The Christian and the Theater

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Rufus_1611, Aug 13, 2007.

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Theatrical entertainments...

  1. Are sinful wastes of time

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Destroy all taste for serious and spiritual employments

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  3. Are schools of vice and profligacy

    1 vote(s)
    4.0%
  4. All of the above

    2 vote(s)
    8.0%
  5. None of the above

    22 vote(s)
    88.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Rufus_1611

    Rufus_1611
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    Please read this tract in full. With so many moving pictures, television etc. How does this tract fit into today's culture? Was the ATS right that the playhouse is a sinful waste of time or is it a good thing for Christians and the heathen to be entertained?
     
  2. Magnetic Poles

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    The performing arts are an important part of our heritage. How much poorer would we be without the plays of Shakespeare? If there is a performance I object to, I just don't attend that one. My choice. Same for television...don't like a show, I can a) turn off the set, or b)change the channel.

    Performers and artists exercise the First Amendment, by using their freedom to express themselves in song, drama, and dance. As a consumer, there is nothing wrong with being entertained. One's life would be drab without entertainment, be it books, biking, hikes, theater, camping, cooking, or to quote the late Marvin Zindler, "Good golf, good tennis, or whatever makes you happy."
     
  3. Tom Bryant

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    If you removed the the "ARE" and the absolutes, I would probably answer the poll, because they "CAN" be sin and a waste of time. Probably, even most of the time they are.

    But like Magnetic Poles, I enjoy the performing arts. I've even acquired a taste for Shakespeare. I've also enjoyed movies, but usually I watch them when they go to the dollar theatres.
     
  4. rbell

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    agreed...by making it absolute, I don't have an answer I like in the mix.
     
  5. christianyouth

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    Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher/physicists/theologian said " All entertainments are a great danger to the Christian life, but none more than the theatre" (quoting from memory, may be wrong).

    He was writing in the 16th century when Romance was a core-component of the plays. He reasoned that people would see the romantic ideals on the stage and then want to live them out in real life. So basically, he thought that the theatre would influence reality, not that reality would influence the theatre.

    I think Pascal made a keen observation. In our day we see language,dress, and even sexual trends communicated to main-stream culture through media. Our society is saturated with anti-christian worldview, so when I watch movies, I am almost ALWAYS astounded by the filth in. I went to see Pirates of the Carribean 2 because I was convinced by some 'christian' friends, only to find that there was immorality(in dress) and sexual innuendo. When I mentioned this to others, I was looked at like a Puritan.

    Rufus, you and I may disagree with a couple things, but I whole-heartedly agree that movies and media in general are a great danger to the Christian life and should be shunned.

    I can't imagine Roman Christians from the 1st and 2nd centuries going to watch the gladiator fights, the premiere entertainment of their day. Nor can I imagine the Puritans indulging in the sensual plays of their time.

    Having said that, I think one reason that Christians thrive off of entertainment is because they are not enjoying the fullness of God. I know I do. When I immerse myself in entertainment, it is because I am empty of God and he is not giving me fulfillment and satisfaction, so I seek to get my fill from video games or movies. Usually when I am evangelizing, or reading a great Christian book, entertainment does not even appeal to me. But pull me away from God, and I will dive into entertainment.

    I noticed something interesting with my guitar playing. Guitar playing for me is a form of entertainment. I do it to be entertained, sometimes with the pretense of praising God with my gift. When I was witnessing, or even delving into academics, I would not desire to play. When I was serving God, I did not play guitar for about a month. Then, when I declined in my service to God, I came back and started my playing of the guitar.

    What I am trying to say, is that entertainment pales in comparison with God. As a new creature I get more enjoyment out of doing God's will, than doing my own. When I die to self and renew my mind, I am much happier than when I play Civilization 4 online for 7 hours.

    A.W. Tozer said , "I can tell how much God you have, by how much entertainment you need."

    I was looking for another quote on entertainment by Charles Finney. It is excellent, I'll try to find it.

    Yes, I agree with the American Tract society.

    On a side note, one of the ways I can spot sanctification in a person is by how sensitive that person is to sin. If they love God, they must hate sin. When I see Christians who watch movies it tells me right away that this person does not love God. I went to my friends house the other day, a friend who is going to Bible college next year to study to be a Pastor, and he wanted me to see a movie. The movie was filth, with sexual innuendos and off color jokes that the 'christian' youths found funny. Finally, after about 14 mins into the movie, I couldn't bear watching it, so I told them that this movie is garbage, and confronted my friend over the sin. He basically had NO idea that it was even bad, and this is a kid who is going to be pastoring one of our churches(prolly IFB, KJVO). I was shocked. Then, later in the afternoon we went to Pizzahut, and there the subject was brought up again, and the teens and this kid all were talking about the movies they watched. This kid said something, "I neven even knew it was bad.' and then said later, "all movies have something bad in them." and thus reasoned that since all movies have something bad in them we shouldn't freak out when we see sin.

    Sound scary? It scared me, because this kid has been reading Spurgeon all summer and he is going to be a pastor. A pastor who does not have a holy anger at sin is a useless pastor.

    Rufus, how come preachers do not preach out against specific sins anymore? This kid was always preached to generically. The pastor would talk of righteoussness and talk against sin, but would not give specifics. So a kid, who is reading Spurgeon, studying to be a Pastor, never heard the sin of watching movies actually preached against. Sad.
     
  6. rbell

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    a couple of thoughts:
    • Yes, we should preach against sin. But it's going to far to say, "You watch movies? You don't love God." That's not your judgement to make. (Remember how Luke 18:11 quotes the Pharisee: "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.")
    • So is God against us enjoying things? I see absolutely no correlation to playing a guitar for enjoyment and one's righteousness. In fact, I would argue that God would desire us to enjoy things in life...as long as they do not violate His Word. Playing the guitar? I see no prohibition.
    • the reason many have not heard the "sin of watching movies" preached is because Scripture doesn't address it.
     
  7. Rufus_1611

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    Brother, that is a wonderful post and I praise God for you. You're half my age and if I had half the wisdom at your age that you have now, I would be greater than two times less ignorant than I am today. :)

    'Tis funny that you mentioned Spurgeon as I just received a message from a Christian friend who sent me this link...

    The Devil's Mission of Amusement by Archibald Brown

    According to the link...

    This is one of the best essays/sermons I have ever read on the subject and it is remarkable what a big deal it was to Mr. Brown and I can't imagine how he'd weep if he saw our current condition. Anyways, perhaps this essay will be an in with your friend if he's a Spurgeon fan.

    As to the preacher question. This is a difficult one to answer without offending a whole bunch of folks. There are likely multiple causes, however, IMHDiscernment and in general, the pastors of today have become brutish. The bulk of the pastors today, when they are not answering to and fearing the state, fear their congregations, eldership, or trustees, for they all fear their bankers. If they start telling folks that their entertainment addictions are sinful, well they may wind up with nothing but a small 8-12 family church because many folks will give up a lot of things but the last things they're going to give up is the idol in the living room and their Mel Gibson or Disney movies. Small 8-12 family churches have a difficult time paying that note for their church growth building program and so pastors consciously or subconsciously tell their congregations what they want to hear. That is of course presuming the pastors even recognize the entertainment idols to be sin.

    Lester Roloff had a wonderful message called "The Idol of the Hour". Notice about half way down the message, he addresses a couple stories about preachers and television. Nothing harder for a preacher to preach against than something he is himself addicted to.
     
  8. Andy T.

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    While I am in no way a "tee-totaler" against movies and TV, I think many in the Evangelical world have lost discernment and are spending way too much time and money on pop culture. In fact, some of our leaders and pastors encourage this consumption, in order to be more "relevant" to the culture around us. Why do I need to see the latest movie and listen to the latest music in order to witness to others? The pop-culturalization of the Church is one of the lamest fads to come down the pike. It's demise cannot come too quickly.
     
  9. Rufus_1611

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    Good points. Preachers today, are even using popular culture in their sermons/sermonettes. I can recall the mega church I left including clips from Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond and movies like Braveheart.
     
  10. EdSutton

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    I basically agree with Tom Bryant and rbell, here. "One size" does not fit all.

    And Magnetic Poles has a good point, likewise. All the TVs, DVDs, and VCRs that I know of have an ON/OFF switch. And the greatest majority of them work. If not, they still have a plug that one can pull.

    And one has to make the effort to attend a movie, last time I checked. Don't approve of the movie, the content, or the subject?? Don't go! Problem solved!

    It seems to me to be 'judgmental to the max' to say that anyone who could enjoy a movie is "wasting time" or, as did one poster, that "When I see Christians who watch movies, it tells me right away that this person does not love God."

    Would that be any different than someone else who might say, "When I see someone 'wasting time' by posting on the 'Baptist Board', when they could be doing something so much more worthwhile, it tells me right away that the poster does not love God!"?? I fail to see the difference, personally. Perhaps someone has some better insight in this, than do I, might show me the difference.

    It is a real stretch (and a ridiculous one as well, IMO) to suggest that "The Ten Commandments", "Ben Hur", "The Gospel Blimp" (humor) or "The Passion of the Christ", to name four, are even on the same planet, let alone on a par with some of the admitted garbage that one can find. That is not to suggest that I would agree with each and every bit of trivia presented in any of these movies, lest anyone be mislead. But I did enjoy all four, and found them to be eduactional, as well as entertaining.

    What about so-called "Passion plays"?? Are they to be 'dissed' in like manner??

    However if one is into theatrics for the purpose of making a point about the theater, might I suggest something that is a bit [​IMG].

    One can always find one, such as the one we at the BB lovingly call 'spamderson', [​IMG] who climbs on his [​IMG] to rant and [​IMG] a TV.

    Forgive me if I am not overly impressed with this sort of behavior. I just think there are better things one could be doing, as well.

    Ed
     
    #10 EdSutton, Aug 13, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2007
  11. Rufus_1611

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    The Baptistboard is God-centric. I suspect that many of the Christians on this board post because they love to hear and learn about their God and love to speak and teach about their God. The worldly entertainment is designed so people can hear and learn about the world and ultimately become more like the world.

    They oughta be 'dissed'. Check out this "ridiculous stretch"...


    I am impressed with Pastor Anderson, if for no other reason than this, even after being castigated, sliced, diced and ultimately banned, he somehow got in some of your heads so bad that you just can't seem to let him go. He got to you good.
     
  12. Bro. Williams

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    I am in agreement with the ATS. I have found no good Godly thing to come from fleshly entertainment.

    We, as a family, are oft chastised by brethren over the fact that we do not have a television, will not allow our children to watch one, and will go as far as to not go into a restaraunt where one is playing (or where the music is playing), with our children. It is a difficult stance, and one most will not take, but it has been a blessing and quite worthwhile.

    Although I believe all have the right and freedom to choose what they do in this life based on principles of soul liberty and liberty of conscience, I strongly urge Christians to discontinue watching and taking part in the filth of this world.

    As one not having watched television in some time, when it is on somewhere that I am at, it is amazing how offensive it is to me now that I have not around it.
     
  13. EdSutton

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    Actually, I was so unimpressed with Steve Anderson that I did not even know he'd been banned, for it wasn't that important to me. I just liked the moniker of spamderson to go with his (now) former "drive-by" postings designed to do nothing else than have one look at his site and sermons, with the "post and run" approach. I never saw but one or two follow-up posts from the gentleman, that I can recall, in my year and a half plus on the BB, but I admit, I could have missed some.

    Ed
     
  14. Dale-c

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    this is legalism at it's best. Or should I say worst?

    Taking something that has been abused and saying the very medium is wrong.

    Do people like this not realize that the Bible an porn are both published on paper?

    There is tons of filth on TV and I don't even have one at the moment (I will probably get a new one soon) but to say the entire medium is wrong is to make a law where there is no law.
     
  15. christianyouth

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    About the guitar playing, notice I did not make that a rule for everyone. I did not say, 'if you play the guitar your sinning' I was just using my experience as an example. When I was serving God intensely, I really didn't have a desire to play. The buzz that I get from playing the guitar cannot compare with being in the center of God's will. As I said, when I witness, I get more joy then when I create music. I'm not trying to sound holy, but that is the truth. God offers joy and satisfaction that I cannot get from any form of entertainment.


    Bro. Rufus, thanks for the essays! I saved them on bookmarks and I can't wait to read them. :)
     
  16. Filmproducer

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    I want to clarify that I am not looking to make this personal. I do not wish to get into any type of shouting match with anyone. I am just interested in honest answers, and I will respect those answers whatever they may be, even if I do not personally agree.

    Couple of things. One, I agree with some of the other posters about the absolutes in the poll so I will refrain from voting. Two, I even see Bro. Andy's point about some evangelicals taking the use of pop culture too far.

    With that being said, those against movies and/or theatrical entertainment how do you view Christian entertainers? Do you have problems with Christians who have chosen to make their own movies, or write their own plays, because they are tired of wading through the junk?

    While I consider my production company a ministry, I do not consider it a strictly evangelical ministry. While some of our work does contain the gospel message, especially our current project, we are not solely in this business as "soul winners". My husband has a burden to to create good, clean, Christian entertainment, and with that comes the desire to use a medium we believe has been avoided in many instances. A very powerful medium at that.

    Anyway, interesting topic Rufus. Tonight will be my last posting on the BB for a while. So I'll be praying for everyone. God Bless! :wavey: :1_grouphug: :godisgood:
     
  17. Dale-c

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    The telivision/movie medium is very powerful and it IS a good point for CHristians to take care not to get caught up in worldly entertainment.
    At the same time it must be said that it can also be a very good tool as well.
     
  18. Bro. Williams

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    In regards to the questions:

    1) I really don't know any Christian entertainers. If someone feels that is there calling and their avenue, and they are not a part of the filth... then I have nothing against what they do.

    2) If a Christian wants to make a Biblically sound movie, play, drama, etc, thaet is fine by me.
     
  19. Bro. Williams

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    I see your point. If someone is using an avenue to reach the lsot, and it doesn't step into the realm of comforming to the world or allowing for certain things in order to get that ministry done, then I see nothing wrong with it.

    I may be a legalist, but as I often say, I believe in soul liberty and liberty of conscience. If someone wants to take thaet avenue, by all means, they are free to do so.
     
  20. Dale-c

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    I should reiterate that even though I am strongly against the legalism of throwing out hte baby with the bathwater, I am also strongly opposed to anti Christian movies that seem to come out quite often.
    BUt that does not make the video medium wrong.
     

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