Book-table at church (for selling books): right or wrong?

Discussion in 'Church Order' started by Tim, Dec 15, 2008.

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  1. larryjf

    larryjf Puritan Board Senior

    As per the book of church order of my denomination, offerings are an element of worship.

    PCA BCO...

  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Yes, but you do realize that the BCO is not bind on this point, not to mention that there would be many here who would not take it as authoritative.
  3. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    Pastor Greco, maybe I missed it, but what is your view on this as a PCA pastor? Both PCA churches I have been a part of have sold books on Sunday, and it never really was an issue. Just curious what your view is...
  4. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    Hey brother, I live in Qu├ębec Canada. Do you have a bilingual Bible I could buy? Any french or english translation works. I would like it to contain both testaments.
  5. Grymir

    Grymir Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't think selling books and such is a problem...I just wish the people would read them!

    Also, books are different than trinkets. Trinkets would be a problem. This issue also differs at different church's. Some sell the whole Christian paraphernalia gauntlet on Sunday. That would be a problem. When Answers in Genesis comes to town, they sell their 'stuff' afterwords, and I think that's o.k. It supports the ministry and puts stuff in peoples hands to teach them. It's supporting a good ministry. And AIG doesn't sell trinkets. Now, when Benny Hinn comes to town, whoa! Look out, it's all for a buck, or at least that how it comes across. Same thing, different circumstances, differing results. I have yet to see the Answers in Genesis Lear Jet!
  6. Kevin

    Kevin Puritan Board Doctor

    brother. Joseph, I am trying to get french/english & korean/english Bibles right now with the help of the Canadian Bible Society.

    But so far no, I do not have them.
  7. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    I have no problem with a book table so long as it fits within general parameters. I view the book table as a ministry. Not just a ministry to members, but I think one of the best ways to "hold your church out to visitors" is a book table. Five minutes spent in front of a book table can tell you an awful lot about a church.

    In my mind, the intent is not commerce, any more than if our WIC committee collects $10 from some ladies on Sunday to reserve a room/restaurant/etc. for a later weekday event.
  8. Jon Lake

    Jon Lake Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree with Fred, I have seen cases where Pastors have done SELF-PUBLISHED books, they usually do this as "ministry", they are not in it to make 20 Million bucks! The worker is worthy of his hire! I am with Pastor Greco, I would not view it as commerce in this case, I would view it as a collection for the effort!!!:2cents::book2::book2::book2:
  9. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    When I look at the fourth commandment, restated again in Deuteronomy 5, the focus is not on "commerce" objectively. It seems the focus is on you, as one of God's people to rest from work, and the ordinary self-preoccupations of the rest of the week, and give yourself, in priority, to worship Him all the day. This is thought, word, and deed.

    The corollary of this, necessarily related to it is you ought not by your actions prevent others from doing the same.

    Christ explicitly explains in the application of this glorious commandment, allowance for for works of necessity and mercy and Scripture implicitly allows the church to operate and do its "job" (sometimes called piety).

    So, if a church's job is teaching and preaching the Word of God, we might assume literature distribution is part of that, from the church's standpoint. This is not the kind of "work" the commandment is prohibiting. Not things that are necessarily and incidentally related to the church during her "work" on the Lord's Day.

    Even commerce is not absolutely prohibited in that commerce that involves mercy or necessity is (generously) allowed. An example of this would be if you were sick, you could buy medicine, even though you pay money for it and are causing somebody to work to provide it. God has graciously chosen not to place undue burden on us. Rather, He exhorts us to call the sabbath a delight.

    It would seem to me to be a more difficult case to invite in an outsider to the church to sell his own materials at the church, but that's not quite the same case as the church doing its ordinary sabbath "job."

    The more I think about this, the commandment would allow the church to disseminate Christian literature, even charge for it. There are time, manner and place restrictions to prevent undue distraction or causing unbelievers or weak believers not to stumble. They must be considered.

    Churches may wisely choose just not to deal with the other considerations and not collect money for any materials, but now, after considering all these good posts and the Scripture, I don't think the fourth commandment or any other biblical precept strictly prohibits it.

    (I'm suprised to come to this conclusion)
  10. staythecourse

    staythecourse Puritan Board Junior

    If the sacrificial animals which were required for worship were driven out of the temple, why would books, not required, be allowed at church. It makes no sense.

    I spoke with my elders about our book table and he said he takes and pays later (and he's a trustworthy man). My answer was put it in the budget and give away what they want. We also have a library and I said "Let them check them out gratis"

    He's still thinking about it and something may or may not happen. Who knows.
  11. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    The significant difference here is that the selling of animals for sacrifice was done for business purposes. Giving out wholesome literature with the added, "These are not free for us to produce; please give what you can," and maybe a specific price to help give the person a number to donate is entirely different from the example of animal sacrifices.

    Buying things on credit is still commerce.
  12. staythecourse

    staythecourse Puritan Board Junior

    This would still qualify as business. Money is being offered for a product.

    Still business on the Lord's Day and all that has changed is who decides on the price of the product.

    And I think it's wrong if we are trying to stay consistent with a confession.

    So, free or not at all if we are trying to keep the day different from the rest. We have Wednesdays we get together so our book table should be accessible then.
  13. Honor

    Honor de-cool

    Ok,,,, I didn't read all the thread (my bad it was long and it's late)
    But we left a church for (among other things) they set up a coffee shop outside the sanctuary doors and a HUGE bookstore off of the foyer. they got a huge profit. it was not asked of the congregation what they thought about it... it was just done.. we bought frapps from the coffee place a few times before we felt really convicted of it... then when the bookstore opened up I felt sick inside every time we walked by it.
    But I have been to churches with a little folding table and some books... I'm cool with that because I think the difference is this... Jesus got made because they were charging exhorbent amounts of money on something the people HAD TO HAVE. they were stealing money from the people. the merchandise in and of itself was cool... it was the heart of the people selling the stuff. they weren't there to make a living they were there to get rich of of the poor.... they were scummy. Jesus looked at the heart. and that I think makes all the different... rules are rules... there are a ton of rules... we are going to brake rules... but it;s our hearts that the concern of God.
  14. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    That seems to be a narrow view of business, which does not take into account intent or other factors. By your definition of business, how is the tithe not a business action? You are exchanging money for the services of the church, which is a product.
  15. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    A tithe is a gift. A gift is not commerce. :2cents:
  16. Confessor

    Confessor Puritan Board Senior

    Exactly. Just as tithing, a gift, goes towards a church's expenses or a pastor's salary, etc., so also a monetary gift can go towards the church's book fund.
  17. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes the person who is giving away books on a book table I think is fine. Even if he has a donation cup. You don't have to donate thus if you do it is a gift. Or even if you don't take a book but want to help for free literature for others you can give a gift. I could be wrong but I don't think that is commerce.
  18. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    Is it possible to covet theology books?:confused:
  19. Honor

    Honor de-cool

    I don't know but I know that my husband coveted the ESV study Bible... ok maybe Covet is a strong work.. how about wanted really really really really bad?
  20. Rangerus

    Rangerus Puritan Board Junior

    In trying to sort this question out about the book table, I went back and re-read the fourth commandment. The word "Holy" seems to be the key word in the commandment. To decide on this topic, I first have to define what constitutes "Holy" in terms of the book table. To me it seems that the purpose of the book table must in all definitions be consistent with the definition of "Holy".

    I keep thinking of Galatians 5:23 (Against such there is no law)

    Exploiting for profit is absolutely wrong. However, providing a church related, Christian based, Confession approved service and asking for money to cover costs, well it depends.

    In all cases, I have to ask myself is this "Holy" activity? And would Jesus approve? If the answer is yes, then who am I to question it.
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