I almost hear you whispering, “What’s the difference between involuntary and voluntary unities?” Good question! Let’s assume you’re married; your spouse and you are a voluntary unit, which means there must have been a moment when you both agreed to marry each other (proposal and acceptance), but there are always involuntary unintentional unities. You become involuntarily united with both sets of relatives, friends, employment, medical conditions, hobbies, skills or inabilities, etc.
Or, suppose you wish to join a Seventh Day Baptist Church. You learn that each church is independent, but there are associations, conferences, societies and something called a Center. You make an appointment to have an interview, and discover that you must take a membership course of study, and that upon completion of the course you must stand before the church and state your Christian experience, and the church members’ votes decide whether or not you become united with them. Can you see a parallel with the paragraph above?
(Interview, training, proposal, confirmation/denial)
It is the same procedure whether you are looking for a job, singing in a chorus, applying to a college, building a house or driving a truck. There must be two parties: a party who proposes to do or be something, and a party that evaluates, denies or grants it.
Imagine that after ten years of church membership you are asked if you are willing to sit as a member of the finance committee. You are nominated, and the church approves. At your first meeting the finance committee is excited because a large gift has been received. As you listen, you discover that the committee cannot agree. A member proposes that half the money be used to replace the stained and spotted carpet in the sanctuary. Another member objects, because her grandparents donated the present carpet, but feels that all the money could be spent to purchase a new organ. The youngest member suggests the unexpected funds be used to improve the camp facilities. An older recently widowed lady thinks that all the money should be put in a managed trust fund, and only the interest used for building and ground maintenance.
A tentative knock, and the door opens, revealing a stranger who introduces himself as the son of the benefactress. He asks for permission to speak. “Mom always attended this church,” he says, “She wanted all the money to go to missions, since you have so much, but she wanted you to decide where it should go.”
Stunned silence, then the chairman turns to you, “What do you think?” he says. It is normal and proper for each SDB church to be concerned about the preservation and safety of its buildings and property. In church covenants there is a statement about the responsibility of members to help with expenses. The fictional
situation I presented represents a finance committee concerned only with their church. No opinion was expressed that some money be given to denominational or missions projects until the meeting was interrupted. Now it seems clear that none of the money was intended for local projects - or
is it really that clear? What would you say?
Today: Pray for Christians and SDB brethren in Asia: The Philippines, India (Kerala and Andhra Pradesh) and all other new Asian fields like Indonesia.