Television: the Leaven of the Pharisees
by Pastor Steven L Anderson, 2006
“And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” – I Peter 2:7-8
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” – I John 2:15
“In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” – Luke 12:1
“All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” –Matthew 23:3
In the Bible, Jesus is constantly rebuking a religious group of people called the Pharisees. According to Jesus, the big problem with the Pharisees was their hypocrisy. They were very strict in their preaching and standards for others, but they themselves did not live by the standards they were preaching. As independent Baptists, we must avoid falling into the same trap.
Probably the most blatant form of hypocrisy among Baptists in our day is the television found in their living room or bedroom. The television brings into their house images and sounds of everything ungodly and wicked that they are supposedly against. In their own houses they are delighting in the entertainment of this world which is diametrically opposed to the things of God. In the following paragraphs are several examples illustrating why no Christian should watch any kind of TV, Satellite, or Cable programming.
1. Worldly music
Most independent Baptists would agree that rock, rap, and other forms of worldly music are unacceptable for Christians. However, we could enter the home of the typical Baptist pastor and hear the cacophony of the most hardcore rock music imaginable. “What in the world is the pastor listening to?!?!” But then we realize, “Ohhh, whew, it’s just the television. I was worried there for a minute!”
This is a prime example of the leaven of the Pharisees – hypocrisy. If it is unacceptable to listen to rock music on your stereo, then why would it be allowable to listen to the same rock music through the speakers of your television? The fact alone that worldly music is wrong for the child of God excludes about 95% of television programs and commercials.
2. Improper clothing
Most of the preaching related to clothing and television is in reference to nudity. But the Bible states in Psalm 101:3, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:” Immodest clothing is in violation of God’s Word and is therefore wicked, including short skirts, tights tops, low-cut blouses, exposed cleavage, and other clothing that stirs the passions of any normal man who looks at it. Not only is it wrong for us to set nudity before our eyes, but it is also wrong to purposely set a promiscuously clothed woman in front of our eyes. Those who produce television programming know that sinful men enjoy feasting their eyes on beautiful women who are dressed inappropriately. This is why seemingly every woman on television, including newscasters, women cooking on the food network, and women on game shows, all seem to be dressed provocatively.
As independent Baptists we believe in gender specific clothing, that is, pants on men, and skirts and dresses on women. In that case, why would we watch television programming filled with women in masculine or unisex clothing? Would we watch television programs that include men in dresses if Jesus Christ were sitting beside us? Wouldn’t we wonder what kind of an impact such images would have on our small children? It is no less detrimental when our daughters see all the cool girls on television poured into their tight blue jeans.
3. Sinful heroes
Many Christians do not watch TV, cable, or satellite programming but restrict themselves to Disney videos, cartoons, and the like. However, one of the major problems with these seemingly harmless videos is that most of the actors and voices in these movies are the same as those in other far more wicked movies. Therefore, from the youngest age our children are being programmed to enjoy the voices of Eddie Murphy, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Hanks, and other
Other Christians only use the television to watch sports, but are the typical athletic superstars of our day the role models we want for our children? Aside from the numerous beer commercials and advertising banners flashed across the screen during a professional sports game on television, not to mention the scantily clad cheerleaders at half-time, they are also being taught to idolize whoremongers like Coby Bryant and Michael Jordan, freaks like Dennis Rodman and Magic Johnson, and drug-users like Jose Canseco and Mark McGuire.
4. Alternative lifestyles
From the beginning, the producers of television have had an agenda. Even in the most “harmless” of shows, alternative lifestyles are being promoted. Consider, for example, “The Andy Griffith Show.” The show centers around a single parent who lives with his aunt. Admittedly, his wife supposedly died, and he is not divorced. However, we are still being desensitized to the idea of a single parent which is neither the norm nor God’s plan. The show also features a character, Gomer Pile, who is played by a man who is a homosexual in real life.
Consider the show “The Odd Couple” from the 1960’s. Aside from sinful content, we are being exposed to an alternative lifestyle of two men living together as roommates. Genesis 2:24 tells us God’s normal plan, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Although neither man in the show is a homosexual, this show was obviously a forerunner of the sitcoms of today which feature homosexual characters.
Consider “The Brady Bunch.” The show is about a widowed man and a widowed woman who have three children each. Now they are married and have six children collectively. This is an extremely rare scenario but mirrors the very common scenario of divorce and remarriage. We are subliminally being exposed to the idea of stepparents and stepchildren which is far more common in divorced situations than in the rare circumstance of young widows.
If you can see what is wrong with the above examples from forty years ago, you probably do not need me to go into what is wrong with the themes found in today’s television programming.
If we as independent Baptists want to be consistent with what we preach, there is really no way we can watch television. If we preach against rock music, immodest clothing, homosexuality, divorce, fornication, wrong role models, etc, but then we watch these very things on television, we will find ourselves being condemned by Jesus with the Pharisees of old as hypocrites.
The following sermon deals with this subject in detail:
The following file is in mp3 format. You must right-click on this file and "save target as" to download it to your computer.
Pastor Steven L Anderson "Living in a Dream World" 07/09/06am Sunday
Pastor Steven L Anderson "Television" 04/02/06am Sunday
Pastor Steven L Anderson "As it is in Heaven" 02/11/07am Sunday
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