By Larry Ray Hafley
Since the question is broad and general, the answer must deal with the New Testament mold or form of doctrine. The church cannot do anything that is not authorized by its head, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:22,, 23). Whatever is not in harmony with what the Bible reveals is a sinful practice. Let us see what the pattern for one church to send money to another church is in the word o# God. When we do so, we shall have all the truth, and all that is contrary to it is sin (Matt. 28:20; 2 Jn. 9).
In order to have scriptural baptism, one must have:
1. THE PROPER ACTION: Baptism is immersion (Acts 8:35-39; Rom. 6:4). No other action is found in the Scriptures. Whatever differs from this is improper or unscriptural action. Sprinkling, for example, is an improper, unscriptural action.
2. THE PROPER SUBJECTS: Subjects for baptism must be penitent believers (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). There is no exception to this in the Bible. Any person who does not fulfill these qualifications is an improper, unscriptural candidate. Unbelievers are improper subjects.
3. THE PROPER ACTION: Baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38); that is, to be saved (Mk. 16:16; 1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism for other purposes cannot be documented with Scripture, hence, they are improper, unscriptural reasons for baptism. Baptism as an “outward profession of an inward faith and salvation” is an improper, unscriptural purpose.
Regarding the sending of money from one church to another church, the Bible reveals:
1. THE PROPER ACTION: A gift from one church to another church (1 Cor. 16:1-3). Each church collects and gives. This is the proper action. Another action, such as the pooling of funds of churches under one overseeing church and eldership, is improper and unscriptural. Such action simply is not found in the New Testament. No church ever sent through another church, never had another church as its agent, for any purpose. The centralization of funds under one church is parallel to sprinkling. It is another action.
2. THE PROPER SUBJECTS: The churches must have inequality; that is, there must be a church with power or ability to give and a church in want or need (2 Cor. 8:12-14). There is no exception to these subjects in the New Testament. Whenever goods were exchanged, one church was able to give and another was in need–there was inequality. The need concerned the “poor saints” (Rom. 15:25-27). Other subjects, churches able to meet the needs of their saints, are improper and unscriptural. Churches sending money to churches with equality are improper subjects. It is like baptizing one who does not believe; they are not scriptural subjects.
3. THE PROPER DESIGN: The proper design is, said Paul, “that there may be equality” (2, Cor. 8:14). This is the purpose of the gift from one church to. another church. “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance also may be a supply for your want:: that there may be equality” (2 Con 8:13, 14). If relief, easing the burden of others from the supply of another “that there may be equality” is not the reason one church sends money to another church, it is an improper, unscriptural reason.
The answer to our querist’s question must be negative. “Can one baptize another for just any reason?” No, baptism must be performed in strict accordance and adherence to the New Testament pattern. So it is with money sent from one church to another church. “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col. 3:17).
Truth Magazine, XX:26, p. 2
June 24, 1976