In John 2:15, Jesus threw everyone, buyers AND sellers alike, out of the temple for making His house a marketplace. When a church has fund raisers, even though the money is used to further the ministry, is this considered “merchandizing? What about having a Christian day care, which also makes a profit? Does John 2:15, Matt. 21:12 & Mark 11:15 tell us that using our church as a marketplace is wrong and that we should trust God to supply our needs or not?
Yes, these passages indicate clearly to us that we should not think of local churches as money-making institutions that are design for the making of profit, even if these profits are used for “good” purposes. The Scripture is quite clear on how churches collected monies and in what way they used them. It is these principles and examples that we should follow and not the traditions of men.
Method of collection – In 1 Cor. 16:1-4, Paul communicates to the local church at Corinth, as he had done to others, when and how money should be collected. It should be done every first day of the week (Sunday) according to the level of individual prosperity and willingness to give. 2 Cor. 9:6-7. No amount is specified.
In these simple passages we do not see any glimpses of profit-making enterprises involving Christians. Free will collections on the first day of the week is how the apostles of Jesus commanded the early Christians to give. If we respect their word, we will follow this pattern only.
Purpose for collections – At least two purposes are clearly spelled out. first, as we have noted, they collected money for Christians (not the world in general) who were in need of food, clothing and shelter. 1 Cor. 16:-1-4. In this case, brethren in Judea were stricken by a famine and were in need.
Further, we are told they collect money to support those preaching the gospel, both in their local area and if possible, beyond it. 2 Cor. 11:8-9, Phil. 4:14-19. Again, no mention of spending money on social programs or great building projects and the imaginative schemes of men. Simple direct giving for spiritual purposes was the practice of those in the first century.
Beyond these, we are given general authority to provide a building for the purpose of assembling and worshipping together. Heb. 10:24-25. However, there is no indication that this building should be used for all types of purposes such as entertainment, running of business and recreation.
By Gary Hunt