I'm reading an article in the news this evening about the Old south Church in Boston. It has quite a legacy. Sam Adams was a member. Ben Franklin was baptized by the church. They even own two copies of the Bay Psalm Book, one the first books ever published in North America. Only 11 copies remain of the original printing, published in 1640 by the first printer in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Stephen Daye. I am really into Church history and would drool at the sight of either copy I am sure. Not going to lie about the edifice either. I travel a lot and love to visit those old beautiful churches. They are freaking awesome!
So on Sunday members of the congregation voted to sell one of the copies, the 372-year-old hymn book valued at up to $20 million – to fund structural repairs and expand its ministry programs. It's their property, their vote, their congregation, their business. I just was trying to reflect on how I would feel as a pastor or member there. How would Jesus feel even? What could I find in scriptures about that?
What the vote says is that members are “agreeing that we are not conservators of rare and special objects, but a church in motion,” says Rev. Nancy Taylor. “We will turn the old hymn book into true doxology for today – helping the homeless, working with prisoners, and assisting victims of domestic violence.” I love that answer. I agree.
Here is where I got a little rattled. Part of the raised funds would go toward an estimated $7 million in building maintenance costs, the AP reported. Can a church really be considering the homeless and prisoners while spending 7 million dollars to maintain a relic of a building?
It's another biblical finance issue we need to wrestle with like the Crystal Cathedral ( see post http://grapplerschurch.blogspot.com/2011/06/owe-no-man.html ). Again, it's that churches business. I'm not standing in judgement. What I do want is for US as THE CHURCH to all wrestle with these financial issues that a lot of us are contributing to. We need to know what God and His Word says about it.