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It's Time to VENT:  Profiting From Tragedy?

by David A. DePra

     In the aftermath of the tragedy of September 11, a number of

Christian leaders have once again made statements, which, to say

the least, completely misrepresent God. At least Jerry Fawell took

back the comments he made. A number of others did not. And

perhaps the worst examples of all were those who, in the wake of

this tragedy, jumped at the chance to use it as a springboard to

sell books and promote their ministry.

     Within days of the tragedy, prophecy teachers and several

Christian sensationalists were already on the air, promoting what

they described as the answers to todays problems. Most of these

"answers" were prophetic interpretations and end-time predictions.

Now the movie "Megiddo" is coming out. Even the secular media

has had the forethought to cancel movie releases due to what

happened. Christians who make movies apparently see no

problem. Afterall, OUR message will help people, won't it? And

what's wrong if we make a few bucks on the side?

     I do not usually spend much time on all of the bad ministries

out there. I think there is too much of Jesus Christ to talk about. But

once in a while, there is a need to do so. The same people who

brought us Y2K are now out there using the exact same marketing

techniques regarding the recent terrorist attacks. It is a disgrace to

Jesus' name. So like it or not, I'm venting. I offer no apology.

     I have a suggestion. If what these so-called ministers have to

offer is so needed by the rest of us, why not offer it for free? Why

not give it away and trust God for the money -- after giving it away?

     Now there's a unique thought. Actually, I've heard it preached quite

often by some of the very same preachers who are now trying to

sell some of these books. I've heard them preach it at US. They

tell US to "plant a financial seed" -- by faith -- and trust God to supply

our need. Here is their big chance to stand as a sterling example

of their own preaching. Starting right now, offer everything free. And

trust God to pay for it later. In fact, invest your own personal funds.

"Plant YOUR seed." Plant seeds until you have nothing left to give.

If you truly believe God is behind your ministry what do you have to

lose? -- other than, um, money?

     "But you don't understand," someone might answer, "We have

bills to pay. We have employees. We have obligations we must

keep." Yes, I do understand. In fact, I am so reasonable about this

that I won't even suggest that a ministry give away everything. Try

starting with only ONE thing. Jack Van Impe for instance. Jack,

give away your latest book on Revelation. Free of charge. And

trust God. Paul Crouch. Show "Megiddo" for free. No charge. You

guys have enough in reserve to take the financial hit. Plant your

seed and trust God. Prove to us that you live what you preach.

Show us how God works. Then, after God provides for you, it will

be possible for you to add other books and movies to the free of

charge list. In time, you might even begin to understand what Jesus

said when He stated, "Freely you have received, freely give."

     In the last few weeks we have not only seen a flurry of books,

tapes, and movies for sale, but we have also heard Christian

leaders tell us that this is the beginning of the end, that women and

homosexuals are responsible for what happened in New York, that

God is angry with this country and that He caused what happened,

that Islam is not that much different from Christianity, that this very

event is prophecied in the Bible. And, oh yes, that the United States

caused all of this because of it's foreign policy. Sorry. All wrong.

     What happened on September 11 was an act of murder. Period.

It was not caused by God, nor approved by Him. God let it happen

because this world long ago told Him to keep His nose out of our

business. Innocent people died because of it. They always do.

God has called Christians out of this world. Our job is NOT to

sell books or give political opinions. It is to preach Jesus Christ --

free of charge. It would be nice if we would do that one thing.*

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