Question:

Not long ago, my husband and I were driving past a Baptist church and noticed that they were having a garage sale. While driving past, I saw some signs that their young people were holding up stating that the sale's profits would be used to send them on a mission trip. I felt like it would be wrong to help because I don't believe in the doctrine that they preach. I don't mean to be judgmental, but I didn't want to be involved in spreading false doctrine. My husband got upset with me, however, and said that we give money all the time to various people without knowing where the money is going or how it is being used. I think he felt like I was being ridiculous about it. What do you think? Was I wrong?

Answer:

I'm always puzzled why people feel the need to apologize for coming to a conclusion about a matter. There are passages condemning hypocritical judgments and judgments made without information, but those don't apply in this situation. The choice you made was based on information you have gathered over the years on what Baptists' teach and believe. You realize that these don't match what Christ taught in the Scriptures.

"Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds" (II John 9-11).

Purchasing items at a sale where signs state the funds are going to be used to send young people on a "missionary" trip for a denomination puts you in the position of supporting (sharing) in the trip. I put "missionary" in quotes because in the vast majority of these trips the young people do very little teaching, if any at all. Instead it is more of a vacation for them and the adults use them as good-will ambassadors to advertise their denomination.

Think of it this way, in the days of idolatry Paul spend a good deal of time telling Christians not to be worried about whether meat purchased in the market might be coming from an idol's temple. "Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live" (I Corinthians 8:4-6). Meat is meat; however, Paul states there are times when meat should not be eaten.

  1. When you are with someone who so strongly associates meat with idolatry, that they cannot eat it without thinking about the idol. "However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled" (I Corinthians 8:7).
  2. When someone goes out of their way to make sure you know that the meat came from an idol's temple. "But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness"" (I Corinthians 10:28).

The same applies to purchases you make. If you are purchasing something because it is useful to you, that is one thing; but when someone goes out of their way to tell you that your purchase will help support a cause that you do not agree with, that is an entirely different matter.