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I recently observed that Wingspread publishers had repackaged the compilation of Tozer’s remarks on worship, titled Tozer on Worship and Entertainment. In this volume is a short treatise that every Christian ought to read, “The Menace of the Religious Movie.” From which treatise, I here quote:

“Because man is such a being . . ., all moral teachers, and especially Christ and His apostles, make sincerity to be basic in the good life. . . .

Sincerity for each man means staying in character with himself. Christ’s controversy with the Pharisees centered around their incurable habit [of moral play acting. The Pharisee constantly pretended to be what he was not. . . . He assumed a false character and played it for effect. Christ said he was a hypocrite.

It is more than an etymological accident that the word ‘hypocrite’ comes from the stage. It means actor. . . . An actor is one who assumes a character other than his own and plays it for effect. The more fuly he can become possessed by another personality, the better he is an actor. . . .

No one who has been in the presence of the Most Holy One, who has felt how high is the solemn privilege of bearing His image, will ever again consent to play a part or to trifle with that most sacred thing, his own deep sincere heart. He will thereafter be constrained to no one but himself to preserve reverently the sincerity of his own soul.

In order to produce a religious movie someone must, for the time, disguise his individuality and simulate that of another. His actions must be judged fraudulent, and those who watch them with approval share in the fraud. To pretend to pray, to simluate godly sorrow, to play at worship before the camera for effect–how utterly shocking to the reverent heart! How can Christians who approve this gross pretense ever understand the value of sincerity as taught by our Lord? What will be the end of a generation of Christians fed on such a diet of deception disguised as the faith of our fathers?” (pp 193-95)

Having made those comments, I present to you the new cover of the Wingspread Publications edition of Tozer on Worship and Entertainment, from whose very pages that quote was taken:

Please click here.

Here, dear brothers and sisters, we have tragic state of American Christianity quintessentially exemplified.