Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 14, 1958

Then And Now (III.)

W. W. McGee, Portales, New Mexico

It hardly seems possible, but true nevertheless, that present day strife and division in the church of the Lord could be traced to a failure to observe a command as simple as that contained in I Cor. 16:1-3. Here we find the subject of "How to finance the Lord's work" completely exhausted. Here we are told how to raise money to carry on the Lord's work both in churches in "normal" and "Abnormal" conditions. Here a church in a normal condition received its money by the saints "laying by in store" on the first day of the week as prospered. Every saint is to follow that example. Where there is prosperity, giving is required in proportion to that prosperity. Churches wthout ability to provide the physical necessities of life may ask and receive assistance just as here pointed out. But a failure to adhere to this simple command has brought havoc and ruin to many congregations. There is no disagreement in the church today over whether or not this is right. It is over things other than those mentioned in this passage.

Again let us appeal to you to view again the cause of the division of a generation ago. Designing brethren of that day could not resist the temptation to set aside the Lord's simple plan and inaugurate some manmade plan of raising money. They went "all out" to get the money, sales, raffles, personal solicitation, church solicitation, business endeavors and etc. One innovation led to another; there was no stopping of this movement. Boycott, disfellowship, branding and ridicule was the order of the day. Debates were held time and again. Some were awakened to the dangers and were saved from the apostasy, by such debates as the Otey-Briney discussion in the early years of the twentieth century.

I suggest dear reader you recall the steps in the apostasy of the First Christian church. List their money raising schemes, their social activities in the church, attitude of what the Bible DOES NOT forbid, unscriptural cooperation, and their fraternization with the world and the denominations, then make a similar list of the same things being done in the church of the Lord today. You will be astounded at the parallel. Before these crept into the ranks of the Lord's army there was peace and harmony.

Let us "get close to home" and look the situation over for our real problem and its solution. Examine the practice of the churches experiencing trouble and you will find with few exceptions, if any, it is over the financing of some "big work" the congregation has undertaken, or in helping a sister congregation finance her "big program." Eliminate the programs churches have undertaken and the financing connected therewith, which they planned for the brotherhood and our strife will vanish over-night. Our huge "Evangelistic radio programs" and "Our big benevolent undertakings" were planned for the brotherhood and not as the work of the planning church.

The trouble does not exist in congregations that have adhered to the rule set forth by the apostle Paul (I Cor.

16:1-3.) The division has come over the departure from this means of raising money to carry on the Lord's work.

In conclusion may I say I have been a member of the Lord's church for almost a half century and I have never seen trouble caused by churches practicing I Cor. 16:1-3. So I plead with you, and pray to God that you consider these things in the interest of peace and harmony. Today the church of our Lord is embroiled in trouble, let us make every effort to ward off another apostasy. May everyone work diligently and pray fervently that a cleavage or departure be averted.