While televangelists still dupe too many individuals, most everyone today recognizes their negative influence on Christianity.
We see how they exploit viewers—asking for money and promising “blessings” in return. They ask you to sacrifice very little in following Jesus, but want you to make extraordinary sacrifices for their ministry.
Unfortunately, many individuals who would never be conned by a televangelist on TV or radio, have been suckered by their modern day equivalent on social media.
Televangelists aren’t disappearing. They’re just moving to Facebook under different names.
The neo-televangelists, as I call them, don’t necessarily need your money directly—though they may ask for donations—they are after your social media feed and your pageviews.
When they go viral because of thousands of Christians share their posts, their ad rates go up and they make more money.
Don’t be fooled by this new generation of con artists. Here’s five ways to spot neo-televangelists on your social media feed.
1. Nothing but clickbait headlines
They use all caps to scream their sincerity.
What this random person you’ll never meet said will leave you SPEECHLESS!
This celebrity I don’t like did something so DUMB, you’ll click my site to see what it is!
You won’t BELIEVE this business made a decision I disagree with!
Every child in America is in DANGER because of this SHOCKING thing you probably already knew and it’s not really dangerous, just kind of an inconvenience to some
A secular coffee company takes snowflakes off their seasonal cup and goes with a more minimalistic design? Of course, that’s denying Jesus. These guys are on it.
Just like their predecessors, neo-televangelists aren’t concerned with truth. They’ll say and do anything to get what they want—pageviews.
2. Readers’ perspectives are never challenged
You can spot a social media neo-televangelist by their refusal to challenge readers to think outside of their comfort zone. The posts aren’t thought-provoking, they are simply anger-stoking.
Every post is designed to stir up anger against someone or something who is the “other.” Those other people are what’s wrong with our country.
For the conservative neo-televangelists, “liberals” are always to blame for everything that is wrong and are incapable of doing anything worthwhile.
By contrast, readers are never challenged to think deeper about a subject or make any changes themselves because the fault always lies with everyone else.
3. The Bible is not enough
Neo-televangelists’ use of Scripture is as rare and misleading as older televangelists. When they do turn to the Bible, it is to use out of context verses to gin up rage and divisiveness.
But for the most part, the posts are devoid of any discussion of Scripture. They are simply talking points designed to elicit a specific reaction—click the link and share.
4. They are self-contradictory
While lamenting things like the “politically correct culture,” neo-televangelists perpetuate the very same societal ills they claim to be combating.
You can’t preach about how a victim mindset is ruining our nation and then whine about the lack of religious decorations on a coffee cup.
You can’t blast a dehumanizing culture and then lump groups of people together and refuse to see them as individuals made in the image of God.
Instead of challenging and correcting the endlessly aggrieved and outraged culture they claim to oppose, they are contributing to it—for personal gain.
5. Humility is missing
When was the last time one of these guys admitted they were wrong? Asked for forgiveness? Displayed transparency or humility?
Do they ever advocate for anything other than boycotts or power plays? When did they last call for sacrificial love for those they consider their enemies?
Aggressiveness and combativeness get clicks and likes and shares, but what do they gain after that? What good is a whole world of Facebook shares when you lose your soul to the social media machine?
Why is this important?
So who really cares? Why call attention to these individuals? Because just like exploitive health and wealth televangelists, these neo-televangelists harm the body of Christ. They undermine both our reputation and our character.
The reputation of the body of Christ is harmed when people see these guys and assume that’s what being a Christian looks like.
They give non-Christians another excuse for not considering Christ. Why would others want to embrace a group known only for perpetual anger?
Jesus made it clear He would be a stumbling block to many considering following Him. But that’s His job—not ours.
Even worse than harming our reputation (what others think about us), they harm our character (who we really are).
In their quest for pageviews and social media shares (and eventually money), they coarsen our outlook on the world and discourage our love for others.
These sites encourage our worst tendencies as humans and subvert the nature of the gospel. They cause us to puff up with pride about being “right” and lead us to see other humans as our enemy rather than our neighbor.
You may think liking their page or occasionally sharing their posts is no big deal, but it perpetuates their false ministry and exposes everyone in your social media feed to their toxic version of Christianity.
Today, most Christians rightly see exploitive televangelists for who they really are. It’s time we do the same for neo-televangelists on social media.