Church Responsibility in The Field of Benevolence
An anonymous discussion pertaining to the extent and limit of the church's responsibility toward needy people.
RESOLVED: "The scriptures teach that the church, from its treasury, is authorized, in the field of benevolence, only to care for needy saints (brethren)."
SECOND AFFIRMATIVE by Adelphos Dzeton Alethinon
Brother Gratis, the editorial staff of TRUTH, and readers: We return to you with the second affirmative of the above proposition, as well as answers to Gratis' objections to the points made in our first paper. Quite a lot of his first response was a last effort to support his affirmation. We may, if space permits, review parts of it. However, first we want to answer his comments pertaining to the first affirmative, and to present more affirmative material.
Gratis amazes us by saying it is "fantastic" to say the church needs a thus saith the Lord for everything she does. The Lord did not draw a detailed picture for everything involved in carrying out His commands, but we must not do that which is not authorized to be done. If, as a boy, my father had commanded me to go to the store to buy pinto beans, it would have been necessary for me to do so. I could have walked, run, crawled, ridden a horse, or driven a car and still obeyed the command. The manner of getting there was an expedient. I must buy pinto beans. If I get navy beans I have exercised a freedom that is not mine! The church was authorized to care for its own needy in some instances. We cannot take the authority given to care needy brethren and stretch it to give freedom and right" to care for any needy people, just as I could not have by authority purchased navy beans. Our freedom and right is in the realm of lawful expediencies, and not in the realm of altering what God has taught should be done. Heb. 10:25 gives authority for a meeting house. It does not give authority for using the house for unauthorized purposes. Unless each specific thing done is for the purpose of fulfilling our obligation to do what is commanded, it is unauthorized, and we must not bring such into our practice. That explains fully what I mean, and leaves no authority for the church to practice benevolence toward all just because she can do so toward saints.
After reading Gratis' argument on I Tim. 5:16, one wonders how Gratis would forbid anything. Paul said, "let not the church be charged." Gratis says this "does not limit the church but rather teaches the church is charged with care of widows when individual relatives fail." Now if brethren refuse to fulfill their peculiar obligations to their relatives they are to be considered worse than infidels, and the church could then, and then only, help these needy if they were faithful Christians. This authority comes from God's word in other places. Remember reader, this passage was not introduced to show the church could never help some Christians, but to show a distinction between individual and church responsibility. It does just that. Having never made any pretense of being a Greek scholar, we will let Gratis supply any "research" he wants done in answer to the affirmative arguments.
Let me remind Gratis of the comment made as 2 Thess. 3:10-11 was introduced. Here it is: "In this discussion Gratis has alreadv said the church must not help such people, but has affirmed she could help such who were needy of the world." Do you wish to deny your earlier statement, Gratis? My argument was not based on this passage except to show your admission and a possible implication from the passage. If no individual can lawfully do a thing then it is not likely it would become legal for the collective church to do so. My argument was based on I Tim. 5:16, and examples of early church action in the book of Acts. I did not use 2 Thess. 3:10-11 as authority for church action.
Gratis now believes 2 Thess. 3:10-11 applies to 'any',- but when he was affirming, his proposition had him committed to the church having authority to aid lazy people of the world, if able. I am glad he admits he does not believe this.
Acts 2:44-45 talks of individuals making possessions common that saints may be helped. Which passage cited by Gratis was similar to this-individuals making things common that the needy of the world might be helped? Acts 4 and 5 show the oversight of the funds being given to the apostles, and that people did not, and were not required to place everything they possessed in this common fund, but rather they had a willingness of mind to do so as needed. Nothing I have said in this discussion would be contradicted in any way by this passage. It would certainly be scriptural for individuals to do as they did in this case, but the church treasury and the individual treasury were not combined (Acts 5:4), and even though Gratis proved they were he has yet to find an example of using the combined treasury to support individuals who were not saints (brethren).
Gratis, do you believe the money given to the elders in Judea (Acts 11:30) when distributed to the needy saints was distributed as individual action? If not, why would any argument I made about Thessalonians apply here? When elders function in their capacity as elders using funds given to the church then surely church action is involved. I Cor. 16:1-2, of course, contains pronouns, but Gratis is probably the only individual who has read my part in this discussion who would claim what was said about pronouns would conflict with this as church action. Gratis, Paul is instructing the individuals to supply a collected fund for the needy saints. When the "gathering" was made it became collective action over which no individual had authority. I never even hinted that "all the first day of the week collection may be used for is to help needy saints. However, the only thing the special contribution Paul was discussing in I Cor. 16:1-3 could lawfully be used for was for the needy saints. By the way, that is all it was used for, too! Read Rorn. 15:25-31.
In 2 Cor. 9:12-14 we read these words: "For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; and by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you." Let me remind you that the word men was added by translators, and is not found in the A.S.V.
In verse twelve Paul mentions two things their contribution would accomplish: (1) Not only supplying, the want of the saints, but (2) causing an abundance of thanksgiving unto God. In verses 13 and 14 he comments on this thanksgiving to God by saying (13) those saints who received would glorify God for the Corinthians' professed subjection unto the gospel and for the liberal distribution unto them; the same would be true of all unto whom they distributed. In verse 14, after the expression unto all is used, Paul says their prayers-that is, the prayers of those helped by the Corinthians-would glorify God. The prayers are by those "which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you," and must mean all who had received help. To show this is the generally accepted thought of this passage I invite our readers, as well as Gratis, to inspect such works as these: Barnes' Notes, Vol. 6, p. 182; Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 353 ; Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges, p. 141 ; Plummer's International Critical Commentary, on 2 Cor., p. 267; Meyer's Commentary, pp. 610-611 ; and many others, including David Lipscomb.
Next, we call your attention to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon, p. 492, on the usage of this word all-Greek pantes. He says it may indicate (1) all men, or (2) all of a certain definite whole. He cites many passages showing this last meaning in various ways and shows there are many others by saying "and very often." Thus, in view of what is recorded regarding this collection, we logically conclude this is also such a usage of all. The scriptures give no reason for us to assume the Corinthians tried to make distribution to all needy of the world. They were commanded to collect funds for the needy saints in Jerusalem, and the scriptures tell us of that collection and its delivery. In complete harmony with the accustomed usage of the word we find Paul speaking of the "liberal distribution" to the needy saints, and unto all needy saints (the certain definite whole) they may be called upon to help.
Let me cite some of the many examples of this usage of the word all. In Acts 2:45 we read of the early Christians bringing their funds together in a common fund and that they "parted them to all men, as every man had need." This does not mean the church was trying to have "all things common" with all the world's needy. Another parallel usage is 2 'rim. 4:16 where Paul says "but all men forsook me . . .," which refers to the "certain definite whole" who had once stood with him, and not to every man. In Jas. 1:5 we read "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given." This does not mean God will give to every man liberally if the man asks, but rather to that "certain definite whole" having the right to ask.
The most liberal interpretation possible on 2 Cor. 9:13 would be to say it is very remotely possible that it could imply that people other than saints may be helped. We have noted that scholars who practice what Gratis believes do not even consider it a remote possibility that this passage authorizes such practice. In view of the record given of the command for this "liberal distribution," its purposed destination, and its recorded destination and use, there is no reason to assume it was for anyone other than those specified. It certainly is not a necessary inference! The actual distribution under consideration could not have been for all men, for it was collected for and given to the poor saints in Jerusalem. I Cor. 16:1-3 and Rom. 15:25-31. We do not get authority from remotely possible implications! There is as much authority for infant baptism in Acts 16:14-15 as there is for the collective church to help all the needy of the world in 2 Cor. 9:12-14. There is none in either.
We have specific authority for the church to help needy saints. We cannot generalize this to the point of doing any good to all men. We could just as reasonably argue that the command to sing authorized any kind of music when we worship God. If God had given the church general instruction to help the needy, any needy would have qualified. He specified which needy by saying "needy saints."
Gratis accepted the major premise of my syllogism, but says he doesn't mean it has to be specified to be authorized. It must be an inherent part of what is specified to be authorized. Instruction to help needy saints authorizes absolutely nothing except that which contributes to helping needy saints. Gratis denies my minor premise by reference to Gal. 6:10, 1 Thess. 3:12-13; and 2 Cor. 9:12-13. All three passages contain this usage of the word all in question. Two are manifestly to admonish individual action. We have noted that 2 Cor. 9: 12-14 does not necessarily imply action to every man. This is the "authority" upon which Gratis would base church action to care for the needy of the world! The syllogism still stands untouched. Why do you suppose Gratis never does reply to the point that if Gal. 6:10 authorizes church care for all needy men it likewise authorizes church activity in doing anything good to all men?
Now to answer the questions:
1. If the church is obligated to help needy saints (as the proposition states) is not this "love"?
We have shown that love and material help are not necessarily inherently connected.
2. If the church as such can 'love" needy saints but may not "love" needy non-members, produce the scriptures which thus specifically limits the churches "love."
We have shown Gratis' mistake in talking of church love.
3. In view of your previously stated position that there is no command in the New Testament for the church as such to "love," will you please explain Paul's statement in 2 Cor. 8:24?
II Cor. and 9 contain very definite instructions to individuals interspersed with references to what was being done collectively; for example 8:7-15 and 9:6-11. The proof of their love was the individual contribution Paul was encouraging each to make. The collected gift was taken to Jerusalem to help needy saints. We remind you that even proving the collective church is to love does not prove Gratis' proposition, for he said she must not help certain brethren. This places him in the predicament of admitting the church must love all people of the world, but must not love some brethren, or else he must admit his syllogism was useless. Which will it be, Gratis?
4. What difference is there between I Thess. 3:12 and 2 Thess. 3:10 which causes you to say the former does not apply to the church but that the latter does?
I did not say 2 Thess. 3 :10-11 applies to the collective church, but noted that Gratis said the church could not help such as mentioned therein.
5. Is everything that is done out of the church treasury done by the church as such?
When the funds in the treasury are used the collective church is certainly involved in that action.
6. If so, where is the church as such commanded to pay her debts?
It is Gratis who hits been affirming the scriptures give a command for the collective church to pay its debts, not I.
7. If the church as such is obligated to pay her debts simply because all individuals in the church are commanded to be honest, please explain why the church as such is not obligated to help needy non-members since all individuals in the church are commanded to do so!
Because there is a distinction made between the use of the collected funds of the church and the use an individual makes of the money while it is his.
8. And since our discussion revolves around what may or may not be done with the church treasury, will you answer for us please, may the church buy flowers for the dead out of its treasury?
It is rather foolish to buy anything for the dead from the church treasury, or as an individual. A great many brethren question usage of church funds to buy flowers for anyone dead or alive.
9. In view of the fact that you are affirming that the church may care for needy saints ONLY from it's treasury, will you please explain 2 Cor. 9:12-13, with special emphasis on the quotations "not only supplieth the want of the saints" and "liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men."?
This has been answered elsewhere.
10. Is the church as such obligated to care for orphans?
Relatives of orphans are first obligated; individual Christians are obligated next; and finally, the church might be in some very unusual circumstances obligated as a responsibility to parents who were saints.
11. Are orphans "needy saints" or nonmembers?
Orphans may be either saints or non-members.
12. How may we know when the church or an individual is meant in a verse?
We have answered this on several occasions.
13. Where does the New Testament teach the church as such to withdraw fellowship from an erring member who will not repent?
Are your sure it can actually do so collectively? Can we forbid his presence at worship services?
14. Read Romans 12:4 to 21 where Paul speaks of the "ONE BODY" and tell us ONE THING is those verses the church as such is forbidden to do.
Rom. 12:4-21 is admonition for every individual to use whatever "gift" he possesses in the proper way, and has nothing to do with church action. Where is the church forbidden to practice infant baptism?
15. The ... Church of God" denomination in this town helps to pay the loan on their new building by the members baking cookies and cakes and selling them in a downtown hotel, explain fully, giving scriptures, just why it is wrong for them to do so.
The scriptures do not provide regulations to control the activities of organizations that have no right to exist. This point has also been discussed. The collective church is not to be in business to make money because it is not authorized to do so. Gratis is too concerned about it passage to forbid something. What he needs is a passage to authorize what he wants to do; then there will not even be a search made for one that forbids it for God will not contradict Himself. Gratis how would you prove it is wrong to sprinkle babies? What passage forbids either the church or individual to do so? We repeat, we are given a "thus saith the Lord" for everything the collective church is to do, not for what must not be done.
Now for some new material for Gratis to meditate upon. In 2 Tim. 2:21 Paul instructs Timothy that a man properly purged from iniquities is "prepared unto every good work." In Tit. 2:14; 3:1 and 8 we read that the Lord's people are to be "zealous of good works;" "ready to every good work;" and "careful to maintain good works." Parallel to these is the passage cited so often by Gratis -- Gal. 6:10. These scriptures authorize an individual in God's house to do anything that is good for any man. They authorize medical research, education, recreation and entertainment, and every other thing that is good. If any one of these passages is used to "authorize" church action in any field, area, or circumstances where good is done. Gratis, we insist you tell us why Gal. 6:10 does not authorize church action to build a gymnasium.
We have shown by the scriptures (I Tim. 5:16) and by Gratis' admission that the church is limited in caring for needy people. In Acts 3 :1-11 we read the account of the healing of the lame man. He requested money (an alms) from Peter and John. They were two of the apostles who had charge of the funds that were held in common by the church (Acts 2:44-45 and 4:32-35; 11). In spite of this control over these "common funds" Peter told the blind man there was no silver or gold for him. If it was lawful to share these funds with him, Peter is convicted of speaking falsely. Remember, Acts 2:45 says these common goods were given to all as need occurred. Acts 4:34-3.5 says none lacked and distribution was made to every man as he bad need and under the supervision of the apostles. Why did Peter refuse financial aid to the man at the beautiful gate under these circumstances? Here is another syllogism for Gratis:
Major Premise: The apostles were guided into all truth, and thus guided the church into all truth regarding things God wanted the church to do. Jno. 14: 26; 15:26; 16:7-13 and Mt. 16:19.
Minor Premise: The apostles did not guide the early church into the practice of helping all needy from the church's "common funds." Acts 3:6.
Conclusion: Practicing such is not a part of God's truth, nor what He wants the church to do.
In Gal. 2:10 Paul says he was requested by the brethren in Jerusalem to remember the Poor. "Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do." When we notice what Paul did when he "also was forward" to remember the poor we find him instructing churches to help the needy saints. Thus we know that churches are being "forward" to remember the poor when they also hell) needy saints. When we go beyond that we are being too "forward I" In Acts 24:17 we find Paul speaking of his journey to bring alms to his nation, but in Rom. 15:25-31 we find this journey was that he might bring a gift only to needy saints in Jerusalem. When the church was involved in the collective sense the only record we have is of material help to needy saints.
Gratis introduced Lev. 10:1-3 as teaching a principle he thinks I may use to bind things on the church. The principle is not mentioned. Here it is; see if you can figure out why Gratis did not mention it. No man is given the freedom to practice In his service to God that which God has not authorized! Yes, I preach that--not as church action, but a lesson to all in the church. I do not use Gal. 6:6 as collective church action. If Gratis will read the first few verses of Eph. 6 he will find some instructions to Christians that might "promote New Testament Christianity" that are limited to individuals. The which of I Cor. 1 :2 and 2 Cor. 2:1 is singular because there was only one church there.
Remember, the silence of the scriptures binds us to what is authorized, and does not give us freedom to do everything that is not forbidden.-Adelphos.
SECOND NEGATIVE by Gratis
Adelphos, Mr. Editor, Ladies and Gentlemen: Notice, please, the untenable positions into which my opponent has jumped during these discussions. 1. The church cannot love. 2. The church cannot have faith. 3. The church cannot have patience. 4. The church cannot take communion. 5. The church cannot withdraw from the ungodly. 6. The church cannot "warn the unruly" nor "see that none render evil for evil unto any man" without having a police force and a jail! 7. There is no command in the scriptures for the church to pay its debts. 8. That it is "foolish" to buy flowers out of the church treasury for funerals. 9. He "questions" the usage of the church funds to buy flowers for the sick. 10. That the church may be "in some very unusual circumstances obligated" to help some little orphans, but, then not out of any compassion for them or for their state in life, but merely "as a responsibility to parents who were saints." Now why all of this? Merely because Adelphos has fallen for the human fancy that the church cannot help a non-member and therefore he sees fit to take these extremes to maintain a semblance of consistency! There can be no other reason in the world for an otherwise intelligent man to take such ridiculous positions. I want to go on record here and now as labeling each one of them completely false!
Keep in mind, friends, that I made it clear in my last paper that I believe the church must have authority for all that it does. The difference between Adelphos and Gratis on this point is simply that Gratis does not believe a thing must be specified to be authorized and Adelphos evidently does! Now Adelphos says that Heb. 10:25 authorizes the meeting house. But, I did not ask for authority to have a PLACE to meet. I asked for authority for the church to build a church building! He says a thing not mentioned must be "Inherent" in the command to be authorized. But a building built by the church at an expense of many thousands of dollars is not inherent in the command to assemble! A place to assemble is inherent, yes, but the church could meet under a tree, in a cave, or a rented hall! The outlay of a hundred thousand dollars to build a church building is NOT inherent in the command to assemble in Heb. 10:25. I believe the church has freedom and right to build one, however, and I suppose Adelphos does also (although in view of some of the positions he has taken in this discussion so far I would not be too surprised if he said that he did not believe it). But we asked for the authority for the church to build a building and what passage did our "logician" point out? A scripture telling individuals to assemble! My dear Adelphos, if Heb. 10:25 is authority for building a church building it is (according to your arguments in this debate) authority for individuals to build one not for the church to do so out of its treasury!!! Now face it, Adelphos, where is the authority for the church, get it now, not the individual, but the church, to build a church building and use money out of the treasury?? We demand that you tell us!
Now, friends, why all this? Simply because our friend and those who stand with him admit that many things may be done out of the church treasury for which there is no specific authority in the New Testament, but, inconsistently demand that we find a scripture which says the "collective church" using these words, or, that the "church as such" using these words, may help a person who is a non-member. I really believe that I would have to produce a verse which used the very words "collective church" or "the church as such" In order to convince my opponent and others that the church could help a non-member; this seems to be what they demand. Yet, all the while, they will accept many other things for which there is no such specification! This convinces me and will convince many readers of the error of their position.
Adelphos is not only confused about what some verses mean, but, he is also confused as to his own use of the verses. He said concerning I Tim. 5:16, remember reader, this passage was not introduced to show the church could never help some Christians . . ." At just about the middle of his first affirmative, Adelphos began a paragraph with these words: "The church is strictly forbidden to help some needy people (is noted above . . ." But what verse had he used "above"? Why I Tim. 5:6! Adelphos DID use the verse to show the church could never help some. We showed that he was in error. We explained that Paul was not strictly forbidding" the church to help any one, he was merely stating that if the individuals in their family did not do it, the church would be charged with their care! Mark off I Tim. 5 :16, it does not teach the church can not help some. What other verse, then, could Adelphos use to show the church could not help some? Why 2 Thess. 3:10-11, of course, BUT WAIT, Adelphos claims he did not use this to forbid church action! He says he merely said this is what Gratis thinks about it. He says he does not believe it refers to the church. But Adelphos is confused about his use of this verse and let me insist, readers, that you go back and notice some of his uses of the passage and see that Adelphos has caught himself in a trap and after Gratis called his attention to it he is now trying to wriggle out of it-But we are not going to let him do it.I quote from page six of his first affirmative, ". . . and 2 Thess. 3:10-11 implies that if a Christian is willing to work the church can feed him if circumstances prevail that make it impossible for him to feed himself." Now, Adelphos, forget about what Gratis said about the passage, this is what you said about it! You said it "implies" that the church can help some if they are willing to work and need help! You used it to prove the church could take positive action! It is dishonest to do a thing and then say, "I did not do it."
Now, friends, why all this? Simply because Adelphos has chided me for using I Thess. 3 :12-13 to prove the church can help "all men." When he thus used 2 Thess. 3:10-11 in application to the church, I pointed out his inconsistency and challenged him to show why he admitted one passage referred to the church (2 Thess. 3:10) but absolutely denied that the other (I Thess. 3:12-13) could possibly refer to the church. Adelphos felt the force of this point, he could not answer the challenge, and hoping I would not notice, he denied ever having used the passage in 2 Thessalonians in this way. You can see his error, I'm sure, dear readers, even if he cannot!
He tries also to show that I have changed my position on 2 Thess. 3:10 since the beginning of this discussion. But I challenge him to produce the statement which shows this to be true. I have never said the church could help a non-member or Christian either who refused to work!
Acts 4:34-35 says "as many as" were possessors of lands or houses sold them and gave the money to, the church. I suppose Adelphos would try to go to Clarke, or Barnes, or Thayer and prove all did not do it, for he says they did not. At any rate we asked him to distinguish between individual and church responsibility during this period of church history, and, refusing to do so he proved that he could not do it.
Adelphos says concerning I Cor. 16:1-2, "Gratis, Paul is instructing the individuals to supply a collected fund for the needy saints." Why may we not with equal force say about Gal. 6:10, "Paul is instructing the individuals to do collective good unto all men"? Adelphos takes certain liberties with the scriptures he will not allow others to take, thus, he builds his own private theories.
Now Adelphos labors much and takes great pains to try to show that we have missed the teaching of 2 Cor. 9:12-14. He notes that the word "men" in verse 13 is not in the original. Let us admit that, does it change the meaning? The word "your" is not in the original either, does it change the meaning? Adelphos uses several other verses which make use of the world "all." He says the word is sometimes used to mean a "certain definite whole" and let us also admit this. But is it so used in 2 Cor. 9-13 ? Which other passage did he use that was an exact parallel to 2 Cor. 9:13 ? Not a one! The other verses he mentioned uses the word "all" it is true, but, they do not mention some and then add, "and unto all" as does 2 Cor. 9:13. For instance, Jas. 1:5 does not say God gives wisdom to those who ask of Him, "and unto all." If it did we would understand that he gives wisdom to all, period. And 2 Tim. 4:16 does not say that those who once stood with Paul forsook him, "and all others," if it did, we would understand that all, period, forsook him! Neither is Acts 2:45 an exact parallel to 2 Cor. 9:13. And so all this has nothing to do with a correct interpretation of the passage! That verse says, ". . . liberal distribution unto them, (antecedent-saints) and unto all" and it is upon this, whether it be "necessary" or on1y "remotely possible," I based my point that other than needy saints were also helped.
Now friends, I know "saints" are specified in many verses regarding this distribution. And I believe for good cause. Gal. 6:10 teaches us that the members of the church are our first responsibility-they hold the preference. Especially in an hour of tragedy or emergency, our brethren should come first. But, honestly, men and brethren, I cannot conceive of Christian people going through a starving community with food and clothing and medical care and refusing to help a man simply because he was a non-member. Does Adelphos reason that this starving man will get up and run and be baptized so that he can be affiliated with this bunch who helps only their own ? I doubt it. And, if he did obey just because he wanted the "loaves and fishes" would his obedience be acceptable? Does Adelphos really mean that the church of Christ would pass through helping only church members, while John Doe, a member of the church could come along behind them, helping non-members out of his pocket? How much success would John Doe have with these non-members after feeding them, if he tried to convert them to a religion which bars helping anyone but her own? Friends, I have considered this matter more seriously in the past few weeks than ever before, and I pronounce it silly, ridiculous and absurd to say the church cannot help a non-member under any circumstances. Besides this, it is anti-Biblical, as we have shown. In the religion founded by Jesus Christ, whatever good point is to be characteristic of an individual follower is also to be characteristic of the entire group!
Adelphos has tried to make something of the expression "do good" in Gal. 6:10 and insinuates that this contains something which would be unscriptural for the church to do. I firmly believe that the church can help a family without that family having to take its children out of school; without that family having to give up all recreation and bodily exercise; without that family having to stop tending the garden which they have planted. But, according to our opponent's reasoning, when the church undertakes to help a family in need, the man must stop gardening to try to provide some of his own food; for this would put the church into the farming business! The church could not help a family who was spending some money sending children to school; for this would put the church into the educational business! The church could not help a family who was paying hospital and doctor bills; for this would put the church into the medical business! The children of any family helped by the church must not play ball nor get any exercise; for this would put the church in the recreational business! Let all those who will believe this tommy-rot, but I cannot accept it -not until someone produces much better evidence than my opponent during this discussion.
Let us consider the answers Adelphos gave to my questions. Under No. 1 he denies that love and material help are "inherently connected." Therefore, we can love our neighbors and still withhold that which they need which we possess in abundance! Adelphos has flatly denied Christ's teaching in Luke 10:25-37! Maybe the priest and the Levite thought they were not "inherently connected" also and that is why they acted as they did! Read about the Samaritan again, Adelphos! No. 2 again denies the plain Bible command for the church to love. Adelphos' logic with regard to 2 Cor. 8:24 being addressed to individuals is in perfect harmony with the rest of his logic-it is in error! Any reasonable person who does not have an ax to grind who will read this passage considering its context will agree that Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth, and that the "love" is the churches love, that the proof of it is their material help. No,. 4, Adelphos DID use 2 Thess. 3:10 even to show the CHURCH could take positive collective action-but now he sees his error and is trying to wriggle out of it! No. 5, if his answer is true, then, he certainly needs very much to produce the authority for the CHURCH to spend $100,000 out of its funds for a building -the same kind of authority, in the same kind of words he expects me to produce for the church taking money out of its treasury to help needy non-members! No. 6, I just knew that we would get Adelphos to deny the church was commanded to pay its debts out of the treasury. Friends, a man is in pretty bad shape when he will go this far to try to be consistent, isn't he? No. 7, Does any one in our reading audience understand the evasive answer Adelphos gave to this question ? No. 8, For his information, I was using the Baptist "for" in this question and I think his answer is rather "foolish," don't you? No. 9, Adelphos THINKS he answered this question but he did not! I have found a verse which says "not only," he has not found one which says "needy saints only" may be helped by the church. No. 10, Disregarding the peculiar ideas contained in this answer, we still have Adelphos giving us another "legal loop-hole" by which the church may in some very unusual circumstances" help some orphans who are non-members. (10 & 11.) We have two "loop-holes" now Adelphos and your proposition, quote ONLY unquote, is beginning to fade more and more. Are there other "loop-holes," Adelphos? 12, Again, Adelphos THINKS he has answered it, but, we know now that he is confused about how to tell whether the church or the individual is meant as will witness his own use of 2 Thess. 3:10 and Heb. 10:25 and other scriptures. 13. This was almost funny enough to provoke laughter! Adelphos' question and comment about the church taking communion implied he thinks it is all on an individual basis. He said that true "fellowship" between a member and non-member is impossible. But now he says the collective church cannot withdraw fellowship from anyone because "we cannot forbid their presence at worship services!" Well, we all know just why Adelphos said the church can't withdraw from the ungodly. He knows that if he admits 2 Thess. 3:6 applies to the church, he will also have to admit that I Thess. 3:12-13 applies to the church. He is over a barrel! In view of your answer, Adelphos, explain how the church or the individual either one could obey 2 Thess. 3:6!! 14. Yes, we knew that even a scripture dealing with the "one body" would be broken down into individuals. Did we not say that it would take a verse which said "collective church" or "church as such," using these very words, to convince Adelphos? 15. Adelphos, if I told you about a "church of Christ" which does the same thing that the "Church of God" does in this town, would you be willing to answer my question without quibbling? Friends, may I say that the evasive manner in which my opponent has dealt with these questions speaks rather eloquently of the weakness of his position.
Adelphos gives 2 Tim. 2:21, Tit. 2:14 and Gal. 6:10 and implies something sinister which the church could not possibly do is found in these verses. Although we mentioned it before we shall say again, that the church can do anything the individual can do to promote New Testament Christianity. Yes, the church can help a family which is down and out and that family can continue to do anything that is "good."
Adelphos has misused I Tim. 5:16 to try to limit the churches action in benevolence. He has caught himself in a deadly trap by his use of 2 Thess. 3:10-11. And now we have one of the worst cases of misused scripture I think I have ever witnessed among any of my brethren. His misuse of Acts 3 :1-11 is so glaringly evident that it is hardly needful for me to call attention to it. The passage proves that Peter had nothing. He did not have control over the treasury-this sounds like a Catholic tainted idea! Adelphos previously stated that "no individual" controls the treasury. Peter's miracle was to bring about an opportunity to preach the gospel and he would have done it even if he had money to give to the man! Hence, the first premise in Adelphos' "syllogism" is accepted but the second must be rejected and the conclusion refuted. Adelphos is really hard-up for an argument to invent one like this!
I wonder if Adelphos will tell us whether or not the church is commanded to "remember the poor" in Gal. 2:10. If so, we have some interesting questions about Gal. 6:10; if not, it does not concern our discussion. And Rom. 15:25-31 does not say "saints only" just as Rom. 5 :1 does not say "faith only" and may I suggest that one is as false as the other? He wants to know how I would go about forbidding infant baptism. Well, I will say that if the Bible said, "the Samaritans heard and were baptized, men and women and all" (which would parallel Acts 8:12 with 2 Cor. 9:13) I would find it rather difficult to do so!
In my first negative I said Adelpbos would argue that the command in Gal. 6:6 may be obeyed by either the church or the individual, but he denies that the command in Gal. 6:10 may be obeyed by the church. His reply was that he does not think Gal. 6:6 applies to collective church action. But this is just another dodge! I said the command found in Gal. 6:6 may be obeyed by either the church or the individual, according to Adelphos. But he will deny the command in Gal. 6:10 may be obeyed by the church. This is but another of his errors.
And Adelphos says we are commanded as individuals to help all men. But some have nothing left with which to help all men after they have given to the church. Therefore, these cannot obey the command to help all men! But if all men are helped from the treasury all have a part in that work.-Gratis.
Truth Magazine II:10, pp. 4-12