Question:

Is it right or wrong to sell inside the church?

Answer:

Before I can answer the main question, I must address a miscomprehension. In the New Testament, the word church refers to the people called out of the world to serve the Christ. The church, in the universal sense, refers to all Christians past, present and future. In a local sense, the church is the group of Christians who work together to serve the Lord in a particular area. The Bible never refers to a physical structure as a church.

To see this, look at this portion of a command on how to resolve problems between Christians. "And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector" (Matthew 18:17). Obviously, "church" does not refer to a building, but a group of people acting as a unit.

Buildings are owned by churches to help the churches fulfill their duties to the Lord. In the raising of funds for the operation of a local congregation, the only method given in the New Testament is to raise funds by the voluntary contributions of its members:

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come" (I Corinthians 16:1-2).

"Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver" (II Corinthians 9:5-7).

Since God is very clear that His teachings are not to be altered, we are not allowed to implement other schemes for raising funds for the church.

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-10).