A Church Kitchen - And Why Not?
Charles G. Maples
In talking with brethren concerning kitchens, "fellowship" halls, etc., etc., I find that many who object to such do not know just why they object. Many have concluded that such is wrong, but cannot say just WHY. On the other hand, there are many who, although a part of a congregation opposed to such practices, would not object if suddenly some one should propose to start a drive for a "fellowship" hall in the church building.
Now, I am thoroughly convinced that the Lord's church should have no part in such... but just WHY? I shall proceed to briefly state some objections.
First, let it be clearly understood that we do not object on the basis that "the building is sacred." The building WAS built with the LORD'S MONEY, and for the purpose of WORSHIP--not FUN and FROLIC, but this does not make it "Holy." There is no objection (Scriptural) to a "workman eating a sandwich in the basement," nor to "the preacher bringing his lunch and eating it in his study." However, these are far from parallel with the "fellowship" halls!
When the Lord commanded his people to assemble (Heb. 10:25; Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2), He authorized whatever "expedients" necessary to such assembly; such as rest rooms, water coolers, furnaces, lights, air-conditioning, etc. All of these "expedients" have to do with the assembly for the purpose of worshiping God. But the kitchen and "fellowship" halls are provided for an assembly, NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF WORSHIP, but FOR FUN AND FROLIC! Which assembly God never authorized! Now, if God had commanded us to assemble for such a purpose, then within this command would be found authority for kitchens, etc. which would be necessary to the carrying out of the command. The kitchen would, by virtue of the command to assemble for feasting, become LAWFUL, and then brethren would have a right to decide whether or not such were EXPEDIENT under given circumstances.
Another point of objection is that these things place the emphasis on the physical man, instead of the spiritual. These things appeal to the appetites of the FLESH, and not to the HEART of man. These devices of meets wisdom are rapidly replacing the appeal of THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST as God's drawing power. Many brethren have concluded, as their sectarian predecessors have, that unless we have these things we'll not be able to "draw the crowds," nor HOLD them after drawing them! I don't believe such! I believe the simple gospel of the Son of God is just as appealing to the HONEST heart as it was in the first century. And of this one thing I'm sure; people who will not be drawn by it, but must be coaxed by coffee, cake and comestibles, would not be worth very much to the Cause of New Testament Christianity!
Hear the apostle Paul: "What, have ye not houses to eat in? Or despise ye the church of God and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I praise you not." (I Cor. 11:22.) It is true that the apostle is here condemning the Corinthians for profaning the worship; but at the same time he reminds them, and US, that the place for feasting is our homes!
We all recognize that the Lord's church is authorized to function in three fields; namely, Evangelism, Edification and Benevolence. Now, under just which of these would one place these festivities of fleshly frivolity? It couldn't be called Evangelism, for that is the preaching of the gospel; God's power to save the souls of men. Neither does it fit under Edification, for that is the building up and strengthening of the SOULS of saints. Nor could it by the greatest stretch of the imagination, be called Benevolence, for the work of the church in this field, as authorized in the New Testament, is the caring for Needy saints. Of course since there is no authority for such, some brethren have "reasoned" (?) as their denominational counterparts; "show us the Scripture that says 'thou shalt not."'
And so, WHY NOT A CHURCH KITCHEN? THERE IS NO BIBLE AUTHORITY FOR IT! And "Hear ye!" "And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of (by the authority of cgm.) the Lord Jesus." (Col. 3:17.)
Truth Magazine VI: 7, pp. 14-15