"The idea that this world is a playground instead of a battleground has now been accepted in practice by the vast majority of fundamentalist Christians. They might hedge around the question if they were asked bluntly to declare their positions, but their conduct gives them away. They are facing both ways, enjoying Christ and the world, gleefully telling everyone that accepting Jesus does not require them to give up their fun—Christianity is just the jolliest thing imaginable. The ‘worship’ growing out of such a view of life is as far off center as the view itself—a sort of sanctified nightclub without the champagne and the dressed-up drunks.
I cannot accept with sympathy the idea that we go to church to soothe ourselves and calm our spirits. We do calm our spirits and there is a soothing effect in worship, but the primary object of church attendance is not to relax—it is to offer worship, which belongs to God.
The low view of God entertained almost universally among Christians is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us. A whole new philosophy of the Christian life has resulted from this one basic error in our religious thinking.
The loss of the concept of majesty has come just when the forces of religion are making dramatic gains and the churches are more prosperous than at any time within the past several hundred years. But the alarming thing is that our gains are mostly external and our losses wholly internal; and since it is the quality of our religion that is affected by internal conditions, it may be that our supposed gains are but losses spread over a wider field.
What the Church needs today is a restoration of the vision of the Most High God…The honor of God has been lost to men and the God of today’s Christianity is a weakling—a little cheap, palsy God that you can run and pal around with. He’s ‘the man upstairs.’ He’s the fellow that can help you when you’re in difficulty and not bother you too much when you’re not.
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 from 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 if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make whatever 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 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." —A.W. Tozer (1897-1963)
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Playground or Battleground?
I don't remember where I first saw this quote but I just had to place it here. It is a quote by A. W. Tozer and it is probably more true of today than it was in Tozer's day.