are the ones getting cheated by televangelists?
"A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to
suppress any hereditary propensity towards fanaticism."
in a pew no more makes you a Christian than sitting in a garage makes
you a car."
has been suggested that the ability of slimy televangelists to prosper is
evidence of the ignorance of the typical Christian. In the words of Michael
Weisskopf in a front page article of the Washington Post (different
subject, same idea), Christians are as a rule, "poor, uneducated, and
easy to command". This conclusion assumes among other things that 1)
Christians are ignorant, and 2) it is mostly Christians who are being cheated.
But are they?
believers and nonbelievers often fail to do is distinguish the proper worship
and exaltation of Christ from humanity's sometimes poor or fraudulent exercise
of it. Too many people accept any particular person's quote of a verse
or unevidenced profession as identifying that person as a Christian.
someone preaches that God blesses in proportion to the amount of magic prayer
cards purchased from a post office box in Hollywood, California, what makes
that preacher a Christian by any biblical definition? If they claim you
can receive physical healing by placing your hand on the TV screen during
their show, what's their biblical reference for that? The point is that
there is zero support for such stage acts.
So how are such characters even mistaken as Christians?
failure to discern a true
follower of Christ and failure to discern accurate
biblical interpretation. These failures do hold dangers for believers,
but perhaps hold worse dangers for nonbelievers.
danger for believers who fail to discern the authenticity of someone's
profession of faith is that they can end up following people who have no
business leading them. This can not only lead to the big mistakes of falling
for cult leaders and charlatan televangelists, it could also lead to the
more subtle and common mistakes of taking the advice of sincere but uninformed
friends, or joining a church whose doctrines have strayed from the window
of proper biblical interpretation.
danger for nonbelievers who fail to discern the authenticity of someone's
profession of faith is that they risk erroneously linking that person's
actions or teachings to belief in God or the Bible. If nonbelievers make
such mistaken associations, they will consequently be less inclined to read
or study the Bible for themselves. They will thus avoid learning of the
true nature of Scripture, and the goodness of God, and all the blessings
that can come from that.
preachers and false organizations cheat millions out of millions. But insofar
as more nonbelievers are associating slimy televangelists with Jesus and
the Bible than are well Bible-grounded Christians, it is the nonbelievers
whom are being cheated the most - cheated out of hearing the true
gospel message and the derivative benefits thereof; both now and
in the life to come.
know that accepting whatever you hear on television to be true is foolish
regardless of what you think about God. Television, just like newspaper
and radio, exists primarily to sell advertising time; to make money. That's
ultimately why NBC faked truck test explosions, why CNN covered up atrocities
to maintain access to a hostile regime, why a New York Times journalist
could invent lengthy and detailed interviews that never took place, perhaps
why CBS aired the Superbowl half-time they did, probably why NPR more often
attacks the party that would defund them, definitely why shock jocks exist,
and partially why politicians so often do or say whatever it takes to win
or hold office.
of this, and yet some people will still place more faith in a ten-second
soundbite from any of those scheming profit sources than in free literature
that has been scrutinized inside and out for the last 3,400 years. I agree,
someone is definitely getting cheated.
What is "faith"?
What is "Christian"?