Charles H. Spurgeon dared to say, “Many would unite church and stage, cards and prayer, dancing and sacraments. If we are powerless to stem this torrent, we can at least warn men of its existence and entreat them to stay out of it.” A. J. Gordon dared to say, “The notion having grown up that we must entertain men in order to win them to Christ, every invention for world-pleasing which human ingenuity can devise has been brought forward till the churches have been turned into play-houses and there is hardly a carnal amusement that can be named from billiards to dancing which does not find a nesting place in Christian sanctuaries. Is it then Pharisaism or pessimism….to predict that at the present fearful rate of progress, the close of this century may see the Protestant church as completely assimilated to nineteenth-century secularism as the Roman Catholic church was assimilated to fourth-century paganism?” We smile at that today, but we are not overstocked with Spurgeons and Gordons.
Augustine told us long ago how this marriage of the professing church and the world came about. “It seemed good to our leaders,” he declared, to favor the weakness of pagan converts so that heathen festivals were joined with Christian holy days “which they might celebrate with similar luxury though not with the same impiety.” The same strategy prevails to this day on the old argument that the end justifies the means. This, of course, bits into the program of a modernized Catholicism and an apostate Protestantism in the world church of the last days.