Perhaps you have heard that drama is wrong. Perhaps you have heard your minister refer to it as something sinful. Perhaps you have grandparents who shake their heads at this form of “entertainment.” Perhaps you have friends who will not watch shows or movies with acting in them. If the school you go to is Protestant Reformed, it does not have a drama class or club like almost every other school in North America.
Maybe you wonder… Why?
In the Bible, we read about Jesus Christ. He can be found in each and every page, a beacon shining brilliantly, granting infinite mercies to his covenant people while also pouring out his just wrath reserved for the reprobate. He is called Wonderful, Counselor, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. He is called Wisdom, the Sun of Righteousness, and Emmanuel.
But more to the point of this article, throughout Scripture Christ is called the Truth. John 1:14 says, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” This reality is made even plainer in John 14:6 where Jesus states, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.”
Christians are exhorted to “buy the truth and sell it not” (Prov. 23:23).
In that light, we must consider drama.
First of all, the purpose behind drama and acting is to convince the viewer that what he is watching is real. An actor strives to convince his spectators that, even though his real name is Adam Smith, he is Indiana Jones…or Bruce Wayne…or Jack Sparrow.
Is he really these characters? No.
But he will do his best to make you believe so.
A young man in the Bible attempted such a thing as well. With a weak faith in God’s promise, Jacob deceived his father Isaac, by acting like his brother Esau. This was the sin of a weak faith, but it was also the sin of deception and lying.
It ought also to remind us of the first sin, the first deception and the lisping lies of the Serpent in paradise, when he tempted Eve.
Often actors speak about being their character. “You must think like him,” they say. “You must get into his mind and understand how it works; what makes this character click? You must consider his heart and every part of him, even the darkest recesses of his soul. And then you must, with this knowledge, become your character.”
Many of us have heard them say that. But do we see the trickery and intent to deceive here? We must put it in very basic terms: to be the best liar, that is the desire of an actor or actress; even to the extent that they would seek to take on the individuality of another, rejecting their own in the process.
This is horribly wrong. Even William Shakespeare admitted so, in a hypocritical excerpt from “Hamlet,” one of his plays: “God has given you one face, and you make yourselves another.”
Drama, like so many other facets of entertainment today, celebrates sin. It celebrates and honors those who are most skilled in the sins of deception and lying. On top of that, the movies even celebrate drunkenness, fornication, and violence. The crowds of the world rush to revel in the latest abominations that their flesh-molded idols have released and to partake, by captivated observance, of the sins therein.
It is no surprise that they delight in this falsehood. In Jeremiah 9:5 we are told about the world and how “they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies and weary themselves to commit iniquity.” It is the way of the world to love falsehood (Psalm 7, Psalm 12).
However, it ought not to be the way of Christians. It is a surprise then, when Christians also swarm these movie houses, interested in and eager to watch the latest films. With sorrow one sees that often young people who struggle to find an hour here or there to do devotions, learn their catechism, or simply study the Word of God, can be found at the cinema, soaking in the deceitful entertainment of this world.
We receive a warning of joining the world in their sinful ways when we read of God’s attitude towards the ungodly. “Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the Lord…Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the Lord: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” (Jer. 9:6, 8).
This shall not be the end of believers. Our God does not leave us in our sin. We are redeemed by Christ and sanctified by the Spirit. But we must walk and delight in the works of the Spirit, not the ways of the flesh. We must be the Christians that David speaks of in Psalm 1; the Christians of the Antithesis.
Drama is deception; drama is a progressed form of the lie. And the lie is the primary tool of Satan. “He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
But what has the truth to do with the lie?
And what have we Christians to do with the world and its revelry in the sin of drama?