Okay since I have received enough comments regarding my blog on this I thought the mature thing to do is to post over it, rather than go back and change what I wrote earlier. Basically to get everyone else up to date, I blandly said that ALIVE was a rip off RICE this year and it did seem the case. And funnily enough everyone who has commented regarding this has said exactly the same thing to me: “Does it matter if there is plagiarism? Shouldn’t the main focus be that the gospel is being spread, no matter how it’s being done?”
Yes okay. Part of me says yes it is fine since the root of all evangelistic events is that the gospel of Jesus is spread and that people come to believe. In other words, “the ends justify the means” right? And in more words, it doesn’t matter how we came to attract more believers to Jesus, as long as we do? Is that the thinking we all have nowadays as Christian? “I want you to believe. I don’t care what it takes or how you go about it, just believe and I’ll be happy.” Unfortunately I beg to differ from such a thought.
My emphasis was on “mannerism”, the manner by which we do things. The broad topic is very explicitly depicted in the Bible, through Cain and Abel. And for today’s society, to skip to the chase, spreading the gospel, converting people, whatever, needs to be done in the right manner; otherwise what good is it for you, the person who does these things? Keeping the right manner as we “righteously” spread the Word of God (I’m pretty sure that’s 2 Tim 2:15 in some translation of the Bible).
Previously I went through this topic (sort of) with reference to Hillsong, claiming that they lack substance in the gospel message they preach; you’ll have to do some digging to find this post. To continue on from that I would say that there is no point in converting people to Christ if they aren’t even taught the right fundamentals of the gospel. Yes sure they become Christians through Hillsong that’s wonderful, yes? But if they’re only filled with a feeling and have no core understanding of the gospel, then what good is that feeling then? Would they not stumble when they come across difficulties and other things that conflict with the little knowledge they have?
Of course that is an example that doesn’t exactly tie in with this post but you can see what I mean by mannerism. Do we tell other people about the gospel in hope of getting something back? Do we think that we might be seen as better in God’s eyes if we convert more people? Why do we tell people the good news? Is it because it makes us look better, or is it because it makes God look better? The particular question for this post is: “Is it right to plagiarise (if indeed it was plagiarism) for God?” Does the ends really justify the means? I partly do not believe so.
Assuming what I said is true, let’s consider this from RICE’s perspective. Here we have a team that’s planned a lot of stuff, sweated for a long time to get a lot of stuff worked out and such. And here we have a third party step in and simply take those ideas, slap their name on it and then present it, no effort whatsoever in the product they made. And they present it, it looks good, people see that third party’s name on it and they praise them, saying it was good and all. Who reaped the benefits of ALIVE then? I know bottom line would be God, but think about it: Would Jesus have done something like that? It’ a grey area for me at the moment I can’t confidently lean either way so while I don’t push my view all too strongly, I also refuse to accept the opposite binary view.
In giving all our results up to God and all, it is indeed not wrong to take some of it for ourselves. By that I don’t mean we take God’s glory and cross out His name and put ours there; I mean that we add ours alongside it, we’re not equals of course but it does mean something for us. It is an encouragement, is it not, to reap the fruit we sow? The fruit belongs to God but in seeing what we have achieved we are inspired to do more. Essentially the fruit would be labelled as: “God’s fruit” and in small writing “sown by [whoever]”.
The fruit of spreading the gospel belongs to God, but why reap encouragement and praise when you did not sow it? I find that disrespectful and shameful somewhat. I’m happy to continue this discussion so I can hear what you guys think; don’t think I’m closing off the discussion, I’m opening it up by posting this again. Thank you for reading.