In short, I do not believe there is any Scriptural authority for weddings and funerals being held in the church building, simply because housing social events is not the role of the church.
The church building is generically authorized as an expedient means for carrying out the command that the saints should assemble (Hebrews 10:25). The church is not responsible for conducting funerals or weddings. Furthermore, since the church is saddled with a clear responsibility and work to evangelize, edify, and take care of its own (Ephesians 4:12; I Timothy 3:15), it would be presumptuous to use funds from the church's treasury in a manner that is outside the authorized work of the church. Incidentally, the ISOT site has an article on the work of the church, which may be worth considering:
http://www.insearchoftruth.org/articles ... hurch.html
Plus, I think there are no references to weddings or funerals being connected to worship services or assembling. Annanias and Saphira were "carried out ... and buried" by "devout, young men" (Acts 5:5-10). I would think that if ever there was an appropriate time to have a funeral service in the assembly, that would have been it! ... Also, I know may be a bit of a stretch, but I think most weddings contain aspects performed by the bride that would be outside of her role in worship assemblies, as recognized by some (I Corinthians 14:34). ...
I am certainly open to dissenting thoughts, because I once believed these practices to be authorized. However, I changed my views after much questioning and studying with others.
I've been discussing this issue with some brethren lately, and was curious to hear some fresh viewpoints.
I'm still curious to hear some dissenting thoughts as well, that would provide clear Bible authority for this practice.
My fear is that this is one of those areas where Christians have just "rejected the commandment of God, in order to keep their own tradition" (Mk. 7:9).
They haven't thought about this subject in light of the question: "Where is the authority?"
I would offer what I have heard in the past, but since this issue is recent for you, I would prefer to hear what you have heard and thought.
At every funeral/wedding I've attended, there has always been preaching/teaching, and/or praying, and/or singing, and since those are all acts of worship, we are essentially engaging in a worship service of sorts at these functions, therefore, the use of the church building is appropriate.
However, as I got older, I realized that's a pretty flimsy line of reasoning.
As you've already pointed out, we could engage in those same acts of worship at any other secular event, but that doesn't provide authority for the church to engage in those same secular activities.
I've heard others use the justification that since marriage is ordained by God, it would be permissible to use the church building for a marriage ceremony.
However, civil government is ordained by God as well--does that mean it would be permissible to use the church building as a voting location for local/state/federal elections?
I think you can see what a slippery slope that line of reasoning is.
Below is a link to an article that looks at this issue from just about every possible angle, and hits the nail on the head much better than I am able to articulate:
http://www.truthmagazine.com/archives/v ... 05056.html
What it comes down to is this: can the church provide the funds for the expenses at weddings/funerals?
Whether we'd like to admit it or not, it takes money to pay for the lights, heat/air, water that are used at the church building during those functions.
That money has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is the church treasury.
Where is the authority for using the Lord's money for such events?
Wife to Kyle, mom to Ben & Daniel
This is a good point; however, I think it is tangential. Authority and best use of resources are two different issues. The first is a question of right and wrong, while the other is a question of judgment, expediency.dvm wrote:If the individual members are authorized to use the building for events where the unbelieving can be exposed to the word and love of God, because it is poor stewardship spending the Lord's money in those avenues. Then how is it good stewardship to use the Lord's money to build a building and maintain the building 365 days a year and to only use it 104 days (Or 8760 hours a year and use it only 156-208 hours a year)? That is only 2.4% of the year.
Admittedly, some buildings are constructed and maintained using poor judgment. Some judgments may even reflect misplaced motives, such as a desire to have an impressive physical monument. God will be the judge of their motives. However, an abused expediency does not make the expediency wrong - only the heart that abused the opportunity.
Back to point, my primary argument would be a test of consistency. How can one use the treasury to conduct weddings and funerals, because during the ceremony, "the unbelieving can be exposed to the word and love of God", without also justifying schools, hospitals, and other missions of mixed social and spiritual missions using the same reasoning? ... Ultimately, my question is, "Where is the authority?"
Agreed!m273p15c wrote:... How can one use the treasury to conduct weddings and funerals, ... without also justifying schools, hospitals, and other missions of mixed social and spiritual missions using the same reasoning? ... Ultimately, my question is, "Where is the authority?"
Wife to Kyle, mom to Ben & Daniel
Maybe I'm unclear as to the statements made Are you saying "use the treasury", as money collected from the saints to buy things for the wedding like decorations, the cake, plates, etc. Or just by using the building that is using the treasury?m273p15c wrote:How can one use the treasury to conduct weddings and funerals, because during the ceremony, "the unbelieving can be exposed to the word and love of God", without also justifying schools, hospitals, and other missions of mixed social and spiritual missions using the same reasoning? ... Ultimately, my question is, "Where is the authority?"
Proverbs 3:5 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." All we have to go on is the inspired, written word. The scriptures do not deal with such issues as for what the church building can be used. Because the 1st century churches did not have buildings bought and paid for by the church treasury. They meet in homes (Rom 16:5, 1 Cor. 16:19, Col. 4:15), by rivers (Acts 16:13), etc. So how do you expect to find authority for what you can use a church owned building, when there was no such thing until after the inspired writings were completed? Thus, unfortunately, it falls to the realm of judgment, applying generic authority.
I agree (and am just as frustrated when), there is no specific authority or "thus sayeth the Lord". The question then becomes is there generic authority? Does Matthew 5:16 provide for the church, the collection of saints, to do good works, collectively, so that God can be glorified? I know this is before the church was established, but does the principle apply? Thus a matter of judgment?
The purpose of a wedding is to join two people in front of friends and family. The purpose of the Lord's money is to spread the Gospel to a lost & dying world. Sure, there is reference made to God's plan for marriage and family, but the primary purpose of a wedding isn't to teach the lost. Even if the wedding party agreed to reimburse the treasury for utility expenses, there would still be the public impression that the church approves of non-church activities with the Lord's money.
As for funerals: Mt.8:22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.” Jesus told his disciples it was time to move on. One said to wait for him to bury his father. Jesus made it clear he was more concerned with teaching the living than dealing with the rotting flesh of the dead. Why would His judgement for wasting His money be any different than this disciple wasting His time?
Wife to Kyle, mom to Ben & Daniel