We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Monday, December 26, 2011

Religious Plays

Religious shows leave a bad flavor.  When they enter the holy place, they come perilously near to offering strange fire to the Lord.  At their worst they are sacrilege; always they are unnecessary, and at their best they are a poor substitute for prayer and the Holy Ghost.  Church plays are invariably cheap and amateurish, and in addition to grieving the Holy Ghost, those who attend them are cheated by getting wretchedly poor entertainment for their money.
A.W. Tozer (The Early Tozer: A Word in Season, p. 98)

3 comments:

Mare Mitchell said...

Every Easter season our church puts on a play presenting the gospel message and we have seen several people come to know CHrist as a result and some are now members of our church. Used in a right way, dramas with a gospel message absolutely can be used by God. Tozer is certainly entitled to his personal distaste for them, but I'd like to know what scriptural basis he would cite.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Mare,

God can use anything to reach people. But pragmatism isn't a good theology. God led me to the truth via a trip through Mormonism, but I dare say that i would never recommend anyone to join the Mormon church to find God.

What you win people with is what you win them to.
While a play may be good, to judge all the horrendous plays (especially the ghastly Easter passion plays I've seen), by one or two good ones is not a good way to approve a method.

There is never, ever a need for a play. If your church just taught the Easter story instead of using a play, don't you think it would have been just as effective? After all, the Bible says it is the WORD which leads people to Christ, and not a stage show.

Additionally, a church putting on such a play forgets the purpose of the church is not to be a place of evangelism - that job is for the individual members.
http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-is-church-for.html

I think Tozer was right on target.

big sis said...

Thanks so much for your response. Absolutely agree christian plays should never supplant teaching the word. Our church certainly teaches the Easter story all year long and on Easter, and the play is not used in place of the service on Easter Sunday. Our plays do not present the Easter story (the Bible cannot be improved upon) rather they are fictional works portraying the effect of the gospel in people's lives. Those who were led to Christ after seeing the gospel presented in our plays (once a year, not something we rely on) have stuck around to be discipled, too! :) Also, I would argue that putting on an evangelistic play once a year does not mean the church is confused about its purpose.