Unfortunately, this post is going to be controversial. That saddens me. Last year, a study found that most American Christians actually hold heretical (contrary to true doctrine) beliefs. TBN is part of the problem, in my opinion.
This past Sunday, in my sermon at Stonebrook, I went on a bit of a tangent and exhorted our congregation to shut off TBN for good, and to never turn it back on. This caused a bit of a stir, and I wanted to explain. So I wrote this letter to my church.
- If you are part of my church, and have questions, please let me know.
- If you are not part of my church, and have questions, ask your pastor. If he has questions, have him talk to me.
- If you consider yourself a Christian and are not in a church, go get into one immediately.
- If you are not a Christian and have questions, I’d love to talk.
Now to the letter.
Hi Brothers and Sisters,
If you watch TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), please stop.
During my sermon Sunday, I made some strong comments about avoiding the TBN channel. I am hearing this caused a little but of confusion for some. I just wanted to say that as one of the shepherds responsible for watching over your soul, specifically with regard to doctrine you are being fed, that I stand by my remarks. And strongly so.
I understand that the remarks were brief, and the lack of further explanation is what caused the stir. And really, this was my intention: to get your attention, and cause these questions to be asked.
Some second-hand feedback I received back indicated that several in the congregation wondered why I would issue such a blanket condemnation when there is “some good things on it.” I’d like to do two things quick: first, offer myself for specific questions about specific programs. Second, give a quick rundown of what I see to be “some good things” I see on TBN’s schedule, with some comments.
I took a look at TBN’s programming schedule for this week. You can find the schedule here.
During normal waking hours (let’s say 6am to 10pm), I find the following shows that I’d consider to be “okay.” (Some of them are actually clients of mine at Mere). I’m trying to be as broad as my conscience allows. Looking across the entire week:
- Dr. Tony Evans – Sunday 6:30-7:00a
- James MacDonald – – Sunday 8:30a-9:00a, weekdays 7:00-7:30a
- Dr. Charles Stanley – Sunday 11:30a
- Jack Graham – Sunday 12:00p
- Billy Graham – Monday 9pm-9:30p, Thursday 4-5p, Sat 4p
- Greg Laurie – Monday 9:30-10p
- Jefferson Bethke – Tuesday 3:30-4p
- Beth Moore – Weds 9-9:30p
- Drive Thru History – Thurs 6p-6:30p
- Louie Giglio – Sat 2-2:30p
All the other shows on the schedule are either actual heresy (particularly of the “prosperity gospel” type), serious theological error (particularly in charismatic issues), cartoons (please do something else with your time), end-times and political alarmists, or are completely unknown to me (only 2 or 3 names).
And while I consider these listed above to be “okay” – I would prefer to direct your time to “richer food” – if you are looking for something to watch, I’d love to recommend some resources for you. (e.g. Desiring God, Refnet, Truth for Life, Ligonier, Gospel in Life, Grace to You, Moody Radio, are a few really good ones of national notoriety.)
Additionally, all of the above-listed “okay” program names have their own web sites with available content, without having to support, or drift into, the erroneous or heretical shows that immediately proceed or follow these shows.
TWO OTHER OBSERVATIONS:
- Of the shows listed above, half of them are on Sunday AM. I rejoice that TBN DOES HAVE DECENT CONTENT ON for those who are shut in, or unwilling to come to church, but willing to check out the television. I believe this is part of God’s preserving grace on his church. But for half of those shows, you’d be in fellowship and worship at Stonebrook.
- These shows represent about 5% of the content of the channel. This indicates something to me about the overall mission/vision/direction/plan/heart of the station, as well as allowing me a wonderful analogy:
Should I recommend a restaurant to you that was filled with 95% candy, rotten, or even poisonous food, and 5% “okay” stuff? Definitely not. I would steer you away from that restaurant as one who cared about you. If there were no other options for food available, I could steer you toward the 5%, but, my family, we do not lack for resources in this area.
You should avoid TBN, and encourage those around you to as well.
I understand that this sort of strong direction, and even naming of names is going to be controversial, and is unusual in our culture and in our church. I hope that it becomes less unusual over time.
IF YOU HAVE A SPECIFIC CONCERN ABOUT SOMEONE I LEFT OFF THE LIST. I would welcome a phone call where I could explain my position. (I don’t bite very hard :-). )
With genuine love,