I am amused by some of my Christian acquaintances and friends. They spend time postulating and posing ideas in their minds as to what exactly is meant by some of the weightier things in Godâ€™s word. The church and the form it takes is one current fashion. I read recently that the church is â€œinvisible.â€ I have heard that it is not an organization, a corporation, an entity, or an institution.
I enjoy listening to other preachers teach. Even when I do not agree with different theological concepts of these various men, it is nice to listen to another person (besides myself) to keep myself sharp and learn things in the scriptures from other people. I noticed that Charles Swindoll has a website (www.insight.org) where there is a significant list of sermons available for listening. You have the option to order a CD or get a mp3. I clicked on the mp3 for a particular lesson expecting to begin listening to the lesson. No, instead I was taken to a store where the sermon had to be purchased for $1.99 before downloading the mp3. Now, I understand charging for CDs (although $6 per CD seems a bit hefty). CDs cost money. I understand charging for shipping and handling. But why charge to listen to the sermon online? Is this really what we want to do: charge people to listen to our lessons from the scriptures?
Now, I do not speak from ignorance or from a lack of experience. At our church where I preach, we make all of the lessons available for downloading, listening, and podcasting for free. The minor cost of hosting a website is a worthy expense if people will come listen to the gospel. We are a small church yet believe it is worth footing the cost for the website and bandwidth. We even put our lessons on CD for free. Many other notable preachers are on the internet with their lessons available to listen and download free of charge. Surely Charles Swindoll can afford to allow his lessons to be listened to for free and not charge $1.99 per sermon!