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Battling a perception that it is a cult, the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation is having a hard time giving away its faith in the land of Luther. German broadcasting authorities in January pulled the plug on an extensive television advertising campaign for the foundation's free evangelistic book, Power for Living.

Wolfgang Baake, executive director of the evangelical media association KEP, says many Christians "wonder what is going on. There is no room for Christian content on TV, but late-night programs offer all kinds of nudity and porn."

But some point out that organizers of the campaign, which began in December and continues in magazines and on billboards, made some unwise decisions. The foundation gave no interviews and did not work with prominent German Christian leaders, which caused speculation in the German press. Several newspapers and TV programs suspected a "cult" behind the campaign.

The German Evangelical Alliance, however, welcomed the campaign, although it came as a surprise. The alliance's general secretary, Hartmut Steeb, regretted that the foundation, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, had not contacted the major German denominations in advance.

Broadcast authorities in January decreed a halt to the televised Power for Living spots, saying regulations do not allow the promotion of political, ideological, or religious views in advertising. Most channels cooperated. One channel, RTL, continued broadcasting until threatened with a $434,000 fine.

In response, on January 21 Mark DeMoss told the press, "Our goal is to tell everybody what we have experienced: a personal relationship with God. This is the most important thing in life."

By early March, Germans had ordered more than 500,000 copies of Power for Living. Evangelical ...

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May 21, 2002

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