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Readers' Responses

...That Which is Not...

I too was troubled by the Mike Murdoch spiel, repeated weekly (or is it weakly?) on Morris Cerrulos' son's "Inspiration" ministry 2 hour telethon.

The first thing that struck me is that "God spoke to me (Mike Murdoch) to give "a" donation of $58 to receive the "58 blessings of the bible."

This, if you listen carefully was relayed by God to him as a "one time" gift when he (Mike Murdoch) was a "full time minister" and apparently a single male. He then relates that he then told his parents to make "a" (one time?) $58 gift "for all 58 of God's blessings." Listed in his (Mike Murdoch's God's 58 Blessing Bible) only available when you call in and pledge $58 x 12 months.

I have also personally gone to services where Mike Murdoch attended and he claims to have written 1500+ songs. I am not a musical expert but I would think that "writing down a three chord progression" and repeating I love you... I love you... I love you, Holy Spirit, I love you... and calling it a song is a bit of a stretch to say the least.

Whenever "you" are being encouraged to make or the $58 donation is mentioned Murdoch apparently goes God eleven better telling you to make it the first of twelve "monthly gifts".

You are encouraged to "faith it in" (pledge it whether you have it or not, even if you have no probability of getting it (the money "in" within the time limit) but, I believe there "is" a 90 day limit on the $1,000 alternative offer but you can make it in 3 x 30 day payments (one today and then every 30 days thereafter (isn't that 60 days?)

The last thing that struck me is that there is actually a disclaimer shown toward the end of the program, while Mike Murdoch is praying over those who will bring up their cash now, and Morris Cerrulos' son is speaking on the screen, in the lower left hand side of the screen stating that the ministry makes no guarantee that you will receive what you give for. (I am paraphrasing.)

My question to you is regarding the two hours devoted to raising money concerning these statements:

"God wants your seed so He can give you a harvest"

Doesn't the bible say God wants a tithe (10%) of the first fruits of your harvest? (i.e.: if you give God your seed there won't be a harvest (as we know it.)

The way I see it you start out with "x" amount of seed, plant it, work the field and/or pay field hands , harvest the crop, leave the corners for the poor, pay the harvesters, sell your resultant crop (less a set aside for next years planting (next years seed) then whatever makes it to the market, pay the taxes (render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and render unto God that which is God's) (I think the order was as deliberate as anything else God said)) (that sounds a lot like after tax money to me.)

Then there is the question of where the tithe is to be "paid." A case can be made for "to the temple" (Jerusalem once a year) "if" you can make it to the temple."

Additionally, to me, there is a question as to what the tithe is meant to be spent on by the (clergy) and what it is actually being spent on. I don't know of any church I have attended that has laid up in the storehouse for the body of Christ, or for widows or orphans, my impression is that all the money and then some is spent on building edifices and/or empires.

Another "new" twist to the T.V., evangelists spiel is that, whatever you have given in the past (or in the future) (if you didn't "plant it as a seed" for a "particular harvest") then you gave it for nothing. In other words if you didn't "tell God", when you gave him everything you had, exactly what you wanted back from Him "for it" you might as well have thrown it out your car window as you sped down the interstate because you have no reasonable expectation that God will bless it or you.

I think this is an awful thing to say to poor or sick people. It seems like they (the evangelists) are saying if only you had contacted our ministry we could have guided and led you through the minefield of God's devious and sneaky manipulations and you could have gotten past all the obstacles by giving us the money and we could have gotten your gift to God in such a way He would be forced to give you the results you are giving (paying) for. That is to say you give them the cash and they arrange the quid pro quo with God in such a way as He can't weasel out of the contract.

And then to have Mike Murdoch ask God to cleave his tongue to the roof of his mouth if what he is saying is "only" for his own benefit. I keep waiting for the words to stop and bleeding to start every time I surf through the channels and catch this show broadcasting.

Would love to get your take on this...

Thanks:

S

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Here is my reply to this reader:

Hi Bro. S,

First, I'd like to apologize for my late response.

Anyway, regarding your observations of Mike Murdock and his likes, I believe you are right on the money, on their antics and tricks to make spiritually gullible people to part with their money.

But any student of the Bible can easily see through their trickery.

As for tithing, one can argue, as some have argued that it is an OT thing, and does not apply to the NT. Even though it is true that the NT does not specifically mention tithing, it does mention giving -- generous giving. The question then becomes, "What percentage? The NT encourages us to be a cheerful giver, and if we really love the Lord with all our heart and soul, giving unto the Lord won't be grievous to us, and even be willing to give Him even much more than 10%.

As to whether we should give pre-tax or after-tax, here is how I view it, "he who sows sparingly, reaps sparingly, and he who sows bountifully, reaps bountifully." So, the question becomes whether you want to reap pre-tax 'harvest' or if you want to reap after-tax 'harvest.' And then give accordingly. One thing I know for sure is that one can't out give God. Even though this is a cliché some of these con-artists called preachers use to get people to give, it is true!

Interesting thing about the law of sowing and reaping is that it does not only pertain to Christians, but to sinners/non-Christians alike. There's a common saying in my culture that says, "Givers never lack." That is true, I've witnessed this first hand.

Anyway, continue to get in the Word, and get the Word in you.

Blessings to you and yours
!