The following story is a modern-day admonition to many “I’m holier than thou” churchgoers to not allow transient secular needs to get in the way of their belief and faith.
The tale prompts the readers to assess the true contents of their hearts and find if they aren’t at times engaging in a bit of religious distancing by setting aside their faith when faith becomes inconvenient or whether they stand up for their beliefs and proudly proclaim them even when doing so is to their disadvantage, financial or otherwise?
The judge in the story points out, that there is something wrong about the congregation that puts worldly matters first and doubts its belief in prayer.
A Tavern Owner Sues Members of the Baptist Church
In the early 19th century the Goshen Road was the main road in Mount Vernon, the county seat of Jefferson County, Illinois, United States. The Baptist settlers built a church on this road and had a good following.
In 1860, Pierce Drummond after getting a permit to open the first tavern in Mount Vernon bought the building opposite the Baptist church and launched his business.
The members of the Baptist church who strongly opposed the opening of the tavern appealed to the authorities to shut it down. The officers, already bribed by Drummond with liquor and money turned a deaf ear to their appeal. So, every day, the members of the Baptist congregation prayed to God to intervene.
Four months later, the building that housed the tavern was struck by lightning and a fire broke out. The members of the Baptist church rejoiced and praised God for hearing their prayers. Their jubilation was short-lived because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner sued them.
In court, Mr Drummond contended that the lightning bolt that destroyed his tavern was the result of the prayers of the members of the Baptist church. The members of the church, nonetheless, denied all responsibility for the destruction of the tavern.
After the preliminary hearing, the judge warily remarked, “It’s difficult to decide the case because Mr Drummond, the tavern owner, believes in the power of prayer and the church people don’t.”