Money Changers in the Charismatic Church
Some of the church in America has reverted back to the days when men conducted commerce in the Jewish temple; namely the charismatic church. The charismatic church has a particular boldness in charging money for conferences, and meetings. Apparently the view point of the church is, "freely we have we received; at a cost, give." A simple reading of the Gospels makes it abundantly clear that Jesus never charged money for any of His meetings or "conferences." In fact, Jesus gave anointing and understanding to His disciples and then commanded them to give it away freely (Matthew 10:7-8). Where have we gone wrong?
Has the modern church developed a better way than our Lord? Or could it be that we have become so entangled in Babylon (the world's system), that we operate as she does; with a focus on money? Another option is that pastors and leaders have simply been copying the way big ministries are conducting themselves. If a "big named" leader with a large following that has written a lot of books does something; then that must make it okay to do right?
My example is not the big ministries or the well known leaders among the current day church. My example is Jesus Christ, my Master. If Jesus didn't charge money, then I don't charge money. I am following after Him, not the traditions of men. Jesus was the greatest teacher to walk the earth. His messages were deeper and more impacting than any other ministry that has ever operated on the earth. How is it then, that current day conferences in the charismatic church are worth more money than Jesus' meetings? Do we feel that our messages have more value than Jesus' messages? Jesus seemed to be able to gather financial support for His ministry without mandating a "cover charge" for His meetings.
I fear the Lord too much to try and explain to Him on judgment day, why I charged people money to hear the Gospel of the Kingdom preached. Apparently there are some who do not fear Him. This is a great error.
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (John 2:13-17 NKJV)
The money changers were conducting business in the house of God. They were selling animals for sacrifices at an inflated rate. This angered the Father and the Son. Jesus is about ready to drive those things that offend Him out of His house. And He will turn over the money tables (finances) of the churches who allow things that offend Him within their congregation. That includes much more than our current subject. The zeal of the Lord is coming to His house.
Some itinerant ministers in the charismatic church are charging money to ministries or churches in order to book their meetings or conferences. I personally know of three well known ministers in the charismatic movement that require to be paid around $5,000 a day in order to come and minister. They will not come and conduct meetings unless they are paid a set fee. Instead of hearing from the Lord and being moved by Him, these ministers are moved by money. They have ran greedily after the error (delusion) of Balaam for reward (hire or wages) (Jude 1:11).
There are some ministries that charge money for their schools of ministry training. Did Jesus charge money to His disciples in order for them to attend His discipleship training school? Clearly He did not. He selected them by the Spirit of God. They had to pay a price alright, but it was the price of sufferings. How will apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers be able to look Jesus in the face, when they have made saints pay money to be equipped for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12). These ministry offices are chosen by God to equip the saints for ministry. This is a command they must fulfill simply because of their call and function. How can leadership charge money to do what they are called to do? It is their assignment.
Some ministries give special seating and privileges at conferences to people who give a certain amount of money to their ministry. So basically, if you have the money, you can buy special privileges and get access to the anointed "man of God." These ministries have the anointing of the Holy Spirit for sale. Businessmen with a lot of money can get into private meetings with these men of God. These ministries would not have the the time of day for these businessmen if they didn't have wealth. The "general public" in the church who doesn't have wealth, never sees this kind of private access and special treatment from the "big name" minister. I believe James calls this treatment partiality and sin, because it is violating the law of love:
My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, 3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” 4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you and drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are called? 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,”[a] you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. (James 2:1-9 NKJV)
Many ministries, especially in the charismatic church, have made His house into a house of merchandise. They charge money for conferences. They charge for books and resources (for a profit). The church has become a business that is entangled in Babylon. We are commanded to come out from among her (Revelation 18:4), but Babylon's leaven of merchandising has crept into the church (Revelation 18:11 KVJ). Church leaders should not be merchandising the saints (2 Peter 2:3 KJV).
I am not saying that ministries shouldn't sell resources. They can. But what are the resources for? For the church to make money, or to impact the believer and help them on their spiritual journey? If the reason for selling resources is the latter, then there is no reason to sell a book for three times the price of what the book actually costs to make. Leaders should be fulfilling their call by empowering the saints through resources that are priced rightly. Leaders should put trust in the saints; that the saints will give to the ministry from which they have been blessed on their own free will. This calls for maturity from both the leader and the saint.
The Bible clearly states that people should give to ministries so that those who are doing the work of the Gospel can live. Every believer should be tithing and giving offerings beyond their tithe. This is necessary for the work of God to spread. However, if a ministry is charging a fee for their meetings or conferences; this is forcing people to pay in order to hear the Gospel. This is something that the Lord would never do. Can you image Jesus forcing people to pay to hear Him preach? But that is exactly what we are dong! How far have we fallen? People should be giving, but we should not be forcing people to give. The charismatic church should repent of this practice. For if she continues "doing what's right in her own eyes," she may miss the visitation she is looking for...
- Ty Unruh (2015)