Raffles and the Temple Cleansing


#1

My Baptist mother recently attended a pancake breakfast at my Catholic church. Tickets were sold for the event, and inside the door of the parish life center, mugs were for sale, there was a raffle, and you could even buy some champagne to add to your brunch. My mother was upset by this, and told me that as a Baptist she equated this activity with the money-changers in the Temple. She does not believe this should be happening, but believes that all giving to a church should be in the form of an offerring (with no compensation like pancakes). She said Catholics make God’s house a house of merchandise, in reference to the verses in John 2. Any responses or suggestions as to how I can talk with her about this?


#2

I hope you get some good answers because I share her distaste. Although a fund-raising event like a pancake breakfast doesn’t bother me, I have always had a problem with gambling: Bingo, 50-50’s, raffles, and such. I guess you can say it isn’t really gambling, because you are not really taking a chance on the prize, you’re making a donation. ???

But even “gambling” like this can be innocent: like playing baccarat for macaroni. What boggles my mind is the Altar and Rosary Society trips to Atlantic City. I know, I know. They’re going to see the ocean, and anyway the gaming industry is “clean.” :hmmm:

And I am Marie of Romania.


#3

Well if memory serves me, the money changers were in it for profit. Profit for themselves. Selling things at church as a fundraiser benefits the church. My parish has a gift store attached to it. I can either buy my religous books from Amazon.com, or I can buy them from my church. My church benefits from me buying from their gift shop. The youth groups also sell donuts, Sunday newpapers, and other things. The sad truth is that not everyone understands tithing. The church of today must do what is necessary in order to survive financially. This is one way they are able to provide the many different programs that are needed like RCIA, children’s R.E. classes, music ministry, and so on.If you do a simple yahoo search on Baptist Fundraising, you will find many baptist church’s doing the same sort of thing. I suppose your mother’s church is completely innocent of this wrong doing?


#4

[quote=RichT] I suppose your mother’s church is completely innocent of this wrong doing?
[/quote]

Actually, yes, in my memory, and in hers. This is a very small church with no real need to raise funds beyond its regular tithes.

And I agree with all you have said, I guess I just want more scriptural justification for y(our) position. I need to explain this to her from scripture so that she will accept it. Know what I mean?


#5

The merchandise being sold in John 2, from what I understand, were the sacrificial animals that were offered in the Jewish tradition. Doves and lambs were being sold but at very high prices, the merchanisers were taking advantage of the people not having the items necessary for the offering. Those small animals were considered the smallest thing you could offer God.

Jesus was not so much angry at the selling of the animals, the tradition deemed it necessary to make a sacraficial offering but was angry that the price gouging the sellers engaged in.

I imagine that sometimes too much selling may go on in a particular Church but the passage described in John 2 does not forbid it. She has taken it completely out of context of what went on in the Temple area.

Read Luke 16 1:13. It is the parable of the dishonest steward. It is a tough parable because it seemilingly praises dishonesty but it also shows that each of us must make pruduent choices with our wealth. Gambling may not be the best way to use of all of our wealth but to put 10 dollars in a raffle when we most surely know we will not win is not sinful. Many consider it a donation. Like the steward who buys goodwill by the relief of debts we to can give goodwill to the charity that is sponsoring the raffle by buying a ticket.

This by no means exhausts the meanings of the parable but I think it can give you a leg up on why scriptually it may not be considered sinful.

You asked an interesting question.


#6

[quote=Sosi]Actually, yes, in my memory, and in hers. This is a very small church with no real need to raise funds beyond its regular tithes.

And I agree with all you have said, I guess I just want more scriptural justification for y(our) position. I need to explain this to her from scripture so that she will accept it. Know what I mean?
[/quote]

I do know what you mean, but I think you may be walking into a sola scripture trap in your attempt to justify this activity in your church.

I agree with RichT, the money changers in scripture were exploiting the temple area and it’s high traffic for personal gain, not for the gain of the temple.

I’m sure you can argue on that point alone, and get your point across to her, because I don’t know of anywhere in scripture where it says “its ok to have fundraising efforts in tandem with or in leiu of it’s members tithing.”

Any other evidence you offer beyond scripture, may be poo poo’d as “man’s law not God’s”. Good luck to you, and my prayers to your parish for successfull fundraising!


#7

I remember as a Baptist, when gospel groups were invited to sing at the church. In the lobby, they sold records, tapes and books. Same thing for traveling evangelists. They sold their books in the lobby along with their tapes.

When we did have a big dinner spread, dinner was in the hall or whatever. So what’s the diff? Catholics have dinners, raffles and bingo NOT in the sanctuary where the mass is observed, BUT IN THE PARISH HALL.

In Jesus’ time when the sellers and traders were selling goods it was IN THE TEMPLE itself. That’s what made Jesus angry. The same today. No Catholic church has raffles, dinners or Bingo in the sanctuary at all. Only in the hall. Oh, by the way, did someone say they’re having fried chicken at your hall next week with door prizes? Sign me up!

Ron from Ohio


#8

[quote=Sosi]Actually, yes, in my memory, and in hers. This is a very small church with no real need to raise funds beyond its regular tithes.

And I agree with all you have said, I guess I just want more scriptural justification for y(our) position. I need to explain this to her from scripture so that she will accept it. Know what I mean?
[/quote]

Those crazy baptists! Always needing to justify something with scripture. I happen to attend a parish with a pretty large budget. Although my parish runs quite well on the tithing of it’s parishoner’s it doesn’t stop there. Any extra that can be raised always gets put to use. Maybe they look into adding more ministries, or educational programs, or increasing the size of the local soup kitchen they run. The point is that they are always looking for ways to raise money and then to put it to good and needed use.

Anyway, I think you have already found your argument. The money changers were in it for profit for themselves. That is scriptural. The fact that your mother’s church run’s on the tithes of it’s members does not mean that all churches are the same. In fact, many parishes, and even churches, including some baptist churches can’t survive without some form of fundraising. Thats what I love about the catholic church. It teaches us to be charitable. My parish has even helped out other parishes that were in financial trouble. If we see someone in need and we are able to help because of excess funds raised at the recent bake sale then isn’t that a good thing?

One other thing, and please understand I don’t mean to sound dis-respectful to your mother. Perhaps your mother being a good baptist is just looking for something to use against your church. I have a mother to. She is not catholic. She is baptist. She searches for anything she can use as an argument against my church. I still love her though…


#9

Did I forget to mention that my parish has a coffee cart outside? It is bigger than some of the Starbucks kiosks now found inside of grocery stores. All profit goes to the Life Teen group in our parish. It is very profitable and the money I spend after mass every Sunday for an iced mocha is well spent in my opinion. Not to mention they don’t charge sales tax!


#10

A Baptist church in Buffalo, NY just opened a franchised sandwich shop on their parish grounds. It took them a year to build it.

theithacajournal.com/news/stories/20030707/localnews/602972.html

The idea is to provide income for the church, but also to provide job training for members of the community.


#11

And I am Marie of Romania.

Mercygate–LOL, from another Dorothy Parker fan. When I saw that quote, I did a double take, because that happens to be my sister’s “signature line” in our correspondence!

I don’t like bingo, raffles, 50/50, etc. either. Personally, I’d rather have donations taken for some excellent causes–and then donated, if possible, anonymously. After all, IMO that is what real giving, or charity, is all about, anyway. “Let not your right hand know what your left is doing” and all that. If people absolutely can’t FUNCTION without some sort of “reward” system, bring back the gold stars and happy angel stamps of my childhood–or some nice holy cards.

Sometimes it seems that materialism has infested EVERYTHING, doesn’t it?


#12

Those things are not benefiting the person selling at all. That is the difference. Infact the seller is usually giving of himself (time).


#13

[quote=rarndt01]In Jesus’ time when the sellers and traders were selling goods it was IN THE TEMPLE itself. That’s what made Jesus angry. The same today. No Catholic church has raffles, dinners or Bingo in the sanctuary at all. Only in the hall.
[/quote]

This distinction doesn’t work.

The Temple was divided into several areas, much like a modern church campus.

The moneychangers were NOT in the Holy of Holies, the Holy Place, the Court of Priests (where the offerings were sacrificed), nor the Court of Israel (where the services were held). They weren’t even in the Court of Women, but rather in the Court of Gentiles… the outermost portion of the temple grounds where anyone was allowed–very anagulous to the modern Church Hall.


closed #14

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