“The smoothness of the performance” by D.A. Carson

“We have become so performance-oriented that it is hard to see how compromised we are. Consider one small example. In many of our churches, prayers in morning services now function, in large measure, as the time to change the set in the sanctuary.

The people of the congregation bow their heads and close their eyes, and when they look up a minute later, why, the singers are in place, or the drama group is ready to perform. It is all so smooth. It is also profane. Nominally we are in prayer together addressing the King of heaven, the sovereign Lord.

In reality, some of us are doing that while others are rushing on tiptoes around the ‘stage’ and others, with their eyes closed are busy wondering what new and happy configuration will confront them when it is time to take a peek. Has the smoothness of the performance become more important to us than the fear of the Lord?

Has polish, one of the modern equivalents of ancient rhetoric, displaced substance? Have professional competence and smooth showmanship become more valuable than sober reckoning over what it means to focus on Christ crucified?”

–D.A. Carson, The Cross and Christian Ministry, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004), 38-39.

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Filed under Christian Theology, D.A. Carson, Prayer, Quotable Quotes, The Church, Worldliness, Worship

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