Your podcast is not your pastor.

DefCon has been pleased to provide our readers with our sermon of the week for several years now (over 300 available in our sermons category). But we know that this comes with a caution. 

With the advent of the internet, there’s a propensity for some to withdraw from fellowship with other believers and to rely on internet sermons as their sole source of preaching.

The following article from Trevin Wax serves as a healthy reminder to not let our blessing of the availability of internet sermons become a hindrance or a curse.

“There’s been a lot of talk in the blogosphere this year about the rise of ‘celebrity pastors’ with ‘rock-star status’ and the larger-than-life influence of popular conference speakers whose sermons are downloaded by the thousands. Some have openly decried this development; others are glad that at least pastors are being celebrated. Most of us are somewhere in the middle.”

Continue reading here.

18 thoughts on “Your podcast is not your pastor.

  1. While Ross King’s wonderful song, Happy, focused on a “two dimensional preacher man” up on a TV screen, the relational dynamics are the same with a preacher on a pod cast. The lyrics are below, you can buy the MP3 for 89 cents here: http://www.amazon.com/Happy/dp/B0014AZL9A

    It may not make you happy :-)

    Ross King’s song, Happy

    Fourteen thousand members and me,
    Watch the preacher up on the screen,
    I have never shaken his hand,
    My two-dimensional pastor-man,
    Welcome to America.

    Doesn’t matter if I am here,
    In this crowd I could disappear,
    Pastor-man is all that we need,
    Preachin via satellite feed.

    I can watch it all from my pew,
    Til the presentation is through.
    You will have to pardon me,
    But this cannot be all there is,
    I can’t imagine God would be,
    Happy about this.

    Smiling people up on the stage,
    Everyone prefers it that way.
    Smiling people out in the crowd,
    No questioning or doubting allowed,
    This is our America.

    Where everyone is pretty and clean;
    Where everything’s rehearsed and routine.
    You will have to pardon me,
    But this cannot be all there is.
    I can’t imagine God would be
    Happy about this.

    What if Jesus disagrees
    With how you measure your success?
    Would you find a way to still believe
    He’s happy about this?
    What if he’s not happy about this?

    The church is now the body of Christ,
    And every part is equally prized.
    The eye can never say to the hand:
    All we need is this preacher-man.

    Would you notice if I was gone?
    How easy would it be to move on?
    You will have to pardon me,
    But this cannot be all there is.
    I can’t imagine God would be
    Happy about this.

    Cause crowds don’t necessarily
    Mean that God is truly blessed.
    I think there is a chance that he’s
    Not happy about this.
    What if he’s not happy about this?
    What if he’s not happy about this?

  2. The other side of this is that there are many today who are without a church because they cannot find one, I am in this dilemma at the moment. If it were not for sermons available on the internet, many like myself would be void of hearing God’s word preached.
    I left my old church a month ago, my former pastor was too complacent. He also started using the message in his preaching, so I knew it was time to go.
    I think my search for a new church may be short-lived, I have found a couple I plan to visit. But until I do find one, internet sermons have been a blessing. Even when I did attend a church, I still was tremendously blessed through sermons I listened to on the internet. No, it isn’t the same as attending a worship service and having fellowship with other believers, but it isn’t meant to be. It would be easy to get into a pattern of listening to sermons off the internet and not seeking a church, so this post is indeed very much needed. For those who are in the same predicament that I am, sermons found on the internet are a tremendous blessing, albeit temporary.
    I know of brothers and sisters in Christ who have been searching for months or longer for a church and cannot find one, or who attend a church that is worldly but they consider it better than nothing. There is no true fellowship, which is another problem I had in my previous church. The members are worldly and have no desire to discuss holiness, but will go on for hours about their desire for a better earthly job or discuss entertainment choices they post on facebook that aren’t characteristic of someone who professes Christ, this too was an issue in my former church. It is a growing problem in America, finding churches that are faithful and true to His word. Let’s not forget to pray for those who are without a church, this is becoming more frequent and probably not addressed as much as it should be.

  3. Well, there is the “problem” of “pastors” being so busy today that you can’t get through their secretary to see them, unless you can wait several weeks to keep an appointment. By the way, this technique is taught! See here: http://mcmnetwork.org/assets/files/Key%20Factors%20in%20Self-Leadership.pdf
    Next is the too busy to do anything like be broken by the Holy Spirit so they buy their sermons…You go google your denominational bent+sermons and there they are for “busy pastors.”
    Funny how often I run in to pastors during the week on the golf course with a rich young ruler candidate that Jesus didn’t bother to chase, or shopping with their wives in the Malls. Hmm…
    Perhaps the growth of seeking teachers elsewhere is the RESULT of preachers who are called to a profitable career rather then chief of servants?
    Right problem, wrong cause it appears to me. When preachers return to serving and seeking God instead of decisions to plug in to their dreamcasting mentality, then things might be restored? Yet the bible teaches us the opposite as men seek their own flocks to shear, and followers chase every wind of doctrine to tickle their itchy ears.
    No the answer is follow Christ and no man as Head. Find a godly undershepherd that meets biblical standards and pours his life out for the little flock that is Christ Jesus.’
    Oh, and most often they will be in that little chapel you have driven by on your way to be blessed at the “jesus franchise.” Straight is the Gate and narrow is the Path, and few there be…Few there be!

  4. Lyn – I understand your situation. Press on for the glory of our Lord. Yes – solid sermons are a blessing and not to be neglected.

    Mickie – You are right. How wretched are those who have turned the gathering of saints into houses of merchandise! The Bible becomes a handy guide of how to live for the glory of the flesh, blaming it on God.

  5. By the way, just one more thing:
    Psalm 23 (It’s not just for funerals anymore! LOL)
    The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
    He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
    He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
    Shepherd means pastor…pastor means shepherd, see Jeremiah 3 in context, including 3:15.

    The whole problem existing proves that scripture is accurate and the system is wrong! By the way excellent song above don’t you agree! Thanks Manfred!
    What I see 95+5 of the time is 2 demensional preachers on screen and on platforms wanting to get on screen…
    I don’t settle for them and neither should you! For I have Christ Jesus in me!

  6. We couldn’t find a church for a while either. Internet sermons really helped during that time, but they can’t replace a pastor and being in community.

  7. Some good things in the article but the underlying unbiblical view of the reformed pastor is also present. Podcasts can not replace a new testament assembly, but the average reformed church is based more on catholic tradition than true new testament gatherings. When people say podcasts cant replace a pastor – I think they can. Most people do not have true fellowship with an elder/pastor in their church because the pastor has elevated himself above the body of Christ by using religous titles and a flase clergy-laity divide that Jesus forbids. So in that, what’s the difference between someone you dont really know preaching to you from behind a pulpit or behind a radio speaker? Of course true fellowship with saints and elders is the best.

    In Christ – Jim

  8. This reminds of Dan Philips’ post over at the Pyromaniacs blog: “Porn and Paper Pastors.” I’ve learned to appreciate the MacArthurs, Sprouls and Pipers with books and large ministries, but even more, I should love, cherish and pray for my own pastor, who keeps watch over my soul. He needs all the love he can get.

  9. I agree with Lyn. Why attend a Church if they aren’t honoring God’s word anymore. We have Churches filled with goats these days and only a smattering of Churches that honor the Lord and His word. If people are attending such Churches that still are faithful they are so blessed.

    I agree that the physical church is not to be replaced by pod-casts or online sermons or whatnot’s. But I’ve found some of the closest most genuine believers of the Lord Jesus Christ online. Yes there are a few I talk to here where I live and when we get to talking, it’s non stop and joy and elation.

    Anyways, if I read the passage correctly in Hebrews it says “Let us not stop meeting together as some are in the habit of doing”..
    I could be wrong and correct me if you will for the wiser please. But doesn’t that mean we should not stop meeting together with believers? That doesn’t say we must attend a church does it? Also when it says the word “Let” is that a command? If so then why is Hebrews using such a gentle word?

    Thanks

  10. After 5+ years in my first and only church, I left at the beginning of Jan ’11 because my former pastor accepted everything and everyone that called itself Christian. Being a mainly British ex-pat congregation in Spain, it was small and due to the nature of ex-pat life here, it was a mix of wheat and tares with an ever changing mixed bag of beliefs mainly charismatic, looking for signs and wonders, deliverance, wof (my pastor’s wife is a staunch, wof Kenneth Hagin and Andrew Wommack fan) 2 female pastors and even me a young (though not in age!) female Christian standing at the pulpit giving sermons! (I have repented) I was becoming increasingly concerned all around but it took about 2 years for the Lord to really open my eyes so that I could see clearly and I left the next week after the loud wake-up (I had written with great trepidation, a 5 page letter to my pastor raising my Biblical concerns with things said in Bible studies etc, but he never responded to them, just ‘had a go at me’ for being ‘wiser, judgmental’ etc).

    There is no Biblically true church here that I know about so until the Lord reveals one to me and puts me back into a congregation (which I long for) I am on my own and I mean on my own (my husband is not a believer) I only have the internet for hearing God’s Word preached and for the teaching I was hungry for at church which always seemed lacking and unsatisfying. As others have said, my congregation was very worldly and never wanted to talk about the Lord, the Bible or anything else but worldly stuff, as for Holiness my passion, it was shunned as was I more often than not, so until I can once more take my place in a congregation it is the internet (though I listen to only a few sermons from selected pastors) for me and where so far this sheep has had more feeding.

  11. Dear Linda:
    In answer to your question, remember scripture states,”Wherever 2 or 3 are gathered in My name there I will be in the midst.” Thus we see that those who are His, and part of His called out Ekkleisiah, when gathered together in His Name, are in fact fellowshipping! Be it on Sunday or Monday, in a building or in a park. Now as to the folks who use scripture out of contest and partially quoting the forsaking as if you need to be in your pew when the preacher is in the pulpit, well I want to assure you that the same word forsake in the wedding vow is the same word in the scripture! Further, if you look at the context of the forsaking passage you will notice on each side of it “One Anothering!” So when folks gather in an auditorium and listen to a speaker then go home, and then you compare that to you and a couple of christian friends gathered at a Panera to share a meal and God’s Word, I ask you…”Which group is really forsaking the One Anothering?”
    You are getting it correctly dear sister, and thanks for the one anothering with us here on this blog!
    Mickey Merrie

  12. Thanks for all your comments. Just to clarify, I did not post this article from Trevin Wax as a discouragement to listening to sermons online. It was merely a caution to not fall into the trap of making that exclusive.

    I personally benefited greatly from online sermons for the approximate year that my wife and I were without a church. The famine of the Word seems to be everywhere in our nation, so we had to rely on sound Biblical exposition from solid Bible teachers found on the internet. We have since found a church that’s almost an hour from our home, but it’s the closest congregation to us that we know of that’s not in the business of tickling ears and entertaining goats, but instead is committed to teaching the saints and glorifying Jesus Christ.

    Starting a sermon of the week on DefCon, which has grown to over 300 sermons now (you can find them in our sermons category), was my way of helping others out there who were also needing good solid teaching. And this post was my caution to avoid the pitfall.

  13. I personally find that listening to sermon podcasts is not much different than listening to most pastors preach in an actual pulpit these days. I’ve only been a part of one church in my life where the pastor was approachable and actually knew me. I think fleebabylon is spot on. Having spent the majority of my younger years in a church that had no pastor at all, only elders (of which my father was one), I still believe this is the more biblical model of the local church and prevents improper “pastor-worship” of any kind, whether via internet sermons or real-life situations.

    Nonetheless, a good article for those who might be tempted to abandon fellowship because of what’s available online.

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