Recently, I watched a promotional video for a Christian college. [As is my usual practice, I am not identifying it or the people involved – this is about principles involved. The people are, most likely, finer Christians than I am.]
My first impression is that it was well made, and was a decent promotion for the school. But then, a still, small voice inside asked: For a Christian college, Jesus Christ was not mentioned much, was He?
I didn’t remember exactly (I don’t have total recall), so I acquired a copy of the video and re-watched it and have the following statistics:
- Mentions of the pastor by name: 11
- Mentions of the pastor by reference (“he”, “his”, etc): 10
- Mentions of “leadership” or variant (“leaders”, etc): 17
- The word “God” used*: 5
- The word “Christian” used*: 1
- The word “Christ” used*: 1
- The words “Jesus” or “Jesus Christ” used: none
(*these were in expressions, like “God bless you” or “winning people to Christ”)
I’d like to make couple of notes: first, I found it very hard just to listen for specific words; I kept getting caught up in what was being said. I say that to note that the counts above may be off – hopefully only slightly. Second, as this was a promotional video for a Christian college, I didn’t include references to the college (which is the point of the video). I counted 14 references to the name of the college, along with many references (things like “the college” or “this college”) that are not included in that total.
The video seems to be the result if one were to go to a professional advertising agency in the world and ask for advice about making a promotional video for a private school.
But Christians are not to follow the world; nor should be seek advice from the world – certainly not in an area where God has spoken. (As an aside, the Scriptures are silent in some areas, and it is fine to take advice from knowledgeable people – but all our actions should be weighed in the light of Scripture).
What do the Scriptures say?
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men. I Cor 3:19-21
…to him [Jesus Christ] be glory and dominion for ever and ever. (Rev 1:6)
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. (Rev 5:12)
The emphasis of the video seemed to be “Come to Dr X’s school and you will learn to be as great of a leader as he is.” I guess not many would be interested in “Come to ___ college and learn how to exalt Jesus Christ with your life and become equipped to serve Him better”.
I mentioned leadership and it’s variants in the count above, because it was an obvious emphasis. In addition, my recollection was that God is looking for servants: Moses and David were called servants of God. Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and John all called themselves servants of God. Interestingly, “leaders” is used in the New Testament once: in the phrase blind leaders of the blind.
Jesus said, And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.
The school may be a wonderful Christian school, but, as a friend said (and I agree) “it leaves an unfortunate impression”.
Some principles and lessons: well, first, let us not be so caught up with how the world does things that we forget to double-check our methods against the Scriptures.
Whom do we exalt? What does our conversation show is important? When we talk about our church, is the pastor exalted more than Jesus Christ?