Darrells's Third Negative 10/19/99
Resolved: The Bible teaches that the sponsoring church arrangement is a violation of local autonomy and without Biblical authority.
I have appreciated discussing these matters with Carey Scott. Because of the Bibles teaching on a Christians fellowshipping false teachers, I have not referred to Carey as brother Scott. We are brothers in Christ, but Careys advocation of non-institutionalism has moved him from the category of "Christian" to "erring brother." I do not say this to be mean spirited, nor do I say this in anger or with any malice in my heart. I say this because I love my erring brother Scott, and all those who hold his views, and I want to try to help him see the damning danger of his error.
Once a rich man was discussing matters of salvation with Jesus, when Jesus told him something very hard for him to hear, and the man went away sorrowful. The Bible teaches that Jesus told that rich man those hard words because he loved him: "Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said Unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me" (Mark 10:21). Carey, if I did not love you I would have never mentioned the hard things which I did in this debate. I would never have taken the discussing to its conclusion and point out that your error will cost good people an opportunity to go to heaven. But I love you enough to tell you these hard sayings.
Because the non-institutional mind refuses to acknowledge the generic elements in the Lords command to evangelize the lost world for Christ, I have focused much attention to Philippians 4:15. Carey, please read again the following statement:
Carey wrote: 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 your first negative you were attempting to answer my argument from Philippian 4:15 when you wrote:
Carey: Darrell, what does the last phrase mean? Does "but ye only" means that all the other churches participated in this work? The scripture says right here that the church in Philippi was the only one to support Paul. How do you get out of this statement, that the Philippian church was the sponsoring church? You must admit that it is only a possibility and a hopeful guess.
Now Carey, what is so hard about grasping the truth of Philippians 4:15? Let me point out your glaringly evident contradiction. This contradiction alone should be enough to convict you of you error. In the first statement above, from your 3rd negative you wrote: "There is Biblical support that Philippi and other local churches sent financial aid directly to Paul (1 Cor 11:8)." But in your first negative you wrote: "Does "but ye only" means that all the other churches participated in this work? The scripture says right here that the church in Philippi was the only one to support Paul." You evidently saw the weight of the word "only" as we began this debate. But as the scripture condemned your error, your position had to be adjusted to fit the non-institutional doctrine. And from that point onward you completely ignored the force of Pauls word "only."
"Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account" (Phil. 4:15-17).
Your case says that the "receiving" above refers to the "fruit abounding to the Philippians account." But I proved that this is not the case because of the word "only" in verse 15. You saw this in the beginning, what happened to your logical deduction process? The truth of the matter is that the Philippians were receiving fruit because of their "giving and receiving."
In my 3rd. affirmative I wrote: "So which is it Carey? Was the church in Philippi the only one to support Paul or were other churches supporting him? Which way do you want to argue this thing? In your first negative the meat of your case rested on the word "only" (Phil. 4:15). But as is evident, this word "only" destroys your entire case because, as you clearly point out above, other churches were also supporting Paul AT THE SAME TIME. Therefore, "only" can only be understood in terms of the sponsor arrangement as noted in the debate proposition."
You see Carey, if the Philippians were the "only" givers, then Paul lied when he penned 2 Corinthians 11:8. A verse you are using to support your position, that a congregation must send funds directly to a preacher. The problem is this. One can not separate 2 Corinthians 11:8 from the chronology of Philippians 4:15. Now what is it? Were the Philippians the "only" givers at this time or not? Please make up your mind for eternitys sake. You can not have it both ways. Carey, you saw the weight of the word only at the beginning of our debate. The gospel truth is that the Philippians were keeping the books. They were both giving to Pauls work and receiving funds for Pauls work.
The following quote is from my 2nd affirmative. I offer it as doctrinal reproof in regard to your current oversight of the word "only" (Phil.4:15).:
"In the third place, it is senseless to say that the Philippians only received benefit from supporting Pauls work. Paul words, "in the beginning," set the time element of the passage to that of Acts 17:1ff. Acts 18 is chronologically related to this same time element. Paul labored in Corinth for 18 months. This is where you have really helped me to shore up this truth about Philippians 4:15. Notice 4:16: "oti (because, that) kai (conjunction - as used here means even or also). If the idea of the word "even" is being inferred by the apostle he must be referring, as Barry notes, to the fact that this work of the congregation in Philippi was "not only after he left Macedonia, but even before that time, when he had just passed from Philippi to Thessalonica." Barry goes on to state: "At Thessalonica, as at Corinth--both rich and luxurious communities--he refused maintenance, . . . But it appears from this passage that even he received once and again . . . some aid from Philippi."
Berrys Interlinear uses "also" here. Vincent wrote, "Even in Thessalonica (kai). Better also: in addition to the contribution received at Corinth." What contribution at Corinth? The one to which Paul referred with these words: "for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied" (II Cor. 11:9). But Paul "robbed (euphemistically stated) other churches (plural). Therefore, it is senseless to think that the Philippians only received benefit from communication with Paul in this work. These other churches also benefited from giving to this work. But only the Philippian church "gave and received" or "received and gave" to this work and therefore, they were commended this great honor by Paul.
Carey, either way you translate "kai" in verse 16, it is un-get-overable! The church in Philippi was not the only church to support Pauls work when he departed from Macedonia. They were the only church to communicate into an account of debit and credit. Philippi kept the books and delivered the collected funds to Paul. Delivery was accomplished by depositing the funds either with the church at Corinth or to Paul directly, no one this side of time can know for sure."
Carey, in this debate you have failed to answer this argument. I also find it hard to believe that you would bring this up again:
Carey: "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)."
So I will just cut and paste my previous answer to this distraction:
"Darrell: Carey, the "may" was not in reference to the sponsor arrangement. There is no assuming there. I wrote:
In Corinth Paul exercised his right to refuse support from the church there. Later Paul told the Corinthians that he "robbed other churches, taking wages of them," to do service in Corinth (II Cor. 11:8). It can not be affirmed that each of the churches supporting Paul sent his wages directly to him. It may be the case that the church in Philippi was serving as Pauls sponsoring congregation.
The word "may" was only in reference to possibility that the local church in Philippi was Pauls sponsoring congregation while he worked in Corinth. That Philippi served as Pauls sponsoring congregation at some point in his work is clearly affirmed in Philippians 4:15. I do believe that this arrangement was still in existence while Paul was in Corinth, but I have not been dogmatic about that point, hence, the word "may." However, studying for this debate has only reaffirmed and strengthened this position in my mind. From henceforth I will be much firmer with it. Thanks for helping me shore up this position."
Carey, I agree with what your list of ways a preacher may be supported. But your list fails to consider all that the Bible teaches on this subject, Philippians 4:15 notwithstanding.
Now to answer your argument about violating local autonomy, let me say that Philippians 4:15 answers your argument. Let me also cut and past my answer to you last time we discussed this issue:
"The Biblical answer to your charge is simple. If an eldership assumes charge beyond their local allotment (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:1-4) by accepting funds from outside their membership, then the church in Judea had some real problems. "Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul" (Acts 11:29-30). Your doctrine has the Jerusalem elders exceeding their boundaries. Furthermore, the congregations which later gave funds to the church in Jerusalem, did not give up their charge. These congregations did not create a benevolent society, they were still local congregations. Carey, the same thing is true in sponsoring arrangement."
Carey, you did not even try to answer this. Why not? I know that you are in the affirmative in this debate, but you have actually just been continuing with your negative from debate 1.
Carey wrote: 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.
Carey, I have tried to get you to see that your argument about local autonomy, and elders overstepping their boundaries, if applied to what the Bible teaches about benevolence would condemn the first century church. If the truth muddies the water for you, then cast out the mud (your error) and you will have clear water again.
For His Name,
John 3:30 - Should be every Christians trademark!
Some Final Comments
Return to the Debate Index
Return to the Special Studies Page
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 /