Mark D. Roberts

Yesterday I introduced Gospel Forth, a new website that’s devoted to raising money for Christian causes. It does so by having advertisers contribute money each time you visit a page on which their ad appears. So Gospel Forth promises to raise money for mission without requiring you to make any financial commitment or sacrifice. All you have to do is click your mouse a few times.
When I first heard about Gospel Forth, my initial reaction was somewhat negative. In part, I wondered if this were some sort of scam. I had recently read a news story about the despicable efforts of some people to use the Haiti crisis to bilk people of their money.  Pretending to be channels of charity for the suffering in Haiti, these rackets pocket people’s donations without sending anything along to the Haitian people.
But as I did a bit of research about Gospel Forth, I was reassured. At the time, the website itself did not identify its owner/designer. But I was able to communicate with him, and encouraged him to make his identity known. He has now done this, for which I am grateful. In most cases, I think Christians who operate online should make their true identities known, because this increases accountability.
My first reaction to Gospel Forth was less-than-positive because I was suspicious about its motives, as I have explained, and also because I had theological reservations. I was not sure whether, in the end, it’s a good idea for Christians to be able to support charitable causes simply by clicking their mouse. The sacrifice of giving is a good thing for one’s soul, and, more importantly, is honoring to God.
But, upon further reflection, I don’t think that Gospel Forth in any way dishonors God. Quite to the contrary! Now if somebody chose to contribute to Christian causes only through mouse clicking rather than through faithful giving, this would be a problem. But that problem would lie, in the individual, not in the website.
Moreover, I believe that we Christians need to be much more creative in using new media in support of God’s mission in the world. If, in the end, Gospel Forth doesn’t succeed, I nevertheless am grateful for the effort of its designer.

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