Water Fountains and Soccer Fields

The Bible does not state that Noah used hammers, saws, and axes in the construction of the ark. However, these instruments were authorized by the command, “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood” (Genesis 6:14). Without the instruction to build the ark, the tools would have been unauthorized.

The Bible does not mention church buildings per se. However, they are scriptural because of the authority to assemble (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:18; 14:23; Hebrews 10:25). As church buildings are necessary to assemble, then water fountains and bathrooms are scripturally authorized expedients. Without the right to assemble, church buildings would be without divine authority.

The Bible does not refer to song books or phone apps that identify the correct pitch. However, they are authorized by the command to sing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). They assist us in carrying out the divine direction to “sing and make melody” in our hearts to the Lord. Without the authority to sing, songbooks  and aids to help with song pitch would be unscriptural.

The Bible does not talk about white boards or video projectors. However, they are approved by the authority of “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). They assist in doing what the New Testament churches did; namely, teach (Acts 11:22-26). Without the authority to teach, boards and projectors would be contrary to scripture.

The Bible does not say anything about collection baskets. However, they are authorized by the command to “lay by in store” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Without the authority for a contribution, collection baskets would be unauthorized.

The Bible does not mention plates on which to serve the bread or trays to hold the grape juice of the Lord’s Supper. However, they are authorized by the command to “take, eat” and “drink” (1 Corinthians 11:24-25). Were there no communion, the plates and trays would not be scriptural.

The Bible does not specifically cite a baptistry (an artificial pool in which baptism is performed). However, the command to baptize authorizes or necessitates a place to baptize. Without the right to baptize, a baptistry would be without authority (Matthew 7:21-23).

Contrasting Parallels

The Bible does not directly mention the use of pianos and organs in the worship of the church. If we had scriptural authority to “play music,” such instruments would be authorized. As there is Bible authority for song books and pitch devices because we are to sing, so there would be authority for pianos in worship if we were commanded to “play music.” When someone finds scripture for “playing music,” he will have found authority for guitars, trumpets, and every other kind of instrument. Until then, they cannot be used with the approval of heaven.

The Bible does not show where any church built and maintained recreation and entertainment facilities as a part of its work. Just as buildings, bathrooms, and water fountains are authorized by the command to assemble, and plates and trays are authorized by the command to partake of the Lord’s Supper, there would be authority for dinner plates and softball/basketball/soccer teams if the church were authorized to provide social meals and recreation. When someone finds authority for the church to furnish recreation and entertainment, he will have found authority for fellowship halls, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, etc. Until then, these exist without scriptural authority. When we act without authority, we do not have fellowship with God (2 John 9).

Adapted from Larry Ray Hafley

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