Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 19, 1964

"... At The Apostles Feet"

Marshall E. Patton

In Batsell Barrett Baxter's tract "Questions and Issues of the Day," he has a great deal to say about "the use of the church treasury." On page 19 he says, "In determining the Lord's will on this matter, I should like to point out as the first observation that the scriptures contain no commandment, or other instructions, concerning the church treasury." On page 20 he cites the following references: Acts 2:44; 4:32, 34, 35; 5 and 6. He then concludes that "From all of these passages it is quite evident that the Jerusalem church had a fund or treasury from which disbursements were made to those who were in need of daily necessities." On page 23 he says, "It seems strange that some have been so quick to tell us what the treasury can and cannot be used for in view of the fact that the scriptures give no instructions or commandments concerning the treasury. Where is the command, apostolic example, or necessary inference from which one can say that the church treasury can be used for this and this and this, but not for that and that and that?"

It is shocking, to say the least, to hear such from one who poses as a preacher of the gospel of Christ. However, it may not be so strange to some that such should be the featured speaker on the Herald of Truth T V program and head of the Bible department of David Lipscomb College. Surely brother Baxter knows that the New Testament is replete with direct commands, statements, and approved examples revealing clearly just what the early church did with its money. Does he not regard this revelation as the doctrine of Christ? Does he not know that going beyond this is SIN? (II Jno. 9) IT IS THIS REVELATION that enables one to say "that the church treasury can be used for this and this and this but not for that and that and that."

In the very passages which he cited we learn that the treasury of the early church was "at the apostles' feet" (Acts 4:34, 35, 37; 5:2). Does he not know what this means? THE EXPOSITOR'S GREEK TESTAMENT says, "to whom could the administration of the common fund be more fittingly committed than to the Apostles? The narrative indicates that this committal of trust was voluntary on the part of the Ecclesia, although it was marked by an act of reverence for the Apostles authority the expression in the Greek conveys thought, of committal to the care and authority of anyone,... (Emp. M.E.P.)

When we consider the position of the apostles in the church of our Lord, we can understand why the treasury cannot be committed to the authority of anyone else so far as what can be used for is concerned. They could and did "bind" and "loose" only that which was bound and loosed in heaven (Mt. 16:19; 18:18) by virtue of the power that guided them, namely, the Holy Spirit (Jno. 16:7-13). They are judges on the thrones over the whole of spiritual Israel (Mt. 19:28; Gal 6:16) and, therefore, determine for us what is right and wrong. They are the ambassadors of Christ the king and speak in His stead (II Cor. 5:20). Neither the Pope and his council, nor conferences of the denominational world, nor college professors, nor elders in the church have such authority. The apostles are still on the thrones as judges and will be as long as Christ "sits in his throne of glory" and as long as the "period of regeneration" continues (Mt. 19:28). They are yet the ambassadors of Christ, and the treasury of the church is as much "at the apostles' feet" now as then.

When Baxter or anyone else advocates taking money out of the church to support human institutions, including college, which he does in his tract, they thereby remove the treasury from the "apostles' feet" and place it at the feet of men. Such use of funds must be by the authority of men — there is none from the apostles. Indeed, they are "teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Mt. 15:9).

May he and all others learn and be content to leave the treasury of the church where our Lord put it — "AT THE APOSTLES' FEET."

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