Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 15, 1971

Questions And Answers

Send All Questions To: Eugene Britnell, P. O. Box 3012, Little Rock, Arkansas 72203

From Paragould, Arkansas:

"I would like your advice on something that I have been thinking about. Brethren still place emphasis on the first day of the week contribution, and point out that other methods of raising money are wrong. Are they not inconsistent when they beg money for the Herald of Truth and the Orphan Homes? Another example is the GOSPEL EXHORTER. It states: 'Published by churches of Christ. Subscriptions are free but donations are necessary to our survival.' They have begged for donations from the beginning.

"If the above is allowable, why could we not also beg for our radio programs? to support the preacher? to meet the payments on buildings? Etc;. If the Herald of Truth and Orphan Home begging is right, does it not make void I Corinthians 16:2 as a pattern for raising money?"

I understand what the writer is talking about and can see his point. If we hold to First Corinthians 16:2 as the only means by which the work of the church may be supported, then some of the fund-raising campaigns in the brotherhood are as unscriptural as the works and organizations which are thus financed. Brethren have been known to preach one thing and practice another.

If we abandon the principles of First Corinthians 16, then the church may raise money by any honorable means, such as business enterprises, investments, farming, etc. Remember how the sectarians used to farm little blocks of land which they called "God's acre?" God's method of financing His work is for the salvation of the giver, as well as the work to be done with the money. After all, God is more interested in raising men than in raising money! Jesus taught that our hearts follow our treasure (Matt. 6:21).

I think the brethren in Northeast Arkansas who published the GOSPEL EXHORTER are inconsistent. If the paper is the work of a church or churches, then they ought to support it and stop begging others to pay the bill. But brethren — from the Herald of Truth on down — have become so accustomed to starting and operating projects at the expense of someone else that they think nothing about it. With many, it is not a question of what they can pay for, but rather what they can promote.

If we stay with the principles of First Corinthians 16:2, the church and its work must be supported by the freewill contribution of Christians upon the first day of the week. That will eliminate special campaigns, high-pressure drives, separate treasuries for special projects, collections during the week, sending trucks through the country, operating profit-making enterprises, and all such.

In the GOSPEL ADVOCATE of May 1, 1930, brother James A. Allen wrote the following:

"The Scriptures are very plain in saying that money for the service of God must be a freewill offering, laid by in store 'upon the first day of the week.' Instead of being taxed, assessed, or signed up, each is commanded to give as he may prosper'

"All agree that the church cannot run an ice-cream festival, operate a clothing store, or go into any other kind of business. All money raised by such means is a profit and loss basis, and is not God's plan for financing his work. It cannot go into the school business or the business of running anything but its own individual self. Anything more than this cometh of evil. The evil may be hidden by an outburst of zeal without knowledge, but the evil is there and the day of reckoning will come.

"A solicitor goes out to raise money for some institution that is not a local congregation, but that proposes to do the work that God commands the congregation to do. He paints a glowing picture, artfully uses the most sacred things to touch the noblest and tenderest cords of the heart. He is doing it, not to make the one he solicits a better Christian or do his duty better, but purely to raise money. He either gets a salary or receives a percentage of what he gets people to give. Is that the apostolic procedure? Sometimes what he gets people to give is barely enough to pay his salary, and the institution for which he solicits gets nothing. In a recent case where the solicitor raised only enough to pay his salary, the head of the institution was asked: 'What does the institution get out of it?' He replied, 'The advertisement.' Is that the way the Bible teaches us to give to the Lord?"