BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #9: Preachers Who Are Not Called to Preach; The Relationship Between Bishop Greenleaf and Grace; and the Question of Hell

Greenleaf
Greenleaf

Three issues stood out in the last episode of Greenleaf titled, “Men As Trees Walking.”


First, let’s deal with preachers who are not called to preach.

In this episode, Bishop Greenleaf’s son, James, who had been relieved of his duties as a minister after his adultery came to light, comes back to his father seeking his old job back. Bishop Greenleaf shoots down his plea to be reinstated, and then asks him to recall what he wanted to be when he was growing up. James says he wanted to be a baseball player, and Bishop Greenleaf tells him that he was never called to be a preacher and that he only stepped in to try to fill the shoes of Grace when she left.

Unfortunately, in pulpits across America, there are preachers who were never called to preach. Some so-called preachers have gotten into the ministry because their father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and uncles were preachers. Some have gotten into it for money and fame. Some have gotten into it because family pressured them into it. Some have gotten into it because somebody told them they looked like a preacher. Some have gotten into it because they could give a good speech.

While all Christians are called to share the Gospel, no one should aspire to spiritual leadership over others unless they are called specifically by God to do so. Paul said, “If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” But desiring the office and being called to it by God are two different things. (One might desire to be a rock star, but if he does not have the skills, gifts, or musical ability to do so, he is wasting his time. He can try, but he will fail.) The call of God is an inward pulling of the Holy Spirit. Martin Luther called it “God’s voice heard by faith.” Charles Spurgeon described it as “an intense, all-absorbing desire for the work.” He advised young men who said they wanted to preach NOT to preach if they could help it. “But,” he added, “if he cannot help it, and he must preach or die, then he is the man.” “Preacher,” if you are preaching for any other reason beyond the compelling call of the Holy Spirit in your life, if you do not feel as Paul felt when he said, “Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!”, please sit down.

Now, let’s look at the relationship between Bishop Greenleaf and his daughter Grace.

The relationship between a father and his daughter is very special. One can see this in the interaction of Bishop Greenleaf and Grace — especially in how he welcomed her back home after she had been gone for years, much to the chagrin of his wife. However, it appears as though Grace will be the one who hurts Bishop Greenleaf the most in the end. That might sound shocking, but it happens in many families — the child most beloved by the parents is the one who hurts them the most.

It is indeed true that the people we love the most are the ones who can hurt us the most. As C.S. Lewis said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken.” No one wants a broken heart, but it is inevitable in this life. Parents especially run this risk when it comes to their children. The only way they can guard against this is to make sure that they have a love for God that surpasses the love they have for any other person. In fact, Jesus said in Luke 14:26 that our love for our family ought to look like hatred compared to our love for Him. That goes for family relationships, friendships, marriages, and other romantic relationships. You can love the other person very much. Just make sure you love Jesus more. He is the only person who will never let you down. He will never break your heart. He will never fail you.

Finally, let’s consider the question, Is Hell real?

Mac is reading the Bible in prison where he has been locked up for over a month now. He comes across a verse on Hell, and he calls Bishop Greenleaf to ask if Hell really does exist. Obviously, like many Christians today, Mac had not taken the topic of Hell too seriously. Now, feeling guilty over his crimes, he is considering what punishment might be.

Obviously, the doctrine of Hell is a controversial topic, and while we know Greenleaf is not a theology seminar, we would have hoped that a biblical answer had been given to this question. Instead, Bishop Greenleaf tells Mac that “Hell is looking back on your life and realizing what your life might have been had you done the right thing”.

While that answer likely played well with secular viewers, it is not the truth. The Bible clearly describes Hell as a real physical place of punishment for the devil, his demons, and all those who ultimately reject Jesus Christ as Savior. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible also says in Revelation 21:8, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Numerous passages throughout Scripture speak to the reality of Hell. Many pastors do not want to preach it. But if they are going to be faithful to God’s Word, they must. There are many in the church like Mac who want to know. And there are many in the world who need to know. If you were to die today, where would you go, Heaven or Hell? If you are not sure, please continue to listen.

In closing, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can be forgiven of your sins and begin a relationship with God today.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Now that is bad news, but here is the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

May God bless you, and I hope that you will join us next time for The Gospel According to Greenleaf.

BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #8: The Danger of Keeping Family Secrets

greenleaf

Welcome to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #8. The title for today’s episode is The Danger of Keeping Family Secrets


Greenleaf is indeed a show about the inner workings of a black megachurch, but it is also just as much a show about the inner workings of a traditional black family. One of the negative aspects that has been passed down through the generations of black families in America is the keeping of secrets. Somehow, our forebears believed that it was best not to tell some things. They had sayings like: “You tell a little, and you keep a little to yourself,” and “There are some things you just ought to take to the grave.” Continue reading “BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #8: The Danger of Keeping Family Secrets”

BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #7: Calvary as a Symbol in the Greenleaf Drama, Why Oprah’s Greenleaf Drama is Immensely Better Than Tyler Perry’s Tuesday Night Lineup of Dramas, Tragedy in the Church, and the Directors and Writers Deserve an Emmy or Something As Well

Greenleaf
Greenleaf

Welcome to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #7. The title for today’s episode is Calvary as a Symbol in the Greenleaf Drama, Why Oprah’s Greenleaf Drama is Immensely Better Than Tyler Perry’s Tuesday Night Lineup of Dramas, Tragedy in the Church, and the Directors and Writers Deserve an Emmy or Something As Well Continue reading “BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #7: Calvary as a Symbol in the Greenleaf Drama, Why Oprah’s Greenleaf Drama is Immensely Better Than Tyler Perry’s Tuesday Night Lineup of Dramas, Tragedy in the Church, and the Directors and Writers Deserve an Emmy or Something As Well”

BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #5: Why Christians Should Not Buy In to the Prosperity Gospel

greenleaf

Thank you for tuning in to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf. In this brief, weekly podcast, we are examining some of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s new drama set in a large black church that deals with issues that all churches face. Today we are looking at the issue of the prosperity gospel. Continue reading “BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #5: Why Christians Should Not Buy In to the Prosperity Gospel”

BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #4: Sit Down Somewhere, Preacher! — In Fact, Take Several Seats

Greenleaf
Greenleaf

Thank you for tuning in to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf. In this brief, weekly podcast, we are examining some of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s new drama set in a large black church that deals with issues that all churches face. Today we are looking at the issue of pastors and church leaders who have sinned and who need to sit down somewhere and get right with God. Continue reading “BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #4: Sit Down Somewhere, Preacher! — In Fact, Take Several Seats”

BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #3: Sin in the Church, Homosexuality in the Church, and Grace’s Back-talking Daughter

greenleaf

Thank you for tuning in to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf. In this brief, weekly podcast, we are examining some of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s new drama set in a large black church that deals with issues that all churches face. Today we are looking at the themes of dealing honestly with sin in the church, dealing with homosexuality in the church, and what to do about Grace’s back-talking daughter.


As depicted in Greenleaf, there are church members, even in the pastor’s family, who sin. While (as Oprah said in one of her promotional interviews), ‘Sin and dysfunction makes for great television and great storytelling,’ God’s people should not be known by their sinful lifestyles, but by the fruit that they bear through Christ and the power of The Holy Spirit.

But when God’s people do sin, how does the church respond? Many times, unfortunately, the response is to brush it under the rug, to hide it, to cover it up, to not deal with it. Many black families, traditionally, have sinful secrets that have been kept for decades. The older people in those families believe it is best to “take some things to the grave”. This belief leads to a situation where sin, instead of being dealt with, becomes more rampant and more ugly, and it eventually blows up and everybody has a mess on their hands. Continue reading “BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #3: Sin in the Church, Homosexuality in the Church, and Grace’s Back-talking Daughter”

The Meaning of the Character Grace’s Name as a Symbol in the Drama, “Satan We’re Going to Tear Your Kingdom Down,” and the Power of The Blood of Jesus Christ (BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #2)

greenleaf

Thank you for tuning in to BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf. In this brief, weekly podcast, we will examine some of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s new drama set in a large black church that deals with issues that all churches face. Today we will be dealing with the themes The Meaning of the character, Grace’s Name as a symbol in the drama, Satan We’re Going to Tear Your Kingdom Down & the Power of The Blood of Jesus Christ. If you know anything about BCNN1, you know that our main purpose is to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by any means necessary, so that is the ultimate aim of this podcast.


In our first episode, we talked about the theme of the prodigal child, Grace Greenleaf, returning home. One of the things we didn’t touch on was the symbolism of Grace’s name, which is obviously a reference to the grace of God. Many people who may find themselves in similar situations to Grace (the character) also find themselves in need of God’s grace. Continue reading “The Meaning of the Character Grace’s Name as a Symbol in the Drama, “Satan We’re Going to Tear Your Kingdom Down,” and the Power of The Blood of Jesus Christ (BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #2)”

BCNN1’s The Gospel According to Greenleaf Podcast #1: The Prodigal Returns

"Greenleaf" cast; photo courtesy of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
“Greenleaf” cast; photo courtesy of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network

Thank you for tuning in to The Gospel According to Greenleaf. In this brief, weekly podcast, we will examine some of the themes of Oprah Winfrey’s new drama set in a large black church that deals with issues that all churches face. If you know anything about BCNN1, you know that our main purpose is to spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by any means necessary, so that is the ultimate aim of this podcast.


In only two episodes, Greenleaf touched on many different themes, including:

1. The return of a prodigal child, which reminds us of how God welcomes His prodigal children back home after they have gone astray.

2. The importance of Calvary and the blood of Jesus Christ in our salvation. In Greenleaf, the name of the church is Calvary and in one of the first scenes, the pastor’s wife proclaimed at the dinner table loud and clear that it was the blood of Jesus Christ that saved her soul. (Contrary to what some people think, I believe Oprah trusted Jesus Christ as her Saviour in recent years and that she is a babe in Christ. However, I believe like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, she is trying to do her part to proclaim Jesus Christ to a dying and lost world given the position that God has placed her in.)

3. The real life issue of adult children coming back home after being gone a while was forcibly confronted in the words of Lady Mae Greenleaf, “Promise me you’re not here to sow discord in the fields of my peace.”

4. Sin in the church, which many people do not like to talk about even though they know it is going on.

5. The prosperity gospel, and how many churches and church families in leadership are abusing the flock of God for monetary gain. This is a real problem in many churches today. (The Jet thing however was bit overdone to the point of silliness.)

6. Sex in the church, which is another thing many church folk do not like to talk about, yet which we all know is going on, and often times in sinful ways. (By the way, one of the reasons why Greenleaf comes on so late is because some scenes are not suitable for children.)

7. Child sexual abuse, rape, and molestation by so-called ministers in the church.

8. Homosexuality and the church, which we pray and hope Oprah will deal with from a Biblical perspective and represent both sides of the debate evenhandedly.

There is a lot that we can talk about from these episodes, but today, I want to focus on the theme of a prodigal child returning.

The first episode focuses on Grace Greenleaf, the prodigal daughter of the prominent Greenleaf family. She had been expected to take over the church after her father, but she cut her ties with the family and the church and has been gone for twenty years. Spurred on by the death (or suicide) of her sister, Grace is led to return to the family home in Memphis.

Her arrival is reminiscent of a parable Jesus told in the Bible about the prodigal son. Grace’s father, James, welcomes her with open arms, while her mother, sister, and sister-in-law are not so welcoming for reasons of their own — with her mother, played by the incomparable Lynn Whitfield, saying in her daughter’s ear very sternly, “Promise me you’re not here to sow discord in the fields of my peace.” By the way, both Lynn Whitfield and her television husband, Keith David, as well Oprah and Deborah Joy Winans are acting their tails off. Of course, it is expected of the first three, but Deborah Joy Winans is holding her own to be new to the game. And Bebe Winans is doing a great job behind the scenes advising to give the drama an authentic black church feel. If Bebe holds that imaginary line for Oprah, the show will be a perennial hit.

In Jesus’ story, the prodigal son, after demanding his inheritance, left home to pursue his own life abroad. After years of a life of partying, running women, and wasting money, he found himself in poverty. He was so poor that he had to take a job feeding pigs, and was so hungry that he ate what the pigs ate. But the Bible tells us that, “When he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

When the father saw his son returning to him, he “had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him… [And] the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.”

Unfortunately, the prodigal son’s older brother was not so happy to see all of the celebration over his little brother’s return. The father had to explain to him, “It is meet [that is, proper] that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”

Ultimately, the story of the prodigal son and the story of Grace Greenleaf, the prodigal daughter, is about all of us and our relationship with the Heavenly Father. All of us, at some point in our life, have strayed from God. Perhaps you grew up in the church or in Christian family, but you drifted as you got older. Or maybe you never were connected to the family of God at all. Please know that it is never too late to come back to God or to come to Him for the first time. Like James Greenleaf and like the father of the prodigal son, He will welcome you with open arms.

Jesus Christ said, “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”

Will you be the child who returns to their Heavenly Father today? Allow me to show you how you can do that.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Now that is bad news, but here is the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door.” Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

May God bless you, and I hope that you will join us next time for The Gospel According to Greenleaf.