Doing Business with the World
I don't read the New International Version much but consider it a viable translation of the Bible. Nevertheless, it receives a lot of unnecessary flak, particularly from King James Onlyists. One reason is that it supposedly has missing verses. Some critics believe it’s satanically inspired. A misleading Facebook post that’s appeared several times in my news feed claims: “NIV was published by Zondervan but is now OWNED by Harper Collins, who also publishes the Satanic Bible and The Joy of Gay Sex.”
The New International Version’s copyright is owned by the nonprofit ministry Biblica (formerly International Bible Society). Zondervan and its parent company HarperCollins is licensed to publish the NIV but doesn’t oversee its content. It should be pointed out that HarperCollins has a separate Christian division that also includes Thomas Nelson, a publisher of books by Billy Graham and Max Lucado plus Bibles including the King James Version!
Some will argue Christians shouldn’t be “unequally yoked” with non-believing businessmen. There’s a difference between being in a partnership and being a customer. I boycott selected companies when there are better alternatives. Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
However, some products and services are necessary. A church will pay for water and electricity from utility companies that likely provide the same service for liquor stores and strip clubs. Christian record companies have signed deals with secular distributors to reach more buyers even if they don’t agree with other products the conglomerate handles. TV preachers buy airtime on secular stations to reach viewers who might not otherwise go into a church.
As a young Christian, I heard a powerful teaching tape on prosperity by Willie George that ministered to me. The Lord once directed Willie to do business with two realtors who were “shacking up.” Eventually, the couple knocked on his door one night at 11:00 and said, “We want to get saved.” Willie led the realtors to the Lord without saying anything about them living together. They got married six weeks later.
Another time someone asked Willie if he knew a good Spirit-filled lawyer. Willie replied, “Do you want a good lawyer or one who's Spirit-filled?” Sadly, some so-called Christian businessmen don’t always follow Biblical standards. Therefore, it’s wise to pray and follow the leading of the Holy Spirit before agreeing to a business deal with anyone.
The bottom line is that believers are in the world but not of it. Not everyone can live like Elijah by a brook with ravens feeding him (1 Kings 17). Fulfilling the Great Commission involves interacting with people. That includes buying and selling from individuals who don’t know Him yet. Over the years, I’ve led many cashiers to salvation. The Lord can do the same through you.
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” - John 17:14-15 (NIV)