Culture At Large

Dogma through the Airwaves

Chris Salzman

This post from Christianity Today is months old, but the topic is still quite relevant.

The post begins with a paraphrase of a conversation between a pastor and a member of their congregation, which is quite worth reading. Apparently, the pastor had quoted Erwin McManus. This concerned the member, because McManus was fingered as an Emergent on the radio and therefore involved in all sorts of heresy. The pastor then countered with some facts about McManus and said they knew of no connection between McManus and any heresy, but if the member had specifics they would be happy to discuss them with the member. The member then countered with the fact that they had heard this on the radio, the implication being that because of this delivery it was the one and true orthodoxy.

The poster then quoted Brian McLaren:

Sometimes I think that the most powerful and popular denomination in America is a stealth one. It’s not the Baptists or the Catholics or the Methodists or the Assemblies of God. It’s "radio-orthodoxy"—the set of beliefs promoted by religious broadcasting. Do you doubt the power of radio-orthodoxy? Just try contradicting it.

And from the post itself:

I’ve had my share of confrontations with Christians that adhere to radio-orthodoxy. I recognize they measure every sermon I preach against what is beamed through the airwaves. But I have yet to discover a pastoral way of handling their unquestioning faith in the disembodied voices they hear on the commute to work everyday ... the voices coming through the speakers seem to be monotone. Without multiple perspectives and thoughtful dialogue around important issues facing the church (social, political, missional, or familial) listeners are left to believe the Christian position is cut and dry, black and white.

For the lay people that read this blog, how do you discern between what your pastor says, what you read, and what you hear other places? For the pastors, have you had to contend with this sentiment before? Other thoughts?

And as a bonus question, which podcasts/radio programs do you listen to?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, The Church, News & Politics, Media