Religious Entertainment

Recently, I’ve been reading Tozer on the Almighty God, a compilation of daily devotional writings by A. W. Tozer. I was struck by one particular entry and felt compelled to share it. May the truth penetrate our hearts and remind us that we were created to worship.

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“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Colossians 3:16

“Religious entertainment has so corrupted the Church of Christ that millions don’t know that it’s a heresy…They don’t know that it’s as much a heresy as the counting of beads or the splashing of holy water or something else. To expose this, of course, raises a storm of angry protest among the people…

One man wrote an article as an expose’ of me. He said that I claimed that religious entertainment was wrong and he said, “Don’t you know that every time you sing a hymn, it’s entertainment?” Every time you sing a hymn? I don’t know how that fellow ever finds his way home at night. He ought to have a seeing eye dog and a man with a white cane to take him home!

When you raise your eyes to God and sing, “Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,” is that entertainment – or is it worship? Isn’t there a difference between worship and entertainment? The church that can’t worship must be entertained. And men who can’t lead a church to worship must provide the entertainment. That is why we have the great evangelical heresy here today – the heresy of religious entertainment.

Lord, help me to be aware of the dangers of religious entertainment and fill me to overflowing with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to Your glory! Amen.” (p. 321)

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Tozer wrote this over 50 years ago, yet, it’s so appropriate for us in the church today as we face the “worship wars.” As the people of God assemble for worship we find ourselves squabbling over musical styles – as if worship is even limited to music. Perhaps we just need to understand the difference between worship and religious entertainment. Which one do you think pleases the heart of God?

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