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Anti-ism, I Corinthians 11:22, 34

Victor M. Eskew


            The term “anti” could be applied to anyone who is in opposition to something.  This writer is anti-women preachers.  He is also anti-fornication.  If one opposes something that the Scriptures oppose, he should be an “anti.”

            The term “anti,” however, has been given a special application to some within the churches of Christ.  It is applied to those who are opposed to things that fall into the realm of option.  There are many variations of “anti’s”:  anti-Bible classes, anti-Bible class literature, anti-located preacher, anti-fellowship halls, anti-orphan homes, anti-church cooperation, and a group that is referred to as “one-cuppers.”  Let the reader be aware that not all anti’s believe all of these things.  The individuals who believe these things will often go to the Bible to establish their positions.  It behooves us to be familiar with the passages they will use and know how to answer them.

            One group of anti’s believe that it is wrong for the church to spend money out of the church treasury to have a kitchen or fellowship hall.  Those who hold this position will often go to I Corinthians 11:22 and I Corinthians 11:34 for their proof that it is wrong to eat in the church building.  The apostle Paul wrote:  “What?  Have ye not houses to eat and drink in?  or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not?  What shall I say to you?  Shall I praise you in this?  I praise you not….And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation.  And the rest will I set in order when I come.”  The argument is that Paul commands us to eat our common meals at home.

            It is imperative for all Bible students to keep these verses in their context.  Paul is addressing a problem that had developed in the worship services of the church at Corinth.  In I Corinthians 11:20, Paul writes:  “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.”  The Corinthians had attached their love feast to the Lord’s Supper.  In addition, they were segregated in this feast between the “have’s” and the “have-not’s.”  “For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper:  and one is hungry, and another is drunken” (I Cor. 11:21).  Their inappropriate practices were bringing condemnation upon them.  To correct the problem, Paul separated the common meal from the Lord’s Supper.  The common meal was to be eaten at home.  The Lord’s Supper was to be taken in the assembly.

            Let’s now apply Paul’s corrective measures to many of the churches of the first century.  There were congregations of the Lord’s people that met in homes at that time.  One such church was in Laodicea.  These brethren assembled in the house of Nymphas (Col. 4:15).  When they assembled in his home for worship, they were to partake of the Lord’s Supper only.  Once the assembly was completed, however, all could have stayed and could have eaten a common meal in his house.  Note:  The church would have been eating a common meal in the same place where they had worshiped.  This was not the sin.  The sin came when the two, the Lord’s Supper and the common meal, were connected.  There is no sin when one eats a common meal in a church building.  Connecting this meal to the Lord’s Supper is what results in a violation of God’s will.