Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Another Biblical Evidence against Money-Collecting in the Public Worship (or "That Escalated Quickly!")

Some time ago, our Session studied, and had me preach through a series that the Lord much blessed to our congregation—a Scriptural theology of our public worship, in anticipation of some reformations. 

Then this past Lord's Day, we had as our evening text, Exodus 35:1–36:7, which produced a sermon entitled "The Lord's Generous Provision for His People's Eagerly Providing for Public Worship." In this text, we discovered yet another evidence for "the collection" not being an element or action of the public worship assembly on the Lord's Day. There was precedent for Paul desiring that there be no collections when he came to Corinth.

Exodus 35:2 comes in the context of a passage on the collecting and constructing of materials for the tabernacle.

"Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh day shall be a holy day for you, a Sabbath of rest to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death."

With respect to the Lord's Day, this makes it clear that "church-related business" is not part of that worship unto which the day is consecrated; nor, can it be considered a work of necessity that this church-related business not be done on the other six days.

With respect to the collection, we may be thankful for the providential advent of currency. But still, the apostle preferred that each one lay aside his own portion on a weekly basis, precisely so that there would be NO collections when he came (1Cor 16:2). 

So, while the church may well provide a means by which this private/household action of worship is done, it seems clear that the prophetic principle of Ex 35:2 is continued in the apostolic practice of public collection not being part of the public worship assembly on the Sabbath.

Or, to put it briefly and a little cheekily:

Westminster DPW: If there is a collection in association with the Supper, it must not interrupt the worship.
Some post-1850 "Presbyterians": The public collection is an ELEMENT of public worship.
Paul: You need to collect the money in a way that does NOT do this.
Moses: Yeah, those who practice that shall be executed.
The post-1850 "Presbys": That escalated quickly!

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