Gary: Dave and Tom will take up their discussion of Occult Invasion on next week’s program. Please make plans to join us.
This is Search the Scriptures Daily, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. Coming up, answers to your questions in Contending for the Faith. And in Understanding the Scriptures, Dave and Tom will continue their discussion of God’s salvation.
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Now, Religion in the News, a report and comment on religious trends and events being covered by the media. This week’s item is from the Dallas Morning News: “Four former Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders have formed an outreach ministry called Cheerleaders for Christ. One of the founders, Jenny Manning, 40, today realizes her cheerleading abilities are God-given. It was discovered that, ‘God was training me for the platform I have today.’
‘We are looking for people who want to cheer for Christ,’ said Pamela Seal, who performed with the Cowboys squad in 1975. ‘If I can be excited about cheering for a pigskin, I can get even more excited about cheering for God.’ The nondenominational ministry directs cheerleading clinics, gives dance lessons, and its members give inspirational talks.”
Tom: Dave, you know, I wonder about this. On the one hand, people say, “Well, this is great! I mean, these ladies are using some experience that they’ve had, and now they’re doing what they’re doing for the glory of God.” But wouldn’t this be a case of the world in the church and the church in the world to some degree?
Dave: Well, Tom, I guess we have to be careful on this program. We don’t want to just seem to be down on everybody, you know…
Tom: Yeah, but, Dave, these ideas – this is in the secular press, so this is being promoted as true Christianity. That’s what I’m…
Dave: Yeah. Well, but it doesn’t give enough detail. I don’t know exactly – what, are they going to cheer for Jesus? Are they going to get people cheering for Jesus? I don’t really understand. Are we going to infiltrate the cheerleaders in various colleges and try to get them all saved? I wouldn’t quarrel with that. I don’t quite understand where cheerleading fits in with Christianity. That wasn’t the sort of Christianity that it seemed that Jesus was offering. You know, He said, “Take up your cross, follow me. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you’re not of the world, I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” He would tell people, “You know, look, the foxes have holes, birds have nests. I don’t have anywhere to lay my head.” It seems to me that enthusiasm…you know, I’ve been to a football game or two, a basketball game or two, and I know the crowd can get whipped into a frenzy of enthusiasm or anger against their heroes who aren’t doing a very good job. One way or another, it’s what we would call emotionalism. It’s a very dangerous thing, and I think that anyone who is preaching the gospel or…
Look, Tom, I’ve dealt with thousands of people individually. I could get almost every one of them to pray the prayer. You know, you can persuade a person to do most anything. Or if you’re in Africa, for example, where we just were, or South America, Africans are very polite; Hindus are very polite. You can get them all to raise their hand and to make a decision for Christ, and then you can come back to America and talk about the thousands that have come to Christ…I want to be very, very careful that I present the truth of the gospel, which the Bible says is not popular. I have to be careful that I don’t try to remanufacture a gospel that is appealing to the world, and one of the ways you can do that easiest is to whip up some enthusiasm, and cheerleading, that’s what it’s all about, try to get people enthusiastic. But where’s the truth? It’s the truth that we need. Jesus said, “You continue in my Word, then are you my disciples indeed. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Tom, on the one hand, I don’t want to seem to be critical. On the other hand, I want to be true to the Word of God, and I don’t want people to be led astray and be whipped into an enthusiasm of cheering for Jesus and think they’ve become Christians.
Tom: Yeah. Dave, there’s another aspect to this, and that is what do you take into the place of promoting Christianity? What’s the baggage that I’m bringing here? Now, if some people say, “Well, what’s wrong with cheerleading? It’s very clean, it’s very healthy,” so on and so forth. But let’s take this to the next step – I think it’s the next step: this is, again, from the Dallas Morning News: “Christina Robinson, 25, of Dallas, belly dances for the glory of God. After an accident in which she sustained a skull fracture and spinal concussion, Miss Robinson discovered the Middle Eastern art. ‘Belly dancing helped me to heal emotionally, spiritually, and physically,’ she said. Miss Robinson calls belly dancing ‘the dance of the Bible.’”
Now, I mean, this article goes on, but my point here is where do we draw the line on something like this? Obviously this is in secular press, it’s being promoted as Christians promoting Christianity under the guise of cheerleading or belly dancing or whatever. This is problematic.
Dave: Tom, it disturbs me, because Christianity today, I guess you could say, somehow well-meaning people want to make it popular, so it would be appealing to the flesh, be appealing to non-Christians….Tragically, who are our heroes today in the church? Well, Reggie White. I’m not going to say anything against Reggie White, but, you know, great football player, or David Robinson, great basketball player, and these – I’m not putting these men down at all. They may be very godly men, but these tend to be our heroes now so that we can tell the young people it’s cool to be a Christian. Heroes used to be George Müller, C. T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, the missionaries who gave their lives, who went off to a foreign field and who preached the gospel, and somehow it’s changed now. Christianity has become popular, it’s become appealing, it’s become cool. And, Tom, you know, one the one hand, I keep saying I don’t want to seem to just be a critic; on the other hand, there are things about this that I find distressing, because it doesn’t sound to me like the Christianity that I read of in the New Testament that Jesus taught and that Paul and the apostles who were hated and persecuted exemplify. And I would just urge people to be a little bit cautious about this, and once again, search the Scriptures daily. Get back and check it out from the Word of God.