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.
After the debt has been paid, "the first thing to be done," says Rev. William Ramsey, "is to prevent any further increase of the evil. If the churches which are now involved in debt should be relieved, and if nothing be done to stop this iniquitous system of building churches without paying for them, we shall make but slow progress in this work of reform. It certainly would not show much wisdom in the friends of temperance if they should spend all their energies in trying to reform drunkards, without aiming to prevent another generation of them from rising up to be a scourge and a curse to society. The young must be kept sober, or they will become drunkards. So it is with church debts. If we pay off the existing debts of the churches, and still countenance the sin of building new churches without paying for them, we shall soon have the same evil to mourn over that we now have. The practice must be resolutely frowned upon by every lover of the church of Christ. Let no church be erected through vain glory or party spirit, or to gratify the pride or feelings of a few. But let them be erected only when and where they are needed. And let them be paid for before ever a Christian minister shall, in the name of the people, stand up in their presence and dedicate to God that which they know does not belong to them. This evil may easily be prevented. It is in the power of the ministers to do it at once. Let them resolve that they will not dedicate a church to God that is in debt, and that they will not destroy the comfort and peace of a brother, and hinder his usefulness, by placing him over a church that is in debt, and soon the evil complained of will be cured. If this were done, we should seldom hear of ministers leaving their people for want of a support. The members of the churches would then understand what they must do to have a minister of Christ placed over them; and when they had him, they would be free to labor for the salvation of souls, without the continued annoyance of a debt. I might ask you now to look at the churches in this city (Philadelphia, and to tell me what it is which perplexes the minds of the officers of the churches. It is their debt. What breaks in upon the studies and pastoral duties of the settled pastors? The church debt. What turns off the minds of the elders and leading men of the church from the great work of saving souls? It is their church debt. What is it that leads the people to lessen the salary of their ministers, or to fix it at the lowest possible rate, or to be always dilatory in paying their ministers, so that he is often pressed beyond measure for the mere necessities of life? It is the church debt. What is it that brings down the curse of God upon the churches throughout our land? It is the awful fact that they are robbing God of his due. Do you ask, wherein do they rob him? I answer 'In tithes and offerings.' It surely is not the time for those who call themselves the stewards of God to be dwelling in their ceiled houses, while the house of God remains unfinished or in debt. May the churches have grace to 'consider their ways,' and repent of the great evil, that the blessing of God may rest upon them!"