Series on the church of Christ
THE CHURCH OF CHRIST:
CONGREGATIONAL COOPERATION (#1)
1. It is periodically charged that we are opposed to church cooperation ("antis"). Is that a fair & accurate description? What does NT teach?
2. Cooperation - "Act of cooperating; joint operation; concurrent effort or labor."
3. Scriptural cooperation between churches: Did they act (cooperate) jointly or concurrently?
a. Did two or more churches combine funds & centralize control through one common agency (sponsoring church) in order to cooperate?
b. Or, did they act independently (yet concurrent with each other) to meet their goals & responsibilities? (Independent, with mutual goals)
c. Heb. 8:5 - Pattern exists in NT - We must find it & follow it.
I. CHURCH COOPERATION IN BENEVOLENCE.
A. One Church Helped Other Churches In Time Of Material Need By Contributing To Relieve Those Needs - Acts 11:27-30.
1. How did the Antioch church cooperate with churches in Judea in benevolence?
a. First, a decision to help was made.
b. Collection of funds (Regulated as per 1 Cor. 16:1-2).
c. Paul & Barnabas were messengers for Antioch church.
2. v. 30 - Sent relief to "the elders." Which elders?!
a. Elders are congregational overseers (Acts 14:23).
b. Brethren in Judea constituted several churches - Gal. 1:22 (Lydda, Joppa, etc.).
* c. Sent to elders of each congregation for distribution.
3. v. 30 - Some say "elders" means only the Jerusalem church elders (to defend sponsoring church - 12:25). Does it? NO.
-If Jerusalem a sponsoring church, autonomy (independence & equality) destroyed.
a. Acts 26:20 - When did Paul travel throughout all Judea?
b. Gal. 1:17-18 - Not 1st trip to Jerusalem (Acts 9:26-29; Gal. 1:22).
c. Acts 9:30 - Then, went to Cilicia (Gal. 1:21-22).
d. Acts 11:25 - Came to Antioch.
e. Acts 26:20 - This must be benevolence trip (only time possible).
f. Acts 12:25 - Jerusalem was their last stop; Jerusalem was not an overseeing, distributing church.
B. Several Churches Sent Material Relief To One Church (Jerusalem).
-(Concurrent Cooperation of Churches)
1. Separate requests to help - 2 Cor. 8:10; 8:4 (Rom. 15:25-26).
2. Separate collection of funds - l Cor. 16:1-2.
3. Separate identity of funds existed (no "pooling") - 1 Cor. 16:3.
4. Separate decisions (by each church) of amount sent - 2 Cor. 8:3, 10-11.
5. Independent selection (by each church) of their messengers - 1 Cor. 16:3-4.
a. Some churches used same messenger - 2 Cor. 8:18-19, 23.
b. Messengers were individuals, not churches.
6. No pooling of funds, no convention of churches, no common oversight, funds were not sent through another church -- NO SPONSORING CHURCH.
7. Independent action of churches, concurrently achieved.
1. NT gives us a complete pattern for congregational cooperation.
2. We are not "anti" cooperation of churches…we are anti-unscriptural cooperation of churches.
3. We are for scriptural cooperation: Independent, autonomous churches concurrently cooperating to accomplish their God-given work.