• May 18, 2024

Necroevangelism: When the Dead Tell Stories

There is a phenomenon in evangelization that is quite strange to me. I call it Necro-Evangelism and it’s where local or even national radio evangelical and fundamentalist churches continue to play the sermons of long-dead founders to convert the masses. There are at least three major churches in my area and one that I know of nationally that practices necro-evangelization and I would like to explore the pitfalls of this if I could.

I find it funny in a macabre way to listen, usually to the surviving son of the now-dead evangelist, inviting the audience to be attentive to the message of my now-deceased father and pastor, so-and-so. Some of these types of evangelists have been dead for only a few years, so we could attribute their ongoing ministry as a shock of the man being killed by the family who have no idea how to keep the business going. Others have been dead for decades and I suspect that as long as the tapes are played and can be re-copied, they will continue to preach until the Second Coming and maybe beyond! Usually there is a college or a “job” that the now deceased evangelist’s family has inherited to support themselves and while current family members may be up to the task, it is good to hear the founder as if he were alive. and good. in the air. Others, to me, seem like the type who could never do what Daddy did with evangelism, but they can’t give up the programming that Daddy put in their heads or the money he can still generate. That’s an observation about method, not sincerity.

People hate change and this delays reality for many who have grown up with the words of the now dead evangelist. A local university where I live continues to reproduce the sermons of the long-deceased founder even though two or three generations have taken over the family business of evangelizing since his death. I don’t think I’ve ever heard an on-air sermon from any of the sons, all with the same name as the founder, except for the II, III, or IV behind the name. Some Christian evangelists might be happy to return to glory, but you would never know as the family desperately tries to keep things business as usual, like before he became a necro-evangelist. Why are we doing this and what is the message it sends? You don’t see the Necro-Evangelists on television, only on the radio. Television would be too much to accept and obviously in bad taste.

First of all, it does not matter if it is something right or wrong. I’m sure the argument is “well, if we had Jesus or Paul on the tape, wouldn’t we reproduce it?” Well, yes it would, although that is not going to happen. We have them in books and we are not sure if they really said and wrote what some say they did. All we need is a bunch of fake Jesus tapes floating around and here we go again! An entire industry would explode verifying or repudiating “the Jesus tapes.” So while I get the point, these men are not Jesus or Paul, and furthermore, if you really know theology, you might suspect that the real Jesus wouldn’t have really appreciated the real Paul anyway, so now we have a tape conflict. . Then we would have to deal with the James tapes and what a mess! There would be a whole market in clandestine tapes and pseudotaperapha and we would not be much more advanced than we are today with our understanding.

So while necroevangelism could keep the family church, college, or business going for a few more generations, is it really the right thing to do and what message does it send? One advantage is that it actually gives kids unskilled or hit by the founder time to regroup and figure out what to do now that dad is gone. All their lives they had preached that the Second Coming would surely be during their lifetime, but now what? Generally, the first generation founds something, the second keeps it, and the third loses everything. Necroevangelism can postpone the sinking of necroevangelism into a “who?” maybe a generation later than this. But going back to the message it sends, it might not be good.

1. Necroevangelism tells the audience that the children do not have the conviction or the skills that Dad may have had, but that they are not willing to give up as something Dad did but we don’t want to do. So we play daddy’s sermons and we don’t have to make up our own, “alive.” In my town, one of those family members certainly doesn’t have his father’s quality of voice or sound of conviction, so I can see why he wishes Dad would keep everything going. He just introduces “my deceased father, Dr. …” and sells his tapes and even the library books his father cherished, which he obviously doesn’t. But he also has another line of work than I understand, so he does not depend on his father Necro-Evangelista for his only income.

2. Necro-evangelism sends the message that survivors are spiritually lazy, but again, they just can’t give up the potential to have followers or keep things going. The second generation makes inroads into the world of evangelism, usually getting caught up in politics more than dad because deep down they know that most of what dad predicted or said didn’t really happen that way, and it just doesn’t. they are condemned in the same way. how was dad. Dad kept them out of the “world”, and damn, they’ll see it before they become Necro-Second Generation-Evangelists too. Since Daddy impacted their lives with his own worldview, and often not in a very good way, they just don’t have the same need to convey it alongside the same fervor as Dad the Necro-Evangelist. In fact, they cannot. So they are busy producing dad’s tapes and books and they don’t have to do much to show their own creativity. They can run for public office or speak as they wish, but keeping the ball rolling is a lot easier than getting started. Anyone can be the next president of a Necro-Evangelical College or Pastor of a Necro-Evangelistic Church. Starting the sucker is the hard part. Keeping it going can be challenging, but if we keep our dear late father in the picture, it sure gets easier. Some of us leaked the fact that the Necro-Evangelist died a long time ago and maybe evangelism is a profession for living convicts.

3. Necro-Evangelicalism sends the message that Necro-Evangelicalism knew everything there was to know about the Bible and all its related subjects. There is nothing new to learn or even unlearn, as Dad made no theological mistakes, which is not true. Since we all like to hear the “old, old story, let dad explain it over and over again. This is something wrong with religion in general. Suppose all your spokesmen were right at first. If they could read the bible. , tells some good stories, keeps you interested and convinces you that the reading was the same yesterday, today and always, bingo! … why change a winning game? The problem is that for every tape that is played, there are many that cannot be because they are dated by the comments made during the sermon or even the family realizes that how or what dad said that day is not true or is not appropriate today and we just don’t interpret that one. all-time necro-evangelist hits “selected by the next generation. That’s not fair to me!

4. Most of those who had been inspired by the now Necro-Evangelist are now Necro-Christians themselves, so they’re not even around to listen to dad anymore. They were all roughly the same age and had long since moved to other heavenly realms. The children of those who loved the now Necro-Evangelist are not going to be inspired by a dead man. Sorry, they just aren’t. They will feel the previous three points even if they do not express it. Kids are not stupid and they will see what Generations II and III might be doing and how pathetic it is. These kids tend to find churches saying “as for me and my house, we will serve a living evangelist” and not just the memory of the good old days when parents thought the now Necro-Evangelist couldn’t do or say anything bad. . He used to pastor a church that too often sent recorded sermons from the then living Apostle and occasional evangelist. It was hard enough when they were alive, don’t make me listen when they are dead!

Well, I think we get the point. Is it right or wrong to carry out a ministry centered on the necro-evangelical? I do not know. It’s just pathetic and nothing more than an evangelical dead end.

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