We know that the Lord’s church is certainly authorized and obligated to work in the area of edification. By this we have specific reference to the job of strengthening the faith and devotion of those who are already Christians. Paul instructed the Corinthian church to be careful in their work and worship so that “all things be done unto edifying” (1 Cor. 14:26). In Antioch, for “a whole year” Paul and Barnabas “assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people” (Act 11:26).
In order to accomplish this important task, prudent decisions must be made about where and when the teaching and encouragement will take place. Teachers must be designated, students assigned, subject matter selected, etc. All of this constitutes a “feeding the flock of God” (1 Pet. 5:2), and the church is thoroughly equipped to handle this assignment. When the work is properly done, it “maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Eph. 4:16).
We must be cautious to follow God’s plan for this important work. There is no place for the multitude of innovations that men have conceived. For instance, there is no authority for a congregation to maintain a separate ‘Sunday school organization’ with its own officers and treasury. Neither is there a right for a church to support so-called ‘Christian colleges’ from their collective treasury using the justification that ‘edification is being done’. When men call for these additional organizations they are reflecting a lack of faith in the church to do all that God designed it to do, and they usurp the work God gave the church to fulfill.
Furthermore, we know that the church cannot use ‘edification’ as an excuse for diverting into the areas of social, recreational, and entertainment activities. When one first century congregation started down that road, the inspired apostle rebuked them by saying: “What? Have ye not houses to eat and drink in?” (1 Cor. 11:22). Many today have gone much further than the Corinthians ever imagined.
- by Greg Gwin
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