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ESTABLISHING PEOPLE IN GOD’S WORD SINCE 1970

Our passion is to help people discover Truth for themselves by using the Inductive Bible Study method. We strive to accomplish this by offering Inductive Bible Studies, Training Workshops, conferences, and events for men, women, and students.

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To Boycott or Not to Boycott? That is the question!

  
  
  
When a company or business is using their money and influence to attempt to shape public policy should we boycott that company if we disagree with their politics? This is how David Arthur answers that question. David Arthur, Precept Ministries

When the LGBT (the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transsexual community) called for a boycott of Chick-fil-a because of comments, which they perceived as “anti-gay”, made by Dan Cathy on July 16th, many of us were outraged. As evangelical conservatives many of us responded in mass on August 1st. The lines at your local Chick-fil-a began at dawn and lasted until closing time. The point was made with such an emphasis that many in the world of business are wondering if Dan Cathy’s comments were a marketing stunt to drive up sales. By the way, we believe that is not the case. Dan’s comments were sincere and from the heart. He believes the Bible is true and therefore stands on what it says regardless of public opinion.

But, about the same time a parallel event almost slipped by unnoticed. On July 27th, eleven days after Dan Cathy’s comments, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, and his wife, MacKenzie donated $2.5 million, of their personal money, to help pass the same sex marriage referendum in Washington State. It is interesting that so far the response from the business world has not suggested their donation was a marketing stunt.

So – here is the question –

Should we threaten to boycott Amazon because their founder supports a world view which is contrary to Scripture? Target, Starbucks, Disney, and General Mills have all supported same-sex marriage referendums, and both the American Family Association and the National Organization for Marriage have called for boycotts against them for doing so. How should Christians respond?

It seems like there are actually two questions that need to be asked.

  • Should we boycott businesses that support a world view that is contrary to Scripture?
  • Should we support businesses that use their position and dollars to influence public policy in ways that violate a Christian world view?

Honestly, the questions are easier to ask than to answer. Boycotts don’t always work the way we hoped they would, and sometimes they have the opposite effect. For example, remember how we responded to the boycott of Chick-fil-a? The result was not what the LGBT had in mind! On the other side even the National Organization for Marriage is not sure that its boycotts are having an impact on the businesses they have asked us to boycott.

Should Christians support businesses that have a world view which is contrary to Scripture? Before you answer, remember there are no real Christian businesses. There are businesses run by Christians and businesses founded on Christian principles, but a Christian is a person not a company. All businesses that are owned or operated by someone who is not a Christian are going to reflect an un-Biblical world view at some point. It would be hard, if not impossible, to live in this world and not be involved in commerce with businesses operated by a non-Christian. And, if we are to be salt and light in a dark decaying world then one way to engage people and open the door to share Christ with them is to do business with them. To only do business with Christians so isolates us from the world that our influence becomes negligible. How can we be a bright light if its hidden under a bushel? (Matthew 5:15-16)

But, what if a business uses their power and money to influence public policy in a way that clearly violates a Biblical world view? Specifically, how should Christians respond when a company or an individual supports a same sex marriage referendum in their state? Should we boycott Amazon because the CEO and his wife donated $2.5 million dollars to persuade the citizens of Washington State to pass a referendum on same sex marriage? Perhaps.

In Luke 16:9 we are commanded to use our opportunities and our money wisely as we deal with the world. Surely we would all agree that as Christians we should use our influence and money to shape public policy toward righteousness and justice, as defined by God in His Word. The question then becomes, how do we do that?

How do we exercise influence? Do we just stop spending our money with that business?

To do so silently is to miss the point of excercising our influence. No, maybe a better idea is to politely and gently let them know what you want them to do, and why. Use a boycott as the last resort, not the first option. Be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16b)

For example the organization Love146, which exists to end child sex slavery and exploitation recently challenged Amazon regarding the book Age of Consent: A Sex Tourists Guide which was Amazon was selling.

“Great care goes into how we approach an issue like this….  As many as 10 people from our office and our Task Force were involved in the discussions about our approach to Amazon, over the course of six weeks before we acted.” …We spent several days creating the initiative and the accompanying letters and scripts because we desperately wanted to approach Amazon in the most positive and collaborative way.”

“We have learned some important lessons on how to thoughtfully approach a problem like “Age of Consent”.  Feel the urgency.  React, but don’t be reactionary!  Pause, think, pray … respond thoughtfully and if you can in humility and gently ... there is enough anger out there already.”

They approached Amazon with their concerns and their solutions. Amazon responded quickly to remove the book from their site. Love146 has not called for a boycott of Amazon, as you see they have instead chosen to approach Amazon gently with humility.

Should we boycott a company that is intentionally pushing an agenda contrary to a Biblical worldview? Sometimes perhaps we should. But, how and why we initiate the boycott is vital. If you boycott you should let the business know why with gentleness and kindness. Speak the truth in love.

Where someone spends their money is ultimately a very personal decision. At Precept Ministries we know you can buy many of our books from Amazon, and some of you receive free shipping with them. We could never compete with Amazon. But, since you have a choice, let us tell you how we invest the money we make from the sale of books.

Precept Ministries is a non-profit organization. All of the “profit” we make goes straight back into ministry. We reinvest every dime into our mission of establishing people in God’s Word. Our sales in the US fund translation work in other countries, train people to make disciples, and equip others to lead Bible studies in areas where Americans are not welcome. When you purchase from us you are actually funding ministry.

It is up to you where you spend your money, so we wanted you to know what we do with your investment in Precept Ministries.

To boycott or not to boycott?

With this specific situation with Amazon we are not recommending a boycott. Instead write Amazon and share your concerns – kindly and clearly.  Then consider investing in the biblical mission of Precept Ministries international  instead of Jeff Bezos and his support of same sex marriage in Washington State.

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Comments

Thank you for tempering our "knee-jerk" reactions. I sent an email to Amazon regarding that book and some others that I thought were obscene. We need to pause before we act/react...a true case of 'WWJD".
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 3:15 PM by Yvette Cole
this would be a great place for social media share widgets. this was too great not to share :o)
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 8:02 PM by Karen
AMEN!!! And we DO and WILL continue to buy ALL our Inductive Bible study books from Precept Ministries :0) And encourage others to do the same. what a joy to share in what the Lord is doing!!!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 28, 2012 9:28 PM by Kirsten
If you would like to share this blog post with your friends you can Tweet it, Email it, or Like it by using the buttons at the top of the article, just below the title.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:19 AM by Precept Team
Awesome! By the way, if we boycotted every organization that supported anti-Biblical causes, we wouldn't pay taxes either!!!
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:21 AM by Kathy Laflamme
If a business is not in conform ability 
to God's word i don't use that business , I believe it is God's money and i am just trusted with it to honor my Lord with it
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 2:10 PM by jo teague
The fact that Precepts books and other materials can be purchased without having to buy them using Amazon's site is an example of how Amazon is not needed to support the ongoing ministry of Precept Ministries. I personally would support a boycott of Amazon and do encourage others to as well.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 2:12 PM by Michael O'Toole
I have been thinking on either or of boycotting for while. But their is a write and wrong way to express faith and not react. Great to live in country were we can have freedom to express what believe and know Jesus is one true judge in the end.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 3:05 PM by Deborah Thompson
I believe the proper and right thing to do is to educate them on what God said from the beginning. His Word stands true now as it did then. If they don't accept the Truth, and many won't... it is their freedom that He gave all of us... choice matters in the eternal life. Pray for them, and bless them so that they know who a Christian is. God bless all... He loved all.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 3:19 PM by Rosemarie Prete
Wow. Very smart. We totally have knee-jerk reactions. We are trapped in Americanized thinking sometimes rather than biblical. Thanks for your thoughts.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 3:54 PM by Elena
Honestly....if you personally don't care for what the company in question stands for, don't be a patron of their service or products, but don't request thousands of others not to use their service or purchase their products. It's a free world out there still. Let others decide for themselves. If it bothers you that much, pray about it. See what God wants you to do.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 4:37 PM by Kathy
Thank you, David. Good point. ones I never thought of. Appreciate your input.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 5:27 PM by Vickie n
David, thank you for your courage to share words of truth in such a respectful, kind and loving way. We are called to be in the world but not of the world. I appreciate and admire how much time you spent not just reading the Word, but also the amount of time you were still before the Lord,in prayer, seeking godly counsel/wisdom from others, waiting patiently for the HS promptings of what the Lord wanted you to share, so all the glory with go to Him.
Posted @ Wednesday, August 29, 2012 9:03 PM by Tanya Villani
I agree with you about approaching them civilly, presenting your concern and hoping for them to change. In my mind, however, it is less important to boycott them...let's face it, losing my tiny bit of business isn't going to hurt them...than it is to be a faithful steward of all God has given me. I don't believe that He approves of me giving His money to a company/organization that has Satan standing right behind them with his hand out.
Posted @ Thursday, August 30, 2012 1:27 AM by Tammy Demoreuille
Thank you for this godly perspective. It gives me a lot to consider when facing these life challenges. God bless you. God bless Precept Ministries. We love you Kay and family.
Posted @ Thursday, August 30, 2012 8:42 AM by Lena
I emptied my lists and purchase only if necessary now from Amazon.God gives us free choice and I made mine and they theirs.I believe boycotting sends a message and hopefully food for thought.I am accountable to God for my actions as they are. Defenitley someone new to pray for.
Posted @ Saturday, September 08, 2012 7:11 PM by
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