Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
November 30, 1950
NUMBER 30, PAGE 5b,11b

Does The Temple Need Another Cleansing?

Frank A. Godsoe, Amarillo, Texas

(Editor's note: The author of this article is pastor of the Eighth and Monroe Baptist Church in Amarillo. It is of interest to us to note that at the very time so many of our own brethren are being bitten by the "entertainment bug", the Baptists and others are beginning to realize the worthlessness and perversions of such. If the religion of Jesus Christ is not worthy within itself, and if it does not deserve support and loyalty on its own merits, all the side attractions that can be offered will not be of much value.)

The story of the cleansing of the Temple has always been most impressive to me. Those who had made it a den of thieves were very obstinate. They filled it with questionable things. At one time hundreds of cartloads of rubbish were carried out of it. The Lord cleansed the Temple twice; once at the beginning of his ministry, and once at its close. He had spent an entire day viewing the human innovations which had corrupted the Temple. The long lines of bleating animals, the coops and cages of birds, the rattle of coins, and the tumult of buyers and sellers, grieved the heart of our Lord.

God had consecrated that Temple to himself. God had constituted it a house of prayer. Men had made it a bazaar and a market place. The Lord himself called it a den of thieves. In holy indignation the following day he drove out the animals, overturned the tables, and cleansed the courts of the Temple. God has ever been jealous of his house.

And the Lord has always been jealous of the treasury of his house. One day he sat over against the treasury of the temple and watched the people as they cast in their gifts. He saw the rich give out of their abundance. He saw the poor widow who threw in two mites—all she had. God has always paid particular attention to the gifts of men. No one ever gives freely and largely of his means, and according to his ability, without the loving, approving smile of God upon his soul.

God had a law of giving in the days of Abraham. He incorporated it into the Jewish law at Sinai. He was indignant when his people robbed him in tithes and offerings. He was pleased when they offered to him with a glad and a willing heart. Both Old and New Testaments provide a definite place and a definite minimum amount for the offerings of man.

God sees man's giving as an expression of the inner state of his heart. We love to give to those we love, as parent to child, as husband to wife. Giving is the only relief of a love-burdened heart. No wonder the Lord lingered that morning by the Treasury!

Giving to God, or withholding from God, has a powerful effect upon human character.

The Present Condition

But today many churches have gotten away from the matter of personal giving to God, and have turned to raising money by the entertainment method; in some places it is the only method used, in others it is supplemental. The church plan takes unwarranted liberties with the House of God. We submit that the entertainment plan, whatever direction it may choose to take, is wrong in nature, wrong in spirit, wrong in tendency, hurtful to piety, and harmful to healthy church finance. Over and beyond this, it is harmful to the people of the world who are called upon to help support it. Such being the case, it has never had, and never can have, the smile and blessing of God.

I grant you that some good Christian people are engaged in church entertainment work, growing out of their desire to do something for the Lord. They do this because they have not been taught how else to use their time and energies, and because they are unconscious of the evil connected with it.

Others engage in it thoughtlessly. Monkey-show or revival meeting makes no difference to them.

Worldly church members engage in it. Some of them are unsaved, and others who are saved are wholly unspiritual. Their tastes, appetites, spirits, and opinions are of the world. They are hungry for the leeks and garlic of Egypt. Church entertainment offers them the worldliness for which they yearn. They take to it like a duck takes to water, not primarily as a money raising means but because they enjoy it. It satisfies their carnal and worldly instincts. Church suppers, fairs, festivals, bazaars, grab-bags, fish-ponds, gambling, pink teas, pageants, theatricals, sleight-of-hand performances, etc., etc., just suit their taste. They see no harm in it, and think it wonderful. No argument, no illustration, no Scripture will convince them otherwise. You can expect no less of unconverted church members, but real believers should heed the Word of God.

(Further comment: Now, how does that sound coming from a Baptist? While there are some things in it, of course, which we would not accept, we do rejoice to know that here and there in the wilderness of denominationalism there can be found a lone voice that will cry out against their obvious and flagrant violations of the principles of truth. Pastor Godsoe's article was first published as a paid advertisement in one of the Amarillo daily papers. That's where we picked it up.)