Thomas Warren presented these lectures at the Burbank Gardens Church of Christ in Grand Prairie, TX in 1957 when the noninstitutional movement was creating much disruption in the brotherhood. There was much discussing and debating whether churches could coordinate their efforts through one congregation to sponsor a program. Ironically, some who originally practiced church cooperation were now claiming it was a sin to do so. Another point of debate with this anti-movement was whether or not churches could support orphan homes.
In these lectures Thomas Warren presented a systematic treatment of church cooperation and orphan homes. He used what in logic is referred to as the constituent argument to prove the objectors incorrect. If it were not for the fact that the matter was so serious, it would be laughable, Thomas Warren mentioned hearing a man pray at one of the debates “Lord, save us from logic.” One wonders if the man gave any thought as to what the alternative to logic would be. The constituent argument simply means that if all the relating elements of a matter are sound, then the whole of the matter is sound.
To demonstrate that the constituent element has been used all along (whether one realized the name for it or not) Warren quoted Foy E. Wallace’s Bulwarks of the Faith. It should be noted that this book and another of Wallace’s books, God’s Prophetic Word, were the products of a church cooperation effort in Texas organized by some who were now saying that method was sinful. Ironically, some of Wallace’s early books were published by one of the chief antagonists on the anti-church cooperation party. This forced Wallace to take repeated stands against those of the noninstitutional party since the new party would claim him (for status) in their allegiance. The quote from Wallace Warren used was:
“….to launch the mighty plea to abandon party names, party creeds, party organizations, and upon the right creed, the right name, the right doctrine, the right worship, such as taught in the New Testament itself, to restore the primitive apostolic church, the which could be neither Catholic nor Protestant, but Scriptural, and therefore divine. There is no other basis of Christian unity—scriptural unity. And there is no other way to establish the identity of the primitive apostolic church. The wrong creed, the wrong doctrine, the wrong worship, the wrong organization and the wrong name could not possibly result in the right church. But the right creed, the right doctrine, the right worship, the right organization and the right name, for a like reason, cannot be the wrong church.” (As quoted on page 27.)
In closing, this writer would like to point out that saying the anti-orphan home group is opposed to helping orphans (or similar such statements) is grossly unfair and sinful. The noninstitutional group objects to the method the orphans are cared for and encourage members to do all they can to assist those without having to disrupt the church treasury. While I respect their sincerity in the matter, they are mistaken. I could tolerate worshipping with a group that held this view; however, based on my experience there is serious doubt as to whether or not they could tolerate one holding the opposing view. It is one thing to hold an opinion on a matter, but it another thing altogether to make the opinion a law. This is adding to the word of God and is as sinful as taking away from the word of God.
Originally printed West Virginia Christian, Vol. 15, No. 12, December 2008, p. 8. Reprinted by permission.