Set for the Defense — Jerusalem A Sponsoring Church?

By Larry Hafley

Various men “at sundry times and divers manners” have attempted to establish authority for a “sponsoring church.” (One that oversees the funds and function of other churches in a work to which all have equal responsibility is designated a “sponsoring church.”) Not a few of these efforts have ranged from the preposterous to the ridiculous, from the inane to the absurd. All have been unsuccessful and unscriptural. The latest of these endeavors was made by Brother Gordon Brewer, preacher for the church in Streator, Illinois.

While taking advantage of the open pulpit of the Plano church on March 7, 1971, Brother Brewer set about to find scriptural authority for a diocesan eldership. He reasoned thusly:

(1) Antioch sent relief to the brethren in Judea (Acts 11: 21-36).

(2) Rom. 15:25-27. 31; 1 Co. 16:1-3; 2 Co. 8 & 9 show relief was sent to Jerusalem.

(3) CONCLUSION: The Jerusalem elders were the overseeing, sponsoring church for the aid sent to Judea.

His argument is based on the false assumption and assertion: that the incident in Acts 11: 27-30 is the same as the one in Rom. 15, 1 Co. 16, and 2 Co. 8 & 9. “They twain shall be one.” In this manner, the Jerusalem church would become the (“sponsoring”) elders referred to in Acts 11:30.

Not the Same

The occurrences are not one event they refer to two totally separate incidents.

I. Different Needy:

A. “Brethren . . . in Judaea” (Acts 11:29).

B. “Poor saints… at Jerusalem” (Rom. 15:25, 26).

CONCLUSION: Antioch sent to the Judean province, to the elders of the churches there, while the churches of Galatia, Macedonia, and Corinth sent relief “for Jerusalem” in particular, hence, two different circumstances.

II. Different Messengers:

A. “Barnabas and Saul” (Acts 11:30).

B. Paul, Titus and others (2 Co. 8:1623; 1 Co. 16:3).

NOTE, Paul and Barnabas were no longer working together as they were in Acts 11. A sharp contention separated them (Acts 15:36-40).

CONCLUSION: Different deliverers reveal two occasions (Cf. Acts 12:25).

III. Different Times:

A. Acts 11:27-30 (about 45 A.D.) (Acts 11:18, 26, 28)

B. Rom. 15, 1 Co. 16, and 2 Co. 8 & 9 (about 58 A.D.) (Acts 20:22, 23; 21:10-15)

CONCLUSION: A casual reading of the book of Acts reveals two separate events in time (Acts 12:25, 21:17).

IV. Different Senders:

A. Antioch sent relief (Acts 11:27-36).

B. Corinth sent relief with others (I Co. 16:3).

But: The Corinthian church did not exist when relief was sent by Antioch! Corinth could not have sent relief when Antioch did, for there was no church at that time!

CONCLUSION: Different sending churches equals separate events.

There is little excuse for shallow, superficial dealing with the Scriptures as engaged in by our friend and brother, Gordon Brewer. Beware lest misguided love and zeal provide nonexistent Scriptures for unscriptural schemes.

August 3, 1972