Truth in Advertising?

By | August 17, 2013

“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” (2 Corinthians 2:17)

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Follow Me Simulcast – As of 3-1-2014 this link has now been removed.

August 21, 2013

Broadcasting live from an undisclosed location, David Platt will challenge you, your group, and your church to take the next step in your relationship with Christ. In this place where proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life, Platt will invite us to forfeit our own lives for the sake of the gospel.

Guests: David Platt

[Video has been removed.]

“This free Follow Me Simulcast will not only serve as a call to discipleship but will explore the depth of that call. Broadcast live in an area of the world where answering the call to follow Christ could mean risking your life, this message will challenge you, your group, and your church to take the next step in your relationship with Christ.”

[Video has been removed.]

What comes to your mind when you think of being a Christian in the Middle East?

1 church burning1 dead christian2 church exploded2 damaged church

I suppose all this and worse come to your mind when you think of the perils of being an unabashed follower of Christ in the Middle East.  I don’t wish to discount this as in many countries in this region Christians do face persecution for their beliefs, sometimes even losing their lives.  But I would like you to know that I live in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and Christians have nothing to fear in this moderate Muslim nation.  The UAE is socially progressive and is a fine example of what an open society in the Middle East can and should look like.  The leaders of this country have donated land for Christians to build churches on. They welcome open dialogue between people of different faiths.  They have approved public debates between Christian Pastors and Muslim Imams. Thabiti Anyabwile, the author of the book below has been the Christian representative in four such debates in Dubai.

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Here is a link to the latest dialogue: http://livestre.am/4sUSU  (If you wish to view it Please advance to the 16min 18second mark for smooth viewing.)

Here is an excerpt from the United Christian Church of Dubai’s website:

“Message from our Senior Pastor John Folmar:

 Fourteen years ago, after we had prayed and petitioned, the Rulers of Dubai generously granted us the land in Jebel Ali where we now meet. Four years later, the building was completed, and now 11 churches regularly meet here in the Dubai Evangelical Church Center. Imagine all the ministry that has occurred here at DECC since 2003—countless people have been saved, strengthened, and encouraged. Lifelong friendships have begun here, even some marriages have resulted!

 Now we have another opportunity to build an evangelical church center—this time in Ras Al Khaimah. The Ruler of RAK, His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, recently granted UCCD land for an evangelical church building in the Al Hamra district of his emirate. The elders see this as a priceless opportunity to plant a Gospel church in an outlying emirate virtually unreached with the good news of Jesus Christ. This is our chance to make history in RAK—inroads for the gospel into a new frontier.” http://uccdubai.com/rakchurchplant

To be honest I should mention that proselytizing in the UAE is against the law.  You would not be able to stand on a street corner in Dubai and preach the gospel.  That said, I have found it much easier to engage my muslim friends in conversations regarding religion than I ever did with my friends in the USA.  The muslims I have encountered are eager to talk about spiritual matters.  We talk as friends and there is absolutely no concern of repercussions.

2009-7-31 Church rowAbove is the church compound in Jebel Ali, a southern suburb of Dubai.  There are numerous churches meeting here on land donated to Christians by the Rulers of Dubai.  Below is the Bible Society Book Store, located inside the UCCD building.

2009-7-31 Bible Society bookstore

All this to say that, in my opinion, David Platt and LifeWay Christian Resources are attempting to boost sales of Platt’s most recent book and accompanying study manuals by  creating an aura of cutting-edge excitement based on number of things which just are not true.  First of all, when I think of the word “simulcast” I think I will be viewing a live event that is actually taking place as I watch and being broadcast in multiple places at the same time.  Here is the definition of the word:

si•mul•cast (ˈsaɪ məlˌkæst, -ˌkɑst, ˈsɪm əl-)

n., v. -cast, -cast•ed, -cast•ing. n.

1. a program broadcast simultaneously on radio and television, or on more than one station, or in several languages, etc.

2. a closed-circuit television broadcast of an event, as a horse race, while it is taking place.

My daughter attended this “simulcast” event that was taped in Dubai on August 14th  beginning at 7:00 P.M. local time.  So even if the “simulcast” would have been broadcast in the USA at the originally advertised time of 6:00 P.M. Eastern time it would not have been “live” as claimed it was to have been.  When it is  7:00 P.M. in Dubai it is 11:00 A.M on the East Coast of the USA.  That pretty much debunks the “live” claim.

Next they claim this “live” broadcast will be from an “undisclosed location.”  Well, as you can see for yourself, there was a public announcement of the event to be held at the Marriott Hotel on the Redeemer Church of Dubai’s public website.      http://www.redeemerdubai.com/events/event/84/following-jesus:-an-evening-with-david-platt/2013-008-14  That debunks the “undisclosed location” claim.

Lastly, they claim this “undisclosed location” was one “where proclaiming Jesus could mean literally losing your life.”  I am happy to say no one involved in David Platt’s presentation in Dubai on the evening of August 14th lost their life, nor was there ever any danger of doing so because of “proclaiming Jesus.”

Folks, persecution for Christians in various locations around the globe is a current reality.  Becoming a follower of Christ in many nations could possibly cost you your life.  I would suggest you read this book to dispel any doubts you may have of this fact:

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I would urge us as Christians not to trivialize or cheapen the very real sufferings that saints around the world are currently experiencing.

It may create a buzz amongst American Christians to think that David Platt is risking his life by taping a program in Dubai to be shown at a later time, but let’s call it what it is – a cheap publicity stunt that plays fast and loose with the truth in an attempt to boost book sales.  It cheapens Christianity and makes a mockery of those who are actually facing persecution for their faith.  David Platt should be ashamed of himself.  He faced no danger flying into Dubai to tape his message at the Marriott Hotel.  I, as a Christian in Dubai, face no danger to my life.  I am fortunate to be able to live in a muslim country that allows me such freedom – thank God for that.

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“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.”  Psalm 51:6

“He exhorted me to keep praying, to be sincere with the truth, and not back away from speaking the truth. One of the things he said to me was very important: “Don’t let anyone or anything rob you from the Word of God that’s in your mouth. You’ll be offered things by some people. You must shun them all.” He began to weep and kept saying, “Shun it all, shun it all! Don’t let anything come into your life to take the Word of God out of your mouth. Shun it all!” He said that phrase so often that it branded something into my heart.” – In Light of Eternity, The Life of Leonard Ravenhill

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From the “Redeemer Church of Dubai” Web page: 

Following Jesus: An Evening with David Platt

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Jdkist1@mac.com

Are you serious about the level of religious freedom? I always heard otherwise!

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