Know Your Bible

VOL. 9                           August 22, 2010                           NO. 34

Churches and Their Building


            Burton Coffman, in his Commentary on Romans, makes the following comment concerning the church's meeting in the house of Aquila and Pricilla:


“In view of this historical fact, and the inspired evidence of it before our eyes, one may only marvel at the divisions among brethren over the question of whether or not food may be served in a church house! From the facts, as evidenced in, the example of Priscilla and Aquila, it can safely be inferred that anything a Christian might do in his house could under the proper circumstances, be done in a religious meeting house, the home in fact having been the original meeting house of the apostolic church” (513).


            We suspect that our readers are surprised at such a statement. Do we really believe that anything that can be done in one's home can be done appropriately in the meeting house owned by the church?


            But wait! This is not the real issue involved in the "division" mentioned above. According to these brethren not only can churches serve meals in their meeting houses but they can build the facilities into their meeting houses that are needed for serving meals - and this from the money contributed for the Lord's work. Could we not carry brother Coffman's reasoning one step further, and say that anything a Christian might build into his house can, under the proper circumstances, be built into religious meeting houses? Bedrooms? Swimming pools? Recreation rooms? We know a family who has built a beauty shop into their house. A beauty shop in the church building? And the lady gives perms and sets hair as a business in her home. Could she do this "under proper circumstances" in the church building? In fact, it is at least possible that Aquila and Priscilla had a "tent-making" area in their house, for that was their occupation. A tent factory built into the meeting house with money from the treasury?


            Besides, we have known of churches that met in YMCA's, union halls, prisons, and courthouses. Does it follow that anything a Christian might do in one of these facilities "could, under proper circumstances," be done in a religious meeting house?


            The truth is a church meeting house is authorized as an aid to worship and Bible teaching, which are God-ordained church activities. Whatever is needful to facilitate these God-ordained activities should therefore be built into meeting houses. In keeping with this, if God ordains social activities, recreation, and secular education as local church activities, churches should build facilities, and provide food, balls, bats, racquets, school teachers, books, etc., that will serve as aids to these activities. But if they are not God-ordained church activities, churches have no authority to build into their buildings facilities for such. And to do that for which there is no authority is sin (2 Jn. 9; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 1 Jn. 3:4). This is the real issue in this controversy.  


                                                                                                                                                                                  ---Bill Hall


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            There is much dishonesty in the world. Dishonesty is found in the religious world as well as in politics, the business world, educational institutions and social circles. We are faced with many temptations to be dishonest in various ways. However, as Christians we are not governed by the same principles that regulate others. The principles by which we are governed are those taught in the New Testament of Jesus Christ. Let us now consider some Scriptures that deal with the subject of honesty and "providing things honest".


1. "But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it and bring forth fruit with patience." (Lk. 8:15). Do you have an honest and good heart?


2. "Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business." (Acts 6:3). Seven men of honest report were to be looked out and appointed over the business of serving tables.


3. "...Provide things honest in the sight of all men." (Rom. 12:17). We have this responsibility!


4. "Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men." (2 Cor. 8:21). Many fail in doing this.


5. "Now I pray to God that you do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that you should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates." (2 Cor. 13:7). It was Paul's desire that all saints do that which is honest. All saints should!


6. "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, that whereas they speak against you as evil doers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." (1 Pet. 2:12). Our demeanor among others should be honest so as to influence them to glorify God.


7. "Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." (Rom. 13:13). Our walking should always be honestly as in the day.


8. "That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without..." (1 Thess. 4:12). It is our duty to walk honestly toward outsiders!


9. "...In all things willing to live honestly." (Heb. 13:18). Living dishonestly should not occur in the lives of Christians!


10. Read Phil. 4:8 -- We learn from this passage that we should think on honest things!


            We should be honest in our business dealings. We should be fair and pay our debts! The Psalmist declared that "The wicked borroweth and payeth not again..." (37:21).


            In our daily activities we should act and speak with honesty. Never hypocritically or with deceit!


---Carrol R. Sutton
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