Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Boring World of Faux-Christian TV

(I took this picture of a marquee across from Bangkok's Siam Paragon Center - now playing, the Thai "Superhit" "Boring Love.")

(Quotes are from Richard Stearns, The Hole In Our Gospel: What Does Jesus Expect of Us?)

Anyone who actually reads and meditates on the four Gospels and follows the Real Jesus (= the historical Jesus we read about in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) will experience serious cognitive dissonance if they watch "Christian TV." We don't usually see the real thing on TV because the Real Jesus does not sell very well. On the other hand "Jesus as the Great Blessing-Butler In the Sky" sells well. The premise is: If you give money to TV preachers who sell this Jesus to you, then this faux-Christ will bless you big time.

Boring. Because faux-love is boring. The idea that "Jesus will love and bless you if you send in some money and bless me" is not real because it is not sacrificial, but rather self-beneficial. It's a ridiculous sub-human thing under the guise of love, and is being marketed under the name of Jesus all over the world, and especially here in America, from where it is being exported to other countries.

John MacArthur is correct when he says: "The true Gospel is a call to self-denial. It is not a call to self-fulfillment." (25) Slow down here and think of all the "Christianity" that seduces people by preaching the false gospel of self-fulfillment. But in fact the gospel of self-fulfillment is another form of the gospel of bondage. Remember the upside-down Kingdom of God that Jesus preached here. The REAL THING is not about acquiring, but about deaccumulating. It's all about less, not more. Here Richards Stearns warns us not to equate "success" with God's approval. (28)

Many, many years ago I was asked to play a set of music to open up the group "The Second Chapter of Acts." Linda and arrived, my guitar in hand, with a bunch of friends who had come to hear me and Second Chapter play. There was going to be a few thousand people there. I was excited, and nervous. I was greeted at the door by the person who had put together this concert. He was saddened to tell me that Buck Herring, Second Chapter's manager and husband of singer Annie Herring, had asked that there be no opening act that evening. I felt let down.

Nonetheless we went in and enjoyed an evening of great music and a worshipful atmosphere. Linda and I always loved the beautiful, stratospheric voice of Matthew Ward. Near the end of the concert Buck Herring stepped onto the stage. I will never forget his "altar call." Basically it was: 1) Jesus died on a cross to forgive your sins; and 2) you can give all to him because he has given all to you. Buck told the people, "This is not for anyone who just wants to 'get saved' and then go on with their lives as if nothing happened. Jesus is looking for people who will sacrifice all for the sake of his call." (Remember that The Herrings and Keith Green were best of friends...)

Uh-huh. That's it. Jesus requires absolute surrender. Richard Stearns writes, "To be a disciple means forsaking everything to follow Jesus, unconditionally, putting our lives in his hands." (39)