Question:

Dear Brother in Christ,
 
I read your answer to Why is eating in the building an issue? concerning eating in the building and have a few questions.
 
First, you quote I Corinthians 11:17-22 where Paul is remonstrating the Corinthians for leaving some hungry and for some getting drunk asking, "Don't you have homes to eat and drink in?" (I Corinthians 11:22). But everyone with whom I've spoken concerning this issue seems to neglect I Corinthians 11:33, "So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together." I have to ask, "When you gather where? In the home or the building being used for the gathering of the saints?"
 
Next, you mentioned the Lord's money being spent on building a fellowship hall. What should be done with existing halls that have been part of the building for years and years? The Lord's money has already been spent and to tear ours down, we would have to demolish the entire building including the auditorium, classrooms, restrooms, and kitchen as everything is part of one large building. Granted, in our situation, money is spent on consumables such as paper plates, cups, utensils, and paper towels but also soap, air freshener and toilet paper for the restrooms (when all the above isn't donated by various members, which also occurs on a relatively regular basis).
 
I bring this up because we have a young man who started to attend our worship service a few  months ago, and this past Sunday, he let us know that he felt very uncomfortable with the recent fifth Sunday fellowship meal as he'd been raised in a congregation which did not have a fellowship hall and kitchen as part of the building or a part of the complex. When his congregation had a fellowship meal, it was off-site, usually at a local restaurant but occasionally at a rented facility (I did not ask if the Lord's money was spent to rent such a venue).
 
We don't have elders, deacons or ordained ministers. We're extremely small and have two part-time lay ministers. This young man wishes to meet with us concerning our practice. Just to give more information, we also use our fellowship hall for Wednesday night Bible study and allow the Girl Scouts, a local art club, and the VFW Women's Auxiliary to use the hall for their weekly meetings. We also use the fellowship hall for monthly get-togethers where we work on puzzles together and play games such as dominoes. Further, we've used the fellowship hall to collect and hand out fans in the summer and coats in the winter to the poor in our community and for a time ran a Mothers' Day Out program for the community.
 
I feel I've rambled enough to probably confuse you greatly (lol), but I would honestly like hear your wisdom and any guidance you might offer concerning my "questions and concerns."

Answer:

There are two meals under discussion in I Corinthians 11: common meals, which should be taken at home, and the Lord's Supper, which is to be taken by Christians assembled together. Were the Corinthians having a potluck instead of partaking of the Lord’s Supper? covers the distinction between the two types of meals. I Corinthians 11:33 is talking about the Lord's Supper because it was to be taken when they come together (I Corinthians 11:20-22). It is contrasted with a common meal in the next verse, which was to be eaten at home (I Corinthians 11:34).

The idea that because space was being used for things the Lord did not authorize, that it should continue does not make sense. It is like the couple who argue that since they have already moved in together before marriage, they might as well stay there. Changing a hall into additional classroom space is not that difficult of a construction job. It does not require tearing down everything.

The fact that the church allows groups to use the building purchased with the Lord's money -- groups that have nothing to do with spreading the gospel -- only shows how the group considers the Lord's money to be their own. That money was not applied for a holy purpose. It was common, worldly matters. See: Holy is His Name and Regarding God as Holy.

Perhaps another article will help clarify the issues for you. See: Kitchens and Fellowship Halls: What Was the Issue?

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