Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 12, 1953

"Giving Thanks For The Giving"

C. D. Crouch, Dyess, Arkansas

There has been some discussion in the columns of the Guardian under the above caption, and it might not be amiss to say there has been a use of more verbiage than would have been necessary if proper definitions were employed and correct terms used.

Like Job's comforters, some writers have not been as clear in their statements as it would seem they should be. And like the youth, Elihu, "I will show mine opinion." (Job 32:7-10) And be it remembered that Elihu's "opinion" was more nearly in harmony with facts than the "opinions" of the "comforters."

Some forty years ago I attended a service of a digressive church, as an observer (one Sunday night). At that service an "offering" was taken. The preacher held his hands out over the "deacons" and had a little ceremony of "thanksgiving." That was with them a part of the ritual of the "offering." It was the first time I ever witnessed a thing of the sort.

Later on A. D. Dies joined the Digressives and preached for them for a time. When he renounced that connection he brought with him that little "ceremony of thanksgiving in connection with the offering." Thus the practice was introduced into some of the churches of Christ. For almost fifty years I have worshipped in churches in about a dozen states and in Canada. In only one church have I thus come in contact with that ritual. That church was "run" by a few women and a "smart" young preacher.

I think no one would object to a church having a prayer between the time of the communion and the contribution. Since there is no "order of worship" specified in the New Testament, there can be no serious objection to a prayer at that time. But, is this matter as simple as that? I think here can be no serious objection to our offering thanks to God for our ability to give to the church; nor can there be any serious objection to our offering thanks for the songs that we sing. Why not offer such thanksgiving for both, and for other blessings, in the prayers that we pray at other junctures in the worship? Is there anything wrong in incorporating our thanksgiving in said prayers? If not, then the issue is not as to whether it is right to thank God for this, that, or the other.

I may be prejudiced, but with me, it is right for us to "offer thanks for the bread," and also for "the cup" in observing the communion. I think we have authority for so doing. And while I may be prejudiced, I would raise an objection if the church where I worship were to omit such "thanksgiving." It is a part of the communion worship.

Now, to incorporate a "thanksgiving ceremony" into the "worship of giving" is not the same as "having a prayer" between the communion and the giving; it is adding a ritual to the "giving." And that is what some of us object to. I have insisted that it is not only unscriptural; it is silly. Let us see it in its proper perspective. Suppose the church meets for worship on Lord's day morning. One brother announces the number of a song. He then says: "Let us stand, and Brother Jones will offer thanks for this song." Then the song is rendered. Another number is announced. "Let us stand and Brother Smith will offer thanks for this song." Then, after that song, "Let us pray; but before we pray, Let us stand and Brother Jonsonius will offer thanks for the privilege of prayer" and then Brother Tobey will lead us while we pray." Silly, you say? But the issue is not whether it is right or wrong to offer thanks for all these things. The issue is whether or not this little ritual or ceremony which has been added to and made a part of the "contribution" is scriptural. The churches got along very well without it, in complete harmony until A. D. Dies brought the ritual from the Digressives, and introduced it into the churches, and most of the churches have not been led astray by it even yet. Brethren that ritual is offensive; it smells.