Thursday, April 16, 2009

People's Reactions

I find it very interesting in the responses that I get from people that state (on website, from the pulpit, at Bible studies, etc.) the importance of having an open mind and heart and the importance of doing good as Christians. To actually preach on these attributes and then enact them in reality are two different things. In my articles on authority, I have some of the following reactions:

1) Sarcasm,
2) Emotional scripture,
3) Limited use of scripture and yet misapplied,
4) Completely ignoring the matter and refusal to discuss.

A couple of generations ago (50 years ago), many people split from the church on issues such as instrumental music and use of the treasury for benevolence and other similar issues. This all boiled down to scriptural authority and lack of respect of God's Spirit and His desires.

Romans 10:17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

A true faith in God comes from hearing, reading and studying God's word. We have generations of Christians that have no idea of how to approach the scriptures appropriately and just blindly follow their preacher or TV evangelists while never realizing the errors of their ways. God is very particular and will not share the stage with any other idols or doctrines. I am teaching a class on Isaiah and we see how serious God is about obedience and how we must show our love for him through obedience and not perverting his plan.

I am a retired Air Force fighter pilot that has pretty thick skin. I can accept personal attacks of anger, emotion, and misdirected lashings. However, I get upset when I hear the word of God perverted, ignored, and conformed to this world as people don't even bother to open the good book up anymore. If you are serious about doing what's right, let's study the Bible and be united as Jesus prayed for and Paul demanded. May God bless our effort.

Reply to Comments on Authority and Benevolence

I have received a few emails from those that I had written in reference to my concern on the authority of building kitchens, dining halls, etc. in support of recruiting new members and as a community service. I have posted their responses here and my comments. I will continue to post further comments as applicable. I encourage your comments and use of scripture.


The authority is in Matthew 25. How you miss that shows how far from the heart of Christ your search for "authority" has taken you. We cannot be "of Christ" without doing the things Christ would do - feeding the poor, meeting the needs of others, etc. And since God at no time authorizes a church treasury, how we use money in the church treasury can't really be an authority issue. As for you Ann, may God glorify His name through the work you are doing and provide every need you may have.

Preacher in Texas

Thank you for your comment. However, your response is quite troublesome knowing that an evangelist of such a large church would respond in this manner. Firstly, Matthew 25 speaks to our individual responsibilities. This in no way authorizes a congregation to burden its funds with the material aspects of this world except as indicated for brethren in need, evangelists, elders, etc. as outlined and authorized in other verses. If you apply Matthew 25 to church responsibility then you must include Matt 25:46:

Mt 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

You are therefore implying that the congregation will be judged on its responsibility as a congregation rather than individuals and their responsibilities.

Romans 14:10-12 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Your implication causes the scriptures to contradict themselves with this passage. God takes His authority very seriously as I have outlined in my blogs for the last 15 months. You state, "...God at no time authorizes a church treasury." Yet, you admit that your congregation has a treasury and use it in any manner you deem necessary. This is not only hypocritical but direct disobedience of God's word.

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

We do have authority for a treasury, and we better have authority for all we do. How do you justify volleyball teams, church uniforms, Superbowl parties, church dinners, recreation, etc.? We must stop perverting the Word of God and do as He has commanded. Let us depart from this social Gospel that our denominational friends have adopted and get back to the Word of God.

Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.


Not sure how Springfield COC got into this conversation loop, but thank you to the brother who spoke up for the ladies who are living out Christ's love. Praying for hearts that need his perfect love to drive out the fears of doubt and desire for rightness rather than righteousness. I will note that the initial e-mail did indicate those using the building were new converts--a point missed by the "authority respondent." Not that that matters! Those in defense mode jump so quickly to that stance.May we all reach out to people--gee, in the most radical kind of love to even feed and love our enemies. May grace, mercy and compassion about. May all know we are disciples by love not legality.

Church Admin Assistant

To use an exclamation from other respondents...WOW. Firstly, I did email the lady in question to confirm that this was not just to provide for needy members as the Scriptures authorize. She verified that these kitchens and services were for all in the community. Her email implies that this is a recruiting tool and has led to new converts.

Your priorities of righteousness over rightness and love over legality shows your lack of understanding of God's insistence on obedience. Jesus stated,

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

We show love to God and His son by our obedience of His commandments. This includes our worship, our daily lives, and respecting His authority. I heard a preacher once say that I would much rather be called a "legalist" than what you would otherwise be, an "illegalist." I will state again that the most loving and righteous thing we can do is to help others as individuals and not burden the church with unauthorized practices. God tells us to concentrate on the spiritual and not the physical. We see that time after time. Those who feel they can do a service to the non-believers by feeding them and clothing them with the church funds, find that the consequences are far reaching as with any error.

Please read through my blogs and open the Bible to study this subject in depth.


Wow! I would concur with the last respondent from Springfield and brother Collier. Jesus said "The spirit of the LORD is upon me because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, he has sent me to heal the broken hearted ..." You should know the rest. That was Jesus' vision and should be ours. Let's just humble pray for them and do what we can to help each other - by prayer or donation. Peace,

Preacher from Virginia

Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised...

This passage, a quote from Isaiah 61:1, is the fulfillment of a prophecy of Christ and His mission here on earth. I absolutely agree that we must follow His example and do as He has commanded. This is a message of deliverance and healing the spiritually lost, i.e. teaching God's word and spreading His message. This is not a physical message of feeding the poor, non-believers as a work of the church. Once again, this is an individual Christian's responsibility to help those in need that are hungry and thirsty and naked and ill.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Is Benevolence Also Subject to Authority?

One of the most emotionally driven arguments that throws authority out the window deals with benevolence and the role of the church. I recently concluded our authority class and the study finished with authority, benevolence and the role of the church versus the individual. Ironically, that very day prior to our class, I received an email from a local congregation asking for monetary support to help expand their kitchen and dining facility that they use to feed those in need and use to “convert people.”

I feel that I am a benevolent man. I could do much more and try to help those in need. As a matter of background, let me explain. I have adopted two children in addition to our three biological ones (don’t ask me which because I often forget). I am a leader and participant in the Boys Scouts of America and my wife is a Girl Scout leader. We have led and organized many benevolent activities through these organizations, our schools and as individuals. However, in our studies of the Scriptures, we find that the role of the church is limited in providing church funds in benevolence, evangelism and edification.

When examining the Scriptures on this subject, we approach it the same way in which we do anything else. We look for direct commands, approved examples, or necessary implication. When discussing this subject with more liberal minded brethren, I have only heard harsh name calling such as ‘orphan haters’ or ‘antis.’ People will use passages such as Galatians 6:10 and James 1:27 to justify their actions in provided food, money, and supplies from the church treasury to non-believers.

Gal 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Jas 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

These two verses are excellent verses in giving us the proper attitude and commands for what we are to do but when we examine the chapters in whole, we find that the writers are speaking to individual actions and our individual responsibilities as Christians. This in no way authorizes nor burdens the churches with this action to non-believers. The church is, however, commanded to provide benevolence to its members. Let’s look at a list of verses that outline the church’s responsibility in this area.

1. All that believed… Acts 2:44-45
2. Them that believed…Acts 4:32-35
3. The disciples…Acts 6:1
4. Relief unto the brethren…Acts 11:29
5. Unto the saints…Rom 15:26
6. For the poor saints…Rom 15:26
7. Accepted of the saints…Rom 15:31
8. Collection for the saints…1 Cor 16:1
9. Ministering to the saints…2 Cor 8:4
10. The ministering to the saints…2 Cor 9:1
11. Supplieth the need of the saints…2 Cor 9:12
12. Relieve them are widows indeed…1 Tim 5:16

Everyone of these passages speak to the church’s role in benevolence and use of its funds. As we can see, every time this support is to fellow brethren and not to the unbeliever. This shows the wisdom of God and his perfect church. If we began to provide food, clothing, shelter, etc. as a work of the church, the church would never have the time to concentrate on the primary mission to teach and preach the Gospel. As we see in this other Williamsburg congregation’s need to grow a kitchen and dining hall, God’s authority and His message is no longer a spiritual one but a physical one. I ask you this--if the food was cut off, how many of these new converts would simply leave? Were they converted to the word of God or to the filling of their bellies? This may seem uncaring but God gave us the responsibility as individuals to help those in need throughout the world. Putting a $25 or $50 check into the collection basket to help feed the community is not God’s idea of benevolence and helping those in need. We must be active in our daily lives in helping others. This proactive lifestyle is much more demanding than putting this unauthorized burden on the church.

I challenge anyone to show me through the Scriptures that any congregation of God’s church provided relief or benevolence to those that were not members of His church. To go beyond God’s word is to condemn oneself.

Revelation 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.