This article is an open rebuke to all Christians who preach against institutional church in favour of a return to ‘biblical church’ but still ask for money and sell their messages.
As this is only an ‘Article’ and not a ‘Bible Study’ I am not going to cite all the Bible references. You probably know them already and if you don’t I’m sure you can search the Scripture for them.
The ‘institutional church’ (among the many names for it) has many hallmarks – special buildings, professional ministers, Sunday services, monologue sermons, committees, memberships and so on. Most, if not all of these institutional hallmarks are picked up on by authors of books and websites denouncing the ‘traditions of men’. But here is one that I find still consistently practised among dear folk who otherwise seem to be so well enlightened… “Donate Now” “Buy our Video collection” “Buy our Audio messages”. I will leave the sale of books out of the equation just for now as there are possible arguments about distribution and getting these into circulation but as for the former media there is absolutely no excuse in this day and age of easily accessible technology for not offering them instantly and freely online.
As for the “Donate Now”… well you should be blushing with shame if you really believe that any biblical apostle directly asked anybody to “please donate to my ministry.” Such a request is a direct slander on the God you profess to be working for. Do you really think that a God who owns the cattle upon a thousand hills calls a man to His service and doesn’t take care of his basic needs?
It seems that many otherwise fairly well enlightened Christians still cannot get past that gnarly wart of wanting and shamelessly asking for money! My brothers, if you will hear… this is a spot on your garment, it is a fox that spoils the vine, it is shameful behaviour. Yes, you can ‘say’ that your heart is really in the right place and you’re not coveting any man’s silver or gold but if you claim that God gave you that word to share, and it is by a God-given gift that you have gained insight into this or that matter, and it is by a God-given gift that you have been enabled to express and explain this matter to God’s children then you have no right or biblical justification whatsoever to charge for your message. I see websites talking the talk about ‘house church / biblical church / organic / simple /whatever’ and even frequently making the point that church collections do not need to be spent on building maintenance and Pastor’s salaries – good on you – but if in the same breath you ask whoever it might be viewing your website/flyer/whatever to “donate to this ministry” you instantly undo all the biblical church talk and wreak of institutional infection.
Is there any justifiable occasion to ask for money?
Yes, I know of one instance in the New Testament where Christians asked for ‘support’ (possibly only food was being collected and not money anyhow). Christians asked other Christians – if they would kindly help other Christians (not themselves) who needed the essentials of life – food. I know of no other occasion where Christians asked anybody for worldly goods and supply. So, if we are really going to get back to biblical church then we need to divest ourselves of this ingrained shamelessness of asking people for money.
I could quote the ever famous words of George Mueller but as much as I respect all Christian men with integrity and testimonies of God’s faithfulness I shouldn’t need to. We have the Scripture – and if any man is brave enough to take the stance of denouncing the traditions of man-made church then let him also take his cue from the words of Jesus – the one we call ‘Master’ – Freely you have received freely give. I could quote many more similar sentiments from the New Testament but I have said enough for now.
A Sincere Appeal…
Dear, dear lovely brother in the Lord, if you have seen the truth of how man-made traditions in the church have pushed our gracious saviour to one side in order to achieve their goals then I implore you, go all the way… reject everything that has been handed to you from this system. Stop asking for money, put your faith in Him and if He does not meet your need (without you asking any man) then take it as a sure sign that He has not engaged you in His work in any manner that requires you to forsake the normal labours of men.
Related Reading: Should A Christian Tithe