“The Great God Entertainment”

". . . These things saith the amen, the faithful and
true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold another
hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because
thou art lukewarm, and neither cold another hot, I
will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest,
I am rich, and increased with foods, and have need
of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched,
and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I
counsel thee to buy of money gold tried in the fire,
that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that
thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy
nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with
eye-salve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love,
I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent."
                                         Revelation 3:14-19
    A German philosopher many years ago said something to the effect that the more a man has in his own heart the less he will require from the outside; excessive need for support form without is proof of the bankruptcy of the inner man.  If this is true (and I believe it is) then the present inordinate attachment to every form of entertainment is evidence that the inner life of modern man is in serious decline. The average man has no central core of moral assurance, no spring within his own breast, no inner strength to place him above the need for repeated psychological shots to give him the courage to go on living. He has become a parasite on the world, drawing his life form his environment, unable to live a day apart form the stimulation which society affords him. 
     Schleiermacher held that the feeling of dependence lies at the root of all religious worship, and that however high the spiritual life might rise it must always begin with a deep sense of a great need which only God could satisfy. If this sense of need and a feeling of dependence are at the root of natural religion it is not hard to see why the great god Entertainment is so ardently worshipped by so many. For there are illions who cannot live without amusement; life without some form of entertainment for them is simply intolerable; they look forward to the blessed relief afforded by professional entertainers and other forms of psychological narcotics as a dope addict looks to his daily shot of heroin. Without them they could not summon courage to face existence. 
     No one with common human feeling will object to the simple pleasures of life, nor to such harmless forms of entertainment as may help to relax the nerves and refresh the mind exhausted by toil. Such things if used with discretion may be a blessing along the way. 
     That is one thing. The all-out devotion to entertainment as a major activity for which and by which men live is definitely something else again. 
     The abuse of a harmless thing is the essence of sin. The growth of the amuse- ment phase of human life to such fantastic proportions as a portent1, a threat to the souls of modern men. It has been built into a multimillion dollar racket with greater power over human minds and human character than any other educational influence on earth. And the ominous thing is that its power is almost exclusively evil, rotting the inner life, crowding out the long eternal thoughts which would fill the souls of men if they were but worthy to entertain them. And the whole thing has grown into a veritable religion which holds its devotees with a strange fascination, and a religion, incidentally, against which it is now dangerous to speak. 
     For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was - a device for wasting time, a refuge form the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability. For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of this world. But of late she has become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers. So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theaters where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the full approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defense of their delinquency. 
     And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it. 
     The great god Entertainment amuses his devotees mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is a characteristic of childhood, has taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people. What is natural and beautiful in a child may be shocking when it persists into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to pass for true religion. 
     Is it not a strange thing and a wonder that, with the shadow of atomic destruction hanging over the world and with the coming of Christ drawing near, the professed followers of the Lord should be giving themselves up to religious amusements? That in an hour when mature saints are so desperately needed vast numbers of believers should revert to spiritual childhood and clamor for religious toys? 
     “Remember, O Lord, what is come upon us: consider, and behold our reproach. . . The crown is fallen form our head: woe unto us, that we have sinned! For this our heart is faint; for these things our eyes are dim.”  Amen. Amen. 1. An omen - especially of ill.       A. W. Tozer

     I would like to add only one thing to that which Dr. Tozer has so eloquently stated above. And that is, in thirty some years since he has gone to be with his Lord, even the high calling of the preaching ministry has sunk to this entertainment fanaticism. Preachers, for the most part, don’t seem nearly so interested in projecting the pure and simple truth of the Word from a life devoted to the Author. So much as projecting themselves and how great they are, and how worthy they are of a paycheck. The only other “industrialized” segment of Christianity which is more given over to this worldly entertainment mania is the “gospel music” industry. 

     Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. Revelation 2:5

My God, permit me not to be
A stranger to myself and Thee;
Amidst a thousand thoughts I rove,
Forgetful of my highest love.
Why should my passions mix with earth,
And thus debase my heavenly birth?
Why should I cleave to things below,
And let my God, my Saviour, Go?
Call me away form flesh and sense:
One sovereign word can draw me thence;
I would obey the voice Divine,
And all inferior joys resign.
Be earth, with all her scenes, withdrawn,
Let noise and vanity be gone;
In secret silence of the mind
My heaven, and there my God, I find.
Isaac Watts, 1709
When I can read my title clear
To mansions in the skies,
I bid farewell to every fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes.
Should earth against my soul engage,
And hellish darts be hurled,
Then I can smile at Satan's rage,
And face a frowning world.
Let cares like a wild deluge come,
And storms of sorrow fall,
May I but safely reach my home,
My God, my heaven, my all:
There shall I bathe my weary soul
In seas of heavenly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast.
Isaac Watts, 1707
Next time we will look to
             “Why We Must Think Rightly About God”.
See you then - and God Bless You