I grew up in the 1980s, and I remember many of the televangelists that were caught in situations unbecoming a minister. I also remember many of the preachers on tv who asked for money quite a bit. I’ve even used many of these people as examples in sermons of my own.
As I read Paul’s words in Philippians it made me think about these people once again.
Some certainly preach Christ with jealous and competitive motives, but others preach with good motives. They are motivated by love, because they know that I’m put here to give a defense of the gospel; the others preach Christ because of their selfish ambition. They are insincere, hoping to cause me more pain while I’m in prison. What do I think about this? Just this: since Christ is proclaimed in every possible way, whether from dishonest or true motives, I’m glad and I’ll continue to be glad.
It is really not up to me to judge someone’s motives for preaching. As long as Jesus is proclaimed, good will come of it. And truly, can I say that I have always had pure motives for everything I have done? Probably not.
Nevertheless, God will work with us, and God will work in spite of us if he has to do so. If the goal is to proclaim the Good News that in Jesus Christ God has reconciled the world to himself and provided an out for us from sin and death, then as long as that message gets out…great!
I was also reminded of this a few months back when I met with someone who used to be on staff at Joel Osteen’s church in Houston. Osteen can be a favorite target of mine, I must confess. But what this person said made me reevaluate this. Osteen’s message is not going to appeal to those who need theological depth, but it is going to broach the subject of God with a lot of people who, for various reasons, would not darken the doorsteps of more traditional (and not in the sense of music) churches. That is the goal of that church–to reach that segment of the population that has never gone to those other churches. Not only that, but it takes over 5000 volunteers each weekend for the services to be held. The volunteer base, those that give up of their time to serve others in the name of Jesus, is larger than most mega-churches!
As long as Christ is proclaimed, who am I to judge? God will take care of the motives when he deals with the motives of all of our actions at the end of all things.