Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 12, 1961

Parking Lot — Church Business

H. F. Sharp, Conway, Arkansas

As long as I can remember loyal preachers of the Gospel have preached and taught that the church it not a business institution, neither can it enter into business arrangements of any kind if she remains in harmony with the Scriptures. We have shown the unscriptural practice of putting the church in business, as well as the 'unfair advantage gained by tax exemptions. The Catholics have had suppers to raise money for the Catholic church. They ask the members of the Catholic church to give the food and they sell the food in competition to the business men of the community. We dislike the unfair advantage even though Catholics do not try to give authority from the Bible for their actions. It has been preached that such

practices as rummage sales, pie suppers etc. are without scriptural authority. The Bible teaches we are to give as prospered, willingly, cheerfully and on the first day of the week. This money is to be used to carry out the mission of the church of Christ. There is no other way for the local congregation to obtain money, other than free will offering of its members. We do not approach the business men of the town and ask them to give, for, we know the members can take care of the needs of the local congregation, and we have no Bible example for anything else.

Now, however, we are shocked with another new digression from Scriptural practice. In Little Rock, Arkansas (the 6th and Izard congregation) we now have a church of Christ parking lot. Just recently a sister of mine received a card that beginning the first of October she would be charged $6 per month parking fee. If she desired to continue using the parking lot, she was told, "you may contact the church secretary and a space will be provided you." I have no idea how many spaces will be sold, nor do I know how much money will be taken in. If the 6th and Izard church received all the money from all the parking lots in Little Rock it would not be worth the harm done to loyal churches everywhere by her unscriptural practice. The church there was one time a great congregation and stood for the Truth. Its faith was spoken of throughout the brotherhood. Now it is an example of how fast a body of God's people can digress when led by men who care very little for giving scriptural authority for their practice.

One time this great church stood for Truth and against every innovation upon the purity of doctrine, organization and practice of the church. Men such as Foy E. Wallace Jr., Roy Cogdill, A. G. Freed, E. M. Borden, Homer Hailey and others were called to preach in Gospel meetings for them. They called N. B. Hardeman and A. G. Freed to debate Ben M. Bogard, champion of Landmark Baptists. C. R. Nichol preached there. Men such as mentioned would not be welcomed there today. Like Rome of old they have gone into decline and decay as defenders of the faith. It was here my grandfather, J. H. Brewer, served as an elder. My father also served as an elder. It was here I first tried to preach a Gospel sermon. Our thoughts of the church make our hearts break, particularly when we know how she once stood in the front rank of the army of those who fought for the truth. Our prayer for her, is that she will see the great good she may yet accomplish if she will turn- again to that she once stood for and help turn the tide of digression. I have number of friends as well as kin people, after the flesh, who are a part of this congregation, so, you may know my concern for her. May we all study our Bibles and be guided by its divine precepts.