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American Conferences
(and Spiritual Services)
We are very blessed to be part of a nation which allows us to assemble together freely. Many people have been blessed by this freedom and the richness of our spiritual heritage. However, may the Grace of God upon this nation be not an occasion for sin and offense.

The instructions of Jesus to the apostles included:  "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."  (Matt. 10:8 NIV).

The Spirit of God is not a commodity to be bought and sold. (Acts 8:9-24)

...and we are not to practice partiality between the rich and the poor:

"Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, "Here's a good seat for you," but say to the poor man, "You stand there" or "Sit on the floor by my feet," have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? But you have insulted the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are slandering the noble name of him to whom you belong?  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, "Love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing right.  But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. " (James 2:2-9 NIV)

In reckless disregard for these scriptural principles and more, the practice of charging money for conferencs or services has become increasingly outrageous.  We have witnessed the development of conferences to teach people how to interceed (pray) for as high $300 per conference, certain 'School of the Prophets' -type conferences costing $175! (and this is apart from transportation, room and board!), and a "Prayer and Fasting 1998" conference that was advertised as open to "any believer who wants to pray and fast for our nation and the world!" with a required fee of $200 for a satellite hook-up.  We have also heard reports that there are people who charge money for deliverances!

The practice of requiring payment for spiritual services is similar to the contemporary practice of either fees or 'required donations' being extracted in known cults or New Age meetings of various kinds. The assembling of ourselves together in conferences should not be an occasion to practice partiality or discriminate against our fellow Christians who do not have money, prestige, or position in Christiandom. By placing insurmountable or difficult obstacles in front of those who might otherwise want to attend Christian conferences, we leave out the poor or middle-class. We do this when we charge increasing registration fees.

Hyped up expectations over conferences with glossy pictures of your favorite ministers and their bios or 'credentials' does not override Scripture. Telling Christians that this is 'just what we need' in order to be ministered to or in order to minister should not make us desperate to pay the peddler . Strong inferences or promises that we will come away with the 'anointing' or other fabulous experiences or knowledge, do not negate the fact that no one can serve God and Mammon at the same time (Matt. 6:24).

Anytime you attend a spiritual conference or special meeting, please consider the following:

External Link SymbolMinistry Watch

External Link SymbolEvangelical Council for Financial Accountability

Please see our money page, for many articles, links and information about this general subject.

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