The Settled Question

There is a question that has often arisen in Protestant Reformed groups. Attempts to settle the question by discussion have met with little success. The statement that the question ought to be a settled one has proved even less successful as a solution to the problem. The question has not been asked openly for quite some time; however, it is still being asked, and with increased regularity.

Many will be perturbed that we ask the question again. Some will wonder why we cannot simply accept the arguments which have been advanced so often before and agree that the question is closed and settled. The reason should be obvious. Merely stating that a question should no longer be discussed is no sure way to end a discussion; it usually has the opposite effect. Merely stating that a question is settled does not settle it. Advancing reasons for one’s opinion is not a guarantee that one’s opinion will be adopted. Those who are not convinced will continue to raise the question, if not openly, then in secret. But this has no merit. We must have the freedom to openly discuss the things which concern us. When silence becomes interpreted as agreement, we are guilty of hypocrisy.

The question is the question of drama. And the question does not concern any particular type of drama or any abuse of drama, but drama per se. We are told that it is wrong in itself and consequently can have no place in our lives. Yet we are not convinced. We face the problem constantly and are not too ready to say that the solution to the problem lies in avoiding the problem entirely.

When we face the problem in the light of the negative injunction we have received, we raise these questions. If it is wrong to partake in dramatization, is it also wrong to watch such? If it is wrong to watch it, is it wrong to read it? If it is wrong to read it, is it wrong to write it? If one of the elders of our church tells us that “Scripture teaches that all drama is an abomination to the Lord” and that we may not attend plays, why does he sit home and watch drama on television?

Now we grant that people’s inconsistencies (which in this case are as multitudinous as the sands of the seashore) can be no ground for argumentation of principle. But the fact is clearly shown that most who seem to want the principle refuse to accept its application. And we wonder whether these people are so enslaved to sin or whether they do not agree with the principle as much as they indicate.

We raise this issue again not for the sake of defending drama but for the purpose of pointing out that it is still a problem. And, as we see it, it will continue to be a problem until all agree with the principle and follow it. This, apparently, will not happen immediately.

We are faced with two alternatives. We can bring the question out into the open once again and enjoy a healthy discussion or we can close the festering wound and wish that it would heal. The first alternative has been tried, and, while it has not solved the problem, it has taught us that the issue requires critical examination. The second alternative has been tried and has had a decidedly adverse effect. A man who is told exactly how he should make up his mind cannot reach a meaningful decision. And a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.