preaching entertainment
Mt. Vernon Church of Christ Services Sunday A. M. Bible Study - 9:30 Sunday A. M. Worship - 10:30 Sunday P. M. Worship - 5:00 Wednesday Evening Bible Study - 6:00 Address 700 Mill Street Mt. Vernon, Indiana  47620 Contact (812) 838-2635 email Gospel Plan of Salvation Hear - Rom. 10:17 Believe - Mark 16:15,16 Repent - Luke 17:3 Confess - Rom. 10:10 Be baptized - Acts 2:38 Live faithfully - Titus 2:12 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God...” (I Peter 4:11) Mt. Vernon Church of Christ

Have you ever notice how many television commercials say nothing about the products they advertise? The typical jeans commercial shows a painful drama about the woes of adolescence but never mentions jeans. A perfume ad is a collage of sensuous images with no reference to the product. Beer commercials contain some of the funniest material on television but say very little about beer.


Amusing Ourselves To Death, is the name of a perceptive but disquieting book by Neil Postman, a professor at New York University. The book argues powerfully that television has crippled our ability to think and reduced our aptitude for real communication. Postman says television has not made us the best informed and most literate generation in history, it has flooded our minds with irrelevant and meaningless information.


By far the books' most trenchant message is in a chapter on modern religion. Postman, not a Christian in the strictest [i.e.., Scriptural – ELP] sense of the word, nevertheless writes with piercing insight about the decline of preaching. He contrasts the ministries of Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Finney with the preaching of today. Those men relied on depth of content, profundity, logic and knowledge of Scripture. Preaching today is superficial by comparison, with the emphasis on style and emotion. "Good" preaching by the modern-definition must above all be brief and amusing. It is entertainment--not exhortation, reproof, rebuke, or instruction (cf. II Timothy 3:16; 4:2).


Most churches typically feature a half-hour sermon with lots of amusing anecdotes but little doctrine. In fact, many churches think of doctrine as undesirable and impractical.  A major religious magazine recently published an article by a well-known preacher. He mused for a whole page about the futility of both preaching and listening to sermons that go beyond mere entertainment. His conclusion? People do not remember what you say anyway, so most preaching is a waste of time. His last statement was cutting but often true: "People, I've discovered, will forgive even poor theology as long as they get out by the hour."


There is an obvious parallel between that kind of preaching and those trendy jeans-perfume-beer commercials. Like the commercials, it aims to set a mood, to evoke an emotion response--to entertain--but not necessarily to communicate anything of substance. Such preaching is sheer accommodation to a society bred by television. It is not the kind of preaching the Scripture mandates. We are to "preach the word" (II Timothy 4:2), "speak thou the things which become sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1), and teach and exhort the "doctrine" which is according to godliness (I Timothy 6:2-3).


If the dilemma of modern preaching is to be changed, Christians must insist on biblical preaching and be supportive of men who are committed to it. How does a preacher of integrity reach people who may be unwilling to listen to carefully-reasoned expositions of God's truth? That may be the greatest challenge of today's Christian leaders. We cannot yield to the pressure to be superficial. We must find ways to make the truth of God known to a generation that does not want to listen.



Douglas Parsons, Christian Light, 1989





Preaching In An  Age Of Entertainment
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