Friday, November 06, 2009

How is First Baptist Dallas different?

There is a lot of outrage building in the blogosphere about First Baptist Dallas and their new idol, um, church campus. Let’s set aside the specific outrage for a second and ask the deeper question:

What is the difference between First Baptist Dallas and many local churches?

The number of decimal places is different but how many millions do local churches spend to upgrade perfectly serviceable buildings for purely aesthetic reasons? Our neighbors are losing their jobs and their homes, Christians around the world are starving for the Word of God, missionaries are stuck in place for a lack of funding, orphans languish without homes and we spend untold sums of money to build, maintain and upgrade our buildings that we use for a couple of hours a week. Whenever a church spends unnecessary money on their building (and lets be honest, much of the spending in the local church is unnecessary) they are invoking the same spirit of worldliness, covetousness and pride as FBD. So what if the carpet is ugly or the lighting is not perfect? Ought we not focus on what is the true focus, our Lord, and not on what is merely a convenience, the meeting place? The local church meeting house is not a temple, not the “house of the Lord”. It is a place where we gather and that building is not the church. Our buildings should be about the last place we spend a bunch of money. It might do us some good to sacrifice a bit instead of demanding every creature comfort before we will deign to spend a few hours in "worship".

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Becky said...

I just got the time to read both posts about this, and my first response is - you've got to be kidding me. "To match the splendor and majesty of God"?? If I hadn't spent so much time in fundamental Baptist churches, you'd never have convinced me that a preacher would have said that, but...
I do wholeheartedly agree with your second post though. It's all a matter of decimal places. I've often disagreed with how money was spent, a lot of it on needless things just so the church "looks" good. Sometimes I've seen them (the preacher's wife actually talked about this) spend a whole bunch of money to try and out-do another church. There's a real godly attitude for you. It goes without saying that doing something like that is definately not being a good steward.

Arthur Sido said...

Becky, I think you are on to something. I know when I was a pastor that I would often look enviously at the fancy churches of other men. There is a very real tendency to emulate the world in the church in seeking after the "latest and greatest" things that the world tells us we need to be the church. None of which the Bible tells us we need, desire or should seek to be the church.