I've read this story before; it circulates through the e-world periodically. I thought I'd share it and see what comments you might leave. It is an interesting story to ponder.
In a small Texas town, a new bar/tavern started a building to open up their business. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers. Work progressed, however right up till the week before opening, when a lightning strike hit the bar and it burned to the ground.
The church folks didn't have much to say after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means. The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the buildings demise in its reply to the court.
As the case made its way in to court, the judge looked over the paperwork. At the hearing he commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn't.
As I read this story again, I wondered how my church might respond in this situation. Let me state for the record, I've never been involved in a church praying against a bar. I do believe, however, that a community has a right to set moral standards. It's just my opinion. If I were in this situation, I would have to take credit. If I pray and something happens... Well, it is what it is. I'd like to see the judge's opinion in that situation!
So, if you were the judge, and the congregation took credit for the destruction by prayer, how would you rule? Remember, if the destruction was a direct result of the prayer, it truly was an act of God.
I would hope that the judge would know that God is not responsible for destruction regardless of how many prayers were offered to block the bar. Bad things happen because they are allowed to happen not because God does it himself. In His perfection He does not destroy.
If I was the judge I would pray for the wisdom and guidance to make the appropriate decision.
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