Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 8, 1957
NUMBER 14, PAGE 1,12b-13

Restoration Or Substitution

W. Curtis Porter, Monette, Arkansas

Continuing our study of problems facing the church today, especially as they relate to the work of benevolence, I wish to remind you that promotional brethren, having lost the battle they were waging in defense of human organizations to do the work of the church, have changed their course of procedure. As noted in our previous study, they are now claiming that we have no such thing as Benevolent Societies, but evidence was given that we do have such a set-up among churches of Christ today. In connection with this idea, they are now claiming the whole system to be of divine origin. The home, they very truthfully claim, was instituted by the God of Heaven, and from that point of view, it is a divine institution. The orphan child, we are told, has lost his home. By the death of his parents or by some other condition, his home has been destroyed. But his home is restored by brethren when our institutional homes are put into operation. Inasmuch as his original home was a divine institution, and now his home is restored in the present practice of churches of Christ, then his restored home, they say, is of divine origin. It is a divine organization or institution just as was his home that was destroyed, for if a thing is restored that was divine, then it must still be divine in its nature. And claiming that the corporation that provides the home is an integral part of the home, it is concluded that the whole organization exists by divine authority.

In this line of argument a very significant point is entirely overlooked, and that is that restoration requires identity. Members of the church of Christ are supposed to be somewhat familiar with what is called the "restoration movement." This was a movement, inaugurated about a century and a half ago, to get back to the Bible in matters of religion. It was not to be merely a reformation of the churches existing but a restoration of the divine order. It involved taking the Bible only as authority in religion, teaching exactly what was taught by the apostles and practicing just what they practiced in religion. The same plan of salvation was to be taught that was taught by them; the same organization that characterized the church of the first century was to be upheld; and the same system of worship was to be set in operation that existed in the first century. It was not to be a substitution but a restoration, and restoration required identity. We have often preached concerning the identity of the church, and we have always shown that churches of Christ today are exact reproductions of such congregations in the first century of the Christian era. Anything less than this would not be a restoration.

And so it is with respect to homes. If the child's home is lost or destroyed, and then restored, the restoration must be identical with the original. If it is not this, it is a substitution. Any one who knows anything about it at all knows that institutional homes are not identical with the home the child lost. By reason of some calamity, the child lost his parents, but in what brethren are calling the restoration of that home, parents are sadly missing. Therefore, the child's home has not been restored, and the best that can be claimed for it is that it is a substitution. The fact that the original home was of divine origin would not prove divine authority for the substitution. Much has been made, in an effort to prove the home is a restoration, of the expression in some of the charters, as in Boles, for example, that the home is to stand "in loco parentis" to the children who are entrusted to it. But this very expression proves substitution instead of restoration. The expression means "in the place of parents" or "instead of parents." Anything that is put "in the place" of something else is not a restoration of the original. If a carpenter should get his square destroyed and should use a yard stick 'in the place" of the square, anyone would know that the square had not been restored. He would simply be using a substitute. The same is true with the home. Parents were integral factors in the original home of the child, but a home is set up without parents, and with a board to serve "in loco parentis" — in the place of parents — and everyone should know that you have a substitution instead of a restoration. Divine authority cannot be claimed for a substitution upon the basis that it is a restoration.

When Bro. Guy N. Woods made this argument in the Paragould debate, he was asked if the homes of denominational people are of divine origin or if only Christian homes exist by divine authority. He replied that the homes of denominational people are also of divine origin. He was also asked if the BUCKNER HOME of Dallas, Texas, is a divine institution. He replied that it is not because it is a work provided by the Southern Baptist Convention. This is rather a strange form of reasoning. If the children of Christian parents lose their home, which was of divine origin, and we "restore" it in an institutional home, this restored home, they tell us, is also a divine organization. Then if the children of Baptist parents lose their home, which was of divine origin, and they "restore" it in an institutional home, why would not the "restoration" also be divine? If the "restoration" in one case is a divine organization, then why not in the other case? Or is it true that Baptist people cannot "restore" the home the child lost? And please remember that BUCKNER HOME and other denominational homes are provided by "corporations" set up after the same fashion as the "corporations" that provide the homes among churches of Christ. If the corporation is an integral part of the homes among us and proves that no human organization exists, then the corporation is an integral part of BUCKNER HOME and proves that no human organization exists among them. And if, with us, what they call a restoration is a divine organization, the same is true with the Buckner Home, and churches of Christ would be obligated to support it.

In order that you may get a fair conception of the matter, I wish to compare Boles Home with Buckner Home. Both of them are in Texas and are set up under the same corporate laws. By looking at these matters you will be able to see that if BOLES HOME is a restoration of the home the child lost, BUCKNER HOME is also. If BOLES HOME is of divine origin, so is BUCKNER HOME. If BUCKNER HOME with its corportaion is a human organization, the same must be true with BOLES HOME with its corporation. Now let us take a look at them: I take these statements from their charters:

First Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "The name of this corporation shall be Buckner Orphans Home."

BOLES: "The name of this corporation shall be BOLES ORPHAN HOME, Greenville, Texas."

Second Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "The principal place of business shall be at the institution and in the city of Dallas, Texas."

BOLES: "The principal place of business of the Boles Orphan Home shall be at its present location near Quinlan in Hunt County, Texas."

Third Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "The term of this existence shall be fifty years from the date of filing of charter in the office of the Secretary of State."

BOLES: "This corporation shall exist for a period of fifty years."

Fourth Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "The number of Directors shall be nine, and the following named gentlemen, members of the corporation, are appointed and constitute the Board of Directors for the ensuing year."

BOLES: "This corporation shall be operated by a board of seven directors; the following persons shall constitute the Board of Directors of said corporation for the first three years."

Fifth Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "Buckner Orphan Home is strictly charitable and educational."

BOLES: "This corporation is not created and is not to be operated for profit, but for benevolent, charitable and educational purposes only."

Sixth Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "The membership of this corporation shall consist of the Deacons, who are members of Baptist Churches within the State of Texas."

BOLES: "The Board of Directors of this corporation shall be seven in number and each shall be a loyal member of some congregation of the Church of Christ in the state of Texas."

Seventh Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "As to authority and control, the institution is to be to them in loco parentis."

BOLES: "Such home is to stand in loco parentis to all children committed or entrusted to it."

Eighth Point Of Comparison:

BUCKNER: "The objects and purposes of this corporation are to procure the control and management of destitute orphan children of white parentage, and such other children of white parentage- as the management may deem proper to receive, for the purpose of providing them with a comfortable home, maintaining and educating them and instilling into their minds and hearts moral and religious instruction."

BOLES: "The purposes of this corporation are to provide a home for destitute and dependent children, and to secure possession and control of other like children from time to time as said corporation may deem proper, for the purpose of providing them with a home and sustenance." (End of quotations.)

By a consideration of these comparisons of the charters of the two homes it is easily seen that, in the care of orphans, BUCKNER HOME and BOLES HOME are built and operated upon the same general plan. Both of them are in Texas and operate under the same corporate laws. Both of them are operated by a CORPORATION, which is simply a chartered organization, which in neither case is the church. In neither case is the CORPORATION the home, but the BUCKNER HOME, and the BOLES CORPORATION provides the BOLES HOME. There is no restoration of the original home in either of them, but they are substitutes provided by human organizations.

Not only does God require that orphans be given care, but in 1 Tim. 5:16 the Lord requires church support of certain widows. When a widow, desolate and destitute, is to be cared for, certainly such care would require providing a home of some kind. Food, clothing, shelter and medical care are some of the things necessary to be furnished in meeting the obligation of the church. But when the church provides a home for widows is that home a restoration of the home she lost? If providing a home for orphans is a restoration of their original home, then providing a home for widows would be a restoration of their original home. But such is not true in either case. The widow has lost her home because of the death of her husband. Certainly, her home could not be restored without a husband, and if the church must restore her home, such would make a matrimonial bureau of the church. It would have to devote a lot of its time to securing husbands for widows that are widows indeed. But, of course, her original home could not be restored unless some one could raise from the dead her former husband. To provide another husband for her would not be a restoration but would be the establishment of another home. A home without a husband could be nothing more than a substitute, and a home with another husband would still not be a restoration but an entirely different home. Neither is it possible to restore the home the child lost by reason of the death of his parents unless one has power to raise them from the dead. An institutional home, a home without parents, is not a restoration of the home the child lost. And if placed in another private home, with other parents given legal status, the original home is still not restored, but another home is provided. But regardless of how much divine authority may be had for a home, that divine authority cannot be shifted to a human organization — incorporated or unincorporated, chartered or not chartered — to provide a home for the needy. The human organizations exist by human authority alone.