Thanks to churchesofchrist for pointing out this article from Ray’s blog. This is really interesting writing. Thanks, Ray! Thanks, churchesofchrist!
- A pattern, a pattern, I see a pattern.
- Here a pattern, there a pattern, everywhere a pattern.
- Follow my pattern or spend eternity in hell.
Pattern theology has been our curse. Rather than unite, it has sorely divided us.
Some have seen a pattern related to how the church must collect and spend its money.
“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem” (1 Corinthians 16:1-3 KJV).
Most quote this passage to prove:
- It is a universal command for all churches for all time.
- It limits this contribution to evangelism, edification, and benevolence.
Yet, this “order” was not given until about A.D. 54-55 when Paul wrote it. That is 24 years after the church was established on Pentecost. No such command existed until 1 Corinthians 16:1-3!
Second, if one will carefully read the passage, the “order” is given to (1) the churches of Galatia and (2) Corinth. There is nothing in the passage that includes other congregations then or today.
Third, the Jerusalem church is not included in this giving, it is the recipient. Since they are not included in the “order,” it cannot be a universal command.
Fourth, nothing is said about this contribution being for evangelism or edification. It is for the sole purpose of relieving the saints in Jerusalem. It is a specific “order,” to specific congregations, for a specific purpose, for a specific locality, and in a specific time frame.
Fifth, this collection is not for the purpose of paying the preacher, buying property, building a church building, or paying the utility bill. It is a “collection for the saints” to be taken “unto Jerusalem.”
If one may add congregations to those already specified, the door is opened to add other things not specified.
If one may add evangelism and edification to the specifically stated purpose for the collection, the door is opened to add other things not specifically stated.
It seems that our man made patterns have caused us more harm than good. That being the case, maybe we are guilty of creating something from the Bible that God never intended. Perhaps we have simply missed the meaning of “the good news.”