I wonder what the Apostle Paul would think if he could see what television has done to Christianity these days. He says, "For we are not like many, peddling the Word of God, but as from sincerity, but as from God, we speak in Christ in the sight of God." (II Co 2: 17) What did he mean "peddling" the Word of God? From the original language "peddling" means to "retail" or "adulterate" the Word of God. Even in Paul's time folks were "retailing" and "adulterating" the Word of God. In other words, they were using the Word of God for personal gain. Somewhere along the way (in the beginning or on into it) they discovered that the ministry of the Gospel (the Word of God) could be employed for self-gain!
I recently saw a popular televangelist selling non-perishable food for future hard times @ over $1000 a shot. It was his way of preparing Christians for hard times ahead...@ $1000 a pop. Jesus said that if we seek FIRST God's kingdom, and His righteousness...all these THINGS will be added to us. (Matt. 6: 33) This same televangelist is offering other merchandise you cannot do without for donations of $100, $500, and $1000. Now listen. There's nothing wrong with selling stuff to help support you ministry. It's the same as working a job to support your ministry. Again, absolutely nothing wrong with that. Times are tough today. However, it's peddling (retailing, adulterating) God's Word I'm talking about. I once saw another TV evangelist offering holy, anointing oil (from Jerusalem) for a stiff one-time gift. "You give this amount and I'll give you this." I just don't think it's right for some human to determine what my blessing will be as a result of my giving from a cheerful heart. Shouldn't that be up to God? You see, peddling God's Word is preaching it's blessings in order to inflate your own bank account. It's being so engrossed in this stuff that marriages and families go down the drain because the ministry is so important. Go ahead and open up an internet store and sell the stuff. Support yourself, (that's really OK), but just don't adulterate the Word of God.
You see, all this makes believers look pretty dumb. Sorry about that, but it's true. A televangelist scams millions of people, goes to prison, is released and does it again? Come on people! Wake up! The world is watching and they ain't so dumb! (Pardon the grammar.) The purpose of Christianity is to share and spread the love of Christ. It's ALL about Christ, a good bit about other people, and not so much about you and me! That may sound harsh, but that's what makes true Christianity go round! That is what truly changes a life.
And finally, beware of so-call ministries that are continually marketing crisis. Beware of ministries that are always offering something if you give something. Beware of ministries that always promote their high-powered founders (at the expense of godly character). You need to pray about whom you support. You need to investigate whom you support. They don't have to be perfect...but make sure they are walking in godly integrity and possessing godly character. (Coming next "Christianity Goes Hollywood")