I know that sounds strange coming from me, but let me explain. I came across this article from Thabiti Anyabwile over at The Front Porch, a new site to foster discussion around biblical faithfulness in the black church. Thabiti gives a break down of the scenes from the trailer. He then concluded with a section asking what are we to make of all this?
In a comment to The Christian Post, Noel Jones responds to criticism by saying the show is “no evangelical tool”. He explains:
“My original intention was (for) it to be a tool to help bring the minds of Christian people to the place where they give some balance to who their pastors are and how they deal with their pastors,” said Jones. ”The only reason I signed up was to help to reduce the iconoclastic proclivities that church members have about their pastors to the point where if they break any of the rules that the church members are breaking, they completely throw them away.”
Thabiti responds by saying this;
To be clear, an ‘iconoclast’ is someone who destroys icons. A ‘proclivity’ is a strong tendency, a bent, a habit, usually toward something negative. What Jones intended to say is he wants to reduce the tendency to idolizing—making idols of—pastors and church leaders. That’s a good aim. There’s not much “iconoclastic proclivity” on display in these churches—just the opposite.
Nor is this show and these men’s ministries about smashing idols. They make much—an idolatrous much—of themselves, their possessions, their abilities, and their rights. They do this full-time before the congregation, telling the congregation it deserves the same “blessings” and “prosperity” they enjoy. If they would only believe more, give more, sow more. If it were about not being on pedestals they would regularly illustrate their brokenness in their preaching. They would dress modestly, drive modestly, and live modestly. The people would be able to get close enough to them to know they’re human, and they would make sure that were the case—without a television audience and whatever royalty or fame that comes from serving.It would be an everyday part of their life and ministry.
I wish congregations were in fact iconoclastic. Then men like this would have no audience in the pew and no way to fleece the sheep.
Not only is this a very bad idea for a TV show, it’s also an indication of how desperately sick certain quarters of the Church have become. To put it plainly: because of their love of money, because of their failure to be one-woman men, because of their inability to manage their homes well and the lack of proper respect they’re shown in their homes, because of their poor reputation with outsiders, these men are not biblically qualified to be preachers or pastors. They are disqualified. People should not follow them. And people should not watch this train wreck of a show.
One day we all may come to realize that ‘reality TV’ includes very little reality. My prayers are with those real preachers of L.A. who remain faithful to our Lord and His word.
Hear what he is saying. If these men really understood the biblical role and qualifications of the pastorate and if they were teaching a sound message of Christ instead of reaping and sowing principles that detracts from trust in Christ, they would know how utterly contrary this show is from a healthy model of Christ’s church and how different their message is from the one of Scripture. But since that is not the case, it makes sense to me if they felt there’s a need for a platform of reality TV.
I continue to be amazed and saddened that the thrust of the reaping and sowing message has replaced the central message of Scripture, as I wrote about here.
Read Thabiti’s article here.