"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.X No.II Pg.13
February 1948

What Is The Difference?

W. Curtis Porter

In the current controversy about cash for the colleges from church collections a question of distinction has arisen. For example, some boy desires to attend a Christian college to further his education, but is not able to pay fully his own way; he must have assistance. A church, realizing his need, furnishes money from its treasury to assist him in his purpose. Either it sends the money direct to the school to apply on the boy's board and tuition, or it gives the money to the boy to be thus applied by himself. But suppose instead the church decides to make a contribution to the college and leave it to the school to use the money as they see fit. In both cases the school eventually gets the money. What is the difference?

Perhaps there are a number of differences. In the first place, if the money is given to the boy to apply on his expenses in school, or if sent to the college to be applied on his board and tuition, the boy gets the money—he gets the benefit of it. But if the contribution is made to the college to be used as the college officials see fit, the boy does not get the money. He is still without the needed assistance to enable him to pursue his education. Or, at least, if colleges have been taking the money contributed to them and applying it on the tuition and board of students, I have never heard of it. So that is the first difference.

But another difference may be seen by applying the same principle to other matters. Suppose some preacher boy is in need of some good religious books to go into his library—and most of them are—but he has not the means to purchase them. His home congregation, or some congregation that knows of his needs and has an interest in further equipping him to preach the gospel, decides to furnish the necessary funds to buy books. Or perhaps the church gives him the money and tells him to buy the books for himself. The order for the books is placed with the Firm Foundation Publishing House, the books are obtained and go into the young man's library. Suppose, however, that the church did not follow that course, but it decided to make a contribution from its treasury to the Firm Foundation Publishing House to be used as they saw fit. Would there be any difference?

Looking from another angle, suppose some one is hungry, and the church decides to help him. Some one from the church, with money furnished by the church takes the man to the Fred Harvey House and orders a meal for him and pays for it. Or it might be that he is taken to the Safeway Stores and a liberal supply of groceries is purchased for him. The church certainly has a right to do this. But suppose it decides on another course. Instead of buying a meal for the man at the Fred Harvey House or groceries from the Safeway Stores, it decides just to make a contribution to the Harvey House or to the Safeway Stores and leave it to their discretion as to how the money is to be used. Would there be any difference?

Some one may be sick and in need of hospital care but lack the funds necessary to secure such care. A congregation, knowing of the need, takes the person to the Catholic hospital, enters him as a patient and pays his bill. This certainly is within the realm of the work of the church. But suppose the church follows a different course. Instead of paying the sick man's bill at the hospital it decides to make a contribution to the hospital to be used as they desire. Can you see any difference?

It seems to me that any one who is able to see the difference in one case should be able to see it in the other cases. When a congregation pays the bill for a sick man at the hospital it is engaging in its God-ordained work—that of caring for the needs. But if it merely makes a contribution to the hospital to be used by those in charge as they see fit, it has turned its work over to a human institution to be carried on according to the desires of those who have control. When a church buys a meal at the Harvey House or purchases groceries at the Safeway Stores it is doing the work assigned it to do—it is feeding the hungry. But when it makes a contribution to these enterprises to be used according to their discretion it is turning its work over to a human organization. When a church buys religious books for a young preacher that he may be better qualified to preach the gospel it is simply performing its work of assisting gospel preaching. But if it makes a contribution to a publishing house to be used as it sees fit, the church is turning its work over to a human institution. Just so, when a congregation assists some young man to further prepare himself to preach, by paying his way in a Christian college, it is engaged in its work of preaching the gospel. But when it simply makes a contribution to the college to be used at the discretion of its officials, it turns its work over to a human institution. Certainly there is a difference. The organization in any of these cases is a human institution engaged in a private enterprise. The college has as much right to exist to engage in the work of secular education, as the publishing house has to sell books, the cafe to feed the hungry or the hospital to care for the afflicted. But when the church simply turns their money to any of them, to be used as they wish, the church is surrendering its work to human organizations. Yes, "there is a difference."