Let's suppose you are closing out your day with some salsa and chips when you flip on the television. You wince as you witness a repeat performance--not of another episode of Survivor but of a high-powered, high-pressure appeal for money during a talk show on your local Christian station.
"Ohhh, the anointing is so strong right now," the host says. "You need to give while the anointing is here!" You believe in the anointing of God and in the power of prayer. You love and appreciate many of the people on this TV program and you know God uses them. You certainly don't want to be critical. So you close your eyes, shake your head in disgust and turn off the set. "This is embarrassing," you say to yourself. "Something isn't right. Lord, I don't understand--does it have to be this way?" I know how you feel. I have seen this in church services and conferences and some of the same thoughts have surfaced in me. Over the next several days you find yourself in conversations with Christian friends. Somehow the topic of Christian fund raising is mentioned.
|"It's time to halt pressure-laden, deceptive, unbiblical, gimmicky practices that grieve God and hurt the cause of Christ."|
Agreement with what? The speaker quoted Psalm 71:21 and promised if viewers would pledge $71.21 a month for 12 months ($854.52) that God had told her He would give them "increase and greatness."
(I wish I could remind this guy of Proverbs 22:26-27. It says that if you foolishly go into debt your very bed will be snatched from under you.)
I can't help but remember the account of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-21. His greed lured him to ask Peter if he could buy the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Peter rebuked him sharply and said: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God" (NIV).
Stop the Madness!
The people I have described are sincere, but they are also misleading God's people. And if we don't bring some correction to their behavior soon the testimony of the American church will be ruined.
Referring to finances, the apostle Paul told the Corinthian church that their credibility was vital. "We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men" (2 Cor. 8:20-21).