Has entertainment replaced Scripture at center of Evangelical worship? by Chuck Swindoll

Is the church just a business with a Cross stuck on top?

Great article by Chuck Swindoll–“America’s most influential active preacher”–in Leadership Journal. I disagree with him on some minor points on the inherent evil of technology and new media (see, Paparazzi in the Hands of an Angry God). However, I am completely on board with his call for renewal of biblical literacy and character based upon the… (uh, this sounds to radical to be true) …teachings of Jesus.

The Problem with Pizzazz

Has entertainment replaced Scripture as the center of our worship?

The Problem with PizzazzA Leadership Journal interview with Chuck Swindoll

A survey in 2009 asked pastors to identify the most influential living preacher. Chuck Swindoll came in second only to Billy Graham. How does one use that kind of cachet? Apparently to call the church back from its captivity to entertainment.

Dr. Charles R. Swindoll is the pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, the chancellor and former president of Dallas Theological Seminary, a prominent radio preacher on Insight for Living, and a prolific author.

His latest book, The Church Awakening: An Urgent Call for Renewal, outlines the dangers when churches seek the world’s affirmation and copy the world’s methods. Leadership Journal’s senior editor Skye Jethani spoke with Swindoll about the use of entertainment values in worship.

LJ: Early in your book you say that when the church becomes an entertainment center, biblical literacy is the first casualty. So why do you think the church has become so enamored with entertainment?

CS: We live in a time with a lot of technology and media. We can create things virtually that look real. We have high-tech gadgets that were not available to previous generations. And we learned that we could attract a lot of people to church if we used those things. I began to see that happening about 20 years ago. It troubled me then, and it’s enormously troubling to me now because the result is an entertainment mentality that leads to biblical ignorance.

And alongside that is a corporate mentality. We’re tempted to think of the church as a business with a cross stuck on top (if it has a cross at all)…

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2 Replies to “Has entertainment replaced Scripture at center of Evangelical worship? by Chuck Swindoll”

  1. Good article, thanks for posting. Do you not think it a little disingenuous of Swindoll to comment on this when he moved into a highly churched area when he moved to Texas and shazam: "planted" an immediate mega church. i do not question his humility or his ability but i hope we can all appreciate the sheep stealing that happened when he opened up that church. Was that not pizzazz and the "wow" factor?

    1. Hmmm? Harsh, but not an unreasonable criticism. You could also say more about Chuck's preaching being very entertaining and dramatic. I don't think that's wrong. All great preachers are entertaining (and dramatic). I guess it just depends which is the means and which is the ends? Same with church planting. It sounds like more "unchurched" Christians joined his church than "churched" believers or unchurched nonbelievers. That's not all bad, is it?

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