Ministers and Worldly Amusements

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by Hardsheller, Nov 30, 2003.

  1. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller
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    Since it's Hunting Season across much of the nation maybe it's time to be reminded what Charles Finney said about Hunting and Fishing for Fun.

    "Nothing is innocent unless it proceeds from supreme love to God and
    equal love to man, unless the supreme and ultimate motive be to please
    and honor God. In other words, to be innocent, any amusement must be
    engaged in because it is believed to be at the time most pleasing to God,
    and is intended to be a service rendered to Him, as that which, upon the
    whole, will honor Him more than anything else that we can engage in for
    the time being. I take this to be self-evident. What then? It follows:
    1st. That none but benevolent amusements can be innocent. Fishing and
    shooting for amusement are not innocent. We may fish and hunt for the
    same reason that we are allowed to eat and drink — to supply nature with
    aliment, that we may be strong in the service of God. We may hunt to
    destroy noxious animals, for the glory of God and the interests of His
    kingdom. But fishing and hunting to gratify a passion for these sports is
    not innocent. Again, no amusement can be innocent that involves the
    squandering of precious time, that might be better employed to the glory
    of God and the good of man. Life is short. Time is precious. We have but
    one life to live. Much is to be done. The world is in darkness. A world of
    sinners are to be enlightened, and, if possible, saved. We are required to
    work while the day lasteth. Our commission and work require dispatch.
    No time is to be lost. If our hearts are right, our work is pleasant. If rightly
    performed it affords the highest enjoyment and is itself the highest
    amusement. No turning aside for amusement can be innocent that involves
    any unnecessary loss of time. No man that realizes the greatness of the
    work to be done, and loves to do it, can turn aside for any amusement
    involving an unnecessary waste of time. Again, no amusement can be
    innocent that involves an unnecessary expenditure of the Lord’s money.
    All our time and all our money are the Lord’s. We are the Lord’s. We may
    innocently use both time and money to promote the Lord’s interests and
    the highest interests of man, which are the Lord’s interests. But we may
    not innocently use either for our own pleasure and gratification."

    Excerpt from the Book - POWER FROM ON HIGH
    by Charles G. Finney
     
  2. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller
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    Personally I never thought much about Finney anyway! [​IMG]
     
  3. Jim1999

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    But you prolly shoot guns!!!

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    The world would have been better if Finney had spent ALL HIS TIME fishing and hunting and not writing heretical doctrine! :rolleyes:

    (Now, ask me what I REALLY think) [​IMG]
     
  5. j_barner2000

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    since I have come to the Valley of the Sun, I have not been able to fish of hunt. Hopefully soon God will allow me an opportunity to move back to a rural area where there are fish and game aplenty. In the meantime I often dream of fields and streams and woods.....
     
  6. USN2Pulpit

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    And I know many preachers who spend more time in the buffet line than I ever do hunting! I spend much time in thought, meditation, prayer, and appreciation of God's good earth while shivering in the pre-dawn night sky...just waiting for the whitetail that God has designated for me - should He be so gracious. And I don't waste any of the time doing so, or any of the precious resource He allows me to harvest.

    And perhaps one day, if I should happen up to Casper, WY, I can sit on Dr. Bob's back porch and harvest a pronghorn antelope! I hear they're yummy.
     
  7. Gayla

    Gayla
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    the phrase "worldly amusement" certainly does not bring hunting to mind.
     
  8. Circuitrider

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    Good luck on hunting from Dr. Bob's back porch. All you can see from there is a postage-sized backyard, fence and parking lot beyond. ;) No self-respecting pronghorn would ever come into the city...much less Dr. Bob's neighborhood. :eek: :D

    ...but amen on the praying, meditating, and appreciating God's creation. In fact, last week I was doing those things and missed a perfect shot at a couple of does that came through my area. By the time I got out of the praying mode and into the shooting mode they were where I did not have a good shot at them. So much for Chuck's thoughts in hunting and fishing.... [​IMG]
     
  9. Jensen

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    I think some (or all) of the responses did not really address what was being asked for. I believe that Finney was not criticizing hunting for food (or pest control for that matter) but for the purpose of wasting time.

    “We may fish and hunt for the same reason that we are allowed to eat and
    drink — to supply nature with aliment, that we may be strong in the service of God. We may hunt to destroy noxious animals, for the glory of God and the interests of His kingdom.”

    Ephesians 5:15-16 “ Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” (NASB)

    I (very much so) agree that Finney’s doctrine was incorrect, however, how is the excerpt that is quoted IS or IS NOT Biblical?

    Don’t just answer with jokes and cute statements (Antelope are yummy?), but respond with scripture.

    1 Corinthians 10:31 “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (NASB)

    Colossians 3:17a “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (NASB)

    1 Peter 4:11 “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (NASB)

    As an added question, “What if we ALL were to live our lives in TOTAL devotion to the Lord?” What would it be like then when we stand before Christ at the Judgment Seat?
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    I certainly agree with the principle of this thread. All Christians spend WAY too much time in worldly pursuits. Not just hunting and fishing, but sports, games, the computer, films, television, the internet, and yes, even the Baptist Board can distract us from the cause of Christ.

    I wish you had used a better source than Finny to start the thread so that you did not have to suffer abuse. Your point is well taken and I am waiting for someone to Biblically defend worldly amusements.
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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    What do you mean by "too much time at worldly amusements"? Fishing, hunting, playing golf, whatever else is a necessary part of life. God ordained that that we work six days and rest one. On that day of rest, we are to rest and relax. We can do a lot of things in "resting." For me, it is very resting and relaxing to walk 18 holes of golf, to fish for a while. Hunting doesn't interest me in the least. I love to take a day or two at a time a couple of different times during the summer from time to time and go up and sit in a boat on the lake and fish. It is my rest and relaxation, time to think and meditate and pray.

    The biblical principles of work/rest is ignored by too many pastors, myself included (so I am changing my lifestyle to insist on it). Even Jesus got tired and "took a break" from the ministry (Mark 6:31).

    I think the determining factor is time involved. If I rest six days a week and work one, I am wrong. I am am constantly playing around when I should be working at the ministry, I am wrong.

    Typically, during the summer, I play golf twice a week, going first thing in the morning. It takes me about 3 hours, a good deal of which is spent in thinking and prayer. Sometimes I take a little book that will fit in my bag to read as I walk. Sometimes I day dream and imagine. Sometimes, I force myself not to think about ministry because I need to get away from it. During these times, I typically don't take a whole day off; I usually take two half days during the week.

    The bottom line is that this quote is okay, provided we address it to people who have a problem with too much leisure. Many times in ministry, the problem is the other way around ... Pastors who work 7 days a week from sunup to bedtime, never taking time for rest. God himself instituted our day of rest ... don't neglect it.
     
  12. USN2Pulpit

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    My apologies Jensen, I certainly didn't expect that to offend anyone. Late this afternoon, my son and I headed out to the woods with our blackpowder guns. I spent time in prayer for him, and that God would continue to teach me what to say during my sermons, especially my appeal for a response to the Word of God.

    I didn't reply with scripture, but I believe hunting is a godly and respectable pursuit, when done in moderation, and not to the deficit of your work, ministry, and family.
     
  13. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    As usual, the answer is balance. God does ordain rest, and some in the ministry ignore that. I don't really think though that that is the problem for most of us.
     
  14. Jensen

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    USN2Pulpit,

    Hey, you didn't offend me (I actually thought it was cute (or funny)!).

    Also, from what you said, it seems as though the "hunt" was for food (which is a form of work) and that Christ was your focus.

    Are there any verses that support "play" or "down-time"? (not rest or sleep)

    One thought that I have is that as we mature (spiritually) our productivity will increase. We will gradually see more and more "activities" (and actions) in our lives that do not bring honor & glory to God and we will cast them off. I think this is a "progressive" action. The following verses come to mind:

    Hebrews 12:1-2 "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (NASB)

    I believe that as long as we are still dragging along this filthy flesh, we will never be able to do away totally with "wasted moments of time". Why? Because of the Lust of the Flesh, the Lust of the Eyes, and the Pride of LIfe! We are selfish, greedy and lazy (sinful). As we mature, the Holy Spirit reveals more and more of these "activities" to us. I don't think we should make "excuses" for times that we spent "not laboring for the Lord."

    Paul showed his self-discipline in many verses! Including:
    1 Corinthians 9:24-27 "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.


    Does this seem correct?


    Steve
     
  15. David Ekstrom

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    The "running" is a metaphor on faithfulness. The Scripture does not mean that we are to work non-stop.
    Verses were asked for and yet some were already provided. The Sabbath rest was a radical demand in the Law. They are found in the Ten Commandments and a man was stoned to death for violating it!
    Someone also pointed out in the gospels where Christ slipped off to get rest.In the first five years of my ministry I was an extreme workaholic. I was very proud of the fact that I worked long hours 7 days a week, every day, for those years. I got a cat just to keep my wife company! (It's a wonder she didn't leave me!) But you know what? While I was plugging away all the time, my productivity wasn't near as much as when I learned that taking a family vacation and spending some time in the woods in prayer are proper pursuits. I took up golf so I could have some one-on-one with some of my men.
    The concept of "worldly amusements" was an unfortunate extreme of the holiness movement. As a whole, I appreciate the movement but the legacy of "worldly amusements" has been an albatros. I know a man who says his parents punished him as a child because he played checkers on Sunday. If it's fun it must somehow be evil. Pleasure is inherently sinful. This kind of stoicism does not jive with the concept of a God who created all things for us to enjoy. (I Tim. 4:1-5).
     
  16. David Ekstrom

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    What's driving the renunciation of "worldly amusements"?
    I don't pretend to know, but consider these things:
    1. A sincere, but misguided, desire for personal holiness.
    2. A desire to be better than other people.
    3. A desire to be good enough for God.
    4. An attempt to overcome shame.
    5. Bad theology. "Pray as though it all depends upon God; work as though it all depends upon you." Change that false teaching to: "Pray as though it all depends upon God; work as though it all depends upon God and you get to be there and see it happen!"
    6. A failure to understand that God is the author of every good and perfect gift.
    7. An inability to form relationships and to fellowship with others.
    8. A flawed view of God, seeing Him as a cruel taskmaster rather than as a loving Father.
    9. An inability to understand that all of life is holy, not just "church work."
    Do all to the glory of God, including having a good time praising the Lord out in the woods hunting that buck!
     
  17. Hardsheller

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    AMEN and AMEN!
     

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