Tuesday, May 26, 2015

SHOULD CHRISTIANS DO SECULAR REALITY SHOWS?

The most recent controversy involving an American reality TV show and its Christian “reality stars” seem to be the most serious of all. It surrounds Josh Duggar, the large and hugely popular (in Christian and pro-family) circles – Duggar Family of Arkansas. As we all know, there are 19 Duggar children and like most TV reality shows, this one involves the daily ups and downs of its participants, on full display for the cameras and world to see. What the dysfunctional Kardashians are to the secular celebrity culture, the Duggars are to our Christian families everywhere. That is, until the recent scandal broke about Josh Duggar.

This post is not about the details of this situation, but whether authentic Bible-believing Christians ought to be on mainstream secular television at all. We ponder whether young minds should be pridefully sharing their personal lives with a world that desires to bury anything to do with God and the Bible,  and in some religions, literally cut the heads of the still-growing Body of Christ. There are so many things in Scripture that argue against all of this and maybe, now is the time for true believers to re-evaluate the wisdom and propriety of getting involved in these types of shows. 


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Before the current Duggar Family 'scandal', there were two prominent Christian-based Reality shows on secular TV which went through their own trials and tribulations. The Benham Brothers on HGTV lost their construction-based reality show there, when it was discovered that one of them had taken a public Biblical stand on same-sex marriage in North Carolina years before. They were already successful in their private small business and have since gained for standing up for strong Biblical beliefs across the nation. 

The large Robertson Clan of West Monroe, Louisiana are a different kettle of fish. Not only were they a "from-the-ground up" successful family business, but they actually already had a popular cable TV show on The Outdoor Channel (Buck Commander etc...) before A & E made a reality show out of them. Led by the always outspoken and bible-carrying Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty Robertson family’s foundation was their Church of Christ home Church, the business and each other. The loss of any airtime on a channel which nobody watched before the Duckmen came on, would mean nothing to them, as their now lucrative Duck empire has spread into speaking engagements, Bibles, devotional books, apparel and more. Technology has created so many other opportunities to reach millions of people at low cost, that should they also lose their A and E program for praying in “Jesus’ Name”, or preaching hard verses from Scripture or defending the Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:4 definition of marriage, they will prosper even more.

But even with this group – the Duck Dynasty folks, there are things during the
show which should not be coming out of the mouths of mature Christians. This brings us to how a Christian should really conduct oneself, where the private life lines up with the public persona.  Now, none of us know of any authentic Christians who did not have a past: whether sordid or not. Every person whom Christ calls into His Kingdom was bought at a Price paid in full on Calvary, and had sins forgiven through Repentance and Faith.   Because nobody is perfect, and we were saved by the One Who is, we, most of all, are specifically instructed to be humble and full of grace.

Jesus said “Let your light so shine before men, that they will see your works and glorify your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 5:16). When the Lord said that, He was not speaking of camera lights, but the Light which emanates from the sold-out believer whose talk and walk line up with what the Savior expects. What He expects is written in His Word, via His own personally chosen emissary, the Apostle Paul. Scripture is full of statutes, commands and precepts to trust and obey, but these stand out for now as they are short, plain and easily understood. 1 Thessalonians 5 says in part (from the King James Version):
- Let us who are of the day, be sober (vs. 8)
- Comfort yourselves together and edify one another (vs. 11)
- Be at peace among yourselves (vs. 13)
- Warn them that are unruly (vs. 15)
- Comfort the feeble-minded (vs. 15)
- Support the weak (vs. 15)
- Rejoice evermore (vs. 16)
- Pray without ceasing (vs. 17)
- Quench not the Spirit (vs.19)

All of this represent just a few of the guidelines which the maturing Christian should adhere to. They are not just suggestions. Neither is the following verse from 1 Corinthians 8:9 “but take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a STUMBLING BLOCK to the weak”! In another place, the Word of God tells us that all things may be legal for the Christian to participate in but NOT ALL THINGS ARE UPLIFTING…or “edifying” as 1 Thess. 5:11 exhorts! There is absolutely nothing uplifting about Willie Robertson using the word “cr*p” five times per show. Or female members of the Duggars speaking about female issues or whatever. What value is there in Uncle Si(las) Robertson using a GoPro Camera to record himself going to the bathroom after drinking his umpteenth gallon of sweet tea? We love and admire these guys and do not want them to go away, but come on, man, we’re making the Savior cringe at some of this stuff.

American Christianity has already been dumbed down enough by celebrity preachers who basically chased the last two generations of young people out of the church with their fluff and unbiblical movements.  When Hybels and others admitted that their “Seeker-sensitive” movement failed miserably to make Disciples of Christ (and thus fulfill the Great Commission), they admitted something horribly scary! When they asked rich folk in expanding US suburbs what they want from a church, and then marketed it that way…when they took the Crosses off their church walls to make the “seekers” think they’re sensitive to their “needs”….when they stopped talking and singing about the Precious Blood of Jesus shed on that Cross they just took off their mega-church walls….when they did 30-40-50 or days of purposeful nothing and thus nothing of Eternal Consequence resulted, they set the stage for a generation who think they can go on TV and be the cleaner versions of the Kardashians or the Bachelorette or whatever other sleaze is out there on network TV.


Given all the admonitions from the Word of God about conducting oneself in a manner which will not bring reproach to the Holy Name of God and the Savior Jesus Christ, it would seem that it is now high time that people who call themselves by His Name, pull back.  Most of the supporting evidence, from the Word of God, to make such recommendations were not even examined here. But future participants of American reality shows, whose “schtick” is that they’re Christians, would be better serve to blow the pound of dust off their bibles and start reading them instead. It is imperative, that before embarking on another worthless adventure, in terms of eternity, that God's people come to Him first, for counsel.

Ps….this blog stayed away from the even more controversial reality show “Preachers of LA” on purpose. That show speaks for itself, and is not even worth discussing in the same sentence as Authentic Christianity.

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