An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it during the past few years. It has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. –Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon, well over a century ago, rightly complained about the influence of entertainment in the church in order to attract a crowd. As part of what was dubbed the “downgrade controversy,” Spurgeon held that the attractiveness of this entertainment to the world was futile and served no purpose except to muddy the waters between godliness and godlessness. For the world, itself is not drawn to church by the preaching of the word of God, for the world sees this as foolishness.
For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. –1 Corinthians 1:18
What we see today is an aggrandizement of the serious error that plagued the church in Spurgeon’s time. The professing church has become an industrial entertainment complex that is substantially driven by income, and income requires customers. And in a free market economy, if you want to keep your customers, you must provide the best product or service in the industry–in the case of the professing church, it’s entertainment.
So we see a competition among churches today to provide the best entertainment to its customers in an effort to keep them in the pews. From Keller’s Redeemer Church putting on a daft display of effeminate gambol to Exodus Church, an Acts 29 church, commissioning a “deacon(ess) of storytelling” to supposedly aid God’s word in the expansion of “imagination” to counter disbelief.
One church in North Carolina, New Hope Church in Garner, NC, led by Pastor Benji Kelley, actually rides out onto the stage on a Harley-Davidson with flashing lights and loud Rock & Roll music while the crowd claps and cheers.
This has nothing at all to do with God, but this is a self-aggrandizing pastor who desires notoriety and fame for himself. Nothing–nothing at all–draws attention and points to Christ in this foolish display of self-promotion. I suppose, however, that if you’re able to abandon the absolute truth and authority of Scripture, as Keller does with the creation account for example, then it’s easy to see how this tommyrot can be passed off as Churchianity in the modern professing church.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. –Romans 1:24-25
True believers do not need this sort of claptrap, for they are drawn purely to Christ and His redemptive work on the cross. God’s word feeds the sheep (Hebrews 5:12-14). It is not a function of the church to provide entertainment. This serves no purpose except to make something that is sacred for the purpose of God’s elect to be more palatable for those who are not drawn to Christ. Church is not for goats, it’s for God’s sheep, and God’s sheep are drawn to the preaching of the Word. Goats are repulsed by it.
Spurgeon’s downgrade continues.
[Contributed by Pulpit & Pen]