Church of Christ
Mission USA

Is It Scriptural For The Church To Accept Funds From A Denomination For The Lord’s Work? (Cont.)

by Perry Sexton

      I think it is a shame that we even have to spend much time on such a subject as this seeing the Scriptures are very plain on the matter. But there are some (maybe more than I think) who believe it is all right to do so! This is very disturbing. But what is more disturbing is the fact that some who have responded, who believe it is right, will not give an answer as to why (cp. I Pet. 3:15); most have not given Scripture (cp. I Thess. 5:21; Col. 3:17); and a few have gone so far as to misuse God’s word. It is a shame that we cannot be satisfied with God’s way!!!

      Let us consider a few reasons why it cannot be done with God’s blessings:

      God’s Word is: "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Eph. 5:11). Look up definitions of "no fellowship." We are not "to share in company with, i.e. co-participate in:--communicate (have fellowship) with, be partaker of." When the church or a member thereof receives funds from a denomination for the work of the church, there is co-participation. We may deny this and misuse God’s holy Word to "get around it," but brethren it will stand forever and meet us in the Judgement!

      God’s Word shows there is participation by the receiving of funds: "Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints" (II Cor. 8:4). For more on this see February’s issue. Did the church at Philippi (Phil. 1:1) participate with Paul in his evangelistic efforts by giving money? We have God’s Word on it: "For your fellowship [koinonia = participation, etc.] in the gospel from the first day until now;" (Phil 1:5); "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated [koinonia] with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only." (Phil. 4:15). Brethren the word is too plain! The questions are: Is our love for God stronger than "the love of money" (I Tim. 6:10)? Do we seek to please God more than the denominations? Are we more concerned with offending men than offending God (cp. Matt. 15:12)?

      Brethren, it is sad to see many churches and brethren in the state they are in now. Many do not seek nor care for God’s authority, especially in some areas and this is one such area for some brethren! We understand and correctly use Colossians 3:17 in other areas such as instrumental music, children’s church, etc. But some cannot seem to recall Colossians 3:17 when dealing with the question at hand!!! Is not this amazing???

      Consider: May we use mechanical instruments of music in worship to God? No, there is no authority for such (Col. 3:17). May we accept funds from a denomination for the work of the church? No, there is no authority for such (Col. 3:17). But some among us will not accept this. Why? Where is the difference? Maybe it is because some have accepted such funds. Maybe they hope to receive such funds. Maybe it is that some friend or some brother with a reputation has accepted such funds and they do not want to offend them. I do not know their reasons, but I think we can know God’s will on the matter.

      A very good and favorite verse to use in defense of the kind of music God demands in worship is Leviticus 10:1, 2. Note: "And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. {2} And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD" (Lev. 10:1, 2). Now brethren, this is a very powerful verse to use – not only against instrumental music in worship, but against every thing unauthorized by God. But again some seem to have a memory problem whenever it comes to the question at hand. How sad!

      Nadab and Abihu took the fire from an unauthorized source. We know this by the words "strange fire" and the statement "which he commanded them not." Silence of the Scriptures!

      Sad as it is, some would say God has not legislated on the question at hand. Many of those who advocate the use of instrumental music in worship say the exact same thing! Such is the mind set of those holding to any error (see last month’s article: "Marks of Error"). Is it true God has not legislated on the funding of His glorious church and the work of it? How is it some cannot see what they do not want to see?

      "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. {2} Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come" (I Cor. 16:1-2). This is God’s Word. This is where we go to for authority for the collection. Please, let us compare this with Leviticus 10:1, 2. Did God authorize certain fire (Lev. 10:1,2)? Yes. Has God authorized certain music in worship (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)? Yes. Has God authorized a collection (I Cor. 16:1, 2)? Yes. Has God legislated the source of the collection (ibid.)? Yes.
      Please consider:

Q: Is the collection a salvation issue?

A: Yes. Leviticus 10:1, 2, God told them from where to get the fire. Compare I Corinthians 16:1, 2. God has instructed us as to the source of the contribution. What if we go beyond the doctrine of Christ (II John 9-11)? The wrong source for the funding of the Lord’s work is just as sinful as strange fire (Lev. 10:1,2). Where in the New Testament do you have authority for funds from the denominations? I believe all the questions I have asked in these articles are good, and also those I have asked in letters to brethren. But some have never answered. A red flag should come up in your mind as it did in mine. Why would a preacher not answer good Bible questions and not deal with Scriptures on a particular matter???

      Concerning authority, we must have authority from God (not men) for everything we do in religion. That is God’s word (Col. 3:17; I Pet. 4:11; Lev. 10:1, 2, etc.). We could not even have a collection if we did not have authority for it. We could not sing praises in worship to God if it were not authorized. Think on these things.

      We cannot have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11). But when brethren accept their money that is exactly what they are doing, contrary to God’s will! Furthermore, how can we rebuke them (ibid.) with any meaning while accepting their money with out stretched hands??? And why should we accept their money? Is our God not able to provide? We should answer: "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God" (cp. Acts 8:21). Brethren that is a rebuke given by inspiration of God, but it is not good enough for some of us. Some would rather compromise and please men rather than God.

      Please consider: Some instrumental groups can "see" why we use only certain elements for the Lord’s Supper, but will not "see" why we use only certain music in worship. I find some brethren in the same boat when it comes to the question at hand. They can see and use correctly the many Scriptures on authority, the faith, the doctrine of Christ, the Old Testament examples, etc., but will not apply them to the question under consideration. Why have they closed their eyes?

      "Where the Bible speaks we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent" (cp. Col. 3:17). Or are we speaking where the Bible is silent? Do we "go beyond the things which are written" (I Cor. 4:6 ASV 1901)? Are some of us ashamed of this motto? Do some of us simply give "lip service" to it? Brethren it is high time to "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude 3). ♥
See also:  2008, 2 SW