Selling The Gospel

Q. I have a problem with “Christians” charging for recorded teaching or worship materials. My reasoning is that we ought to be spreading the Gospel free of charge; “freely you have received, freely give”. I do not believe that the Lord has ever given us a mandate to sell the Gospel yet wherever you look the aforementioned materials are being sold to the body of Christ at large. I understand that the laborer is due his fair wage but very often these materials are more expensive compared with music or teaching materials from the secular world. How do we as believers justify this culture that has crept into the Church? Should it not be faith based? If the Lord has called you into a ministry then shouldn’t you have the faith in Him to provide the finances for it?

A. Being a faith based ministry that exists solely on unsolicited, voluntary contributions, I obviously agree with you. But other ministries have different views. Some openly declare they’re more of a religious business than a ministry, and their teaching or worship materials are the products they offer for sale.

Others use the phrase from Luke 10:7, “a workman is worthy of his hire”, although I think they do so out of context. The Lord was telling His disciples that it was OK to accept voluntary support from others, which in my opinion is different from requiring compensation for our work.

Still others quote Paul’s comments in 1 Cor. 9:3-11 that teachers at least have a right to have their expenses covered. I think his point was valid, although in verses 12 and 15 he made it clear that he personally never made use of that right for fear of hindering the gospel.

I think there is a lot of abuse in this area today and I recommend praying long and hard before patronizing ministries whose primary goal appears to be self enrichment.

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