Have you noticed how people within the evangelical church are quick learners - especially when it comes to making considerable extra money from the Gospel? Some men have become very wealthy by making merchandise of the Gospel. First, there were vinyl records (EPs and LPs) with Gospel songs sung by evangelicals; then videos were made of Christians singing Gospel songs; then, CDs became the 'in' thing, and now it is DVDs that people buy; and all the while, the artists make a killing out of the Gospel.
But this does not happen only here. When these artists are asked to do a Gospel concert, they charge, and the promoters pay, a hefty fee for the privilege. Even when a Christian is asked to sing at a wedding, there is an excessive charge for singing two songs - up to as much as £80.
Now, the sad thing is that some Christians are so naive that they are taken in by this commercialisation of the Gospel. It seems that you cannot ask a Christian to do anything today in the service of Christ without their charging a fee for doing so. I suppose that they have learned from well-known Gospel singers who have made a fortune from Gospel singing, and they have now jumped on the bandwagon.
Evangelical ministers have endorsed this practice and have given the Gospel singing industry a justification by referring to it as a 'ministry in song.' Many parts of the evangelical church have lifted Gospel singing to the level of 'a ministry.' A Gospel sub-culture has been developed in which businesses have been set up with the purpose of making a career out of the ministry of the Gospel. Why else do the practitioners within this industry have not only one or two jobs, but more!
What makes it even more unbelievable is that, unlike the days of the apostles when they were persecuted and hounded for the Gospel, some imprisoned and many gave their lives for their testimony, these Gospel performers are actually applauded by their tantalised hearers. The Reformers, the Huguenots, the Covenanters, the Puritans, the eighteenth century Methodists, these all bore the stigma of the Cross because of their ministries.
But not the modern Gospel performers; no, no. They are applauded, admired, regarded as great performers; but they are not persecuted and oppressed and opposed because they 'stand' for the Gospel of Christ. They get more bookings for future performances because of their past performances. But at the end of the day, that is all they are - mere performances. And we pay a heavy price for them.