If you are a member of the churches of Christ, then you already know all the arguments concerning this matter, but if you are not, then let me make known unto you the scripture. “What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you in this? I do not praise you.” 1 Cor 11:22 “But if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, lest you come together for judgment.” 1 Cor 11:34
So, why can’t Christians eat in the churches? He just said it, “Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing?” v22 How often I have overheard members of the Lord’s church say, “Have you ever noticed that those who bring nothing eat the most.” Others will say, “It’s amazing that some only attend when we are going to have a luncheon or banquet.” The church is to provide for the needy saints, but it is not the duty of the church to provide for the greedy saints. 1 Cor 16:1,2 Money direct from the contribution, not food, was given to the needy saints.
The contention of some is that the church can’t provide the money or location for the luncheon. Liberal brethren believe that by the church providing the location and food that no one will be shamed, but this is not true. More conservative brethren will have luncheons provided by its members at someone’s home, but this too will cause poor members shame who can’t afford to bring anything.
I recall back in the 1960s when the government used to give “Commodities” to feed the poor. Eventually, even wicked politicians noticed that this was shaming the poor. Eventually, a bipartisan bill passed by a democratic congress and signed by a republican president, removed the sack off the poor man’s back, and replaced it with food stamps. Eventually, this too was seen as demeaning, and they replaced this was a credit card that would not be as noticeable. Believe it or not, I have overheard church of Christ preachers mock the poor who get this aid, without even knowing the particular circumstances which made them in need of such aid. Is it any wonder why these same preachers give no regard to the poor of their assembly?
I have heard hundreds of reasons why the church can circumvent a direct commandment from the inspired apostle Paul and eat when the church is gathered together. However, the Spirit which inspired Paul, gave one reason which can never be proven wrong: When the church eats as such, they shame those who have little. It is hard to escape the truth of God. It is true that those who have the least eat the most. They are hungry for goodness sake! Surely they give the least. They are poor! When we shame the least among us, we are bringing shame to the church which Christ built. Do we not remember that God has chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him? Jam 2:5 Therefore, we are commanded to eat at home or separate and apart from the assembly. We should be more concerned on providing for the poor so they too eat without being shamed. Therefore, let us obey the commandment which was given to us knowing why, and questioning nothing!