Is the acting profession compatible with Godliness?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by JennyG, Apr 15, 2010.

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  1. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    That's the first time that I've ever heard that Shakespeare reflected a clear Christian worldview, in fact, from what I've learned about him it has been quite the opposite. I haven't studied what the Puritans thought about the acting profession itself, but I could clearly understand why they would consider his plays and the theater a hotbed of sin. His plays were laced with homosexuality and promiscuity. And it was rumored that he himself had several affairs while he was married. So, I wonder if it wasn't the immorality itself that the Puritans objected to?
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2010
  2. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

  3. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Ha! Good saying. And by the way, your private message storage is filled. I was going to message you about a mutual friend (Brian Shealy). :)
  4. Andres

    Andres Puritan Board Doctor

    In light of my original commentson the film Fireproof, perhaps I should clarify. I am not the one who said the movie was cheesy. I didn't think it was. I said it was very poorly produced and unless one is naive or doesn't see very many movies, this is a fact. I think it's great a movie would convey the above sentiments, but unless the movies are made on a better scale then Fireproof, most people won't take them seriously.
  5. buggy

    buggy Puritan Board Freshman

    The acting profession requires a huge amount of creativity, lots of thinking out of the box, and in the case of the Christian performer, tremendous amount of spiritual strength to ensure his works conform to the Word of God.

    Some Christians are unable to comprehend such thing and hence I think that is why many condemn acting and the theatre. From the early church fathers (Augustine), to the Puritans and also some evangelical preachers like JC Ryle.

    The problem has never been films, music, of itself, but rather the depraved heart and the evils produced (Mt. 15:19).
  6. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    A useful point.

    Now, my question is whether they were against acting per se or simply because the people in the profession were almost all given over to ungodly things. That is, that the stage plays were vulgar and of questionable themes. If the latter is the case, then we might take the same position today. Hollywood is almost 100% ungodly, and there is very little good material. Thus we might choose to reject the entire profession of acting because of the association it holds.

    I have not concluded anything on this subject yet. Although, in effect, my practice is almost a complete rejection of TV and movies because there is very little that I would watch today. It is so difficult to find appropriate things to view that I reject the whole lot because it is not a good use of my time to put in the effort to find appropriate material.

    So, can anyone expand on the Puritan view?
  7. JennyG

    JennyG Puritan Board Graduate

    You make some good points, Tim. I'm also still thinking this through, and I take the same approach to TV and movies - screening for things that are ok definitely would take too much time to be worth the bother.
    That's a very interesting question, whether the Puritans would have objected to acting in itself, or whether the only problem was the de facto correlation between professional actors and ungodliness.
    Next question:
    is that correlation (which does seem surprisingly constant even if it isn't universal) just purely accidental?
  8. he beholds

    he beholds Puritan Board Doctor

    We watched it last night and my husband was almost mad at the movie. I guess he didn't think it was fair that the movie was so poorly made, but had good themes, so it was hard to criticize and not feel guilty about it. For instance, the conversion scene was not great art and was terribly acted, BUT, it was a conversion (which is a GREAT thing!) so to criticize it seems anti-Christian. And he was annoyed that this movie, which wasn't even a good movie, made him feel guilty for not being perfect. Whereas reading, for example, some of C.S. Lewis's fiction might make one also feel guilty for not being perfect, but it is so well-written that you are happy to be inspired by it.

    I actually liked the movie well-enough, but I was sort of watching it with people I know with dissolving marriages in mind. So I ended up thinking, "This might be a good movie for so-and-so." My one complaint, though, is that it tried to make up for poor dialogue and acting with highly intensive emotional scenes (like the one fire scene and the yelling at the wife, etc.). It kind of made me think about street preachers who use scare tactics rather than the Gospel to preach. (Which is ironic, since I think Kirk Cameron is a good street preacher!)
  9. Wannabee

    Wannabee Obi Wan Kenobi

    Haven't you ever seen a man yell at his wife like this? I have. In fact, I'm sad to confess that early in our marriage I did so. That seen was more realistic than most of us care to admit. And, quite often, the woman is yelling just as loud or louder rather than backing down in despair.

    This movie gave me many opportunities to reflect and ask myself where I'm guilty. Wherever I'm guilty I should be grateful for God showing me for it offers an opportunity to repent. Anger at feeling guilt is a form of pride, unless it's a false sense of guilt. Of course, we should know Scripture well enough to not feel a false sense of guilt as well. This movie, even with it's short comings, is far superior to the trash out there that's called "excellent" by the media and many who claim Christ. I'll have my family watch this before such trash as is often heralded as a good production any time. However imperfectly, it points to Christ. Do we?
  10. TexanRose

    TexanRose Puritan Board Sophomore

  11. BertMulder

    BertMulder Puritan Board Junior

    This pamphlet, Margaret?

    The Evil of Drama

    hardly can be, though, as Rev. Smit has not been in the ministry that long... he was ordained in 1996...
  12. Jerusalem Blade

    Jerusalem Blade Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is perhaps the pamphlet: THE CHRISTIAN AND THE FILM ARTS, by Herman Hanko. It was brought up in a thread,

    To which I responded with,

    This is a very important topic to me — not acting so much as fiction generally — as my primary vocation is as a language artist, not a teaching elder (which I am doing temporarily. I have explained this elsewhere, a number of times — though I must strongly state that the calling of a true elder / pastor is the highest calling in this world). Not that I see fiction per se as evil at all; it is far more nuanced. But later for that. It's bedtime here.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  13. Galatians220

    Galatians220 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Well, Bert and Steve, when I say "years ago," I probably mean 1996 or thereabouts. I was converted in 1995 and I started subscribing to the Standard Bearer in 1997 (am still a subscriber), which would have been where I saw "The Evil of Drama" advertised. I'm sure that was its title due to the necessity of having to be interviewed to get it; the one by Hanko also looks good, though, and I appreciate its mention here again.

    Gentlemen, have a blessed Lord's Day!

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