Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 27, 1958

Church Kitchens

Vaughn D. Shofner, Camden, Arkansas

That the New Testament says nothing about "church buildings," all who are conversant with its teaching unhesitatingly agree. That the church in apostolic times and under severe persecution, met in homes, from house to house, all whom I know will readily accept. That there may have been "kitchens" in the houses of those individuals in which the church met, I think people as a whole are intelligent enough to see without as much help as some of the preachers today think is needed. But in twenty year's of studying and gospel preaching, I have not reached the place of "superior syllogism" which sees in these facts the authority to build, maintain and use "church kitchens."

The threadbare and hackeyed cries, "the place where the church meets does not become holy because the church meets there;" "the 'church building' is not sacred;" are, I think, universally known and accepted by seasoned Christians. Those of you who mix Christian fellowship with "church collation," do you know someone who thinks the buildings of the church are sacred? Who is he? Then please do not imply allegations which cannot be proved, lest you show dishonesty. Let everyone state his own positions, for thee and thine are not the only ones due the respect of being heard. Your suppression of attempted denials of your insinuating assertions is proof that you know how weak your charges are, or that you think your words are excathedra.

Now, gentle readers, let us consider the church for a minute. What is the church? All seasoned Christians know it is composed of the "called out" people, saved people, and the church belongs to Christ. The church in group action must come together, so a place for the assembling inheres in the command. Therefore, when the church assembles, wherever it may be, the action is toward accomplishment of that which the church is to do. And therefore, whatever the building and however supplied, the only things that it can offer, scripturally, are scriptural expedients carrying out the mission of the scriptural expedients carrying out the mission of the church.

Gentle friends, what is the mission of the church? Is a kitchen required in carrying out the church's mission? The grand mission of the church is to teach the gospel of Christ (Eph. 3:8-11.), and thus save the souls who accept it. The church is the pillar and ground of the truth (I Tim. 3:15.), and the Word of God is truth. (John 17:17.) Every act of the church, worshipful or otherwise, is founded upon teaching, learning, believing and obeying the truth! No, the place she meets is not holy, good neighbor, but the church can use only those things which assist in fulfilling her holy mission on earth, and cuisine compartments cannot find a place within the framework of her holy fellowship.

None denies the need of recreation, and I just imagine precious few of my "old-fashioned" tribe deny a Christian the scriptural right to engage in the consumption of a few morsels of food now and then. But we know the old-fashioned home should supply these things according to God's plan. The high ecclesiastical learning of worldly wags, maneuvering with mellifluent voice to modernize the old "moss-backs" in the church, has not illumined the minds of some of us, and therefore the simplicity of God's plan is still our greatest light. Now if any of you have knowledge of scripture which shows the consolidation of home and church, and thus renders the church responsible for the recreation and refreshments due our youth, and all the rest of us, then read it out loud and let us hear it.

"The kingdom of God is not meat and drink" (Rom. 14:17.), and to attach culinary compartments to the responsibilities of the church of our Lord, renders those who do it guilty of mixing carnal things with things which are spiritual. The value of whatever the church furnisher in buildings, food, or other facilities, toward material whims of man, measures exactly how much the Lord has furnished, because the church belongs to the Lord; and it also measures exactly how far God's people have gone in profaning God's spiritual kingdom with materialism. And, gentle truth-seekers, simply because the group action required of the church demands a physical location where her members can meet in scriptural fellowship, it does not authorize in any way all the recreational rendezvous and athletic appendages we see stigmatizing the fellowship of our Lord's glorious church.