Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
June 10, 1971
NUMBER 6, PAGE 3b-4a

The Pantry

Arnold D. Johnson

Down through the years I have read in the bulletins of various churches of brethren needing items of canned goods for the pantry. Each time I read this, there arises the question in my mind, what need or use is made of the pantry?

Brethren who rightly teach that the church is obligated in the realm of benevolence to the saints seem to have the idea that items from the pantry can be given to the world in general. (As though taking items from the pantry would be alright where taking money from the treasury would be wrong.) Actually money is merely a medium of exchange. There was a time that people who possessed a certain item and desired another would merely exchange or trade it for something else. Thus a man with vegetables or beef might exchange it for clothing or tools and vice versa.

So the giving of items from a pantry to the world in general is the same as giving money from the treasury.

Not that a pantry would be wrong as far as the saints are concerned, but I believe it brings about a problem that would not otherwise exist if the church did not have one. If food is stored in the pantry and someone's neighbor's home is burned or someone who is not a Christian is in need, then the question arises, why not give them this food that is not being used? Usually the food is given; but if it isn't there remains a charge that the church doesn't believe in helping those in need. Those not Christians make no distinction between the church and individual members.

If the food was not stored in the pantry, which could rightly be considered as the treasury of the church and therefore only for the saints, then individuals could give their "canned goods" to anyone, even their enemies as Paul teaches in Romans 12:20, "Therefore, if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." Also Gal. 6: 10, "As we have opportunity, let us do good unto all men especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

But it remains a fact that if the church cannot take money out of the treasury to help the world then neither can it take canned goods from the pantry and give to them. For once it is stored, it becomes the treasury of the church. If not, why not? Think about it, brethren.

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