Vol.IV No.I Pg.7
February 1967

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Years ago I heard of a brother who said collection should be taken only for some specific purpose. Recently I have heard this repeated, and the whole idea of church treasury questioned. Please comment on this. GL


This is an age-old hobby-horse, repeatedly raised. Lipscomb had to deal with it in his day. I met it in Phoenix, 23 yrs. ago, and in E. Texas, 10 yrs. ago.

It is true that we give for specific purposes -- i.e., the treasury is not the end or purpose for giving. As saints of God, we have obligations to meet, work to do. Some of this work is done distributively, as individuals (Gal. 6:6) and some is done collectively (Phil.4:15). To act collectively there must be a pooling of our means and/or abilities; and money is the medium of exchange by which this is usually done. To feed a worthy person, we could each bring food, to be given to the hungry person; or we could bring money, to buy the food.

The treasury (pooled fund) is just a means to the end we may act collectively in whatever work is proposed.

A fellow in Phoenix, Ariz. told me the church of which he was a member only "took up collection" when they needed the money to do something. I asked when they had last contributed, and for what; and he said they had recently contributed to buy a window pane the storm had broken. I told him we operated exactly the same principle as his own brethren -- only we felt God wanted us to do a lot more than fix a window pane in the meeting house.

But our principle, re. purpose, was the same. If I didn't believe God had a full time work which He wants His saints to do collectively, I certainly would not consider a continuous "collection" or treasury necessary. 1 Cor.16:1-2 stipulates purpose for the "laying by" on the first day of every week. They had a treasury to help the needy saints. The "collection" of vs. 1, and "gathering" of vs. 2, are from "logeuo" and refer to a "religious collection" as for a god or temple. This was what some today sneeringly refer to as a "church" collection; but it had a specific purpose as we have seen. PHI.4:15 and other passages show there were other purposes for the pooling of funds; such as supporting preachers.

Saints who work and worship together scripturally have divine purposes, either specifically or generically, for all they do. It is to the end that these divine purposes may be carried out -- collectively -- that the treasury exists, is used, and must be replenished. Thus when a saint gives, he does so to meet certain purposes.

To question the whole idea of a "church treasury" is to question the God given privilege and obligation of saints to function collectively. It is a shameful end to which some of my brethren have come. Fighting abuses of the "church treasury" -- and there are such -- they are casting God's plan aside. Echo, they shall not pass!