By Hoyt H. Houchen
Question: Is it scriptural for a church to set aside part of its treasury for investments such as mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.?
Reply: The matter of a church having a bank account, and whether or not the account draws interest, is incidental. This has been discussed.
The question as to whether or not it is scriptural for the church to seek out investments that will make money for the church is an entirely different matter. When a church undertakes to invest in real estate, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc. to increase the treasury, it assumes a work which God has not authorized. The primary work of the church is to preach the gospel that souls will be saved.
The New Testament teaches that the local church is to preach the gospel (1 Tim. 3:14, 15), provide for the benevolent needs of the saints for whom it is responsible (Rom. 15:25,26; 1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 8,9, etc.) and to edify the saints by Bible teaching. Money to do this threefold work is to be raised by the individual members contributing their money upon the first day of the week (1 Cor. 16:1-4; 2 Cor. 9:7). This is God’s plan for raising the necessary funds for the church to do its work. The church is not to raise its money by promotional schemes such as pie suppers and quilt sales. Neither is the church to raise its money by seeking out investments. These do not fit into the Lord’s plan.
The church is not in the entertainment business; nor does God authorize his church to provide recreational facilities such as ping pong tables, basketball and volleyball courts, youth camps, etc. These things do not constitute the work of the church. Neither does seeking out investments to enlarge its treasury constitute the work of the church.
Investments such as those named above may be made by individuals, but not by the Lord’s church. Again, it is a matter of recognizing the difference between what the individual may scripturally do and what the church may scripturally do (how it may spend its money). If this distinction is made and properly applied, confusion about the church and its work will be removed.
Guardian of Truth XXXII: 4, p. 101
February 18, 1988