Some churches have tried to make worship more entertaining as a method of attracting people to the gospel. Should we follow this pattern? Today, W. Robert Godfrey compares the purpose of worship with the goal of entertainment.
NATHAN W. BINGHAM: We’re recording live from Ligonier’s 2021 Pittsburgh conference, and I’m joined by Ligonier’s chairman and one of our teaching fellows, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey. Dr. Godfrey, is there a role for entertainment in the church?
DR. W. ROBERT GODFREY: As R.C. Sproul would’ve said, “What’s wrong with you people?” Entertainment, in the very nature of the case, is for people, to people. So the very character of entertainment—there’s a place in the world for entertainment—but entertainment is essentially human-centered and human-satisfying, and that is not what worship is about, ever, at any point. Anything that is introduced into worship with the aim of being entertaining is wrong because it’s too human-centered. There’s a place for being human-centered in the worship. The Word speaks to human hearts. The call to repentance is to human hearts. The call to prayer is for humans to turn to God. But none of that is entertaining. It’s all part of the relationship between God and His people that exist in worship.
We have to be very careful about that because people who want to entertain often have a good motive. They think that by entertaining, they’ll attract people so that those people will then hear the gospel. That motivation has some commendable aspects to it. We do want to have people come and join us in worship, but the Scripture teaches us that when unbelievers—1 Corinthians 14—when unbelievers join us in worship, it is by seeing us worship and seeing how God is present with us in our hearts and in our relationship that they are brought to God. It’s not entertainment that brings them to God or even should be bringing them initially to the church. It’s God and His worship that should bring them.
Now, some churches have said, “Well, some people have problems walking into church building they’ve never been in,” so maybe they’ll have a concert on a Saturday night to just break down that wall of walking into an unfamiliar building. That can be fine, but that’s not worship. Nobody should be thinking that’s worship. But when we worship, it’s not for entertainment. It’s for our meeting with God.
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