This question was suggested to me in connection with my editorials about the dancing-issue in the Christian Reformed Church. Perhaps this same question arose in the minds of some of our readers. Perhaps when it arose, it even had the implication: you don’t have to hang up the dirty wash of the Christian Reformed Church, for you have enough dirty laundry of your own which needs attention.
Now I deny, of course, that I intended to display anyone’s dirty washing. In that I have absolutely no interest, either editorially or otherwise. My interest is in the truth and its maintenance, and in God’s children walking according to truth.
But I am quite willing to face the question: what about ourselves?
Then, in the first place, I wish to state that one would have to be blind and deaf not to recognize the fact that among our people and our churches there is, in a sense, an “amusements problem.” There is a problem in the sense that there is indulgence in illicit amusements among our people. Perhaps, this is even more widespread than some know or would care to admit. Those who are not aware of it should wake up and—I was going to say “smell the coffee.” I probably should say “smell the smoke—of hell-fire.” And I am not being flippant.
This is not a new problem, only perhaps more aggravated in our day.
But the problem has been with us many years. Being a “preacher’s kid” sometimes was a restraint on the confidences shared with you by fellow young people. But it was not enough of a restraint to prevent me from knowing that movie attendance was too common already when I was a teenager.
Further, I am almost nineteen years removed from the pastorate; but this does not mean I have forgotten those occasions in the consistory room when young people who came to profess their faith shamefacedly had to admit indulgence in worldly entertainments. And the occasions were too frequent!
Neither is the seminary so much of an “ivory tower” as to remove me from some of the stark realities of life today. I know of them, and I hear of them. In a future editorial I hope to write of them.
In the second place, I wish to point out this important difference: our Protestant Reformed Churches do not officially condone and even promote this indulgence in carnal entertainments. In fact—and I trust that our consistories actually practice this—we officially condemn it and oppose it and guard against the inroads of these practices in our churches. Still more, we do so on the basis of sound principle, the principle of the absolute antithesis.
But, in the third place, I wish to emphasize that, the question is nevertheless a legitimate one, even a salutary one: what about ourselves? It is a question of self-examination for us as churches and self-examination for us as families and individuals.
Such self-examination, properly conducted, can only have a good effect.
We intend to help in this examination in the future in these columns.