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by George Kulp
Amusements a Failure
The mission of amusement utterly fails to effect the desired end among the unsaved, but it works havoc among the young converts. Were it a success, it would be none the less wrong. Success belongs to God; faithfulness to His instructions to me. But it is not. Test it even by this, and it is a contemptible failure. Let that be the method which is answered by fire, and the verdict will be, "The preaching of the Word, that is the power."
Let us see the converts that have been won by amusements. Let the harlots and the drunkards, to whom a dramatic entertainment has been God's first link in the chain of their conversion, stand forth. Let the careless and the scoffers, who have cause to thank God that the Church has relaxed her spirit of separation and met them half way in their worldliness, speak and testify. Let the husbands, wives and children that rejoice in a new and holy home through "Sunday evening lectures on social questions," tell out their joy.
Let the weary, heavy-laden souls that have found peace through a concert, no longer keep silent. Let the men and women who have found Christ through the reversal of apostolic methods, declare the same, and show the greatness of Paul's blunder when he said, "I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." There is neither voice nor any answer. The failure is on a par with the folly, and as huge as the sin. Out of thousands with whom I have personally conversed, the mission of amusement has claimed no convert.
Now let the appeal be made to those who, repudiating every other method, have staked everything on the Book and the Holy Ghost. Let them be challenged to produce results. There is no need. Blazing sacrifices on every hand attest the answer by fire. Ten thousand times ten thousand voices are ready to declare that the plain preaching of the Word was first and last the cause of their salvation.
But how about the other side of this matter ? -- what are the baneful effects? Are they also nil? I will here solemnly, as before the Lord, give my personal testimony. Though I have never seen a sinner saved, I have seen a number of backsliders manufactured by this new departure. Over and over again have young Christians, and sometimes Christians who are not young, come to me in tears, and asked what they were to do, as they had lost all their peace and fallen into evil. Over and over again has the confession been made, "I began to go wrong by attending worldly amusements that Christians patronized."
"Come out," is the call for today. Sanctify yourselves. Put away the evil from among you. Cast down the world's altars and cut down her groves. Spurn her offered assistance. Decline her help, as your Master did the testimony of devils, "for He suffered them not to speak, for they knew Him." Renounce all the policy of the age. Trample upon Saul's armor. Grasp the Book of God. Trust the Spirit who wrote its pages. Fight with this weapon only, and always. Cease to amuse, and seek to arouse. Shun the clap of a delighted audience, and listen to the sobs of a convicted one. Give up trying to please men who have only the thickness of their ribs between their souls and Hell, and warn, and plead, and entreat, as those who feel the waters of eternity creeping upon them.
Let the Church again confront the world; testify against it; meet it only behind the cross; and, like her Lord, she shall overcome, and with Him share the victory.
An Amusement Bureau
The Church is not bound to provide amusement for her young people. The Bible sanctions no such theory. The apostles had no time for such business. The Church of Jesus Christ was organized for holy, spiritual, and saving purposes. It is a school, and not a playground. It is a work-shop; not a pleasure resort. It is the birthplace of souls; not the sporting ground of adolescence. There is an urgent need in many quarters for a return to this Scriptural conception. The young ought to be educated to the idea that the soul is of the first importance, and that all else must be subordinate to its conversion and sanctification.
— The Presbyterian.
What's the Difference?
A boy astonished his Christian mother by asking for a dollar to buy a share in a raffle for a silver watch that was to be raffled off in a beer saloon. His mother was horrified, and rebuked him. "But," said he, "mother, did you not bake a cake with a ring in it, to be raffled off in the Sunday School fair?" "But my son," said she, "that was for the Church." "But if it was wrong," said the boy, "would doing it for the Church make it right? Would it be right for me to steal money to put it in the collection? And if it is right for the Church, is it not right for me to get this watch if I can?" The good woman was speechless, and no person can answer the boy's argument. The practices are both wrong or they are right.