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John MacArthur, who preaches for Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, Ca., wrote a book by the above title lamenting the entertainment craze in the denominational world.
MacArthur defined pragmatism as “the notion that meaning or worth is determined by practical consequences…(it) ultimately defines truth as that which is useful, meaningful, and helpful. Ideas which don’t seem workable or relevant are rejected as false.” Pragmatism has led many churches of Christ to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on gymnasiums and entertainment—because it works! They are ashamed of the Gospel, so they must use human wisdom and human schemes to draw people to the meeting house.
John MacArthur told about a church’s attempt to “perk up attendance at Sunday evening services. The church staged a wrestling match, featuring church employees. To train for the event, 10 game employees got lessons from Tugboat Taylor, a former professional wrestler, in pulling hair, kicking shins and tossing bodies around without doing real harm.” You see, once people turn from Biblical authority and start justifying their practices by what works, rather than by what God said, there is no end to such.
The Times Daily (Sept. 13, ‘08) carried a story, with pictures, of Faith Church’s “Kidztown, a $3.78 million children’s center that combines worship with more secular activities and entertainment in an effort to attract and increase the younger generation of the faithful.” They interviewed the youth minister at Cross Point Church of Christ, who said we need to be competitive with all the available distractions that compete for children’s attention...The Upward Bound branded soccer program (at Cross Point) includes devotionals at every practice and every game.”
But in some cases, such as “Burger King and bowling weekly outings don’t involve Biblical lessons, but a chance for children to bond.” He further said “I don’t think they (children) would be as encouraged to come if we didn’t have the other stuff.” In other words, the Gospel is not the drawing power—recreation and entertainment is God’s power unto salvation.
MacArthur said that gospel preaching is being given a secondary place in the work and worship of the church, entertainment is being exalted and Christ is being ignored or forgotten in many modern churches. Almost anything goes if it will attract large audiences and increase the income of the church.
There is a place for recreation and entertainment, just as there was a place for exchanging money and providing animals for sacrifice at the temple, but Jesus “made a whip of cords (and) drove them all out of the temple...And He said to those who sold doves, Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise” (Jn. 2:15,16).
Jesus would need more than a whip—maybe a bulldozer to clean house in many churches today! Those who turn the church into a social club are not drawing people to God’s way.
Copyright Midway Church of Christ 2014 This page last modified July 03, 2014