Don't Waste Your Misquote (What TGC Really Thinks About 'Real Preachers of L.A.')
Every writer who covers pop culture secretly dreams of seeing their words used on a movie poster, a film trailer, or other promotional material. I wish I could say I'm too humble or high-minded to have such aspirations myself. But I'm not. Or at least I wasn't before yesterday. Turns out that novelist Edward Dahlberg was right when he said, "Ambition is a Dead Sea fruit, and the greatest peril to the soul is that one is likely to get precisely what he is seeking."
Yesterday, while flipping through the channels looking for the Cowboys-Broncos game, my wife stumbled across this commercial for the new reality series, "Preachers of L.A."
There it was, right at the beginning, my first pop culture blurb: "Powerful . . . " Joe Carter, TheGospelCoalition.org
Did I describe the show as "powerful"? No. Here's the context from the article I wrote in July:
While it's tempting to think these gold-chain wearing, luxury car driving preachers can be easily dismissed, we shouldn't underestimate the powerful appeal of their message.
The "powerful" refers not to the show or even the pastors but to the appeal of what I described as the "heretical gospel of 'health and wealth.'"
While I don't like being misquoted -- or at least quoted in a false context -- there isn't much use complaining about my name being attached to the misleading promo. The people who know me, and know of my disdain for the "prosperity gospel," will chuckle at the misrepresentation. And the people who don't know me won't care what I think.
But there is one thing that does bother me: having the words "TheGospelCoalition" used in a way that appears to make it seem like a gospel-loving organization would approve of what is being presented in this new TV series. I've watched the first episode and it presents the soul-destroying, heretical, health-and-wealth message as it if was the essence of the gospel.
The "gospel" being presented on the Oxygen channel series is not the gospel of Christianity. The real gospel message is, as our co-founder Tim Keller has explained, "Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever."
So to clear up any misconceptions new visitors might have about where we stand, let me show you what a TGC-approved promo for Real Preachers of L.A. would really look like: