Christian Fund-Raising - EC145

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Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Christian Fund-Raising
Course: Course - Easy Chair Series
Subject: Subject:Conversations and Sermons
Lesson#: 12
Length: 1:00:07
TapeCode: ec145
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Easy Chair Series.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission

This is R. J. Rushdoony, Easy Chair number 145, May the sixth, 1987.

Today we have with us Joseph McAuliffe who is the author of our Dominion Work section of the Chalcedon Report. And Joseph, besides having an extensive ministry from coast to coast and soon in Australia to Christians and to Christian businessmen is also very knowledgeable as far as fund raising methods and campaigns are concerned.

This now is a matter of very great concern because we have seen in recent weeks some dramatic events in the area of fund raising and some disrepute for the Church.

Joseph, it is a pleasure to have you on the Easy Chair again and especially on so important a subject.

[McAuliffe] Well, thank you Rousas. It is a privilege to be here again.

[Rushdoony] Now could you tell us something about the present attitudes towards Christian fund raising?

[McAuliffe] I like to describe the present attitude towards Christian fund raising by borrowing a phrase from somewhat of a cult movie classic called The Blues Brothers where one of the actors named Cab Callaway, famous jazz musician runs into Jake and Elwood, the two blues brothers who ask Cab how he is doing and Cab says, “Boys, things are bad.” [00:01:46]

Things are bad right now, Rousas, in terms evangelical

Things are bad right now, Rousas, in terms evangelical Christianity, particularly in the whole financial realm and the perception that the public presently has concerning our relationship with money and particularly raising funds. I would like to cite a few polls that have come out of my research that I think reflect just the current crisis and attitude that the world, as well as the body of Christ has, concerning our approach to fund raising. These were all polls that have been taken within the last three weeks.

The first one is from US News and World Report and CNN which reported that 62 percent of Americans presently hold an unfavorable view of TV ministers. Thirty-five percent have indicated that their opinion has worsened since the Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker controversy had broken out.

The New York Times CBS poll reveals that 75 percent of Americans believe that TV ministers are, quote, “Too concerned with money,” and that even 50 percent of those who viewed the programming held an unfavorable view of the financial emphasis.

The USA Today Gannett News Poll has disclosed that 60 percent of TV ministers are primarily trying to, quote, “Enrich themselves,” end quote with only 10 percent rendering, in their opinion, genuine service to God. The same poll also cited 90 percent of the respondents disapproving with the fund raising techniques employed by the ministers and 90 percent believing that Oral Roberts was lying when he said that God was going to take his life. [00:03:41]

And recently a Gallup poll has unveiled that ...

And recently a Gallup poll has unveiled that 40 percent of Americans believe that very little Christian fund raising is either honest or ethical.

Now one last statement I would like to make concerning these polls, again, is that these polls were given not just to unbelievers, but they were given to Americans in general and in the general population if we have anywhere from 40 to 50 million evangelical believers, the polling seems to be representative not only of the secular world, but also even these are opinions that are held by Christians as well. And I think that that is a point worth noting because some have been very... have wondered if the Church has had a very forlorn attitude towards the Roberts and Bakker situation and that this is an hour of embarrassment, which it is in part. Yet I think the polls also indicate that the Christian community itself is basically fed up and itself has been embarrassed by the fluff and the circus and then amusement park presentation of our faith.

And so it is not only the world, but it is the Church that is very concerned with what has been taking place in the whole area of raising... raising funds.

[Rushdoony] You have a personal acquaintance with and knowledge of most of the major TV evangelists and broadcasters in the field of Christianity. Would you say that they are all beginning to suffer as a result of this kind of a false presentation, this whining for Jesus method of fund raising? [00:05:39]

[McAuliffe] Yes

[McAuliffe] Yes. All of them right now even Billy Graham from all the top 10 TV ministers have already stated that their revenue are significantly down. Jerry Falwell said several weeks ago that after the first month since the controversy broke out, his funds were down two million dollars. Billy Graham said his funds have been down approximately 25 percent. And on the average TV ministers are losing between 35 and 40 percent of their revenues which they cannot afford to do unless they are willing to make severe, drastic cutbacks which most of them are remiss to do. In other words, I predict that the future of Christian television is in a very precarious state.

I personally worked at a telethon recently down in Florida. A friend of mine owns a Christian TV station. In fact, he owns eight Christian TV stations and I appeared on their telethon to speak about Christian television and I am not against Christian television. I think a lot of the programming is suspect and vastly needs to be improved. However, I think it can be an important medium for communicating the gospel and ministering to people, let’s say, who are shut ins and the elderly who may have a difficult time going to church.

But so I was on the air and then I worked the phones and it was what struck me was the high rate of negative calls that came in to the station. I worked there for about an hour and on the... I would say one out of three calls were very negative, very critical, very cynical in nature encouraging Christian television to shut down. [00:07:43]

I talked to the owner of the station and as well as

I talked to the owner of the station and as well as several of the other operators who had been working these telethons for years. This station had been in existence for eight years and in a normal telethon they get about one bad call for every 15. And the other operators were reporting about the same percentage, one out of three being very cynical and negative.

Now I know some of this is piggy backing on the Roberts Bakker crisis. But I think in general there has been a frustration and disappointment that has registered within the Christian community towards the way monies are being emphasized and attempted ... and being attempted to be raised by the Christian TV ministers.

[Rushdoony] Can you give examples of unethical fund raising and misuse of funds?

[McAuliffe] Well, the Gallup poll, I think, is... is really significant here, because Gallup lists about seven reasons that people consider fund raising by Christians to be unethical and dishonest. And I would like to add. I have had a lot of experience in the political realm in the whole area of fund raising. I have my little fund raising family. My dad was treasurer of the Democratic party in New York State for 40 years and spent a good portion of his time raising money. I also have a younger brother who during the 1980 and 1984 Democratic campaigns headed up their entire fund raising operation. So I have had insider involvement, you might say, on political fund raising. And one of the things that strikes me is how relatively indifferent... there is so little difference between what the... the... the secular politicians employ in terms of the techniques they use in raising money and like what the Church is doing. And in... in fact in my opinion the secular politicians and many of the humanistic charitable groups and other organizations maybe closer to manifesting integrity in fund raising than what has been going on in the Church. And we will get to this point as we... as we move along, but what they are not doing that we are doing which I think is most striking is that we are violating the Third Commandment in the way we raise money. The Third Commandment being, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.” [00:10:16]

And most Christians, I think, think that the Third

And most Christians, I think, think that the Third Commandment means don’t use a four letter word....

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] ... or don’t cuss. But to use God’s name in vain is to put the name of Jesus or the name of God upon anything that the does not sanction.

Now when... so when you are using God’s name promiscuously or haphazardly or capriciously or in some way to justify your action, you are using the name of the Lord in vain and there is very little Christian fund raising that is not done in God’s name. And that is something that at least our secular counterparts, our humanistic counterparts, our politicians don’t do. Now they... we ... and we also employ many of the same techniques that they do, but that is one thing they don’t do is they don’t use the name of the Lord in vain.

I would say that... well, one of the biggest reasons that the Gallup poll brought out that people list for Christian fund raising being inethical is... is the misuse of funds, just the general misuse of funds.

For example, I don’t know how many PTL supporters were aware that nearly a quarter of a million dollars was being set aside for hush money to pay to Jessica Hahn. Those monies were raised by applying sincere spiritual appeal letters designating the need for the gospel to be promulgated to the nations and... or to help needy people in some place. They didn’t say anything in their literature or on the air that they were going to be setting aside a quarter million dollars for hush fund money or, for that matter, the half million dollar homes and the Rolls Royces and the other things. [00:12:10]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] So this is fraudulent activity that is taking place, because we may raise the money. That is where the money comes from is these kind of... it is... it derives from the appeals that they make over the air or through the mail and they tell the people the money is going to be going to this, that and the other that seems very worthwhile and noble, but it is not going there.

Another case that I was just made aware of is where one... I won’t mention the name, but one of our ranking TV ministers did a whole appeal, this was several years ago, to feed the hungry in Africa. Remember, like when, what was it? The whole feed the world thing and Live Aid and the rock stars and everybody was trying to help out Ethiopia. And a lot of Christians are involved and I think it is a worthwhile cause to try to help feed the poor here, there and everywhere. But this particular evangelist raised three million dollars. Now the books reveal this that they were able to account for three million dollars coming in that was... that were designated to feed the starving children in the Sudan. But the books also reveal that of that three million, only 300,000 dollars went over to the Sudan and of that 300,000 that supported 15 college students to be able to study full time in the Sudan as well as the refurbishment of a camp and that approximately 75,000 dollars was left over for food, of which they weren’t sure if any of the food even got to the starving people. [00:13:53]

This is one of the areas that people are very upset

This is one of the areas that people are very upset about when it comes to Christian fund raising is that, hey, the money is not being used in the way that it was supposed to be used.

A second reason that Gallup cites is that the people are basically dishonest in their fundraising presentations. It is inconceivable to take at face value some of these wild statements and claims of the appeal letters. I get many of them across your desk.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] I am sure you do as well. Some of the ones that I have received and saved is... has included phrases such as, “God has shown me, Mr. McAuliffe, that you are to send me 100 dollars for this great cause of ours.” I had one evangelist write to you and say, “I was awakened last night by the Lord from a fitful sleep with your name on my heart to be our donor.” Another quote is, and this was, “I promise to personally pray for your every need when you send in your donation.”

And, of course, this came with a computerized bulk carrier route label. Lord knows how big the mailing list was.

Can you imagine these people praying for each of the donor’s needs? Possibly they may have upwards of, oh, even if you only had 100 donors. Who has got time to pray for the need, the every conceivable need of 100 people? It is ridiculous. [00:15:27]

Possibly maybe they could program a computer that would

Possibly maybe they could program a computer that would spend all its time praying supposedly for these peoples, but if it is... it is just a flagrant lie to think that these people are actually praying, you know, for our needs.

Another quote is, “I guarantee you, Mr. McAuliffe, that you will receive a minimum of a 30 fold increase and possibly up to 100 fold increase when you invest in this great work of God.”

Not a bad return.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[McAuliffe] Not a bad investment. But as you know, it just doesn’t work.

[Rushdoony] No.

[McAuliffe] It is... it is lying. It is... it is... again, it is another violation of the commandments of the Lord. And people are fed up with it.

Again, I just want to draw attention to the flippant, arrogant and presumptuous use of God’s name. I would like to see Christians just not use the name of the Lord at all unless his name is going to be used in accordance with his revelation. [00:16:29]

You know, it says in Psalm ...

You know, it says in Psalm 138 verse two, God says that he has magnified his Word alongside his name. And so when we use his name apart from his Word, that is when we get in trouble. And I think in many of these fund raising appeals, the techniques, the methodologies, the spirit, the attitude, the phrases that are employed, these cannot be substantiated by God’s Word.

[Rushdoony] Yeah.

[McAuliffe] And yet the... again, his name is placed upon it.

A third area that the Gallup records is that fund raising is much too commercialized, Christian fund raising. Well, let’s consider a recent appeal letter that was sent out by the Silesian priesthood for the support of its mission. Here is the quote.

“Enclosed are six sweepstakes tickets for five dollars each that will give you a chance of winning a new Oldsmobile and help us to support God’s work.”

The commercialization of most Christian... of much Christian fund raising is, again, no different than our secular counterparts. What are some of the techniques employed in this commercialization? Well, just look at the envelopes, the teaser copy as we call it where we will see jet mail or, quote, open immediately, postal express, priority personal correspondence and then we read the small print on our computerized personal mailing label and it is, again, it is the... it is the bulk rate carrier route. But they contain these fraudulent lies, these come ons that. to make it very appealing and... and very personal. But, again, it is not integrity. It is not truth and truth and integrity should characterize everything that we do. [00:18:21]

Another area Gallup mentions is the high pressure tactics

Another area Gallup mentions is the high pressure tactics that Christians employ. This has been going on for a long time. I think it had its strongest roots in the... some of our earlier Christian radio ministers. The pitch goes something like this.

“Unless you... unless you, beloved family of supporters, will send us five dollars, 10 dollars, 20 dollars, 100 dollars, 1000 dollars, maybe a million dollars. Bless God, I know some of you can do that. This ministry is going to fail.”

I saw another telethon recently where the owner... where the owner of the station actually was on his knees begging... begging the people to send in money saying that they were going to go off the air if the people didn’t send in money. And he was even praying that God would heal the phone lines.

What... what about the Bible that says the righteous don’t... I have never seen the righteous go hungry or begging bread? What statement are we making about the God we believe in when we have to resort to these kind of begging tactics in order to get money?

[Rushdoony] I have a letter... weeks ago, before the Bakker scandal broke, and it was from a woman, a telephone call from a woman who is a very simple, devout character, totally uncomplicated. And the bank with her money... she is a widow, had failed. So she was in difficult financial circumstances. But she had either received a letter or had some kind of appeal that had upset her and she called asking my counsel. Should she give? After all, Tammy said she needs my help. [00:20:18]

Now that is what is funny and yet sad

Now that is what is funny and yet sad...

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ... that people feel a burden as though they are failing somebody who is appealing to them for help.

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Now that is exploitation.

[McAuliffe] Yes, it is.

[Rushdoony] Well, you made a point in the article you have written for the Chalcedon Report on fund raising that this compares to medieval indulgences.

[McAuliffe] That is correct.

[Rushdoony] I think that is an excellent comparison because what historians fail to note is that it was a while before Luther’s doctrine became understandable to the people. But what immediately drew priests and princes—it was the princes who made the Reformation possible—to Luther’s side was that he attacked a false method of fund raising, indulgences.

[McAuliffe] That is correct. [00:21:26]

[Rushdoony] Later they picked up the doctrine because

[Rushdoony] Later they picked up the doctrine because they felt so strongly favorable to his attack on a false method of fund raising.

Now churches, Catholic and Protestant, are routinely involved in this. So one of these days it may trigger a like protest against both.

[McAuliffe] Yes. Let’s hope so. There is a comparison that can be made between the medieval indulgences. I read a story recently of a professor at Calvin College who sent out 100 letters requesting doctrinal and financial statements from various Christian organizations that were soliciting funds. Of the 100 only nine actually sent them what he requested for, but what he got form the rest were fund raising appeal letters that were accompanied by numerous pennies, facial soap, book marks, holy land maps, pencils. He got a foam rubber hospital slipper from someplace and many cheap trinkets, most of them claiming spiritual power and he also got a twig from the holy land, the holy land.

Again, we see prayer claws and sacred medallions and healing napkins, all of these claiming supernatural power that will take place in the individual’s life if they send in money to support that organization.

Now what I see in that, too, Rousas, is a return to Paganism.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:23:06]

[McAuliffe] Now Carl Henry who is somewhat a well known

[McAuliffe] Now Carl Henry who is somewhat a well known evangelical theologian made the statement at a conference in Kansas City that I thought was interesting. He ... many people have talked about how Francis Schaeffer has says we live in a post Christian culture. And we now live in a humanistic culture, that humanism is the religion of our society today. Henry went on, though, and in lieu of these techniques and methodologies and toys that we are applying to Christian fund raising that we have gone beyond Humanism or, at least, we are entering into a branch of Humanism that is more akin to Paganism.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] And I think that that is very true, that, you know, pagan... Paganism with its pantheon of gods and superstitions and fears and these kinds of things, worship of... of... or ornaments and articles and things of that nature, that is what it really smacks at is... is Christianity or at least these Christian organizations applying paganistic techniques to generate funds.

[Rushdoony] Yes. I heartily agree. One thing Chalcedon has done from the beginning to avoid debt and this means that we live on what we give.

[McAuliffe] Yes. [00:24:37]

[Rushdoony] If it doesn’t come in, some of us wait

[Rushdoony] If it doesn’t come in, some of us wait until it does before we take a paycheck. We pay our bills first and we take our salary. This means that when there has been an economic downturn, we haven’t been wiped out as many groups are.

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Or forced to resort to all kinds of unethical and dishonest pleas because they are head over heals in debt.

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Everett Ridley Taylor, one of the men on our mailing list who wrote the article on the jubilee, a marvelous article in our Journal of Christian Reconstruction, the business issue, is trying to get pastors now interested in this no debt policy and he has made a very tremendous point. And it is this. When a church is in debt and is paying interest to a bank, it is taking the Lord’s money in the form of that interest and paying it to ungodly people.

[McAuliffe] That is correct.

[Rushdoony] And that is an immoral use of God’s money. God’s money must go to God’s work. An interest payment to a banker is not God’s work.

[McAuliffe] That is correct. [00:26:01]

I had an experience

I had an experience. I don’t know if I mentioned this the last time that we were together, but this is when our church raised, oh, 300... we went... we needed 300,000 dollars to complete a school sanctuary office complex and we were all prepared to borrow the money and I had... this is... was... I had an experience where I met with actually several bankers who were all solicitous of doing business with us because we had a very good financial statement. But I was very impressed one night that by me going to the bankers to get their money as well as expose financial information about the members of our church, going over our membership role, these kind of things. It was strongly impressed upon me that I was somehow indecently exposing the bride of Christ, which is the Church. And, in fact, I had a dream where I was impressed that in some way that the dress on this woman who represented the bride of Christ to me, the Church, was just continually being raised up in the presence of the bankers. And it wasn’t just that impression and thought alone that caused me to reverse the approach that we were going to take in terms of getting the money from the bankers. I then began an extensive study on the subject of debt from the Scriptures and saw that it just was not God’s best program for us to incur that kind of debt to raise that money.

We ended up going on a nine month season of sacrifice where the people fasted once a week and we all made special ... we did a lot of things with our own personal budgets and we made some pledges and many people got second and third jobs and we went strong for nine months as a community of people and we raised the entire amount. Actually we raised 100,000 dollars more than we needed to raise. [00:28:11]

[Rushdoony] And this was a group of young couples

[Rushdoony] And this was a group of young couples.

[McAuliffe] Young couples, college students.

[Rushdoony] College students. You were the old man in the group.

[McAuliffe] That is right.

[Rushdoony] ... {?} at 35.

[McAuliffe] That is correct.

[Rushdoony] And they not only raised 400,000 and put up an excellent plant, but bought the land next door.

[McAuliffe] Yes. That is right.

[Rushdoony] And in the process, the men started 28 new businesses to help further finance the Lord’s work.

[McAuliffe] Yeah, it was a remarkable testimony on top of all that. We realized that we were.... we had saved something like 800,000 dollars in interest payments.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Had we had... had we gone to the bank. And also, you know, the Bible says that the borrower is slave to the lender.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Let’s face it. Debt is a form of slavery.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] And God’s will is that we would be free. It was for freedom’s sake that Christ, you know, has set us free.

“He whom the Son sets free, is free, indeed.” [00:29:13]

And I know... I know for myself, I like freedom. But as a result of going debt free, it gave our church the freedom to plant two other churches, one in Dayton, Ohio and now the one I am in Tampa, Florida as well as strongly contribute to the development of a crisis pregnancy center which has saved several lives since it, you know, it... it... it began. And now the Church is even prepared to shortly be planting another church.

Now all of this would have been impossible had we been saddled with this huge payment to the bankers each month. It is worth it to go debt free. It is harder. There are sacrifices involved. There are, you know, personal cut backs that we need to make, but it is worth it in the end.

[Rushdoony] Well, to continue now, Joseph. Could you tell us something about the biblical models for fundraising?

[McAuliffe] Yes, yes. And as I do, I want to bring to the fore one very important word in the whole area of money in general, fund raising included. And that is just the word integrity.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Integrity is a character trait that definitely needs to be restored in the body of Christ. I heard a story about Ted Williams the other day. I know you like baseball stories, Rousas. [00:30:33]

[Rushdoony] Yes, I do

[Rushdoony] Yes, I do.

[McAuliffe] I wanted to recount this one to you and I think it... it is representative of integrity.

Ted Williams was the highest paid player in baseball in the year 1959. At that point he was drawing what would be a piddly salary by today’s standards, but 120,000 dollars, a very good salary in 1959. But in 1959 he had a relatively poor year hitting. Ted Williams, you know, is one of the great hitters of all time, the last person to hit .400, over .400.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Anyway, that year Ted batted, due to a slight neck injury, .200... I think he batted .269. The first time in his career he batted under .300.

Well when 1960 rolled along the Red Sox sent him his contract which, again, was for 120,000 dollars. But Ted Williams sent the contract back with a letter saying, “I have been the highest paid player in professional baseball and you expect a level and a standard of performance out of me that I do not conscientiously feel that I lived up to last season. Therefore I want to take the highest possible pay cut that was allowable according to the major league baseball rules which was a 25 percent pay cut.” And he sent hat letter back to the Red Sox and they sent... wrote... wrote up the new contract for 97,000 dollars.

Now to me that is integrity.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:32:15]

[McAuliffe] And how few stories like that do we hear

[McAuliffe] And how few stories like that do we hear these days concerning that in relationship to money.

Another story, this was told to me by my brother who is a political fund raiser and... but it was a story of the 1948 campaign, presidential campaign when... I believe that was Dewey versus Truman.

[Rushdoony] Right.

[McAuliffe] And since I was born in 1950 you would have more knowledge of that campaign than I would, Rousas, but according to my studies, at least, the Dewey was heavily favored, right up to the night before the election. And about 10 days before the election the campaign committee approached Truman and they wanted to do these radio spots throughout the country that was going to cost 20,000 dollars and they had exhausted all their resources and their donors and they had nowhere to turn and in desperation they contacted one donor who promised to put up half the money, 10,000 dollars if he could have a hearing with... a meeting with President Truman. And Truman met with him and the man said that I will give you the 10,000 dollars if you will do this, that and the other concerning policies of Truman.

And the story goes Truman kicked the man out of his office and said, “I would rather not have the money than, you know, to have this ... have this money come to me but then be enslaved to this man’s particular policy.” [00:33:53]

Well, as a result of Truman’s response

Well, as a result of Truman’s response... And I guess this was in the presence of several of his aides, they were so moved by the conviction and integrity of Truman in this incident that they themselves pulled out their checkbooks and began writing out monies. And the word of this spread and within two days the Democrats had their 20,000 dollars and they were able to do the radio spots. And, as you know, Truman went on and... and won that election.

I don’t want to comment totally on the character of Harry Truman. I am sure that is quite a subject of controversy, but at least in that incident...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] ...he manifest financial integrity. You know, it is interesting. When we look at the subject of leadership in the Scriptures, one of the prerequisites for leadership according to Paul in his letter to Titus and 1 Timothy and 1 Timothy chapter three is that the leader must be above reproach.

Now the Greek word for above reproach means cannot be bought.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Does not have a price.

[Rushdoony] Right. [00:35:01]

[McAuliffe] And that, to me, is at the heart and soul

[McAuliffe] And that, to me, is at the heart and soul and essence of leadership in every realm. We need to have men and women in every position of leadership that don’t have a price tag. And it is sad today like what the kind of leadership that we have that will do anything for a certain price. We give many stories there.

But what does the Bible have to say about fund raising? I think the Bible has a lot to say about that. I always like to quote Psalm 119 or 119:128 where the psalmist says, “There...” This is New American Standard Version. He says, “Therefore, I esteem as right all thy precepts...”

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] “...concerning everything.”

Now it is amazing how we as Christians have been able to abstract certain subjects from the Scriptures and say, “Well, the Bible just doesn’t speak to that. Therefore we have to do what everybody else is doing.” And that is what we have done with fund raising. We just borrowed whatever Madison Avenue, whatever our secular counterparts are doing, the most... we even use some of the same organizations, some of the very same organizations that the humanistic and political organizations used are used by m any of our larger Christian TV ministries.

And so the philosophy and ethic of that fund raising organization, then, comes to play on ... on... upon the Church and prey upon the Church. [00:36:30]

But the Bible has a lot to say about money

But the Bible has a lot to say about money. I don’t think there is a subject in the Scriptures that the Bible speaks more directly and clearly to. And it actually gives us three case studies of incidents where money is needed to be raised for the purposes of God. One was the construction of the tabernacle which we read about in Exodus, actually seven chapters, Exodus 25 through 32 covers that. Also the temple. We are given a very detailed account of that in 1 Chronicles chapters 21 and 22. And then, thirdly, an incident in the early Church where monies needed to be raised to help the needy in Jerusalem and Paul spends two chapters in 2 Corinthians eight and nine discussing the ... the need and principles and a philosophy and an approach to raising money.

So we have some very clear cut principles and case studies to look at in the Scriptures that can help us approach the subject of fund raising.

And I do want to make this statement. I believe in fund raising. I believe it is a.... it is something that God calls us to. It is an aspect of stewardship. And we need to raise money for many of the ministries and works that we are all involved in. The issue is, well, how are we going to go about raising the money? What does the Bible have to say about that?

And I have four principles that it want to just quickly comment upon. The first one is that funds are only to be raised for persons and projects that God himself ordains.

Now that ... we really need to spend more time determining whether or not God is in this particular ministry or this project or this need. There is... we... I think in our present our present society we... we have... there is a modern frenzy with meeting needs. Wherever we see a need, in fact, from my work in Washington, there is a good amount of time politicians spend racking their brains trying to find needs. [00:38:44]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] ... so that they can capitalize on.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] I don’t want to get too much off on a tangent, but I remember reading the story of Joseph McCarthy who as a young congressman when he was in Washington was looking for a need and was somewhat motivated by how he could make use of that particular problem, fighting Communism. And... and this is common to many politicians who will grasp for a need that then they can, you know, ride the banner of that need and become a great humanitarian or whatever, by then throwing the tax payer’s money at that particular need. And this is also done in the church.

Just because there is a need out there, does not mean that God has called us to meet that particular need. And I am all for meeting needs and I believe in needs being met. But at the same time I think we need to exercise real prudence, real caution, real wisdom to see if God wants us to get involved in meeting that particular need. I think there is ministries that have been set up to meet a need that have outlived their time. There is conferences, I know, that have started that were to serve a certain purpose. They may have met that purpose, but it is just like in our government bureaucracy. Once you set something up—and it is not only true for government, but it is true in the Church—once you set up a program or a project or a ministry, we feel this great obligation to keep funding it, keeping throwing money at it, keep perpetuating it.

“Let Ishmael live,” we continue to cry out.

And so we need to take more time and determine whether or not this ministry is something God has really called us to do. [00:40:35]

You know, Jesus gave us very practical wisdom

You know, Jesus gave us very practical wisdom. He says, “Hey, if you are going to go out and build a tower, first sit down.” He says, “If you are going to go out and fight a battle,” he says, “First sit down. Then take counsel.” With building the tower he said, “First sit down and then calculate the cost.” But I like the posture phrase that the Lord gives us. He says, “First sit down.”

Now I know many successful executives who attribute much of their success to that when they got an idea they first of all sat on it. Instead of just running with it... or... and... and just going crazy with that particular idea, we need to sit down and examine this problem or this project in terms of God’s Word. We need to get counsel. Does God really want us to do this?

Now we know with the tabernacle and the temple and the needs that the people had in Jerusalem that God wanted the other churches to support, these were issues and projects and needs that God himself had called his people to take care of. And that is the first principle. We have got to ascertain. Is this ministry, is this project really born of God and does God want us to continue supporting it?

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Secondly, I ... a very basic principle of Christian fund raising is this. It is that people must be free to determine for themselves whether and how much they should give in accordance with their faith.

Now the point that needs to be made there is there is a difference between tithes and offerings.

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:42:14]

[McAuliffe] To me the tithe is not an option

[McAuliffe] To me the tithe is not an option. The tithe is a commandment. It is a requirement of the Lord. The first 10th of our income is wholly unto God and we are obligated to put that money into the service of the Lord.

Christian fund raising, in my opinion, deals with the whole realm of offerings. And in the realm of offerings we often times use the phrase, “free will offerings.” People need to be free to determine in accordance with their faith and also with their budgets—I would like to add- whether or not they should support that thing. Now when we read the accounts of the tabernacle and the temple we see how the people’s hearts were moved by God to give to that particular thing that God had called them to give to and that God had even prepared those people and even provided for those people so that they would give. And I really believe there is much that could be said here about how we need to educate our people in the whole area of stewardship and our responsibility to support those works that are truly born of God.

One of my favorite verses is Deuteronomy 8:18 where Moses says, “You shall remember the Lord your God because it is he that gives you the power to make wealth so that he might confirm his covenant.”

True biblical work, that is the power that is conferred upon us from God that is then translated into a biblical work ethic, the expression of work is where ... is where wealth is created. God just doesn't give us wealth. He gives us the power to make wealth. And that power is equated with a biblical work ethic and then through biblical work, wealth is created and the purpose of wealth being created is not just to meet our needs, but then it is to confirm his covenant. [00:44:10]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] It is to extend the covenant of the Lord. So, therefore, projects and ministries that are truly extending the covenant—and I think there is much need, a great need for teaching concerning the covenant. What is God’s covenant purpose in the earth today? But we should be directing our free will offerings to particularly ministries and projects that are extending the covenant of the Lord.

[Rushdoony] Your point with regard to Deuteronomy, “Remember the Lord thy God who giveth thee power to get wealth.”

[McAuliffe] Yes, yes.

[Rushdoony] I think is very appropriate for our time, because recent studies have shown that the people who make less than 25,000 dollars a year, the families, give a higher proportion of their income to charitable and Christian causes than do those who make from 25 to 100,000 dollars.

[McAuliffe] That is right.

[Rushdoony] Now that is a startling fact. It means the middle class, which historically has been the mainstay of every worthwhile cause in western civilization is now deserting these things because it wants a place in the mountains or a boat, different luxuries. But it is the young couples and the poor generally who are today the best givers in the country. The highest percentage... [00:45:52]

[McAuliffe] That is correct

[McAuliffe] That is correct.

[Rushdoony] So ... and the sad fact is that many of those young couples, as their income increases and gets over 25,000 begin to give less.

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] That is why when they have attained that status God says, “Remember, it is the Lord thy God who giveth thee power to get wealth.”

[McAuliffe] Yes. I would ... I was just thinking of the prophet Hosea in his 13th chapter... in the 13th chapter where it says, God speaking through the prophet says, “I gave them green pasture and they became satisfied. And being satisfied, they, therefore, became proud. And being proud, they forgot me.”

And there is another wonderful warning in Deuteronomy that God admonished his people that when they came into the land that they were going to have to be careful to remember the Lord and to remember their origins and to remember that it was the Lord is the one who has truly blessed them and prospered them.

What happens often times, Rousas, is that as a young person, say, or a middle aged person, whatever, as they come into the faith, humble before God and begin to apply God’s Word into their lives and God begins to transform their character and their lives and even the way they work and as a result of applying biblical principles as working unto the Lord, they begin to prosper. But often times it is at that point that they fall into... to me like one of the great diseases of our day today which I call Christian Humanism. We hear a lot about Secular Humanism and I am disturbed with the problems of Secular Humanism, but I am greatly disturbed about Christian Humanism which is the same thing... where it is man in his self centered being determining for himself what he is going to do with his money in this area. [00:47:59]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] We have Christian trimmings and trappings and externals around us. We are very pharisaical in this regard. But on the inside we are humanistic in the way we handle money. I think it was even Martin Luther who was reflecting upon this problem back in the 16th century when he said in his opinion every Christian needed two conversions, one for his soul and the other for his pocketbook.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] There is not an area of life that we have abstracted from God’s Word and abstracted from the kingdom of God as the area of money. It is incredible how we have been able to be so, as Christians, the Christian community, so fully humanistic in the way we handle our money. We call it our money. We have missed the concept of biblical stewardship.

[Rushdoony] On top of that, one of the disastrous facts of our time is that the average Christian in the United States is more in debt than the non Christian.

[McAuliffe] That is correct. [00:48:59]

[Rushdoony] Because he believes that the Lord is going

[Rushdoony] Because he believes that the Lord is going to bail him out and all he has to do when he is in a pinch is to pray and the Lord is going to take care of him. That is blasphemous.

[McAuliffe] It certainly is blasphemous and it rarely happens. Occasionally I call it the lottery mentality. Somebody wins the lottery, but we take it... we make a standard. Often times it is those kind of wild testimonies that we even hear come across in our periodicals and ...and Christian TV programs that someone that did something foolish like that with their money and where God maybe did bail that person out and then other people try to do it and, you know, it just doesn’t work.

[Rushdoony] And some of your television evangelists encourage that kind of mentality.

[McAuliffe] Well, now they are even encouraging people to put it on their credit card. This is actually going on now where they are making, they are saying, “Call in. We can take your donation right over the telephone. All we need is your MasterCard and Visa number and, hey, here is the thing. Maybe you don’t have they money right now, but God will provide. Jehovah Jireh. And, you know, in 30 days when your statement is due, not only will you have your money, but, again, you will have your 30, 60, 100 fold because give and it will be given unto you.”

It makes you this promise box theology, you know...

[Rushdoony] Yes. [00:50:22]

[McAuliffe] where we take these verses totally out of context, even that give and it shall be given unto you needs to be read in light of the entire Sermon on the Mount which gives a completely more balanced perspective.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe], you know, that one, you know, we... we make that a blanket promise and it doesn't’ work like that. And, you see, the problem for me, Rousas, as a financial counselor, I deal with the causalities.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] I get the... I am the one that gets the phone calls and the letters, people who recount their horror story to me of how their pastor or their evangelist or someone said, “If you will give us this amount of money, then this is going to happen to you.” It rarely happens. Sometimes it does, but, again, sometimes people win the lottery, too. But just because someone might luck out, doesn’t mean that that is God’s way of doing it.

[Rushdoony] Or take your savings out of the bank.

[McAuliffe] Oh.

[Rushdoony] ...or cash in your pension or insurance.

[McAuliffe] Yes. [00:51:17]

[Rushdoony] That type of appeal

[Rushdoony] That type of appeal.

[McAuliffe] Invest in ... invest in oil wells in Israel. That was a big scam they had going on in Florida a couple of years that...

[Rushdoony] Oh, my.

[McAuliffe] ...where people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

[Rushdoony] Oh, my.

[McAuliffe] ...exhausted their... their savings, their ... their educational savings they had for their kids and invested in barren oil wells in Israel.

The madness is beyond even anything I am... I am...

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] ...saying today, Rousas.

[Rushdoony] You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

[McAuliffe] Well, let me just briefly mention two more principles that are related to biblical fund raising here. One is the ... well, the second one I had mentioned is that people need to be free and they... and we should not give out of a whole guilt mentality, the crisis mentality that comes across to us in appeals, that God is going to judge and if they don’t give or giving to get and the whole emotional thing that we use. We send these, you know, these gory pictures of 40 pound year old teenagers and in the Sudan. [00:52:23]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] And... and, you know, manipulate... trying to manipulate people into giving like that. But also people need to know specifically what the funds are being used for.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] Now I think the tabernacle is a great illustration for us there, because God gave the whole blue print of the tabernacle to Moses who then shared it with the people and then the people gave from the monies that they had collected....

[Rushdoony] Exactly.

[McAuliffe] ...when they left Egypt. But they knew what it was going for. They knew it was going for this... the tabernacle of God. And today we get so many appeals that, you know, for money, but we don’t know where it is going exactly. We don’t know how ... if the funds are going to be properly accounted for. And as more and more stories begin to unfold we see that these monies were not being used for like what they said they were.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] And I think... I think that if we are going to be going public in our solicitation of funds as Christians, we are going to the entire body of Christ, then we need to have a financial statement. [00:53:30]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] An audited financial statement that we can send to our donors. And we need to be a little bit more specific in telling people where the money is going to go, what monies are going to be going towards salary and administration costs and travel and hush money or whatever we are using the money for.

And then the last thing I wanted to say, principle, the last principle is that God truly is glorified when monies are raised for his work and his purpose.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] I certainly hope that people as a result of this tape don’t shut up their pocket books and say, “Gosh, there is so much... so many problems out there. And that I am just not going to give anymore.” Biblical giving is an expression of our stewardship to God. Again, we need to give in order to extend the covenant of the Lord and great monies are needed to further God’s Work in the earth today. And... and God is honored when people do give to those works and those ministries and those projects that are conducting themselves in accordance with these biblical principles, that truly are conducting themselves in integrity. And there is a good number of them. There are many fine Christian works and churches and ministries that are out there. And I really encourage people to be gracious and to be supportive. God loves a cheerful giver. God doesn't want us to be tightfisted with our money. He doesn’t want us to be stingy. God is not stingy. He is a very wonderful, gracious God. And similarly, we are to be gracious people. We are to be a sacrificial people. But we need to do, though, is give in accordance with the principles that God has outlined for us in the Scripture. [00:55:16]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes. I read this past year quite a bit on the Middle Ages. Periodically the Church would decline dramatically and then there would be a tremendous reformation, a tremendous surge forward. It was interesting to see what caused this. It was when people began to give generously to the right kind of thing....

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] ... to things which had an impact on the future. People were always ready to give to something that was trifling or of no account or purely ornamental, as it were, to the faith. But whenever they said, “Now, here is a group that is working to establish studies in a particular field or a mission to a particular cause and these are people who are lean and hard in their approach towards the use of God’s money,” then things began to happen. They began to have an impact on the future because they were giving to things that were future oriented.

Now I think the work you are doing in the Church is like that and the work you are doing with us in Chalcedon is like that. We are not thinking just of something that is going to make a show on television or in print or on Main Street or any other thing. We are thinking of the kingdom of God and his righteousness, his justice. And this is the kind of thing that will determine the future. [00:57:05]

So Christians need to start giving again

So Christians need to start giving again.

[McAuliffe] That is correct.

[Rushdoony] They need to give and to give generously, to give in a biblical pattern. Second, they need to give to that which will have an impact on the future, not something that... well, this pleases me and I ... I like to be a part of something like this, vanity giving.

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] Vanity giving.

[McAuliffe] Yes.

[Rushdoony] There is a great deal of that and it is done in God’s name and that is all together wrong.

[McAuliffe] And God is shaking that.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] That is what he is shaking in this hour and I am... to be honest with you, Rousas, I am very excited and pleased by what is happening right now in the body of Christ. Many people I talked to are ... are apprehensive and forlorn and discouraged and holding their heads down, but I am exited, because God is shaking whatever can be shaken. Why? So that which cannot be shaken will remain. And I believe there is going to be an emergence of the local church and there is going to be an emergence of those ministries that are conducting themselves in integrity and are extending the covenant of the Lord and they are going to emerge and the amusement park, circus, fluff, flakey Christianity that we are all fed up with, that... that Christians are sick of, God is finally shaking that. Judgment has begun in the household of God.

[Rushdoony] Yes.

[McAuliffe] And it is good.

[Rushdoony] Well, I will get the last word in, if I may. Just very quickly and briefly. By about 1820 something began in this country which had a devastating effect on the Church here, the star system.

[McAuliffe] Oh.

[Rushdoony] One figure as the star with all the people as spectators supporting him, exalting him and enjoying being part of a big thing. Well, most, but not all of your television ministries have been instances of the star system and it is breaking down.

[McAuliffe] Yes, it is.

[Rushdoony] We need people who are not stars, but pastors.

[McAuliffe] That is correct.

[Rushdoony] We need discipleship. We need a situation in which we are ... we move from spectator Christianity to active working Christianity.

Well, our time is up. God bless you all. Thank you, Joseph.

[McAuliffe] Well, thank you, Rousas.

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