By Bill Fling
From Vancover, British Columbia, a church bulletin carried this announcement:
“It is requested that no equipment or furnishings such as typewriter, coffeemaker, etc. be taken from the building without permission from the building committee.”
The Lord’s church in many places is using some strange pieces of equipment. Of course the church has a legitimate need of communion trays, a meetinghouse, a place for teaching Bible classes, a baptistery and other things to carry out the commands of the Head of the church. These have been used for years by faithful churches.
Within the last few decades, however, some unusual pieces of chattel have been acquired by various churches. A church in San Francisco has ping pony tables; one in Long Beach has a gymnasium; and others have baseball bats. Several churches now have recreation rooms (sometimes called “fellowship halls”) with coffeemakers, double-door refrigerators, restaurant-type gas ranges, and drawers of silverware.
My question is, What command of the Lord do these things contribute to? What authority do churches have with these things and the activities they represent7 As an individual Christian, I can serve coffee to friends, play on a ball team, or buy a stove; because they come within the scope of my personal responsibility. But the church has no authority from Christ to do such things. Or is there a Bible command for congregational socials, “entertaining yourselves in pies, punch and playful songs?” Did Paul write, “when ye come together to take tea, tell tales’ and joke jestingly?” Did Jude say to “earnestly root for the church ball team?”
What church in the New Testament had a “chariot racing team” or “playtime schedule for persecuted saints?” Did Jerusalem have a “Fun, Fellowship and Frolic” program? If not, how can a church, which claims to follow their pattern, have coffeemakers, ping pony tables, and such like. IN THE ABSENCE OF A COMMAND TO EXPEDI TE, WE CANNOT ARGUE FOR EXPEDIENTS. They must abandon the pattern if they want things which are not in the pattern.
Many grownups are wanting to play like children and expect the church to subsidize and supervise it. One of the sins of Israel was –“They rose up to play.” (1 Cor. 10:7.) Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 188, says “play” is PAIZO (Gr.) “properly, to play as a child, hence denotes to play as in dancing and making merry.” This was connected with idolatry and methinks fun and pleasure have become idols to some. (II Tim. 3:4.)
During the digression of 100 years ago, a little old lady protested the bringing into the church building of the first piano. They put it in, but she took an axe to it one night and chopped it up. She said it had “no business there.” We need some little old ladies to chop up some other things today “which have no business” in the Lord’s church.
Truth Magazine VI: 11, pp. 23-24