The “money-back-guarantee” promise usually applies when you have already received a manufacturer’s product but you’re not satisfied with it and demand your money back. The Emergent Mosaiek Church in Fairlands, Johannesburg, has a new kind of money back guarantee. They refund your money even before you’ve received their products because they don’t like you.
Would you mind if I asked you a question? What would you do if you walked into a Christian bookstore, let’s say CUM Books for example, to buy Stephan Joubert’s newest and much acclaimed book ‘Jesus a Radical Leap’ and the shop assistant told you that they don’t have it in stock but that they can order it for you if you so desired. ‘That would be nice, thank you. I am so keen to read it that I am prepared to pay the full price now. Can I do that?’ ‘Sure,’ says the shop assistant., “just write down your name, address and phone number here and we will let you know as soon as it has arrived. Here’s your receipt.’ And off you go, waiting in great anticipation for the day when you will have Stephan Joubert’s newest book in your hands to read about this Jesus who leaps and jumps in radical ways.
A week later the shop assistant phones to tell you that a new batch of books have arrived but he would first like to have a little chat (conversation) with you because there’s a slight hitch to overcome first. On your arrival, he immediately asks you whether you are Tom Lessing, the Tom Lessing who hosts the blog ‘Waak en Bid/Watch and Pray?’ ‘Yes, Why?’ ‘Well sir,’ says the assistant ‘I can’t sell his book to you.’ ‘What?’ I immediately reacted with dismay, ‘Can’t sell it to me?’ ‘Yes sir, I’m afraid we can’t,’ the shop assistant repeated. ‘You see, the book is so popular, we couldn’t find it and eventually phoned the author to ask him whether he knew of any ready available books for us to sell. We told him about this guy who just couldn’t wait to read his book. He wanted to know who it was and we told him. His reaction was rather explosive.’ ‘What! Tom Lessing?’ I forbid you to sell my book to that . . . that. . . .that . . . guy. Under no circumstances whatsoever, are you to sell my book to him. Capiche?
The shop assistant turns his head to one side, like a little puppy who tries very hard to understand my predicament, but very bravely and assertively says: ‘Here’s your money back, sir. I’m sorry but there’s nothing I can do.” ‘But I don’t want my money back, This is South Africa where the freedom of speech and individual rights are entrenched in the constitution. Not even Stephan Joubert can prevent me from buying the products that I want. He’s breaking the law. Not only that, he is dishonoring the name of the Jesus whom he claims to be following. In fact, he is doing it with radical leaps and bounds. I demand my book. Why would he want to withhold his book from me? If everything he has written in his book is the truth, then there’s nothing to be ashamed of, is there?’ Didn’t Paul say that we shouldn’t be ashamed of the Gospel and anyone who is ashamed will have to bear the brunt of his shame for them. You know the verse, don’t you?’ ‘Yes sir’ the assistant nods “‘But here is your money back. I am only doing my duty to the author.’
This little story, my story I may add, is typical of the journey I have been travelling with the Mosaiek Church in Fairlands, Johannesburg these last few years. The story I’ve told you is fictitious. It never happened, but the next one I am going to tell you, a similar one to the one above, actually happened. It is the truth and nothing but he truth. It’s a real shocker, a humdinger. Capiche?
It all started in September when I attended one of Mosa’ek Church’s annual contemplative events called ‘Mosaiek Conversations 2010.’ Illustrious keynote speakers, amongst whom were Johan Geyser, Ron Martoia, Trevor Hudson and guest speaker Dr. David G Benner, author, spiritual teacher and consultant in personal transformation took the podium and presented their philosophies with gusto. As usual high quality DVD’s and audio CD’s were recorded on the occasion for its dissemination amongst’ their church members, visitors and the broader public later on. Like all the others we paid the full amount for the entire series of DVD’s and CD’s. They gave us our receipt, and then . . . the waiting started. Nearly seven months later, accompanied by many phone calls and excuses that they were having technical problems, the bomb finally exploded in our faces.
At first, when I phoned Mr. Etienne Booysen on Friday, 4 March, he assured me that the technical problems had been sorted out and that the entire package of DVD’s and CD’s would be ready for collection on Monday, 7 March. He said that they would confirm it by SMS. But then, when the following Monday dawned in glorious retrospect of our experience with Mosaiek, we were told that the speakers had decided NOT to supply us with any of their material, despite the fact that we had paid the full amount. Wow! This is incredible, I thought! What kind of testimony is this in behalf of the One whom they claim to love, respect, and follow? He Himself once said: ‘I have said nothing in secret.’ (John 18:20), implying that He never withheld his eternal truths from anyone. If the Emergent fraternity are so certain that they are proclaiming Jesus and his immutable truths ‘ of the One who said He has nothing to hide ‘ then they should be over zealously keen to proclaim his Truth from the tops of mountains. Yep, they should even be prepared to supply their ‘truths’ to their worst enemies, realizing that if they should then be criticized and persecuted they should rather jump up with joy for it is only when they suffer and are persecuted for His sake and for the sake of his Truth that they will receive a reward (Luke 6:22, 23). They cannot reap His rewards when they willfully and stubbornly withhold his Truth. Nevertheless, if they are not proclaiming His Truth and withholding their teachings because their covert practices do not harmonize with Scripture, they have every reason to withhold their material from people who are exposing their damnable heresies.
I recorded the following conversation I had with one of the ladies in their admin office on 15 March. Please bear in mind that she only said what she was told to say and was merely doing the dirty work her masters were supposed to do. Isn’t that just so kosher of the men to push the women into the frontline of their battles while they smugly like little buggies rest in their ruggies? Where are the real men in our post-modern chaotic society who are not afraid to take responsibility for everything they say in public?
And then I phoned again.
For those of you who do not understand Afrikaans, she basically said that the speakers unilaterally decided not to supply us with their DVD’s and CD’s and that they would refund us in full.
I paid a little visit to my lawyer and related our entire story to her. Her verdict was that they cannot withhold the material from us, the reason being that they made themselves guilty of false or misleading advertising. Before the speakers were given the opportunity to deliver their papers, it was announced that DVD’s and CD’s were being made and that those who were interested in buying the series were welcome to pay at a table nearby. Well, that’s exactly what we did. They took our money and gave us a receipt without any objection to the fact that my friend and I attended their so-called conversations. Both of us had easy readable name tags pinned to our shirts. Why didn’t they tell us then that they refused to sell us their DVD’s and CD’s? They called their congress ‘Mosaiek Conversations 2010.’ Surely any civilized conversation consists of two or more people chatting, giving their opinions and even refuting one another when it is necessary, especially when the conversation relates to eternal matters. Forget it! These guys’ conversation is a one way ‘conversation’ ‘ they haughtily speak like gurus and you must silently sit at their feet and listen.
I would like to suggest they do the following at their next conventions, congresses or conferences. Put up a big sign over the entrance to your venue which says the following.
Here are the speakers who refused to sell us their products.
No, No, this never happened in Communist China, the Sudan, Libya, Nigeria, North Korea, or any other country. It happened here, in South Africa, the country with one of the best constitutions in the world, where media freedom and freedom of speech are firmly entrenched in the constitution. But, the best of all is, it happened in a ‘Christian’ Church that is NOT ‘ashamed’ of the ‘Gospel.’ In fact, their church is a 100%-money-back-guaranteed-church. When Paul preached the Gospel, he never prohibited anyone to listen to him or to repeat to others what he had said. He was not ashamed of the Gospel. But then again, these guys do NOT preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore they have something to be ashamed of and should not disseminate their heresies. [money]