Church is a big business these days, Christians and everybody else know this for a fact. While Jesus is saddened by this, nobody seems to refrain from doing this. This comes from evolving church practices, normally called ‘modern Christianity, which is against the word of God that never changes (Matthew 24:35). What the early church used to be is no longer what it is today. What Jesus did for free while in the world and the same that He still does today is no longer free. His messengers have put a price to what He gives freely, making Him an evolving God. This the Bible denounces (Hebrews 13:8).
Many churches and Christian believers have forgotten the exhortation and warning of the Bible about this deceptive stronghold of Satan to use falsehood and deception in the name of disseminating the gospel. It is true that buying and selling is a necessary evil in our times. Yes, Christians must participate in business and do it with honesty to survive but not with the Gospel. It seems like the notion that one day they will give an account on how they generated income while on earth has faded away.
In fact for the Christian, issues of loss of riches, power, comfort or worldly peace should not override the call to trust God to provide. Preachers of the gospel today set targets on how much to make in each church related activity, it does not matter whether it is praying for the sick, hospital visits, conducting funerals, preaching, counseling, etc. There no longer is trust on God to provide through faith but certainty comes from prior prepared invoices for the service recipient to honor and modern Christianity expectations of paying for service.
Look at what is happening in Nigeria and everywhere else:
…prayer is monetized thus •Divine wealth –N300, 000, •Favour –N75,000, •Breaking curses – N50,000, •Tithe – 20% of income…. prayers for breaking of ancestral curses in the church attracts a fee of N50,000 and above; special prayers for God’s favour, often done by selected “prayer warriors”, who are strict vegetarians, goes for N75,000; sowing of seed for abundant wealth costs N200,000, while fortification of a worshipper against misfortunes and accidents goes for N100,000. (The Nigerian Voice).
Today it seems like if you cannot afford to pay, you cannot belong to Jesus, a totally wrong message sent by our Christian leaders today. Obviously something has gone wrong somewhere.
Where then do we draw the line?
Some argue that the Bible itself is not free in shops but you pay for it. What then makes it wrong to charge for applying the Bible on behalf of someone who tries to do it on his own but fail? The rule of thumb is that whatever Jesus did for free, his followers should keep it like that even today.
I therefore would classify the following as merchandising the gospel:
·Preachers who charge a set amount to come and preach. What about trusting God for an offering? Let those that invite you decide how much to give.
·Preacher who offers olive oil (anointing oil), handkerchiefs, Mantle, feet washing, etc, with request to donate some amount in order to receive spiritual service. Do not ask for donations but let people voluntarily give and if the Holy Spirit forbids you from collecting those donations, do not collect.
·Churches which sell materials funded by offerings for profit instead of giving them at break-even cost or free. What about a suggested donation?
·Churches and ministries that sell sermons for profit. If funded by the church, do sell at cost price to make the activity sustainable or even give away if the church can afford to fund it, but not for profit.
·Preachers who use church funded programs to market their personal materials. A project for the pastor should not ride on funds dedicated for the programme.
The list is endless but let the Holy Spirit be your guide in prayer about these things. I would strongly advice Christians to stop merchandising the gospel. The Lord who calls, provides and equip for his service. Just that his disciples, the preachers should trust God and to them it will counted as righteousness.
Please register your email to get email notices of all future posts in this blog.