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I find a lot of church practices wrong and I always feel I have joined the wrong family, and fear my salvation will be affected in the end. Is it right for selling and buying to go on in or around the church premise during programs? In Jesus' day he,

"...found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting,... he drove them all out of the temple... And said unto them...Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise." (John 2:14-16).

It is obvious that what is happening today is just in another form, modernised when journals, bibles, church newspapers etc are always being displayed. We get guest speakers who set up their books, cds and tapes to be sold after their sermon. I dont want to talk much but please, someone tell me if we are safe.

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If it is obvious, then there is no question here. This part of your question seems argumentative. The fact that you are able to purchase a book or CD at church instead of at the local bookstore seems insignificant. It actually makes it a bit more convenient, even though I usually buy my books used on Amazon, because they're cheaper. The purpose of church is to be a place of worship. The CD's and books, if sold, are intended to facilitate that, although they should not be too prominent. –  Narnian Apr 2 '12 at 15:05
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2 Answers 2

A key point here is where they were, although I certainly have my reservations about commercial activity at church (with the exception of really good books).

And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Mark 11:15-17 ESV

Jesus notes that the Temple was to be a house of prayer for ALL nations. It seems that they may have set up these tables in the court of the Gentiles--the outer court. Gentiles were permitted to come into this part of the Temple, but no further. The Jews were permitted to go further into an inner court, then only priests could go further, and then the High Priest alone could enter into the Holiest place, and that only once a year.

So, if this is correct, the fact that they set up tables in the court of the Gentiles turned what was to be a place where Gentiles could worship the true and living God into a marketplace.

From the very beginning, God's heart was for all the nations. Israel was chosen to be a light to all nations, that the whole world may know God. Jesus' anger demonstrates just how much God loves all nations. That the Jews were excluding the Gentiles from the worship of God by using the Court of the Gentiles as a market was what enraged Jesus so much.

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"...But you have made it a den of robbers.” Isn't it quite clear that his anger was because they were stealing in the house of prayer? I have also heard that there were money changers because of different currencies being used so if there 'forex bureau' (which normally has higher rates for profit) for a particular coin in the temple. I think its the business practice my friend, not the racism. –  Nok Apr 2 '12 at 14:53
    
@Nok That's fine. I disagree. Perhaps it was a bit of both. –  Narnian Apr 2 '12 at 15:01
    
I also think whether its the Gentile's area or the Jews', its all part of our Father's house so all they needed to do was to "...Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. " (John 2:16). If you still are not convinced, perhaps someone else will have to explain better. –  Nok Apr 2 '12 at 15:22
    
So... you asked a question, but you already have the answer you want. That's fine. This is something else to consider for the community. (I am not convinced.) –  Narnian Apr 2 '12 at 15:28
    
You only need to convince me enough. But if your point does not and I find it rather easily refutable, then it leaves me still searching. Maybe my word 'convince' shouldn't have come in but honestly, I'm inclined to agree more with Mason and vsc. Nobody has a perfect answer my friend, all we do is add what we know or think so that we help ourselves better in understanding. –  Nok Apr 2 '12 at 15:51
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This story is told in all four of the gospels:

Matthew 21:12-13 (ESV)
12 And Jesus entered the temple[a] and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Mark 11:15-17 (ESV)
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.”

Luke 19:45-46 (ESV)
45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

As you can see they all add the phrase "den of robbers", Jesus' focus was on the motives and heart of those doing the selling. In a place of prayer and worship they were taking advantage (and perhaps even worse) of worshipers. I don't know your pastors or the guest speakers you've had so it's impossible for me to tell you whether what they are doing is wrong or not, so I'd encourage you to talk with them (your pastors) about your concerns if you can.

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I am rather suprised at your last conclusion. Perhaps i did not get your explanation well. If Jesus was mad at the practice why wouldn't he feel the same today? If they have turned the church into a profit zone expecting to take somethingi away for themselves, aren't they the 'robbers' and the church the 'den'? –  Nok Mar 30 '12 at 21:19
    
Exchanging money or even making money does not equal robbing someone. What the sellers were doing at the temple was morally wrong and probably illegal. Can you imagine the outrage if someone came through your church during worship and pick pocketed everyone? That's what I think Jesus was expressing here righteous anger over swindlers robbing those who came to simply worship. –  Andrew Mar 30 '12 at 21:50
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@ashansky: They weren't pickpocketing anyone, though. IIRC, the "robbers" in the temple were merchants selling sacrificial animals and other offerings to the worshippers and gouging them outrageously on the prices simply because they could, because the worshippers who came to the temple couldn't participate in the prescribed ceremonies without them. (Would this make Jesus the original advocate of trust-busting and anti-price-fixing practices?) –  Mason Wheeler Mar 30 '12 at 22:43
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@Mason: I agree. If someone cannot participate in the sermon without buying the outrageously expensive sacrificial animals, it is very close to robbery. On the other hand, if you just give them books, newspapers, etc. and only want to regain your expenses (without making a profit) then it can be a different category. –  vsz Mar 31 '12 at 8:16
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@vsz: Good point. I think a big part of it is where your heart is. –  Mason Wheeler Mar 31 '12 at 14:05
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