The Sponsoring Church: Who Changed
In my debate with Ben Vick he at first alleged that Philippians 4:14-18 actually contained an account of a sponsoring church arrangement. Further study of that verse led brother Vick to admit that
“It is true that no other church sent to Paul when he was at Thessalonica, but when he left Macedonia and labored in Corinth other churches did support him ( 2 Cor. 11:8). It is reasonable and in harmony with scripture to believe that this was done through the church at Philippi” (Ben Vick, second affirmative, next to last paragraph, my emphasis).
Brother Vick’s prime “proof-text” comes down to nothing more than something he can make “reasonable” assumptions from! Brother Vick simply assumes what he was supposed to be proving!
It is obvious that brother Vick is reading something into Philippians 4 that is not there. This point is made clearer by understanding brethren’s view of Philippians 4 in the past. While what brethren believed or did not believe in the past is not our source of authority it is interesting to note that prior to the innovation of the sponsoring church arrangement no one saw such in Philippians 4.
As proof of that I cite the Teacher’s Annual Lesson Commentary on Bible Lessons for the year 1956, written by Roy H. Lanier. Brother Lanier comments on Philippians 4 from pages 128-129 saying nothing about a sponsoring church or any such concept, and that the Philippian church was the only church that sent Paul money. He wrote
“no church had fellowship in the matter of giving and receiving except the church at Philippi. The churches at Thessalonica and Berea and other places seemed not to have the interest in Paul and his work which the church in Philippi had. Paul did not criticize these other churches, nor say ugly things about them because they did not see fit to cooperate with him in the work he was doing.”
Isn’t that interesting? Who is correct, brother Lanier or brother Vick? Why is it that no one ever found the sponsoring church in Philippians 4 that brother Vick searches so hard for until the sponsoring church’s advocates had to comb through scripture to find some straw of support for their innovation? Could it be that brother Vick’s assumption isn’t as “reasonable” as he would like it to be?
My thanks to brother Donald Craven for passing this information along to me. Again, history is not our authority. Yet again, however, it is clear that Philippians 4 has become quite twisted around by those who are desperate to find something, anything, to justify their unscriptural practices.