COMEDY OR MALADY?
It appears that the trend of bringing comedians into church programs is beginning to be criticised by stakeholders in the Body of Christ. If you ask me, these responses are long overdue. But there goes the saying “better late than never”. Truth be told, I’ve been part of the audience for this expensive comedy sessions in the past. I have even disgracefully laughed at some of the jokes the clowns make. But now that I know better, I feel obliged to share my view on what I have tagged a “public display of shame”.
Before I embark on my apologia of spiritual sanity, here are pertinent questions to be asked and equally given immediate answers: Should comedy be permitted in church or spiritual meetings? No! Should a believer be found in a gathering where the name of God and spiritual things are being used for comic relief? Absolutely not! Is listening to comedy even outside the premises of the church wrong? Definitely not, with a clause attached however. Is it wrong for a believer to laugh, have fun or make merry. Not at all! You will be surprised to know that our God has a sense of humour (see Psa 2:4, 37:13, 59:8).
Now that I have answered the questions above, I will move on to expound my views on this salient subject.
First, we should realise that a spiritual gathering is not like any other gathering – it’s a gathering unto God (Gen 49:10, 2Tim 2:1) hence, every aspect of such gathering should be treated with reverence and godly fear (Heb12:9). What constitutes a church is not the structure/building where believers gather; rather, it is the coming together of believers that makes a church (the House of God). Paul tells us that in the church (our gathering), we must learn how to behave ourselves (1Tim5:17). The Church of God is a house of prayer (Matt11:17) and teaching (1Tim 5:17), not a recreation center. We therefore cannot afford to run our programs like every other social gatherings.
The question to ask is: Why do believers gather? Simple! We gather in order to get better (for the better- 1Cor11:17). We also gather to edify and be edified (1Cor14:26). The ministry gifts are given in/to the church, among other things, for her edification (Eph4:12). Therefore, when we come together as believers, we do not come to be entertained but to edify and be edified.
Also, in a spiritual gathering, no believer is an onlooker – everyone has something to offer. Each individual as a tongue, a revelation, a psalm (spiritual song), a doctrine (teaching), a revelation, and an interpretation (1Cor14:26). A church where the pastor operates like Moses is not a healthy one.
What kind of individual must stand before us each time we gather? No matter the capacity in which he is ministering, he definitely has to be a good minister of Christ who is nourished in the “words of faith” and good doctrine (1Tim4:6). Such cannot be a comedian or a jester who has nothing sound to offer. Paul further admonishes Timothy that, as a minister, he should give attendance to reading (studying the scriptures), preaching and teaching (1Tim4:13). This instruction was given just so the name of God and his word would not be mocked or blasphemed (1Tim6:1b). It’s however ironic that the church spends million in order to invite clowns who make a mockery of that name. Whosoever must stand before the church must be one that has something to bless the church with.
I’ve had to ask myself why churches would commit the blunder of inviting comedians to their meetings and only two explanations come to mind. A church that permits comedians in their meetings must be seeker sensitive – the type that wants a never-growing-audience to fill her auditorium. I don’t have a problem with churches with a large congregation – as long as they are being fed on a healthy diet. The audience for most of Christ’ teachings were multitudes after all. It however becomes a problem when you need the help of a comedian to fill up your pews. Jesus did not have to strategize and make arrangements for entertainment to attract his audience. Instead, they sought him out even in the most unlikely places (Matt15:30, John6:24-25). The church is not far, where virtues are delivered (Bishop Oyedepo). The reason why many churches invest a lot in entertainment is because the things of the spirit are not in demonstration among them. So paparazzi, glitz and all sorts of entertainment are used to cover up for spiritual laxity
Now to the second explanation: A church will require the service of a comedian in its meeting(s) when her audience/congregation are ‘babes’ or ‘children’. Babes need to be fed with milk – light meals. They cannot stand sound, long and thorough teachings (they are boring). Instead, they need an interlude where/when they can crack their ribs (Heb5;12, 1Cor3;1). Also, they are like children – they get bored, distracted and uninterested easily. You therefore need the timely intervention of an entertainer (Comedian X) to keep them on track. This is the kind of audience Paul, in 2Tim4:3 (Amplified), describes as “having ears itching” (for something pleasing and gratifying).
In making a case for comic activities in church, some say: “Well, can’t we do with some laughter and merriment in church? Do we need to be overly serious just because we are in church?” To answer the first question, if there is a place where we rejoice and make merry the most, it should be in church (or any spiritual gathering). We however do not need a comedian to make us laugh or make us happy. This is so because we are saved and we have the Holy Spirit. As carriers of God’s spirit, we have the joy residual in us. We do not require happiness but release much more – joy – in/from our spirit
One who needs a comedian to be happy either does not have the Holy Spirit or does not exercise himself in the spirit. A believer does not need comedy to be made happy (for happiness is momentary and situational) but is happy at all times because he has joy (a constant and ‘uncircumstancial’ fruit of the Spirit- Gal5:22). Jesus enacted the joyful life to us in Luke 10:21. Without any comedian, thespian or artiste, He rejoiced – in the spirit. I produce joy because I have it in me.
In a spiritual gathering, we can laugh, make merry, rejoice and make melody (Col3:16, Eph5:19,Phill3;1). Nevertheless, whatever activity we engage in to accomplish this end must be such that honours God and do not profane His name (Rev19;7). Whatever merriment that does contrary is evil (Jam 4:16). A certain comedian began the use of the expression “blood of God”. Not only did Christians did not condemn such unscriptural expression; rather, they helped spread its use.
Those who ask if we need to be overly serious because we are in church need to retaught. Laughing/rejoicing in the Spirit, shouting for joy, getting happy in spite of challenges, are what makes us serious in spiritual gatherings.
It takes an unserious church to invite comedians for its programs. It takes an unserious Christian to not only be found in an environment where the things of the Spirit are been mocked but also to partake in the mockery. These folk come to our gatherings and make fun of the name of God, Christ, His Spirit, His servants, and His word while we sit back and laugh our senses away.
We are soon to forget that God is jealous for His name sake (Eze39:25) and things that belong to Him (Zec 1;14). Isn’t it despicable that we share in the foolishness of those who make a mock of sin? Consider this: Christ was mocked for our sins. The best way we can say “thank you” is by laughing when fun is made in/of his name and work.
Isn’t it interesting to note that most of the comic contents of these comedians are sourced from things that concerns God and the Body of Christ. Have we ever asked ourselves why these folk hardly poke fun at or draw ‘comic inspiration’ from what other religions treat as sacred?
They make a joke about a pastor who went astray and all we do is open our mouths and laugh along. Isn’t something fundamentally wrong with us? David chose not to make the news of Saul’s death a thing to be happy over. “Tell it not in Gath…,” he said (1Sam1:20). Despite the fact that Saul sought to kill him, he still treated him (Saul) as God’s anointed – even in death.
Comedy sessions are cool but not to be entertained in a spiritual gathering. Even if, as a believer, you have the so-called “talent for comedy”, ply your trade outside the church premises and take spiritual phenomena out of your content. If I must listen to comedy, it must be such whose content is meaningful and less sensitive.
In conclusion, folk, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honourable. Let us put an end to this malady and restore normalcy to the church. We have encouraged these clowns long enough but they shall proceed no further.
This nonsense must stop!