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The theatre is an evil place

Augustine was an ardent lover of "the stage" (and then he became a Christian!)

The Devil's Mission of Amusement - Outstanding sermon by Archibald Brown

The Christian and the Theatre

Christian amusements - J. R. Miller

 If not by Gospel--then by entertainment - Archibald Brown


The devil's chapel

"I will set before my eyes no vile thing." Psalm 101:3

Augustine: "Stage-plays are the subverters of goodness
and honesty; the destroyers of all modesty and chastity."

Bernard: "All true soldiers of Jesus Christ abominate and
reject all stage-plays, as vanities and false frenzies."

Seneca: "Nothing is so destructive of godly manners
or morals--as attendance on the stage."

Gregory Nazianzen: "Play-houses are the lascivious
shops of all filthiness and impurity."

Tillotson: "The play-house is the devil's chapel, a
nursery of licentiousness and vice; a recreation which
ought not to be allowed among a civilized, much less
a Christian people."

The American Congress, October 12th, 1778: "Whereas,
true religion and good morals are the only solid foundation
of public liberty and happiness: Resolved, that it be, and
is hereby earnestly recommended to the several States--
to take the most effectual means for the suppressing of
theatrical entertainments, horse-racing, gaming, and such
other diversions, as are productive of idleness, dissipation,
and a general depravity of principles and manners

William S. Plumer:
"The theatre is an evil place.
In this vortex of vice--
the first step is to the theater,
the next to the bar,
the next to lewd company,
the next to the brothel,
the next to disease,
the next to death,
and the last to HELL."

William S. Plumer, The Ten Commandments

Augustine was an ardent lover of "the stage"

The case of Saint Augustine, the greatest of the Christian fathers, is sufficiently interesting to be included in the category of remarkable conversions. He was born in the year 354, his father being a pagan at the time of his son’s birth, while his mother, Monica, was a model of Christian unselfishness and devotion, a worthy mother of an illustrious son. Being naturally inclined to pleasure and love of the world, Augustine in youth resisted the importunities of his mother to embrace the Christian faith, and following the example of his father, drank deep of earthly pleasures. He was an ardent lover of the stage, and in a day when, as a writer in the Encyclopoedia Brittanica tells us, “one of the most significant signs of a man having become a Christian was his habitual absence from the theater. No one was more emphatic on this point afterwards than Augustine himself, and as the result of his own experience, he seems to have doubted whether, apart from the gross immoralities of the pagan stage, the indulgence in fictitious joys and woes is a warrantable excitement.”

- From C. H. Spurgeon's, The Sword and Trowel


The Christian and the Theatre

If attending on the theater is a sinful waste of time; if it tends to dissipate the mind, and to render it indisposed for all sober, useful, or spiritual employments; if hardly any man living would dare to retire, and, upon his knees, ask the blessing of God upon it before he went, or implore the sanctified use of it after he returned; if theatrical exhibitions are often--very often--indecent and profane, and always demoralizing in their tendency; and if their patrons, by every attendance upon them, encourage and support sin as a trade; then, I ask, can a disciple of Jesus Christ, who professes to be governed by the Spirit, and to imitate the example of his Divine Master; who is commanded to "live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present evil world;" who is warned to have "no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather to reprove them;" who is required to "crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts;" and "whether he eats or drinks, or whatever he does, to do all to the glory of God;" can a disciple of Christ, I say, who is commanded to "shun the company of the profane," to "avoid the very appearance of evil," and to pray, "Lead us not into temptation"--can HE be found in such a place without sin; without polluting his conscience, tarnishing his profession, and offending his God?

- American Tract Society, 1820's


 Christian amusements

Amusement must never become an end in life. It must always be a means, a help on the way--just as sleep is, just as rest is. An hour's amusement, should be to you, just what a night's sleeping is. It should make you stronger, clearer-headed, braver, calmer-souled, more hopeful, more earnest, more enthusiastic--inspiring you for godly living. Anything which leaves a taint of impurity upon the life, or starts a thought of impurity in the mind, anything which degrades or debases the soul--is an unfit and unworthy amusement for a Christian. Christian amusements must be such, as do not harm spiritual life; they must be means of grace.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do--do everything for God's glory!" 1 Cor. 10:31

J. R. Miller, In Green Pastures, 1890


 If not by Gospel--then by entertainment

Jesus pitied sinners, pleaded with them, sighed over them, warned them, and wept over them; but He never sought to amuse them!

When many of His disciples turned away, because of the searching nature of His preaching--I do not find there was any attempt to bring them back, by resorting to something more pleasant to the flesh. I do not hear Him saying, "We must keep up the gatherings at any cost! So run after the people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow! Something very short and attractive, with little, if any, preaching. Today was a service for God --but tomorrow we will have a pleasant evening for the people! Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it, and have a pleasant time. Be quick, Peter! We must get the people somehow; if not by Gospel--then by entertainment!"No, this was not how He argued. Gazing in sorrow on those who would not hear the Word--He simply turns to the twelve, and asks, "Will you go away also?"

- Archibald Brown, The Devil's Mission of Amusement

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"I am the light of the world" John 8:12