I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where he devoted time to play and amusement. He was the Educator for the present and future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusements of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; yet Christ was our pattern in all things. -Ellen G White. (Fundaments of Christian Education, page 229.)
How Many are aware that today's revival of interest in using theatrical performances for evangelism was prophesied a century ago?
I am instructed that we shall meet with all kinds of experiences and that men will try to bring strange performances into the work of God. We have met such things in many places. In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical performances in connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden. Men who thought they had a wonderful work to do sought to adopt a strange deportment and manifested oddities in bodily exercise. The light given me was, "Give this no sanction." These performances, which savored of the theatrical, were to have no place in the proclamation of the solemn messages entrusted to us. --Evangelism, page137,138.
The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ's order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God, but the presentation of the truth in the love of Christ. --Testimonies for the Church Volume Nine, page 142.
Death Clad in the Livery of Heaven
Death, clad in the livery of heaven, lurks in the pathway of the young. Sin is gilded over by church sanctity. These various forms of amusement in the churches of our day have ruined thousands who, but for them, might have remained upright and become the followers of Christ. Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will be destroyed; yet people will not be aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences exerted. Many young men and women have lost their souls through these corrupting influences. --R. & H., Nov. 21, 1878 (Counsels on Stewardship, page 202)
SDA School Talent Shows?
We tremble for the youth of our day, because of the example that is given them by those who profess to be Christians. We cannot close the door of temptation to the youth, but we can educate them that their words and their actions may have a direct bearing upon their future happiness or misery. They will be exposed to temptation. They will meet foes without and foes within, but they can be instructed to stand firm in their integrity, having moral principle to resist temptation. The lessons given our youth by world-loving professors are doing great harm. The festal gatherings, the gluttonous feasts, the lotteries, tableaux, and theatrical performances, are doing a great work that will bear a record with its burden of results to the Judgment. --The Signs of the Times, 04-19-83
Sanctioning Theatrical Performances By Your Presence (in the service of another leader)
Had you, my sister, followed on to know the Lord, you would during this period of time have had enlightenment from the Sun of Righteousness. Your only safety lay in following in His footsteps. But in not decidedly taking your stand to give no sanction by your presence to the theatrical performance of your children, you have encouraged them in their choice of the use they have made of their talents. Their capabilities and power belong to God, but they are not now being used to gather with Christ. All their talents were lent them to use to the honor and the glory of God, that they might win souls away from everything that pertains to this class of fascinating amusement that absorbs the mind and draws it away from God and from heavenly things. But they have not had an experimental knowledge of what is truth. The principles of truth have never been stamped upon their souls. The deceptive temptation that they can be a blessing to the world while serving as actresses is a delusion and a snare, not only to themselves, but to your own soul. Said Christ, "Without Me ye can do nothing." Can the Lord Jesus Christ accept these theatrical exhibitions as service done for Him? Can He be glorified thereby? No. All this kind of work is done in the service of another leader. --Manuscript Releases Volume Eleven, page 335, 336Not in Harmony with the Message
God is not pleased by your large outlay of means to advertise your meetings, and by the display made in other features of your work. The display is out of harmony with the principles of the Word of God. He is dishonored by your expensive preparations. At times you do that which is represented to me as the shredding of wild gourds into the pot. This display makes the truth taste too strongly of the dish. Man is exalted. The truth is not advanced, but hindered. Sensible men and women can see that the theatrical performances are not in harmony with the solemn message that you bear.-- Letter 190, 1902. (Evangelism, page127)
Benefits No One
We might see a different order of things should a number consecrate themselves wholly to God, and then devote their talents to the Sabbath school work, ever advancing in knowledge, and educating themselves so that they would be able to instruct others as to the best methods to employ in the work; but it is not for the workers to seek for methods by which they can make a show, consuming time in theatrical performances and musical display, for this benefits no one. It does no good to train the children to make speeches for special occasions. They should be won to Christ, and instead of expending time, money, and effort to make a display, let the whole effort be made to gather sheaves for the harvest. ---Fundamentals of Christian Education, page 253.
Lyceums and Literary Societies
The mind that rejects all this cheapness, and is taxed to dwell only upon elevated, ponderous, deep, and broad truths, will strengthen. A knowledge of the Bible excels all other knowledge in strengthening the intellect. If your lyceums and literary societies would be made an opportunity for searching the Bible, it would be far more an intellectual society than it can ever become through the attention being turned to theatrical performances. What high and noble truths the mind may fasten upon and explore in God's Word! The mind may go deeper and still deeper in its research, becoming stronger with every effort to comprehend truth, and yet there will be an infinity beyond. --Manuscript Releases Volume Two, page 245, 246
What about High Quality Theatrical Performances?
There is an abundance of theatrical performances in our world, but in its highest order it is without God. We need now to point souls to the uplifted Saviour. Deceptions, impositions, and every evil work are in our world. Satan, the wily foe in angel's garments, is working to deceive and destroy. The object of the death of Christ was to declare His righteousness, and no man, woman or child can do this in his own strength, or by his own words. --Manuscript Releases Volume Eleven, page 338
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