Greetings brother. I hope all is well with you.
I’ve been added to the church and have been an active member for over a decade. I’ve enjoyed my time growing up as a Christian, and I’ve been thinking about my mortality lately. I’m thinking about having my funeral service with the brethren and having my body reside among my biological family. The issue is that they are not members of the church. My family members who have passed are buried at a Baptist cemetery. Would this be scripturally wrong? Would I Corinthians 8:9-13 apply? I haven’t communicated this to my spiritual family yet because I’m not sure that this would discourage them or have their countenance to fall.
I’m looking forward to your response.
This is more like whether going to the Methodist hospital means you are Methodist. It doesn't. The Methodists are using their denominational funds to provide a community service. In the same way, the Baptists in your area have a graveyard, but I suspect that many buried there were not Baptists. Perhaps you can arrange to have an epithet put on your tombstone that indicates you lived as a Christian -- something like, "He found joy in simply being a Christian."
Brother, thanks for responding. I have another question based on your response.
To revisit your Methodist hospital analogy, I thought that Christians weren’t supposed to financially support denominational works. A while ago, this issue came up during a Bible study, and the conclusion was that we should not financially support them. Supporting their work through monetary means would validate their efforts. The example that was used during the study was making donations to the Salvation Army. I don’t know how many fish fries I declined to participate in over the years because they were sponsored by denominations.
Is it acceptable to financially support these works, or have I been taught wrong?
I Corinthians 8 and 10 deal with cases where there is an indirect connection with idolatry. The pagan temple sells its meat to the butchers in the marketplace and someone then buys the meat from the butcher. In such cases, Paul says we should not be concerned. "Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience' sake" (I Corinthians 10:25). We don't have to go to extremes to make sure there is absolutely no connection to idolatry.
However, if someone does make a connection, such as at a meal pointing out that the meat comes from a certain idol feast, then Paul said we are not to eat -- not because the meat is tainted but because the person's mind who told us is giving credence to an idol. "But if anyone says to you, "This was offered to idols," do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience' sake; for "the earth is the LORD'S, and all its fullness" " (I Corinthians 10:28).
A Christian would not attend a place of idolatry just because free food is being handed out. We don't give support to false religions. "Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen" (I John 5:1). This is what was wrong in Thyatira, there was a woman, claiming to be a prophetess, telling Christians that they could eat things they knew were connected to idolatry, as well as claiming there was nothing wrong with fornication and adultery. Pergamos had a similar problem stemming from a group that called themselves the Nicolaitans.
As a general principle, Christians should not support things that are sinful. When I get hungry, I don't get a meal at a casino, even if the food is cheap there. I oppose gambling and the food is a lure to get people to come and gamble. I don't attend fish fries at the local Catholic Church because the event is a fundraiser for the Catholic Church. But I do buy gas at the corner convenience store, even though it sells alcohol and cigarettes. I can do business there and not be considered a supporter of those things. In a similar fashion, I'm choosy about the messages on my t-shirts. The criterion is whether a person would reasonably conclude that I support something sinful by my use of a product. If so, I don't use or purchase such things.
For example, a local grocery store happens to contribute a portion of its profits to support homosexuality or abortion clinics. That is the store owner's decision. I think it is a poor decision, but my buying groceries there doesn't connect me to the causes the owner decides to support. However, if there is a sign in the store saying "10% of the profits made from purchasing this item will go to support abortion rights," then I am not going to buy that item because the sign connects me to support a cause that I'm against.
A Methodist hospital is a hospital that happens to receive funding for its operations from the Methodist church. They are not the only religious group to do this. In my area, the Catholics fund several hospitals. About 15 to 20% of all hospitals in the United States have connections to some religious group.
But what we should notice is that these hospitals are not in the business of producing funds for their sponsoring religious organization. Actually, it is the other way around. These hospitals receive funding from religious organizations. If I must go to one of these hospitals for care, I am not funding or promoting a particular religious belief, I'm getting medical care. The vast majority of the patients at these hospitals are not members of the denomination supporting the hospital. Using the services there does not connect me with the denomination's false teachings.
Contributing to the Salvation Army is different. Here, the money is going to the coffers of a denomination. A portion of the contributions go to the operation of the denomination and the remainder is used by the denomination to do good works in the denomination's name. Here I would be directly supporting a denomination. See Can Christians Help Support the Salvation Army?