By Wayne S. Walker
“Church of Christ, [street address, city name], is celebrating Family Emphasis Month in September every Wednesday evening at 7:30 p. m. Each Wednesday a 25-minute segment of the film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be shown followed by family games and activities designed to understand the film.”
The above notice appeared some years ago in the local newspaper of a city near where I was living at the time. This writer does not necessarily believe that it is wrong to show films in Bible classes if they are used to teach what the Bible actually says, although watching The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, while taken from a great fantasy book based on a Judaeo-Christian worldview which I highly recommend, is hardly the same thing as studying the Bible itself. Furthermore, whatever activities might ensue, they should be designed to understand the Scriptures and not just the film. There would also be some question about special church celebrations like “Family Emphasis Month” in the first place (Galatians 4:10).
However, the main problem with this announcement is the “family games” which were to follow. After having lived in that area for a number of years, I have a little knowledge of the history of this particular congregation. It is what we would call a “liberal church” and has accepted all the social gospel trappings with which that term has come to be associated. They take the position now held by the Gospel Advocate magazine. However, I would like for you to consider this quote from the Gospel Advocate Annual Lesson Commentary, 1951, pp. 225-229:
“It is not the duty of the church to provide entertainment for young or old. It is not a part of the program of the church to provide playgrounds, programs of entertainment, or supervisors of such programs….It is definitely no more the duty of the church to provide recreation for the young people than it is to provide a business for every member of the church to conduct….
“Building recreation rooms and providing and supervising recreational activities at the expense of the church is a departure from the simple gospel plan as revealed in the New Testament. The church might as well relieve the parents of feeding and disciplining all the young people at church expense as to take over the job of entertaining and supervising their recreation at church expense….Be sure to get a clear conception of the duties of the home as contrasted with the duties of the church in the matter of recreation. To confuse the two realms of activity will involve us in absurdities” (end of quote).
Back in 1951 very few if any members of the Lord’s church believed that the church should become involved in recreation and entertainment. And if someone were so bold as to suggest such, he would quickly be shown the error of his suggestion from the Scriptures (Romans 14:17, 1 Corinthians 11:22). But today, whole congregations of people who still call themselves after the glorious name of Christ have completely lost faith in the power of the gospel to save souls (Romans 1:16). Instead they have turned to fun and games to draw men. And then these brethren claim that they have not changed!
—taken from Torch; January, 1986 (Vol. XXI, No. 1), pp. 20-21