Hearing our SHEPHERD through the Clamor of the World

Introduction:  We tend to forget that Jesus calls us to walk His narrow road with Him every each moment of the day! No matter how far the Church drifts from its Biblical moorings, God's call and guidelines remain the same.

      Today's "edu-tainment" has spread far beyond the old theater of the 1820s. Through the Internet, television, movies, mind-changing music, occult role-playing games and countless other influences, it brings unthinkable suggestions and images into our hearts and homes.

      No longer do God's "anchor" of Truth, a Bible-trained conscience, or "first love" for our holy Lord keep "Christians" from drifting with the shifting currents of a corrupt world. We may talk about the important of repentance, but lately the sins for which many repent are more focused on our corrupt nation than on our own personal sins. Chances are, we don't even notice our own disobedience!

     For most people, the world we see and hear seems far more real and precious than the eternal realm of our Lord.  So it's not surprising that American hearts are increasingly blinded by the alluring obstacles that  shut out the sweetness of God's precious nearness.

     Like it or not, the article below brings a very important warning. 

Excerpts from

The Christian and the Theater

Published by the American Tract Society in the 1820s

Theatrical exhibitions, then, may be shown to be sinful, and productive of much evil, in a great variety of respects. Bear with a sincere friend to your temporal and eternal happiness, while he endeavors, with all plainness and fidelity, to state them....

I. To attend the theater is a sinful waste of TIME. You will not dare to deny, that every moment of your time is given you by the great Author of life; and that you must render an account to Him for the manner in which you spend it.

Neither will you deny that life is short; that there is much important work to be done; and that no one can be sure that he has another day or hour to live. ...we know not but there may be suspended upon it the destiny of our immortal souls, and all the never-dying interests of eternity.

Placed in circumstances so solemn as these, can any rational, conscientious man consent to sit for a number of hours in a playhouse, attending to amusements which, to say the least of them, are as perfectly vain and frivolous as they can be?  ...

Either men are not accountable for the manner in which they spend their time, and are not bound to devote it to the glory of God and the promotion of their own moral and spiritual benefit, or it is a grievous sin to squander precious hours...

II. Theatrical entertainments are not merely unprofitable—not merely a sinful waste of time—but they also directly tend to ... destroy all taste for serious and spiritual employments. Let me appeal to the experience of those who have been in the habit of attending the theater.... When you return from the playhouse, after witnessing the most decent play which was ever exhibited—have you any taste for prayer, for reading the Scriptures, or holding communion with God in any sacred exercise? Is there not something in the sentiments uttered in the theater, in the scenery displayed, in the dress, attitudes, and deportment of the performers, and in the licentious appearance and libertine conduct of many of the spectators, which is calculated, to say the least, to expel all seriousness from the mind; to drive away all thoughts of God, of eternity, and of a judgment to come; and to extinguish all taste for spiritual employments?

...few things have a more direct tendency to give the mind a vain and frivolous cast; to make it familiar with licentious images and objects; to destroy a taste for devotion; and to banish that spirituality which is at once the duty and happiness of the Christian.

And will any man, who means to stand on Christian ground, venture to deny that whatever has this tendency must be sinful? That whatever draws off the heart from that which is sober, useful, and pious—and inspires it with a prevailing taste for the vain, the romantic, the extravagant, the sensual, and the impure—cannot but be deeply pernicious?

...its direct and only tendency is, to make men forget their duty and their real happiness, and altogether to beguile the feelings proper for one who has no continuing city here, but who ought to be continually seeking one to come, whose builder and maker is God....

III. The theater is now, and ever has been—a school of vice and profligacy. By far the greater part of the most popular plays, though they may, and, doubtless, often do contain many good sentiments, yet also contain much that is profane, obscene, and calculated to pollute the imagination, to inflame the passions, and instill the most corrupt principles, and the most pernicious practices. How common is it to find in the language of the theater the most unqualified profaneness, and even blasphemy! How often are mock-prayers and irreverent appeals to the Majesty of heaven, exhibited on the most trivial occasions! How often is the dialogue interspersed with such unchaste expressions or allusions as cannot but grievously pain the ear of modesty...

Piety and virtue are made to appear contemptible; and vice, in the person of some favorite hero, is exhibited as attractive, honorable, and triumphant. Folly and sin have commendatory names bestowed upon them; and the extravagance of sinful passion is represented as amiable sensibility. Pride, revenge, false honor, violence, the indulgence of unhallowed love, marital infidelity, and making the applause of men the governing rule of life—if not openly commended, are yet so depicted as to make them appear objects of envy rather than of abhorrence. ...

Now, can any man of decent character—above all, can any man who professes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, go to a place, or encourage representations, in which sentiments such as these are almost continually brought into view, and often under the most alluring aspect? Is this a school to which we ought to be willing to introduce our sons and our daughters, even if we had no higher aim than to prepare them for virtuous, dignified, and useful activity in the present life?

If this representation be just; if attending on the theater is a sinful waste of time; if it tends to dissipate the mind, and to render it indisposed for all sober, useful, or spiritual employments; if hardly any man living would DARE to retire, and, upon his knees, ask the blessing of God upon it before he went, or implore the sanctified use of it after he returned; if theatrical exhibitions are often—very often—indecent and profane... can a disciple of Jesus Christ, who professes to be governed by the Spirit, and to imitate the example of his Divine Master; who is commanded to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world;" who is warned to have "no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them;" who is required to "crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts;" and "whether he eats or drinks, or whatever he does, to do all to the glory of God... can HE be found in such a place without sin; without polluting his conscience, tarnishing his profession, and offending his God?

Perhaps some will consider this as taking an unnecessarily strict, and even puritanical view of the theater, as an amusement. This is so far from being the case, that the sentiments which have been expressed, are those in which the wise and the virtuous, in all ages, have been entirely unanimous....

[Even polytheistic philosophers like Plato could see that] "plays raise the passions, and pervert the use of them; and, of consequence, are dangerous to morality." Aristotle lays it down as rule, "that the seeing of comedies ought to be forbidden to young people; such indulgences not being safe, until the age and discipline have confirmed them in sobriety, fortified their virtue, and made them proof against debauchery." And even Ovid, in his most licentious poems, speaks of the theater as conducing to dissoluteness of principle and manners. ...

Even the infidel philosopher, Rousseau, declared himself to be of the opinion that the theater is, in all cases, a school of vice. Though he had himself written for the stage, yet, when it was proposed to establish a theater in the city of Geneva, he wrote against the project with zeal and great force, and expressed the opinion, that every friend of pure morals ought to oppose it.

The question is plain, "Will you obey God, or man? Will you timidly or basely give way, to that which you must acknowledge to be wicked? or will you dare to do what is right, though all the world were against you? Will you take the Scriptures—or the maxims of a corrupt world—for your guide?" The question is left with your conscience in the sight of God.

   Read the whole message here: http://www.gracegems.org/ATS/theater.htm

This isn't about legalistic boundaries that undermine freedom. Each day we can choose whether we want to please God or ourselves. We can follow our wonderful Shepherd or drift with today's increasingly corrupt culture. If we choose the latter (the easier pathway), we quickly dull our conscience. We become accustomed to darkness and despise God's light that brings conviction and could lead us back to our Lord.

"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." John 3:19-20

I choose my Shepherd and His wonderful light! Yet, I am sad to say that I often follow my own whims and wants (for only by His grace can I actually do what I long to do). Then, often in the midst of the distractions, He speaks to my heart and reminds me to come back to Himself -- back to the place of fellowship with Him where I long to be each moment.

Jesus said: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12

"If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have [genuine, Christ-centered] fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." 1 John 1:5-7

“A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” John 12:35-36

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." 1 John 2:15-17

See also Toying with Death and  The Power of Suggestion

The original message is here: www.gracegems.org/ATS/theater.htm


 Home   Index   Persecution  Eternity