Series on the church of Christ

Part 8


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.

  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.