Reply to "Perversion or Provision"
On the opposite page of this journal is an article written by Jerry Weller of Moulton, Iowa in response to an article I wrote which appeared in the Vol. 28, No. 21 (November 1, 1984) issue of Guardian of Truth. My article proved by the Scriptures the sinfulness of special groups singing to,,for or in the assemblies of the churches of Christ. In the same article, the matter of congregational, mid-week collections was discussed and declared to be unauthorized by the New Testament Scriptures!
In seeking to give "divine" authority for "special groups or soloists," my respondent says, "The answer (i.e. his alleged proof for special groups to sing for the church, RD) is surprisingly easy to find." He cites I Corinthians 14:26 as "proof." We ask, does the text cited provide authority for "special group singing and soloists" to perform for the assembled ones? The answer is absolutely not! The same Scripture mentions "a doctrine, a tongue, a revelation, and an interpretation." Therefore, 1 Corinthians 14:26 is discussing gifts of the Spirit-supernatural manifestations. This text does not set divine precedent for us to follow. Its application is limited. The context shows that the meeting described in the text is unlike any we have today.
My friend then says, "If it is right for one man to teach us, it is right for one man to sing to us I" He is assuming the point which he is obligated to prove. There is authority provided in the New Testament for "special group singing" in the assembly, the practice of such will continue to be a perversion, not provision!
Regarding the issue of the collection he says, "1Corinthians 16:2 deals with a special offering (the offering for needy Jerusalem Christians). This verse has no application to the usual collections . . ." Question: Does my kind friend contribute into a congregational treasury on the first day of the week? If so, which New Testament text provides the authority? Surely, he cannot say that 1 Corinthians 16:2 provides authority for according to him, "This verse has no application (emp. mine) to the usual collections. " Which text provides the authority for the "usual collections"? Friends, the truth is that 1 Corinthians 16:2 sets forth God's will as to how the needs of the saints are to be met. This is the only text in the New Testament of Christ which specifies God's appointed day for collecting funds in order to satisfy the needs of the saints in doing the will of God. The text does not contain all that God says about how to spend the money collected. The local church may scripturally function in three areas, viz. evangelism, benevolence, and the building up of the saints. 1 Corinthians 16:2 informs us as to how these activities must be financed! How? "Upon the first day of every week let each one of you lay by him in store." God's way is the best and only way!
He asks, "Are we to suppose the giving in Acts 2:45 was limited to the first day of the week? Did Barnabas lay his gift at the Apostles' feet on Sunday? Was Ananias and Sapphira's gift offered on the first day of the week?" Neither text refers to congregational collections. I have a question for my friend, which of the two texts refers to congregational action, 1 Corinthians 16:2 and/or Act 2:45? Next, which sets the precedent as to "how" the church may "raise" its money in order to do its work? If you answer Acts 2:45, 1 ask, may the church go into business? If not, why not? If you answer 1 Corinthians 16:2, I ask why do you see a binding "method" of "raising" money in 1 Corinthians 16:2, but not a binding "day" as to when the money is to be raised? But, remember according to you, "1 Corinthians 16:2 . . . has not application to the usual collections Is the church limited to its method of "raising" money"? If so, the congregation is also limited by the Scriptures as to when it may collect money!
I wonder if my respondent would agree with the following statement: "Eating the Lord's Supper on days other than the first day of the week is not perversion; God has made provision for eating the Lord's Supper at any time."
Friends, God has specified the "first day of the week" as His appointed time for both the Lord's Supper and the collection (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2).
Guardian of Truth XXVIII: 24, p. 743