This section is from the "How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt" book, by Rev. Sylvanus Stall. Amazon: How To Pay Church Debts And How To Keep Churches Out Of Debt.
There are plenty of people, members of the Christian Church, who could any clay pay off the debts which curse the Church and impede its progress, and not lose a single meal, or deprive themselves of a single comfort. There is no lack of ability, but a lack of desire and even of willingness to perform a clear and unmistakable duty. How shall this difficulty be overcome?
Let the scriptural duty of making ample provision for God's house be fully set forth from the pulpit. Don't beg, don't scold. Preach the whole counsel of God, not evading the ordained law of the giving of the tithe, a law which was not made for the Jew, but was enjoined about two thousand years before Abraham was born - a law that is as old as the institution of sacrifice, as old as the institution of the Sabbath, and as universal as the human race - a law which could as justly be called heathen, as Jewish, for its binding force is recognized to-day in every heathen country, and it stands out unmistakably as one of the landmarks which leads the nations back to a common origin and a divine revelation - a law which, be it said to our shame, is observed in every heathen nation, and is violated only by those who call themselves Christians.
We say, then preach upon this subject. Let the scriptural view of God as the great proprietor, and man as the steward, be faithfully set forth. Let human responsibility and accountability be faithfully enjoined, not simply in the use of intellectual culture and power, but in the use of material wealth. In the parable of the talents it was property, money, which was intrusted, and for which each had to give an account. There is no escaping from the truth presented in this scripture.
Men arc enjoined to give at least a tenth for the support and spread of the gospel. One-tenth is the Lord's and the remaining nine-tenths is his also, and we are simply to use it as his stewards. As we may not withhold the one-tenth, neither may we squander the remainder in undue luxury and pride. Our wealth is to be sanctified wealth.
Let pastors entrusted with congregations burdened with church debts present these truths, not only in an occasional discourse, but frequently. Let them familiarize themselves with this neglected doctrine until it shall form as much a part of all their teachings, as it forms a part of each book, and runs through every chapter of the Bible. Let pastor and people together confess their sin in this matter, and prove their sincerity by bringing their free-will offerings and paying their debt. Remember! the tithe is God's money, sacredly set apart for the support and spread of the gospel, so do not let the people take God's money to pay their debt. Let the people's money pay the people's debt. Free-will offerings are what God requires for this purpose; so let the rich give liberally from their abundance, and let the poor from the depths of their poverty enjoy the same blessed privilege. Let there be an enlightened and quickened conscience, and we know that the Christian men and women of this land will arise and cast off the burdens with which the church is now struggling to go forward.