I blush today to think about the religious fodder that is now being handed out to children. There was a day when they sat around as the fire crackled in the hearth and listened to a serious but kindly old grandfather read Pilgrim’s Progress, and the young Canadian and the young American grew up knowing all about Mr. Facing-Both-Ways and all the rest of that gang. And now we read cheap junk that ought to be shoveled out and gotten rid of.
I have an old Methodist hymnal that rolled off the press 111 years ago and I found forty-nine hymns on the attributes of God in it. I have heard it said that we shouldn’t sing hymns with so much theology because people’s minds are different now. We think differently now. Did you know that those Methodist hymns were sung mostly by uneducated people? They were farmers and sheep herders and cattle ranchers, coal miners and blacksmiths, carpenters and cotton pickers—plain people all over this continent. They sang those songs. There are over 1,100 hymns in that hymnbook of mine and there isn’t a cheap one in the whole bunch.
Our fathers sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” and we sing junk.
As a counterpoint, King Solomon said, “Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10)”
One thing I love about men like Tozer is that they didn’t feel the need to “dumb-down” their message. Edwards, Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon–they all knew what today’s hip/cool/relevant “pastors” need to understand–that it is nothing short of arrogance to say within themselves “I’m really too smart for these people. I’ve got to bring myself down to their lowly estate or these poor, slobbering, knuckle-dragging fools won’t understand what I’m saying.” And yet those aforementioned men preached to folks who were barely educated (if they had any schooling at all), and they understood.
Thank you A.W. Tozer – I couldn’t have said it better myself!