Summary: Humanistic attitudes that hinder worship.
Talk Show Religion, Humanistic Attitudes that Deter Worship.
Some TV talk shows have some redeeming qualities; many others send subtle yet harmful messages to their viewers.
Why should that concern the church?
It should concern us because entertainment in culture tends to bleed through into other areas of life - even worship in the church.
Here are four attitudes that commonly exist in our entertainment culture that will erode proper worship if we don’t avoid them.
1. First attitude that hinders worship: “Tell me what I want to hear.”
Many purveyors of modern entertainment display little or no concern as to how their presentations give an unhealthy image or offer unwise solutions to people’s problems. They simply cater to the whims of fallen human nature.
The Bible predicted this would happen.
Pay special notice to verse three below:
2 Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching. 3 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will reject the truth and chase after myths. 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Paul’s words to Timothy underscore the great patience it takes to preach the Word of God because of the natural human resistance to doing things God’s way.
People are certainly chasing myths. And it’s because they want to hear teaching which renders approval to their unwise lifestyles or gives them leave to ignore vital spiritual truth.
Dealing with this facet of our culture is an especially difficult tightrope for the seeker-sensitive pastor to walk.
He can’t afford to mimic the culture around him in giving his hearers what they want to hear, yet he does not want to be judgmental or harsh.
What kind of a balancing beam will bridge this chasm - the chasm between what people want to hear and what they need to hear?
A positive supportive attitude toward biblically-based Bible preaching and teaching on behalf of the church family will help a great deal in convincing any unchurched guests that what is being shared from God’s Word is beneficial even though sometimes challenging.
A patient attitude on behalf of the one sharing the Word is also essential.
The Word of God doesn’t need apology - it needs application.
It’s a given that some listeners will occasionally bristle at God’s truth. This cannot be helped. The Bible is a living book. (Hebrews 4:12) It will challenge our thinking and our behavior. If it did not, it would not be the Word of God.
2. Second attitude that hinders worship: “Entertain me but don’t enlighten me.”
This second attitude can be further identified by Christ’s Parable of the Sower - particularly the seed sown on rocky soil.
20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. 21 But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. Matthew 13:20-21 (NLT)
There’s a debate among churches today about how much “entertainment” should be allowed in the worship because of the danger of shallowness as expressed in Christ’s Parable of the Sower.
I personally believe a certain amount of latitude can be granted on the utilization of teaching tools like humorous skits or video in worship.
Whatever form of communication is used to increase the interest in receiving the teaching and preaching - as long as it is not unbiblical - is appropriate.
The problem is not just in the tools used to make the message of God’s Word more understandable.
The shortcoming of weak teaching comes from a failure to practically apply the Word of God.
Without roots none of us will last. Entertainment by itself is interesting but not enlightening unless it is connected to spiritual truth.
The teacher has a responsibility to make application of the Word to the life of the hearer. Jesus did.
The hearer has a responsibility to follow-through with this application in his or her daily life.
The Book of James calls this being "doers of the Word and not just hearers." (James 1:22)
3. Third attitude that hinders worship: “Make the popular a priority over the practical.”
The practical application of the Word of God cannot be accomplished without a commitment to instruction and careful listening.
"Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge." Proverbs 23:12 (NLT)
The hearer’s first commitment is to be consitent to be in church when the instruction is being given.
Careful listening also plays a great role, and careful listening takes careful planning.