Spectatorism and entertainment in the worship gathering

Caveat lector:  I had planned to post this 18-year-old letter now, anyway, but the topic has become a bit more significant since some correspondence with some siblings to my north.  I hope they’ll find continued encouragement in these thoughts on corporate worship — thoughts I believe are still valid and applicable today, or I wouldn’t repost them here.

Not all is lost, but a lot does tend to be discouraging.  I, for one, am pretty discouraged by the current state of corporate worship in churches I’ve been associated with.  But I am perpetually, irrevocably drawn to the goals and Object of worship.  This I cannot change.


Christian Chronicle
Oklahoma City, OK

To the Editor:

A letter in the June Chronicle called attention to a movement in corporate worship that aims at “entertainment and self-gratification” rather than at the adoration of God.  I suppose the writer refers to a somewhat enigmatic movement of believers on his ideological “left,” but I find it significant that Christians on both sides of this issue could be described with the above phrasing.

In some congregations, change agents may rush to “connect with people” and resultantly neglect the true Object of worship, forgetting that it is He, first and foremost, that we should connect with.  In other churches, the culprit can be passive spectatorism, along with a time-clock mentality which ignores the meaning of worship activities and is satisfied with merely sitting through them.  Some who wish to ban changes may be belying the desire for pacification and self-gratification and may be appeasing self by keeping things the way they want them.

Truly, any person or any church characterized by attention to self is misguided!

As Bailey McBride pointed out in “Worship Must Be a Communion,” awareness of God’s greatness and majesty should permeate our assemblies.  Thank you, Bailey, for a most thoughtful article.


Brian Casey


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