Should All Christian Content be Free?

Absolutely not, which is why I’d like you to insert two dollars into the CD slot of your computer before reading on. Yes, that is too how it works. Barnabas Piper has further thoughts:

The belief often seems to be that since these are Christian organizations producing Christian content they ought to give it away, or at least severely discount it. And there are organizations, like Desiring God, who set a standard by making almost everything available for free. Crossway has given away tens of thousands of Bibles too. And so the precedent is set in people’s minds: Christian organizations should give away their material because that’s the “right” way to do it.

Just as the assumption that all Christian content should be free fails to recognize basic business principles and financial realities, it fails to recognize some important biblical principles too.

Yes, people who think Christian content should always be free fail to understand two things: 1) Christianity, and 2) economics. People deserve to be paid for their work, and accepting money for ministry work doesn’t de-Christianify it.

As for the economics, money isn’t just something you use to buy Skittles and Dr. Pepper. Prices contain information about the value of products that you wouldn’t get if everything was given away for free like cheese samples in the supermarket.

If you had never heard of John Piper or me, and you heard that both of us were giving free seminars, you would have to actually attend both seminars to find out that you could get a lot more value out of one than the other (I’ll give you three guesses which one is which). With prices set by the market, though, you could see right away that people value John Piper seminars much more highly. I mean, I can’t imagine why, but that’s the way I’m guessing it would go.

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