Jesus was never angry, except …

As we read about Jesus in the Gospels, we see that Jesus was rarely angry. He wasn’t angry with the huge numbers of people who came to him for healing, for those who stopped him on the way to somewhere else, for the woman who was ceremonially unclean because of her chronic bleeding and who touched him to be healed, or even with Judas for betraying Him.

He had compassion.

Except for two groups of people who, we read, did anger Him:

  • the religious leaders and teachers who misrepresented His Father and were hypocritical in their love of show and the praise of men, and
  • the traders in the temple who turned his Father’s house into “a den of thieves” by their sharp practices.

There are still leaders and teacher who misrepresent the character of God, but this post is about those who engage in the marketing and sales practices of the commercial world on the back of teaching that was meant to build the Kingdom of God.

I’m sure there are many, but the reason I’m writing this today is because of one in particular that shocked and disappointed me the other day.

About a week ago, I took Lisa Bevere’s Adamant quiz which promised a free sample from her latest book, Adamant.

I received this email shortly afterwards:

Hi Stephen,

Thank you so much for participating in the Adamant quiz! The purpose of this quiz is to help you discover more about yourself and your relationship with the truth.

So, what is truth?

This has become the defining question of our time. While everyone has an opinion, truth, it seems, is getting harder and harder to find. Perhaps that’s because we are searching for something when we should be looking for Someone.

Truth has a name.

More ancient than time and more present than this moment, truth is not a river that changes with the cultural currents, but a rock—immovable, invincible, unshakeable—and the cornerstone of all we are and ever dream to be.

This is the heart of the Adamant message.

Click here to read your free sample chapters.

With adamant love,

Lisa

That’s the kind of email I would have expected from someone with her good reputation and I looked forward to reading the sample chapters.

The same day I also received another email inviting me to join the “Adamant experience”.

Hi Stephen,

I hope you enjoyed reading your free Adamant sample chapters!

I truly believe we will either continue being swept away by the cultural currents or we can stand like a rock—adamant, immovable, unshakeable.

Imagine how different your life would be (how different our world would be!) if we were able to effectively speak the truth in love.

Since no one can stand on truth alone, we’ve created The Adamant Experiencean interactive study and community of bold believers committed to standing upon truth.

I feel passionately about this message, so I wanted to do something we’ve never done before! Here’s what you receive when you join The Adamant Experience:

  • Six LIVE events with me
  • A signed Adamant book
  • I Am Adamant Gemstone Bracelet
  • The “Be that Woman” ten-video series
  • Adamant audiobook
  • Access to the Adamant community

Stephen, will you join me on this world-changing mission?

Registration closes April 16th—so don’t delay!

With adamant love,

Lisa

I clicked through to the web page to see what it was about:

There’s lots of good material it seems, so that’s great – even if I, as a man, might not want to “Be that woman” through watching 10 video lessons or wear the bracelet!

Good marketing or Kingdom financing?

Then I scrolled down the page and found the catch: there’s a cost, ranging from $49 (basic) through $75 (Premium, and – somehow already the “most popular”) to $99 for a group. These seem to be “special offers” until April 16 when the prices will go up to $149, $200 and $249 respectively. Or maybe not. According to Lisa’s email, registration will close – so what are the other prices shown on the web site as though you were getting a discount from them by registering early?

Good marketing you may say. And I could just ignore it. If I just want the book I can get it for $15, and of course there is a cost to producing all this material.

Kingdom models

So what’s my problem?

It seems to me that such  Madison Avenue marketing practices have no place in the work of extending the kingdom of God.

Why?

Here are three examples.

  • Jesus never took up a collection or charged for a seminar. Quite the reverse: he fed thousands of people who came to hear him teach – all free of charge!
  • The apostle Paul made sure that he covered his own needs by working as a tent-maker instead of relying on the churches he visited to support him.
  • In the 19th century, George Mueller received everything he needed to run his orphanages in Bristol (over $1 million in the days when that was a lot of money) without ever asking for a penny. He told God what he needed – or what his children needed – and God provided.

He prayed in millions of dollars (in today’s currency) for the Orphans and never asked anyone directly for money. He never took a salary in the last 68 years of his ministry, but trusted God to put in people’s hearts to send him what he needed. He never took out a loan or went into debt. And neither he nor the orphans were ever hungry.

Source: https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/george-muellers-strategy-for-showing-god

These, I would suggest, are the financial models for extending the Kingdom of God.

How it might have been

I’m glad that Lisa has written “Adamant” and developed all the other materials to go with it, and I hope God uses it to accomplish His purposes. But wouldn’t have been wonderful if she had written something more like this:

Hi Stephen,

I hope you enjoyed reading your free Adamant sample chapters!

I truly believe we will either continue being swept away by the cultural currents or we can stand like a rock—adamant, immovable, unshakeable.

Imagine how different your life would be (how different our world would be!) if we were able to effectively speak the truth in love.

Since no one can stand on truth alone, we’ve created The Adamant Experience—an interactive study and community of bold believers committed to standing upon truth.

I feel passionately about this message, so I wanted to do something we’ve never done before! Here’s what you receive when you join The Adamant Experience:

  • Six LIVE events with me
  • A signed Adamant book
  • I Am Adamant Gemstone Bracelet
  • The “Be that Woman” ten-video series
  • Adamant audiobook
  • Access to the Adamant community

I am also passionate about extending the Kingdom of God in His way, so these resources are all available free of charge. It’s His work, and he will provide for it!

Stephen, will you join me on this world-changing mission?

Registration closes April 16th—so don’t delay!

With adamant love,

Lisa

I’m not angry about this myself, and I certainly don’t claim to know whether or not Jesus is angry, but I did feel compelled to write about it and am deeply disappointed whenever I see such tactics employed.

This example is not unique by any means, just the most recent in my own experience. It may be good marketing, but (IMHO) it does not honour God and is on the way to turning his house into a “den of thieves”.

George Mueller, for one, knew that this type of fund-raising was not necessary, but let me end with a quote from another great Kingdom-extender, Hudson Taylor.

“Depend on it. God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply. He is too wise a God to frustrate His purposes for lack of funds, and He can just as easily supply them ahead of time as afterwards, and He much prefers doing so.”

― James Hudson Taylor

Oh for more of those who will rely on God to fund His work and not on Madison Avenue!

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