21.2.15

Bibles Removed From N.C. Baptist Church

by Sally Matheny

Bibles Removed From N.C. Church
The event didn’t make the headlines, but it happened in a North Carolina Baptist church on a chilly, Sunday morning in February 2015.

The black Bibles, normally nestled between every two hymnals in each pew, weren’t missed until the morning worship music had already begun. A few people never noticed. But several of the congregation grew concerned. One of the deacons, shaking his head and shrugging his shoulders, discreetly whispered the discovery to the pastor. The pastor nodded in response to the deacon as the praise band continued their music.

When the music ended, the pastor returned to the pulpit and announced for the children to come for the children’s message.

The pastor was my husband. The church was my place of worship.

The youth pastor and I take turns sharing a brief message with the children each Sunday. The day the Bibles disappeared was my day to teach.

I motioned for all to look at a board mounted on the wall. Posted there were numbers of how many attended Sunday School that morning, the amount collected in offerings, and the number of Bibles brought to church.

We noticed the number of Bibles didn’t match the number in attendance. It was significantly lower. Then I asked the children to go on a search, like a treasure hunt, and bring back a Bible to the front pew. I held up a black Bible and told them it was the only kind of Bible they could bring back.

After searching all the pews, no Bibles were found. One four-year-old persistently piped in that whoever took the Bibles needed to put them back.

We talked about what we would do if we didn’t have Bibles. How much of God’s Word have we hidden in our hearts and memorized? What if all the Bibles in the churches, in our homes, and even as apps on our electronic devices suddenly disappeared?

The statistics I shared in last week’s post, Remembering Today's Persecuted Christians, rattled me. Most of my friends have multiple Bibles in their homes. But I'm wondering if America’s Bible belt is cinching to accommodate a reduced size?

Are we taking our Bibles, our places of worship, and our freedom of publicly speaking the Truth of the gospel for granted?

It's something to ponder and pray about.

Would you miss your Bible?
At the end of the children's message, I promised all the Bibles would be back in the pews before the church doors closed. I almost enlisted help to return them quickly to the pews before my husband delivered the morning message. But I sensed I should wait.

During the service, the stark open spaces between the hymnals stirred an uneasy feeling.

I had contemplated asking for every Bible, those belonging to the church and to individuals, to be placed in a box before the service began. I wonder how we would have felt then.

How would you feel if the Bibles in your church and home were gone? Would they be missed?     


2 comments:

  1. Sally, this made me gasp for air. I can't imagine not having my Bible or there being no Bibles in the pews at church. I'm one of those who has multiple copies of the Word and I have favorites for different uses. One favorite for studying, one for reading through in a year, one I use when I do the 90 Day Bible Reading Challenge, etc. I have some I used before my eyesight dimmed and are now sitting on a shelf. I could share those with someone if I new of a need. If you here of someone who can use them, will you let me know? Thanks and blessings!

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  2. I sure will. Thanks, Cathy. I'm like you, I have several copies. Sometimes when people have plenty of something they don't appreciate it as much. Reading about the difficulties Christians have in other countries, should prompt us to treasure our religious freedoms all the more. Cathy, thanks for your willingness to share.

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