Gold Coast Bereans

Out of Ghana, West Africa; Christian hearts and critical minds seeking, speaking and writing the truth with love. This is a conversation of a group of friends, now living in the USA and the UK, who have known each other for more than 20 years.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Christian Cable TV, etc

What do you guys think of the current state of "Christian" broadcast television, particularly TBN? And what about the recent pronouncements of Pat Robertson? - Gaius Texas

I think Pat Robertson's politics is stronger than his faith he is not making evangelism any easier for us at the grassroots. The worst part of mixing politics with christianity is that it destroys christianity. It happened with the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican church, and now, unfortunately it is happening with the evangelical church in america. Church and state do not mix, period. - Calorius

Many evangelicals are beginning to distance themselves from Pat Robertson. Some people even think his pronouncements are age-related which is not a politically correct thing to say and is also not very kind. I do not agree with that because personally our own Mr William Ofori Atta in Ghana ( the late "Paa Willie") continued to teach and preach sound doctrine into his old age. Pat Robertson keeps coming back to apologize for his statements and yet keeps making new ones. I think it has reached a stage where his every word is being scrutinized by the media for the next controversial.

Personally, I am also concerned about guys like John Hagee with his exoteric and escapologist interpretations of Scripture as it applies to the nation of Israel. In actual fact I think the level of sound doctrine on TBN and other christian cable channels is very poor indeed. - Robbo

It's strange, but I seem to agree 100% with you guys on so many things. There is hardly any sound doctrine on TBN etc, and even more dishearteningly there is hardly any evangelism of any kind. There is plenty of music, entertainment (even though I must admit it's clean entertainment), and peripherally important doctrine. Moreover, it's hard to absorb the little good there may be, because of the ostentation, commercialization, ignorance, bias, self-aggrandization, self-promotion, pretense, exaggeration, profiteering, and in-your-face hollywoodism that is blatantly practiced on those channels.

Regarding John Hagee, I like your play on the words esoteric/ exoteric and escapology/ eschatology. I agree fully though. And time will not permit me to talk about Benny Hinn, Paula, Rod Parsley, and the rest. -

On a related note my local Christian radio station runs adverts for injury and workers compensation lawyers, you know the "pay nothing until we get money back for you" kind. It also run adverts for bankruptcy lawyers advising people to act quickly before the law changes. It has whole 30 minute segments devoted to paid advertizing (infomercials) for alternative medicine products and food supplements.

In between these advertisements it also carries the sound teaching of men like John MacArthur and Alistair Begg. It does also carry the radio version of a lot of the TBN stuff. Sometimes I think it is a just a commercial station which will broadcast christian programming if the supplier is willing to pay, which is quite sad. I know they have to pay their workers and pay the bills too. I guess we should be grateful they are not carrying advertisements for dodgy enhancement products. But the thin line is getting broader and broader. I don't recall the christian radio station where we previously lived carrying such advertisements- Robbo

I don't think they can refuse to air a particular advertisement because of its content, unless the contents are indecent or illegal. It's like being a bus driver or a landlord; you couldn't refuse to pick a specific passenger because they are going to the den of gambling or to the house of prostitution. I don't think you should be too hard on them that way. The problem happens when their own content is bad. - Calorius

I am in full agreement with what my two brothers have written. My only interaction with TBN is when my wife switches it on for the Gaither gospel bandstand (or is it hour?). Thereafter whenever I see Joel Osteen or any of his ilk I quickly flip the channel. I really feel that those guys do a disservice to evangelism and christianity as whole. Slowly but surely they have turned christianity into a bunch of cliches and a national religion.

It also reminds me of the Roman empire which I believe started decaying as the empire embraced christianity as a national religion. Spain comes readily to mind. After it shed its catholic mantle (no offence Robbo, to your former church) under General Franco it slowly saw a boom in its economy and international prominence. I sometimes worry that Christians are actually making this country more retarded by their well meaning, or should I say self serving, ideas.

You can carry this argument forward to Martin Luther and though popular wisdom may dispute it the reformation was actually the catalyst for the rennaissance- at least in my opinion. I have come to the conclusion that religion and politics- church, mosque, synagogue and state must be kept separate. I will concede that our faith must certainly influence our politics but not the inquisition style faith of Pat Robertson.

TBN probably is run by executives who are career oriented and not necessarily faith oriented. Having said that they do provide an alternative to the torrid sex infested shows on the other channels and by the same logic some very good teachers sometimes appear on it. What gets me though is that the most inspired and devoted christian teachers you could ever have- Bob Mumford, TW Hunt, Henry Blackaby, Derek Prince (now deceased) and so on are never seen on TV . A lot of main stream christians never get to hear them.

This is where I think TBN may be missing the mark, but I feel that they also feel the financial pinch since the big TV evangelists can come up with the money required for the shows to run- I feel this is where the faith meets the road and usually looses out to the politics and career tracks. - Gaius Texas

I'm speechless, because you've said everything on my mind, better than I could say it. I have to mention one exception though: I have often seen the Billy Graham ministry purchase time on standard local channels for a purely evangelical half hour segment. I hear this is extremely expensive, but personally I would rather support that than the lavish lifestyles portrayed on TBN. - Calorius


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