Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 23, 1949

What About Pledging?

Charles Heron, Arlington, Texas

For several years now many congregations have been using the collection envelopes and purpose cards in their contributions. In every place there are probably some who do not approve and do not use the envelopes. Often honest Christians believe the use of such a system to be wrong.

While we have no desire to enter an argument nor arbitrate any foolish debates, we do desire to state why many faithful Christians constantly use this method of giving.

It Is A Scriptural Method

Yes, it is scriptural. A "purpose card" is in effect, a promise. It is a promise to the Lord and to the elders that the signer plans a certain contribution each week through the year provided there is no drastic change in his economic status. It is not wrong to make a promise. There is hardly any end to the promises God has made. He has given them to nations, individuals, tribes, churches, and special groups almost without number. He signed one such promise with the rainbow that man might ever remember it. Hence, the making of a promise, pledge, or the revealing of a plan or purpose is taught by the example of God Himself. It is taught to the Christian in connection with his giving by reasonable and necessary inference.

Most of us will refer to I Cor. 16:1, 2 in support of our giving on the first day of the week. These Corinthians (and Galatians) were to give for a special purpose when they came together upon the first day of the week. Paul refers to this gift in other places. He commends the churches of Macedonia (II Cor. 8), and reminds the Corinthians that they (the Corinthians) had decided a year ago (verse 10) what they would do. Thus it is clear that the Corinthians had purposed a year in advance what they would do concerning the collection for the saints. Not only had they "purposed in their hearts", but they had made known that purpose to others — else, how would Paul have been aware of it? These two elements (the making of a purpose and the making of that purpose known) are really the only basic principles involved in what is known as "the pledge system" of giving. Both of them were present in the case of the Corinthians.

It Is An Effective Method

If the congregation is to do the amount of work it should, money must be given. There are many congregations today doing a much greater work than they would have thought possible a few years ago. The report given by the elders in these churches is to the effect that this enlarged work has been made possible by the more systematic and consistent giving on the part of the members.

Not only is the plan effective in providing funds to carry on the Lord's work, it is also most helpful in educating Christians to their possibilities along this line. Many (including the writer) are giving much more today than they would have thought possible a few years ago. We have learned our possibilities; regular and consistent giving has shown us how sadly short we had been falling in our previous "unplanned" giving to the Lord.

It Is Not Coercive

The purpose of this method of giving is not to compel people to give. Anything given under pressure would avail the giver nothing; it would not be acceptable in the Lord. Paul wrote the Corinthians, "For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that man hath, and not according to that he hath not." (1 Cor. 8:12) Again, "Every man according as he purposed in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loveth a cheerful giver." Paul instructs as to how, when, and the amount we are to give. To only "pressure" on anyone is the pressure put there by the Lord. Our gifts are tokens of our love. A gift without love will not be accepted of God. Again it was Paul who said, "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor... and have not love, it profiteth me nothing' (I Cor. 13:3)

It Is A Convenient Method

The giver can plan his giving, lay it aside, have ready. Of course, he can do this without the use of the pledge system; but it is certainly much easier with every business man plans his business in this way, or soon he has no business. Knowing that an obligation is be faced at some definite date in the future, he make preparation to be ready to meet that obligation.

No one is reluctant to pledge himself in the buying of a home, or an automobile, or in the expanding of business. He knows that such procedures are normal and expected. Then, why should he hesitate to use the identical very convenient and normal procedure in his giving to the Lord?

No Scriptural Objection

There is really no scriptural objection to be made to the method. Although many honest Christians do reject to its use, there is no violation of scripture teaching by those who do not object. When Jesus said, "Go," in the Great Commission, he did not specify the method of travel; when he said, "teach" he did not specify how to teach. Some brethren may object to a sand-table, flannel-board, black-board, or other device. But their objection is out any scriptural foundation. For Jesus did not specify as to how we are to "go" nor how we are to "teach", such matters he has left us to be the judges as to the most effective methods to be used. We are free, therefore, to use any method which does not violate some principle of truth. In the matter of baptizing he has left man free to decide which "mode" should be used rather, he has in the very word itself, and in Paul's explanation of it as a burial and a planting shown precise what he desires.

In the matter of giving, the Lord has not selected or shown any method at all. It is on the same basis as the "go" and the "teach" of the Great Commission. Hence we do no violence at all to scriptural principle when select a method that is convenient, effective, and easily followed.


People who don't believe in Christianity because there are so many hypocrites in the church are the man who would not accept his pay because there " is so much counterfeit money in circulation.


Few women are as bad as they are painted.

—P. P. Jones