The Church or a Circus?

By Larry Sowders

When I go to the circus, I expect to find something unusual and innovative. When I go to the circus, I expect to find something novel and entertaining. I do not want to find these in the church. When the church is built upon that which unusual, innovative, novel and entertaining, it is safe to assume that the church has ceased to be the church.

If the church is to be the faithful witness of Christ and the gospel, we are bound to repeat what has been said before. We must not buckle to the demands to offer what no other church offers or develop an innovative and novel message. We must resist the urge to entertain an audience.

So when I go to church, what should I expect to find? I should expect to hear the songs of Zion echoing the salvation story. I should expect to find the heart-felt cries of God’s people calling out to their Redeemer. I should expect to find lives that are being conformed to the image of Christ. I should expect to find a display of the gospel in believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I should expect to find a pulpit where the Holy Word of a Holy God is proclaimed by a preacher.

Indeed, none of these things are “cutting-edge.” None of these things will earn your church a cover story in the leading magazines. In fact, you may face scorn and scowls for your antiquated theology and out-dated convictions. Let us determine not to concede God’s truth to the world’s latest trend.

C.H. Spurgeon said, “I had rather be the echo the truth than the voice of falsehood.” Let our churches rise up to silence the voice of falsehood and echo the abiding truth of the gospel.

Lary Sowders is a pastor, husband and father of three living in Cincinnati, Ohio. Read more at


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