Charles Spurgeon: Jesus Christ Doesn’t Need a Worship Band to lead People to Himself

These days, it seems that music is the most important element at the typical Sunday morning church gathering.   Don’t believe me?   Try this:  take your watch and time each element of the service:  announcements, singing, the message, prayer, etc.  The time alloted for singing at many churches is often the winner.  Usually, we give the most time to that which we consider the most important thing.

If we ask why music takes such a prominent role in our gatherings, one of the answers we are given is that non-christians like good music and it draws them to church.  If we want to reach them with the gospel (who doesn’t want to do this?) then we have to have a great band!  I disagree with this.  Non-christians do not come to our services because we have a great band.  They really don’t.   As a full-time musician, I can honestly say that the music in our church services is largely VERY unimpressive to the christian let alone the non-Christian.  Plus we don’t serve alcohol!

The great Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon himself, declared that Jesus Christ does not need a great worship band to reach the lost.   Well, he didn’t use those exact words.  But that is what he would say today.  Consider his argument:

“Our Savior did not use any means which might enlist man’s lower nature on his side. When I have heard of large congregations gathered together by the music of a fine choir, I have remembered that the same thing is done at the opera house and the music-hall, and I have felt no joy. When we have heard of crowds enchanted by the sublime music of the pealing organ, I have seen in the fact rather a glorification of St. Cecilia than of Jesus Christ. Our Lord trusted in no measure or degree to the charms of music for the establishing his throne. He has not given to his disciples the slightest intimation that they are to employ the attractions of the concert room to promote the kingdom of heaven.

I find no rubric in Scripture commanding Paul to clothe himself in robes of blue, scarlet, or violet; neither do I find Peter commanded to wear a surplice, an alb, or a chasuble. The Holy Spirit has not cared even to hint at a surpliced choir, or at banners, processions, and processional hymns. Now, if our Lord had arranged a religion of fine shows, and pompous ceremonies, and gorgeous architecture, and enchanting, music, and bewitching incense, and the like, we could have comprehended its growth; but he is “a root out of a dry ground”, for he owes nothing to any of these.

Christianity has been infinitely hindered by the musical, the aesthetic, and the ceremonial devices of men, but it has never been advantaged by them, no, not a jot. The sensuous delights of sound and sight have always been enlisted on the side of error, but Christ has employed nobler and more spiritual agencies. Things which fascinate the senses are left to be the chosen instruments of Antichrist, but the gospel, disdaining Saul’s armor, goes forth in the natural simplicity of its own might, like David, with sling and stone. Our holy religion owes nothing whatever to any carnal means; so far as they are concerned, it is “a root out of a dry ground”.”

Excerpt from: A Root Out of Dry Ground By Charles Spurgeon

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About Jim

Not For Itching Ears is a blog dedicated to discussing the American Evangelical church. It is a place for people to share their thoughts on a host of issues relating to this subject. Jim is available to speak at weekend services, and retreats at no cost to churches in Florida. Contact us for more information.

Posted on March 30, 2011, in Christianity, Contemporary Church Culture, The Seeker-Sensitive Church Model, Worship and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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