Don't Be the Loser

Rick Duggin
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

The boss evaluated the Born Loser's speech by saying, "Oh, he presents a convincing argument . . . unhampered as he is by facts and information."

I had to identify with the boss's reaction recently while reading an article in Charles Holt's paper, The Examiner. Calvin Warpula tried to prove that Colossians 4:16 provides authority for churches to send money to other churches for the purpose of preaching the gospel.

The Scriptures plainly prove that churches of the New Testament sent money to other churches in benevolent situations when they were unable to provide for their own (1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8,9). The Scriptures also plainly prove that churches sent money to evangelists to support them in preaching the gospel (2 Cor. 11:8). But where is scriptural authority for one church to send money to another church to preach the gospel?

While we should always be ready to restudy any passage in order to guard against false conclusions, we must not assume that an article written by an educated man guarantees that his conclusions are scriptural. "Smart" men have caused many apostasies.

The purpose of our present article is (1) to present the consequences of Warpula's contention, and (2) to express the truth taught by this passage. "And when this epistle hath been read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye also read the epistle from Laodicea."

(1) Warpula and others assume that, since a church may send Scriptures to another church, therefore a church may send money to another church with which it may purchase the Scriptures. The actual, but unstated, major premise of this argument is that a church may send money to anyone or anything to whom it may send Scriptures.

May a church send Scriptures to Muslim leaders, to communist officials, to Roman Catholic churches in order to teach them the truth? If so . . . would it be scriptural for churches to send money to Muslim leaders? May churches send money to communist officials? May churches send money to Roman Catholic churches to help them in purchasing Bibles? Will Warpula accept these consequences? Whatever proves too much proves nothing.

(2) Many claim that the epistles of the New Testament were merely private "love letters" whose authoritative pronouncements do not bind us. If this is true, then why was Paul so concerned about copying them and sharing them with others? Would it be mutually edifying for you and me to exchange personal letters?

Paul was concerned with spreading the word of God. Isn't it interesting that he thought this could be accomplished by sharing these epistles?

Apparently he did not accept the modern theory that we should preach the man (Matthew-John) and forget the plan (N.T. epistles). In fact, when he spread such epistles, he was preaching Christ. "If any man thinketh himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord" (1 Cor. 14:37).

These epistles not only expressed the commandment of the Lord, but also applied to every other congregation of God, both then and now. "Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God . . . unto the church of God which is at Corinth ' even them that are sanctified in Christ, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours" (1 Cor. 1:1,2).

The same principle is found in other passages as well (Acts 15:23-29; 16:4; 2 Pet. 1:13,14; 3:16). This special treatment of the epistles led to the formation of the New Testament canon.

Don't be deceived by convincing arguments . . . unhampered by facts and information. Anyone who is thus deceived will definitely be the loser.

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 9, p. 278
May 7, 1992