Christian TV: Entertaining Actors Unaware
Many billions of dollars have been spent on Christian television over the last few decades with little overall effect on the spiritual condition of the country, though a few have greatly benefitted.
By this it should be obvious that money never drives real revivals and actual spiritual awakenings. Neither do popular personalities. Great Awakenings are always brought forth by the Lord Jesus through very humble people on a grassroots level, often with minimal financial support.
Appearing on major Christian television networks, these major personalities have major backing by tens of thousands of people who support each of them unequivocally. In essence, these personalities are idolized.
They are never questioned. Their backers have long since been persuaded by the demands of their religious culture to be silent and absolutely supportive. Their backers have been taught to believe that these personalities are standing right next to God Himself, are spiritually special, and are “God’s anointed.” Maybe some are.
Television is the perfect medium for these personalities. However, before they could ever appear on television, they must have first proved to be able to gather large crowds of solid supporters who never question anything they do or teach, though the majority of these personalities do not teach the fullness of the New Testament.
Here is a sign—a clear disclosure for anyone with eyes to see.
How is it that these personalities do not typify and better represent the example of the Lord Jesus as clearly illustrated in the Gospels? They do not seem to look like the Lord Jesus or any of the original apostles and disciples of the Lord. In fact, they sometimes present themselves as the complete opposite.
In further fact, some of them by their very example apparently live by the motto, in referring to the Lord Jesus, “He must decrease while I must increase.”
WHO’S FOLLOWING WHO?
In order to be successful, they had to create not disciples of the Lord Jesus, but their own followers. Their followers are not necessarily followers of the Lord and are usually not His disciples. Why? Because it is obvious that the Lord Jesus is not their primary focus and that they do not answer to the Lord but to these personalities they have chosen to be their leaders.
Once these personalities have gained a substantial following, they are allowed to be on television because television programs can only be successful if people watch. Having a built-in following already insures that a sizable amount of market share can be gained and can be used to build upon.
Some prove to be not quite ready for primetime. Some fail their opportunity. It could be because they are too honest and too real.
Others, however, fit the television medium perfectly. As a result, they are followed by even greater numbers of people, huge market share is gained, and donations rise exponentially. These people are thus gold to the network. They are what make the network successful.
Remember how the Lord Jesus described Himself? If one wants an accurate description of the Lord, it can be found in the following:
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:29-30]
Also, remember how He was kicked out of the synagogues and was fought by organized religion? And how the religious elites and controllers of His day hated Him? And how they finally had enough when He cleaned out the money makers from the temple?
Then they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves; and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple.
And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS?’ But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”
The chief priests and the scribes heard this, and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. [Mark 11:15-18]
This account adds to the former description of the Lord Jesus. From it we can see that in addition to being gentle and humble in heart, He can also astonish people and make religious leaders afraid of Him.
The Lord would probably not have been so effective within the deemed requirements of the present Christian television medium. Here’s why:
People do not want television to reflect reality—even “reality shows” are at least partially scripted (fake). People want television to be entertaining, including Christian television. They want it to reflect fantasy. They want it to be a hyped-up, better-than-this-world, fictional adaptation of reality. And because these major Christian television personalities had already proven themselves to be entertaining showmen by the performances they put on in their churches every Sunday, it makes it possible for them to do the same on television.
It takes much training to look at a television camera and talk to it as if one were talking to another person. Some are not so good at this. There are television news readers, usually local, who have not quite mastered the concept. They talk to the camera well enough to have their job, but they do not appear so convincing. When a person watches them one can see that the news readers in question are certainly looking at the camera but appear to be talking to the camera instead of talking to the television viewers.
Major Christian television personalities do not do this. They have mastered the craft of appearing sincere while talking to a camera either with an audience or virtually alone in a studio. If they can get people to identify with them and watch them and listen to them intently as if they were actually talking directly to the person watching on television, then they have mastered the art of communicating through the medium of television.
This mastered art makes them primarily actors, not preachers of the gospel.
And everyone knows that the best actors are those who give the most convincing performance.
“…But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments.
“They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men…” [Matthew 23:5-7] 
During the Lord’s time, the chief religious actors were the Pharisees. How do we know this? Because the Lord Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites, and the meaning of the word hypocrite is, “an actor, a stage player, a dissembler, and a pretender.”
According to the major Christian television networks that exist because of these major Christian personalities, (1) Image is everything, and (2) Biblical truth is not as important as monetary success and maximum viewership.
REAL CHRISTIANS DON’T GO TO CHURCH TO HAVE CHURCH—THEY ARE THE CHURCH
It is obviously the same with many churches and denominations. It takes large amounts of money to make a religious enterprise work. It takes the purchase of real estate, much of it very high value. It takes the building of large very expensive structures. It takes the paying of very good salaries. Christians are conditioned to believe that Christianity simply cannot work or function without the preceding and without very large amounts of cash.
To that end, congregants and adherents of their respective denominations must be put upon to constantly support the enterprises with much time and much money, though most of the money goes to mere material outlays and most of the time is spent going back and forth several times a week attending the “services” in the buildings we call “churches.”
The Lord Jesus never bought real estate for ministry purposes.
He never built a church building.
He never commanded the building of church buildings.
Neither did any of His original disciples.
The first official church buildings were built three hundred years later.
Therefore, one must attempt to figure out how something so foreign to the Lord and the first Christians had become traditionally indispensible to later church folk. What spirit is being honored here? Who are these people trying to impress?
The Lord Jesus spent most of the donated ministry funds on everyone and everything but Himself. He purposely put Himself at the very end of the line in the use of ministry funds and allowed Himself only the very barest of the bare necessities.
Pharisees did the opposite. Major Christian Television Personalities often do the opposite. Many church leaders often do the opposite.
Rather than obeying the Lord Jesus, they have joined the “successful ministry profession,” and simultaneously the “religious acting profession,” since you can’t have one without the other. Both require large amounts of money, so the raising of money through any means possible is vitally necessary to the existence and maintenance of both professions, and has become a ministry of its own.
That’s why there are “religious telethon ministers” whose primary duty is to raise cash by manipulating as many people as possible using any means possible to get as many donations as possible.
On top of all this, the owners and purveyors and on-camera personalities of these enterprises use fear tactics against anyone who might question the necessity of their enterprises and the sincerity of its movers and shakers. Those who don’t go along with their shenanigans are attacked and labeled as something ungodly, which is another great trick of the devil.
The Pharisees used this exact trick on the Lord Jesus many times—“If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!” [Matthew 10:25]
Remember, the above dynamic involved an attack by institutional, traditional, mammon-serving religious leaders and their followers against the Son of God, who appeared as a total radical by comparison. The amount of conviction He brought to them by His perfect example was off the scale.
YOU CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON
Because correct teaching is deemed less important to the enterprise and is even frowned upon since it tends to greatly decrease market share, mass viewership, and especially potential donations, the major Christian television personalities only engage in what is popularly accepted by the majority since that is where the money comes from.
They also bow at the altar of all-inclusiveness by accepting non-believers and legitimizing “Christian” cults. They stay away from divisive issues, both social and political, but most often never address any strongly convicting New Covenant truths that are sure to cause problems with their real agenda.
Every good business owner knows the customer is always right and one must always honor the clients that make one’s business successful. That is why many ministers know one should never tick off the donor base. And whoever has the most money to donate and influence to grant, regardless of their spiritual condition, must be doted on and given a greater stake in the organization and interaction with those at the top of the pyramid.
Regarding such behind the scenes actions, the truth is usually not possible, whether it concerns real intentions and motivation, or why they shy away from preaching the full Gospel. They appear as seasoned politicians, expertly deflecting everything beyond the script with sincerity and smiling faces, knowing that as long as they have their financial backers everything will be fine. As a result, they are rendered largely untouchable regardless of scandal or the hint of one. Most may be as honest as possible within a not so spick-and-span industry, but many are at least guilty by association.
And instead of rebuking those among their ranks who are involved in questionable behavior and refuse to toe the New Covenant mark, they rally to the side of the guilty parties who sometimes remain unrepentant. They know the light may be shining on them one day and they’ll need the support of their allies.
Quiet on the set.
© 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
UPDATE (3/13/15): The AP reports that a major Christian television personality, a man who claims he can garner $100,000 for a speaking engagement, needs your help. He needs $65 million dollars for a new luxury jet. Seriously, I do not make this stuff up…
Posted on March 13, 2015, in Current Events and tagged America, Christian Pharisees, Christian Television, Deception, Graven Images, Hypocrites, Lord Jesus, One World Religion, Real Christianity, Unreal Christianity. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.
After reading this I began to wonder just why it is that such a great majority are so deceived that they don’t finally reach the conclusion there is something vastly wrong with this picture. I’ve come to the conclusion that somewhere along the line they simply are not all that interested in coming to the Truth of the gospel for one reason or another. Or, possibly, even if they are, the cost is greater than they want to pay, (which would mean the giving up of the self life and turning fully to the Cross).
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Rev 18:4
Thanks again, Scarlett. I always appreciate your comments.
Regarding why so many people are deceived by things “Christian” that are not Christian, it originates from the creation of false gospels. There are many people who claim to be Christians who put no faith in the written Word of God, claiming there is no way it can be accurate after all these years. Once they believe that and take it to heart, the only solution is to convince them otherwise using all the historical facts we have at our disposal. Yet, if their heart is closed the only solution is for their heart to be opened and that will be a matter of their own will. If they congregate with people who believe the same, their support group will keep their heart closed.
The same can be said for every Christian counterfeit or false gospel.
The written Word of God is our Constitution, so to speak, but it is also our history book. Christians who actually read the Word of God, study it, research its origins and later history, and understand how it has arrived in the present, know that it is not mere words on paper, but absolutely true. We know this in part by what happens when the truths thereof are applied, and especially toward our own salvation and walk with God.
I’ll have to attempt to be brief here, but the main reason Christians are deluded by so many things within “Christianity” that are not actually Christian is because someone started something anti-Biblical at one point, gained followers, convinced the followers, and followers pass it on to succeeding generations. Though others try to show them where they are wrong they do not listen and consider it an attack.
When a thousand people do the above, and we end up with a veritable smorgasbord of various Christian cults, sects, counterfeits, denominations, etc, people get lost within it all as if one is lost deep in a jungle somewhere and cannot get their bearings. If there is a very high canopy, it rains all the time, is always overcast, there are no stars visible, and one cannot even make out the position of the sun, how can such a person figure out how to get out of such a place? Most never do and just succumb to being lost or become indigenous to it.
The other reason is that Christians are taught to be nice and most people don’t want to offend other Christians. And they know some of those “Christians” will attack them, and slander them, and sometimes try to destroy them while protecting their own corrupted version of Christianity. Sometimes the signs are very clear but most times they are not clear at all and differences are subtle.
The answer to finding one’s bearings is we must read the Word. We must study the Word. We must read the history of the early Community of the Lord. We must pray and pray ever more. We must fast. We must get as close to the Lord Jesus as possible and stay there. We must let His Light shine in our hearts and minds. We will begin seeing stuff we never saw before and find confirming Scriptures and historical accounts that verify it. But mostly we will discover that the application of the Lord’s teachings actually results in the same things it resulted in with Him and His early disciples.
If a person wants TRUTH, they will stop at nothing to get it, and they will drop anything they discover is not true and move on. This often causes breaks with other “believers.” But this is what real discipleship entails and it brings one ever closer to the Lord.
Real Christians would rather have the Lord Jesus and no one else than false fellowship and less of the Lord, which is in part why He taught that only a few would ever find the real Way and walk it out to the very end. With every step of the Way they see more and more that this world is not their home and they keep investing more treasure in heaven.
Be blessed and keep up the great work.
I’m reminded of the verse that says, “How shall they hear without a preacher?” Nothing will ever replace the importance of good, biblically sound, heartfelt preaching.
I agree Linda. I think it is most likely true that most Christians recount their salvation as coming through the medium of a local community.
This is exactly how it was in the beginning. Part of what I wanted to point out in this post is that starting about fifty years ago “churches” began to change, getting bigger and less personable. And then Christian television gave an apparent green light to many to stay home and get whatever they thought they needed from TV. In the latter there was no fellowship, of course, but in churches there was no fellowship either, since most congregants did not know one another beyond the surface and merely shared geography on Sunday mornings.
Since the advent of official church buildings in the early 300sAD by Constantine at the beginning of the Roman Catholic Church, very large buildings were initially converted from Roman government buildings and later many were constructed new for services that held not only a great many people but also made an authoritative cultural statement.
During and after the Protestant Reformation 1200 years later, the various Protestant denominations did the same. Soon, official church buildings were seen as culturally indispensible and a must, as if the practice of Christianity was impossible otherwise.
We know from history, though, that the early Church had no official buildings for 300 years, nor did they have an official bound New Testament. They didn’t have a lot of things that later Christians insisted they could not do without or should. In fact, it became a point of heresy to even think of such things, and even sacrilegious.
Yet, when these later people sent out missionaries, the people they sent had to make do with almost exactly the same as the early apostles. How did the early believers manage to be so incredibly effective without church buildings, money, television, seminaries, a clergy, and all the other later additions? And why can’t we see that it is many of these later additions that are causing modern Christians to be the opposite of the originals in both heart and mind, in spiritual strength, and in being actual SALT and LIGHT?
The reason America is slowly growing more corrupt every day is because the SALT and LIGHT of real Christians has been greatly reduced by, guess who? Not the government, but by Unreal Christianity!
When the home church movement in America took off thirty years ago, most “churches” fought it strongly. There was a lot of hate coming from what otherwise appeared to be “nice Christians.” But that movement has advanced so far there will in the not too distant future be more Christians meeting in homes than in church buildings. In fact, “churches” saw they could not defeat the movement so they adopted it under their own authority, of course, and created “home groups,” which most often have no impact outside the official “churches.”
The point is that the local work is the most effective work, just as indigenous ministers are the best ministers, and the more one gets away from having a heart-to-heart fellowship of believers, the more one will create a false Christianity ruled from on high by distant clergyites instead of by the leadership of the Lord’s Holy Spirit.
At its worst form is possibly television. Christian television can be good if used properly, but nothing will ever replace what the Lord Jesus created at the beginning—a small organic community of people who loved and supported each other and who were able to develop as disciples rapidly and thus do the Lord’s work rapidly. We can do this again in America, and we will, but we need to get all the obstacles and restrictions out of the way and quit supporting all the stuff that doesn’t work which actually opposes God.
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I suspect the time is coming when the only way we’ll be able to meet will be secretly, in homes.
It was that way in the beginning. It has been that way in much of the world since. It is that way in China right now, but China has spiritually exploded from early illegal house church beginnings only about forty years ago. Again, the clear projections are that China will become a Christian nation in a relatively short time. Many Muslims are secretly being converted in large numbers in the Middle East.
The sad thing about America is that since the Revolution we have lawful rights backed by our Constitution to freely practice whatever the Lord Jesus calls us to do. We can meet peaceably in our homes. We can say whatever we want. We can write about and report whatever we want. So it was not the government which we created that was stopping us, but organized Christianity which put great restrictions upon the Christian citizens of a free people. This has been a travesty.
Have you noticed that the Bill of Rights does not apply in churches? Most churches are 501C3 organizations and speech is limited.
I think what happens is that when our backs are to the wall we either surrender or fight. If only a small percentage of Christians insist on our rights and practicing our faith and just do it and decide to fight and stand up for the Lord Jesus, many will join in, we will do so in peace, and the Awakening will advance greatly.
Christians in other countries have none of these rights but are doing it anyway. Maybe American Christians need something severe just to wake them up. Maybe all the judgment on this country is God’s nudging to tell us we’re off course.
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“Soon, official church buildings were seen as culturally indispensable and a must, as if the practice of Christianity was impossible otherwise.”
This is the stronghold that seems almost impossible to break through and is the most frustrating to me. I seem to be caught between two worlds; I can’t and won’t go back to the carnal world and I can’t and won’t go back to the organized church.
Where I live I have found zero fellowship, which I desperately crave. There are no house churches in this small town, which instead is littered with church buildings of various denominations, tattoo parlors. Tarot Card readers, psychics, Reiki and Yoga studios, spiritual “healers”, and other weirdness.
It has become a very lonely walk indeed. Years have passed, and yet I have to wait on the Lord to lead knowing that I can’t “force” things to happen and I refuse to window shop fellowship.
When I moved into my new apartment several months ago, I talked to some women in the clubhouse where I thought, for a brief moment, I might have fellowship, but sadly, I soon found out the woman who was leading the group, was following the doctrines of two well known and popular mega church televangelists. No fellowship possible in that mess.
As for “evangelizing” unbelievers, the Lord has allowed me to be most effective outside the four walls of the church in encounters that He orchestrated. However, I’ve found that when I’ve tried to explain the pitfalls of the organized church system to a died in the wool churchaholic, their eyes glaze over and they look at me as if I were the devil incarnate.
So, yes, I tend to agree that it’s going to take severe judgment to bring about revival in this country, and I believe it’s not far off. After all, just how much more do you think the Lord Jesus Christ is going to put up with? If it’s a stench in our nostrils, how much more His, the Holy God over all?
Thanks Scarlett. Judgment is already here, but it’s for a purpose, as you know. Some people respond properly, some miss it, and some just hunker down all the more without repenting.
Regarding the church thing, I can only speak to my knowledge and experience but since I have been at this for decades I have certainly gained a lot of both through much research and experience. The experiential part is especially enlightening. And the most enlightening part of that has been the refusal by institutional Christianity to attempt to make any connection or even see any connection between its great spiritual lack and its disconnect from the Book of Acts, and it’s misapplying, resisting, or outright disobeying of the Lord’s teachings and commands.
In retracing our steps to find possible reasons why much of Christianity is failing, we should begin with the logical starting place of looking at the early community of the Lord in Jerusalem and how they did things. That’s where the answers are. But there are four very strong dynamics in the general traditional church world that often preclude this possibility:
(1) Most American Christians have absolutely no knowledge of the early community of the Lord or its practices or any knowledge of the Book of Acts whatsoever. Most never read it, have never read, and will never read it. There is simply no hunger or desire to know.
(2) What they did in the Book of Acts is completely foreign to the experience of most American Christians and because of this it is rejected for various reasons. The early saints are seen as primitive, ignorant, clueless, and unaware of later great theological truths. Their manner of living is seen as unworkable. The social construct they adopted, by the Lord’s exact teaching by the way, is viewed as something only possible for that time or culture.
(3) Because many of the practices of the early community of the Lord appear similar to what the traditional church in America has almost always seen as incorrect and even sinister, since it appears to be like “communes,” and “socialism,” and like a bunch of hippies living together off the land, this is another reason it is rejected.
(4) But probably the greatest dynamic that continues playing out is the fear of losing money and control. The people at the top are running everything and gain their salaries from the set-up. Yet, the Book of Acts community was not controlled by an overreaching clergy class or by dominant “church leaders.” It also had a tendency to give stuff away to those in need among their own instead of the later opposite method of creating a way to extract wealth from the congregation. In other words, tithes and offerings were originally GIVEN with a cheerful heart, and the hearts of the members were such that they allowed the Lord to give them of His Holy Spirit, which allowed them to perform as He did. He was actually present with them and worked with them.
This was typified perfectly by the Lord Jesus working through Peter and John to heal the lame man and telling the lame man prior to his healing that they had no money. Imagine that—perhaps the two apostles closest to the Lord and they were broke. But they were rich with spiritual power! And they actually had a place to stay and had food and anything else they needed, of course, though not actual currency at the time.
In later Christian tradition, tithes and offerings became something one must PAY and was in essence a forced religious tax. The early believers knew such a method would actually stifle the Holy Spirit and the Lord’s ability to work.
Ironically, the Christians who reject the Book of Acts community because it appears socialistic are the actual socialists, because institutional traditional Christianity actually forces tithing and controls everything else, including what one believes and even thinks. It also replaces the sole and ultimate authority of the Lord Jesus with a dominating clergy class which often includes a hierarchy. The Lord never did any of this and never taught it, and neither did the early believers.
For most of traditional Christianity, its methods have been and remain the exact opposite of the Lord’s method—there’s often a ton of money but no spiritual power. Some claim to have both, but it certainly appears that one works against the other, in that the Lord said we cannot serve both Him and mammon.
Now, the early community certainly had many resources. They were well taken care of. But they did a lot of voluntary sharing, and that’s the key. It was voluntary. Communism, Socialism, and similar evil political systems lie about their nature. These systems always use force, remove freedom, curtail personal development, and maintain strict control by a few at the top, just like Unreal Christianity. Cults do the exact same thing.
Real Christians share voluntarily out of the goodness of their hearts. Most churches don’t do this. It is expected that everyone give large amounts of money but it is also expected that no member will ever ask for the same in return when in dire need. It proves such a system is spiritually unworkable, and it further proves that traditional Christianity has traded closeness to God, spiritual power and ability, and a loving real community for power and wealth (and social standing), most all of which is concentrated in the hands of a very few.
Regarding your current situation, many followers of the Lord have the same. However, if we look at the example of the Lord Jesus, everything began with Him. At one point, real Christianity was composed of only one Person. Then He began to call and make disciples. He started with only twelve, and only a few of those had the aptitude for growth early on. Then He taught them to make disciples. Then those disciples made disciples, and that’s how it went. The Lord also said He would be in the midst of only two or three who gathered together in His Name. That means there can actually be a fellowship of only two people and the Lord.
Looks like cell division, doesn’t it? Each of us started with a seed and an egg joining up. All of God’s stuff always starts small, but smallness in this sense never denotes a lack of importance. I suggest praying about this and see where the Lord leads. Maybe instead of Him leading you to join something He will lead you to create something.
This is excellent. This reminds me of something that Leonard Ravenhill once said that, if a church does not have the Presence of God, then that is when the church brings in worldly entertainment to bring people into the church. Sounds like a whorehouse.
“The early church was married to poverty, prisons and persecutions. Today, the church is married to prosperity, personality, and popularity.”
Here is a post about the revival that hit Wales in 1904:
“Obedience to the Promptings of the Spirit”
Thanks very much Tim. What happened in Wales should give all real Christians a clear indication of what is readily possible with the Lord. God does not need all the things and the kinds of “ministers” we have been conditioned to believe as mandatory to create a great move of His Spirit. It should make us all see that He can use anyone, but that “anyone” is often seen by the elite as non-usable, largely because such believers are granted no place in established religious leadership councils and the clergy unions.
Real Christians have been granted a look behind a blinding spiritual veil by their humility and proper reverence for the Lord Jesus and see that the Lord Himself perfectly fits this category. He was rejected by the religious leaders then and He is rejected by them now. It should be a giant clue that as religious control increases, the presence, power, and love of the Lord among the controlled decreases, often to the point of none at all.
The greatest obstacle and enemies of the Lord and His apostles (all descendants of Abraham) in the first century were the unbelieving Jews. The greatest obstacle and enemies of real Christians is Unreal Christianity.
Here is an excellent post by Michael Boldea, Jr.:
“Not So Harmless After All”