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Peddling God's Grace?

I pose the following question not with a judgmental heart but rather with one that is often grieved when I see what people do with God's gifts and revelations that He gives to them. I have pondered this for many years with the following response being triggered by a simple e-mail that I received today; the one that final broke the camel's back. In short I received an e-mail which informed me of some resources which form "a rock bed of Christian doctrine that [will help] to establish an unshakable faith upon the Word of God" and that contain "40 hours of teaching by seven church elders and teachers, this audio teaches you how to defend biblical doctrine". Furthermore the suppliers were excited about these "because they are timely and needed to establish Christians (by the grace of God) in the firm foundation of the Word of God." 

 So why my concern? The e-mail links informed me that for +- USD 100, these could be mine. I really battle with the fact that people can take God's revelation to them and then on-sell it to a needy world. In my opinion, not only does it cheapen the precious Blood of Christ but we stand the risk of being viewed through similar eyes as the unforgiving servant was. Here we stand, saved by the wonderful grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, having been given freely revelation of Him and His Glory (1 Corinthians 2:10), only to ask our brothers and sister (and even worse, those that are lost) to pay us a fee before we will share with them, what God has revealed to us. I can understand that in order to cover printing costs etc, one might ask a fee but given the availability the internet, why is it not possible to make these resources freely available for download. As an aside, it is interesting to note that there are some ministries (well I've come across one) e.g., that do provide their printed media (including shipping) for no fee. Well the later does ask for a donation, they do not stipulate an amount and neither do they insist on it.

The thoughts that go through my mind are, "Where would we be if Paul distributed His letters to the Churches in the same, income generating manner?", "What would have happened if David had of copyrighted the Psalms and restricted distribution of them?", "What would the outcome have been had any of the Bible writers of old, done things in the same manner?". At the end of the day, there is only one Biblical author and that is God. Everyone is simply a scribe (writer) at His bidding  (2 Peter 1:20-21).

I have heard the above actions being justified as "tent making" i.e. using one's ministry to provide support for oneself. Sure Paul was a tent maker and he used this skill but at no time do we see his ministry becoming his tent-making. Working to provide and "doing the work of the ministry", never seem converge or become confused in scripture.

Personally, these principals became very real to me when I was asked to help out at a Promise Keeper's Conference a few years back. I was part of the security group. Who ever heard of such a thing? Security at a function which was meant to Glorify God and reach the lost. Maybe that is where Stephen, Paul etc went wrong. Had they had the correct structures in place they might have lived longer and achieved more? Obviously I don't believe this. They walked by faith, not according to human logic or reason and like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they served God knowing that He was able to deliver them and if He chose not to then that was His call too. Well to continue, my job was to check that those entering the venue had indeed paid for their ticket. Even now, years later, I am troubled in my spirit when I think about this; will I one day need to give an account for anyone who might have been prevented from hearing of God's wonderful plan of salvation (a plan that cost His son's life), or from finding victory in a particular part of their life because I (as a representative of the organisation) deemed that they needed to pay for such an experience and unless they did, I would not let them in? Imagine if the feeding of the five thousand, the sermon on the mount, or more recently Wesley's outdoor gathering has been organised in the same manner?

Oh Lord, may we not be guilty of peddling your revelation and teachings; offsetting your priceless but yet free gift of eternal life and its associated blessings against the cheap gains of mammon.