TITLE: Who Is Right
DATE: March 7, 2019
TEXT: Romans 14: 1 – ESV- As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
Generally speaking, tornadoes are bad.
That was certainly the case for the twister which swept down on Wetumpka, Alabama on January 19th. Thankfully there was no loss of life, and only one individual suffered a minor injury. Sadly, there were many places in downtown Wetumpka which were damaged or destroyed.
Three places which suffered major damage were the local police department and two churches: First Presbyterian Church and First Baptist Church. The Pastor at First Presbyterian said the congregation would have no problem rebuilding since they were over insured, That was not the case for First Baptist which had to fix the congregation’s chapel and their two—story multipurpose building.
After such a calamity, it is not unusual for all kinds of individuals and organizations to come forward personally or financially, and help put things back in order. It was no different in Wetumpka. One of the major contributors to the rebuilding effort was Wind Creek Casinos. The week after the tornado, the gambling establishment offered $100,000 toward reconstruction.
The generosity of the Casinos was met by three, very different responses.
There are those who will say “First Baptist is right. A Church should never use dirty money.” To them I would reply, “The Lord Jesus expressed no objection which the newly-converted publican Zacchaeus said, “Behold, Lord,… if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.” Rather than condemning the use of bad money, Jesus said, “Today salvation has come to this house
To those who maintain, “Money is never dirty, and as Christians all things are free for us”, I would point them to 1 Corinthians 8 where Paul (who was speaking about eating meat sacrificed to idols said “But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak…. Therefore, if food (or money which has been won by gambling) makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat (or spend a dollar) , lest I make my brother stumble.” (Inserts are mine)
So which church and which pastor was right?
My answer would be: without a direct command from Scripture, such as, “avoid money won by gambling”, the whole question falls into the area of adiaphora, that is things neither commanded nor forbidden. In such areas the Lord generally lets us make our own decision.
At the risk of oversimplifying, I would say, “Since both pastors and both parishes were trying to help their neighbor and honor the Lord, neither was wrong.”
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in difficult times and when difficult decisions must be made, may I accept Your Word for guidance. And when Your Word is silent, let my desire be to please You and bless my neighbor. This I ask in the Redeemer’s Name. Amen.
Today’s devotion was inspired by various articles, amongst which is the one written by Michael Foust for Christian Headlines on February 19, 2019 . Those who wish may check out this link which was, at the time of writing, fully active: https://www.christianheadlines.com/contributors/michael-foust/church-returns-25-000-check-to-casino-we-can-t-keep-this.html
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann, one of my long-ago confirmands. He is singing with three brothers. This song comes from the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html