Have we let entertainment cripple our lives and, by extension, the relevance of the Church? Speaking on this topic, A. W. Tozer said, “For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was—a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability… She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers”.
When I was younger, I would have scoffed at such a statement, chalking it up to being old-fashioned, legalistic, and out of step with the times. I know I’m not alone in this because I believe it is precisely because of such attitudes we find ourselves with the Church we have today: weak, lacking in courage, and saturated with the ways and teachings of the world.
Jesus Christ is the power of His Church, and all the forces of Hell are no match for our King. Satan will never destroy the church (Matthew 16:16-18). And yet, it seems Christ’s own followers are eroding the relevance of the church from within. We no longer hold a high view of Scripture, refuse to call sin for what it is, and do everything we can to make our services as palatable and inoffensive as possible. The cross of Christ is incredibly offensive and divisive. It insists we choose to bow in worship of Him or reject Him in favor of the world. The church should never be a place where sinners–and we are all sinners–feel comfortable.
When I was growing up, churches met twice on Sunday and again on Wednesday evenings. The services were full of reverence and respect for the authority and majesty of God. These days, most churches meet only an hour each week, exhibit a casualness that borders on irreverence, and seem to place an inordinate focus on entertainment instead of worship. Thankfully, this is not true of all churches, but is sadly true for the vast majority I have encountered over the past thirty years.
So, why am I beating up on the church again? It is because I am passionate about the bride of Christ and believe it is the vehicle by which God’s Kingdom manifests itself here on earth. When we allow the erosion of the relevance of the church to occur, we diminish our ability to point the lost to Christ. Our mission is to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth, and we can’t do that when we our focus is on entertainment and comfort over truth and commitment.
When reviewing the great revivals in world history, we see people repent of their selfish desires and fall on their knees before God. In our search for endless entertainment, we have lost our reverence for the Holy and Awesome God of the Universe, the Creator of everything and everyone. Churches exist to feed the flock so they can go out and tell the world about Jesus. We’ve turned church into an entertainment experience, hoping the lost will come to us and enjoy the service.
The relevance of the church is dying because the people of God are shirking their responsibility to proclaim boldly the truth of the gospel. Instead of relying on the Holy Spirit to convict and save, we think it is our job to cajole people into the Kingdom by entertaining them and glossing over sin. That should be enough to drive each of us to our knees in horror and repentance. The local church is the earthly representation of Christ’s global Church, His beautiful bride. It’s past time we realize this and bring the reverence and awe of God into His presence when we gather. Leave the entertainment to the culture. Let us come humbly to worship and bow down before the Lord our God and maker (Psalm 95:6).