Televised Ministry Sensationalism – It Could Happen to You!

Televised ministry sensationalism… this is the hyperconservative Church of Christ answer to Jerry Springer or the sensationalist episodes of Dateline NBC.

I was watching a televised ministry sensationalist clip on youtube recently where Johnny Robertson and a cameraman went after Pastor Jackie Poe, of The Church at Mercy Crossing in Martinsville, Virginia.  Pastor Poe was caught off guard that day, and so made several mistakes in the way he responded to Mr. Robertson, which is understandable when you are the subject of an ambush.  

I would like to detail the mistakes made, and then make a list of several different ways you can respond if you are ever the subject of one of a televised ministry senstationalist impromptu “interview”.  

First, the clip in question:

Now, from watching the clip, this is what I see.  It appears that Pastor Poe has just arrived to the Church at Mercy Crossing (on a Saturday morning?), and Mr. Robertson (in his registered trademark cowboy hat) and cameraman with an apparently turned off camera (notice how it is held often at a lower level, as if to give the appearance that it is not on? – and then Pastor Poe realizes that it is, in fact, on, and that’s when the clip ends) are there waiting for him.  Pastor Poe makes his way into the church.  

edit:  A commenter named “Jo” said the following about the context of this clip, which is apparently told on a DVD, but not on the youtube site:

“I believe the DVDs stated that Mr. Poe and crew were working at the church and it was Mr. Robertson’s good fortune to come at that time.”  

Now back to our regularly scheduled post.

Let’s look at some of the mistakes  Pastor Poe made in this clip.

Mistake #1:

Telling the Hypercon to Leave the Property.  This is exactly what a televised ministry sensationalist with a camera wants you to do.  This makes it look like he is being unfairly treated, and if he is a hypercon “Church of Christ” person, it will give him a prime example of the “persecution” he is undergoing in the pursuit of his “missionary work” in your area.  And do understand that he will use the clip in such a way – probably in large Churches of Christ out in Texas.

Mistake #2

Insulting the Hypercon.  In the clip, Pastor Poe is obviously frustrated by Mr. Robertson.  His first attempt to vent that frustration is the not-so-subtle barb about “attraction”.  This was Pastor Poe’s flesh talking here, and insulting is to be avoided at all costs, because this sort of thing will be played and replayed, and while it may bring you a certain amount of instant satisfaction, in the long run it will not help your cause.

Mistake #3

Escaping.  Pastor Poe is working to get into his building during the clip, and again, while it is understandable, it just makes the hypercon look like he is the one in control.  You don’t want to give him the satisfaction.  Of course, if you stop to talk to him, you will run the risk of being trapped.  So, this one is not an easy call.  Look down below for a list of possible things you can do to help pass the time if you do stop.

Mistake #4

Demanding the Camera be Turned Off.  Towards the end of this clip Pastor Poe realizes that sneaky cameraman is, in fact, already filming, and demands that the camera be turned off.  Again, this is understandable, but it doesn’t help him come off well.  

So, while Pastor Poe did the best he could under the circumstances, he could have done better.  

Before I get into my thoughts on what one should do in an encounter with televised ministry sensationalists from a hypercon “Church of Christ”, let me mention some other things that did not happen on this clip, but have happened before, and are big mistakes in this situation.

1)  Threats.  This is the big no-no.  Don’t let some big beefy deacon or elder come and suggest that the interview be completed “out back”.  This just doesn’t help you or your position at all, and it will be played and replayed.   

2)  Agreeing to come on air and debate and then not showing up.  Just tell him you aren’t interested.  Why would anyone who has watched any of their “debates” want to participate?  Did anyone watch that Armando Deloa debacle?   They’ll fuss about the fact that you are a coward for a couple of weeks, but ultimately they’ll settle down and move on to someone else.

3)  Allowing yourself to be put on the defensive.  These men are well-informed, but there’s a difference between being well-informed and being right.  Look at suggestion #3 below.  Know your stuff – and know theirs.  You can find the Achilles heel if you are persistent.

Back to our clip… what could Pastor Poe have done differently?  What could you do if they show up at the church you attend sometime?  Well, here are some ideas.

Suggestion #1

Sing!  Hypercon CofC folks, when arguing the subject of musical instruments in worship, love to quote Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, James 5:13.  So, the simplest thing you can do when you see them coming, is just break out into song.  I know, I know, it sounds like “Hairspray”, but what else could they do?  If they come at you with a camera and you just begin singing “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” (six verses – a good long one), what else can they do but join in?  It could turn into a revival.

Of course, if you have a long, long walk, you could sing “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly.  It’s not a Christian song, but it’s 17 minutes long, and has a great drum solo in the middle.  You can do it on the hood of your car.  The point is – sing!  

In fact, you could even have this arranged with members of your congregation.  If the ambush happens, as it did recently at Rick’s church, you could have a nonverbal cue that four members are to come up and begin singing an acapella song barbershop style.  They should have a few songs in their repertoire, however.  Even better, teach the whole church to do it – so that everyone breaks into song.  

If they are really bad singers, it might cause the hypercon televised ministry sensationalists to flee.

Suggestion #2

Start Quoting Scripture.  

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Pastor Poe started to do this, talking about knowing a tree by it’s fruit, but he wasn’t prepared to take it far enough.  The best thing for a potential interviewee to do is to memorize a book of the NT and just start quoting it from memory as soon as the ambush begins.  Imagine that clip if Pastor Poe had been quoting the book of Romans the entire time, as if in conversation?  If you don’t have Scripture memorized, just have a copy of the Word handy and just start reading aloud.  Just don’t allow the hypercon “Church of Christ” televised ministry sensationalist to interrupt if you happen upon one of their favorite passages (Romans 16:16 or Acts 2:38, for example).  

Suggestion #3

Know their doctrine, too.  Now, I know most pastors are too busy actually ministering to people to spend time understanding the limited interpretation of the hypercon Churches of Christ – but a little knowledge could go a long way.  And trust me – they know your doctrine, and will bring up the most obscure reference to try and paint you into a corner.  But they have their own corners – investigate and learn!  There are many conversations on this blog which could help – and follow the links in the blogroll, too.

Suggestion #4

Speak nothing but pig latin.  These men are so opposed to the idea of speaking in tongues, that it might just cause them to leave just to avoid the appearance of evil.

Just imagine:  

Hypercon:  Excuse me, Pastor.  My name is Billy Bob Bisedell, and I host a program on Star 39.

Pastor:  Esyay, Iyay owknay ouyay.  Our’eyay hattay uygay hattay oesday ecretsay ameracay mbushesayay.

Hypercon:  Er – right.  Now, I wanted to ask you where you get the Scriptural authority to have a praise band.

Pastor:  Ren’tyay heytay reatgay?  Hosetay idskay eallyray ovelay hetay ordLay.

Hypercon:  Excuse me, but are you speaking in tongues?

Pastor:  Ohnay.  T’siyay igpay atinlay.

Hypercon:  Um… we’ve got to go.

Pastor:  Oodbyegay!  Omecay gainayay ealray oonsay!

The point would be to keep it up the entire time, but answer the questions seriously.


Okay, that last one was tongue in cheek, but you get the picture. 

Now, I do want to differentiate something here – if you have an informal conversation with a hyperconservative “Church of Christ” person – that is different.  If you are a pastor, you might want to go ahead and record the conversation yourself, but don’t worry about singing.  Just relax and make sure that you know your stuff.  However, should they show up at the church where you minister on a Sunday evening, be prepared.

Finally, if you remember nothing else in this post, remember this:  

If one of the hyperconservative TV hosts show up at the church you attend or where you preach – assume that a camera or microphone is involved.  If a camera is visible but appears to be turned off, assume that it is on, but being held down to make it appear turned off.  If you make this assumption, you won’t be as likely to be burned later.

Any other suggestions of ways to frustrate the hypercon “Church of Christ” attempts at televised ministry sensationalism?  But remember – keep it civil.  No suggestions that involve violence, crudeness or rudeness, please.



23 thoughts on “Televised Ministry Sensationalism – It Could Happen to You!

  1. I would suggest to constantly refer to the Church of Christ as a denomination and just ignore them when they say, “We aint no demomasayshun!” and keep reiterating the point indirectly by saying, “Well, you in the denomination of the Church of Christ say…” or “I have a friend who is a member of your denomination,” etc.

    Of course, the point shouldn’t be to “frustrate” them but instead to almost shame them (in a way).

    Another thing that would work is to laugh at their accusations. For example, if they were to say, “Well you’re not following Bible example because the Bible says…” just start laughing loudly; it is funny, actually. Every time they try to repeat themselves, just laugh louder. Calling someone over and saying, “You have to hear this!” and just laughing at them would do wonders to get rid of them.

    Going along with the whole sining idea- if there is any instrument in the area and you know how to play it or if you have instrumental music on a CD, sing along with it! LOL that’d get them so mad.

    At times, it is hard to call people who do things like that Christians.

  2. The point about eakingspay inway igpay atinlay isway ethay estbay!

    Wow, it is kind of difficult for me to believe that there are actually people in the church this nasty. These guys make Ingrid and Pastor Ken look like lap dogs.

    Almost makes me want to go Baptist…uh…not. (LOL)


  3. Dear Dangoldfinch,
    I saw your post and emailed wdtbstv about it. Here is what he said, “Please have all of the people practice all of things you said to do and tell me where to go to tape them.” Great stuff.

  4. Dear Mr. Dangoldfinc,
    What if Mr. Robertson is really right and by doing all this he is able to make you search to see if you are doing things correctly.
    What if he destroys denominations by his work that is really gaining ground? Would that not be what God wants if you all are really counterfeit?
    When people just assume that they are on the right side and therefore just automatically condemn any effort to stop them, they wouldn’t recognize anything that opposed to them as good.
    Do you promote Jehovah’s Witness? They have been around as long as Holiness. Do you oppose them? Would you record them? Would you try and expose them?
    If not then maybe you need to look up Baptist website in Marlow OK which is the leading seller of anti-Mormonism.

  5. No, Jo-God has not called Mr. Robertson or any of us to “destroy denominations”-that is absurd. He has called us to share the love of Christ with the world-not prove everyone else wrong in an attempt to what? I cannot believe anyone actually believes this is appropriate or ok, and will actually spend money to support such terrible acts-it is certainly not evangelism and does more harm to the kingdom of God-which satan loves.

    The sadly ironic part is-in these kinds of efforts-those who are “fighting the denominations” became a worse kind of denomination than they accuse everyone else of-but simply cannot see it or choose to deny it.

    My job is not to go around figuring out who is “counterfeit”, and after all-since God is the one who saves-there is not a whole lot you can do if He has already saved when you choose to condemn. Thank God for that!! 🙂

  6. Jo,

    Ironically, I am a big, big, big fan of God’s grace in all things–even for Mr Robertson. No, I doubt very seriously, though, that destroying churches is the work of any human. Although, to be sure, we are very, very good at it aren’t we?


  7. 1Ti 1:3 As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

  8. Man I don’t know where to start you all need to get a grip we are here to save if you spend all your time seeing who is got the right answer and treating each other like mad dogs to me your not on the right track grow up there are people that need to be saved use your time and resources carefully not trying to take each other out read your bible and ask what would jesus do. Grow up don’t knock any one that is not being a christian !!!

  9. So let me understand. All of this preperation instead of being ready to give an answer? 1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: {fear: or, reverence}

    Is this verse a sugestion or a commandment?
    Are thses men in the Lord’s church really lost?
    If they are lost should all lost people be treated in the manner you describe? And would you want to treated in the manner you describe? Golden Rule? They have said they welcome the questions so …..?
    It makes me wonder as I’m sure others do when they hear you come up with these tactics on how not to answer , What are they trying to hide?

  10. I agree with you Faithful we should all be ready to give an answer for the hope that we have. My honest thoughts about answering any questions from the Robertson group would be that they aren’t really looking for any answers from me as much as they are looking for a way they can twist things and use things to their advantage. Therein lies the frustration with wanting to speak to those men at all. I have no problems debating and discussing and will readily do so any time I feel it is necessary. But why argue with someone who has a noted reputation of being deceitful in their tactics and of misusing quotes to benefit themselves? No one wants to argue or discuss with a dishonest person.

  11. And furthermore
    if Robertson and others know so well the beliefs of other denominations of which they despise so greatly, why are there “asking questions”. They aren’t really there to ask questions or learn anything, they are there to attack and frustrate pastors and others into corners that will make Robertson (or whoever) look good.

  12. Katie , thanks for the response. I’d like to ask what you mean by to thier advantage? Do you think these men gain anything in doing what they do? They have repeatedly said that thier goal is not to have people come join them but for the people to go back where they worship and start teaching and preaching the truth. What would be in it for them?

  13. Either there is a divinely authorized order of christian worship in
    christian assemblies, or there is not. On the supposition that there is
    not, then the following absurdities are inevitable: There can be no
    disorder in the christian assembly; there can be no error in the acts of
    social worship … there can be no transgression of the laws of the
    King. For these reasons, viz. where there is no order established there
    can be no disorder, for disorder is acting contrary to established
    order; where there is no standard, there can be no error, for error is a
    departure or wandering from a standard.. .and where there is no law
    there can be no transgression, for a transgression is a leaping over or
    a violating of legal restraints.. .

  14. faithful…

    IF there is a “divinely authorized order of Christian worship in Christian assemblies”…what would it be-based on the Bible?

  15. “IF there is a “divinely authorized order of Christian worship in Christian assemblies”…what would it be-based on the Bible?”

    Katie , Should I answer your question with out you answering mine? I’ve given you several questions in an above post

  16. That question was posed by me, Katherine-not Katie. We are two different people (though kindred spirits) 😉

    Now, can you please answer my question?

  17. people do not for one minute think Johnny Robertson is doing anything,but destroy. He twist scripture to mean whatever he wants his people to believe. His cofc is not of Christ,it is a cult. He uses scriture to destroy marriages, break up families,it doesn’t matter if small children are involve, he thrives on controll. His people are mind controlled,and if your faith is not strong enough, they will hide you from your family or those that might influence them from the path they want you on. So beware of him and his kind.

  18. You wrote to my blog with this too. I have heard the same things, but I think Nathan has a good point, maybe we should focus upon the teachisng and not Johnny

  19. Claudia,

    Again, I sense and empathize with the emotions you are bringing to this, especially if, as you said, you have family in the church over there.

    However, I would appreciate it if you would get involved in the theological, doctrinal and methodological discussions going on, rather than continuing down this path. It’s just counterproductive – and it will alienate the people we want most to reach.

    We want to be above-board here.

    Thanks for understanding,

    The Chief Blogger

  20. Katie – And furthermore
    if Robertson and others know so well the beliefs of other denominations of which they despise so greatly, why are there “asking questions”. They aren’t really there to ask questions or learn anything, they are there to attack and frustrate pastors and others into corners that will make Robertson (or whoever) look good.

    Randy – very good point! They do know each denominational view and doctrine, so, maybe you are correct.

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