While on this part of the subject, I will notice another point which presents itself immediately after the organization of a church, and concerns the church particularly. When disciples agree to meet regularly under the character of a church, there are certain expenses necessarily incurred in carrying their resolution into effect. A house to meet in must be procured–fuel is to be laid in, and lights procured for night meetings, together with some other matters relating to the comfort of the church alone, and varying according to circumstances. My object in noticing these expenses is, to call attention to this point, viz.: that these things are purely temporal and have nothing to do with the Christian religion, but solely with the bodily or social comfort of the members. A political society, a debating club, a literary association of any kind would be compelled to raise a fund for these purposes if they held regular and stated meetings. And the application I wish to make of it is this; that the fund or contribution to meet these expenses should be carefully distinguished from the contribution of the church on the Lord’s day, as a religious ordinance, which is a giving to the Lord, and which is to be devoted to his service in relieving the poor. Now the contribution for light and fuel is not a giving to the Lord, but is for the personal comfort of the disciples and those who assemble with them, and is equally necessary when they are in their own houses. This distinction, then, should be carefully noticed, and every member should pay a certain equal sum annually or quarterly (12½ cents per quarter will generally suffice) to meet these current expenses–I say every member, for every member equally occasions these expenses and equally enjoys the light and warmth provided. The contribution for the poor, however, must of course be left to the liberality of the members. This matter, though it may appear small, has often produced confusion, and many have absurdly supposed they were giving to the Lord, when they were merely supplying their own wants, and have thus perverted the weekly contribution. Hence it is necessary that order should be taken in this matter, and that every thing should have its due place.
From Hans Rollman’s remarkable Restoration Movement Pages