Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

NEW YORK (RNS) The American Bible Society will sell its 12-story building on Broadway, vacating prime real estate in the heart of Manhattan that served a host of evangelical ministries.


  1. “ABS has been losing money in the last several years; its assets of $693 million in 2007 fell to $389 million in 2012.”

    Wonderful news. The fall coincides with the expansion of the internet. The Bible is free on the internet as are the ‘teachings’ within. Priests, nuns and churches are expensive incidentals.

    Jesus and Yahweh are just fading, dusty legends
    which are taking their places alongside Zeus, Osiris and Gilgamesh.

    • Here, the Gospel is fading but in China, the Church is growing exponentially every day. Under the yoke of your religion of Atheism even. Yes, yes, yes, Atheism IS a religion wail and gnash your teeth as you may. There’s more Presbyterians in China then there are in the United States.
      The grass withers, the flower fades,
      but the word of our God will stand forever.
      (Isaiah 40:8 ESV)

      • No, no, no…atheism is NOT a religion. It’s a simple stance to say “not so” to the theistic truth claims. You, obviously a Christian, are also an atheist in regards to Islamic or Hindu theism because you don’t believe in it. But you wouldn’t say, “not believing Allah is my religion!” Atheists don’t believe in ALL theism, including yours. That’s all. Your statement is nonsensical…just because I don’t want to buy your product does not mean that I want to sell you my product.

        • Atheism is no more a religion than Theism. Not all theists are religious, most are. Not all atheists are religious, most are not. There is plenty of crossover though.

          People who continue to distinguish atheism (a philosophical stance) in itself to be a religion are not thinking too hard about what they are saying.

          • Disgree. Merriam-Webster defines:”Religion – the belief in a god or in a group of gods; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods.” Atheism is precisely not that. If you believe in a god or gods, you a theist; if you don’t, you are an atheist. It’s really that simple. Any theist who calls atheism a religion doesn’t know the definition of the religion.

          • @jade63
            the formal union of a man and a woman, typically recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife.

            I don’t know your stance on marriage, but I’m guessing you learn with the marriage equality side of things. As you can see, definitions can be quite debilitating can’t they?

            Also, back to your first post, I used to just blindly accept the argument that everyone is an atheist to another religion, but that’s pretty incoherent now that I think about it. Not believing in a different god doesn’t make you atheist in any form if you still believe in another. Not to mention the Islamic god is the same as the Christian.

      • Calling Atheism a religion is like
        picking up a stack of blank paper and calling it a novel.


        Atheist = “There appears to be no God, let’s deal with that”
        Religion = “I KNOW There IS a God, and I KNOW WHAT HE wants me to DO!”

        • What is the logic that follows from that comparison.

          You do know the difference between Theism and Religion correct? So why pit Atheism vs Religion, rather than Atheism’s actual counter; Theism? But say I wanted to play this game:

          Atheism=”I KNOW there is NO GOD, so I’ll do whatever I want!”
          Theism=”There appears to be a god, but I won’t assume it’s this one or that one.”

          See? You can choose to frame the issue in whatever way you want. No matter how badly you want it to be a simple “us vs. them” scenario, it will never be that easy.

          • @Hi Patrick,

            Playing word games won’t make your God claim true. Nor will it force your god into existence.

            I am not sure whether a God exists, but I see no reason to believe in one and so I do not believe one exists.
            I’m an Atheist – I do NOT claim God is impossible. I just don’t believe. It is my opinion that God does not exist. Not a claim.

            If you want to alter what I said into some word game… have fun.

            I only care about what the truth is. And if you can’t demonstrate why your claim is true you are just a pretender.

          • @ Max,
            I never said I believed in a god. I was just pointing out there are different variations of the same label by playing that game, not an indictment on your belief (or lack thereof). I entirely understand your view.

      • AsianTraveller

        Buildings and words of man may fall down but …The Word of God is powerful and it has life in it.

        God exists and He gives life… and is the source of Life and Light in the whole unverse. So, let’s praise and worship God…


      • The Gospel will never fade!! Believers have to be more assertive champions of the gospel and not hide or deny it’s truth.
        I personally believe it is a huge mistake to sell such priceless real estate in NYC . And I don’t believe
        ABS will be able to maintain a descent profile without that property. That building is more like a museum with all the biblical artifacts and exhibits. Every time I pass that building I get a very proud feeling knowing people are at minimum confronted with the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is very difficult to pass that beautiful edifice without stopping to look or even pose with the statute outside, especially for tourist. I hope those in authority will fast and pray more, and search their creativity to find another solution and not sell the building.

  2. Goodness! More funds to pay the high salaries and the high rollers! More money to waste. When they were done spending and almost down to the bottom of the jar, they are selling the buildong “to further the ministry”. Hogwash! I wonder what progress has been made since this article was written, and many others like it. Would like to see a financial review of this organization

    • My husband is a employee of ABS, and I don’t know who is getting these high salaries you speak of. Certainly not anybody we know.

      The decision to sell the Manhattan property is one in the interests of the long term financial health of the organization. Dr. Peterson orchestrated a similar move when he was at Wycliffe, relocating their HQ from Huntingon Beach, CA to Orlando, FL. As far as I can tell he is acting in good faith and practicing responsible stewardship of the organization’s resources.

      Why was the primary person quoted in this article someone who isn’t even employed by ABS? Dr. Birdsall clearly has a difference of vision from the leadership at ABS, hence his departure. Why not get quotes from someone who can explain the reasoning for the decision? Were they not returning phone calls?

    • If you would like to see a financial review, go to their website. The organization posts years of audited financial statements and tax returns. But then you would have to exert effort and perhaps it is easier to post nonsense.

      The organization used a substantial amount of funds in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s to open up new Bible Societies in Eastern Europe after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. While the markets fell, it stayed true to the pledge it made. Any time an organization wants to donate funds to help provide the Word of God in a hostile section of the globe or one that does not have access, that is not “waste”. If you would review the audited information posted, you would see that they are hardly down to the “bottom of the jar”. You are always free to disagree with an organization that provides the Word of God but I encourage you to look at its website to understand better what it does, then if you still disagree, you can do so with a better understanding. Presently the organization is doing a lot of work globally, including America, the Middle East, China and Africa. It has developed a trauma based healing program, grounded in Scripture, for the men, women and children who are being raped, beaten and tortured, or who have to watch their families and fellow villagers killed by the terrorists in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It is sending staff there to train the local Bible Society staff and the local pastors and lay workers on how to try to help people who are severely abused. I would not call that “waste”. You are free to disagree that the Word of God brings light. You should however do so with integrity grounded in better understanding of the facts. Thank you for your post.

      “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” 2 Timothy 4:3 ESV

  1. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Comments with many links may be automatically held for moderation.