Questions about the use of funds given to the church.


Having read your articles and also was a member of the conservative church for 24 years I have some questions. 

The conservatives say it is ok to use the Lord's money for a $20,000 yard but wrong to give a sinner some food from the treasury. Really?

It is ok to rent a place to eat but not to use the building that is already paid for. Really?

You must know that the problem in I Corinthians 11 was their problem. If we don't have the same problem it doesn't apply to us, does it? If so then we must all have the same problem the church had in Gal 3:1. Do we have that problem also?

We use 1 Corinthian 16:1-4 for the collection on Sunday. Do we sent all the money to poor saints? They did. Are we following the Scriptures or trying to prove our position?  I think you know the answer.

How does the money in the treasury become the Lord's money? We belong to the Lord, and all we have, do we not?

How silly can we get? Our mission is to preach the Gospel, is it not? If we eat in the building or not has nothing to do with   preaching the Gospel. It is just a bunch of Gobbly Goof.

There is no church building in the Scriptures.


Twenty-four years and you didn't manage to retain any lessons on the authority of God. How unfortunate.

You spend money on the yard, but not to feed sinners.

The church has a command to assemble (Hebrews 10:25). It is not an option. Most choices for assembling cost money, whether it is an upper room, a rented hall, or a building. The question congregations address is which option works best for that locale and group while being wise with the money available. For many congregations an owned building makes the best economic sense, even though there are on-going costs in maintaining the building. (See "Can the church pay for things pertaining to the upkeep of the church building?") It is not a hard rule because what works in one place and time might not work in another. But in all cases the command to assemble is being met. This also answers your last point that "Church buildings aren't mentioned in the Scriptures."

Your price tag for lawn care is ridiculously extreme. I very much doubt such is being spent. I know the congregation here is able to maintain the grounds without spending nearly that type of money.

But next, we must address your comparison. Where is the command for the church to feed sinners? Individual Christians are told, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). Where does Jesus give instruction to his people to wipe out poverty? Such isn't possible since Jesus said, "For the poor you have with you always" (John 12:8). Therefore, you are comparing an expense made toward keeping a command of God with an expense for which there is no command. Your argumentation is flawed.

Finally, the argument implies that Christians don't care for the needy. If that were true, then they would be violating Galatians 6:10. My experience has been that members of the Lord's church are very generous with the blessings God has given them. I have helped numerous members and non-members from my own pocket over the years and I know thousands of others who do the same.

You can rent a place to eat but not use the building you already own.

As an individual Christian, I may rent a place in which to eat, but I know of no sound congregation which will use the Lord's money for purposes the Lord did not authorize. The commands for the church to provide meals are limited to a small subclass of widows (I Timothy 5:1-16). See "Using a Kitchen in a Rented Hall" which addresses these issues.

I Corinthians 11 doesn't apply if we don't have the exact same situation.

The reasoning is false. Paul proves this in I Corinthians 9. He takes a command from the Old Testament, "You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain" (I Corinthians 9:9) to prove that preachers have the right to be paid for the work that they do. The law dealt with oxen, not preachers, but Paul's argument was sound because the principle of why oxen ought to be able to eat while working is even more important when applied to people. Therefore, the exact same situation does not need to exist for a law to be applied.

How you jump from Corinth and I Corinthians 11 to the churches in Galatia and Galatians 3, I don't know.

The reason Paul told the Corinthians they were doing wrong was because "What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in?" (I Corinthians 11:22) and "But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment" (I Corinthians 11:34). The need to treat worship and the coming together as holy remains. The solution remains. Social activities are a work of the home (the individual Christian), not the church, and must be done by the home.

All money collected should be sent to poor saints.

What you are failing to accomplish is give yourself an out by saying since the command is not being kept, we can not keep other commands as well. The assertion is false. If the command exists, then both you and I must keep it. Proving that you don't keep it doesn't give you an opening for further violations.

However, your argument is false. Yes, money was gathered on the first day of the week. Funds were to be set aside from that collection for the saints in Jerusalem. "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (I Corinthians 16:1-2). Where your argument fails is in your assumption that all the money collected was sent. That is not stated in this passage or any other.

Further, the church had other financial obligations. We already mentioned that in I Corinthians 9 Paul noted that preachers working in Corinth had the right to be paid by the Corinthians. Paul also mentions that other churches were given the same command. In II Corinthians 8:1 he talks about how the churches in Macedonia had sent more than Paul expected. One of those congregations would have been Philippi, a church that supported Paul. "For even in Thessalonica you sent aid once and again for my necessities" (Philippians 4:16).

Therefore, congregations did not send all the money they had to the poor saints.

A related question, previously answered is "Since I Corinthians 16:1-2 was only about one need, then isn't this just an example of how a collection might be taken and not a command for us today?"

The church's money is our money anyway since we gave it.

The argument is false once again. When Ananias gave to the church, he was rebuked because he lied about the amount he gave: "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God" (Acts 5:4). Notice that Peter made a distinction between when the funds were in Ananias' hands and when he gave that money to the Lord.

Another distinction is seen in "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows" (I Timothy 5:16). The church is not seen as merely an extension of the individual.

Eating in the building has nothing to do with preaching the Gospel.

I would say, "Finally, you got it!" except you haven't. Yet it is the key point. God is the source of all authority. We cannot strike out on our own and expect God to accept whatever we come up with. That is why God warned the Israelites:

"Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil" (Proverb 4:27).

"Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess" (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).

"Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it" (Deuteronomy 12:32).

God is serious about His word. He hasn't changed. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).

God said that the church's duty is the teaching of God's Word. "But if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (I Timothy 3:15). You are pushing to change this charge by appealing not to what God said, but wanting wiggle room in what God has not said.

Me, I stand by the Lord. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11).