Can brethren choose to have a kitchen and clothing pantry to show love to the needy?


I received my calling into the ministry of Christ, to teach and preach the gospel and to feed and clothe the destitute, not as a welfare system, but to those in need; thus, teaching them to fish and not only giving them a fish.

So in the like manner, would it be scriptural, if "the brethren chose this method," to have a kitchen and clothing pantry at the church facility to obey the command love to our brethren; which is the second great commandment, the fulfilling of the law, and an excellent preparative for the world of everlasting love. Whereby we must give proof of this love by our readiness to do good and to communicate; as you know good wishes are but mockeries without good works (James 2:15-16; I John 3:17).


For a matter to be in the realm of a choice by the brethren, it must first be authorized by God. See "Can you explain “expediency”?" for more information on this topic.

You cited passages that teach the individual Christian's responsibility to do good, but you neglected to show where God gave authority for the church to feed and clothe the destitute in general. There is a distinction between when individuals can do and what the church can do. For example, "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows" (I Timothy 5:16). The class of widows an individual Christian is responsible for is far broader than the ones God told the church to be responsible for. In the same way, the church was given the task of helping needy saints in times of disasters (II Corinthians 8 and 9; I Corinthians 16:1-2), but it is given to individual Christians to handle the broader needs. "And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith" (Galatians 6:9-10).

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