My Thoughts When Someone Tells Me They Watched a Televangelist Instead of Coming to Church

Telling your pastor what TV preachers you watch while you skip church is not helping your cause.



One thing I hate about being a pastor is listening to people’s excuses for skipping church. I’m not interested. If there is a reason you weren’t there, that’s fine, but excuses drive me nuts.

One of the justifications for not coming to church is telling the pastor what other means of edification you partook in while skipping church. This frequently involves telling your pastor what televangelist you watched Sunday morning instead.

Here’s the thing: The majority of pastors on TV are heretical nut-jobs. Yeah, I said it.

If watching a televangelist makes up for not coming to hear me preach, then good Lord, I should have quit years ago.

Watching heretics is about the worst possible thing you could do while skipping church. You’d be better served getting another hour of sleep. Or wake up and drink coffee and stare out the window Talk to your kids. Even going to their baseball tournament is better than watching televised heresy.

Telling me that you watched a televangelist is not winning any points with me. It makes me worry that you think my messages are similar to what you saw on TV. That imbibing in that drivel equals drinking, what I thought, were rivers of living water proclaimed from God’s Word in my sermon.

I’m now more worried for you. I now feel that you need at least four more church services just to make up for the heretical information that is now swimming loose in the slosh of your brain. Instead of justifying your absence of one church service, you now indebt yourself to four more of my church services.

Some justify their church skipping by telling me that they did read their Bible and a couple devotionals. That’s fine, I have nothing against people reading their Bibles or using good devotionals.

Here’s the thing though: even I did that on Sunday and I still preached a sermon.

Look, using one spiritual act to make up for not doing another spiritual act really isn’t accomplishing anything. It is, in fact, the error that the Pharisees made. “We skip the weightier matters of the law, but hey, we did tithe the exact amount of cumin.” It’s the idea that Israel had that annoyed the prophets, “Yeah, we sinned, but hey, we killed these animals, so we’re cool, right?” Nope!

Jesus was not impressed with such justifications and nor should anyone else be. If spiritual actions are treated like a commodity, then I do believe you have no idea what you’re doing. There are no spiritual Carbon Offsets.

You can’t make up for skipping church. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. The same group and atmosphere and sermon and songs and prayers are different every time. It’s gone. You can’t make up for it.

Spiritual activities are not commodities to be purchased and traded. Your involvement in spiritual activities reveals your heart. Don’t make excuses and don’t treat spiritual things as a commodity. You didn’t go. Deal with it. Don’t justify it.

And, hey, here’s an idea, totally free: how about just show up for church?



Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
–Matthew 23:23

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