The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio

Is so-called Christian radio an instrument of God being used to bring people to Christ?  Blogger Timothy Hammons takes a look at what is being passed off as Christian radio.  Should we financially support this stuff?

In regard to “Christian contemporary music,” does it matter if the lyrics to the songs are theologically and biblically based?

Hammons also tackles contemporary worship or “praise music.”  Is the music we sing in our churches even biblical?  In his view: “The church should be giving us the songs we sing from God’s word, not from the sinful inclinations of the musician.”

Christian music

By Timothy J. Hammons

The church doesn’t really need Christian radio to survive. I know that there are many who tune into Christian radio and listen on a regular basis, but the truth is, Christian radio is not necessary for our spiritual growth in Christ.  We especially do not need listener-supported Christian radio stations. If a station has to ask us for money, using the typical ploys of telling us we will be blessed by blessing them, then we should donate our offerings to more legitimate ministries such as the White Horse Inn, or Truth for Life, in which their focus is the preaching and the teaching of God’s word. My focus in this post are the stations that play Christian contemporary music, are doctrinally and theologically inept, and take no real moral positions at all.

What prompted me to say this?

Neil had a post on Saturday about one of the Christian radio stations in Houston that is in the midst of a fund drive, telling their listeners to give to their ministry as “God tells you to.” Neil responded by saying he gave exactly what God told him to: nothing!

Here we have a radio station (seeing their sole existence as a legitimate ministry for Christ) asking for money, and doing so in an irresponsible way. They are making the false assumption that God talks to His people via a “still small voice” in their heads. Never mind that for 2,000 years, biblical Christianity states that God has ceased speaking to us in such a manner. When the canon of Scripture was closed, with the giving of the 27 books in the New Testament, God quit audibly speaking to us. This is not because He cannot, but because He chooses for us to come to His word and look there for all we need to know about salvation and how to live. He even teaches us where we should give.

The problem with these radio stations is that they seriously believe they are an instrument of God being used to bring people to Christ. Never mind that God has chosen the preaching of His word to reach the lost. Never mind that the personalities on these stations are as theologically astute as a children’s Sunday school class. Oh, the self-appointed high-priests of the radio airwaves are indeed putting forth theology, just bad theology. Never mind their their God works on the philosophy of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” as if we could actually make such deals with God. These stations are not true ministries at all, no matter how much they claim to help people.

The people of Christ have become superbly misguided in their understanding of what is and is not true ministry. There are two realms of ministry when it comes to the people of God, there is the ministry of the word and sacraments and the ministry of service. The former is filled by those who are lawfully (according to God’s word) ordained to preach, teach and administer the sacraments of the church. We call these men elders, and the qualifications for being an elder (pastor), are not open to anyone. Unlike the ridiculous movie The Apostle, in which Robert Duvall’s character decides to anoint himself an apostle, we have church courts and other elders that we must submit to for God’s ordination to be of effect. If these radio stations are a legitimate ministry, whose authority are they under? I’m sure none of the disk jockeys and radio personalities on these radio stations are ordained or under the elders of the church in any such manner. They probably lack theological training, and if they have theological training, they lack discernment. How do we know this? Just listen to the lyrics of the songs they choose to play on such stations.  Continue reading

Related:

The Imminent decline of Contemporary Worship Music: Eight Reasons By T. David Gordon

Hymns We Should Sing More Often: O Word Of God Incarnate By Kevin DeYoung

H/T Glenn E. Chatfield

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11 Responses to The Church Does Not Need Christian Radio

  1. Jorge Rodriguez October 17, 2015 at 11:50 am #

    Tough article with some solid points. In its current state, CCM is hurting far more than it is helping. We, the Church, have not done our part in holding these para-church organizations accountable. CCM and “Christian book stores” are in desperate need of reform.

  2. Enoch October 18, 2015 at 9:31 am #

    Your title startled me as I listen to Ref Net and Truth For Life via internet. But your clarification earlier settled my heart. Indeed, many Christian radio stations become promoters of false gospel more than representing the true gospel. Here in Ghana, West Africa, Christian radio is more harmful with a line up of false teachers getting access to people through radio. I choose instead to listen to secular radio as Christian radio usually leave me angry with misinterpretation of texts

  3. JOHN October 19, 2015 at 11:11 am #

    Funny thing, I have often thought this way when it comes to Christian radio. Don’t forget that there is always the matching gift up to ‘x’ amount that dollars that someone gave. That is done on Christian and secular stations. I don’t listen to Christian contemporary music. I find it boring. I would rather hear praise and worship music ala the old Hosana and Integrity music style

    One other thing mentioned that I need help on

    They are making the false assumption that God talks to His people via a “still small voice” in their heads. Never mind that for 2,000 years, biblical Christianity states that God has ceased speaking to us in such a manner. When the canon of Scripture was closed, with the giving of the 27 books in the New Testament, God quit audibly speaking to us. This is not because He cannot, but because He chooses for us to come to His word and look there for all we need to know about salvation and how to live. He even teaches us where we should give..”

    I am trying to understand how this works. In a practical way how does God speak to us from His Word if there is no still small voice?

    18 months ago I believe I heard the voice of God speak to me. I was running and listening to a sermon. Suddenly I heard the word ‘Seduction’ and it shocked me because it wasn’t from me at all. I prayed for direction on this and was led to scriptures dealing with the great falling away as being seduced away from the faith even to Jude 3. I believe this was referring to the seduction going on in the Christian church to another Gospel that is not a Gospel but also to the cults who appear to be Christian but are not.

    I began to study scripture more and as a result I have found JW’s at my doorstep, Church of Christ individuals at my doorstep as well as realizing that the church I was attending isn’t really preaching the Gospel. It is more isogesis then anything. My hunger has gotten to the point that even some Saturday’s I don’t see much college football and I love college football for the game. Florida State fan as well.

    It leaves me wondering though. How does God speak, through his Word, in a practical sense then?

  4. eeellama October 25, 2015 at 8:29 pm #

    I am bothered by your statement: “They are making the false assumption that God talks to His people via a “still small voice” in their heads. Never mind that for 2,000 years, biblical Christianity states that God has ceased speaking to us in such a manner. When the canon of Scripture was closed, with the giving of the 27 books in the New Testament, God quit audibly speaking to us. This is not because He cannot, but because He chooses for us to come to His word and look there for all we need to know about salvation and how to live. He even teaches us where we should give..”

    There is not a single verse that says this (including 1 Cor 13:10) unambiguously. Rather, the argument is made by inference, observation of what we currently see, and a near-rabid fear of charisma. While there is PLENTY to be concerned about in modern charismatic circles, all of the evidence of false revelations, parlor tricks, “glory clouds, and a plethora of false teaching is not proof that God does not still speak. He certainly spoke to various people throughout the old testament.

    The evidence against God continuing to speak to individuals outside of scripture is a fear that somehow this creates an insufficiency of scripture. If that argument is taken to it’s logical conclusion, then there would be no need of books, learning, eating, or much of anything else. Scripture is sufficient–for the purposes it is intended for as given to us in 2 Tim. 3:16-17. This does not preclude God telling us to, perhaps, flee or stay during persecution. This does not preclude God telling us that we should share Christ with a particular person who catches out notice. This does not preclude God telling us to take a different route home on a particular day.

    Your statement that God chooses not to speak is, at best, based on inferences. However, there are very well-studied folks who don’t find these inferences compelling enough to be dogmatic about them.

    Unfortunately, your very valid point about Christian radio becomes discredited. There should be no compulsion in giving to the Lord’s work, and psychological manipulation or “guilting” directly contradicts God’s instruction in 2 Corinthians 9:7. That is a much more solid argument.

    I rarely listen to CCM even though I have a close family member who is a “radio personality” on one of these stations. Most of the music seems vapid. Most of it sounds like it’s simply a knockoff of the secular world, sort of a parallel music universe of cotton candy, pixie sticks, rainbows, and marshmallows. I don’t give to it either, because my money is better spent on the direct preaching of the gospel. I don’t subscribe to the basic premise that such music brings someone closer to “accepting Christ”…(the stepping stone theory and “decision” Christianity, both serious problems).

    Let’s concentrate on what Christian radio is largely not delivering (the gospel), the great amount of money CCM siphons from the local church. Justly criticize it on that basis, not on a controversial doctrinal viewpoint.

  5. Joemf March 3, 2016 at 8:57 pm #

    In medium and small markets across this land, supposed (Christian) radio,( and I use the term loosely), you notice will have a plethora of preachers running back to back…with as many doctrines as their are flowers. WHY? Money first, doctrine second. I only know this because I worked for such a radio chain of stations years ago. Insiders know it, and yet listeners,( because their favorite program is jammed in there somewhere between sister loose lips, and brother semi gospel) choose to overlook the bad doctrine they’re “yoked to” and look the other way. They justify it by saying, ‘yea, but our program might be the only true light on the air’…yea,ok….To many of these broadcasters(and some of them are at the top of the heap) Jesus means money..I remember once upon a time a (now) owner of lots of stations started out on his daddies Christian radio station playing music & begging the audience for donations so the station would keep his program on—–really??? seriously??? True story. .Enough said. Listeners—- turn off the radio and open your Bible…the author is authentic..and He won’t ask you for a cent !

    • eeellama March 4, 2016 at 9:42 am #

      I was an advertiser at a Salem-affiliated station, and was told by their sales guy that I shouldn’t choose to advertise there because I wanted to support their message, but purely because they had the listeners I needed. I didn’t really understand why he said that until a year later when I had an on-air weekly segment there and got to talk with folks. The most memorable statement of the General Manager there at the time was that “Christianity is Christianity, and business is business”. That told me everything I needed to know about the priorities and why certain things were on the air. It told me why it was when I was an advertiser that I shouldn’t choose them because I wanted to support their mission. It wasn’t primarily a ministry, but a business geared toward a target audience. Nothing more. It was disappointing.

      Unfortunately, the same attitudes exist in much of the “Christian bookstores” being run today–If it sells, it’s on the shelves.

      Most “Christian” businesses I’ve come into contact with seem to be business first, ministry second. I’ve found I do better by avoiding folks who market themselves as Christian businesses of any kind. Sad, but true.

  6. eeellama March 5, 2016 at 9:06 am #

    Amy: While I’m not on-air anymore, I have a family member who is so I’ll be a little careful in wording this. Shows like Stand Up For The Truth encouraged me that not all Christian radio had become bastions of mindless positivism. The show had/has meat to it.

    [As an aside: Like Ingrid S. experienced, there is some difficulty on the part of men to understand that strong women can and should speak openly about the church, the Bible, and so on–and that doesn’t make them pastors. It makes them Christians who are concerned about the direction of the church, and they should not be silenced.]

    Back to the point… Most of Christian FM radio has now fallen into the “positive, encouraging…” camp. The companies that run it call themselves ministries, but only in the same way that “smiley” in the Houston Astrodome is. It is all positive thinking, self help pop psychology, and marketing in a christianese wrapper. There’s nothing particularly Christian about it. In fact, they do so well marketing themselves as Christian that they’ve redefined the term in the mind of most of their followers.

    This is the danger. They are very attractive pied pipers who are selling a moralistic, positivistic, self-help psychology Santa Clause that just wants to rain down a trouble free life and physical wealth. Their message completely obscures the central message of the gospel to “repent and believe” in Jesus as the solution for our rebellious sin. Most of the folks working for these radio stations truly believe they’re doing the right thing too.

  7. tim deary August 9, 2016 at 12:02 pm #

    are you saying i should stop listening to christian radio if so i disagree with you

  8. Alex Horton August 30, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    Funny that God should say very clearly in His Word that He wants a relationship with His people and then quit talking to us.

    • eeellama August 30, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

      …and the case for the idea that He has quit speaking is very thin. Exactly what would the Holy Spirit be with us for if He were not speaking to us?

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