Posted in discernment, theology

JD Greear, President of the SBC, charged money to attend his Good Friday worship service

By Elizabeth Prata

coins

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.

summit1

Ticket? For crowd control purposes? For a head count? Intrigued, I looked it up according to the link provided.

Here is what I saw:

summit2

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,

summit

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.

Paul said,

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?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

“We’re rich!” said the Laodiceans, only to discover…

The Laodiceans Had Material Wealth Only
Excerpt

They were urged to buy not ordinary gold, but refined gold, referring to that which would glorify God and make them truly rich. Through its banking industry the city had material wealth. But the church lacked spiritual richness. Though they had beautiful clothes, they were urged to wear white clothes (cf. v. 4), symbolic of righteousness which would cover their spiritual nakedness. As wool was a major product of the area, Laodicea was especially famous for a black garment made out of black wool. What they needed instead was pure white clothing

Then Christ exhorted them to put salve … on their eyes. A medical school was located in Laodicea at the temple of Asclepius, which offered a special salve to heal common eye troubles of the Middle East. What they needed was not this medicine but spiritual sight. The church at Laodicea is typical of a modern church quite unconscious of its spiritual needs and content with beautiful buildings and all the material things money can buy. This is a searching and penetrating message. To all such the exhortation is be earnest, and repent. Christ rebuked them because He loved them, which love would also bring chastisement on this church

Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 940). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

I like watching real estate shows on TV, especially British ones. I was watching a show the other day about a European couple with an adult daughter who wanted a specific view. They desired to hear and see the ocean off California, wanted long stretches of beach in their immediate proximity. They were moving to CA to indulge their daughter, who was attempting to become a Hollywood actress.

The host showed them a 4.5 million dollar home, which they took in stride, a 5.5 million dollar home, the cost of which they never batted an eye, and a 9.4 million dollar home, to which they mildly remarked, “That’s quite a price.”

They bought the 9.4M home.

I got to thinking about what it might be like to have that amount of money. To be able to indulge large desires and to have no worries about high prices.

I didn’t let my thinking go too far with that, lest it would raise covetousness or greed in me. I really am content with what I have, and the Lord provides for me very well. But still…

My mind turned to wondering if they were saved. I think about that a lot these days, and increasingly so. An American celebrity dies and I muse, ‘Well, they know the truth now…’ Alan Bean, Margot Kidder, Stephen Hawking… dead, dead, dead.

They had much, also. Fame, renown, professionalism in their craft, money. But what good did it do if they lost their souls? Sir Anthony Hopkins, the actor known for the movie Silence of the Lambs and many other productions, was interviewed by The Guardian this week. He spoke about his upcoming role of King Lear, and how it would be for him to play it now that he can see life spanning backwards from the vantage point of being 80 years old. He said,

You know, I meet young people, and they want to act and they want to be famous, and I tell them, when you get to the top of the tree, there’s nothing up there. Most of this is nonsense, most of this is a lie. Accept life as it is. Just be grateful to be alive.

Easy for Hopkins to say, he got to the top of the tree. Someone on Twitter said, ‘It’s almost as if the Bible is true or something’ having noted that King Solomon said much the same in his book of Ecclesiastes. Would they be so equanimous if they knew the truth about their approaching death? That their life goes on, and unless they had been declared righteous by God having repented and come through the Door of Christ, they will be eternally gnashing their teeth in pain and torment, in hell?

As for money or riches or things (like houses) Ecclesiastes 5:10 says, He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

Ecclesiastes 2:24-26 speaks of the vanity of toil. The top of the tree is empty for Hopkins, and the house with a view will eventually UNsatisfy the European family, because the point of working for Jesus is eternal joy in pleasing the eternal savior, a legacy that extends to heaven, and expansion of the kingdom, and pure joy in serving for His sake. Everything else is striving after wind.

When life inevitably ends, all those who are outside of Jesus will find that a life philosophy of of toil…or riches…or fame… was wildly off the mark. Being in Jesus, I know where ‘the top’ of the tree is, and that makes all the difference.

The Laodiceans had everything, fame, wealth, trade, but Jesus called them poor, blind, and naked.

Prayer:
Lord, help me be satisfied and content with what You have given me, and help me deal well as a wise steward of it. Let me not be covetous nor discontent. You truly are a God Who Sees and a God Who Hears, you have given all the portions as you deem according to Your plan. Ultimately I have received the best portion, I have it all: YOU.

rich young ruler verse