But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. —1 John 1:7 KJV
Putting together a list of the top Christian TV programs can be a challenge, because the definition of a “Christian” program can be a bit difficult to pin down. Some may think of shows that explicitly promote Christianity while others may consider programs that promote a Christian lifestyle and/or values as Christian programming. For most viewers, “Christian TV shows” are ones that are both family-friendly and also exhibit behavior and language that are compatible with a Christian lifestyle. The choices here are a mixture of classic TV and new programs, but they are all shows that are currently airing on television, whether in syndication or new episodes.
This series was the longest-running family-oriented drama in TV history, beating out The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie. It focused on the Camden family, headed by Protestant minister Eric Camden (Stephen Collins). 7th Heaven boasted a cast of stars-to-be, including Jessica Biel, and the show’s stories were relevant to the challenges facing Christian households anywhere in the U.S. The series showed that a modern-day drama could be based on current events while still underlying the components of faith and compassion that are the core of the Christian lifestyle.
The 700 Club
There have been a lot of Christian-oriented news and discussion programs on television over the years, but none of them have had the reach and the cultural impact of The 700 Club. It has been in continuous production since 1966, making it one of the longest-running television programs in history. Although founder and longtime anchor Pat Robertson hasn’t been a regular participant since 2010, the format hasn’t changed much since the show’s earliest days. Each episode includes a mix of commentary, news reported from a Christian perspective, interviews in which celebrities talk about their faith and Christian-oriented lifestyle stories. The series is still the most-viewed Christian news show on television, thanks in great part to its inclusion on the popular ABC Family network.
At first glance, this classic science fiction series seems like an odd choice. But when you look at the stories told in the show, you realize that many of them deal with the same issues Christians deal with on a daily basis. There’s the down-and-out boxer who can’t believe, the young woman who doesn’t want to be pretty or the boy who wants people to only think kind thoughts. The scripts are drawn from the challenges that confront each of us, and maybe that’s why the show has remained so popular for the more than 50 years since its premiere.
The American Bible Challenge
Never before has a knowledge of the Bible seemed so entertaining. Comedian Jeff Foxworthy hosts this GSN game show that tests contestants’ knowledge of the Good Book. The winning team brings in $20,000 for the charity of its choice, with the chance to be the season’s winner and send $100,000 to a good cause. Every question is based on the Bible, but the format of the show is pure Hollywood. The result is a program that is fun-filled and uplifting. It shows that being knowledgeable about The Word can be a lot of fun. And that’s a story that isn’t told enough on television nowadays.
Touched by an Angel
Roma Downey starred for nine years as an angel named Monica, who has been tasked with bringing guidance and messages from God to people who are facing important crossroads in their lives. Assisted by angel supervisor Tess (Della Reese), Monica reminded viewers that God is watching and His intervention isn’t always obvious or even noticed by the people He helps. The show was a huge hit for broadcast network CBS and it continues to air in reruns on multiple Christian TV networks.
Little House on the Prairie
Has there ever been a more life-affirming TV drama than the long-running story of the Ingalls family? Based on the books of the same name, Michael Landon starred as the patriarch of a frontier family that struggled with faith, the weather, poverty and other challenges that still face many families today. The show had a strong moral center without preaching, and for those that need a role model for how to live a productive and fulfilling Christian life, it is a pretty good blueprint.