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Monday, December 5, 2011

Things The Church Is Not To Do

By James W. Boyd
    It is not God’s intention that the church direct the affairs of civil government. While we have legitimate interest and concern about civil affairs as citizens of our country, we should not involve the church in these matters that are purely political, economic, and government policies regarding trade, foreign affairs, police work, elections, road building, etc. But in matters of morality, ethics, truth, though often thrown by some into the political arena, the church should and must be involved because that involves the business of righteousness. For example, the issues of abortion, alcoholic beverages, gambling, same sex marriages, the teaching of evolution, intrusions against the moral standards of God, these are the concern of the church.
    The church is not intended to provide for the social life of its members – furnishing entertainments, sports, gymnasiums, playgrounds, camps, recreational facilities, etc. To those who think so, we simply ask for the Scripture that authorizes such things. The craze to have the church to entertain has, in some digressive churches, turned the worship services into near revelry, show, "a holy wow," and a religious Hee Haw.
    While places for assembly and facilities to do the work are necessary, it is not the work of the church to simply build buildings, temples, sanctuaries, etc. For too long many have depended upon glamorous buildings to be the attraction of the church. Disproportionate amounts of money have been spent building and maintaining elaborate buildings. But the church grew more rapidly, physically and spiritually, when our buildings were more “on the other side of the tracks.”
    The church is not in the money making or money saving business. Some churches hold huge savings accounts, drawing interest, hoarding funds, while people all over the world are dying lost without the Gospel. Good stewardship of funds is one thing. Greedy and grasping brethren who just hold on to money while the work languishes is something else. I would fear to be an elder of a church presiding over large savings while the Gospel is not being preached.
    It is not the work of the church to provide secular education. Secular schools are businesses and do not belong in the church budget. For many years school people have dug into the treasuries of churches for their school work. Christ did not die to provide chemistry labs, tennis courts, computers, or make “scholars.” Schools can be helpful or harmful to the cause of Christ. At present, 1997, most of the colleges established by brethren, have become enemies of the cause of Christ rather than friends because they have led the way into digression and apostasy. Brethren have for too long bought the false teaching that whatever an individual can do, the church can do.
    The church is not simply to make people feel good, draw crowds, build self esteem, get numbers and funds, be accepted by the community, etc. The church should seek to please God, not men. You will never please all men anyhow. It's like the man and boy and the donkey. They started out with the man riding the donkey and the boy walking. Some criticized, thinking the man should let the boy ride. So they changed places. Then some criticized because the boy should have had more respect for the man than to ride while the man walked. So both got atop the donkey. Again, some criticized because they thought both of them on the donkey was too heavy for the donkey. So they both walked. Then they were accused of being fools for having a beast of burden but not using him. You cannot please everybody. Why try?
    Some have befuddled the work of the church by seeking to do something without authority, but then asking, "What's wrong with it?" If it is without authority, it is wrong. We must have authority for the work of the church as we must have it for the worship, the plan of salvation, organization, and terms of entrance.

- James W. Boyd, McMinnville, TN; - via the Belvedere Beacon, the weekly bulletin of the Belvedere church of Christ, Belvedere, SC.  Ken Chumbley preaches for this congregation, and he may be contacted at their website: http://www.belvederechurchofchrist.org


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