Friday, February 08, 2008

Your Opinion Please


An owner of a blog that I frequently visit recently emailed me and asked about something that I think really needs to be addressed. Here is what she said (with her permission.) My comments will be under the asterisks.

Is it biblical for "ministries" to sell tapes/CDs of messages that they could probably give freely over the Internet? I understand that for a long time, messages could only be mass-produced through hard copies. Now, however, we have a way to upload things so that they can get to more people with little to no cost. Of course, there is always a need for hard copies for people who do not have Internet access frequently, but is it unreasonable to ask that the gospel and other messages that are helpful for Christian living be given freely?

I think of how Jesus told the disciples, "freely you have received, freely give" (Matthew 10:8). Is this just for the gospel or is it also for message of the whole counsel of God? I know that some people will have the argument that there are costs to reproduce messages and there are costs for packaging, etc. But are we not to live by faith? If we cannot get something to someone because of cost, then should we not ask the Lord for the means to do so? Do we believe that the Lord is able to tell His people to give where there is need and when there is need? Can we (or should we) get into the mindset that if it cannot be given freely (if God has not provided the means to give freely) then it should not be given?

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I think the issue is a bigger one than you have brought up. I think the issue centers on the ministry instead of the message. Let's face it; ministries do not pay the power bill with our purchasing of their messages. The bills are paid with donations and support from other sources. I think most of the time the messages that are for sale only cover the cost if we purchased hard copies. I do think that a small charge to cover server costs would suffice if we were to download the material.

People want to have a small kingdom here so they work, work, and work to have a miniature heaven here. We work to have a larger ministry instead of our ministries reaching more people. I am not opposed to ministries prospering and growing but a lot of this is business and not ministry.

Also, if these are messages from God should they be copyrighted?

I am not opposed to ministries charging for things. But ministries that charge for sermons or tell you its free when in reality they have a "suggested donation" is not right.

What do you think?

7 comments:

JSU said...

It is interesting that you should bring this up since it has been rolling around in my mind for a few weeks now.

If the apostles didn't sell the gospel, should we? If we are to live by faith, would not God provide for us if we freely give as we have freely received?

It seems that we (the church) have an Annanias and Sapphira leading our ministries. They attempt to do a good thing, but they're filled with greed.

"The just shall live by faith." Galatians 3:11

Louis said...

This is something that I've had a problem with for a long time now. I don't like ministries selling the message. If you want to cover the cost of merchandise that's fine. Also, I've had a problem with the cost of attending a seminar. Why do we need to hold it in a hotel banquet room and charge people $50-$100 each. I can't see Jesus renting out the Sanhedrin courts and charging a fee for the masses to listen to Him teach. If anyone ever deserved to charge the listener it was Christ, a man whose sandals we are not fit to carry.

Can't we be a little smarter with our money? Instead of the expensive hotel banquet room, how about a large church building? How about outdoors? After all, there are more unsaved people today, than ever before in the history of the world. Can we really afford to needlessly give our money to the Hiltons? Or to whomever?

Dead Theologians said...

Louis,

I could not have said it better. Excellent comment!!

Thanks,
DT

Mrs. L said...

I am not a big fan of 'ministries' to begin with. We 'need' various ministries to fill needs within the body. If we'd all just do what we're supposed to do (love God and love our neighbor) the needs would be filled by virtue of our biblically lived life.

Paying for sermons - I don't pay for it when I go to church, why would someone expect to pay for it otherwise? You need to charge to cover the cost of the tape or cd? Interesting. When I cook a few meals to deliver to the parents home with a new baby, I don't charge them for the groceries . . .

And 'suggested donations' are tacky. Either charge or don't, but don't be luke-warm.

Dead Theologians said...

Mrs. L.

Thanks for your great comment. You have hit the nail on the head.

Blessings,
DT

andy said...

I personally don't mind if its to cover the price..

I'm listening to J Pipers bio of Spurgeon his sermons sold off the shelfs in the 19 cent..M L Jones books were really only his sermons typed out..Is that wrong?

Dead Theologians said...

Andy,

Thanks for the comment.

"I'm listening to J Pipers bio of Spurgeon his sermons sold off the shelfs in the 19 cent..M L Jones books were really only his sermons typed out..Is that wrong?"

Is what wrong?

DT

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