Modern Entertainment and the Christian

“Naw, man, this place will blow your mind!”

“Well … I don’t know, ya see my parents would get uptight, and if any­body from church found out, it’d be a bummer.”

“Aw, you gonna let them spoil your fun? Besides, who needs to know any­way? What do ya say?”

“Yeah … if nobody finds out about it.”……

“Hey, man, watcha doin’ for excite­ment?”

“Oh, nothin’ much lately.”

“Let’s get with it, man. Hey, I got just the place — good drinks, far out bands and nice girls like you wouldn’t believe!”

“Well, uh, couldn’t we just take in a flick?”

Consider the double-minded reasoning of our “church kid”. He thinks his parents and their church have placed arbitrary, oppressive restrictions on his “fun life” which he must enjoy in secret or else lose the pious mask he wears every Sunday. “Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matt. 23:28). This may also describe the con­fessing church member who has never gone to the movie theatre, danced (at least publicly) or been drunk, but deeply envies the hilarity-packed lives of his non-Christian friends and acquaintances. He loves to hear their stories of drinking and dance parties, rock concerts and the latest flicks. Many times he has thought to himself while eyeing the newspaper entertainment ads, “Boy, I’d like to see that flick; everybody at work says it’s really a scream. If only my folks weren’t so picky!” Or if his parents don’t object to TV, “Oh well, I’ll see it on TV in a couple years anyway.”

All the pleasures and entertainments the world has to offer attract church­going young people as well as youth of the world. Many reason like this: Why are the Protestant Reformed Churches, pastors and parents always harping on the “evil” and “wickedness” of all that kids like to do? Isn’t it a thrill to experience the deafening, powerful roar, the squeal­ing, burning rubber and awesome ac­celeration of those “speed machines” at U.S. 131 Dragway? Just think, a quarter mile in, say, eight or nine seconds!

Or take dancing. There you have good exercise. Just let your body move freely with the rhythm of the music. It makes you feel liberated and carefree. Or why not have a few drinks? You don’t have to get drunk, just be sociable; it’ll loosen you up and relax you. Our parents had their music, so why can’t we have ours? Sure, the words may not be perfectly Christian, but it’s got a nice tune and a lively beat which make you want to sing along, or get up and dance. It’ll make you feel happy and “turned on”.

Then there are movies. Why, a good movie helps you unwind, forget your worries. Everybody likes to see a good moving story with realistic action, sus­pense and a thought-provoking theme. One could even find some religious truth or at least some socially redeemable value in most movies.

All sounds quite attractive, doesn’t it? But consider some of these things more closely. Examine your individual, private motive behind your fascination for these things. Do you attend drag races for the thrill of speed or the excitement of a possible spectacular crash? If so, does this honor the name of Jehovah? Or are you satisfying the god of self? Whether or not attending the races is inherently wrong, the most important question is, “Can I possibly be a witness to God’s holiness in this place?” An honest answer will reveal your motive.

Modern music and dancing, so attrac­tive to professing Christian young people has important social and moral implica­tions. For an in depth study of rock music and dancing, written by a converted rock musician, read Rock and Roll, the Devil’s Diversion and Hippies, Hindus and Rock and Roll by Bob Larson.

Man is a rhythmic being: his auto­nomic system being rhythmical (respira­tion and heartbeat). Dancing is a “language” to express these inner rhythms. Larson, quoting from The Text­book of Social Dancing, says, “Dancing is the expression of the sex philosophy of a given period.” Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones has said, “All dancing is a replace­ment for sex.” On rock music, Larson quotes a clinical psychologist as saying, “The music is in a way … a kind of sexual expression. The beat has genuine sexual implications.” Frank Zappa of the Mothers of Invention said, “Our present state of sociosexual enlightenment is attributable to the evolution of rock music.” In other words, since rock is a highly effective medium of communica­tion, it has been a major force in precipi­tating the so-called generation gap, drug abuse and sexual immorality.

Remember the words of Scripture, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit . . . and ye are not your own. For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:1 9-20).

Graham Nash, a rock superstar, says, “Pop music is the mass medium for con­ditioning the way people think . . .” On another occasion, “I think that pop musicians in today’s generation are in a fantastic position. They could rule the world. . . . We have the power . . .” Mick Jagger said, “We are moving after the minds and so are most of the new groups.” (The music’s mind-controlling properties are so effective that one may even hear confessing Christians singing along with such tunes as “Honky-Tonk Women” or “Jesus Christ Superstar”!) The fact that those most familiar with rock music explain it this way only con­firms the warnings of our ministers from the pulpit.

Larson goes on to point out the similarity between modern American dis­cotheque dancing and African voodoo dances which many missionaries claim have demonic influences. Remember that because of a dance Herod gave the head of John the Baptist to Herodias’ daughter on a platter.

Those who let pop music permeate their minds are allowing the devil to take them captive by their own will (II Tim. 2:26), and are giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons (I Tim. 4:1). Rock is the brainwashing propa­ganda of the false prophet of Revelation 13. It does not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. Rather, it ridicules His name and tramples it under foot. “Super­star” and “Godspell” are two such examples which every young Christian should denounce as abominations against the holiness of Christ. A little research will reveal the perverted and godless actors and writers behind these produc­tions. Such is not of God but is the spirit of antichrist (I John 4:3). Let us agree with Johann S. Bach who said. “The aim and final reason of all music should be nothing else but the glory of God and the refreshment of the spirit.”

God’s Word gives us an example of a lasting joyful replacement for those shallow “thrills” of rock and roll. We are told to “speak to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your hearts to the Lord” (Eph. 5:19). You ask. “Who ever heard of anyone, even a Christian, doing that these days?” True, the church needs to apply this passage seriously. I believe those “spiritual songs” could be truly entertaining in a deeply joyful way.

Well, got nothing to do? Sit back and let the “Tube” tickle your mind! But look out! Scripture commands us (Titus 2:6) to be in control of our minds, “sober-minded.” Television can be an escapism as dangerous as dope or music Television and movies both preach a false gospel glamorizing violence, the new morality (including homosexuality) and blind materialism (via commercials). A very deceptive propaganda promotes the concept of a one-world religion and political system. Orthodox Christianity, marriage and the family are the object of ridicule on talk shows, “family” and comedy programs and even news specials. To harden oneself to this is to lose one’s sensitivity to sin. Television is not in­herently wicked in itself, but make sure you control that on-off switch. If you find yourself falling under its power, it would be better to “cut it off and cast it from thee … than to be cast into hell fire” (Matt. 18:8).

It may be easy to see the evils in music, television and dancing, but far more difficult to resist their influence in our lives because of their basic catching, hypnotic effect. Our only defense is prayer for the Lord’s grace to overcome the world. Sometimes we don’t want to pray this because we love the world. Remember that if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. The world passes away, but he that does the will of God abides forever. Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.” He promises that we are more than con­querors through Him that loved us.

Our motives must be to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Do you do that whatever you do for entertainment? Do not be “foolish … serving various lusts and pleasures” but “in all things showing thyself a pattern of good works.” Read Titus 2 and 3.