“Raising Church Revenue” American Sentinel 12, 12, pp. 185, 186.

IT is quite well known that secular entertainments play an important part in church economy as practiced by the popular churches to-day, but the recent action of a Baptist Church in Brooklyn speaks with a startling emphasis upon this point. The facts, as set fort [sic.] in a prominent New York daily, are as follows:—

“The trustees of the Lenox Road Baptist Church, commonly known as the First Baptist Church of Flatbush, will apply to the Supreme Court for permission to sell the church building and the real estate connected with it.

“This move was taken on account of dissatisfaction with their pastor of part of the society, and is the outcome of the Rev. H. J. Guller’s refusal to allow any church entertainments.

“The meeting of the trustees last night, when the decisive actions was taken, was stormy. The Rev. Mr. Guller had friends there, and they fought hard to have him retained, but before the meeting was ended they had been [186] whipped around into line and at last gave their consent to the sale of the church property.

“They were confronted with the payment of a $9,000 mortgage and an arrearage of $500 in the pastor’s salary. Mr. Guller’s friends urged that the church’s expenses be reduced by one half in order that they might ‘worry along.’ The opposition, however, insisted on the sale of the church and its property and an immediate liquidation of its debts, the dismissal of the pastor and the holding of services in a hall. The society will not be severed.

“One trustee said: ‘Our pastor has been with us for two years. He refused to allow any church entertainment of any kind, and, as a result, our revenue fell off to such an extent that we have to sell out. Our little entertainments brought in a good deal of money, and the pastor’s action was decidedly unpopular.’”

Surely there has been a most wonderful evolution—and revolution—in the method of providing church revenue, since the days of the apostles. Imagine the early Christian Church, as described in the Book of Acts, being on the point of financial disruption because of the refusal of Paul or Peter to sanction church theatricals as a means of providing funds for church work! And the sad meaning of this is that there has been an evolution from the spirit of self-sacrifice possessed by the early church, to a spirit exactly its opposite. There is no reason why, with the possession of the Christian spirit of self sacrifice, an abundance of church funds cannot now be raised in just the way that means were raised by church in the days of Paul.

However, when the churches get control of the Government, as it now seems that they shortly will, they will perhaps have possession of sources of revenue, which will enable them to dispense with church “entertainments.”

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