Buddy Dobbs is “a hard-core gambling addict who, in order to go on the run from a loan shark, ends up stealing the identity of a gay pastor in a local small-town community.” Such is the plot for Impastor, a new “comedy” that airs tomorrow night on TV Land. This is the same network that brought us reruns of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, I Love Lucy, and The Andy Griffith Show. I wonder what Andy would think of his network now.
According to OneMillionMoms, “This show not only depicts pastors in a negative light, but the entire program will also be based on lies about Christianity.” The website also notes that “TV Land is not ridiculing any other religion currently and wouldn’t dream of mocking Mohammed or Muslims.”
Christians can respond in two ways.
First, we can ask the network to cancel the series. The OneMillionMoms website lists ways you can contact network executives in this regard. If television producers believe that programs mocking Christianity will cost them money, they are less likely to make such shows. Using practical means to advance biblical morality is a strategy encouraged by the One who sent out his disciples to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Second, we can encourage our ministers. Impastor depicts a pastor involved in illicit sex. Tragically, 63 percent of pastors surveyed admitted that they struggle with compulsive sexual addictions or desires. In addition, 70 percent of pastors struggle chronically with depression; 77 percent say they do not have a good marriage; 80 percent say pastoral ministry has negatively affected their families; and 70 percent do not have someone they consider a close friend.
Not surprisingly, 80 percent of those who enter the ministry leave it within five years; 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, burnout, or divisiveness in their churches. Only 23 percent of pastors say they feel happy and content on a regular basis with who they are in Christ, in their church, and in their home.
Clearly, the enemy is attacking the church by attacking pastors. He knows that the best way to attack the sheep is to attack their shepherd. And he knows that immorality and discouragement feed each other. Private sin inevitably becomes public failure, and the cause of Christ is harmed as a result.
It’s no wonder that Paul repeatedly asked Christians to pray that he would be delivered from his enemies (2 Thessalonians 3:1-2; Romans 15:30-31) and that he would be bold and effective in proclaiming the gospel (Ephesians 6:19-20; Colossians 4:3-4). When Charles Spurgeon was asked the secret to his ministry, he always replied, “My people pray for me.”
More and more churches today are wrestling with divisions and fears caused by same-sex marriage. They are struggling with denominational conflicts, financial challenges, and growing cultural irrelevance. And pastors are facing temptations and tests on every front.
But we can turn negative into positive by responding to attacks with intercession. Erasmus noted that Satan hates nothing so much as for his evil to be used for good. So let’s expose the imposter behind Impastor. And let’s respond to his deception on our knees.
Paul asked believers to “strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf” (Romans 15:30). Your pastor needs you to do the same today.