Sunday, September 18, 2011
Does your church feed the sheep or amuse the goats?
or Amusing Goats?
by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
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.
From speaking out as the Puritans did, the church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.
My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work, why did not Christ speak of it? "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). That is clear enough. So it would have been if He had added, "and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel." No such words, however, are to be found. It did not seem to occur to Him.
"He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., for the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:11-12). Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused?
Providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the church to the world? "Ye are the salt" (Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy...
Had Christ introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His mission, He would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear Him say, "Run after these people Peter and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow, something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick Peter, we must get the people somehow." Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them.
In vain will the Epistles be searched to find any trace of this gospel of amusement! ...They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.
Lord, clear the church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her, and bring us back to apostolic methods.
Ask Jesus to help you be discerning in assessing the gospel proclamation at YOUR church. Is your pastor a shepherd or a goatherd?
Posted by Paula at 5:20 PM