I write to you regarding two matters. First of all, we find greater and greater diversification of liturgical forms in our churches today. To me a similarity in the form of worship has resulted in a display of unity which our churches hold in common. We find that each church is free to choose its own form of worship whether they do or do not have the knowledge of Reformed practice that has led to our forms of worship.
I believe that generally our liturgy can be improved,—such as more oral participation by the congregation. It seems to me that Synod, through a Liturgy Committee, could recommend a form of worship and inform each consistory of their proposal, to guard the worship practice in our churches. Could there not be an article written on the history of Reformed liturgy, dealing with Reformed and non-Reformed practices? Perhaps these remarks will generate a discussion by other concerned individuals regarding this matter.
Secondly, I write in regard to recent articles on movie attendance, with the mode of the editorial “In Support of Movies” (March 15 issue of the Standard Bearer) more specifically in mind. It is my understanding that our churches have not made an ecclesiastical decision regarding movie attendance, but that, therefore, this article is an opinion. I was taught in my youth that Reformed people cannot make hard rules pertaining to matters not explicitly forbidden in Scripture; for such imposes an illegitimate restriction on the liberty of a Christian. An excellent past article dealing with our liberty and unlawful restrictions is ‘‘Christian Liberty vs. Judging and Despising,” by Rev. Harbach in the May, 1963 issue of Beacon Lights. I am persuaded that certain travel and adventure movies are instructive and are not the spirit of antichrist. It seems to me that there is an inconsistency when all movies are condemned rather than the far majority, which are to be condemned, and for this reason the Christian does not belong in a theater. Here our churches speak out strongly, and on other evil practices we hear nothing. I have in mind, for example, the lack of self-control over cigarettes by many members in our churches who must turn to them for the relief of tension to the destruction of their own bodies.
I do not write in defense of the corrupt movies which are, I believe, gaining in immorality and sin. Especially the youth who more greatly face this temptation must be warned that because of the corruption found in most movies they do not belong in attendance.
I have always noted a lack of textual proof of no movie attendance, but rather logic. By a reasoning of what is considered sound sense almost anything can be condemned, i.e., sports, customs, etc.
This warning against carnal movies must not be directed to others too quickly, but must be directed to our Protestant Reformed people who cannot control their private screen.
Frank Van Baren, Loveland, Colorado