What’s Wrong With That?
Opportunities abound as never before! Good ideas can be patented, produced, and with good marketing, can make someone very rich. Never in the history of the world have there been so many people cashing in on their dreams of providing a better service, product, tech/electronic gizmo, or food outlet. Books are published in quantities that previous generations would have believed impossible due to electronic publishers. Communication is now instant. Every form of light, sound, and sensory enhancement has moved every form of entertainment to a whole new level of enjoyment.
With those changes, people’s preferences for church worship are very different in the 21st century. God made us to desire to be with others in community. However, because so many people stay so busy and yet, for those who desire to have some type of formal worship experience, the internet can provide the “best of the best” music and speakers in America on one’s phone anytime, anywhere, and in any setting. Even those who regularly attend a church service “live expect the services to be more electronically and visually infused than before. Young adults and students live in a world where that is the norm in their lives daily, so church experiences seek to communicate in the language and format of this era.
In worship, however, there is the subtle temptation of making the Sunday experience more concerned about the sensory experience than the spiritual impact. The Bible is a constant that reminds every worshiper that when we gather, we are to come before the LORD in awe, with humility, broken over sinfulness, and in the pursuit of holiness. There is great danger if we lose sight of that. What is relevant must also be reverent lest we become rebellious.
George Webb who wrote the lyrics to “Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus” included this stanza….
stand up for Jesus, Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own.
At one time Mr. P.T. Barnum, head of the great Barnum & Bailey Circus, invited Charles Haddon Spurgeon of London to speak in the large tent at his traveling circus. He made every concession to make the offer attractive to Spurgeon. Barnum would provide the musical talent, unless Spurgeon wished to provide his own. He would provide any equipment or manpower Spurgeon desired. Spurgeon could speak as long or as short as he wished. There was only one basic stipulation! Barnum Circus Association would take the gate receipts and pay Spurgeon one thousand dollars per lecture.
This was a generous offer in Spurgeon’s day. Many would doubtless have said, “What a wonderful opportunity to reach people with the Gospel!” But not Spurgeon. Knowing it would be wrong to join hands with the world, he sent a reply to Mr. Barnum.
Dear Mr. Barnum:
Thank you for your kind invitation to lecture in your circus tents in America. You will find my answer in Acts 13:10… “O full of all subtility and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?”
Very sincerely yours,
Charles H. Spurgeon (Copied).