Dear Dr. Murdock:
In a fit of insomnia, I tuned to your television program last night, hoping that your droning voice would lull me to sleep. I was wrong. Some of the things that you said really caught my attention, and I was unable to sleep for quite some time.
You spoke of a time in your life in which you faced poverty, and described the scene as being a house in L.A. for which you could not afford curtains or a kitchen table. Then you described how you received a $5,000 check, and heard clearly from the Lord that if you gave that to the church, you would receive much, much more in return. And you did! You were blessed ten times over with money from places you could not have imagined. You went on to say that you "broke the back of poverty" by obeying God's decrees.
That was certainly interesting enough, but then you went on into a hard sell about how if I, the television viewer at home, would just give a $1000 donation to your ministry (and you didn't mention once what that ministry does exactly), that you promised within 90 days that I would see miracles beyond my imagination. Really, Dr. Murdock? If I just give you money, God is obligated to bless me? Do you really have that kind of a deal worked out with the Almighty? What connections you have. And not only did you promise me miracles beyond belief, a paid off house, blessings galore from just giving my $1000 donation, you also promised to include a paperback copy of your latest book, which, coincidentally, is all about the keys to financial success.
(Maybe it's just me, but it seems like the first key to financial success would be to avoid giving $1000 to scam artists in exchange for empty promises and a lousy paperback book.)
First of all, I'd like to address your definition of poverty: having a house in L.A. with no curtains or kitchen table. Let's think about that for a minute. Were you facing persecution? War? Malaria? Cholera? Famine? Starvation? Oh, no, you were sitting on the floor in really bright sunlight. How awful that must have been. Sorry, but that doesn't count as "breaking the back of poverty".
What burns me up, Dr. Murdock, and what's keeping me up late tonight, is not just the fact that you are conning vulnerable people out of their hard-earned money using the name of my God, although that alone is enough to make me lose sleep; it is the arrogance that you have in presuming that God owes us anything.
I do not have substantial monetary wealth. But I'll tell you what I do have: liberty and freedom, a stable government, a roof over my head, food on my table, clean water to drink, the laughter of my three healthy, immunized children who do not have to worry about anything, every breath that fills my lungs, it's all from Him. And those are just the physical blessings I have, that doesn't even count God's love, His mercy, His faithfulness to me, His forgiveness, and His gift of eternal life, blessings which are immeasurable and more valuable than any earthly possession.
I have more than a lot of people in this world, and I did absolutely nothing to deserve it. It was just given to me by God. How dare you suggest that God is obligated to shower me with money? If I gave away every penny I ever earned and served God with every moment for the rest of my life, I wouldn't even come close to paying back what He has already given me. He has given me things that I do not deserve. That's called grace, and that's how God operates. It's not about having faith that he will shower me with blessing. It's about being recognizing the blessings He has already given me, and serving Him out of gratitude from my heart.
It is most certainly not about trying to contain God in an agreement that if I just give money, he will be bound "by scripture" to pour out monetary blessing on me in 90 days. That scripture that you claimed was absent from my Bible, I'm sorry to say. I couldn't find a 90 day guarantee anywhere.
You really exhibited a special kind of audacity when it came time to close the program. My favorite part was when you said that "even if you don't have a thousand dollars, call the number to give it, and watch how God provides it!" (Or watch how God allows you to be prosecuted for check fraud, is more like it.) Or maybe it was when you spoke to those people with credit card debt. Your advice was to just call and use the credit card to give $1000, and then watch how God will pay off your credit cards in no time at all. (WHAT?!)
What is really sad, Dr. Murdock, is that there are probably a lot of vulnerable, hurting people out there who believed what you said. They probably called and gave, even though they couldn't afford to, trusting that what you said was true. And we both know it wasn't.
Because I actually like to use the reference to scripture when I quote the Bible, I will leave you with Matthew 6:24:
"No one can serve two masters. 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 both God and Money."
I am afraid, sir, that you have chosen the wrong one to serve.
(okay, rant over. Going to bed now.)
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
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