You have probably read this article in a recent issue of This Week magazine.

Have you noticed how they are trying to draw crowds into the churches?  They claimed that this was one of the most effective methods of increasing church attendance.  There has to be something which can serve to keep the young folks together.  Hence, they bring movies into church and the Bible into the movies.

Rev. Mr. Friedrich began this movement.  He said that if men did not want Bible films in the theatres, he would make them for the churches.  As result of this experiment, Rev. Friedrich continues to tell us church attendance has gained so much that almost half the nation has become regular in church service.  This does not include the Sunday School, he says, and in the Sunday School we find the most avid movie fans.

The most popular of his pictures has been: “Who is my Neighbor?” as well as, “The Prodigal Son” and not to forget such successful ones as “A Voice in the Wilderness” and A Woman to Remember.”

He tells us of a certain church which complained because of its poor attendance at the Sunday night service, because the movies were drawing the crowds.  The solution was: to put movies in church.  And it has worked wonders.  He goes on to say he would not want to mention the name of the actors or actresses, since people’s feelings might be shocked somewhat to see an actor play the part of a gangster on Saturday night and the part of an Apostle on Sunday.

These movies are made right where the worldly movies are made.

As an illustration of what this new method will do for church attendance, it was shown that there was an increase of from three hundred to one thousand percent.  Surely, that is a noticeable increase.

Now for our criticism on this matter.

If the quality of the church service has to be improved by the showing of pictures and the attendance has to be stepped up by means of these attractions and if Bible pictures have to take the place of the preaching of the Gospel, things have come to a sad end.

And then, shall worldly people take the place of saints?  Shall worldly people take the place of Jesus or Mary and try to act out their part?  Perhaps Hedy Lamar attempting to take the place of the Virgin Mary.  Can’t you see how wrong that is?  After they make their picture, they go out and mock the Bible, which makes it all the more sinful.

Furthermore, it makes the church look like a theater.  The attendance of the church is determined by the number of people who come out to see movies.  In other words, they come to church, not for the preaching of the Gospel, but to see the pictures.

Therefore, they should keep the movies where they belong and keep the Church what it is, without attempting to mix them.  Even if there should be only a few people in church and thousands in the theatre, the two must not be mixed as if they were two of a kind.

It also says in Scripture, where two or three are gathered together in my name, I shall be in the midst of them.  Then we do not need pictures to provide a big crowd or to teach people more about the Bible. Not these pictures, but the preaching of the Word and Catechism shall teach us the things of God.

Although we are few in number, (our society consists of twelve members), we do heartily enjoy our meetings.  We meet on Sunday evenings with Rev. Gritters as our president.  We open with the singing of a few Psalter numbers after which Rev. Gritters opens with prayer.  Then follows discussion of the Bible.  At present, we are treating the book of Mark.  We generally cover about ten to fifteen verses in one evening, which makes it more interesting and also easier to understand.  We study these verses for at least a half hour.  Various of the members take part in the discussion so that there is usually a lively treatment of the Bible passage.  This aids us in a better understanding of the meaning of the words we are treating.

At the present time members take it upon themselves to conduct the discussion of the passage which we treat for the evening.  This proves rather interesting.  This also gives everyone some actual practice in conducting a meeting or a discussion of the Word and this is beneficial.  So far, all the members have taken their part when their turn came.

After the Bible discussion, the minutes of the previous meeting are read and if there is anything that requires treatment the usual routine of business follows.  Then the dues for the week are collected.

Following this, a program is rendered in which at least three of the members take part.  The programs consist of all different subjects, such as: debates, literary criticism, current events, essays, recitations, music, round table discussion and many others in which the entire society takes part in discussing one another’s papers, asking questions, criticizing, agreeing or disagreeing which makes it very interesting.  So that by the time discussion is over, everybody knows what is right or wrong.

About a year ago, we started a library.  Among the books are: The Formative Years of Martin Luther, the Life of John Calvin, some of Hutchen’s books, commentaries, Rev. Hoeksema’s book on Whosoever Will.  We are still adding to the library.  Once in a while we take a collection for it.  As each member has a birthday, he donates two dollars toward the general library fund and thus the shelves fill up.

Twice a year we have a combined meeting with the South Holland Young People’s Society.

After the program, we usually sing a Psalter number and one of the young men closes with a word of prayer.

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

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The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

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The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

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Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

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Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

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Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

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