Teaching the Bible with TV Sitcoms

Opie
Opie

June 3rd, 2006, 7:57 pm #11

Here are a few summaries of TAGS episodes to see if they teach us how to get to heaven:

Andy and Ellie the druggist stage a fake robbery at the drug store so that Barney will have a “crime” to solve and be happy. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

Barney cites Gomer for making a U-turn, then Gomer cries “Citizen’s ah-RAY-est! Citizen’s ah-RAY-est!” when Barney also makes a U-turn. But Barney’s pride prevents him from paying his own fine, so he acts like a dope and puts himself in jail. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

Barney dresses in drag to show the bank how easy a mark it is, but he only succeeds in locking himself in the safe. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

A secret gold shipment is supposed to come through town, but word leaks out, thanks to Barney, and the whole town turns out for the gold truck’s arrival. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

When a billy goat eats some dynamite, Barney becomes a “Pied Piper” surrogate by playing his harmonica to lead the “loaded goat” out of town. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

Two sweet old ladies steer Andy and Barney to moonshiners around the area to be rid of the “competition,” because they are secretly operating a still in their own greenhouse. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

When Andy attempts to take a vacation for a week and leaves Barney in charge, Barney constantly pesters him for advice about petty decisions that most half-wits could handle. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

Andy makes a brief trip to Raleigh and leaves Barney in charge. On his return, he finds that Barney has virtually incarcerated the whole town on petty charges. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

Rather than oust Barney from the community choir because he can’t sing, Andy and the choir deceive Barney into believing that if he just whispers into a really sensitive microphone, he will really shine. But the microphone is dead, and a bass singer behind the curtain sings the part. Although it raises Barney’s self-esteem, it is comical, and yet it is “innocent” deception, nonetheless. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

When a man angry over having received a ticket vows to pulverize Barney as soon as he finds him out of uniform, Barney “hides” in his uniform day and night. Andy arranges for a judo expert to pose as Barney in street clothes, who works the man over. The man is humbled, and Barney is made to appear the victor. Although it is comical, it is “innocent” deception, nonetheless. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

On visiting Barney in Raleigh, Andy deduces that the very family with whom Barney rooms has been pulling a series of local supermarket robberies. After talking with Barney’s boss and knowing that Barney is about to be fired for obvious incompetence, Andy arranges for clueless Barney to be present at the next robbery in time to nab the family in the act, which saves his job [until the next time]. Although it is comical, it is “innocent” deception, nonetheless. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

Each time Barney makes a stupid, idiotic blunder, Andy covers for him and shines only a “positive light” on blatant incompetence. Does that teach us how to get to heaven?

We could find similar threads in shows like Leave It to Beaver, I Dream of Jeannie, Captain Kangaroo, and Bewitched. The latter is a really a good one. Next thing we know, folks will be vainly trying to milk Christianity out of shows about witches, when they get just a tiny hint of Christianity from TAGS! The bottom line is that pop culture has no place in biblical teaching, because pop culture won't teach us how to get to heaven. So put Andy and all the other classic TV shows on the shelf and reserve them for the evening’s entertainment. The best source for teaching the New Testament is the New Testament. The best source for finding out how to get to heaven is the New Testament.
I just asked you to answer the questions. Not to cite episodes that don't have moral lessons and not taking the idea to extremes. There are plenty of episodes that provide good illustrations to start a bible conversation there are others that don't. But I specifically wanted you to answer the questions I posed. I think they would start a conversation that really examined the bigger picture, but it is obvious you would rather spout on and on knowing you're right. Maybe one of the others who like to call names and engage in your useless I'm right and you're wrong shouting match will respond and make you feel superior. Hope that makes you feel better...it sort of makes me feel sick.

But the offer still stands.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 3rd, 2006, 10:11 pm #12

"Opie," if you want this "discussion" to go any further or to take any sort of shape at all, I now require that you unmask, reveal yourself, and we'll go from there. It's time for you to be straight with me. Forget about spies with satellites and be brave. If you firmly believe as you do, then you will not be afraid to "sign your name" in public to those beliefs. With the Lord as your witness, tell me your real first and last names and the faith that you embrace. Sorry, but "Opie" or the name of other TAGS or other fictional characters won't do. You need not be specific about the name of the church you attend, just the faith: Baptist, Methodist, church of Christ, etc. No private email discussions, only public, out in the open. You know my real name and that I embrace the traditional church of Christ, but I don't know yours. I require a fair playing ground. I could never have any kind of serious discussion or conversation with a "phantom" who only goes by "Anonymous" or "Opie," neither could I ever take that person seriously.
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B
B

June 4th, 2006, 1:55 am #13

I just asked you to answer the questions. Not to cite episodes that don't have moral lessons and not taking the idea to extremes. There are plenty of episodes that provide good illustrations to start a bible conversation there are others that don't. But I specifically wanted you to answer the questions I posed. I think they would start a conversation that really examined the bigger picture, but it is obvious you would rather spout on and on knowing you're right. Maybe one of the others who like to call names and engage in your useless I'm right and you're wrong shouting match will respond and make you feel superior. Hope that makes you feel better...it sort of makes me feel sick.

But the offer still stands.
Again, Dr. Bill, you have proven that you are skilled in deflating imaginary points of view. No one (including the guy who started the TAGS class) has suggested using the show to teach the plan of salvation).
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 4th, 2006, 12:07 pm #14

The same requirement to "unmask" applies to "B" as well.
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Opie
Opie

June 4th, 2006, 1:34 pm #15

"Opie," if you want this "discussion" to go any further or to take any sort of shape at all, I now require that you unmask, reveal yourself, and we'll go from there. It's time for you to be straight with me. Forget about spies with satellites and be brave. If you firmly believe as you do, then you will not be afraid to "sign your name" in public to those beliefs. With the Lord as your witness, tell me your real first and last names and the faith that you embrace. Sorry, but "Opie" or the name of other TAGS or other fictional characters won't do. You need not be specific about the name of the church you attend, just the faith: Baptist, Methodist, church of Christ, etc. No private email discussions, only public, out in the open. You know my real name and that I embrace the traditional church of Christ, but I don't know yours. I require a fair playing ground. I could never have any kind of serious discussion or conversation with a "phantom" who only goes by "Anonymous" or "Opie," neither could I ever take that person seriously.
I am choosing to keep my privacy. It has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. What does it matter? If I was attacking you or your character, or maligning your family lineage...I could see the point. But all I want to do is have a real conversation, not a name calling shouting match that is common on this website. My guess is that you really don't want to answer the questions and are using my privacy as your out.

I've seen others, Allan for instance, release his name and you still didn't want to engage in discussion. "Beating a dead horse" and changing the topics are your favorite outs. So I'm not going to give up my privacy for some strange requirement of yours. For background, I grew up in a fairly conservative church of Christ and now attend a fairly liberal one.

You can now brag about me not being "brave" enough to release my name. You can believe that if you want, and feel good about winning the argument. I think in most of the debates on this site that both sides are losers, because no real conversation takes place. Believe what you want, but it is you, not me, that is refusing to continue this discussion. So who is the one not showing bravery?

If you answer my questions, I'll answer any BIBLICAL question you may pose.

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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 4th, 2006, 2:01 pm #16

The topic here originally began in the thread The Jesus Proposal, when someone, apparently going off-topic, declared that their Sunday school class had been viewing episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (TAGS) as a “method” of teaching the Bible. Since that spawned a rather heated debate, and rather than have it continue off-topic in that other thread, I decided to start a new thread about using classic TV shows as teaching tools in Sunday school. Viewing TV shows is yet another method of merging pop culture with the Church, of making the Church more like the world.

The other thread originally posed the premise that shows like TAGS are “rooted in Scripture” and thus are suitable for “teaching the Bible.” Yet those shows are not supposed to replace the Bible, just supplement it. That premise also claimed that Andy Griffith himself desired that each episode should present some sort of “moral lesson.” Andy apparently mentioned nothing about teaching the Bible as such, just presenting a moral lesson. Yet if the premise states that TAGS teaches the Bible, then the implication is that viewers can learn how to get “saved” by watching Barney Fife lock himself in the jail, Gomer Pyle try to hoot with a mouth full of food, or town drunk Otis Campbell ride a cow while under the influence, for example.

Some clarifications need to be made. TAGS would have been a suitable tool for teaching the Bible, had the show originally been designed and built around teaching Christianity, of teaching people about the Gospel of Christ, of salvation, of New Testament doctrine. But TAGS was designed first and foremost as a "method" of entertainment, to make people laugh, not as a “method” of teaching the Bible. That’s why the show is classified as a “sitcom” (situation comedy), not as Sunday school media.

Similar to Aesop’s Fables, TAGS teaches morality, but neither Aesop’s Fables nor TAGS teaches Christianity. In the other thread, I argued that morality is not synonymous with Christianity, because atheists, agnostics, and people of non-Christian faiths can be moral, kind, good, and law-abiding, yet they are not Christians by virtue of the fact that they choose neither to believe on nor to obey Christ. Christianity naturally begats morality, but morality does not naturally begat Christianity. Likewise, we must not assume that because a highly popular TV show like TAGS teaches morality, then it must teach Christianity and the Bible as well. The fact remains that TAGS teaches neither Christianity nor the Bible. TAGS only teaches morality.

Though a few episodes of TAGS may show people sitting in church or singing a few hymns, TAGS neither launches into the Gospel, nor tells of God’s plan of salvation, nor delves into heaven and hell, nor warns of Satan, nor expounds upon Paul’s epistles, nor admonishes anyone to obey all things whatsoever Christ commanded us (Matt. 28:20 KJV). TAGS does show people living peacefully together, loving each other, being kind and good to one another, feeing good about everything, and basically having a good time in life, give or take a few “knocks” here and there. Does that description apply only and solely to Christians? Of course not! From that generic description, all the citizens of Mayberry could have been devout Muslims, Hindus, or Jews, instead of Gentile Christians.

So why resort to a superficial “method” that allegedly teaches Christianity, when at best, it teaches only general morality, nothing more. Since TV shows like TAGS merely “hint” at Christianity but certainly do not delve deeply therein, why not just bypass them, use a much more reliable and direct method, and go to the ONE source from which people can learn about some REAL Christianity, the ONE source that really tells people how they should live their lives in obedience to Christ? That ONE source is the New Testament. No TV show could ever teach Christianity and the Bible as well as the New Testament. People argue that TAGS does not replace the Bible but merely supplements it. Friends, the New Testament does quite well on its own and does not require any supplementation from pop-culture media. The New Testament stands alone.

I contend that using the TV sitcom or similar show as a “method” to teach the Bible is a subtle ploy initiated by the Change Movement to downplay the importance of teaching exclusively from the Bible. Undiscerning people will believe virtually anything set before them, especially if the Church condones it. If churches use TV sitcoms more and more, then it is likely that, given time, these undiscerning people will believe that their “religion,” their “Christianity,” comes more from the TV sitcoms than from the New Testament itself. With more time, TV sitcoms could eventually replace the New Testament. Sound far-fetched? The seeds for that happening are sprouting right now in Sunday schools that advocate TV sitcoms and similar shows to teach the Bible. That’s the real bud that needs nipping. "Nip it! Nip it in the bud!"
"B" claims that I have successfully deflated the imaginary concept that TAGS is a method to teach the Bible. Yet perhaps it is "B" who is suffering from delusions. On May 31, 2006, "B" stated in the thread The Jesus Proposal:

"As I've thought today about this entire discussion, I am just more and more amazed at the close mindedness concerning a method of teaching the Bible. Understand that's what this [TAGS] is, a method. Nothing more, nothing less."

"B" claims that TAGS is a method to teach the Bible. Did he speak rashly? I took "B" at his word and invited him to present at least 25 episodes (10 percent of the shows) that specifically "teach the Bible." After all, a "method" like TAGS is supposedly designed to accomplish something; in this case, "teach the Bible," or so "B" claims. I stipulated that "B" must present TAGS episodes that teach more than just morality, because we all agree that TAGS teaches simple morality, and we all know (or should know) that morality is not unique to Christianity or the Bible; most non-Christian faiths also teach morality. The TAGS episodes must teach specific aspects of Christian doctrine that go beyond morality.

"B" has now had ample time to present these episodes. Within a few minutes, I summarized 10 or 11 TAGS episodes above that do not teach Christian doctrine, and I could list far more; whether those particular episodes even teach morality is questionable. So if "B" cannot prove to us that TAGS teaches Christian doctrine from the Bible, then "B" should admit that he spoke rashly, admit that TAGS occasionally teaches a little morality, admit that we have debunked his claim that TAGS is a method to teach the Bible, and finally admit that the best place to begin a discussion about Christianity is the New Testament. But that would be an admission that TAGS and other pop-culture gimmicks are not suitable methods for teaching the Bible at church, Sunday school, or anywhere else. And I doubt that "B" would be willing to do that.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 5th, 2006, 12:26 am #17

I am choosing to keep my privacy. It has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. What does it matter? If I was attacking you or your character, or maligning your family lineage...I could see the point. But all I want to do is have a real conversation, not a name calling shouting match that is common on this website. My guess is that you really don't want to answer the questions and are using my privacy as your out.

I've seen others, Allan for instance, release his name and you still didn't want to engage in discussion. "Beating a dead horse" and changing the topics are your favorite outs. So I'm not going to give up my privacy for some strange requirement of yours. For background, I grew up in a fairly conservative church of Christ and now attend a fairly liberal one.

You can now brag about me not being "brave" enough to release my name. You can believe that if you want, and feel good about winning the argument. I think in most of the debates on this site that both sides are losers, because no real conversation takes place. Believe what you want, but it is you, not me, that is refusing to continue this discussion. So who is the one not showing bravery?

If you answer my questions, I'll answer any BIBLICAL question you may pose.
So it looks like "Opie" has decided to terminate the discussion. He shouldn't accuse anyone of not being "brave" until he is brave enough to unmask. I'll leave it up to him. People wanting serious discussions are up front with each other, so that's why I called "Opie's" hand to unmask. I don't take anyone seriously or comply with any requests they make unless they reveal their name. But like I said earlier, the "discussion" had pretty well run its course, so it's just a moot point now. Peace.
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B
B

June 5th, 2006, 2:57 am #18

"B" claims that I have successfully deflated the imaginary concept that TAGS is a method to teach the Bible. Yet perhaps it is "B" who is suffering from delusions. On May 31, 2006, "B" stated in the thread The Jesus Proposal:

"As I've thought today about this entire discussion, I am just more and more amazed at the close mindedness concerning a method of teaching the Bible. Understand that's what this [TAGS] is, a method. Nothing more, nothing less."

"B" claims that TAGS is a method to teach the Bible. Did he speak rashly? I took "B" at his word and invited him to present at least 25 episodes (10 percent of the shows) that specifically "teach the Bible." After all, a "method" like TAGS is supposedly designed to accomplish something; in this case, "teach the Bible," or so "B" claims. I stipulated that "B" must present TAGS episodes that teach more than just morality, because we all agree that TAGS teaches simple morality, and we all know (or should know) that morality is not unique to Christianity or the Bible; most non-Christian faiths also teach morality. The TAGS episodes must teach specific aspects of Christian doctrine that go beyond morality.

"B" has now had ample time to present these episodes. Within a few minutes, I summarized 10 or 11 TAGS episodes above that do not teach Christian doctrine, and I could list far more; whether those particular episodes even teach morality is questionable. So if "B" cannot prove to us that TAGS teaches Christian doctrine from the Bible, then "B" should admit that he spoke rashly, admit that TAGS occasionally teaches a little morality, admit that we have debunked his claim that TAGS is a method to teach the Bible, and finally admit that the best place to begin a discussion about Christianity is the New Testament. But that would be an admission that TAGS and other pop-culture gimmicks are not suitable methods for teaching the Bible at church, Sunday school, or anywhere else. And I doubt that "B" would be willing to do that.
A flannelgraph doesn't teach the Bible by itself either. Both the flannelgraph and TAGS need a teacher to help make the Biblical applications.

Of course, I addressed this several posts ago.
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SBC
SBC

June 5th, 2006, 10:17 pm #19

The same requirement to "unmask" applies to "B" as well.
It is a pesonnal matter if one releases their name or not. You should not demand that someone use their real name. If someone is trying to have a reasonable conversation what does it matter? You never know about people these days. Who wants harressing E mail or phone calls? You never know how old a person may be also. It very well may be possible you are requesting an underage person to release their name. Someone may think you are a dirty old man! Why do you harp on this all the time? Make your point and move on. We realize you are a "Doctor" of something and a very important man. Some of us are just "nobodies" and not a threat to you at all. One of the regulars "PPB" does not give her name, have you demanded that she unmask?

Oh by the way Dr. Bill, my initials "SBC" does not stand for Southern Baptist Convention. A bit paranoid are you? You are a very good debater and great source of information. Have a good day and lighten up some.
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Dr. Bill Crump
Dr. Bill Crump

June 6th, 2006, 2:12 pm #20

As I recall, "SBC" posted in another thread and wanted me to answer several personal questions. SBC seemed to stress things about Baptists; hence, I wondered if the poster was a Baptist who was "paranoid" over my postings and was posing as the "Southern Baptist Convention" or was a representative of same. I believe I requested that SBC unmask at that time. It is foolish to give answers to personal questions to a stranger, especially one who won't even give his name. After all, another poster refusing to unmask here has confessed to having spied on my house using a satellite. No wonder the anonymity for being a voyeur! Talk about being a pervert! That's hardly Christian behavior!

I wonder: If SBC received any written correspondence through the mail at home or at work (other than junk mail advertisements) that did not reveal the name of the sender, would SBC give any credence to that correspondence? Or would SBC automatically think that a "minor" had sent it and worry that desiring the name would make him a pervert? Like most wise people, SBC should toss such nameless communications in the trash.

The situation is no different at this web site. People desiring to hold a serious discussion or debate play on even ground: real identity against real identity. Imagine a public debate in front of an audience, and the moderator announces, "Debating tonight is Dr. Bill Crump, representing the church of Christ and the conservative side. His opponent has refused to reveal his name and his religious affiliation. In fact, Dr. Crump's opponent has demanded to hide in this box and not even be seen." The audience would automatically develop a negative opinion of my opponent for refusing to face me one to one. This web site is also a public forum with an audience of readers who see SBC hiding in a box. People with real issues to discuss stand up for what they believe and are not afraid to put their names to them, especially if they are standing up for righteousness, the New Testament, and Christian doctrine. With one exception, all of the regular posters at this site use their real names.

Regarding PPB, others have used her as an example for not revealing identities. But we're not talking about PPB here, we're talking about SBC and others who want to argue but also want to hide in the process. Let PPB worry about PPB.
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