The Churches of Clowns and Goats
A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats! – Charles H. Spurgeon
I came across this quote from Spurgeon many years ago. At the time, I was still stuck in the Word of Faith movement and really didn’t know much about Spurgeon. I knew that he was a preacher in England and was highly regarded by the Baptist crowd, but that was all I knew about him. As I have come away from that horrific doctrine, I have come to see the quote in a much newer and better light.
I wouldn’t exactly call Spurgeon any kind of prophet, but his words in this instance have definitely come true. And it shouldn’t be any surprise to us that he was able to see this happening in his day. Paul warned Timothy of the same thing in his final letter.
2 Timothy 4:1-4 ESV I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. This is especially true when it comes to the plans of Satan and the way he tries to undermine the work of the church.
Since the beginning stages of the church, there have been people who have brought in a false gospel, taught the people a false Jesus, and led people astray. They are able to wrap it up so beautifully that many people are enticed by the pretty words. The people come to the point where they would rather hear the pretty words than the hard truths of the Gospel, that they turn from the true preachers and flock to the false teachers, not knowing that they do so at the risk of their own souls.
This has happened throughout the history of the church. However, I am not sure that it was ever as rampant and flagrant as it is today. Today, there are people gathering by the thousands, not to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but to hear the gospel of being nice. There are people gathering to sing songs, not to exalt the name of the Lord, but the exalt the lordship of man. People gather in droves, not to hear how they can be saved from their sins, but how they can be delivered from demons.
On and on the false teaching to today’s churches goes and more and more people run to these so-called “preachers” who couldn’t care less about their souls. People are being deceived by the millions and they, for the most part, do not listen to the warnings.
How is it that millions upon millions of people are being deceived by “preachers” who feed them a false gospel?
Simply put, they have done exactly what Paul warned Timothy about in the verses above. They have turned from the sound doctrine of the Word of God and have allowed these false teachers and preachers to infiltrate their hearts and minds with their sweet-sounding words. They have failed to do as John commended us to do.
1 John 4:1 ESV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
Now, instead of true churches filled with true believers we have buildings packed out with people who are seeking after a form of self-centered godliness. The entire church service is centered on what the people can get out of the service and not what they can give to God in their worship. From the songs that are sung to the message that is given, everything is focused on how to be a better person. We now have churches filled with self-pleasing goats instead Christ-worshiping sheep.
The Bible has been replaced by books about being a better version of yourself and loving others the way they are. Instead of people standing up for the truth of Scripture we see compromised people being led astray into thinking that it is okay for homosexuality to run rampant in the church. People who profess to be followers of Christ now rejoice when their children decide that they want to transition to another gender.
And for some reason, for some unknown, ungodly reason, their “pastors” say nothing! There is silence from the pulpit while the people whose lives they are supposed to be guarding and caring for are going straight to Hell! They have traded their pulpits for stages and the Gospel for a watered down, weakened, dead, lifeless word of “love everyone no matter what.”
Where are the shepherds?
Where are the men who would stand in the gap against sin?
Where are the true, Bible preaching, God fearing, people loving pastors?
It is not loving to never speak about sin. If you are in a church where your pastor never preaches against sin, get out. That is not a pastor who has your best interest at heart. That pastor does not love you, or anyone under his care. He is a hireling and not a true shepherd.
A hireling is a person who takes a position for the money, but when the trials of the position come against him, he folds under the pressure. Such trials can include people who want them to teach a certain thing and not the Bible, changes in the church’s worship format, or the introduction of false doctrine, just to name a few. Instead of standing against these things, a hireling will just go with the flow and allow the people, or the money, to dictate what happens in the church.
It doesn’t take much digging to see how many hirelings are out there today. Turn on “Christian” television and see how many of the “preachers” are asking you to send them money so you can get a “multiplied return on your seed.” Tune in to most of the mega-church’s livestreams on Sunday and you can find a “praise band” playing a rock concert filled with “Jesus is my boyfriend” music that gets followed by a twenty minute “talk” – definitely not a sermon – about how to be a better person. Watch a special service, Easter or Christmas, from these churches and see what kind of entertainment they put out to the people.
Unfortunately, what I see now is a new crop of “pastors” who grew up in the time period when youth groups were trying every gimmick they could come up with to bring young people to church, and now that is how they think all of the church should operate. Youth groups did skits, concerts, food, and all sorts of “fun and exciting” things to bring more people to church. Now those people are growing up and becoming leaders in the church and are trying the same things on a much larger scale.
However, this is not how the church grows. I have often said that we keep them by whatever method we win them. If we win them with gimmicks, we have to keep coming up with newer and bigger gimmicks to keep them. If we win them by preaching the Word of God, then we will keep them with the preaching of the Word of God. It really is that simple.
It has come to the point now, that the gimmicks have overpowered everything else. The people come to church to be entertained. The “pastors” have to keep coming up with bigger and better gimmicks to keep the masses entertained, otherwise they may lose their payday.
The goats really do come to the church to be entertained by the clowns.