Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 16, 1961

Let The Church Get The Glory?

Billy W. Moore, Harrison, Arkansas

"Let the church get the glory" is an oft repeated expression in these days of discussion on benevolence. Some well meaning brethren think that Christians, as individuals, should not do benevolent work for the church will not get the glory. No one objects to the church engaging in the benevolent work which is her responsibility, but thousands of brethren object to her contributing to human Benevolent Societies. One solution to the present difficulty regarding the Societies is: Let the societies cease soliciting and receiving contributions from churches. I do not expect to see the day when the Societies will stop their begging for money, but the fact that they beg, or solicit, does not mean that churches must give. Perhaps more and more elders throughout the country will begin to see the error of giving the Lord's money to human institutions. It has been suggested that Christian people could build and maintain homes wherein the needy children may receive care, and that churches would not and could not send contributions to them. Let the homes thus arranged refuse contributions from churches, just as the colleges have in times nast refused contributions from churches. I have suggested this to several brethren and have heard the reply! "Let the church do it so that the church can get the glory."

After hearing this many times I started studying the New Testament in an effort to learn who is to receive glory, and how that glory is to be given. After considerable study I have concluded that glory is to be given unto GOD, in the church, by Christ Jesus. Paul said, "Unto (God) be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." (Eph. 3:21) The following diagram shows that GOD is to be glorified in the church by congregational and individual action.

Glory to GOD in the CHURCH (universal)

H O W ?

1. 2.


(collectively) (personal work)

a. Evangelism — Phil. 1:5 a. Evangelism — Acts 18:26

2 Cor. 11:8 1 Pet. 3:15

b. Benevolence — Acts 11:28 b. Benevolence — Gal. 6:10 2 Cor. 8, 9 Acts 4:36; Jas. 1:27

I realize that the congregational action is the result of combined individual action, e. g., a congregation can support a preacher only as a result of the individual contributions. But this action is to be distinguished from the individual action. (Study 1 Tim. 5:8-16)

The church, universally, is to "make known the manifold wisdom of God." (Eph. 3:10) This is accomplished in two ways: (1) Through congregational action, e. g., a congregation proclaims the truth through the men who are being supported from their contributions. (cf. Phil. 1:5; 2 Cor. 11:8) (2) Through individual action, i.e., personal work. (cf. Matt. 5:16; Phil. 2:15, 16) Insofar as I can determine there is no other way for the church to "make known the manifold wisdom of God." Furthermore, when the church, universal, makes known the manifold wisdom of God, whether by congregational action or personal work, it is for the purpose of causing others to "glorify your Father which is in heaven," (Matt. 5:16) which they will do when they obey the gospel of Christ and are saved from their sins. I fail to read of "the church receiving the glory" when the truth was preached. It was preached not to glorify the church, though the church is a glorious body, (Eph. 5:26) but to bring glory unto God. There are so many references to this effect that it would be impossible to notice all of them in this writing. When the truth was preached men glorified God. (Acts 11:18; 21:20) The saints are to glorify God "in all things." (1 Peter 4:11, 14) But where was the church to be glorified, or where were Christian men to receive glory? Paul said, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Cor. 1:31) And again, "That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1 Cor. 1:29) "Therefore, let no man glory in men." (1 Cor. 3:21) God is to be given glory throughout all ages, world without end. But where is it taught that the church receives glory from men? Christians will be glorified (Rom. 8:17) but that is in the future.

In the work of benevolence the church (universal) glorifies God, or causes glory to be brought unto God. When the congregation acts in the work of benevolence let God be glorified. But there is another way one can glorify God in benevolent work and that is through "personal work." When the individual acts let him, as a Christian, glorify God in this name. (1 Peter 4:16) All of my benevolent work is not done through the congregation. Some of it is done as a Christian, but still God receives the glory. Peter teaches that I can glorify God in the name Christian. This could be done only through individual action, not congregational, for the congregation is not named Christian. Then the idea that some brethren have that all of the work of benevolence must be done through the church (local congregation) that the church might receive the glory is an idea that I fail to get by studying the scripture. Such an idea is based upon the false conception that the church is to receive glory, and that through the church (local congregation) is the only way one can glorify God. This argument is often given by those who think the church (in the congregational capacity) is responsible for the poor or indigent of the world. They argue, rather than having Christian men help those of the world, let the church do it that it may receive the glory.

These thoughts are set forth because I believe them to be taught in the scripture. I would appreciate hearing from any readers who think that error is propounded in this writing. I want the truth! Neither do I mean to infer in this writing that evangelism and benevolence are the only means of glorifying God.