Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 2, 1955

Can Both Be Right?

R. L. (Bob) Craig, Lometa, Texas

One of the outstanding arguments we make, and one of the best, in dealing with denominational error is this: two or more different answers to the same question cannot be correct. Both may be wrong, but both cannot be right. Do you believe that that argument is any good?

There are two absolutely different types of orphan homes being supported by churches of Christ. They are diametrically opposed to one another inasmuch as their organization is concerned, according to champions of each. I beseech you to study these differences with me and think seriously on this matter.

There are several homes for orphans being supported by the churches that are completely separate and apart from a local eldership. They are not UNDER the eldership of any local congregation, but instead have their own board of directors who oversee the business of that institution. Among such are Boles Home, Tennessee Orphans Home, and Southern Christian Home. Gayle Oler, who is superintendent of Boles Home and is one of the recognized representative champions of that type home, says that such homes are in the same category and parallel to a radio station, utility company, or the post office. Further, he says, that it is an institution having no connection with the churches of Christ, except as they may use its services. Such an institution, says Brother Oler, must be classed with these other service institutions. He says, in so many words, that the elders of a local congregation could no more be "over" such an institution than they could be over the post office or a utility company or some other institution selling its services and which the churches sometime use. Thus we see that brother Oler, and all the homes organized in like manner as Boles, stand in direct opposition to other homes operated "under" a local eldership.

G. K. Wallace wrote an article while superintendent of Maude Carpenter home, in which he upheld that particular kind of home, "under" a local eldership, as being THE scriptural way to carry on orphan home work and made the other organization, such as Boles, comparable to a missionary society. Brother Wallace is more or less accepted as a champion of all such homes, among which are Tipton, Sunny Glen, Lubbock, etc. Reuel Lemmons, editor of the Firm Foundation, is on record as being opposed to such homes, also. They have said that the board controlled home is unscriptural.

Now, brethren, here's the point. Most of us are supporting both types of organizations and think nothing of it. But there are definitely two types, according to their individual champions. Both say the other is wrong, unscriptural. But you, by your actions; by your support, say that both are right. "He that biddeth him God speed is partaker . . ." Think, if you will. As we tell sectarians, two different answers to the same question just cannot be right. Both may be wrong, but certainly, both just cannot be right. Now, what is the answer to our dilemma? and perhaps someone else has a much better answer than I.

I agree with brother Oler when he says that these "brotherhood" institutions cannot operate scripturally under an eldership of some local congregation. But, if these homes are of the nature he says they are; the category of radio station, utility company, etc., why the church cannot be expected to contribute to such an institution. It would be just as right to contribute to the support of a college or a gospel paper and most are in agreement that that would not be right. If it is right, let's have the verse that teaches such. Is a radio station an obligation of the church? Just as the church uses it. Is the post office an obligation of the church? Just as the church may use it. Is a child care home an obligation of the church? Just as the church may use it.

What shall we do ? Let brother Oler and others be consistent in their plea and divorce the homes from the church and let it continue to exist by individual contributions or by public subscription. Or, if someone desires to place a child there, and can pay for his keep ($60 per child per month) let them do so.

What about these other homes? Let the elders of the congregations where such homes exist turn these homes to a board of trustees or directors and let them continue on the same basis as the above mentioned. Why yes. Just deed over the property and government of such places to trusted men. Separate yourself completely from such. Read 1 Peter 5 and you will know that you are operating outside your God-given sphere when you try to oversee a work for the entire brotherhood of the churches of Christ. Certainly they can exist in such a manner. The colleges are doing it and some thought they couldn't.

Certainly there are other obstacles but they can all be resolved if we really want to do something about this matter. "Let us reason together."