Added thoughts on the Christian and amusement
I would like to add some thoughts to Rev. Mahtani’s timely article “Amusement: The mind’s escape from reality.” [SB, Sept. 1, 2021]
Rev. Mahtani writes, “God gives us time for leisure.” The Lord made the beautiful creation, the birds, fields, mountains, flowers, that we may enjoy them in a leisurely stroll or garden work. The Lord “gives His beloved sleep,” in which restful sleep we do not at all think about reality but “escape” it. He gives us six days to labor, and the seventh to “rest.” God gives us wine “to make the hearts of men merry.” He enjoins us to “enjoy the fruit of our labors.”
All these amusements are to be used in the service of God. “Do all for the glory of God,” even playing video games. How do we do this? While one way is certainly that it glorifies God when we enjoy the good things He has gifted us with, I’d like to point out another aspect, in connection with which Rev. Mahtani writes, “diversions as reprieve from the difficult realities of life are not necessarily sin…in measure, we may receive them.” I believe we can go a step further: such diversions are even necessary in the Christian life.
The wise Christian understands his own weaknesses, and that traversing through this dry and hot desert of sin and strenuous labor requires occasional (sometimes even frequent) refreshing rests at a cool oasis. This required rest is not only spiritual (praying, Sabbath observance, etc.) but also physical, emotional, and psychological, for we belong to our Savior in soul and body. “The Lord knoweth our frame, that we are dust,” and in His kindness partly provides ‘amusement’ for it.
The mother who has a stressful, busy day with her kids needs regular “downtime” to have a bath and read good fiction. The minister benefits from team sports activities where for an hour his mind is immersed in chasing the ball and physically competing with other men. And, of course, it is integral to healthy childhood that children play.
Combined with spiritual refreshment, the mother and minister are then strengthened in both soul and body (which includes also the mind) to engage again in the labors of the kingdom.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall,” is true also for our approach to amusement. Beware, lest we think that we are stronger than we are, and despise the amusement God provides for us. Christian ministers and men sometimes have a “burn out.” Sometimes covenant homes become places of constant shouting and stress. How many of these situations could have been avoided through a healthy use of amusement?
Thus, amusement is used by the wise Christian not as an escape from his Christian duties but as an indispensable and God-given aid to it. In this way, it is to be used in a good conscience, to God’s glory. It ought not merely be tolerated as a necessary evil, or as something stronger Christians tolerate in weaker Christians. There is Christian liberty in how much and what kind of non-sinful amusement is needed, but not in whether it is needed.
In conclusion, it seems to me a key criteria to help us Christians properly evaluate and control our (non-sinful) amusement activities is this: Is our amusement helping us, or hindering us, from leading godly lives?
Yours in Christ, Manuel Kuhs Member of the Covenant Protestant Reformed Church, Ballymena, Northern Ireland
Thanks for the SB in prison
Dear Standard Bearer,
I am writing to inform you that you may end my subscription to your magazine as of October 1, 2021. This subscription was provided by Trinity PRC [Hudsonville, MI]. Please extend my thanks to them for this subscription and the many books that they have sent to me over the past couple of years.
I would also like to thank you for the many wonderful articles I have read over the years. They have provided many insights to some of the teachings of Calvin, Herman Hoeksema, David Engelsma, Herman Hanko, etc., just to name a few from the great Reverends from the PRCA. I do plan on renewing my subscription….
I would like to thank everyone at the Standard Bearer and PRCA for being willing to reach out to prisoners. I can’t even begin to tell you how much knowledge I have gained and how much I have grown. You have also helped me introduce the Word of God to other men in the system along with members of my family.
May God the Father continue to bless your church according to His will.
Sincerely, Anthony Corbin Garland, TX