John Piper is no fan of television. He has repeatedly warned anyone who would listen about the dangers of TV. That may seem like a strange warning to those of us who grew up with television. It’s entirely possible, of course, that the warning is just too strong. But I don’t want to assume that without thinking hard about it.
Recently I came across several bloggers who (following the lead of Andy Naselli) have posted their thoughts about the following excerpt from a sermon Piper addressed specifically to pastors.
Turn off the television. It is not necessary for relevance. And it is a deadly place to rest the mind. Its pervasive banality, sexual innuendo, and God-ignoring values have no ennobling effects on the preacher’s soul. It kills the spirit. It drives God away. It quenches prayer. It blanks out the Bible. It cheapens the soul. It destroys spiritual power. It defiles almost everything. I have taught and preached for twenty years now and never owned a television. It is unnecessary for most of you, and it is spiritually deadly for all of you. (Read the rest.)
Deadly. That’s a strong word. He uses it twice in that one paragraph. Not only does Piper admonish preachers to turn off the television, but in a different article he advises them to teach the people in their congregations to do the same.
Help your people to turn off the television. Few things in our culture are more spiritually numbing than the television. Even the so-called “good” shows are by and large banal and low-minded and anything but cultivating of a rich, deep capacity to enjoy God. And when you add to that the barrage of suggestive advertisements that accompany virtually every program, I do not wonder why so many of our professing Christians are spiritually incapable of experiencing high thoughts and deep emotions. (From the article Advice to Pastors)
This certainly is radical, counter-cultural advice. Is it good advice? Try to be honest and objective. What do you think?