Saturday, February 04, 2012

The Poison of "Christian" Television

Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

It was called the Industrial Revolution. This from Wikipedia:
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 1790s to 1860s where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times. It began in the United Kingdom then subsequently spread throughout Western Europe, North America, Japan, and eventually the rest of the world.
The Industrial Revolution marks a major turning point in history; almost every aspect of daily life was influenced in some way. Most notably, average income and population began to exhibit unprecedented sustained growth. In the two centuries following 1800, the world's average per capita income increased over tenfold, while the world's population increased over sixfold. In the words of Nobel Prize winner Robert E. Lucas, Jr., "For the first time in history, the living standards of the masses of ordinary people have begun to undergo sustained growth ... Nothing remotely like this economic behavior has happened before
In a dramatic series of technological advances most of the world’s population began to enjoy quantum leaps of prosperity in their personal lives. Nothing quite like it had ever happened before, and it not only changed the way people lived, it changed the way people thought. Many good things happened, but many unfortunate things surfaced as well.
People were energized to invent and create, and the spirit of industriousness blossomed. But as people’s earthly lives were enhanced by material goods and more effective conveniences, something else grew along side of these advances. Contentment seemed to dissipate, and what once brought people satisfaction no longer seemed to satisfy. The sense of gratification for a hard days work turned into a source of discontent and envy concerning others who did not have to work as hard.
This kind of disgruntlement began to fester and many read about new inventions that made the lives of others much easier. And now millions no longer had only their own lives with which to be satisfied, now they could compare their lives with the lives of others. And as they saw what others might be enjoying, they began to be displeased with their own situation. And with the invention of the telephone these displeasures could be easily voiced among each other and reinforced in each other’s hearts.
With the invention and spread of electricity it became easy to appeal to people’s dissatisfaction by presenting things that would make their lives easier. Through a growing mass communication the sales industry grew exponentially and sweet talking representatives could persuade the most stubborn consumers. With the growth of personal income, as well as individual education, the entire economic structure burgeoned beyond anyone’s expectation. The average person became enraptured with the things of this world.
Somewhere around A.D. 1900 two inventions came forth in embryonic form. They were the motion picture and an extremely primitive version of the picture tube television. It wasn’t too long before motion pictures became available through theatres, but it wasn’t until the middle 1930’s that the television came upon the scene. Many people thought the television would be a passing fad and would soon become just a memory. They were wrong. Although it took many years to develop what we call the broadcast companies, the television was here to stay, to say the least.
And while the television was being perfected, the revolution which had provided comforts, conveniences, and even luxuries continued with great vigor. Much of the world became obsessed with new technology and with the onslaught of visual communication much of the world became addicted to the form of media we call television. Of course radio became very popular, but it quickly relinquished it premier status to television. In my lifetime I witnessed the phenomenon where almost every home had one black and white television, and soon every home had a color television. And today it is rare to see a home which only has one television. Do they even sell black and white TVs anymore?
As I mentioned that part of the television revolution was the commercial. What a gold mine that became. Millions of people were sitting in front of their favorite television program and suddenly there is a salesman right in their home and selling a product through famous endorsements, catchy jingles, and fanciful sale’s pitches about how no one can live without the product. Even poison like cigarettes and hard liquor became a mainstay through the television airwaves. And in 1960 the first televised presidential debate aired. Today, televised debates and political adds manipulate the susceptible minds of people as they watch. Of course the theme is redundant - “I’m good and he’s bad”. How adolescent.
But when television began to catch on in the 1940’s another genre saw the potential of reaching into millions of homes. It became known as Christian television. Now at the beginning it was predominately evangelistic in nature. Billy Graham, Rex Humbard, and to a limited extent Oral Roberts presented the gospel or at least the Person of Jesus Christ. But as is many times the case, the carnal nature of man began to take over and it all centered around money and influence.
Under the guise of preaching the gospel, men now promoted their own ministries and manipulated people through slick visuals, special music, and accomplished appeals for money. And in return for a gift the person was sent professional pamphlets which were carefully constructed to elicit more communication and a faithfulness to that particular ministry. Men and women began to draw disciples unto themselves. And many of these television ministers saw an increase in their personal wealth.
Whether you like him or not, many thousands of sinners came to Jesus Christ through the ministry of Billy Graham. I am one of them. Yes, there were problems with the way he complimented the Roman Catholic Church and even endorsed men like Oral Roberts and Robert Schueller, but all in all he was more gospel oriented than most of the rest, and he seemed to eschew the abundant wealth that many of his contemporaries embrace.
But Graham was an evangelist. Most of today’s Christian television is now directed at professing believers and their pocketbooks. All the different teachings on the same television station has become a doctrinal toxic waste dump. And today the station itself raises money in addition to what it charges those who buy television time. And false teachers like Paul Crouch or Marcus Lamb have become very wealthy from the gifts and offerings they receive, and in addition they have become greatly responsible for providing false doctrine to the body of Christ. Christian television has become the greatest detriment to the true body of Christ.
Prosperity, scandals, and just a continuing stream of falsehoods now mark what is called Christian television. It is most unseemly and carnal and it has millions under its spell. Many people are enamored with the different television personalities and their own local pastors cannot compete. But many local pastors are now willing partners in the entire religious mess. The advent of Christian conferences also lend a platform to advertise a Christian TV personality and draw a crowd which for all practical purposes are nothing more than pocketbooks with legs.
And these Christian caricatures on television have not only led people far away from the faith of Jesus Christ, they also have become great stumbling blocks to unbelievers who watch and mock. These unbelievers have more discernment than millions of Christians. Christian television today should not be supported by believers. Even if there is a ministry that has some worth, your money still funnels into the station which spreads lies and heresies through other programs.
Find yourself a solid local fellowship, not perfect but solid. And if you cannot find one, well then begin one in your home and pray that God will lead you to some humble man of God who will take seriously the shepherding of God’s precious flock. And personally devour God’s Word daily. This blog is basically an exhortation, but it should never take the place of personal devotion to God’s Word and prayer. Allow the Spirit to use godly teachers in your spiritual walk, in fact there are online sites which offer free sermons by godly men of old and even some today.
But never rely wholesale upon any preacher for your spiritual food. Crack the Book, open your heart, and begin a wonderful journey which will not only build up your faith, but it will change you into His image. Christian television is the enemy of that process.
Eph.5:10-11 - Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks Rick - we need to keep our eyes on the One with Whom we have to do.