Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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In The News: Faith Through Food, Fellowship

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In the September 22, 2007 edition of the Muskogee Phoenix, Assistant City Editor Elizabeth Ridenour wrote about the practice of two area churches, one a Methodist church and one an Episcopal church, of feeding area citizens.

“St. Paul’s [Methodist Church] breakfast is a good opportunity for a variety of people to get together at the church.

“It’s a good time to have fellowship,” said Bob Montgomery, who oversees the program.

Green [Emily, kitchen helper] sees the same benefits. People come for the physical, emotional and/or spiritual benefits they can receive, she said.”

Now, we do not wish to be combative with the kitchen help, but those interviewed about the meals did not seem to be overly concerned about any “spiritual” benefits. Note the following quotes:

“B.J. Granahan, 77, enjoys the company she has with her lunch. She said the meal gives her an excuse to get out of her apartment.

“They do have good food here,” she said as she finished her lasagna.”

“Paul Walker, 60, said he learned about the lunch a long time ago.

“It tastes good sometimes when you don’t have no food at home like when I’m not working,” Walker said. “…I tell a lot of people about Grace and St. Paul,” he said. “Every month, they serve something different.”

Such articles are typical in reporting the social gospel attitude that is so pervasive in our time. No one questions the definition given to the word “fellowship”, though the term is never used of socializing in the New Testament. In the Bible, Christian fellowship is a spiritual communion, not a buffet meal!

No one questions whether the Lord’s money is scripturally spent in buying corn on the cob rather than Bibles, or on pork-n-beans rather than the preaching of the gospel.

When all is said and done, all Emily Green has fed with her “pancakes, bacon, orange juice and coffee” is the physical man. This is indeed a good work (cf. James 1:27), but it is not the work with which the Lord’s church has been charged!

The spiritual man is renewed through the preaching of the gospel of Christ. The mission of the Lord’s church is to spread that word throughout the world. The practice of hospitality, as described in the New Testament, is the responsibility of the individual Christian, not the church. It is the responsibility of each individual Christian to individually fulfill their individual responsibilities, and “do not let the church be burdened” (cf. 1 Timothy 5:16).