Tuesday, November 11, 2008

...when righteousness is turned into recreation

Below you will find a necessary and timely word from a student of Spurgeon's, Archibald Brown. Often attributed to Spurgeon as author, this quote below is actually from a sermon AB preached called, "The Devil's Mission of Amusement."

WARNING: church growth experts; Emergent church adherents; Seattle sludge scatologists; political militants; ecumenical advocates; positive confession aficionados; contextualized cultural conversationalists; seeker-friendly pragmatists; psychological inner-child massagists; prosperity-health/wealth salesmen; and anti-Trinitarian heretics might find themselves challenged, frustrated, unmasked and shakened to real spiritual change as a result of Spurgeon's insightful words.

Because truth matters...

Still pounding on Wittenberg's Door,
Jude 3

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. Then again, ‘He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry.’ 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? The concert has no martyr roll.

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. Short and sharp was the utterance, ‘Let the dead bury their dead.’ He was in awful earnestness!

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 the gospel of amusement. Their message is, ‘Come out, keep out, keep clean out!’ Anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon. 

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, "Lord, grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are." If they ceased not for preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere preaching the gospel. ‘They turned the world upside down’. That is the only difference! Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods.

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.


Larry said...

I loved this..."The mission of amusement produces no converts". I've been having this discussion with my 12 year old daughter over the last couple of months. Finally I asked her what would happen to attendance at Wednesday night youth group if the pastor just stood up and taught and there was no "praise band", no bright lights, no pizza, etc. She said most kids would stop coming! Sad commentary on the spiritual depth of some young people. However, I imagine it would be the same for us 'old folks' as well in many ways.

Jim from OldTruth.com said...

My favorite part of this is Spurgeon's last two sentences. Can you imagine anyone in America's modern church scene believing that doctrine could "set men on fire"? That's one of the problems with modern Christianity. Spurgeon was right then, and he's still right now.

--Jim from

Sparks said...

I have to wonder if the evangelical church's focus on "Amusing Goats" has anything to do with the Newsweek poll that says 68 percent of people calling themselves evangelical Christians do not believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation?

Bhedr said...

This is my favorite one. I'm glad you posted it.

Enjoyed the Mac interview too. Watched some of it last night.

Ellen said...

Finally I asked her what would happen to attendance at Wednesday night youth group if the pastor just stood up and taught and there was no "praise band", no bright lights, no pizza, etc. She said most kids would stop coming!

How does that ratio compare with the number of adults that attend on Wednesday nights vs. the number that attend on Sunday morning?

If we don't model (and I have to admit I can fall short on this) faithfulness through the week, how can we expect our kids to follow?

DAO said...

Thanks for your thoughts. Along the same lines I am being blown away with the simple, straight-forward, truthful and warm-hearted teaching of Pastor John Piper, particularly in his Romans series and the series of biographical surveys of men from church history.
(see my blog on these resources...free!)
To be God-centered and God-entranced is the need of the day, for we continuously breathe man-centered, thus, superficial air! We need God...in the glorious splendor of His majesty(Ps.145.5)...to humble and lift us in Christ. If this is not present in our churches and lives... something else will be... no wonder we are in the place we are today.
keep on bloggin,

SWM said...

Steve, I agree that Jesus didn't chase people and that a "bait and switch" evangelism is not bilical. But is the problem the "praise band" or is it the lack of doctrinal teaching and truth?

Mike Ratliff said...

Amen Campi! Thanks for posting this. I contend that those who seek "entertainment" in Church are committing gross idolatry. They are already guilty of it in their seeking or demanding it.

Lane Chaplin said...

Great post, Campi! I put together a video about a year ago with these quotes from Spurgeon. The audio is from Mark Kielar of CrossTV's church.

PS. I'm SO glad to see Jim from OldTruth.com again in the comment section. I hope you're doing well, Jim.

Charles Fry said...

Thanks for the post Camp.

We are also discussing this topic of entertainment with a post "Is Church Whacked?"

You can read it at http://preachtoday.blogspot.com/

I love your blog, keep up the good work!

Ransom said...

Just by way of clarification, this sermon is all too often misattributed to Charles Spurgeon. It is actually an excerpt from a longer sermon titled "The Devil's Mission of Amusement" by Archibald Brown.

I don't care. I love it anyway. Brown was a student of Spurgeon's, which is probably why the message sounds so "Spurgeonesque." No doubt the Prince of Preachers would have approved - and probably wished he had preached it first!

SJ Camp said...

Thank you for your helpful comment. I have had others tell me that there was doubt about this being Spurgeon's work; but could never provide accurate information to the contrary. So we are all in your debt.

2 Cor. 4:5

SJ Camp said...

Wonderful video! Thank you for sharing the link with us here.

Col. 1:9-14

Ransom said...

Campi: Glad to help. Just to give credit where due, I believe it was actually Phil Johnson who originally helped me track down the original source some years ago. (Who else?)

SJ Camp said...

Consider yourself banned from this site for disparaging and unapologetic remarks directed about the Lord Jesus Christ.