About three years ago, I turned off Christian Radio for good. This included not only the contemporary Christian music channel but the Christian talk and sermon channels as well. Why? I could literally 'hear' the degeneration of the Gospel message in every aspect of this medium. Most of the sermons were from seeker, church growth movement pastors who wanted you to have a balanced checkbook and happy marriage. It would have been rare to hear about the Wrath Christ took on the Cross.
And as I studied scripture more intently, I kept hearing sermons that were obvious proof texts of ONE verse out of the intended context of scripture. Then came the pleas for funds to continue these ministries that twisted the Word for effect. Some of these ministers pleading for funds had been outed by some bloggers showing their 'personal ministry' income figures from their 990's and it was shocking what they were making in addition to their church salary. And it was even more shocking to see what their family members were paid in these 'personal ministries'. The more I listened, the more the blatant hypocrisy and shallow teaching scared me so I turned it off. Radio could not be trusted anymore for the truth of scripture nor for the ethics of those pleading for funds. (I do listen to VCY archived shows over the internet)
When I saw this post at Slice of Laodicea, it clarified for me that what has happened to Christian Broadcasting is the same thing that has happened to Christian Publishing and the church: Marketing + Growth = Money.
Here are a few excerpts from the post which show how Christian Broadcasting has been lured by the world's system of success:
"Eliason says he has seen vast changes in the landscape in Christian broadcasting over the decades. “When I began in Christian broadcasting years ago, there was a seriousness, a gravity among those whose driving passion was to air an unadulterated Gospel message. Ministry was the focus. We now have an “Industry” focus that results in Disney and Fox consultants coming in to tell us how to present the Gospel.
A Disney exec is going to be telling us about, ‘The Power of a Story’. We need the creators of Cinderella to tell us how to present the story of the living Christ? What ever happened to the power of the Holy Spirit?” asks Dr. Eliason. “The emphasis today is not on the preaching of the Word. We’re told that nobody will listen to preaching any longer, that only images will suffice. Yet Scripture tells us in I Corinthians 1:21 that it is through the preaching of the Word that the Holy Spirit works to convert souls. In our endless and expensive quest for cultural relevance, we are losing the heart of the Gospel message, which is to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Christ. Unlike what many religious broadcasters are airing today, Jesus is not a life-enhancement product.”
Dr. Eliason concludes by saying, “What a powerful thing it would be if all of those broadcasters who are still committed to getting the true Gospel out to the masses through media would kneel and seek God at a mass prayer meeting in the Delta Ballroom. We could confess corporately that all of our slick media techniques, all of the money that is now the motivation in so much of religious broadcasting, and all the man- made strategies are ultimately worthless in changing hearts without the power of God in our ministries. What we are needing as Christian broadcasters at this hour is repentance and a return to the core purpose for our vast media assets—to unapologetically preach Christ crucified, the only hope of the world.”