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Reformed. Christianity. Evangelism. Modern Culture.
Is real good solid bible teaching on a downward spiral? Or are we too sedated to recall the words of Dr Martin Lloyd Jones and we haven’t noticed that….
“As preaching has waned, there has been an increase in the formal element in the service. It is interesting to observe how Free-Church men, non-Episcopalians, whatever you may call them, have been increasingly borrowing these ideas from the Episcopal type of service as preaching has waned. They have argued that the people should have a greater part in the service and so they have introduced “responsive reading”, and more and more music and singing and chanting. The manner of receiving the people’s offerings has been elaborated, and the minister and the choir often enter the building as a procession. It has been illuminating to observe these things; as preaching has declined, these other things have been emphasized; and it has all been done deliberately. It is a part of this reaction against preaching; and people have felt that it is more dignified to pay this greater attention to ceremonial, and form, and ritual.
Still worse has been the increase in the element of entertainment in public worship – the use of films and the introduction of more and more singing; the reading of the Word and prayer shortened drastically, but more and more time given to singing. You have a ‘song leader’ as a new kind of official in the church, and he conducts the singing and is supposed to produce the atmosphere. But he often takes so much time in producing the atmosphere that there is no time for preaching in the atmosphere! This is a part of this whole depreciation of the message.
Then, on top of this, there is the giving of testimonies. It has been interesting to observe that as preaching as such has been on the decline, preachers have more and more used people to give their testimonies; and particularly if they are important people in any realm. This is said to attract people to the Gospel and to persuade them to listen to it. If you can find an admiral or a general or anyone who has some special title, or a baseball player, or an actor or actress or film-star, or pop-singer, or somebody well-known to the public, get them to give their testimony. This is deemed to be of much greater value than the preaching and the exposition of the Gospel. Have you noticed that I have put all this under the term ‘entertainment’? That is where I believe it truly belongs. But this is what the Church has been turning to as she has turned her back upon preaching.” ~ Martin Loyd Jones
Excerpt from Martyn Lloyd-Jones: The Church’s Actions Against Preaching. [HT 5 pt salt]