True Worship vs. Mere Entertainment

Why? Why do we do what we do? What is our ultimate goal? Why do we dress as we dress? Why do we allot time as we do in our services? Why do we preach as we preach? Why do we sing, and why do we sing it the way we do? Do we care about what the world will think of our activities? Where is God in all this? Do we seek to meet Him in His truth, begging the Spirit to use the word to reveal to us the depths of our on hearts so that we may be changed and made better servants of His? Do we think He is lucky to have us around, or do we tremble at the thought of approaching Him, not out of fear of retribution or wrath (being in Christ), but because we stand in awe of his glory, His power, His condescension, His grace? Are we more concerned about making a misstep in our performance for the audience, or about the purity of the motives of our hearts before the God with whom we have to do? These are the questions that separate worship from entertainment? – James R. White, Pulpit Crimes: The Criminal Mishandling of God’s Word, pp. 93-94

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kevin Green

    WOW this is a great reminder and sparks thought about why we meet every week and then what happens when we meet. I am definitely provoked to search my heart about my behavior and sincerity.

  • Whoopless

    Pastor Charles:
    Here is another quote from the book:

    “The pulpit is a sacred place where God meets with His people, instructs them, and gives them guidance as they worshipfully gather to hear His truth. To replace that high and divine purpose with the worldly and the commercial is high treason. … Yet this is exactly what we see in the largest portion of the church today: entertainment has replaced worship, amusement has replaced the sober contemplation of God and His ways. This is a pulpit crime of immense proportions.”

    Wouldn’t you agree that the “whoop” fits into the category of “entertainment” and “amusement”? I guess that I am simply amazed at how such great expositors in the African American pulpits such as yourself still rely on or utilize the “whoop”.

    • Kevin Green

      I agree that in SOME black churches this is a practice. Not everyone does it to be entertaining or amusing but your point is valid. Culturally we all worship different so it wouldn’t be fair to try and create the same experience in every church. Some people believe that dancing or shouting in church is overboard and even insincere but who can say what is too much when one is overwhelmed in the presence of our God? The point is whatever you do, let it be done in Truth and Sincerity to the worship of God.

      • Whoopless

        I hear what you’re saying Kevin. I’m not sure we can compare what they do in the pews (dancing and shouting) with the exposition of the Word of God.

        I have been in the Black Church for over 50 years and all the whooping has the same point of entrance and similar styles. I just can’t for the life of me see how it adds anything except entertainment and amusement to the preaching moment.

        By the way, I noticed that H.B. has calmed a lot of it down since his first days at Shiloh and he does not do it in all venues. This to me further suggests that it’s something that’s turned on and off and has very little to do with “being overwhelmed in the presence of God”

        Just trying to think it all through. Thanks for the response.

        • http://www.facebook.com/reverendvictor.williams ReverendVictor Allen Williams

          As I read and study all the sermans and sayings of Jesus, I have never read or heard in them where He whooped at the end of his messages. It is a cultural thing that is not done in all churches.My personal feelings are that it should never be done if a complete and meaningful message has not been preached, and then sometimes not at all because people tend to remember the last thing that you did or said. Now everything of importance that was conveyed in the message has been lost to the screaming and shouting. If our messages have cause a level of genuine excitement in us when we are preaching and causes us to shout a little thats fine. But shouting and hollering to get a rise out of the people is a mistake.

          • RBS

            I’m so very thankful that there are many art forms to deliver God’s Word to include whoopless, whoopful, whoopalistic, whoopaholic, straight whoop, tag-teamwhoop, whoopology, whoopalicious, cantbuyawhoop, whoopingcough, and cantwaittowhoop (as long as His Word is being delivered.) Reason being…as much as I love God, and dare not stray from Him; I’ve found quite a few church services with excellent exegetical expositing cold wet noodle preachers that I have said, “Thank you Lord that there is another option because I might not ever make it back to church if this was the only way to hear the Word…” and then had to say, “PS, Lord, please forgive me!”

    • H.B. Charles, Jr.

      I won’t join this debate for now, except to say that “Whoopless” is a great name! Thanks for reading and sharing your opinion. Please pray for my continued growth, increased reverence, and biblical fidelity to the truth. All the best.