(ver 1.1) My family and I were members of what started out to be a great church in Dallas Texas for several years until the church ministry suddenly collapsed from the Top down. This was much like what happened to the World Trade Center in NY almost 10 years ago. Attack it at the top and watch it topple. It seems that the greatest weaknesses can be those from high above. If an enemy can bring down the top layers the rest of the people do not stand a chance. The senior pastor of this church was led by God to start a church in a certain suburb of Dallas Texas where he started with nothing and no one and grew from there. He built up the church using a sound doctrinal church Bible ministry, preaching and teaching the Word of God. The church membership grew tremendously in a few years so they expanded from a warehouse to buy some land to eventually build a new church building. It seemed like God was blessing them immensely. The church continued to grow and finally went on TV locally broadcasting the Sunday morning service to the entire Dallas metropolis. Then the senior pastor also went on TV nationally and he quickly became very popular with a non-church based format using a little bit of the Bible and lot of talk about money. This was the first sign of the coming downfall.
The Senior Pastor’s new found popularity suddenly gained the attention of many desperate Christians and the news media especially after he began reporting income in the millions of dollars from people around the country that were sending in their money to sow a seed for their blessings of healing or other needs that they required from God. The pastor drove a new Mercedes Benz and moved to a gated community with no public access. He was suddenly becoming a recluse. Diane Sawyer and the rest of the godless media suddenly brought the full force of their investigational journalism upon the church as a whole and not just against the senior pastor. It seems everyone that attended the church was suddenly fair game for the attack of Satan. We had several media church plants and even one singing in our choir to do nothing but gather information on what we were doing wrong. One of the men was nick named leaping Larry and he played the part very well to seamlessly fit in. We had hidden cameras brought into our church services watching and waiting to catch what anyone would say or do wrong. The news media went through the parking lots and recorded the license plates of all of those in attendance. Because of all of this attention from the media accusations being fabricated as theatrical sensationalism we had the IRS and the attorney general suddenly investing the church to see if we were really a church and they were looking for any legal precedence to shut us down. You see the world never cares what a church does that is positive for anyone; they are only looking for ways to accuse you like the Jews did to Jesus. Crucify them, they cried in the press.
Of course the church back then had a Christian book store and I bought tapes of many of the services there all of the time because I was hungry for the knowledge of God and His Word. The senior pastor also sold his books there and his tape sets there and this was just the way things were done as a standard in almost every church in America. They would sell a tape that costs around 30 cents to produce with the Gospel recorded on it using a magnetic analog strip for 3 or 4 dollars and a high speed tape duplicator and we were all happy to buy it. After the attorney general came into the church suddenly the church store vanished. No longer did they sell Bibles, books or tapes because this is what the world does in their stores to make a profit and that is not supposed to be how a non-profit church operates according to those government lawyers. So rather than risk the removal of the 501c3 status the church quit selling tapes and they started giving them away since everyone still wanted their products. This was the first time I realized what was happening in the church by the subtle deception that had crept in and it had taken control of the preaching of the truth and it had placed severe limitations on the spread of the gospel by assigning a high price to the Word of God. I suddenly realized that the gospel with a price on it was only available to rich people who could afford to buy it. My spiritual eyes suddenly became opened very wide from this experience to the fact that the Gospel was being peddled for a profit and that is not what any Christian or any church should do if they are really trying to reach the lost unsaved world. No non-Christian is going to pay you any of their hard earned money for something they do hold as valuable. Do you get it?
People can always do the wrong things in ignorance but yet no one can ever call them acceptable regardless of if they were done in ignorance or done intentionally. No policeman or judge will care if you did not know the law if you were caught violating the law. Just because it is legal today to copyright and sell the Gospel of Jesus using manmade laws, does not mean it is ethical or even permitted in the eyes of God our supreme judge. Doing what is right sometimes requires a higher degree of commitment, a superior commitment to a higher standard and a greater effort not to conform to the lower committed ways of the world that are just floating down the stream like dead fish. Any dead fish can float down the stream, but it takes a live one who wants to do things different to swim against the stream to go where he has never been before. There are so many verses in the Bible on this subject that I could write a book. Selling the Gospel is strictly prohibited by the written Word of God. My favorite verse is “Freely you have received, freely give” (Mat 10:8). If you want to ignore this verse to continue to sell the Gospel of Jesus, watch God do something new and different before He returns and see if you do not get left in the dust of a new greater movement of God.
The church in Dallas Texas that had more than 5000 members once in its prime and it is now non-existent today. My family and I were chased out of the church by the senior pastor for opposing the direction he was leading us in. We left the church one Sunday after being confronted by the senior pastor in the middle of the service and we never went back. The senior pastor still had a few loyal blind followers who would follow him off of a cliff but the church dwindled and eventually was shut down and sold because the senior pastor had strayed from the truth to pursue another agenda. His first marriage had failed while we were still in the church as he secretly sought the company of other women. He married one false minister lady and that marriage also failed because of more sin. This minister surrounded himself with godless counselors and ignored the Godly council of the elders in the church. Why am I telling you this story today? Just to pick on the failures of a man? No I do not believe that is the reason for this story.
Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
There are no men or women in the world today that are beyond the deception of sin. We must begin to realize that the selling of the Gospel that was freely given to you is a plan of Satan to stop the Gospel from going around the globe. Mathew 24:14 specifically says that “This Gospel will be preached to the whole world and then the end will come”. If you are Satan and you can’t stop the end from coming, what is the next alternative approach to take? I believe you try to stop the Gospel from being preached by placing severe limitations and restrictions on it. There are many nations today that you cannot preach the Gospel without the fear of being killed. Every fundamental Islamic nation will cut your head off for the world to see for preaching Christ. Recently humanitarian aid workers in Afghanistan were killed because someone claimed they were trying to Christianize the population with their outreach of free medical care. Places like communist China will put you into jail for preaching the Gospel in public and they have forced the church to go underground for years.
What are the effects of selling the Gospel? The Bible says God is not mocked whatever a man sows that will he also reap. We learn from this verse that everything we do has a cause and an effect outcome. If you sow by charging for God’s Word, what are the results that you will reap? Does this modern Christian Ministry policy not enforce a philosophy that only the rich can afford to be saved? If the early church did not embrace this godless philosophy how can the modern church think it is acceptable now? You cannot find anywhere that the early church accepted money for the spiritual gifts that were given to them by God. Peter told one man in Acts 8:20 “Your money perish with you, because you have thought that the gift of God can be purchased with money”. The knowledge of God is a gift of God. No preacher would have anything to sell that would be worthwhile unless God had given it to him. Are you hearing what I said?
There are many lessons learned from reading this story of a church failure. Surrounding yourself with Godly council and listening to them is one lesson. Staying on the path of sound Bible doctrine is another valuable lesson to learn. But, the main lesson that I learned from this experience is that the Gospel must be preached and given away for free today to everyone if we want to see anyone else get saved. The advent of the internet has opened new avenues that permit truth to flow for little to no cost. No longer do you have to produce a book, tape, CD or DVD that costs a lot of money to produce and distribute for it can all be published on-line for everyone to access for free. No longer do you have to pay expensive TV time to preach the gospel you can gain a huge audience by posting your messages for free on “YouTube”. These are the doors that God has opened and created to spread the truth around the globe. Believe me when I tell you that Satan is using the internet to spread his lies, his deceptions, his agenda and his sinful traps to the people of the world. Satan does not charge you to get you hooked on sin. I hope and pray that you will share this lesson with someone that matters, like a pastor, a teacher, an evangelist or just a friend so that we can change the reality and eliminate the funnel from the distribution of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God Bless!