Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the LORD which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): For centuries the Church has stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was―a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability. For this she got herself abused roundly by the sons of the world. But of late she has become tired of the abuse and has given over the struggle. She appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his powers.
R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): The so-called ‘innocent’ amusements of the world are only contrivances to forget God.
C. H. SPURGEON: Pleasure, so called, is the murderer of thought. This is the age of excessive amusement. Everybody craves for it, like a babe for its rattle.
A. W. TOZER: The great god Entertainment amuses his devotees mainly by telling them stories. The love of stories, which is characteristic of childhood, has taken fast hold of the minds of the retarded saints of our day, so much so that not a few persons manage to make a comfortable living by spinning yarns and serving them up in various disguises to church people. What is natural and beautiful in a child may be shocking when it persists into adulthood, and more so when it appears in the sanctuary and seeks to pass for true religion.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): We are told today they cannot think and follow reasoned statements, that they are so accustomed to the kind of outlook and mentality produced by newspapers, television, and the films, that they are incapable of following a reasoned, argued statement. We must therefore give them films and filmstrips, and get filmstars to speak to them, and pop-singers to sing to them and give ‘brief addresses’ and testimonies, with just a word of Gospel thrown in. ‘Create your atmosphere’ is the great thing, and then just get a very brief word of Gospel in at the end.
A. W. TOZER: So today we have the astonishing spectacle of millions of dollars being poured into the unholy job of providing earthly entertainment for the so-called sons of heaven. Religious entertainment is in many places rapidly crowding out the serious things of God. Many churches these days have become little more than poor theatres where fifth-rate “producers” peddle their shoddy wares with the approval of evangelical leaders who can even quote a holy text in defence of their delinquency. And hardly a man dares raise his voice against it.
HORATIUS BONAR (1808-1889): Nay, we glory in this as “progress,” “culture,” and “enlightenment,” as freedom from the bigotry of other centuries and the narrowness of our half-enlightened ancestors, who did not know how to reconcile contraries and to join what God has put asunder; how to believe everything alike; how to combine earth’s pleasures and gaieties with the joy of God; how to both pray and dance; how to revel and to weep for sin; how to wear both the “white raiment” and the jeweled ball dress; how to maintain friendship both with God and His enemies.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD (1600-1661): The way that is halfer and co-partner with the smoke of this fat world and with ease, smelleth strong of a foul and false way.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Now we know that the Reformation…swept away the medieval “mystery plays” as they are called, and dramatic performances in the church. The Reformation got rid of all that and it is very sad to observe that people who claim an unusual degree of spirituality should be trying to lead us back to that which the Reformers saw clearly had been concealing the gospel and the Truth from the people.
C. H. SPURGEON: There are many in the present day who tell us that the theatre is a great school for morals. That must be a strange school where the teachers never learn their own lessons. In God’s school the teachers must be masters of the art of holiness.
JOHN NEWTON (1725-1807): The theaters are fountains and means of vice.
C. H. SPURGEON: Jesus said, Preach the gospel to every creature. But men are getting tired of the divine plan; they are going to be saved by the priest, going to be saved by the music, going to be saved by theatricals, and nobody knows what! Well, they may try these things as long as ever they like; but nothing can ever come of the whole thing but utter disappointment and confusion, God dishonoured, the gospel travestied, hypocrites manufactured by thousands, and the church dragged down to the level of the world.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Opposites are opposites, and you will never get a mean between them. Here it is. There is no possibility of mixing light and darkness. It is no longer light if you do, and it is no longer darkness. Neither can you mix God and mammon, for no man can serve two masters. It is one or the other, “for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.” These are absolutes, and if we were capable of thinking clearly we should recognize them as such. They are both totalitarian. Both demand our entire allegiance, and therefore they cannot be mixed.
CHARLES BRIDGES (1794-1869): Let it be remembered, that God never honours a compromising spirit.
MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: Is not the failure to recognize this the whole trouble with [the church] today? The Church of God for many a day has been trying to mix certain incompatibles. If it is a spiritual society, then we cannot mix the world with it in any shape or form. It does not matter what the form is…It is this constant compromising in the life of the Church that has been her ruination ever since the days of Constantine. Once you have lost the division between the world and the Church, the Church ceases to be truly Christian. But, thank God, there have been revivals, there have been people who have seen this truth and who have refused to compromise. It is the only hope for the Church. We have been trying to sustain her by worldly methods, and it is not surprising that she is as she is. And she will continue to be like this as long as we continue to attempt the impossible. It is only when we come to realize that we are God’s people, and a spiritual people, and that we live in the realm of the spirit, that we shall be blessed and shall begin to se a revival. We can introduce our worldly methods, and we may appear to be having success, but the Church will not improve. No! the Church is spiritual, and her spiritual life must be nurtured and sustained in a purely spiritual manner.