Thursday, February 23, 2006

Worship Is Not Entertainment

From time to time I will be posting excerpts and quotes from A.W. Tozer, C.H. Spurgeon and other notable men in the history of the church.

It is very interesting to read some of the articles and sermons from these men in church history and see how many of the issues that they were dealing with in their lifetimes are very similar to some of the situations the church finds itself in today. These quotes from Tozer are a good example.

I hope that we will remove from our hearts every ugly thing and every unbeautiful thing and every dead thing and every unholy thing that might prevent us from worshipping the Lord Jesus Christ in the beauty of holiness.
Now I am quite sure that this kind of thing is not popular. The world does not want to hear it and the half-saved churches of the evangelical fold do not want to hear it. They want to be entertained while they are edified. Entertain me and edify me without pain.
-A.W. Tozer (“The Chief End of Man,” Sermon #9, Toronto, 1962)

The average Christian is like a kitten that has found a ball of yarn and has played with the yarn and romped until it is wrapped in a cocoon. The kitten cannot get itself out. It just lies there and whimpers. Somebody has to come unwind it. We have tried to be simple, but instead of being simple we have simplified—we have not become simple. We are sophisticated and overly complex.

We have simplified until Christianity amounts to this: God is love; Jesus died for you; believe, accept, be jolly, have fun and tell others. And away we go—that is the Christianity of our day. I would not give a plug nickel for the whole business of it. Once in a while God has a poor bleeding sheep that manages to live on that kind of thing and we wonder how.
-A.W. Tozer (Rut, Rot or Revival, p. 173)

So many churches and other religious structures are being built these days that the building industry, which once considered such things something of a dead weight, is pretty well steamed up about the whole thing and is now quite eager to have the religious trade. Church membership is growing out of all proportion to the growth of the population. Converts to one or another religion are being sought on every level of society and among all classes and age groups. We have zealous work going on among children and young people. We are using sound trucks, radio, television, streetcar cards, billboards, neon signs, messages in bottles and on balloons. We are using trained horses, trained dogs, trained canaries, ventriloquists, magicians and drama to stir up religious interest. Innumerable professional guilds, industrial clubs and businessmen’s and women’s committees have sprung up to provide spiritual fellowship for religious-minded persons engaged in the various pursuits of life. Religious songs are in the repertoire of many professional entertainers. Religion is being plugged by nightclub entertainers, prize-fighters, movie stars and by at least one incarcerated gangster who has up to this time shown no sorrow for his way of life and no evidence of repentance. Religion, if you please, is now big business.
-A.W. Tozer (The Price of Neglect, p. 83)


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