By Elizabeth Prata
Pastor JD Greear is currently serving as 62nd President of the Southern Baptist Convention. His church is called Summit Church. It is a multi-site church with 9 campuses in and around Durham, NC.
Greear had been college pastor for 18 months before he was called to be the senior pastor. The church under Pastor J.D.’s leadership has grown from a plateaued church of 300 to one of over 10,000, making it one of Outreach magazine’s “top 25 fastest-growing churches in America” for many years running, according to the About page at Summit.
On Friday, April 19, 2019, Pastor Greear tweeted that he was “pumped” for the Good Friday service. See his tweet below.
Ticket? For crowd control purposes? For a head count? Intrigued, I looked it up according to the link provided.
Here is what I saw:
The church charges money for their Good Friday services. $5 plus $1.05 in fees for a total of $6.05.
Let that sink in.
Someone who attends Summit Church noticed the reactions of grief and horror of the discerning public to this state of affairs, and responded thus,
I replied with this:
“We see the value”. The “value” of the Gospel is only $6.05? How can you put a price on it? How can you declare a finite amount for something of inestimable value? How can you allow money to change hands over Jesus’ dead body? How can you put a price on Jesus’s agony?
But you did.
It is extremely sad that the President of the largest Christian congregation in the world and who pastors one of the largest churches in America would place a fee on the entrance of souls to hear the news about Good Friday. Not even heretical prosperity gospel church Joel Osteen’s Lakewood charges parking or admission or requires tickets for any of its gatherings. Not even Lakewood.
What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:18).
If others have this right to your support, shouldn’t we have it all the more? But we did not exercise this right. Instead, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:12)
Was it a sin for me to humble myself in order to exalt you, because I preached the gospel of God to you free of charge? (2 Corinthians 11:7)
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. (1 Timothy 6:10).
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:34).
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money. (Matthew 6:24)
There are so many verses in our Bible advising about money. It is a tempting idol and one of the biggest. But suffice to say that the mixing of filthy lucre, sordid gain, shameful gain as the different translations put it, and the presentation of the pure, holy Gospel is craven to the core. This should horrify you. It should be a significant marker of how far the American church has drifted from the Ambassadorial message that in 33AD we were charged to bring.
Shame on Pastor JD Greear. Now that he has mixed money and Gospel, we read his tweet in a different light. He is “pumped” for Good Friday services. Pumped because he is excited to bring souls to the throne? Or excited for the money it will bring him?