The American appetite for entertainment has always been voracious. We love to “see the show”.
Television added to the duty of radio for the first time in 1931. Only a few people could own a television, many not even a radio, in those days and early years of broadcasting. In 1931, a Western TV set cost $150.00. Adjusted for inflation, $150.00 in 1930 amounts to $2,190.99 in 2019.
Fast forward to today. Nearly every home has television, computer, cell phone and internet services. We are connected to nearly all the world’s collective knowledge at the touch of a screen or command from our voice on a single device more powerful than the collective computerization of NASA during the moon program. We all have cameras and instant gratification.
WHAT HAS THIS EARNED US AS A PEOPLE? WE NEED A DOCTOR. WE ARE SICK.
So many educators and sociologists have prognosticated that by now we would be much more civilized, cultured and ethical for all these prodigious advancements in techno-wizardry. We are still waiting for this to happen. So far, we have many more intelligent white-collar criminals, social, familial and personal dysfunctions, and bioethics in shambles. The role of pornography in our woes is so encompassing that it must be reserved for its own writing.
What about the Church? Christianity? Hasn’t technology been our greatest ally? Hasn’t the camera been a true friend and supporter of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
THE CAMERA HAS PROVEN TO BE A DEBILITATION FOR THE CHURCH ALREADY ON THE GURNEY
The fragile human ego does not go away when people decide to follow Jesus Christ as His disciple. It merely begins a process of morphing called “sanctification.” The only problem is that cameras are not equally sanctified. Those loving to hear and see themselves in recorded/playback style battle the ego and self at a truly higher level-on a risen plane that seems to mean a convincing, INSPIRATIONAL, MIRACULOUS, INCOME GENERATING Jesus soap-opera is coming.
700 Club, PTL and Daystar. Just watch these programs to see how wicked people in front of a camera can become when they use the camera as a tool for wolves in sheep’s clothing who turn Jesus Christ into one INFOMERCIAL after another. Realize that for each one of these deceivers, there are multiple thousands of “followers” who seek to play the Jesus Lottery. They want a return on their investment.
If the evangelist says God told him/her that a seed faith offering to their “ministry” of $1,025.00 needed to be made, then God is supposed to multiply that gift many times over.
If the TV viewer is desperate, lazy and greedy enough to believe the actor, they always get what they bargained for.
If these viewers would practice even the slightest bit of discernment, they would never send money in and these slimy shysters would go back behind the walls from whence they came, like roaches when the light comes on.
One slick, hyper programed show after other airs to give a black eye to the real church while deceiving millions about the truth of Christianity. The list is quite long these days (Osteen, Copeland, Murdock, Popoff, Meyers, White, Dollar, Hinn, Lamb, Duplantis, Jakes and these are just the wealthier ones)
At Least two industries do not want these hucksters to go away.
THE CAMERA WELCOMES AND PROMOTES ALL THE WRONG FOLKS
WHEN CAMERAS ARE OUTLAWED, ONLY TV EVANGELISTS (infomercials) WILL HAVE CAMERAS
Actors, actresses, TV evangelists, sitcoms, crime and passion shows, professional wrestling, news media outlets, and recently security cam performances by the unknown keep reminding us that humanity and camera may make for entertainment but not always lasting relationships and promotion of integrity.
HOW THE MIGHTY HAVE FALLEN
# ME TOO has laid bare just how camera, film and studio may harbor criminal behavior.
# TELEVANGELISTS ARE POP STAR CROOKS
POP STARS ARE LIKE REAL STARS—THEY BURN OUT IN THE END
–DEVELOPING A POP STAR
–PROMOTING A POP STAR
–DELIVERING A POP STAR
–ENJOYING THE INCOME FROM SAID POP STAR
–EXPLAINING THE DYSFUNCTIONS OF SAID POPSTAR
–PROPPING UP POP STAR THROUGH TREATMENTS
–LAST PUSH OF POP STAR
–PREMATURE DEATH OF POP STAR
QUESTION AND ANSWER
When did television news decline as our primary source for truth in news reporting as opposed to Narrative Enforcement?
Answer: When TV producers used the camera to create POP STARS of the anchors.
When did Christianity lose touch with its own theology and biblical truth?
Answer: When crafty people discovered that people were easily duped—when an effervescent, bold speaker who was kind to the camera could be propped up as someone in the know—when the new POP STAR deceived people into a vicarious relationship in which the money giver shared perceived power from the money taker.
How does all this relate to WORSHIP?
Answer: Cameras promote personalities. Personalities can become POP STARS. Pop Stars are actors in a play that has themselves as lead actor and all else minions. Actors make a living out of pretense. They become good at convincing others to give money, lend support and lay down their lives for the cause. These POP STARS want to be worshiped and this becomes problematic where they seed-faith themselves into competition with Jesus Christ. Let the phony deception begin along with the hyper promotion and salesmanship.
WHEN WORSHIP BECOMES AN INFOMERCIAL AND ENTERTAINMENT FOR THE MASSES
All the little preachers often want in on the action too. If the local church is in decline, and it is, what might the little guy do to keep his congregation from dissolving? They are told to get a Praise-Me Band and all will be well—Use cameras–video walls–fog machines and the holy ghost will show up in power.
This is happening across our land, and for a generation now many of these leaders have chosen to get into the entertainment business as a means of survival. The pay-off has not arrived–the church still declines.
This was their first mistake and a sorrowful revelation of just how weak leadership has become—how degraded their own personal walk became to allow, much less desire abandonment of necessary integrity. Such leaders cannot disciple their congregants because they are to busy bolstering their appearance for the camera–putting on the show. The followers remain ankle deep theologically in their understanding of Christ because their leader is in the same shallow pool, pretending like the big money boys and girls at the top.
THE BIBLE GIVES US THE TRUTH–AGE OLD TRUTH ABOUT MEN AND WOMEN SEEKING TO PROSTITUTE THE GOSPEL
Acts 8:9-25 English Standard Version (ESV)
Simon the Magician Believes
9 But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. 10 They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” 11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13 Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.” 24 And Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”
25 Now when they had testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they returned to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.
THE CAMERA DOESN’T MAKE SICKNESS, IT REVEALS IT AND PROMOTES IT FURTHER
WHO ALLOWS WORSHIP TO BE CONFUSED WITH A CONCERT?
Several years ago, Vance Havner mentioned that “the church had gone from hymns to hootenannies”. If he could only be here to see many of them today. In the absence of grounded and mature leadership, the church now fails to distinguish between worship and concert–from truth and error–between real and fake. To be sure, worship can happen at a concert and people can miss worship all together in the finest Sunday morning liturgical tradition, but devotion to one or the other is well taught in the scriptures.
The concert features the music and personality performance ability of all on the “stage”. An audience is essential.
In corporate worship, a congregation is at the focus of the word, prayer, teaching, confession, admonition, singing, remembrance–ordinance of the Lord’s supper, and sending forth to do the Great Commission. A congregation is essential.
LEADERSHIP would do well to refrain from trying to make music and concert performances suffice and substitute for worship as if biblical content is somehow inconsequential. Finding that leadership is well…
I believe the solution is to have more, not less, concerts at times other than Sunday corporate worship.
Concerts for emerging, maturing ego’s, (in audience too) does a good job to teach these musicians and speakers just how pitiful a substitute the applause of man is for humble servitude. This all takes time. Where are the Paul’s teaching the Timothy’s?
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A
“WORSHIP LEADER” or a “WORSHIP PASTOR”
Having people lead in worship is quite different from “leading worship“.
Worship shall be led by no man or woman.
This larger-than-semantics- understanding is at the heart of how many churches can not only endure the performance-based gathering but even now prefer it. Terms like “Worship Pastor” have become a watchword for those whose new craft and skill set include setlists, apparel, makeup, drama and acting skills complete with minute-by-minute production notes to support all the emotional and ego-driven necessities, complete with autographs after the concert. Seminary for a pastor is not so much a necessity these days as much as a diploma from the acting academy.
These churches are as the teen aged girl who raises her skirt by increments as if to say, “please like me–don’t reject me”.
And our brand of discipleship is showing. We are producing ankle-deep believers who value emotions over doctrinal purity–the experience over inner spiritual maturity (Eph.4:13-16). The Great Commandment is distorted into shallow believism that all but ignores the Great Commission for the inconvenience it became.
WHO WILL BE ACCOUNTABLE TO GOD ?
Leadership is responsible for the sickness we feel and leadership committed to Christ and the integrity of scripture will see us back on path to integrity.
But just like the children we have become, we must first tire of all the toys, trinkets, wealth, health and prosperity before acting and socio-pep-rallies in the pulpit will be replaced with preaching the word–in season and out.
If we are ever to get our congregations back (we now have too many audiences) we will need brave leadership willing to prefer lower numbers rather than a talk show host haven.
If we are ever to have worship beating a healthy heart again—
BESIDES SAYING GOODBY TO THE PULPIT CAMERA AND THE DEADENING, DECEPTIVE RELIGIOUS INFOMERCIALS,
WE MUST INFORM A PEOPLE WHO THINK BETTER BIBLICALLY THAN THEY FEEL EMOTIONALLY. OTHERWISE THEY WILL ALWAYS PREFER TO BE ENTERTAINED RATHER THAN DISCIPLED.
Warren Wiersbe said it best, “What will it take to motivate us to worship God? what will have to happen before we dismantle our shabby religious sideshows and build once again an altar to the Lord? The greatest judgement God could pass on the churches today would be to take His hands off and let them go right on doing what they are doing.
We have been living on substitutes for so long that if a revival of worship did come, many of God’s people would see it as a threat to the Gospel! A return to worship could be a threat to the preacher who enjoys being important and playing God in the lives of his people. Or to the preacher who is a good platform man and can keep things moving so that his congregation is interested and entertained.
A return to worship can be a threat to the church musician who would rather perform than minister, and who has no intention of bringing his weekday life intoline with his Sunday profession.
A return to worship could be a threat to the church member who does not want to be disturbed–He is getting by and that is all that counts.” (from book: Real Worship)