Just 20 years ago Christian TV was in its infancy in the United Kingdom. Today there are some 17 channels on the SKY satellite platform. It seems there is a growing demand for different streams of Christian television, and sufficient interest amongst British viewers to sustain so many Christian networks. However there is also much criticism targeted at particular Christian series and at particular networks. The irony is that the most venomous attacks seem to be coming from other believers. This is not a good witness to the world. It seems Christian TV is under attack like never before and Bible believers need to rally to trust God for His intervention.
GOD TV, Revelation TV, TBN, Daystar, UCB, Inspiration, LoveWorld, The Gospel Channel, The Word Network, EWTN, Faith World, KICC TV, Believe TV, Olive TV, SBN, Flow TV and ACBN. These are the 17 Christian Channels on SKY, in EPG sequence and reflecting a mix of channels from British, American, European and African backgrounds. While many of the schedules feature similar daily series, each has a unique appeal to viewers. And each seems to have it’s own fair share of criticism.
There are those who dismiss Christian networks outright as being part of ‘broad road’ Christianity, i.e. not part of the narrow way, and have nothing positive to say about Christian programming. There are others whose major gripe is the fund raising methods used by channels like TBN, DayStar, SBN and GOD TV who have Praise-a-thons or Missions Weeks. And of course since the demise of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart, there have been those who belittle Christian networks due to their leader’s fall from grace.
The Internet has provided a platform for Christians, who feel they are being discerning, to criticise, discredit and put down other ministries as if they were doing God a favour. While we are all called to be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing and of being deceived by false prophets, we need to realise that though we differ on doctrine, salvation in Jesus Christ remains the single most important factor. We shouldn’t be wasting our time going around and bad-mouthing others when there is a lost world to win to Christ.
Fund raising will always be a difficult issue for some people, however it is clear that Christian media can only operate in partnership with listeners and viewers who catch the vision of the network and chose to support it. Holding telethons to gain support for Christian television is just as honourable as the BBC raising funds on air for Children In Need, if not more so, because we are dealing with people’s eternal destiny. Yes, nobody wants to be manipulated and you can’t buy a miracle. If you think you are – just switch channels or turn your television off.
God blesses us to be a blessing to others, He loves to see His children working together in unity. He has called us to do our part in the Great Commission and that takes, time, effort and money. He has also called us to be cheerful givers, not stingy. When we partner with Christian networks, we are reaching beyond ourselves, our church, our community to reach people on the other side of the world we don’t even know, but we play a part in their salvation experience. It is the power of Christian media. The power of partnership.
Regarding the moral failure, adultery of Christian leaders, call it what you like. It was been shocking to hear accusations brought against Paul Crouch, the late founder of TBN and most recently Wendy Alec’s tearful account of Rory Alec leaving her for another woman. Some have identified this as the end of GOD TV, that the network “is on the skids.” But other networks like DayStar have survived this and more. DayStar’s Marcus Lamb confessed to having had an affair, his wife Joni forgave him and the network seems stronger than ever. Our God is truly the God of Restoration and even when our leaders fail, He remains faithful.
It seems GOD TV’s viewers are rallying around Wendy Alec which is commendable. It looks like they see this for the enemy attack it is and are believing God to turn the whole situation around. That GOD TV was not set up by man but by God Himself and He is not going to allow it to go down the tubes. It is also encouraging to see Christian networks standing together, an example of this the statements made in support of GOD TV by Howard Conder of Revelation TV and Chris Cole of Cross Rhythms Christian Radio. We need so see more of this.
I once recall an interview I did with Bible prophecy expert, the late Barry Smith. I asked him about a particular woman minister and best selling author who was adored by some Christians and reviled by others. “If we are in doubt, what should we do?” I asked. His reply was clear from Galatians 5, “If you bite and devour each other, you will be destroyed by each other.”
Galatians 5: 13-15 – “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
It is time for Christians to walk together in unity, to fight side by side for the extension of the Kingdom of God, in the face of the many, many attacks the evil one is bringing against us. Should we really be fighting each other when 68% of Christian men are addicted to pornography, to use just one example. Christian values are being eroded every day through and we cannot afford to dismiss Christian networks. The Christian media is the only mass initiative we have, to mobilise believers on a global scale. It’s time to stand together in the battle of the airwaves.