Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 18, 1955

Equality For Whom?

Billy W. Moore, Portageville, Missouri

In the Lufkin debate I understood (and I think correctly so, for others with whom I have talked had the same understanding) Brother Harper to say that the "equality" mentioned by Paul in II Corinthians 8:14 applied to the Macedonian "church" (which according to Brother Brewer Would be the Philippian church, Gospel Advocate, Jury 16, 1953). Brother Harper said that the "Macedonian church" was in deeper poverty than the Jerusalem church, and that in order that there may be equality among the churches which contributed to the Jerusalem church it was necessary that they (other churches) give to Macedonia so that Macedonia would have something to give to Jerusalem and would thus have "equality" with all the contributing churches. But, as Brother Tant so efficiently pointed out, if the churches. of Macedonia were in "deeper poverty" than the Jerusalem church the Holy Spirit was directing the funds to the wrong place. However, there are other scriptures which teach that the Jerusalem church was in want and that the abundance of other churches was a supply of their want and thereby brought about "equality."

According to Romans 15:26, 27, "For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and THEIR DEBTORS THEY ARE." (Emphasis mine, BWM.) Paul said that the churches of Macedonia and Achaia were in debt to the Jerusalem church, why? "For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things." The churches of Macedonia and Achaia are the Gentiles which had been made partakers of their (Jerusalem saints) spiritual things, for the gospel had gone forth from the Jerusalem church unto all the world. Now the Gentile churches, having been blessed spiritually because of the efforts of the Jews, were to supply the lack of carnal things in the Jerusalem church, and according to Paul they were "debtors" so to do. When the want was supplied would there not be equality? Equality where? The Jerusalem church would have equality with the Gentile churches. (Rom. 16:26, 27.) This shows that Macedonia "was pleased" to make a contribution to the church in Jerusalem. But where is the verse that shows that before the churches of Macedonia could be "pleased" to contribute to the Jerusalem church they must first receive contributions so that they could have some to send to Jerusalem (kinda mixed up isn't it?) ? If the Macedonian churches were in "deeper poverty" than the Jerusalem church would they be obligated to the Jerusalem church? It would seem that if Jerusalem had more "carnal things," (and she would have if Macedonia were in "deeper poverty") that she would be more obligated to send a contribution to Macedonia than Macedonia would be to send to her. If not, why not?

This all reminds me of the congregation which received $150 monthly from a church in Texas in order that it might carry on its program. The budget of this church called for $10 per month to be sent to "Herald of Truth." I wonder if they had Brother Harper's theory on "equality," and thus found it necessary for them to receive a contribution from a big Texas church so that they would be able to have equality with 1079 other churches in helping Highland church do HER work?

After studying this "equality" matter I am beginning to see why Brother Harper would have folks to believe that the "equality" in II Corinthians 8:14 applies to Macedonia (contributing churches) and not to the receiving church (Jerusalem). For surely all can see that if there is any equality with reference to the "Herald of Truth" it must be among the contributing churches, as in the case mentioned above, which is a parallel to Brother Harper's argument on the Macedonian church, and not the receiving church. For the receiving church (Highland) had equality before "Herald of Truth."