Feeding the Sheep or Amusing the Goats?

Here is an excellent article by Charles H. Spurgeon which addresses the church’s need to entertain people in order to get them into the church.  When I think about this issue, I remember what a local southern pastor said.  He said, “If you lure them in with a hamburger, someone else will lure them out with a hot dog.”  Sounds a little too simplified, but I’ve seen it ring true.

An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most short-sighted 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.” 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 . . . .

Again, 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,” not the sugar candy — something the world will spit out, not swallow . . . . I do not hear [Jesus] 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 the gospel of amusement . . . .

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works havoc among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them half-way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God’s link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer. The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.  Source.

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7 Responses to Feeding the Sheep or Amusing the Goats?

  1. HeartCry says:

    Quote: “The mission of amusement produces no converts. The need of the hour for today’s ministry is believing scholarship joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire. ”

    What a way with words! If only so many of us could grasp the truth here, it would save so many headaches. How much time and effort do we put into trying to manipulate people to believe what we do, instead of being brave enough to stand firm alongside our Lord and his disciples, willingly being taunted and ridiculed by the world?

    On a personal level I hold my hands high and admit their are many times, even if subliminally, I consider my own reputation and standing more important than my calling in Christ. Lord forgive me!

  2. sbrogden says:

    This excellent excerpt was actually written by Archibald Brown, a student of Spurgeon. I received it in my email yesterday from http://www.gracegems.org/

    How true and how sad to see that many in the church fail to learn Truth and pander to humans – to satisfy flesh on both sides of the pulpit.

  3. Chrystal says:

    Thanks for the info!

  4. Carol says:

    I’ve read this before and it needs to be something we look at quite frequently. Copies of these need to be sent to pastors who think they have the answers with all of the postmodern nonsense taking place in churches today.

  5. Pastor Frank says:

    Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent…There are none to answer.

    I got saved at a concert of Christian Rock band, Whitecross on April 30th 1990. I’m am a pastor today, about to embark on a new church pastorate in Michigan. So I guess there is one to answer.

    I agree, amusements are not the best means of evangelism, God chose the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. I got saved when Scott Wentzel of Whitecross preached during the concert and gave an invititation. The music got me through the door to hear the message though. Again, I agreee, Christian amusements have got out of hand, but still, we must not underestimate what God can use. Had I not been at the concert that night, I truly believe I’d be dead by now (I’m only 36) because of the road I was on. So, like Paul, whether in pretense or sincerity, I rejoice the gospel is preached.

  6. pastor frank says:

    I couldn’t help but notice that my cordial post about me coming to faith at a Christian rock concert and going on to become a pastor has been deleted. I was just wondering why?

  7. Carol says:

    I don’t think Christian concerts are a bad thing in and of themselves. For example, attending one that may be performing at a local theatre or arena. However, my issues with “entertainment” comes when it replaces the morning and whenever offered anymore, an evening service that is normally given to preaching of the Word and singing of hymns and perhaps any time offered for sharing.

    I’ve belonged to churches as well as attended churches where entertainment replaced the regular morning service and I felt like I was deprived of hearing the Word of God preached. To me, I felt robbed of the opportunity of the Word of God being proclaimed.

    It also disturbs me when entertainment was more important to most people than hearing sound preaching, they only attend when entertainment is offered, or something involving food.

    While I don’t want to say it’s a sin to have a fellowship involving food, but when food and entertainment is the central focus of most of the sheep, rather than the worship of God and hearing His Word, and they only attend the fun focused meetings, it causes me sorrow because the churches are losing their power because sincere prayer and true Bible preaching has taken a backseat to the amusements.

    If a church wants to offer some musical quartet to sing hymns, they should open the doors another evening, rather than pre-empt the preaching and prayer meetings.

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