the autumn of 1954, Brother Guy N. Woods, staff writer for the Gospel Advocate, wrote a series of articles in that journal in which he argued that churches should contribute money to both kinds of benevolent institutions: (1) those that are "under an eldership" and that are a "part of the organizational set up" of a church; (2) those that are under "a board scattered all over the country" and that are no part of the "organizational set up" of any church.

He also affirmed this theory in a debate with W. Curtis Porter in Indianapolis in January of 1956.

Brother Woods is a new convert to the Gospel Advocate theory that churches scripturally may contribute money to human organizations or societies. He is what the editor of the Advocate calls "A Johnny-come-lately." Until recently he wrote copiously against a church's donating to Bible colleges and to orphan homes under the control of "a board scattered all over the country," like Child Haven and Boles Home.

The following quotations from Brother Woods' speeches, books and articles show that he has not been in agreement with the Gospel Advocate segment very long:

"People who are contending, as they say, for primitive Christianity, for New Testament Christianity, should stand for the church of the New Testament, and leave others to spend their time and money on human societies, if they cannot be persuaded to do better. This writer has ever been unable to appreciate the logic of those who affect to see grave danger in Missionary Societies, but scruple not to form a similar organization for the purpose of caring for orphans and teaching young men to be gospel preachers. Of course it is right for the church to care for the 'fatherless and widows in their affliction,' but this work should be done by and through the church, with the elders having the oversight thereof, and not through boards and conclaves unknown to the New Testament. In this connection it is a pleasure to commend to the brotherhood Tipton Orphan Home, Tipton, Oklahoma. The work there is entirely scriptural, being managed and conducted by the elders of the church in Tipton, Oklahoma. The work there is entirely scriptural, aided by funds sent to them by the elders of other congregations round about. We here and now declare our protest against any other method or arrangement for accomplishing this work." (A.C.C. Lectures, 1939.)

Therefore, in 1939 Brother Woods declared as clearly as any man could state it, that he thought the Tipton Orphan Home sponsoring church method was the only scriptural way for the churches to care for homeless children, and in no uncertain terms he registered his "protest against any other method or arrangement for accomplishing this work."

In the Firm Foundation, February 3, 1942, in a review of G. C. Brewer's book, "Contending For the Faith," Brother Woods said:

"The section on colleges and Missionary Societies in which the author attempts to prove that it is scriptural for the churches, as such to contribute from their treasuries funds for the support of Christian colleges, falls, in this writer's opinion, far short of the mark. Brother Brewer insists that there is a difference in sending funds to a Christian college, a human institution, and in doing the same with reference to a Missionary Society. Through long dreary pages this is argued at length; all of which, to this writer, is a sea of mud! Perhaps it is our own denseness; and if Brother Brewer and those who profess to see such a difference wish to consider our inability so to do a manifest mark of immaturity, they are at liberty to do so. We can write only as the matter appears to us at present. We are frank to confess that we lack the inner wisdom or whatever it is that enables one to accept without question the theory that it violates no principle of reason or revelation to support a human institution designed to educate young men for the 'ministry,' and yet insist that it is subversive of both reason and revelation to support an institution similarly organized to keep these young men in foreign fields preaching the gospel they learned in the college! In our view brethren surrender their contention against the Missionary Society when they espouse such a view of the colleges."

In the Annual Lesson Commentary of the Gospel Advocate Company, Lesson XI, 1946, Brother Woods set forth his and the Gospel Advocate's views in these words:

"There is no place for charitable organizations in the work of the New Testament church. It is the only charitable organization that the Lord authorizes or that is needed to do the work the Lord expects his people to do. Generosity of the Philippian Church. (Phil. 4:15,16.) Here, too, we see the simple manner in which the church in Philippi joined with Paul in the work of preaching the gospel. There was 'no missionary society' in evidence, and none was needed; the brethren simply raised the money and sent it directly to Paul. This is the way it should be done today."

The way that Philippi sent directly to Paul was the way that Brother Woods and the Advocate thought in 1946 "it should be done." But today they do not think "it should be done" that way. They think now that the way "Philippi sent to Paul" is "unwise," as stated in the Gospel Advocate of October 6, 1955:

"I say this is unwise because brethren have found it so in the past when certain preachers collected from so many such churches amounts which far exceeded a reasonable salary for the work done. I know Philippi sent to Paul, and I know there are preachers today as worthy and as trustworthy as Paul; but I also know it is wiser today to support the man by joint action, cooperation, so there will be no temptation put in the way of the man and there will be no chance for unworthy men to hurt the cause of our Lord and the churches sending him money."

This shows beyond reasonable doubt that the editor of the Advocate and his two staff writers, Woods and Lanier, are all three "Johnnies-come-lately" to their Modernistic contention that the Bible way is "unwise."

4. Opposition Is Not New.

According to the above excerpts from his own pen, Brother Woods' statement that "until less than five years ago, there was virtually a universal endorsement of, and hearty support for the benevolent activities among us," such as Boles Home (Gospel Advocate, Oct. 14, 1954), is wholly inaccurate.

Also, Brother Reuel Lemmons, editor of Firm Foundation, uses strong words in declaring that Brother Woods' statement is false. According to Brother Lemmons, if Woods didn't "have as much trouble corralling" his memory as he did his "reasoning," he would remember that the Firm Foundation editor was gnawing "on the issue you fellows are just now raising so much sand about," before he had many teeth with which to gnaw. He claims that he cut his "teeth on the issue."

Roy Cogdill, Publisher Of The Gospel Guardian, Has Been In This Fight For Many Years, But According To Lemmons This Issue Did Not Start With Cogdill. Lemmons Says That He Was Chewing Away On It While Cogdill Was Still Pulling At His "Tight Legged Britches," And "Spitting Off The Curb In Frederick, Oklahoma," Twenty Years Before Cogdill "Even Became Aware That There Was An Issue." If Lemmons Is Right, Then The Advocate Is Wrong In Its Charge That Opposition To An Orphan Home "With A Board Scattered All Over The Country" Is A "Johnny-Come-Lately."

5. Why Not A Three-Way Debate?

A three-way debate among the three segments of the centralized control hobby would not be enlightening; but it would be interesting to listen to all three groups prove their contradictory "total situations" by Tom Warren's "syllogism."

The best way, the Bible "way to do it" will be presented in the next chapter.