A Voice in the
Wilderness

site navigation

free newsletter

December 12, 1997

[Return] to: "Q/A"

Q/A Topics:
Fund Raisers?

Q.
Is there is Biblical scripture that states that churches should not have fund raisers?

There is a question by several people in our church that feel we should never have Fund Raisers on the Church Property. Are there any scriptures that back this up or is it OK to have fund raisers, if the purpose is correct. Our purpose is always to reach our community and accomplish the Great Commission in whatever we are doing?

Please advice?

A.
Hmmm. I don't know that Scripture specifically says, one way or the other. I know that I tend to NOT care for them. Seems too "commercial" somehow, to hold bake sales, car washes, etc. A couple of Scriptures that come to mind...

Mt21:13 Jesus overturns the money changer's tables, and chases the cattle and merchandise out of the temple and says, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'" (Mat 21:13) This would tend to support the idea of NOT having sales on church property.

And then, "Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (1Cor16:1-2) Here, it would seem that they are doing much as churches typically do...in taking up the offering.

If we think about the O.T. "tithe" ... that was something which people worked, raised their crops/cattle, and then brought "to the temple" the tenth portion. They did not engage in business at the temple.

Even, when the original tabernacle and instruments of worship were made in the wilderness, Moses encouraged the people to give from what they had. (Ex35:5-29~) They did not engage in commerce with surrounding nations to raise money for the project. God's work should be done with money from God's people. It should not be from the world's efforts.

Update on this topic

[Top]


Lord's Supper - How often?

Q.
Some churches charge that the Holy Communion must be taken each week to be obedient believers. Even using their references, I can't find the directive.

What say you?

A.
Well...first of all, what "I" think doesn't mean too much. But, we can see if Scripture sheds any light on this...

First of all we should understand that Communion, the "Lord's Supper" is the Lord's "new covenant" coming from out of Passover. (Mt26:17,Lk22:20,1Cor11:25)

Passover was celebrated once a year. (Ex12:17~,Lk2:41)

Thus, it would seem logical from this, that the Lord's Supper should be commemorated AT LEAST once a year...possibly around Crucifixion/Resurrection time.

Now...based on Lk24:30,35 & Acts 2:42,46, some people think that the early church celebrated the Lord's Supper every time they met. However, vs.46 seems to me to be, simply, partaking in meals.

Paul spoke of "special days" in Romans 14:5, as being something that each person should be "fully convinced in his own mind."

Jesus did command that it be done "in remembrance." (Lk22:19,1Cor11:25-26) But He did not specify, to my knowledge, "how often."

Many Baptist churches will put in the by-laws that communion must be commemorated every "quarter" or "every month." Some "fellowship type" groups will tend to do it every Sunday...during an evening service, when it is more likely that mostly (only) Christians are present.

I don't know that there is necessarily a "right or wrong" on this matter, as long as a church DOES it "sometime." And it is a "regular" commemoration, agreed upon by the body.

[Top]


International Church of Christ

Q.
My daughter has become very involved in the International Church of Christ. I don't know if you've heard of them or not. The only good things I've heard about this church has been from current members. There is, on the other hand, a virtual ton of information against them on the internet written by former members. Also by what their church calls "walk-aways." I'm in the process of trying to be a "walk-away." They're trying very hard to recruit me. The only thing keeping me in touch with them is my daughter. I am so afraid of losing contact with her. She is now a junior in college and they are taking up all of her time. She can't even be in my home for an hour without them paging her. Their dating practices are truly frightening. If their parents speak out against the church, they are "advised" not to have anything to do with them. If you have time, could you go to website http://www.reveal.org I would sincerely appreciate any insight, information, advice, anything you could help me with. Thank you for listening.

A.
I went to the URL you mentioned. I also clicked on the link to ICC's homepage. Like you say...there's a "ton" of stuff there.

I must confess that I am not intimately familiar with the variations of "Church of Christ" "Church of God" etc.etc. But I did "pick up on" a couple of things. (I can't possibly read "everything" that's there)

On ICC's homepage, itself, in their doctrinal section, a couple things I noticed. They equate "discipleship" with the "salvation process." While it is true that salvation is a "process" i.e. We are saved spiritually now (Jn3:3,8,Eph1:13,Rom8:9,16), and we wait for the "hope" of the "redemption of the body"(Rom8:23,1Cor15:51-54). So, from that standpoint our salvation is a "process" or goes in "stages." But, that "process" has nothing to do with discipleship. The growth we experience comes from the Holy Spirit teaching us. (Jn16:13,1Jn2:27) We are not limited to "another" mere man for our spiritual condition..because "So then each of us shall give account of himself to God." (Rom 14:12) And their idea that the one to whom they are "accountable" is also the one to whom they confess their sins. Where, to do so "elevates" the one to whom confession is being made as a "judge" (of sorts) and Paul is quite clear that we do not judge a "fellowservant."(Rom14:4) There is only One to Whom we confess our sins, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9) It is obvious that "He" Who forgives us is the One to Whom we confess. He is our Judge. (Heb10:30, Jas4:11-12, etc.)

Also, it would seem that "baptism" is necessary to become an ICC "member." And, it also seems that one must be an ICC member to be "saved." So, in effect, baptism is necessary for salvation. A salvation of "works." But Scripture says, "Not of works, lest anyone should boast."(Eph2:9) Furthermore Paul said, "For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. (1 Cor 1:17) If baptism was essential to salvation, Paul would have been baptising anybody he could "get his hands on" ...one would think.

Then, there's the matter of "one church per city." Again, this is a man-made rule. The true Church of Christ is made up of those who have "received Christ."(Jn1:12) Those for whom Christ gave Himself. (Eph5:25-27)

This last point makes me wonder if ICC is the same organization as a local group I ran into a few years ago. At the time I was working in assembly next to a fellow at the local Hewlett Packard plant. In conversation as we were working "across a divider wall" from each other, he would have seemed like a true Believing Christian. It seemed like his doctrine was pretty square. And he certainly was "witnessing" at every opportunity...to anybody he talked with. The group was called "The church of Spokane." So, one evening my (now) ex-wife and I visited an evening meeting. They sat around informally, sang some "happy" up-beat clapping/dancing (jumping) kind of songs. They observed "communion." And then they got to the "study" time...

There was no teacher. Everybody shared their observations from books by "Witness Lee" and their Bible "footnotes." But during the whole time (until I was disgusted enough and we walked out) they NEVER ONCE actually read Scripture, itself. Nor did they quote Scripture nor teach Scripture. Just Lee's book and footnotes.

Back at work, I found it necessary to make a "distance" between him and myself, for "testimony" sake. He would continually try to engage me in conversation...and would smirk self-righteously when I snubbed him.

So, I don't know if my experience is part of the same group or not. But here you have some observations to their stuff on the web, as well as this local group. I don't know if this is what you are looking for.

If you have some particular file, of teaching, that you wonder about, give me the specific URL, and I will be happy to check it out.

If you know Scripture well, give your daughter the Scriptures. See what ICC teaches, and compare it to Scripture, like the Bereans did.(Acts17:11)...to find out "whether those things are so." If your daughter is to be "saved" out of ICC, it can only be the Holy Spirit through God's Word.


Update: ICC vs. Local Church

Dear Brother in Christ,

FYI: From what you say about "Witness Lee"s book in that answer, I would say that the group you attended was the "Local Church", which actually had its beginnings with Watchman Nee, but when leadership was taken over by Lee, it really went off the wall. They can be considered somewhere in the range of aberration group to psuedo-Christian cult. They have nothing to do with the ICC. What they are, on the other hand, in doctrine and practice, is a curious mix of Christianity and Chinese paganism. I had significant contact with them some years ago in NYC, but I don't know if they are still active here. I can't supply further details, but they are financially well off, and dangerous. I suggest you contact the Spiritual Counterfeits Project in Berkley, CA, for more information on them. God bless you and your ministry.

A.
Thank you for the clarification. Now that you mention it "Local Church" does sound familiar.

Thanks again...

[Top]


Judging others in the Faith?

Q.
are we supposed to judge each other in the faith... I think so.. what Scripture supports this.?. I'm sure you have had to deal with this one... Don't judge.. me even if my doctrine is out of line... sort of thing.. thanks so much for your ministry...

A.
In terms of judging because of perverted faith/doctrine, etc. and false prophets, here are a couple references:


Rom 16:17  -avoiding those causing divisions 
            contrary to doctrine

1Cor5:1-13 -purging out the leaven of those claiming 
            to be "Christians" but living in gross sin

2Jn 9-11   -no fellowship with purveyors of false 
            doctrine

Eph 5:11   -expose the unfruitful works of darkness

1Jn4:1     -test the spirits to see those that are of God

Gal1:8-9   -perverters of doctrine are "accursed"

In terms of Believers who are growing to maturity:


Rom14:4    -we do not judge a fellow-servant over 
            "doubtful things"(vs1)

Jude 22    -have compassion on some, making a 
            distinction

Heb3:12-14 -exhort one another, lest we harden our 
            hearts/depart from God

Eph4:12,16 -mutual edification of the Body

1Cor1:10   -all speak the same thing, same
            mind/judgment (doctrine)

These are a few that pop into my head upon cursory reflection. If you have question/s about some specific scenario, please write again. There are "MANY" Scriptures about all sorts of things like this.(2Tim3:16-17)

[Top]


Baal Peor - PK-SITG

Mr. Paul,

In my studies this morning I was reading up on Balaam. While I was looking up what some of the names meant I found out that Baal-peor meant "lord of the gap" according to my Online Bible. This made me think of the PromiseKeepers latest rally called something like "Standing in the Gap."

"And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods: and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor: and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel"--Numbers 25:1-3

Just FYI,

[Top]


Purifying the Church:

Dear Brother

I just wanted to tell you how refreshing it was to read your article on purifying the Church. I have seen a number of men who were once believers in the rapture prior to Daniel's Seventieth week change their minds and go to a "post" position. Their reason was that they were determined that somehow the thought of going through that time of unprecedented tribulation will purify the Church and that to think that we won't go through it is to admit that we really think that somehow we don't have to live holy lives now, and further that to not live a holy life will make us unable to go through that dark hour.

I have responded to these things much as you have in your article. I have pointed out that the only purifying agent which God recognizes is the blood of His Dear Son, and that the thought of momentarily being in His presence is a much greater incentive to holiness of life than the fact that we may suffer, and further that it is clear that non Christians have suffered through some horrendous times and have survived. Even though those times were not as bad as Daniel's Seventieth week will be it is clear that the Jews in the time of the holocaust, though not believers still did go through it and the survivors did not repent and turn to Christ as one.

The message is such an important one. I hope that many will check out your site, and read and take heed to what you have said.

A.
Yes....I have been noticing, too, how many are "falling." Many times the names of exactly "who" ... really amazes me!

There also seems to be an attitude of "not wanting to miss out" on something or other. Almost a "fatal attraction" kind of mentality... that to not go through the 70th week, somehow, is missing out on God's blessing...harking back to Gen 3..."God knows that...you'll be wise...etc.etc." The Serpent mesmerizing, "come into the fires...you NEED this."

Thanks for the good note

[Top]


Lights in Famine:

Comment:
I've been meaning to drop you a note now for sometime to thankyou for your ministry. To those of us who are experiencing famine both of the word and of like-minded fellowship, your gleanings and random studies are encouragements and lifelines. The ones you send to me are in turn sent on to others, and the recipients write back their appreciation. I just wanted you to know. Be encouraged and be truly blessed in your ministry. I know it's not without price.

A.
Thank you for your kind words.

While the enemy's taunts always encourage me that things are on the right track, for him to take notice and be riled, so...it is also nice when I hear from people like yourself, that there is benefit happening. Also, glad to know that there is the multiplication factor from the forwards. Thanks for helping out in that way to get God's Word out.

While it is true that it is a time of "famine" ...be encouraged in God's Word. We all, individually, in our little isolated spots, are "lights" in this dark world. Keep it shining bright.

[Top]


[Return] to: "Q/A"