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Recently I was reading an Al Mohler book on preaching (He is Not Silent), and came across a series of A. W. Tozer’s laments about the decline of theology in the typical evangelical pulpit. Tozer rings as prophetic as he commented on this negative trend consistently and for decades.
Tozer (d. 1963) points back to the dumbing down of youth ministry as the moment that this cancer of non-doctrinal preaching entered evangelicalism. When youth pastors began to fancy themselves as professional entertainers, the prepared the students to disassociate theology from church:
Breezy - Christians - Affinity - Christ - Cross
We have the breezy, self confident Christians with little affinity for Christ and his cross. We have the joy-bell boys that can bounce out there and look as much like a game show host as possible. Yet they are doing it for Jesus’ sake?! The hypocrites! They’re not doing it for Jesus’ sake at all; they are doing it in their own carnal flesh and are using the church as a theater because they haven’t yet reached the place where the theatre would take them. (Tozer on Worship and Entertainment).
He then watches it work its through the body as those youth pastors became pastors, and those students either left the faith, or became comfortable with a faith that didn’t challenge:
Practice - Churches - People - People - Maximum
It is now [1960’s] common practice in most evangelical churches to offer the people, especially the young people, a maximum of entertainment and a minimum of serious instruction. It is scarcely possible in most places to get anyone to attend meeting where the only attraction is God. One can only conclude that God’s professed children are bored with Him, for they must be wooed to meeting with a stick of striped candy in the form of religious movies, games and refreshments.
This has influenced the whole pattern of church life, and even...
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