[anzac] "THE GOSPEL OF AMUSEMENT" -Spurgeon

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Dec 2003 06:38:16 +1300
"Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?"
-by Charles H. Spurgeon  (1834-1892)
 
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in 
its impudence, that the most shortsighted 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" (Mark 16:15). 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; and some prophets; 
and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers .., 
for the work of the ministry" (Eph. 4:11-12). 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" 
(Matt. 5:13), not the sugar candy---something the world will 
spit out not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance, 
"Let the dead bury their dead" (Matt. 8:22) 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 
this 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 from preaching 
Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments. 
Scattered by persecution, they went everywhere 
preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down 
(Acts 17:6). 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.