Added thoughts on the Christian and amusement 

Dear editor,

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.

Anthony Corbin  
Garland, TX