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General Assembly Actions and Position Papers of the Presbyterian Church in America

Fund Raising Policy
[Minutes of the Fourth General Assembly (1976), 4-74, Item 5, page 80.]

Whereas, some of our churches have begun to conduct bazaars, rummage sales, suppers, and other benefits for the purpose of raising money for the Lord's work, and,

Whereas, in the light of these events it is best to set these benefit programs in their proper perspective based on principles of Scripture, and

Whereas, Jesus cast the money changers out of the Temple, saying, "Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise" (John 2:16),

Now, therefore, be it resolved: That the Fourth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America advise its members and churches as follows:

a. The Lord has ordained that giving should be an act of worship and thus a means of grace.

b. God has revealed in His Word that His kingdom on earth is to be supported by the cheerful, willing and loving tithes and sacrificial offerings of His children.

c. Commercial activities such as suppers, bazaars, rummage sales, etc., held primarily to raise money are improper activities for the Church.

d. Commercial activities designed primarily to provide a ministry such as a bookstore, are proper Church activities.

e. Neither the Church, nor any organization of the Church should sponsor such benefit promotions which have as a primary purpose raising money for the support of the Lord's work.

[Editor's note: The above fund raising policy was first presented in a Report before the Third General Assembly (1975) by the Committee on Administration, as Item 15, which was then recommitted to the Permanent Committee on Administration for further perfecting of the recommendation. [M3GA, 3-65, Item 15, p. 78].
Note too that in the above policy, the PCA has followed earlier resolutions found in the PCUS, namely:

1888, p. 402.
Whereas it appears to have become quite common for our people to secure money for church purposes by concerts, suppers, etc, be it—
Resolved, That the General Assembly advise against all such means for securing money to be used in the Master's work. This advice is given because we believe that the Lord has ordained that giving should be an act of worship, and thus a means of grace.

1891, p. 260; 1916, p. 19
[similar actions.]

1953, p. 60
. [Previous actions cited.] Pastors and Sessions are urged to follow consistently the policy which has been approved by the General Assembly and which is set forth in our Book of Church Order [see §208-1 especially] concerning the motive, means and methods by which money is secured for the Lord's work, and teach the same to their congregations.

[Source: A Digest of the Acts and Proceedings of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, 1861-1965. Atlanta, GA: Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, 1966. p. 274.]

For additional arguments in support of the 1888 and 1891 resolutions, see also
Lawson, George W., "Merchandise Methods in the Church, or Church Festivals and Scripture," in The Presbyterian Quarterly, 16.1 (July 1902): 103-126.