08 October 2013

'Preachers of L.A.' Is Powerful . . . a Powerful Insult to the Church

Do Not Be Surprised first commented in July on the Oxygen Network's upcoming, new series, 'Preachers of L.A.' In the post, "'Preachers of L.A.' Sure to Be an Insult to Both Television and the Church" it was concluded that,
Ultimately, what the Christian must consider is this: What should one think about the shepherd of God's flock who would agree to appear on a "reality" TV show? Reality TV exists to elevate men and to feed their ego and vanity. Even if one were to proclaim the gospel on camera, it would be extremely surprising if such a proclamation actually made it past the editing room. Television networks such as Oxygen primarily celebrate one thing: the world. Any pastor participating in such a thing, then, has at best made a naïve decision, and most certainly has made an unwise one. 
"Preachers of L.A." may demonstrate that pastors are sinners, too, but it sadly will not reveal to the viewer what are the true qualifications of an elder as set forth by God Himself.
Yet Oxygen continues to promote this certain television aberration, which finally will premiere tomorrow, 9 October. The latest commercial for this show appeals to quotes from the media, both in support of and in opposition to the reality series:

The shrewd viewer of this video will note the opening quote of "Powerful. . ." by Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition is more than a little out-of-character for the conservative writer. In response to Oxygen's misquote of his position, Carter states:
Did I describe the show as "powerful"? No. Here's the context from the article I wrote in July:
While it's tempting to think these gold-chain wearing, luxury car driving preachers can be easily dismissed, we shouldn't underestimate the powerful appeal of their message.
The "powerful" refers not to the show or even the pastors but to the appeal of what I described as the "heretical gospel of 'health and wealth.'"

While I don't like being misquoted -- or at least quoted in a false context -- there isn't much use complaining about my name being attached to the misleading promo. The people who know me, and know of my disdain for the "prosperity gospel," will chuckle at the misrepresentation. And the people who don't know me won't care what I think.

But there is one thing that does bother me: having the words "TheGospelCoalition" used in a way that appears to make it seem like a gospel-loving organization would approve of what is being presented in this new TV series. I've watched the first episode and it presents the soul-destroying, heretical, health-and-wealth message as it if was the essence of the gospel. 
Do Not Be Surprised actually was surprised to discover that we, too, were quoted in this commercial, though thankfully Oxygen did not twist our words in an attempt to misrepresent our opinion of the show:
'Preachers of L.A.' is an insult to the true Church of Jesus Christ. Further, it is an insult to the gospel and to Jesus Christ Himself. As quoted above, Joe Carter of The Gospel Coalition notes of the first episode that "it presents the soul-destroying, heretical, health-and-wealth message as it if was the essence of the gospel." How utterly blasphemous and grievous.

Jesus Christ the God-man humbled Himself and came to earth to live among sinful men. He lived the perfect life of obedience to God—a life that no mere man ever can live. He then died as the perfect, sufficient and atoning sacrifice for the sins of all those who would be saved. Three days later He arose, promising those who are His that they, too, will live eternally. All those who repent of their sins and trust in this awesome, perfect work of Christ for their salvation will be saved. They will be born again from above, regenerated and made new in Christ. This is the gospel. It does not promise earthly wealth or prosperity or health, but oh! the riches of the eternal inheritance of those who love Christ!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. 
(Eph 1:3–14)
Heretical perversions of this good news, such as the prosperity gospel, are to be forsaken and condemned by true believers. 'Preachers of L.A.' presents such a perverted gospel as the true, saving gospel, and it does so to the detriment of its participants, producers and viewers. We pray, then, that those involved in this television show, as well as all those who have been led astray by such prosperity heresy, would recognize their sin and repent of it quickly and then turn to the true Jesus of the Bible, the One who saves sinners.
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 
(Rom 5:6–11)
Further Reading
When Tolerance Is Valued Over Truth
Expect the World to Act Like the World
How to Recognize True Repentance


  1. Did you know that before I commented about in on a This and That post? Just curious :)

    1. Hi Roy,
      Yes I saw your earlier comment! I just hadn't seen the commercial until now.

    2. Nice. I've always wanted to be source of a "scoop". haha.

  2. I pray that this would flop with the first show so that Christ's name won't be blasphemed

  3. This show is just another proof as to how many Kingdom talking sheep in reality are world chasing goats. That is tragic otherwise the show should be called "Preachers of L.O.L"

  4. Erin,

    Well done my sister...like I have said before, thank you for contending for the truth. I can not stand watching the promo much less the show. Reality TV, what a joke. Teresa

  5. I wonder there may be a silver lining: The lives of these money grubbing false teachers are exposed for all to see. Yet the danger dose exist some will use this show to soil the church and dupe others.

    As for taking the word powerful out of context, I recall an article by a professor of cinema in how to read a movie ad. He noted one dirty trick studios use if the movie is a stinker is to take a reviewer's words out of context often using obscure reviews.

  6. Well, I bit the bullet for all of us and watched this online last night. It's pretty much exactly what I expected: decadence, indulgence, and sinful representations of the gospel. At one point, one "minister" was talking with some gang members and his gospel presentation was: "I used to be where you are, now look where I am. You can be here too." Nothing about turning from sin; and instead of a real encounter with the Lord Jesus, they are taking on stage at Derrick Haddon's comback concert and forced to say the sinner's prayer.

    Ironically, two of the "ministers" get into an argument and accuse one another of not knowing their bible. It's not clear what bible either of them are supposed to know, since the argument is over how much to charge churches to come and do a healing service.

  7. Let's see, Scriptures that come to mind:

    ...savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock...
    ...men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves...
    ...grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage...
    ...and in their greed they will exploit you with false words...
    ...enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed...
    ...men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain...
    ...their folly will be obvious to all...

    He who has ears to hear, let him hear...



Please keep it pithy (in other words, if your comment is long enough to be its own blog post, don't bother), pertinent (please don't go off-topic), and respectful (to the author, to the other readers, and to the subject of the post). If you can't do that, your comment will not be posted.

If you haven't already, please read the Comment Policy in its entirety.