If the Christian entertainment industry represents the church today, we’re in trouble. But so are they. I fear for their souls. Do these people want to evangelize the lost or just make money? If the latter, they’re succeeding wildly. If the former, they’re a dismal failure.
Some Christian entertainers have embraced the world so much that I can’t distinguish between the two. First they dress like the world at concerts and film premieres. Then some musicians – Annie Moses Band, Charles Billingsley, Amy Grant, and others – record secular songs. As the lead singer in Annie Moses Band ironically noted, this ungodly world builds altars to Satan through music. It will never sing about Jesus, so why would any Christian honor the world with musical gifts? We should praise God in instrument and song (Psalm 150). Why aren’t more Christians obeying?
Still other musicians remove the Christian label altogether in order to appeal to wider audiences. The rock band Skillet did so after learning – shock – that unbelievers weren’t buying their music. Don’t they know that sinners hate God? Wanting them to hear Christian music, watch Christian films, or read Christian books is like asking a dirty pig to eat at a clean table. The disciples were first called Christians in Antioch (Acts 11:26). The word means “little Christ.” People will pay a high price for shunning such a label. It’s like crucifying Jesus afresh (Hebrews 6:6). He said, “Whoever denies me before men, him will I also deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). Why would anyone risk heaven to please this ungodly world?
Jesus Christ was and is unpopular. He’s a “rock of offense” to unbelievers (Isaiah 8:14, Romans 9:33, 1 Peter 2:8). And the true gospel always causes offense (Galatians 5:11). The reason why is simple: we must humble ourselves and repent of our sins. Sinful man wants to be king. He’s not ready to be dethroned by Jesus. So when will Christian entertainers stop trying to please this sinful world? The gospel will never win a popularity contest – and that’s okay.
Now some Christian producers and musicians say that they don’t want to beat religion and the Bible over people’s heads. This is worldly wisdom, a false gospel. Sinners need “the Bible hammer,” not a soft gospel embedded in cheap entertainment. Christian morals and values don’t save people. Only the blood of Jesus Christ does. Spirit-filled Christians soaked in the Word know the difference. How rare they are.
Too many Christians have bought the “seven mountains of culture” lie. Arts and entertainment is one of those “mountains.” We’re not here to transform cultures but to preach the gospel to the lost. Who does that anymore? Who preaches the simple gospel of the cross of Jesus Christ? We want to entertain people instead. We don’t know that they’re laughing their way into hell.
Somehow we believe that sinners are spiritually neutral. With a salty sprinkling of morals and values through our books, films, and songs, we think we can make sinners hungry for Jesus. We think we can make them love God and hate sin. But this is worldly wisdom.
First, sinners aren’t neutral. Satan is the prince of this world and he has blinded the minds of unbelievers (2 Corinthians 4:4). They’ve been “taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). Sinners love darkness and hate light because of their evil deeds (John 3:19). They hate God, religion, the Bible, and holiness. Sinners are imprisoned in Satan’s camp and we must rescue them from the eternal fires of hell (Jude 23, Revelation 20:15). But it takes more than entertainment to wrench sinners from Satan’s grasp. Only Spirit-filled preaching and prayer will do.
Second, salt preserves. It slows down degeneration. Like the Holy Spirit, salt keeps man’s sinfulness from permeating and ruining a culture (Matthew 5:13, 2 Thessalonians 2:7). But it doesn’t produce conversion or spiritual transformation. So the blood of Jesus is not salt.
Sadly, we’ve even lost our salt. Christians often hire unbelievers to star in their films, but these people finish Christian projects unchanged. It isn’t hard to figure out why. Christianity isn’t cultural osmosis, so our holiness won’t rub off on sinners. True religion is conviction, repentance, and conversion instead. We must sow the seed of the Word and let God work.
Where is our burden for the lost? I wish the Christian entertainment industry would wake up to the reality of hell and the lost condition of sinners. Then maybe they’d finally stop playing church, singing secular songs, writing fluff, and producing comedies. Like Jesus, they would start preaching to the lost, weeping and praying for them. Life isn’t a party. We’re not here to play. And hell is no joke. So the Christian entertainment industry desperately needs spiritual maturity. It needs sober-minded leaders. Where are they?
Helplessly watching a loved one die in an accident or natural disaster sobers some people. I wish God would visit the Christian entertainment industry with such accidents and disasters. Only then would they learn what life is really about and start obeying the Great Commission.