Carey’s Third Affirmative 10-15-99

Resolved: The Bible teaches that the sponsoring church arrangement is a violation of local autonomy and without Biblical authority.

I would like to enter this final leg of this debate with the same admonition I have offered throughout the debate. I ask that all brethren reading this debate will pray for Divine wisdom to gain an understanding of God’s word. I ask that everyone read carefully and examine both arguments, and compare the teachings with God’s word (Acts 17:11). I pray that people will be honest with themselves, and will seek to do right before God, our final Judge.

In our two debates, we have gathered that Biblical authority is the final pattern that we are allowed and commanded to follow. It comes down to something is either commanded or it is not commanded. There is no specific mention in the scriptures of a sponsoring church. But there is specific mention on how to support evangelists. The Bible teaches that evangelists need support. The Bible teaches us how to give this support. The sponsoring church is not a Bible method.

The problem between our two positions is found in the interpretation of what is written in the Scriptures. For example:

Read Phil 4:10-20. There is no Biblical support for the argument that the church sent financial aid to Paul via a sponsoring arrangement. There is Biblical support that Philippi and other local churches sent financial aid directly to Paul (1 Cor 11:8).

In our first debate, Darrell working upon the silence of scripture, said, "it may be the case" that the Philippian church received funds from other churches for this purpose. When we act in opposition to the silence of scripture we are acting presumptuously (Psa 19:13).

As we teach, "Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where it is silent". The scripture is silent, and thus we are prohibited by that silence to add this arrangement.

As we have written in the previous arguments; Philippi supported Paul. There is no scripture to support the idea that any local church sent funds to Philippi for this work. Thus, the sponsoring arrangement is an addition to the scriptures.

The Bible has given us specifics on how a preacher in the field may be fully or partially supported.

(Paul being the only example we have from scripture).

With the presence of these specific examples, there is no Biblical authority for a sponsoring church arrangement as discussed in our proposition.

It is also a violation of local autonomy. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter and Paul, who instructed Timothy, Titus and others what to teach concerning each church. If the Holy Spirit did not authorize a sponsoring church arrangement, what gives us today a right to authorize a sponsoring church arrangement? Certainly it is not God.

We find in the scriptures that:

Christ limits the elders with the charge to shepherd the flock "among" them. They do not have the right to push their office upon another church and other churches do not have a right to request that an elder from another congregation guide them as well. One church cannot send an unruly member to another church for the purpose of discipline. Each local church has it’s own responsibilities and cannot rely upon other churches to do their work for them or take upon themselves a work other churches should be doing themselves.

The end result of acting without Biblical authority is a condemnation by God (Rom 13:2). If we learn the error of our ways, God expects us to repent and turn towards the truth. If we reject the truth, God will reject us. This means that those who continue in error will be lost eternally (Matt 7:21-23).

Darrell wrote: You see the sponsoring congregation does not accept the charge of the sending congregation, nor does the sending congregation give up any of its charge.

Carey here: Darrell, what you are saying is that the sponsoring church is only a third party to the arrangement of a local church seeing to the needs of a missionary in the field. This is the same thing as a human institution doing the work that the church is supposed to do. How can anyone NOT (emp-cs) see that this is an addition to the God approved pattern as shown above with BCV?

The duties placed upon the local church can be realized by following God’s pattern without adding to God’s pattern.

If you want evangelists supported, then send them some money. Get your local church to do the same. Get other churches to do the same. But don’t add something that the Bible does not authorize.

Darrell has accused me (and anyone else who takes my position) of binding where God has not bound. This charge does not stand if we produce Biblical authority for our position.

If we can give a "Thus saith the Lord", we are not guilty of binding. Those who are honest souls cannot read all of the scripture references and conclude that there is Biblical authority for this addition.

Darrell is the one guilty of binding by teaching that the sponsoring church is authorized. But if it is authorized, it is not optional but churches are commanded to do so. Darrell has already taught that churches do not have to participate in a sponsor arrangement. (See response to question #3 of the first affirmative).

Darrell, it is either a command or it is not. If it is a command, then give us the scripture. If it is not a command, stop binding and condemning those to choose to be safe by following Biblical authority.

This argument is very common in debates. Brethren in the church have been accused of binding water baptism for the remission of sins and entrance into the kingdom.

Brethren have been accused of binding singing only.

Brethren have been accused of binding when they teach what Jesus said in Matt 5:32, Mt 19:9, Mk 10:11-12, and Luke 16:18 in the MDR discussion.

Brethren have been accused of binding "works" for the condition of salvation in the discussion of God’s grace.

Notice also that those who accuse others of binding are usually the ones guilty of practicing error. Darrell places himself in very shady company by making this accusation.

Darrell wrote: There is a difference between proving something, and proving something to someone.

Carey here: If what you are trying to prove is without Biblical support, I do not care to receive it. If your teaching is error, I do not have to accept it. The person who is convinced that instrumental music is all right may think that he has proven his position, but I do not have to accept it. The people who teach that we should fellowship all practicing homosexuals may think that they have proven it is all right, but I will not accept their conclusions in respect of the teachings of God’s word. So far, in both of our debates, Darrell has failed to prove that the sponsoring church arrangement is NOT (emp-cs) an addition to the Biblical pattern found in the New Testament. (2 Thess 2:10-12)

Darrell has also tried to muddy the waters in this debate by comparing the work of benevolence as an equal comparison in this debate. This is an apple vs. orange case. Darrell wants to confuse this issue associated with the proposition by making arguments from a position that belongs with another proposition.

If Darrell wants to debate orphans homes or other types of benevolent societies, let him draft some propositions and let’s get it on! The Bible teaches us how it handled its benevolent work just as it taught it how to handle its mission work. Let’s not intermingle or confuse the two arguments.

The fact that there was a dire need in apostolic times, and benevolent needs were taken care of does not support the sponsoring church arrangement. Read Acts 11:29 over and over until it sinks in.

The last thing I want to mention comes from this passage: 1 Thess 5:22 "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (KJV) The sponsoring church has no scriptural support. There is not a direct command to have one. There are no examples given. There is not even a necessary inference to lead us to conclude that the sponsoring church is authorized. The only inference used is the fact that the Bible is silent and does not condemn this arrangement specifically. With the lack of Biblical authority, it can be said that this action is evil. We would be very safe by abstaining from it.


"Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." 2 Tim 1:13.

"Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies…". 1 Pet 4:11

"And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Col 3:17

"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;" 1 Thess 5:21

"But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves." James 1:22

"And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that man and do not associate with him, so that he may be put to shame. And yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother." 2 Thess 3:14-15

"He who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves." Rom 13:2

"…because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." 2 Thess 2:10-12

"Now, may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!" 2 Thess 3:16

In Him

Carey Scott

Go the the third negative argument by Darrell

Return to the Debate Index

Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /