I originally believed that this quote was by Spurgeon himself. I was listening to a sermon called “Deviant Worship” by Sam Horn and he read this quote, attributing it to him. It seems it was actually made by Archibald Brown, Spurgeon’s student and contemporary, the man who conducted Spurgeon’s funeral. This entire tract seems like a real gem to read. Brown says, “”Providing recreation for the people” will soon be looked upon as a necessary part of Christian Work and as binding upon the Church of God, as though it were a Divine command, unless some strong voice be raised which will make themselves heard.”
Before I give the quotation, let me make a comment about why I am doing all of this work against the religious movie. This is not intended to be a vicious attack against anybody, including Jason Janz. But there are those of us who are convinced that worship and entertainment is, as Tozer said, a great heresy of our age. And we have seen many fundamentalists quick to agree with this sentiment. But in our study, we have found that entertainment and popular culture and fundamentalism have long been bed-fellows. We want purity in this regard, a reformation of sorts, even within fundamentalism. It does no good to accuse Bill Hybels and Rick Warren and Michael W. Smith of merging entertainment and worship and then have a Bible college drama team the next Sunday. I will not belabor this point. The other reason I am doing this is because the last thing I want is for the assumption that movies are legitimate vehicles for communicating the gospel to go unchallenged. This cannot become a standard assumption, that the movies are an appropriate means of propagating the Christian religion. We have already seen it in the posts at Sharperiron. Suddenly and increasingly, the test for “evangelical” movies is how clearly the gospel is being presented. We disagree with the presumption here. It is faulty. I have already given some reasons for this disagreement, and early next week I will give what will probably be my final reaosn why we cannot tolerate this idea in the Christian church.
Now we turn to Mr. Brown’s comments on entertainment and the church, some of which has application to our discussion here on the religious movie:
“The mission of amusement utterly fails to effect the desired end among the unsaved; but it works havoc among the young converts. Were it a success, it would be none the less wrong. Success belongs to God; faithfulness to His instructions to me. Bit it is not. Test it even by this, and it is a contemptible failure. Let that be the method which is answered by fire, and the verdict will be, “The preaching of the Word, that is the power.”
Let us see the converts who have been first won by amusement. Let the harlots and the drunkards to whom a dramatic entertainment has been God’s first link in the chain of their conversion stand forth. Let the careless and the scoffers who have cause to thank God that the Church has relaxed her spirit of separation and met them half-way in their worldliness, speak and testify. Let the husbands, wives, and children, who rejoice in a new and holy home through “Sunday Evening Lectures on Social Questions” tell out their joy. Let the weary, heavy-laden souls who have found peace through a concert, no longer keep silence. Let the men and women who have found Christ through the reversal of apostolic methods declare the same, and show the greatness of Paul’s blunder when he said, “I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” There is neither voice nor any to answer. The failure is on a par with the folly, and as huge as the sin. Out of thousands with whom I have personally conversed, the mission of amusement has claimed no convert.”