|Volume 22 Number 7 July 2020||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
“Is the corporate giving done on the first day of the week?” someone asks. The question is incomplete, and surely, the thought expanded would appear, “Is corporate giving [of the assembled local church] done on the first day of the week only?” The simple answer to the first or original question is, “Yes.” However, that question and answer may be misleading. The answer to the second question is, “No.”
Historically and typically, members of the churches of Christ freely acknowledge that there are five activities of worship prescribed in the New Testament in which each child of God is obligated to participate each first day of the week: prayer, singing, giving, preaching and the Lord’s Supper—in no particular order. Usually, brethren assert two of these worshipful acts are limited to their observance upon the first day of the week (the Lord’s Supper and giving), while the other three types of worship may also occur on other days of the week.
Scouring the New Testament Scriptures, one discerns that Christian worship ensues through prayer, singing, giving, preaching and the Lord’s Supper. These, then, must transpire during worship assemblies (Hebrews 10:25; 1 Corinthians 14:26-40) on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:1-2). The reason that any worshipful activity may occur on other days of the week also is because the Spirit-led, apostle-guided first century church apparently engaged in that worshipful act also on days other than the first day of the week. Only acts of worship that the New Testament does not show were observed by the infant church, with divine approval, on another day of the week are consigned to the first day of the week. That is why observance of the Lord’s Supper is restricted to the first day of the week.
However, though giving is a part of New Testament worship on the first day of the week (1 Corinthians 16:1-2), Christians can make a contribution on other days of the week also—if it can be shown from Scripture that the Spirit-led, apostle-guided early church did not restrict its giving only to the first day of the week. Acts 4:34-5:1-10 is such a biblical context that demonstrates that early Christians, with apostolic authority, made contributions on weekdays additional to the first day of the week.
Necessity—needy saints locally—led Christians in Jerusalem to sell property and houses to bring the sales proceeds to the apostles (Acts 4:34-37). The coming in and going out of individuals from before the presence of the apostles over a space of more than three hours (Acts 5:1-10) does not resemble a coming together for the purpose of worship (1 Corinthians 11:18, 20, 33-34; 14:23, 26). In particular, a brother in Christ and his wife arrived separately three hours apart before the apostles, and during the interim, the Christian brother died and was buried. Aside from learning the danger of essentially lying to the Holy Spirit, it seems that Christians can make contributions to the church in addition to on the first day of the week during corporate worship.
Owing to practical and logistical circumstances, few if any churches of Christ limit the reception of financial contributions to the first day of the week. Yes, universally we observe all five acts of worship on the first day of the week, but we do not dismiss and reject financial contributions on additional days of the week. Doctrine that refuses financial gifts also on days other than Sunday is not substantiated by the New Testament and is impractical.
If a local need arises on a day other than the first day of the week for which church members must respond generously, does the giving and the subsequent needful expenditure have to await a first day of the week worship assembly? If due to illness or being out of town a Christian is unable to give personally on the first day of the week at his local congregation, can he mail a check for the amount of his contribution to the church? (Incidentally, mail will not be delivered on Sunday.) If a widespread catastrophe such as a pandemic hinders weekly assembly for several weeks, can Christians mail their contribution checks or drop them off on Saturday as they swing by the church parking lot to obtain the elements for communion and pick up the church bulletin?
Acts 4-5 note needs or necessities that led early Christians to give of their means on additional days to the first day of the week. They addressed logistical and practical concerns relative to their giving and the needs of destitute Christians. This practice did not annul giving on the first day of the week, but it no more restricted giving to the first day of the week than are prayer, singing, giving and preaching limited to the Sunday.
Ages of Mary and Joseph
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Someone submitted the question, “How old were Mary and Joseph when Jesus was born?” The ages of men and women appear in Scripture in many cases throughout the Bible. For instance, Genesis 7:6 reads, “Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters were on the earth” (NKJV). Furthermore, Luke 3:23 says, “Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age.” However, the ages of Mary and Joseph do not appear in the Bible. There are too many variables to even put forth a credible theory.