Questions And Answers
From Paris, Missouri:
"Is it scriptural for the New Testament church to sell bonds to raise money to build a building or add to an existing building? I am unable to find any example, precept, or even an expediency that would allow the churches of Christ to sell bonds to buy a building or add to an existing building.
"I know that we are commanded to assemble (Heb. 10: 25) and we are told to partake of the Lord's supper (Acts 20:7), but I am unable to find even one scripture that gives us a reason to sell bonds for any purpose. Are we going to 'beg' the world to help us build our building by selling bonds? Why not have church bazaars, or church suppers, or rummage sales to aid us to build a building? Is there any more scripture for such things than selling bonds?
"As I Cor. 16:2 reads it says, 'Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store as God has prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.' Now we all know that this refers to the collection for the Lord's treasury on the first day of the week, but where in this passage do we find any example, precept, or even a reason for an expediency to sell bonds to raise money?" M. N.
I know of no principle of truth which is violated in the sale of bonds. The real issue here is whether or not the church may borrow money, for after all, this is simply a method of borrowing money. Many times the church will go to the bank and borrow money with the understanding that it is to pay interest for the use of the money. In the sale of bonds, instead of going to the bank or some lending agency, the church borrows the money from individuals. The bond is simply a legal transaction, or a guarantee that the church will repay the debt, and is similar to a note. Perhaps it would be more acceptable and accurate to speak of "borrowing money" rather than "selling bonds." After all, the church isn't really selling anything.
Is it scriptural for the church to pay interest? I believe it is. While I recognize that he was speaking to an individual, it seems that the Lord endorsed the principle of paying interest or usury (Luke 19:23). If it is not wrong to collect it, it is not wrong to pay it.
Borrowing money by the bond method is not at all parallel to church bazaars, suppers or sales. In fact, it is the very opposite. In borrowing money, the church is not selling anything. It is paying for services rendered. The church has no authority to engage in any kind of sale or profit-making business to raise money.
In borrowing money and issuing bonds as security, the church is not "begging the world" to help in its work. It is true that in the bond method the church might borrow from an individual who is not a Christian. Would all of the officials of a bank have to be Christians before the church could borrow money from the institution? In borrowing money, either from an individual or an institution, the church is not selling, begging, or asking the world to assist in its work. It is doing its work!
Someone might object to this on the grounds that if a Christian had money to lend to the church he should give or contribute it to the church. This is not a valid argument. If it is, it would preclude any form of saving whereby a Christian could provide for the present and future needs of his own.
Certainly we are to give as we prosper, and I truly believe that if all Christians would do so the church would have more with which to do its work and less need for borrowing from anyone by any method. But this is between the individual and Christ (2 Cor. 9:7).