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The Devil Goes to Church

By Chris Rathbone

Mitchell Countychris rathbone mitchell county


Years ago a church member gave me an old Bible her father used when he preached years ago. According to what I’ve heard, he had a wonderful ministry for a long time in our area. He had been with Lord for many years by the time I came to know this family. As I looked through the old Bible there were some sermon notes and outlines from years and years ago. Reading through the notes there was one in particular that caught my attention. The title was “The devil goes to Church!”

My first thought was “That’s a true statement! I’ve run into the devil several times through some church attendees!” However, after reading through the condensed notes I realized that there must have been something going on in the church where he was preaching. He warned of not allowing things in the church that were dangerous to our spiritual growth. He talked of compromise and that if we aren’t careful we’ll give the devil a foothold in the church.

After reading through his shortened sermon notes, I came to realize that something was going on at that particular time that he must have felt the need to address. Although in his notes, this preacher never really plainly spoke of what this particular situation was all about.

Eventually, I returned the Bible to the family after his daughter passed away because I felt that the Bible should stay in their family. So upon returning the Bible I mentioned this particular sermon to another daughter and asked if she knew what was going on at that time that he felt the need to address it. The daughter, who was in her 70s, looked at me, smiled, and said, “I know exactly what it was about! It was about the Stamps Baxter hymnal that churches were using!” She went on to explain that at that particular time, the Stamps Baxter hymnals had recently come out and many churches were using them in their worship services. Several local preachers, including her father, didn’t like the timing, beat, etc, of how the songs were written and were preaching that it was akin to “Honky Tonk music”, in the words of her dad. She smile and simply said, “I didn’t agree with that myself.”

Today, you and I think nothing of using a Stamps Baxter hymnal in our services because they’ve been our churches for decades. As a matter of fact, I just pulled one out of my bookcase and flipped through it. The one I have dates back to the 80s. I’m sure the one this preacher was referring to dates back to the 40s or 50s. Contained in the one I have are songs like Amazing Grace, Blessed Assurance, Faith is the Victory, Do You Know My Jesus?, I’ll Fly Away, Love Lifted Me, etc, etc. This particular book is filled with beautiful old hymns that have touched the hearts of many children of God over the years and they still do. Now the question comes, “Why would someone be against such songs being sung in worship services?” Well, to put it bluntly, it wasn’t about the words of songs or the message they contained, it was about the music style and the preference that individuals liked.

Now some of y’all aren’t gonna like what I’m about to write. Your personal preferences do not mean that someone else’s preferences are wrong or of the devil. There are days that I listen to Bluegrass gospel. There are other times I’m singing to faithful old hymns that have stood the test of time. While other times it may be contemporary praise and worship that ministers to my heart and exalts Jesus. In all of these there are some that I like and some I don’t, that’s my preference.

The point is this, when the worship of our Savior becomes about preference more than about Jesus, that, my friends, is when the devil comes to church….

Make it all about Jesus children of God, and the devil will have no place to sit!


Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.

You can read more Good Christian News from Pastor Chris HERE.

You can connect with Preacher Chris on Facebook HERE.