Are Professional Teacher/Preachers/Theologians/Writers causing more harm than good?

I was just thinking about this the other night.

Has the increase of Christian media(i.e. TV, radio, books, conferences, etc.) affected how Churches in America function? Or more specifically, has the rise of Christian celebrities (i.e. Teachers, Preachers, Book Writers, Theologians) actually caused more harm than good?

With radio, TV, and bookstores now being used to promote certain Christians men and women, and to sometimes try to sell Christianity to a consumer-minded Church; how has this affected small, local congregations? Can individual congregations, who often times have few resources, and who have simple men and women serving in them, compete with large(corporation-like) ministries? Do people even need local Churches, when they can find so much knowledge online, and access to radio and video sermons on a daily basis? What about Churches in which the music is played on an organ, and songs are selected from hymnals? How can they compete with so-called Christian Artists?

Is all of this easy access to information/ answers actually an impediment to real theological/doctrinal discussion in local churches? When a question arise in Churches, or there is some type of disagreement regarding doctrine or church regulations, do men and women sit down with their Bibles and search through the Scriptures for answers, or have a theological discussion? Or do they take the easy way out, and search online for someone else's answer, or pick up a book that covers that topic?

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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This one's been sitting a while but I've been meaning to take a stab at it.

Have to start by asking, what is impossible to replicate via print, audio or video media?
Arguably, the answer may eventually be "just about nothing." But I'm not sure human beings will ever "outgrow" or even decline into total geographical apathy. What I mean by that is, though the day is pretty much here when people continents apart can interact in just about every way but touch in real time, I doubt human nature will ever accept the idea fully that this is "just as good as being there." Actual nearness matters to us.
With that as a given, here's what's irreplaceable:
Real relationships with real people.

You can put all the same info you get at a local church into print, audio, video form and share with the globe, but in our hearts we know that this is not the same as having a living connection with a real pastor/teacher or exhorting brother (Col. 3:16). So, though the local church may not be "necessary" as a place to get biblical information, it's indispensable as a place to get information in the context of relationships with people. And I really think that since we're living souls (not data storage machines), we really don't "get information" fully either if we don't ever get it from someone we know, face to face.

I think I can say this much better with some more time to chew on it. It's a very important question for our times.