Q&A: Churches Accepting Money From Unbelievers

Churches Accepting Money From Unbelievers

Question

Is it biblical to take money from unbelievers for the work of the kingdom of God? 3 John 7

Answer

In the New Covenant, generally the work of the Kingdom is done through the "giving" (not tithing, see below) of people who claim to be God's. However, there is nothing unbiblical about accepting money from unbelievers in "some" cases (Exod. 12:25-36; 1 Kings 5:10; 10:10; 2 Chron. 2:13-16).

3 John is descriptive but not necessarily prescriptive for every situation. This passage does not say that one should never take money from pagans; rather, in this case, they should not. Here, the leadership knew that if they accepted assistance from unbelievers, they would leave themselves open to the charge of preaching for financial gain (1 Cor. 9:12). The Gospel should not be for sale (Acts 8:9-24). The Church should keep away from the appearance of any such interpretation (1 Thess. 5:22). Though God is able to protect his own name, we should also protect the name of Christ (Acts 4:14; 5:41; Jas 2:7). Therefore, John taught that those who were sent in this particular situation should receive help from the Church, not pagans (3 John 1:6, 8).

Further Reading:

The Old Testament Tithe?
The New Testament Tithe?
Giving as a Part of Worship?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).