In the modern times in which we live where every body has got the attention span of a gnat it is not surprising to see that many times some pastors opt to dress too casually in t-shirts and jeans to try and emulate popular stand up comedians. Well it actually works…these churches surely get filled up very soon. Most of the churches actually have high turn overs with new faces literally fighting for empty front row seats every week (and an even higher numbers leaving through the back door in search of funnier and more entertaining routines).
Church growth gurus now advocate for “hip and relevant” programmes that are geared to effect maximum entertainment and comedic fun at the expense of discipleship and Bible study. The youth groups are actually not far behind. (Oops! I guess that is the understatement of the generation seeing that its in church youth groups and clubs that the bar is usually lowered to be as permissive as possible to allow as much folly as can be crammed in a short time away from the adults). Aren’t we then surprised when we have Bible illiterate congregations? So are we yet aware where these “comedy wars” will take us?
Alan Redpath had some interesting things to say on this topic:
“God is trying to tell us that our current popular version of Christianity – comfortable, humorous, superficial, entertaining, worldly-wise – is exposed for the irreverent presentation of the Gospel of Christ that it really is. A preacher is commissioned to give people – not what they want – but what they need. No man has any business walking into the pulpit to entertain. He is there to present Calvary in all it’s fullness of hope and glory.”
Martyn Lloyd-Jones was perhaps the greatest English preacher
of the 20th century. His thoughts on this are also interesting:
“Light entertainment, easy familiarity and jocularity (joking) are not compatible with a realization of the seriousness of the condition of the souls of all men by nature, the fact that they are lost and in danger of eternal perdition, and their consequent need of salvation. Not only that, such methods cannot bring out the Truth; and our business is to preach the Truth. These methods may affect people psychologically and in other respects, and they may lead to ‘decisions’; but our object is not merely to get decisions, it is to bring people to a knowledge of the Truth.”
It’s truly sad (and I agree) that many of today’s pastors preach in a way that makes a closing prayer sound out of place; more on par would be – ending with applause, a bow, and “Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much, I’ll be here next week”.
That folks, is the sorry state of the lukewarm church when the Authority of Scripture and the sacred office of pastor are undermined in any generation. Dear pastors, are you called to amuse goats or feed the sheep? Charles Spurgeon rightly said:
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.