Media Present Gospel as Road to Worldly Happiness

by Howard Glass

We evangelicals have a strong desire to bring others into the kingdom. But we should be careful not to make Christianity too appealing. It is so easy to present the Christian life as a cure-all for human problems; as if becoming a Christian always leads to worldly happiness. The Christian media triangle of radio, television, and print seem perpetually to be profiling individuals who have suffered through a dilemma and now have a Bible-based message or ministry. Perhaps I have heard too much of this, but what I usually hear sounds too good to be true. There seems to be an endless supply of new material. So often there is a book for sale. We need to be aware that Christianity, for better or worse, has created much opportunity for business. Christian media give the impression that the gospel is a panacea for human misery. That is a very attractive thing and many folks are drawn to the church hoping for a rosy existence that may never materialize in this fallen world. If we look away from the media offerings and focus instead on the Word of God, we realize that he Christian life is characterized by a cross. That is because it is a life that cannot avoid suffering. Any evangelical effort that leaves that out is not being honest. The gospel calls a person to rise above the fallen world. We should be prepared to scorn comfort and plenty if they get in the way of God’s purpose. I don’t see that idea given much attention in most Christian media. Prayer more often changes the ones who pray than it does the circumstances they were praying about. We know that God uses unfortunate circumstances in life to shape our characters. All Christian ministries should recognize and teach that.