In writing upon this subject, let us appeal to all, and please do not judge the contents until you read it all! Commence at the beginning and not the end. It may be hard-hitting, soul-searching and conscience smiting! It may dig deep into the recesses of the soul and spirit, but my dear fellow saints, if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle? If this short message on the many-sided subject of entertainment gives an awareness of the world we are in, and preserves from the snares and pitfalls that have ruined many lives, then something will have been accomplished for the glory of God and will be a profitable contribution in spiritual values. Overall, the design in writing on the subject is to see Christ-like virtues and features reproduced in us so that our lives will exhibit to the world that we belong to a heavenly Master, another country, the heavenly. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" (John 17:16). The visions of another world will eclipse this passing one.
The sight of "yon Man on dark Calvary,"
Weans my heart from the world with its shame,
And the sight of "the Man in the glory,"
Brings me true fortune and gain;
I may not have money and pleasure,
In a world that nailed Christ to the Tree,
But I have true riches forever,
For with Christ in heaven Iíll be.
Some may conclude we are on the cutting edge, others may feel we havenít gone far enough! We will leave the reader to judge. If we arrive at a deeper appreciation and warmer affection for Christ, who delivered us from the present evil world in all its forms, Galatians 1:4, our Lord will be exalted, saints blest, and praise will echo in the courts of glory. May this article result by His gracious Spirit in sweeter melody and louder praise. We must distinguish between "entertainment" and "worldly entertainment." In Hebrews 13:2, some have entertained angels unawares. The word suggests a readiness to receive travelers with joy, happiness, kindness, caring, and sharing. This noble service has been practiced from earliest times. The exhortation is "forget not," continue this exercise! Therefore, the word entertainment has both good and bad content. When scriptural entertainment is practiced in its varied forms it has resulted in the preservation and edification of saints, and also the salvation of sinners. However, when we preface it with the word "worldly" it takes on a different meaning. This is what this article is all about. We shall consider the world of entertainment in three areas: a) The Music world, b) The Drama world and c) The Sports world.
We know that this is an extensive subject so this is just in capsule form. We must always remember that the three spheres under consideration have been exploited by the wealthy who play a major role in the advancement of entertainment for their own covetous ends. If the truth were revealed, what travesty would ensue, but such has reached to heaven (James 5:1-4). We will seek to give some guidelines to a rising generation from the only reliable textbook, the Bible. It is Divine Inspiration for our inspiration!
Ever since man sinned (Genesis 3), the three circles mentioned came into play and developed rapidly, until they are the great major enterprises today. This is indisputable! Never has there been a day in human history when billions of dollars are made in the seduction, allurement and entertainment of millions upon millions. (Present statistics indicate that seventy two million watched the opening of the 2002 Olympics and, over two billion will have been entertained during the games.) It is a crazy world of entertainment; if you cannot travel to it, you can have it within the confines of your own home! TV, Internet, and video, are the modern vehicles in technology to advance entertainment. Make no mistake dear child of God, this is a cunning master-stroke of the Devil. I John 5:13, "the whole world lieth (rocked to sleep) in the arms of the Wicked One." The show must go on but behind the show there is that strong, controlling hand of the Devil. "Ye walked according to the course of this world (age) according to the prince of the power of the air," (Ephesians 2:2). Even in days of tragedy and sorrow, oft-times the show must go on. The almighty dollar is of more value than the immortal soul! "For what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36) was spoken by the greatest authority in the universe!
We commence with the Music world. The blaring music in home, office, work place, in cars, and even to jogging or walking, has become an addiction. It is the way of life in our intellectual, academic and so-called advanced society. The quiet moments are gone, the family communication links are severed and replaced by the deafening beat of music and the magnetic power of the TV. The louder the roar, the more demonized the words, the better the crowds like it. Songís undefinable are blasted out from unregenerate lips. This is so-called "worldly entertainment?" Sad but true! It plays to depraved nature and caters to the immoral, the sensual, and is often blasphemous! We are in society stepping back into the dark ages in an enlightened world. This rising generation is swept away in the raging tide of uncouth, uncensored music, hard rock, and hard metal lyrics! We are in need of warning on these matters that our young Christians be preserved from buying or listening to the songs produced by depraved human beings with their Goliathlike boastings and brazen defiance against God. It is of greatest tragedy to see the swooning multitudes captivated under their magical and hypnotic spell. They have led multitudes to eternal misery.
At the threshold of our Bibles we have the concise summary of music in its corrupt content. Lamech is introduced with "the song of murder and evil intent" (Genesis 4: 23-24). This is preceded by the introduction of musical instruments engineered by fallen man. This is a telling message of the perversion of what God designed for blessing for it became a curse. Many of the great entertainers in the music world have followed Lamech, filling their coffers by brainwashing the minds of a careless and duped generation. While we can appreciate talent we are stunned by the tragedy resulting from their so-called songs! This is an indisputable fact! Even the Country Western music, some of which seems harmless sends forth echoes of sadness, broken hearts, broken homes, and shattered lives. Maybe some are saying, what about the classics, the rhythmic, slow, calming music that seems harmless? Such, dear child of God, may soothe temporarily (we would not condemn the talent and beauty of some classical music etc.), but can such edify the spiritual mind? Humanly speaking it may be harmless, but when analyzed in light of heavenís music, they come short in producing eternal results that lift the soul to magnify and exalt our glorious Lord. Psalm 40 speaks of the new song, even "praise unto our God." The blood - marked ear can only find true and lasting value in heavenís music.
The songs of this world with their rhythm and noise,
Can never bring peace to the heart,
They only bring sadness, sorrow and loss,
From such the redeemed will depart.
Just hold it a moment my beloved friends, we are not finished! Better is the end of a matter than the beginning! As you read this, judge what is said by the standard of the Word of God. We donít want to close this section of consideration without a breath of heavenís music. To be balanced, we must be absolutely clear that music is a talent - a God-given talent. The Word of God reveals that our God is Author of true rhyme and music. At creationís fair morn, the morning stars sang together and the sons of God shouted for joy (Job 38:7). The rhythm of the babbling brooks, the dashing waves on the seashore, the rustling trees, the wind in glens and mountains etc., all speak forth that musical touch, showing the heart of our Creator. What can we say as to our feathered friends the birds, the thrush, nightingale, and the lark, that fill the air with sweetest music in the early morning, thrilling indeed! All attest to the emotions of the Creator. Music? Our God is musical! One ponders the voice of our Beloved Lord who, on His way to dark Gethsemane (Matthew 26:30) with the shades of Calvary hanging over His holy soul, sang of his own death. "Bind the sacrifice with cords even unto the horns of the altar" (Psalm 118:27). This must have been breathtaking and of sweetest melody to His Father. In a coming day He will be the chief Song leader (Psa. 22: 25). In the consummation of all things there will be universal praise, "everything that hath breath will praise the Lord" (Psalm 150:6).
In concluding we ponder the song of deliverance at the Red Sea by emancipated slaves, the song of Miriam and then David the sweet psalmist, playing stringed instruments on the Judean hills. Surrounded by enemies he sent up some of the sweetest melodies ever recorded to his God. Indeed from the valley of sorrow and suffering his sweetest vibrations were rung from his heart and skillful hand. This is a marvelous observation! Again, through the centuries we have been greatly moved by the melody of Christian song. It touches the emotions on the heart, producing spiritual joy. "Singing and making melody in your hearts unto the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19). This beloved is edifying, God-glorifying, Christ-exalting, and soul-thrilling. We should have a spontaneous note of song to our God when we ponder how great things he has done for us. We think of Isaac Watts the father of hymnology, William Cowper, Charles Wesley, J.N. Darby, F.J. Crosby and a host of others from whose hearts and pens flowed some of the all-time classic Christian songs. Indeed most of the hymns written had a background of deep experiences. They far outshine and surpass in content the modern hymns.
The answer for our day is a return to the old-fashioned "get together" around the piano with the saints singing the good old-fashioned gospel songs. Our spirits would be lifted and our faith strengthened. Many older saints look back to childhood memories of hearty and happy singing by the fireside. The impressions were etched deep in our souls. We are convinced there is warmth in Christian song. Let us have a deep exercise to forsake all "worldly music" from the entertainment world, and return to the Biblical pattern of song and praise. Maybe a little revival would follow! "And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began" (2 Chron. 29:27). No melodies surpass the song of redemption. It is the highest, noblest, sweetest and loftiest note to reach our Saviors' ear! This song is eternal! Have we lost our song? Do we remember happier days, holier days? Let us again sing with heart! Remember dear child of God, there are two worlds out there, the entertaining world and the heavenly world! "Thy statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage" (Psa. 119:54).
The song that fills and thrills my soul,
Since saved by grace divine,
Renews the heart and lifts me up,
And tells me Christ is mine.
Redemptionís theme fills happy souls,
Who once were bound in captiveís chain,
But now released though Jesusí blood
They sing the wonders of His Name.
Why should we turn to songs of earth,
That fade away like morning dew,
When we who have the "second birth"
Have got that song thatís ever new.
In heavenís courts with voices loud,
Weíll join with that unnumbered crowd,
And there, through everlasting days,
Weíll sing with joy redemptionís lays. A.H.