I think many times we miss the point when it comes to objecting to certain practices. For example, I don’t believe it is wrong to eat in a church building. It depends on the purpose of eating! Here are some times when I believe serving food (or eating) in the church building would not be unscriptural.
(1) If the elders had widows or poor saints who can qualify for church charity and they feel that it is expedient to feed them in the church building I could not object. We have Bible authority for taking care of widows and poor saints (1 Tim. 5 and 1 Cor. 16). As a matter of fact, in Acts six some brethren in the church actually served tables. How the elders choose to do this work is their business. God put the responsibility on the elders. They cannot scripturally shift that to a board or conclaves un-known to the New Testament. The authority and control of that work must stay where God put it. Notice I found the scripture for the CHURCH taking care of widows and poor saints before I justified the use of the church building in the matter. Now, if the liberal brethren will find just one scripture which authorizes the church to spend money for entertainment, fun and frolic, I won’t argue about them using the church building!
(2) If the church employs a man to do some work on the inside or outside of the property he might choose to eat his lunch in the building. Who would object? No one that I know. When people are employed to do work, where they eat is their business. They are not trespassing because they have received proper authority for being on the property. So this is a second example of eating in the church building without a violation of God’s law. Others could be given but this is enough. This proves that the ISSUE is not eating in the church building. The real issue is WHAT HAS GOD AUTHORIZED US TO DO WITH THE MONEY IN THE TREASURY AND ALSO THE PROPERTY PURCHASED WITH THAT MONEY! When we understand that the spending of the Lord’s money is the issue we will be able to see the truth.
Someone may argue that all money belongs to the Lord. Certainly there is a sense in which all money belongs to the Lord. Just as there is a sense in which Baptist preachers are our brethren (in Adam), but it must be admitted that the money collected on Sunday is the Lord’s in a special way. I affirm that the difference in the individual’s money and the church’s money is made crystal in 1 Tim. 5:16. Notice what Paul says, “If any MAN (individual) or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and “let not the church (the congregation) be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.” Now, could anything be clearer? So there is a difference in the individual’s money and the church’s money. When Paul said, “Let not the church be charged,” it certainly means that the church must have money to pay its charge! This verse teaches us that the church has money and the individual has money.
It also turns the old argument, that what the individual does the church does, into a tailspin. If that be true when a man supports his mother the church is supporting her. If that were true then we have the church charged with something Paul says is unscriptural. So according to liberal brethren a man would go to hell either way! If a man supports his mother he stands condemned because the church is doing it. If he fails to support her he is still condemned because he is worse than an infidel. So brethren what are we to do ?
The Bible teaches that the church spent its money for preaching the gospel (2 Cor. 11:8) ; taking care of poor saints; and edifying God’s people as Paul did in his preaching. We may use the church buildings for any of these things because we have Bible authority. When we start using the building and the Lord’s money for entertainment, fun, social gatherings, etc., we might as well turn it into a sanctified club house and be done with it because that is where it will end. Gentle reader, please come back to the old paths.