Recently a pastor friend in Michigan told me that many years ago the church members who listened to Christian radio were his strongest members, but today those who listen the most to Christian radio are among the weakest members and cause the most trouble. The difference lies in the content of the radio broadcasts. In the past, there were many strong Bible preachers on the radio who proclaimed the Word of God plainly and without compromise, but that is no longer the case.
Today the Christian radio airwaves are filled with smooth-sounding professionalism and slick compromise that largely turns a blind eye to apostasy and heresy.
On a preaching trip in 2002, I spent two days listening to nationally syndicated Christian radio programs with the objective of analyzing the content.
Following are a few examples of the subtle dangers that lurk in Christian radio:
BACK TO THE BIBLE on September 11, 2002, talked about Ninevah’s repentance and rightly observed that true repentance produces a changed life. But there was no Jonah-like preaching by the Back to the Bible speaker. In other words, they talk about repentance but did not plainly preach repentance to their listeners. This is so typical. THE CHIEF ERROR OF NEW EVANGELICALISM IS NOT THE ERROR THAT IT PREACHES, BUT THE TRUTH THAT IT NEGLECTS TO PREACH.
When Back to the Bible reprinted a book on cults by Harold Berry in 1992, it dropped the sections on Roman Catholicism and Seventh-day Adventism that had been included in earlier editions. More and more, these ministries are toning down and paring down their message. To offend listeners means loss of income and influence. Back to the Bible Director Woodrow Kroll is a committed New Evangelical who is at home in places such as the Billy Graham Training Center in North Carolina. The Back to the Bible director prior to Kroll was Warren Wiersbe. When Wiersbe left Back to the Bible and took a position with Youth for Christ, it was a natural and easy progression. Both organizations are ecumenical and deeply compromised. Since the early 1970s, Youth for Christ has joined Roman Catholics in ecumenical meetings throughout the world. Sam Wolgemuth represented Youth For Christ International on the Central Committee of the ecumenical Key ‘73, which had strong participation by Roman Catholic leaders and laymen. Together with the Roman Catholic diocese of San Diego, the Salvation Army, and other organizations, the San Diego Youth for Christ co-sponsored the Evangelical and Ecumenical Conference for Clergy and Laity in 1983. It is the working policy of Youth for Christ to send “converts” to the churches of their choice. At a workshop on “Follow Up” for new converts at Billy Graham’s Amsterdam ‘86, the national director of Youth for Christ in New Zealand, Ian Grant, stated, “WE MAKE NO JUDGMENT OF CHURCHES—that’s the Holy Spirit’s job. Young Christians can be more led into Bible reading and faith in a Catholic Charismatic church than in some conservative Evangelical churches” (Foundation, Jul.-Aug. 1986). Wiersbe’s journey farther and farther into ecumenism and compromise parallels that of Back to the Bible.
DISCOVER THE WORD (Radio Bible Class) on September 11, 2002, featured a forum discussing the issue of how to avoid provoking our children to wrath. The three participants were Haddon Robinson, Art De Haan, and Ann Mathews. The statement was made that “legalism is a rule without the principle,” and this was illustrated in two ways. Ann gave the example of how she once created a problem by forbidding her teenage daughter to wear jeans to school. She said that she later realized that the only reason she made the rule was to avoid the possible disfavor of her adult friends who (apparently) would not have been pleased by the jeans. She eventually apologized to her daughter and allowed her to wear the jeans. There was no word about the modesty or unisex factor. One of the men on the forum told how that he once forbade his daughter to go to parties because he found out that drinking and such things were going on. When his daughter reproached him for not “trusting” her, he apologized and allowed her to continue to participate. Nothing was said about the spiritual danger of such worldly environments even for mature Christian adults. The Bible warns that “evil communications corrupt good manners.” To forbid our young people to go to worldly parties is not a matter of trust or lack thereof but of wisdom and obedience to God’s Word. For every teen who has been allowed to attend such things and who has not messed up his or her life with licentiousness there are hundreds who have. The Radio Bible Class forum ignored such things and focused instead on a psychobabble approach to Christian living. The participants worried more about the bugaboo of “legalism” than simple obedience to God’s Word.
STEVE BROWN of KEY LIFE ministries promoted his book “Discovering Hope in the Aftermath of Tragedy,” which features testimonies by Chuck Colson, Anne Graham Lotz, and other prominent New Evangelical compromisers. Colson promotes unity with Roman Catholicism and Lotz thinks women preachers are glorifying God. For his text on September 11, 2002, Brown chose Hosea 11 and titled his message “Love’s Hurt.” He completely overlooked the judgment of God and focused almost exclusively on God’s love. There was no call to repentance, no warning of judgment.
FOR FAITH AND FAMILY, September 11, 2002, featured an interview by RICHARD LAND WITH JIM CYMBALA, pastor of the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Cymbala said God does not want us to have a message of blame for Americans. He said that we shouldn’t have an Old Testament prophet-type ministry but an “apostolic” ministry like Paul’s, implying wrongly that Paul did not speak prophetically and directly rebuke sin. Paul preached the same thing as John the Baptist, “that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20). Paul plainly rebuked the idolatry of the Athenians in his sermon on Mars Hill (Acts 17). Paul continually warned about sin and error. Cymbala also said that God is using 9-11 to cause American Christians to “get rid of denominational prejudices,” and he had no word of warning about ecumenism and rank denominational heresies such as infant baptism and sacramentalism.
JAMES DOBSON on September 11, 2002, featured a report on Mission New York, which was described as “ecumenical.” The people of New York are being told simply to “have faith,” but that faith is not clearly defined as repentance from sin and faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. On September 12, the Moms in Touch ministry was featured by Dobson. It is a radically ecumenical outreach that brings mothers of all denominational faiths together to pray for public schools. There was no word of warning about this flagrant disobedience to the Bible (Romans 16:17).
Another great problem with Dobson is his unholy mixture of psychology with the Bible. He deals much more with “self-esteem” than he does with sin and repentance.
DICK BOTT (owner of the Bott Radio Network, which advertises itself as “Christian Information for Your Life”) on his THE COMPLETE STORY program on September 13, 2002, interviewed a Roman Catholic lady on the subject of abortion. Bott said that Catholics, Baptists, Protestants all need to act like consistent Christians and followers of Christ. He treated Roman Catholics as genuine New Testament Christians. He called Catholics “the faithful.” He mentioned the Catholic mass with no warning about its blasphemous nature (e.g., claiming to turn a piece of bread into the very Christ). He implied that the mass is a Christian institution. The Catholic lady called anti-abortion “the gospel of life,” and Bott said nothing to correct this error. In fact, there is only one true gospel and all others are false (2 Corinthians 11:1-4; Galatians 1:6-8). In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Paul summarized the gospel and said nothing about anti-abortion.
BOTT RADIO features many dangerous teachers, including Jack Hayford (who believes in speaking “baby tongues” in order to learn how to speak adult tongues), Stephen Olford (who says he loves theological liberals more than fundamentalists), R.C. Sproul (who promotes infant baptism and who teaches that a person must be born again before he can have faith in Christ), Joseph Stowell (who ate dinner in December 1998 with Catholic Cardinal Francis George to lay a foundation for “potential mutual efforts in areas of societal issues”), Roman Catholic Phyllis Schlafly, and female preacher Kay Arthur.
Bott Radio also features GREG LAURIE’S NEW BEGINNING PROGRAM. Laurie is a charismatic pastor who conducts ecumenical evangelistic crusades that bring together Church of Christ, Baptist, Assemblies of God, Vineyard, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other denominations in an unholy mixture that is forbidden by Scripture (e.g., Romans 16:17; 2 Timothy 3:5; etc.). Laurie is a popular speaker for radically ecumenical organizations such as Promise Keepers.
Many SOUTHERN BAPTIST PREACHERS are also prominent on nationally syndicated Christian radio. For example, ADRIAN ROGERS of the LOVE WORTH FINDING broadcast is very popular. He was a dynamic preacher and usually had a fine Bible message. The problem, again, is not so much the error that he preached, but the truth that he neglected and also his dangerous associations. For example, on September 14, 2002, Rogers appeared on the deeply heretical Trinity Broadcasting Network with Paul Crouch. During Rogers’ appearance on TBN, Sandi Patty sang a hard rock contemporary song, and Rogers complimented her on it! (Sandi Patty performed for Pope John Paul II at a papal mass in Los Angeles in September 1987.) In early 2001, Rogers was honored by Paul Crouch in commemoration of 15 years of television ministry on TBN. The TBN web site had a photo of Rogers shaking hands with Crouch, who said, “We salute Dr. Rogers, and honor our friend and brother! He is truly ONE OF THE GREAT BRIDGE BUILDERS IN THE BODY OF CHRIST.” Rogers said nothing to correct this statement. Crouch has promoted practically every weird and unscriptural Charismatic doctrine and practice, including Word-faith, healing in the atonement, gibberish “tongues,” spirit slaying, holy laughter, and prosperity giving. By appearing on TBN, Rogers was putting his stamp of approval upon the apostate confusion that is represented there and was leaving his listeners with the impression that it is safe to watch TBN.
Sadly, this is the type of unscriptural compromise that permeates even the most conservative elements of the Southern Baptist Convention. None of them practice biblical separation.
We must understand that these radio programs are not friends to biblical fundamentalists. In fact, they are not even neutral in that regard; they are avowed enemies to a fundamentalist church and position, and those who listen to them day in and day out will certainly be affected by the neutralist, anti-separation philosophy that permeates them.
I didn’t hear even one nationally syndicated Christian radio speaker plainly address the heart of America’s problem, which is apostasy and compromise in the churches and cowardice in the pulpit. Rarely this might be HINTED at, but it is not dealt with in a plain manner in which names are named and listeners are given clear information about the spiritual dangers that are on every hand today and exhorted to separate themselves from them.
None of this should surprise us. God described it long ago:
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).
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