Fiddlin’ ‘Em In

Jerry C. Brewer

  • 7th and 8th grade canoe trip – May 15 & 16

  • Mid-South Youth camp – July 12-18

  • We all had a great time. Some of our most memorable moments were those when we fought snakes, swung from the trees, laughed, ate hot dogs and burgers, had our devotional, sang songs, and just had fun.”

  • Hamburger and ice cream supper, June 3.

  • Our church will be taking a group to the Oklahoma Redhawks game on Monday night, June 29. Tickets are $5.00.

  • The Summer Kick-Off Lock-in will be tomorrow night (May 29) at the Family Life Center… Be sure to bring a friend, and bring $3 for pizza and sodas.

  • Our annual Six Flags trip to Dallas is scheduled for Monday, June 8. …Cost is $35 and includes a ticket to the park and transportation in a chartered bus. Sign up this Sunday!

  • Free sight, hearing and diabetes screenings will be available June 1, 2, and 3, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. These free screenings are sponsored by Edmond Lions Clubs and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma.

  • Play Day” – The youth group will be converging on the home of the Rogers on May 30th (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) for volleyball, badmitten (sic), etc.

  • Bonny Blodgett is performing in a chorus concert at Clover Hill High School on June 4th and 5th at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be bought in advance or at the door.

  • June 26-27. Youth Rally with Willie Franklin at Camp Idlewild. Cost is $15.

  • Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social, June 7… Sign the list in the lobby…and indicate the flavor of ice cream you’ll provide, and/or if you’ll bring cookies or brownies (please, only the “finger food” kind).

  • Last Sunday night, following the evening worship, several of our folks went to Smyrna for bowling. I understand that everyone had a great time. The more folks are involved in any activity of the church, the more they will enjoy being a part of the family here.

If there weren’t little clues in the above announcements, you might think they came from club newsletters or local and school papers. They are all taken from church bulletins in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, Arkansas and Mississippi. All of these betray a concept of the church that is more akin to a social club in which members are constantly entertained than to the church Jesus purchased with His own blood. The denominational industry has always been big on what they used to call “Entertainments.” But even one of their own took exception to that concept in a treatise he wrote more than a century ago:

The church has become absolutely insane on the subject of entertaining men. Preachers are sought after who can amuse the people. Meetings of all kinds are designed to please and keep the congregation during the week, while the preacher, with anecdote, sparkling wit, and broad jest, must do the rest of the work on Sunday. Whatever happens, the people must be entertained. The idea being that, if not amused, they will drift away and be lost (Beverly Carradine, D.D. Church Entertainments: Twenty Objections, Syracuse, NY, A. W. Hall, 1891, p. 25).

Solomon said, “There is no new thing under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9), and you can be sure that it’s an old worn out practice of human reasoning, some of our brethren will swallow it hook, line and sinker. Like those whom Carradine criticized in his day, many churches of Christ have abandoned Biblical truth that men are drawn to Christ by the gospel (John 12:44-45) and adopted entertainment to draw a generation raised on pop culture. With their bows all “rosined up”, they’re intent on “fiddlin’ ‘em in” to the church, but the problem is that they have to keep on “fiddlin’ ‘em in” or they’ll “fiddle out.”

Jesus didn’t die for a social club. The blood He shed at Calvary was for a far nobler and greater purpose than sponsoring a trip to Six Flags, a baseball game, a “Lock-In” (whatever that is), or a choral concert at high school. How sad that so many congregations today no longer consider the church the Lord’s bloodbought body in which men are redeemed from sin, but simply a “church family” in which young and old alike are petted, pampered and entertained. They no longer consider it the “kingdom which cannot be moved” (Heb. 12:28), but an adjunct of the theater, the sports arena, a camp or the home. The new birth of John 3 no longer puts them into the family of God (1 Tim. 3:15). To the religious “fun ‘n frolic” crowd, the church has become a social club, designated, “my church family” which bestows the right to be entertained. “Whereunto shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? They are like unto children sitting in the market place, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced” (Luke 17:31-32). Hear Carradine again:

The whole idea of entertaining…comes from Satan… He knows that if Christ is held up before the people, and men look steadity at him, they will be saved… He whispers that Christ alone is not enough to draw souls; that it takes Christ and entertainments. As he discovers his success in blinding the church, he becomes more aggressive, and whispers again that, if the naked cross be held up—the simple, strict, holy life of Jesus be insisted on—then the young people will be driven away. That young people are young people and must be amused… And so he has succeeded, in thousands of instances, in sidetracking the church… As you pass by her doors today, …instead of sobs and cries of, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ you will be greeted with clapping of hands, rattle of plates and bursts of uproarious applause (Ibid., pp. 26, 27).

Beverly Carradine was born in April, 1848 and died in April, 1931. He was a Methodist preacher, serving that denomination in Mississippi and New Orleans and was the grandfather of actor John Carradine. Although he was not a Christian, he understood and correctly identified the sin of using the church for something which God never intended, and asked for a “Thus saith the Lord” for the church’s practice. “But let me say, that one will look in vain from the beginning to the end of the Bible for even so much as a hint of church entertainment… Before you commit me to a religious practice, you must show me a ‘Thus saith the Lord’” (p. 33).

To those determined to make the blood-bought church of Christ into a venue of social entertainment, Carradine’s challenge means nothing. They’ll continue to hire “Family Life Ministers,” “Youth Directors,” and “Involvement Ministers” as they go merrily along drawing the masses through entertainment. They will keep their bows all “rosined up” and keep “fiddlin’ ‘em in” to the church until the music stops and the piper must be payed. Meanwhile, the world hurtles toward judgment and eternity.

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Author: Editor

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