TV Banned in my Church Part 1 of 3

Uploaded by Discern4 on 09.06.2012

My earliest memory of TV was watching cartoons in my parents' bedroom
when suddenly there was a knock on the front door.
My mum quickly turned down the TV while my dad answered the door.
I seem to remember that the TV had to be turned down
in case the person at the door was from our church.
If they found out we had a TV in the house, my dad would be in trouble.
Does that sound a bit crazy?
Stay tuned, this video takes a walk on the nuttier side of fundamentalism.
After my parents got saved, they never owned a TV.
On the odd occasion, however, my dad had to bring a TV home with him from work
while he was conducting training sessions.
Sometimes I'd be allowed to watch some cartoons in the morning.
Of course, watching He-Man didn't last too long, as I explained in my Demonic Toys video.
"Now this is a kid growing up in a Christian home, going to church, Sunday School, the whole shot."
"Out in the parking lot with He-Man in his hand, running around in circles, saying,
'He-Man has more power than Jesus'
'He-Man has more power than'
The reason my parents never had a TV was due to the rules in the church fellowship we were in.
If you wanted to be "in ministry", as they called it, then you had to obey the rules.
Ministry was considered things like being in a music band, a drama group,
a sunday school or bible study teacher, or a pastor.
These rules include forbidding you to own a TV, and you are banned from going to the movies.
In previous years, you could go to the cinema on rare occasions but it has since become outright banned.
As technology developed, the church fellowship eventually responded by creating additional rules,
such as not downloading movies from the internet.
This was the first time I had seen that rule introduced.
They also have rules and punishment for sex before marriage, but that's another video.
It's not often that the rules are written down,
but one day they handed out this piece of paper to everyone in ministry,
and we were requested to sign it and hand it back.
I never did. By this time the rules were starting to really aggravate me,
and the introduction of additional rules was the last straw.
I felt the church was shooting itself in the foot by trying to enforce these measures.
At this time I started thinking about leaving and attending another church,
but that wouldn't happen for another 18 months.
Right about now, you're probably wondering what would happen if you went to a cinema
or if someone found out you had a TV.
Well the punishment, or discipline as they called it,
was that you were banned from any form of ministry in the church for six months.
So if you were in a church music band,
then your group had to find a replacement for you.
If they couldn't, then they simply couldn't play at any church events.
Generally most of your friends are involved in something in the church,
so you're basically cut off from those activities.
And when you are expected as a good disciple to attend church three to four times a week,
that's a lot of time to be sitting on the sidelines.
If you break the rules multiple times, you would be kicked out of the church for six months,
and then once you're back in church, you'd spend another six months under discipline.
After which you could then be in ministry again if you showed positive progress.
Occasionally a pastor will defend the rules over the pulpit,
and they will try to make you feel guilty for wanting to watch TV.
"Or, amen, maybe God's saying, 'If you want to see your child make it for me,
'you better get rid of that TV. Or that internet. Or that Playstation'.
Your kids have square little eyes.
And you may be able to handle all that in yourself personally. All that trash.
But I don't believe it for a moment.
You told yourself that.
But listen to me, those little boys and girls,
how many know that's the very thing that's destroying their souls.
And here God is giving you a strategy for a breakthrough in your family,
but you don't want to obey it, because you don't want to get rid of your precious little idol.
You know, David said he burned those idols."
"It's Bible Study season, they're about to choose leaders,
and the week before they'll go buy a big TV
or fornicate or do something else, and you'll be like, 'Bro,
'we were just about to pick you for ministry and you went and bought a big TV.'
'Or you got drunk or you did something stupid, so now we can't use you.'"
The punishment for breaking the TV rule is worse for pastors.
During school holidays, one pastor rented some videos for his kids to watch.
Another Christian reported him to the leader of the Fellowship, and he was put on discipline.
The Fellowship ruled that he could not pastor for two years.
This meant his position had to be replaced in the church he was running,
and he had to come back to his mother church, meaning the Fellowship church that sponsored him.
The mother church paid for his entire family to be flown back, and he was now unemployed.
All this over renting a video.
So why would you want to stay in that church?
Because of the fear factor.
There are a variety of teachings that instill fear in the members of the church.
After the dramatic conversion experience of being saved,
you automatically trust everything your church teaches.
We were taught that God has a purpose for you in that particular church.
If you leave, then you might lose God's destiny for your life.
"I want to tell you, this is where God has placed you, this is where God wants you,
this is where God is using you."
We were told that people who left our church more often than not have a problem with God
or their heart isn't right.
They can't handle the challenge to live like real Christians,
or they just want to live in sin, so they leave.
And when they leave, their lives are almost always worse off.
Pastors will tell horror stories of things that happened to people
after they left the fellowship,
but they ignore all the others that have left who continue to lead happy lives.
Like the Mormons and other cults,
if you leave the church, most of your friends will not stay in contact with you.
In fact, many will cut you off and never speak to you.
It's a very judgemental atmosphere.
Even those in the church that have a TV but are not involved in any ministry
are looked down upon as lukewarm christians.
There is also an attitude that your church is one of the few that are doctrinally correct.
All the other churches in town are lukewarm
and you'll never find another church where the real gospel is taught.
You'll probably end up going to some wishy-washy, compromising church
and lose the destiny God had for your life.
And chances are you'll end up right back in the gutter
where you started before you got saved.
Members are also taught to submit to their "headship",
meaning the pastors that run the church.
If you are the pastor of a church, then you submit to the pastor that sent you there.
If you grate against your headship, then you run the risk of losing God's blessing and favour.
It has been taught that even if the pastor is wrong in a certain circumstance,
you still need to submit as God will bless you
for obeying the leadership He has appointed,
and He will cause things to work out in the end.
"Did you hear that, church?
He said you are to obey those that God has placed over you.
When they speak, you honour what they have said.
When they tell you, 'ay' or 'nay', you submit yourself to that.
The issue is not whether they are right or wrong, the issue is your obedience to the Lord."
Because of this elite and judgemental atmosphere,
you gradually isolate yourself from non-believers
and from the rest of the Christian community.
Your only real friends are those within the Fellowship.
If you leave and go somewhere else, it's basically social suicide.
All of these factors contribute to the culture within the church, causing you to stay.
"When you stand and preach against TV,
when you stand and preach about a commitment and a radical lifestyle,
you're preaching because you know that if you don't live this,
your life is gonna become a disaster"
"and you can lose life altogether, I had someone come into my office
about a year or year and a half ago, and announce to me,
'Pastor, I am not leaving Jesus, I am just moving on from this church.'
and it wasn't but a few months that he left Jesus as well."
"We are, in a sense, in a cocoon of safety and protection,
by virtue of what God has done through Pastor Mitchell establishing this Fellowship."
Let me note that it is not my intention
to single out any one person or pastor within this video.
The clips I used simply represent the Fellowship and its teachings in general.
Not every pastor will encourage these abusive traits,
however due to constant revival meetings and conferences,
you will likely be exposed to some of these teachings.
I'll pick this up in Part Two, where I'll talk about what it was like for me
growing up with these rules, and also the hypocrisy surrounding them.
Thanks for watching.