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 Vol. 8, No. 5 

May 2006

Since You Asked

~ Page 18 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Kitchen in the Meetinghouse

By Louis Rushmore

Image Dear Bro Rushmore: please send me info about antism, a relative of mine who attends an anti church asked me by what authority we could have a kitchen in our bldg. Please send any info about them you may have. I am not sure all they believe. Thank you.

The term "antism" has been loosely applied to a number of members and congregations of the churches of Christ that oppose various activities viewed by the balance of Christians and churches of Christ as inconsequential. Not all those to which the moniker "anti" is attributed are "anti" about the same things, but the list of things over which various anti groups are concerned include: no located preachers, no Bible classes, no individual communion cups, no benevolence toward non-Christians, no eating in the church building, no financial cooperation with other congregations and no financial expenditures to or through any other organization to accomplish any mission of the church. Mostly, anti brethren are sincere and otherwise conservative with the Scriptures, but they try too hard and have been correctly charged essentially with making laws where God did not make laws (Matthew 15:9). "No" is a keyword of antism and many anti prohibitions involve more conserving money than conservative biblical interpretation. We respectfully disagree with several of the conclusions to which these brethren have arrived.

The expenditure of the Lord's money needs to be authorized, as does every other aspect of church activity (and Christian activity) need to be regulated or guided by Holy Scripture. In short, the same authority mechanism by which a church can have a meetinghouse (which is not explicitly even mentioned in the New Testament) is the same authority mechanism by which a church may have a kitchen in that building. After one justifies by biblical authority the ownership of a church building in which to assemble, he may have justified by the same biblical authority the existence of a kitchen (as well as restrooms and a water fountain) in that building. If not careful, strenuous protests against some things associated with a building may effectively disallow the building, too.

Ownership of a building by the Lord's church relies on implicit authority owing to that ownership of real estate expediently permits the church to fulfill what it is explicitly authorized (required) to do (i.e., assemble for worship, edify itself, etc.). Likewise, the trappings of ownership of real estate are implicitly authorized as expedients to accomplish what is explicitly authorized if there is any authority for those trappings of meetinghouse ownership at all (i.e., pews, carpet, air conditioning, restrooms, lawn care, parking lot maintenance, etc.). (There is something fundamentally flawed with someone's religion where his religion permits fertilizing the church lawn but refuses to feed children of non-Christian parents or no parents at all.)

Some churches of Christ have kitchens in their buildings because they prepare and distribute food as part of their benevolent program (toward Christians and non-Christians), which is a biblically authorized part of the three-fold mission of the church. "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:10). "Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men" (2 Corinthians 9:13).

Some churches of Christ have kitchens in their buildings so they can feed the persons who spend the hours of several days with them during all-day lectureships of Gospel preaching. Even Jesus demonstrated his compassion toward the auditors of his preaching by seeing that they were fed (Matthew 14:15-21; 15:32-38; Luke 9:12-17). The disciples of our Lord did not question him about the propriety of feeding thousands that had assembled (as surely some of our anti brethren would have done), but merely doubted that whether the financial resources they possessed was enough (Mark 6:35-44; John 6:5-13).

Some churches of Christ have kitchen appliances (i.e., stoves) in their buildings because some brethren have donated or given them to churches to make warming food for fellowship meals more convenient. Other churches of Christ have stoves in their buildings because they have purchased them to make warming food for fellowship meals more convenient. In either case, if it is right and good for Christians to fellowship each other, including eating together, and it is, then the church is authorized to encourage as well as facilitate this kind of fellowship, too. "And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart" (Acts 2:46); the primitive church met publicly and privately for among other things eating common meals together.

The first century church had no aversion to worshipping and eating in the same building at different times, and this with implicit apostolic approval of Paul (Acts 20:7-11). The apostle Paul only rebuffed Christians for eating a common meal where they also worshipped when those Christians erroneously combined the two (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). There were no church owned meetinghouses for about the first 200 years after the establishment of the church. Often Christians assembled in their homes for worship (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; Philemon 2). It would have been an unbearable burden to have the church meet in one's home if he could never eat there again owing to the manmade doctrine that one cannot eat in a church building. It is certainly odd that some anti brethren suppose that the New Testament forbids eating in church buildings when church buildings did not exist in the first century and did not come about for about another 200 years; that is some suspicious exegesis from faulty hermeneutics.

If it were not for the objection to a stove in the building (surely it is permissible to refrigerate the grape juice for communion and other items could share a shelf with it innocently), the objection would be thought by objectors sufficient owing to the expenditure of the Lord's money. Money for fertilizer, no problem, though remotely implicit and expedient to facilitating a place in which to assemble for worship (1 Corinthians 14:23) and edification (1 Corinthians 14:12, 26), and from which to perform benevolence (Galatians 6:10) and evangelism (Mark 16:15), plus commune over food with brethren in a place sufficiently large enough to accommodate the brethren (Acts 2:44-46).

Perhaps unintentionally, most of the "anti" issues effectively involve two things: (1) being more restrictive in Christianity than was the Lord or is the New Testament (Matthew 15:9; Revelation 22:18), and (2) demonstrating covetousness over money professedly given to the Lord but not really relinquished. Half of the "anti" issues would be eradicated by developing a healthy and biblically correct attitude toward money, and the other half of "anti" issues would dissolve were these brethren content to abide in what the New Testament teaches without adding their own test-of-fellowship think-so's.Image


By Louis Rushmore

i had a question spotting out in my mind whether kissing my boyfriend is a sin or not... [name withheld by Editor], India

Kissing can mean a lot of things. In the first century Roman world, kissing was a form of greeting where men kissed men and women kissed women (Matthew 26:49; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14; compare Genesis 27:26-27; Ruth 1:9, 14; 1 Samuel 10:1; 20:41). The kiss of greeting was a culturally acceptable as well as a biblically acceptable public greeting. "Between individuals of the same sex, and in a limited degree between those of different sexes, the kiss on the cheek as a mark of respect or an act of salutation has at all times been customary in the East" (New Unger's). A unique greeting and show of respect occurs in Luke 7:38, 45 where a woman kissed the feet of Jesus Christ. Though the New Testament did not originate the kiss of greeting, it regulated it to a "holy kiss" (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26) rather than a passionate kiss.

"Romantic kisses are mentioned infrequently in the Bible, whether genuinely loving (Song 1:2; 8:1) or seductive (Prov 7:13)" (Nelson's). Biblically, God requires unmarried persons to practice moral purity toward each other. The church is compared to a "chaste virgin" (2 Corinthians 11:2). Unmarried persons must limit their physical interaction with each other to prevent lust and fornication (1 Corinthians 7:1-2): "but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion" (1 Corinthians 7:9 New King James Version).

Kissing between unmarried persons may occur if: (1) its extent does not cause lust or tempt one to commit fornication, and (2) it is culturally acceptable where these persons live; Christians are not permitted to thoughtlessly violate customs that do not conflict with the Bible (i.e., wearing a veil as a symbol of recognition of gender roles, 1 Corinthians 11:3-7).Image

Works Cited

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.

New Unger's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Chicago: Moody P., 1988.

Values and Education

By Louis Rushmore

My name is Leazel Beukes and there are two questions that I need answers for. 1. How the church perspective influence values and education? 2. How the school can influence values and education?

From a biblical perspective, one's religious convictions based on biblical teaching ought to regulate everything in one's life, including values and the effect secular education is allowed to have on a child of God. The apostle Paul, when citing the proper Christian slave's dutiful deportment toward his master, wrote: "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23). This conviction of "do it heartily, as to the Lord" should pervade the entire disposition of every Christian toward seeking first to please God (Matthew 6:33). The sentiment of Colossians 3:23 is comparable to the same idea expressed in Colossians 3:17, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him."

However, young people spend a disproportionate amount of time away from their religious associations and families under the control of school systems. Hence, schools typically directly or indirectly through peer association influence those being educated more powerfully and thoroughly than home and church combined. Consequently, especially among nominal religious people of all stripes, value systems (morality and ethics) or the lack there of propagated in schools come to dominate the lives of our offspring.

Parents have the God-ordained responsibility to ground their children in God-given religion (Deuteronomy 6:6-7; Proverbs 22:6). Parents are not authorized to abdicate their parental responsibilities, for instance, to secular educators. The cost of having done so is too high, namely the loss of our children to the Christian faith.Image


By Louis Rushmore

dear brother. please explain me about Melchizedek king of Salem. i need full details about him.

Melchizedek is a biblical character in the times of Patriarchy (before Judaism and Christianity) who mysteriously appears and then as mysteriously disappears from the biblical text. With slight variations in spelling, Melchizedek's name appears in just a few verses in both testaments of the Bible (Genesis 14:18-20; Psalm 110:4;  Hebrews 5:6, 10; 7:1-2, 11-12, 15, 17, 21). Though every male under Patriarchy could act as a family priest and perform ritual worship of Jehovah (Genesis 4:3-4; 22:5), Melchizedek was a patriarchal priest in some way superior to family priests and at the same time king of Salem (later called Jerusalem); Melchizedek's priesthood was superior to Abraham's priesthood (Hebrews 7:7). "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life" (Hebrews 7:3) means that Melchizedek neither received his priesthood from his forefathers nor passed the priesthood to his descendants, as was the case with Levitical priests under Judaism; Melchizedek's family tree was immaterial to his priesthood, as is true regarding the priesthood of Jesus Christ.

The following three quotations from various resources provide some useful points to remember about Melchizedek. Essentially, the rest of what can know about Melchizedek is limited to what we can read in the passages in which his name appears.

...the Melchizedek priesthood was prior to the Levitical temporary law...(Fausset's)

Melchizedek's existence shows that there were people other than Abraham and his family who served the true God. ...Melchizedek was a real, historical king-priest who served as a type for the greater King-Priest who was to come, Jesus Christ. (Nelson's)

The relation between Melchizedek and Christ as type and antitype is made in the Epistle to the Hebrews to consist in the following particulars: Each was a priest, (1) not of the Levitical tribe; (2) superior to Abraham; (3) whose beginning and end are unknown; (4) who is not only a priest, but also a king of righteousness and peace. (Smith)Image

Works Cited

Fausset's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1998.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.

Smith, William. Smith's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Austin: Wordsearch, 2003.

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