Religion as Entertainment

By J. Fluit

We can make wrong images of God in our mind by building mental pictures or making images of Him. This is just what the media of modern Christendom is busy doing - building pictures of a Jesus and of a God they do not know, which are nothing but idols.

What are some examples of this in our day? A visit to any religious bookstore will present to you a flood of examples. We will mention only a few. The samples I will show you will be returned. I bought them simply to use as vivid illustrations of this awful plague. My intention is to raise an alarm, and to give a serious warning to all against this material and to raise your defenses against it. It is so awful when we realize, just a little, of what an offense this is before a Holy and Righteous God. It reminds me of when Ezekiel was taken by the Spirit to Jerusalem (Ezekiel 8). He saw "all the idols of the house of Israel portrayed upon the wall," "women weep- ing for Tammuz;" "and they worshipped the sun toward the east". The Lord de- clares in the last verse of chapter 8 what shall come upon them and us if we con- tinue in such a pathway.

Play Acting- The first examples involve play acting. Passion Plays are reenactments of the crucifixion of Jesus, sometimes very elaborate. We condemn any performance put on by people acting - in videos, movies, or church pageants. In all these the audience can "see," can "hear," can "experience" the message. But all such efforts are of the flesh and are grievous to the Spirit of God, who alone works upon the hearts by His own Word and by His own means. Animated movies such as ’Prince of Egypt’ are a horrible mockery of all that is holy in God’s Word. Movies with Bible themes, such as the Ten Commandments where actors and actresses handle God’s Word and someone tries to imitate the voice of God - oh, what a great abomination this is in the sight of God; before whom Moses hid his face at the burning bush and the Apostle John fell on his face at the sight of Him on the isle of Patmos. In the reference material used for our discussion questions you will see pictures from the cover of a children’s book which teaches them how to put on a play about Jesus’ birth. This foolish mockery was already known in Pastor Huntington’s time and he condemned it heartily.

Christian Learning Aids- In the effort to reach children and the unchurched masses, an incredible flood of children’s "Christian" learning aids have been published. Children’s videos, tapes, songs, books, coloring books, activity books, cartoons, comic strips; all of which are being used to capture the hearts of children. They are designed to "tell the story," or to "teach the children to pray," or to "give lessons in faith," and so the lie goes out to the unsuspecting masses of parents and children alike. Veggie Tales is a good example of this system of idolatry, which leads the souls of children to certain destruction. I have included one of these in the reference materials. On the back cover of this video it says, "this hilarious retelling of the Biblical story of David and Goliath... " - I ask you... "Who but the Devil could make that story hilarious?" Young people, you must strive to keep these things out of your homes and away from your little brothers and sisters. May God give us as parents wisdom to train up our children according to our promise at their baptism. Our children need to hear us pray, and to hear us tell them of God’s works and ways, and not to hear and see these false and wicked images of holy things.

Gospel music - Gospel rock - Gospel Contemporary- Gospel-whatever, many musicians and artists are welcomed into church worship services today to "add," to "help," to be a "means" to worship God. But, we may ask with Isaiah, "who hath required this of your hands?" The worldly beat of this type of music does not inspire reverence for God and is abhorred by all true children of God. The lyrics or words of these modern "Christian" singers reflect a false, freewill, empty, man-centered religion that will bring souls into pathways that lead to eternal destruction. This you will see when you compare the words from two songs from a CD called Speechless by Steven Curtis Chapman, to the words of two of our beloved hymns from Isaac Watts and John Newton. This gospel artist is popular even among some students in our school.

Truly the words of II Cor. 11:14b are being fulfilled in our days "for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." And he sits as God in the hearts of millions, pretending that he is God (read II Thess. 2). God has warned us of Satan’s wiles and has urged us to "try the spirits, whether they are of God." This sin of making images to worship God by has helped make modern Christianity to be at peace with Roman Catholicism. Man loves this man-made worship! It is entertaining and pleasing to our flesh. As one billboard in Grand Rapids says, "church the way it oughta be." But God hates all such worship. It is contrary to His Word and the operations of His Holy Spirit. Such worship will bring our souls into hell (see Matt. 25).

Our parents need great wisdom and courage to keep all these materials out of their homes and away from their children. Each of us here needs to reject these devices of Satan - all designed to deceive us for a never-ending eternity. Dear young friends, do not buy any "gospel" rnusic. Do not listen to any "gospel" radio stations. Do not attend any "gospel" music concerts or festivals. Be not deceived, but be of a good courage. Do not be afraid to be separate from the world, especially from this false religious world. We have a precious sou1 to win or to lose. Paul urges in II Cor. 6:17 "be ye separate."

May the Lord by His Holy Spirit keep us every day. May He give us courage to take a stand. May He give us discernment to recognize the wiles of the Devil and to resist them. And may His Holy Word be our only guide and our only source of instruction.

I will close with a personal word of encouragement. When I was in California a few months ago, feeling terribly alone and in a sea of godlessness, I opened my Bible to Joel 2:26 the last part, and read "and my people shall never be ashamed." My heart broke as I read these words. I was melted to tears. We may be shunned by the world, scorned by the proud, despised by all, and appear vile in our own eyes but God’s promise is ’my people shall never be ashamed." Why? Because He bore our shame upon the cross. The prornise is repeated in the next verse, which reads, "I am the Lord your God, and none else: and my people shall never be ashamed." As with an oath, the Lord repeats it twice and His promise shall stand.

The next day it was stormy outside, black clouds every- where, when an opening in the clouds let the brilliant rays of sunshine through. A most beautiful rainbow appeared. So beautiful, that I pulled into a parking lot to admire it. As I stood outside my car gazing upward, a second rainbow appeared beneath the first. This sign confirms to us God’s promise to Noah; and as I meditated and watched the double rainbow slowly disappear, the words of Joel 2 came back to my mind,"... and my people shall never, never be ashamed."