Home > Uncategorized > A. W. Tozer on Christian Publishing and Christian Music

A. W. Tozer on Christian Publishing and Christian Music

This is from the recently released book, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy, a collection of never-before-published notes from the great preacher, released this year by Regal (Gospel Light).  I wonder what Tozer would think of what our industry has become today.

The Cult of Imitation

The first cult dominating Christianity today is to imitate what we see outside of the Church.  This is a characteristic of immaturity; like a little toddler who sees someone do something and tries to imitate it without knowing what it really means.  The secular media in America sets the standards for us in the Church.  Churches now have “programs” directed by “emcees.”  This is directly from the world of entertainment.  This sacred cow of the world has been brought into the sanctuary of the living God.  The Church naively imitates what it sees in the world without any regard to consequence.

There was a time when the Church set the standard for music.  Then the world imitated the Church. Men like Beethoven, Mozart and Handel set the whole world singing, and the focus of their music was the Church.  We no longer initiate our music; rather, we pipe in the music of the world around us.  Now we go tramping out into the world in order to import into the Church the sounds of the world.  We offer this “swine” on the altar of Jehovah.  What blasphemy.  We have so much more to offer God.  Importing the culture around us instead of adoring the nature and the character of Christ within us is the sad reality of today’s Christian.

Our literature is no different.  If there is a best seller out in the world, you can be sure it will be imitated in the Church eventually.  Instead of writing great literature that honors God, the Church and the things of heaven, we are duplicating the dreary, morally questionable literature of the world.  It seems to be a trophy to some writers to see how close to the edge they can get and not fall over.  I have a news bulletin.  They are not in danger of falling over the cliff; they have already fallen and do not know it yet.

The reason for this is that Christianity is greatly misunderstood even by those who claim to be Christians.  True Christianity is a mystery, a wonder, something alien and transcendent in this world. The Christianity of the New Testament is incomprehensible to the world.  There is absolutely no way to build a bridge between the world’s standards and the Church’s standards.

Some say it is a great honor and a mark of achievement to write a book acceptable both to the world and to the Church.  Something is wrong here.  I cannot find anything in the Scriptures or even in Church history that in any way suggests compatibility between the world and the Church..  The taste of the Church should be infinitely higher and greater than the world’s.  What satisfies the Church should in no way satisfy the world.  The true Christian has an insatiable appetite for Christ and the things of Christ, while the world has no such appetite.

Christ stands alone, and He does not imitate; neither does He court the world in a lame attempt to win the world.  Many evangelical churches are closer to the world than to New Testament standards in almost every regard.

The Cult of Entertainment

Related to the cult of imitation is the cult of entertainment.  This is probably the most destructive heresy poisoning the evangelical church today.  The idea that religion is a form of entertainment is so far removed from New Testament teaching that it amazes me that otherwise good churches have succumbed to it.

Again, this is best seen in modern literature.  It has given us a type of religious fiction that is unrealistic, affected and false. The quality of this is so far below New Testament standards and the standards set forth throughout Church history that I am amazed it even sells.  Yet this kind of religious entertainment flies off the shelves faster than anything.

What this generation of Christians needs is not religious entertainment to satisfy carnal appetites; rather, it needs some biblically based literature that challenges and stirs the soul to deeper appreciation of God and Christ and the whole plan of salvation.  It is true that what we feed is what grows.  If we feed the carnal nature and its appetite, that will be the overpowering aspect of our life.  If we feed the spiritual, our appetite for the things of God will grow.

~A. W. Tozer Dangers of a Shallow Faith pp. 28-31

For more Tozer excerpts, visit Christianity 201

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