When Church becomes Entertainment
Some people like to sleep-in before Church on Sundays, but it is my habit to awaken early, in order to watch and listen to my favorite Television Pastors and Ministers. And yet… out of the many current TV and Online “Evangelists”, there are only a few good, well-rounded teachers of Sound Bible Doctrine. Some of them teach the Word of God with “Topical Sermons” and some are more at ease with “Expository Sermon” methods. Both methods are designed to accomplish two main goals… to Share the Gospel (Good News) of Salvation through Jesus Christ… and to Lead the Church toward Spiritual, Christ-like Maturity.
Salvation starts at the Moment your Seed of FAITH is Planted in Jesus Christ and then becomes a Daily Process of the Transformation of our Mind, Will and Emotions learning to become a “New being in Christ”… see 2 Corinthians 5:17
What is a Topical Sermon?
This is where the minister feels lead to teach on a particular Subject (or Topic). Then he should carefully spend time in Bible Study and Prayer in order that he may impart both knowledge and wisdom to his Church. This is usually accomplished using various Scriptures with principles that apply to the Topic of his Sermon.
What is Expository Preaching?
We could simply say that an Expository preacher seeks out the Meaning or Purpose of a Biblical text. However, it would be more accurate to explain Expository Sermons as an In Depth, Chapter by Chapter, Verse by Verse and Word by Word search into the “Spirit” of the Bible text. Not just the words used, and their meanings from the original Hebrew and Greek, but the Actual Message (principles) that God is trying to get through to us in His Word so that we can Grow-up or Mature in our relationship with Him… (Although I employ both methods in my sermons, I personally prefer the expository technique).
The Three Types of Multimedia Preachers:
The Bible warns us that toward the End of Time as we know it (end times and last days before the rapture, Revelation period, The Beast and the Great Tribulation), that there would be many False Prophets, Hypocrites and Anti-Christ’s (against Christ) that would employ False Teachings in a selfish attempt to gain power, influence, wealth, etc.. and that they would be So Convincing, that even “The Elect” (true “Born Again” believers) would be tempted to follow their ideas and philosophies.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not take the true teaching; but, moved by their desires, they will get for themselves a great number of teachers for the pleasure of hearing them;
4 And shutting their ears to what is true, will be turned away to belief in foolish stories.
No matter which sermon techniques used… I believe there are three basic types of Television, Internet or Multimedia “evangelists” in our world today:
The Chosen: These are the True and Honest Bible Scholars that are Not Concerned about being popular and unafraid to “step on a few toes”. They always Seek and Teach the Truth. Although they may use elements of worship that are amusing or entertaining… their desire and goal is to Lead the “Lost” to Salvation through Jesus Christ and to Lead their Church to the Better Way of Living that is mapped out in the Bible. Jesus described this Better Way of Life as “Life More Abundant”. These men are confident that every bit of their Success and Ability is a Gift and Blessing from God… and therefore feel no need to Entertain and Amuse their listeners.
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have
Health and Wealth: These teachers tend to stick with sermons on more Positive and Popular subjects dealing with Health and Wealth. You can expect every sermon to lean heavily on Bible verses for Wellness and Money (health, sickness, profit, success, etc…) and the Bible definitely has many promises concerning the Health and Wealth of God’s true children (born again believers) who are living a life of Faith. You can also expect “worship” services to be more entertaining and positive… designed to evoke a more Emotional and Monetary Response from the listener. While Christians should be filled with Joy and positivity, it is my opinion that Bible teaching needs to be well rounded. The pressure involved in preaching and worshipping primarily Health and Wellness can lead a church to feel that it may need to compromise Godly Principles, in order to Deliver on the Promises of Health and Money. And while money itself is neither good nor evil… “The Love of Money, is the Root of All Evil”! These ministers are Walking a Fine-Line that can easily lead to the Overwhelming Temptation to Never Offend those who Contribute Money to their ministry. We have many historical examples of ministers who have compromised Godly Morals and Values, in order to finance their own agenda, and always with devastating consequences. It is truly sad to watch a Good Bible Teacher turn into a Television (or media) Entertainer, in order to finance and build his ministry.
1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.
False Prophets: This is the most dangerous and destructive type of public teacher. Their ministry and their church are built on nothing more than Ideas and Philosophies which seem logical and good to the average person even though their teachings have very little to do with Bible Facts. Imbued with a false sense of their own intelligence and importance, and disguised as men of honor (angels of light), they infiltrate the Christian realm with an all-inclusive message of hope for man-kind. Not based upon Godly Wisdom, but rather steeped in Cunning and Craft. Their Selfish Goal is to Gain Prestige and Wealth on a purely humanistic platform. With great zeal, they proclaim their desire for truth, justice, tolerance, equality, etc…, with an extreme attachment to Socialistic Agendas. All their teachings “seem” to be based on Bible facts, however, you will never hear them speak on the Most Important Bible Principles such as Salvation through Faith in Jesus Christ (the only true path of Salvation), Holiness or the Consequences of a lifestyle of Sin. They do not endeavor to promote and advance the “Kingdom of God”, but rather market a brand of philosophy, using whatever Entertaining Media at their disposal, Television, Video, Internet, Mobile Web, etc.. and their message more accurately resembles building a kingdom of Self! Self-righteousness, Self-indulgence and Self-gratification are the root of their cause. While False Prophets continue to infiltrate the highest levels of our society and government, it is important for us to Discern their teachings and motives as being False and Dangerous. They promote and embrace the idea that all religions are true, acceptable and valuable… even if they Do Not Recognize the Father, Son and Holy Spirit as the One and Only True Living God, and the Only Path to Salvation. Their religion reduces Christ to merely a good prophet, and Not “the Word that was made Flesh and dwelt among us”. They aspire to propagate the universal, world-wide religion and political system that we are warned about by the true prophets of God (which eventually leads to the Tribulation, False prophet and the Beast of Revelation). A one-world religion where Biblical morality no longer applies… teaching a Totally False Idea that a merciful and loving god would not Judge us for being “human”. It is true that their False god will not judge them, the True God promises something different for those who “choose” to believe Lies instead of the truth.
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
We who Listen:
Church or Worship as Entertainment or Amusement is nothing new. As you read the following verses where God is speaking directly to Ezekiel about the Motives and Intentions of his listeners, keep in mind that this was written about 600 years before Christ. This Truly Righteous Prophet’s Teachings were totally On Target… but his listeners, who were supposed to be God’s children, were more concerned with being Entertained than actually Hearing the Truths that could lead them to “Life More Abundant”.
No matter which type of evangelist, preacher or teacher is speaking to us through the world’s multimedia, it is essentially each Christian’s Responsibility to ensure that our Churches, and their Leaders, Do Not become another form of Amusement and Recreation. It can be really tempting for churches to Entertain their audience with programs and business that we hope will bring more visitors and compel our members to stay actively involved… However, we are Not instructed to Amuse and Entertain… we are instructed to be the Salt and Light that inspires listeners to Seek Jesus Christ and a Better Way of Life.
Ezekiel 33:30 And as for you, son of man, the children of your people are talking together about you by the walls and in the doorways of the houses, saying to one another, Come now, give ear to the word which comes from the Lord.
31 And they come to you as my people come, and are seated before you as my people, hearing your words but doing them not: for deceit is in their mouth and their heart goes after profit for themselves.
32 And truly you are to them like a love song by one who has a very pleasing voice and is an expert player on an instrument: for they give ear to your words but do them not.
33 And when this comes about see, it is coming, then it will be clear to them that a prophet has been among them.
It is certainly possible to have a Joy-filled, Exciting worship service, without resorting to “tickling the ears” of our listeners. Church services can be Fun… but Never should Entertainment and Amusement be the Motivation to Draw the Masses to our churches.
As a minister, whenever someone tells me; “I really enjoyed your sermon today”, I always take this kind of compliment with a grain of salt. It is Christ who should be Lifted Up for All to See, for it is Faith in Christ Alone that brings about True Salvation and ensures that Christians never fall to the temptation to make worship services More Exciting, More Amusing and More Entertaining… with the Intent and Motive to Fill our Pews with More Listeners.
If the teacher merely Entertains and the people are merely Amused… What profit have we rendered to the church but the Means and Methods of False Prophets whose reward is in and of Their Self! As Jesus said, “Verily, they have their reward”. And it is certainly Not based in Gospel.
May God Bless you Abundantly,
Oasis Missionary Baptist Church
165 W. Grace St.
Barstow, Ca 92311
You are invited to Worship with us on Sunday mornings at 11am
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