Abuses Of The Lord’s Money Not Often Discussed
Volume IX ~ Issue XXXVI ~ May 31st, 2009
By: Brian A. Yeager
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This article is no doubt going to cause some anger by the traditionalists whom practice what I call “church of Christ-isms”. The things we shall briefly address in this article are often practiced among churches of Christ. However, there is never an attempt to show that the Lord approves of these things. The marching call is that we say AND do all things by the authority of Christ (Matthew 28:20, Colossians 3:17, and I Peter 4:11), but the common practice is just the opposite. Let go of traditions for a moment (Mark 7:1-13 and Colossians 2:8; 20-23), if you are so minded, and truly consider what we shall discuss in this article.

We have authority to form a treasury in the local church. That authority rests here:
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (I Corinthians 16:1-2). Once your money is purposed to the Lord, it is no longer your money (Acts 5:1-4).

Once the money becomes the Lord’s and makes up the treasury of the local church, men now become stewards of those funds (I Corinthians 16:3-4). We are expected to spend them aright. When the church in Corinth was called upon to give to the poor saints in Jerusalem, there was an accounting process put in place for assurance of the proper handling of the Lord’s money (II Corinthians 8:18-24).

The church may spend the Lord’s money by supporting
faithful preachers (I Corinthians 9:6-14, II Corinthians 11:8, and Philippians 4:10-18), aiding truly needy saints (II Corinthians 8:4; 9:1-14), supporting widows indeed (I Timothy 5:3-16), and supporting qualified (cf. I Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9) elders (I Timothy 5:17-18). We know the works of the Lord’s church are evangelism (I Thessalonians 1:7-9), spiritual edification (Ephesians 4:16), and aiding needy saints (Romans 15:25-27). If it’s not of the above, we can’t spend His money on it!

You Can’t Find Authority To Use His “Checkbook” For These Things…

1. We can certainly see in the Scriptures that there is authority for the local church to assemble in homes (Romans 16:3-5, I Corinthians 16:19, Colossians 4:15, and Philemon 2). We can also see that the church may meet in public places (Acts 2:46). We also find the authority to have a specific location to assemble, which is not in a home. This is necessarily inferred in I Corinthians 11:18-34. Some things we do NOT find authorized concerning a meeting place is to spend 1.3 million dollars on an extravagant facility which is nothing more than an idol to “draw new members”. Buildings are not a “tool of evangelism”. It is the Scriptures that save, not meeting facilities (Romans 1:16 and James 1:21). Nor do we find authority to spend the Lord’s money on a large facility for a few people to meet in when a home would be more expedient. Brethren, as stewards of the Lord’s money, how would you account for a large expense for a meeting place when a one-room facility would be sufficient? You take the Lord’s money, which can be better spent on His real work, and use it for something that is not expedient at all. Where’s the authority? There is none! Where’s the wisdom? Not there!

2. With the Large building many “congregations” have found it necessary to have thousands of dollars (the Lord’s dollars) spent on state of the art electronics. They have the best sound, video, and presentation technology around. Now, just where did the Lord authorize that??? Do we live by every word of God (Luke 4:4), or by the design of corporate America’s presentation standards? Here’s the blank: ________________, please fill in the Scripture and let me see it.

3. We already noted the authority to support Gospel preachers, but what about men who just present lessons. All Christians are to be able to teach (Hebrews 5:12-14), but that does not make them preachers / evangelists. A man supported to live and work, as a preacher, is not the same as a brother in Christ who fills in here or there. Nor is there authority to support the man who just “borrows” (really steals) the material of others on Saturday night, but spends his whole week golfing, etc. Here’s a hint, if he’s just working three hours a week he’s not a preacher. In the world, they call those folks part-time workers. Preachers are “on the job” all the time (I Timothy 4:13-16 and II Timothy 4:2-5)! If he can’t preach unless the power point projector is turned on, demand a refund! He has not spent his time doing what he is supported to do!

4. How about when churches spend the Lord’s money to purchase materials written by false teachers (like the Guardian of Truth Foundation Tracts). Or even when churches fill the pews with Bible Perversions (NIV, ESV, etc.)? Do you remember the Lord’s reaction when he entered the temple and found the moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-13; cf. II Peter 2:1-3)? That should solve this point.

5. How about when “class teachers” come to the “treasurer” and present their receipts for glue, glitter, pencils, etc. for their class? Does that really fall under evangelism or is it the “you’ve got to be
kidding me fund”?

6. The building may be necessary in some places, but what about the “grounds upkeep”? How many people will go to Heaven because of flowers, green grass, good lawn mowers, snow plowing, etc.? Is that evangelism, edification, or aiding needy saints?

7. Churches now are supporting men to hold “Creation Seminars” and “Singing Schools”. Need I say more? Search for that in the Bible and once again, fill in the blank with the Scripture: ______________________.

8. I searched the New Testament and have yet to find church secretaries, janitors, grounds keepers, etc. Yet, many “churches of Christ” pay people to fill those “jobs”. Brethren, there is no authority for these things!

We were just getting started, but must conclude for reasons of space. Please think about these things. There are more that could be added (church investments, supporting sinners, etc.), but I think you get the point.