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Question:
Is it O.K. for a church to turn a library into a book store and have it open on Sunday mornings to sell books, t-shirts, tickets to Christians concerts….? I don’t know if this applies to Jesus turning over the tables because of it being a market place or not. The elders of this church say it is not the same thing. They justify it: that the money made goes toward mission efforts, etc… But didn’t the people selling animals for sacrifice have the same excuse… that is was for church?

Answer:

The “market” in the synagogue that Jesus ransacked was forcing people to spend money in order to fulfill their duties of worship. The greed was obvious no matter how convenient it was. The temple has truly become a place of PROFIT and business rather than worship (for those administering the temple, and no doubt the highest religious leaders were getting a big cut, if not most, of the income being made).

The “money changers” were profiting from a mandatory need of the people to buy their products in order to then do what God had asked them to do. We should never personally take advantage of people or profit from them by force or obligation in order to do God’s will. And church leaders should never arrange a situation where their personal profit is the motive of how things are set up in the fellowship of Believers.

So in that light, I wouldn’t say that having a bookstore in church is the same. However, I think if marketing products, services or conveniences at a church becomes a distracting emphasis then the spiritual leaders of the flock should speak up, as they should anytime something detracts from the sole focus of JESUS CHRIST in the assembly of Believers.

I think it is hard NOT to argue that marketing, selling and business is encroaching rapidly into the church arena. How far is too far is a matter for the spiritually mature leaders of each church to determine knowing they are responsible to God.

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