“This is serious business” by Carl Trueman

“If God is awesome, sovereign and holy; if human beings are small, sinful, and lost; if Christ died and rose again by a most miraculous and costly act of grace, then this should impact the way things happen in church. This is not to argue for a one-size-fits-all-my-way-or-the-highway approach to church. Context and culture are important; but what is expressed through the idioms of particular cultural manifestations of the church should be awe, reverence, and, above all seriousness – not a colourless and cold miserable seriousness but a fitting amazement at the greatness of God and His grace.

A church service involving clowns or fancy dress or skits or stand-up comedy does not reflect the seriousness of the gospel; and those who take the gospel seriously should know better. Frankly, it is more appropriate to liberal theology which does not take the gospel, or the God of the gospel, seriously. Serious things demand serious idioms.

I heard recently of a church service involving dressing up in costume and music taken from a Tom Cruise movie. Now, if I go for my annual prostate examination, and the doctor comes into the consulting room dressed as Coco the Clown, with ‘Take my breath away’ from Top Gun playing in the background, guess what? I’m going to take the doctor out with a left hook, flee the surgery, and probably file a complaint with the appropriate professional body. This is serious business; and if he looks like a twit and acts like a twit, then I can only conclude that he is a twit.

You can tell a lot about someone’s theology from what they do in church. Involve Kenny G’s music in your worship service, and I can tell not only that you have no taste in music but also that you have nothing to offer theologically to those who come through the church doors; indeed, what you do have can probably be found better elsewhere.”

–Carl Trueman, “Look, It’s Rubbish!” Reformation21 as cited on http://www.reformation21.org/counterpoints/wages-of-spin/look-its-rubbish.php (accessed May 12, 2009).

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Filed under Carl Trueman, Christian Theology, Quotable Quotes, The Church, Worldliness, Worship

2 responses to ““This is serious business” by Carl Trueman

  1. Pingback: This is serious business | Daniel Renstrom

  2. Hi there,

    Worship guidelines were addressed by Paul in his first epistle to the Corinthian church 14:40, “40 But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner.”

    I also wouldn’t be too comfortable if my doctor wore a Coco the Clown costume.

    In Christ,


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