Show Time: Making the Gospel About Us
A little over one-hundred years ago, the man with the unusually styled white hair, Albert Einstein, came out of nowhere with a string of scientific papers that among other things said that there is no fixed point in space.Â Â I can’t disagree with him.Â However, I will say that we do have a fixed point around which our lives revolve outside of space.Â David wrote in Psalm 112:7b, “His heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD.”Â Life does revolve around the Lord, and it will for a Christian, who loves the Lord because He first loved him (1 John 4:19).Â The unsavedÂ person revolves everything arond himself, a lover of his own self (2 Timothy 3:2).
God seeks for worshipers, not gift reception candidates (John 4:23, 24).Â Â He who would have life, must lose his own (Matthew 16:25).Â “[God] shalt have no other gods before [Him]” (Exodus 20:3).Â The Lord is worthy “to receive glory and honour and power: for [He] created all things, and for [His] pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).Â Thirty three times, Scripture says “praise the Lord,” twenty two times “praise Him” with Him being “God,” twice “praise God,” once “praise unto the LORD,” once “praise unto our God,” once “sing praises unto Him,” once “praises to theÂ God,”Â once “sing praises unto his name,” once “sing praises to God,” and once “sing praises to the Lord.”Â All praise is rightly directed to God in His Word.
The overriding thought for every activity should be, “What will please God?”Â Instead, in many cases even in church services man has replaced God as sovereign.Â Man’s taste has subjugated God’s truth.Â Â Human methodology has surpassed Divine wisdom.Â In Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman writes:
Toward the end of the nineteenth century . . . the Age of Exposition began to pass, and the early signs of its replacement could be discerned.Â Its replacement was to be the Age of Show Business.
Entertainment has moved into the very center of family and cultural life.Â Amusements have become the most important and time-consuming aspects of human discourse.Â Â The more the show becomes the church’s business, the less relevant is truth.Â Substance counts for little and style counts for almost everything.Â Bringing games and carnal amusements into the church eventually destroy people’s appetites for real worship and the exposition of God’s Word.
In accordance with the change in culture also came a change in the methods of churches.Â People enamored with worldly things, essentially thorny ground, didn’t care to listen to the Gospel preached, verses carefully exegeted.Â Â Children were still interested in small toys, candy, and puppet shows.Â If the entertainment medium was what was necessary to winning people, why not go all out?Â A real carnival with an acrobat quoting Bible verses, or at least “super-Christian” in a super-hero outfit stomping onÂ a costumed devil.Â The content was Bible, but the medium cheapened, and, therefore, the message corrupted.
As the same kids leave their childhood years, they enter a youth program with rallies and high energy games, up tempo choruses, and speakers whose specialty is humor.Â Â Almost anything that was radical in the fifties is considered conventional today.Â Â The best pastor is the one with the most innovation and the best techniques for church growth.Â Now the megachurches represent country clubs with their facilities for recreation and entertainment their most visible aspects.
Sadly, verse-by-verse preaching became associated with boredom.Â Better were the motivational speeches sparsely populated with Scripture, but heavy on the stories.Â Ironically, the ones who told the most tales and the tallest could explain their successes.Â They had “the power of God” obtained through extraordinary circumstances, whichÂ fueled their naturalistic presentations.Â Showtime needs showmen.
This uniting of the world and God andÂ of man’s ways with the Divine most certainly changes the Gospel, let alone destroying the ability to discern.Â A ministry philosophy that is so contradictory to the pattern the Lord gave us does not accentuate the Gospel.Â It can’t. The Scriptural gospel of sacrifice and self-denial is incompatible with the carnal offerings of modern churches.Â We would all be best sent back to the Word of GodÂ to strictly imitate the ministry model of the New Testament of Christ and the Apostles.Â Do you think you would be willing?