by Leslie Diestelkamp
Two questions have been asked: (1) Why doesn't the church have more socials? and (2) Why can't we have parties in the basement of the church building?
The New Testament authorizes every act and activity of the church. It provides us with all that pertains to life and godliness (II Peter 1:3). It completely authorizes us in "every good work" (II Timothy 3:16-17). In worship and work, all that God wants is made known by the "oracles of God" (I Peter 4:11). We must not add to, or take from the word of God (Revelation 22:18-19), and we must not "go beyond what is written" (I Corinthians 4:6).
Social activities are not included in the authorized acts of the church. It is very good to have social functions, but they are "home activities." If there are not enough of such, then the homes are failing. Let us not push upon the church that responsibility which belongs to the home. If it is advisable that Christians associate more, then let us not fail to provide such association, but let us keep it independent of church functions.
But some ask, "Since the church building is not sacred, and since our homes are not large enough to accommodate large groups, why can't we use the basement?
True, the church building is not sacred. But, on the other hand, it is not a carnal, worldly place either. Money for the building was given to be used in spiritual work. Remember, we do not object to eating in the church building (babies often do it, workers sometimes do it, the preacher frequently does so in his office, etc.), but we do object to making the church building an "eating place." It is not wrong to laugh in the church building, but it is certainly wrong to make it a "house of laughter." The church house is not "the house of God" (I Timothy 3:15), but it IS God's house (John 2:16).
The house in which I live is not sacred, but some things are not appropriate there. A doctor's office is not sacred, but who would say it would be a good place to repair automobiles? A hospital and sheet metal shop don't belong in the same building. So the church and the world should not be housed from the same treasury.
A drinking fountain, a restroom, or a nursery are made to expedite a spiritual service. But a social hall is to give vent to a social urge. Pews, classrooms, lights, and fans are purposefully paid for by the church because of their usefulness in aiding us to do what God said for us to do, but for the congregation to provide recreational facilities does not contribute to the doing of that which God directed. Paul wrote: "What? Have ye not houses to eat and drink in?" (I Corinthians 11:22). He was condemning the practice of making a feast with the Lord's supper, but at the same time, he gave us the necessary inference that there is a difference between homes and meeting places provided by the church.
Let us keep the church in the "church business." It is always safe to do that which we know is right, without addition or subtraction. Let us use every facility we have to expedite the Lord's work and let us avoid anything that would minimize its nature, which is altogether spiritual.