DEAR REV. GRAHAM: Our church went heavily into debt to build our new building, but now our pastor has left, several families are drifting away, and we’re having a hard time making the mortgage payments. Does the Bible say anything about borrowing lots of money to build a church?
DEAR K.R.: Christians in the first century didn’t build separate church buildings. Since their numbers were small, they usually met in homes. The Bible, therefore, doesn’t say anything directly about this issue.
The Bible does, however, caution us about the dangers of too much debt, and this situation might have been avoided if your church’s leaders had paid closer attention to this. It points out, for example, that when we owe someone money, our debt easily controls us and becomes our master - although we may have thought the money would be our servant. The Bible says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7).
Does this mean it’s wrong for churches to borrow money to improve their facilities - and perhaps reach more people for Christ as a result? No, of course not, as long as it’s done prayerfully and wisely. On the other hand, however, we must never think that elaborate facilities are essential for an effective ministry. If Christ isn’t at the center of a church’s life, God has not promised to bless its work.
May God bring your church’s members closer to each other - and to Himself - during this difficult time. Satan will try to divide you and get you arguing among yourselves; don’t let it happen. Instead, face the future with prayer, and with trust in God’s provision for your needs. The Bible says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Write to Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the website at billygraham.org
MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 03/07/2014
Print Headline: ON CHRISTIANITY