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Gospel Gazette Online

Vol. 11 No. 11 November 2009

Page 15

The Preacher's Code of Ethics

By Don Blackwell

Don Blackwell

The church is not in the banking business. Or is it? Having spent the last several years in fund raising for evangelistic works, one of the greatest frustrations I have met is congregations who are sitting on tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars that they are not using. Certainly every missionary and/or fundraiser would like to see congregations support “his” work, but it is understood that that’s at the discretion of the local eldership. God’s plan is that each congregation be autonomous, and therefore no eldership is obligated to support any specific work. On the other hand, they are obligated to support some work.

One is reminded of the Parable of the Talents. Though this parable is often used to illustrate the need to use our abilities in God’s service, the “talent” in the text is a unit of money. The one talent man in the parable is faulted because he dug a hole and buried the money that he should have been using for his master. The reason he gave for his negligence was fear (Matthew 25:25). His master attributed it to laziness (vs. 26). The master then commanded that he be casted into the outer darkness because he failed to use that which was laid at his charge.

Could it be that we have a real parallel in the Lord’s church today? It is certainly understandable that a congregation would want to have a reserve for cases of emergency. However, what could motivate a congregation to stockpile $50,000 or $100,000? Some elderships have said, “Well, you never know when the roof will blow off of the church building.” That’s what insurance is for, and how many souls will die lost over the next twenty years, while we wait for the roof to blow off? Some elderships sit on money because they have a fear of the unknown. Was that not the problem of the one talent man? It is true that tragic and costly events do sometimes occur. I am intimately familiar with one congregation that was hit with a financial crisis. The elders of that good church had set aside only a very small reserve. The rest of their money was being used for the Lord’s work. What did they do? They made an appeal to the congregation. The brethren gave generously, and the problem was fixed. In fact, they gave in excess of the need. The elders then took the excess and immediately spent it on the Lord’s work.

Over the years, I have many times heard a prayer led before the contribution in which the brother leading would say, “Lord may these funds be used in your service.” Yet, all too often that is not what happens. All too often, the funds sit in a bank “just in case” something tragic happens? Brethren, what could be more tragic than souls dying lost when we could have taken the Gospel to them? What could be more tragic than to have missionaries who want to go, but who don’t have the funding? What could be more tragic than for us to have the resources to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” but to not use them? One can hardly imagine that God will be pleased on the Day of Judgment with elders who have tens of thousands of dollars in the bank “just in case.”

Reflect on These Things

Mike Benson

Mike BensonMay I kindly ask a few questions for your personal study and reflection? How many churches did Jesus promise to build (Matthew 16:18)? Did He say, “I will build a church?” Did He say, “I will build My churches?” Since Jesus promised to build His church (singular), how can we endorse and authorize religious division today? We have hundreds of different churches in our country. Each of them wears a different name. Each of them promotes a different and often times conflicting doctrine. Is this what the Lord had in mind when He made His promise? Is the church the same thing as the body (Ephesians 1:22-23)? How many bodies did Paul mention (Ephesians 4:4; cf. Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:20)? Since the church and the body are the same thing, and since Christ is the Head of the body, how can we teach different, yea even opposing, doctrines? Does the Head of the body contradict itself? How many faiths does Paul mention (Ephesians 4:5)?

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