There was this TV preacher that I sort of, um, hated.
Like, I would see his face on the TV or grinning from yet-another-bestseller on the rack at the Barnes and Noble and want to shriek words like “heresy!” and “false teacher!” and “step away from the teeth whitener and the self tanner, for the love of all that is holy!”
It amazed me that people like him were even on television. I railed against his popularity, convinced that it was spelling the downfall of the western church. I judged the people in his mega church as shallow seekers of feel-good entertainment. Clearly they were not as enlightened and wise as I was (clearly). I thought he was a weak teacher at best, a heretical charlatan using the Gospel for his own personal gain (and a jet) at worst. Why settle for pablum when there is meat available?
And then one day, a friend called. This was a friend that had been on the receiving end of decades of prayer, witnessing and “reaching out” on our part. We had done everything properly with great sensitivity. All to no avail.
But he called because, guess what! Just last night, he had decided to follow Jesus!
His whole life had changed! God is real! He was completely changed, full of life! This is amazing! How did I not understand before this?
That’s wonderful, friend! But…. how did this happen?
Well, one day, he was watching TV…. and came across this TV preacher – had I ever heard of him? Because he is a man of God and suddenly it all made sense, everything.
Of course, it was that exact same TV preacher.
And I listened to my friend, full of joy, recount how he understood now what we had been trying to say but somehow this just made sense. There is happiness and peace here, look at all of these people learning, too.
Would I mind telling him the name of a book that this preacher had written? He’d like to start to read his Bible but he wants to do it with help from this wonderful man of God, the one who helped him to understand and opened his heart to Jesus.
Isn’t it just amazing that there are people like this man on television?
I found myself wanting to buy the book – in hardcover with glossy white teeth grinning out - for him.
And my wisdom felt like judgement ash in my own mouth.
Reposted from the archives.