"This Material For Sale" Say What??

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Jim H., Feb 16, 2003.

  1. Jim H.

    Jim H.
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    O.K. folks, help me out. I've got something that's been bothering me lately, and I need some other perspectives on it. We all know about the "prosperity gospel" folks, and how they dig and scrape and beg for money. How they pervert God's Word shamelessly to take money from poor Grandmothers who don't know any better. I don't want to talk about them in this post; I want to talk about the "good guys", the true teachers and preachers, and something that many of them do.
    I'm not going to name any names - at least not right now - that's not the point right now. But here's the problem. I know someone who is tangled up in a false teaching cult. We've discussed doctrine for years. When we'd come to a particular doctrine that we'd be looking at, he'd just go on the internet, and in a few days you'd have to take a shovel to find his mail box. Tracts. Books. Tapes. Study papers. All rushed to him at no charge. Not even postage. When I'd suggest that we get another perspective from someone that I knew to be trust worthy, we'd go on the internet to some of my favorite ministries web sites, and there would be tons of good material available. For $19.95. $29.95. $75.99.
    My friend always took this to be a sign that my guys were a "money racket". He'd lecture me that "the truth is not for sale". And, "if these people were for real and had the truth, they'd want to get it out weither they got any money or not". What should I have answered? Do you think he ever bought anything from these sites? Not on your life.
    He looks at it this way. If God called a person to the ministry, He will provide everything that's needed for that ministry to be successful in it. If you have to charge for material to keep your ministry going, it's you that's keeping it going; not God.
    I have to say that I can't disagree with him there. So why does godly ministries charge for their material? Why should we think that a lost person is going to stumble across a website with good material on it and say, "hey, I think I'll drop a few twenties on this material".
    One place in particular that I think highly of is bad at this. It's an apologetic, cult watching type ministry. It's a good ministry. They did an interveiw with one of the leaders of the particular cult my friend is in. I thought, "this should be good". So I checked. You could buy a copy of the video for around $50. The audio tape was around $20. I thought, "O.K., they have transcripts, I'll just read it first to see if the interveiw is relevant to anything we've talked about". Guess what? The transcript is for sale for $10! I don't get it. The people in that particular cult are the ones most in need of this material, but their used to getting all their stuff free. There's no way any of them are going to plunk down a red cent for it.
    What are we, and I'm talking about true Christian ministries as a whole, doing? Do we really think that God sent us out to teach a lost and dying world about Him, but we've got to charge for our good stuff, or we'll go broke???
    I sent e-mails to a couple of places about this. I was nice, non-accusatory, with no flame throwing, but at the same time 'to the point'. I asked them if they could give me their perspective on the subject and maybe point me to something I'd missed. I never got a response from any of them and it's been months.
    So, what do any of you think?
    Jim
     
  2. mountainrun

    mountainrun
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    Jim, I think it all comes down to a matter of where their money comes from.
    Benny Hinn makes a salary in the millions taken from those who are taken in, you might say.
    I have seen him ask for seed money from fools who think that by giving to Hinn, God will give them tenfold back or heal their ills, if they have enough faith of course. {They never do.}

    So a person like Hinn can afford to give away tapes and pamphlets which are designed to encourage the fools receiving them to give him more money.

    {Don't know if Hinn gives his materials away. I use him as an example. He most certainly asks for money.}
    Dobson, on the other hand, takes no salary from Focus on The Family.
    He waives all royalties on his materials that are offered to FoTF members through the radio shows.
    I assume he lives on the royalties of materials sold elsewhere.

    MR
     
  3. Gina B

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    I think the reason for this is that God doesn't drop money from the sky.
    Most cults are that for a reason. They know how to smooth talk people. They're paying one way or another, through tithes, donations, etc.. They have plenty of money to promote their wickedness. The majority of people are NOT saved.
    Those that are that do not charm the money out of people's pockets or have tons and tons of resources and backup and support and donations from this and that company must pay on their own if they offer free materials, and too often the money simply isn't there.
    That's my story and I'm stickin' to it. [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  4. Pete

    Pete
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    As Gina saith: "They're paying one way or another."

    If however they are genuinely giving their material they fit in to the "stopped-watch" category (right twice a day ;) )

    I dream of the day when every ministry has "$up to you" on it's products.

    Pete
     
  5. Jim H.

    Jim H.
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    This particular bunch I'm referring to does let you know that "offerings" make it possible for them to give the stuff away. They don't put on any pressure. Even though it's a cult, I think they have the right perspective. I just wish some of God's true ministries had as much faith in the Lord as this bunch claims to have.
    I think John MacArthur does a good job. If you're on his mailing list, when he puts out something new he just sends a card explaining what it is. You can order a copy or not, it's up to you. If you do, you can make a donation or not, it's up to you. I think that's the way it should be.
    Jim
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon
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    The leadership of my church just had a similar discussion. Our easter cantata is quite an extravaganza. The gospel presentation is quite clear, it is an effective ministry. But costs expand have developed quite a bit. In the past we have taken a collection during the service that somewhat covers the costs but have come to the realization that the collection is detrimental to the message, its a distration and a stumbling block; some may say that all we are relly interested in is their money.

    Now our leadership is quite diverse, We have former members from large mega-churchs, an Aussies and a European, we have the wealthy, and not the not so wealthy men and young proven men and almost infirmed men. So we get quite a diversity of opinions... Our meetings are really something... ANYWAY, one gentleman thought we should sell tickets, the costs are up front then, He has seen it done. After a longggg discussion, looking at a variet of options, we decided that the church itself will cover the costs and cut back in other areas. So the members of the church will carry the costs, they will be responsible for sending out the gospel. They get the blessing.
     
  7. Grasshopper

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    Maybe its your friend who has the problem. I frankly would feel guilty taking material like that for free.
     
  8. mark

    mark
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    What an interesting discussion. As I pondered it I thought of a lot of different views.....

    1) Are the organizations you are referring to churches of parachurch organizations?
    2)Is the tape/video/CD a byproduct that just make available or it it the main ministry?
    3) Are there free alternatives?

    I was thinking about Moody Bible Institute http://www.moody.edu ....
    Tapes, magazines, books all cost something, however,
    1)it is not a church (though there is a seperate Moody Church http://www.moodychurch.org ...
    2) The tapes etc. are not their ministry, education is their ministry, hence there is no tuition and conferences there are free.
    3) And while you have to paid to get tapes and cds, you can attend the sessions in person or listen live on radio or internet for free or even listen to messages via internet later through their archives. I don't think you can download them, but you can listen.

    I am wondering if the ministries you are discussing have ways to access the same stuff for free.

    While on this thought, thank you to the organizers and founders of the Baptist Board for making this free!
     
  9. mark

    mark
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    Sorry I have post 1 more to get past post 666.
     
  10. Jim1999

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    Back to the Bible always offered literature and booklets free, as did the Billy Graham organization and the late J. Vernon McGee and Charles E. Fuller.

    I heard one program that offered the first book free and post paid, but clearly stated that subsequent books would be for a fee.

    I understand paying for merchandise. What irks me is when some programs threaten that IF we don't pay up they will be off the air....Well, this is where I believe the Lord will supply,,,and the Lord will determine whether or not a ministry will survive air time.

    Then, perhaps local churches should make certain programs a part of their missions ministry. This would put giving back where it belongs; in the local church.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  11. Jim H.

    Jim H.
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    Hey folks. Thanks for the replies.
    Let me do a little clarification; I know that someone who has dedicated their life to the ministry has a right to make a living from it. "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the grain". Paul said something to the effect that if the people he had taught had "reaped spiritual things from him, didn't he have the right to reap material things from them"? The answer implied was "yes".
    I think it was Mark who wrote in a post that he wouldn't want to get everything free. Neither would I. The point I was trying to make was, what happens when the unsaved are deterred from acquiring this material that they need because it has a $ beside it? If just one person goes to hell because there was a $ beside something that could have made a difference, I think it's too high a price to pay.
    Gina wrote that ministries have to be paid for, and money just don't fall out of the sky. I agree to a point, Gina, but then again, if God gives a ministry a job to do, there's just no way He will fail to supply what is needed to see it through. I think it boils down to this - is the ministry going to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, and trust the H.S. to work on the hearts of the members of God's family, or are they going to take matters into their own hands.
    Let me give you all an exercise to try. But only if you are grounded in true doctrine and have a good understanding of scripture. Send your name and address to 3 or 4 cults or sects with false teaching and see what happens over the next 3 or 4 months. I think you'll be shocked at the dispairity between Baptist and false teachers. They are kicking our tails day in and day out. They are out-working us. I read something not too long ago that Southern Baptists have the highest percentage of defections to cults of any denomination. This is part of the reason. Also, when you get this material from the cults, it's heavy on doctrinal teaching. Most of our stuff is inspirational. (Our free stuff, that is.) Nothing wrong with inspirational teaching, but the foundations should come first.
    Titus wrote that he looked forward to the day when all material said "$ up to you". Me too. I think this is the right approach. But that puts the burden to finance these good ministries squarely on our shoulders. We can't duck our responsibilities.
    Jim1999 wrote that one thing that drove him crazy was when a ministry came across with the "if you don't send in money we'll be off the air and it will be your fault and people will go to hell" approach. Amen, Jim. My own reply to these type messages is, "if God allows you to go off the air, then go, Brother!"
    Jim
     
  12. Pete

    Pete
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    G'day again Jim H. [​IMG] I must admit this topic is one of my (many) favourites for dragging out the old soapbox ;)

    That quote from Paul is in 1 Corinthians 9:11, in subsequent verses he said he did not use that right "On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ." While just about every ministry under the sun likes to focus on Paul's statement of having the right, I prefer to look at his not exercising it as the example to follow.

    Last year I thought I should "put my money where my mouth is" on the topic. I brought a stand-alone CD recorder, plugged my guitar in and recorded 26 hymns. On the back of CD I put "© None, $UP TO YOU". I give the CD to anyone who wants it. If they want to give $ it is entirely up to them. I point out that 1: I don't want the $, 2: If they absolutely insist on giving it goes straight into another box of blank CDs, I don't take a cent.

    I took it to the local Christian bookshop and asked if they wanted to put it on their shelf, they replied that their policy was "We put a price tag on it or give it away" There is NO WAY I was going to put a price-sticker on it, not even to cover the $1 or so for the blank CD. I also passed on their give it away idea to leave the option open for those who did want to give something for it. I wanted it on the shelf with the "up to you" policy to hopefully start a trend...Hey, someone has to ;)

    Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV) I fail to see how price-tags etc fit into that.

    I think the emphasis should be on every believer being one of a...chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. (1 Peter 2:9 NIV)...and not just a small percentage of believers being..unmuzzled ox.

    Pete
     
  13. Jim H.

    Jim H.
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    Hi Titus 2-1. I have the same opinion about the 1Cor.9 passage that you do. Paul specifically made the point that he didn't exercise his right so as not to hinder the gospel. I think this should be the attitude of all ministries.

    I think we as Christians have work to do in this area.

    Hey, you play guitar? You must be an alright kind of guy! I do to. (Well, I try, let me put it that way.) What kind do you have? Who's your favorite instrumental guitarist?
    Jim :cool:
     
  14. CompassionFlower

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    Dear Jim H.

    Was wondering, are you trying to help your friend leave this cult? Are you looking for places to go to help break down his cult? There are places on the internet that does not cost anything for their information. What cult is he. If you would like I can give you some links.

    Blessings, Pam
     
  15. Jim H.

    Jim H.
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    Hi Pam. Yes, I've tried for years to get him to see the problems with this organization. I found lots of info. dealing with this group over the years. I also spent years studying their doctrine so I would be able to discuss it intelligently with him. I even had my name added to some of their mailing lists and recieved their publications so as to keep abreast of their teachings.
    What I discovered over time was that, for every arguement I put forth, he would go find an "answer" to it from "official sources". Never mind that, more often than not, the answers to the difficult points were often just plain silly, at least in his mind they were answers.
    The "cult" he is involved with is the remnants of the organization started by Herbert W. Armstrong. I also have a relative involved in it.
    After a long time, I finally realized that it is beyond my power to open spiritual eyes. The issues go deeper that merely intellectual arguements. They are spiritual problems. As I debated with these two, I discovered that the more I opposed what they believed, the firmer they set their teeth and dug in their heels. I became concerned that I was driving them away from truth instead of leading them to it. So, I stopped argueing and started praying for a movement of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. That's what it's going to take to do the trick!
    I appreciate your offer to help! Thanks.
    Jim
     
  16. Pete

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    Jim, I don't know if they are related, but I think there are two problems here. Problem #1 is all the people in various ministries "exercising their right". Problem #2 I just realised recently is the number of people in Church just warming a pew, not wanting to get in and do anything (or feeling unable to get in and do anything).

    I don't know if what I do on a guitar could be described as "playing" :eek: ..but anyway [​IMG]

    I have a Samick 6 string acoustic, Samick 12 string acoustic, & Fender 60's reissue photo-flame Stratocaster (Japanese). When I really want to annoy everyone I plug in to Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp :eek: [​IMG] To try and cover up the fact that I have no idea what I am doing I use Zoom 505II pedal now and then [​IMG]

    My fav player is Tommy Emmanuel, no contest [​IMG]

    Pete
     

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