"Secular Moments"

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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Bob, I would be very careful, if I were you, not to tilt the plank the other way, and slide into the abyss of antinomianism and lawlessness. There is a fine balance here. Yes, we have Christian liberty, but let us not use this liberty for an occasion for the flesh.

Everything is lawful for me, but everything does not edify.

Quit asking "What is wrong with it"

Start asking "What is right with it"

And perhaps: "Can I, in good conscience, ask the Lord's blessing over this?"
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Bert, I am being careful. If I could sum up my response to Kevin, it would be thus: "How can you judge another with sweeping generalizations?" I am not seeking to justify wrong behaviors or count myself righteous by works. This is not about seeing the movie "300" or going to church every moment the doors are open. If you share Kevin's opinions, then by all means abstain from movies, television or buying CD's. But don't create a filter that all believers must pass through in order to be righteous and god-fearing in your eyes.
 

turmeric

Megerator
Bert, I am being careful. If I could sum up my response to Kevin, it would be thus: "How can you judge another with sweeping generalizations?" I am not seeking to justify wrong behaviors or count myself righteous by works. This is not about seeing the movie "300" or going to church every moment the doors are open. If you share Kevin's opinions, then by all means abstain from movies, television or buying CD's. But don't create a filter that all believers must pass through in order to be righteous and god-fearing in your eyes.

Is this what you're getting at?

[bible]Colossians 2:20-23[/bible]
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
As far as I can tell from Matthew Henry, Col 2:20-23 speaks to ceremonial law, the combining of Mosaic law with following Christ - not sure if it is applicable here. I am talking about NT injunctions only.
 
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kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
So how would you address the two instances below, Bill?

If I go to a strip joint just to learn new dance moves and have a beer and can say that I am not brought to adulterous thoughts by my presence there, does that mean that no brother should have the audacity to speak to me of the wickedness I am participating in?

Find the benefit to a Christian in these verses:

Quote:
I feel drawn towards the evil chanting hordes
They seem to mesmerise me ... can't avoid their eyes
666 the number of the beast
666 the one for you and me

I'm coming back I will return
And I'll possess your body and I'll make you burn
I have the fire I have the force
I have the power to make my evil take it's course

We do not specifically sin in listening to it; we are not involved in worship of Satan, we are merely a spectator, listening to a song about an experience that involved a third party. Is there then no sin in partaking thereof? I'm sorry; hand me the funny hat, get me started on Latin lessons, and get me a good German beer - I will accept the title of Pope if that is what my comments were in this instance.

1. Can any of us stand before the Lord and say that these were acts that fell under "Christian Liberty", that we saw our brother partake thereof and said not a word?

2.Can we ask the Lord to bless the time spent in enjoying these activities?

Can you honestly say that numbers 1 and 2 would be too much of a "filter"? Is that "self-made" religion?

don't create a filter that all believers must pass through in order to be righteous and god-fearing in your eyes.

I did not set a filter. Bert did not set a filter. I don't think it matters how holy you are Bert's eyes, and I don't think that's the intent in his post.

But can you read scripture and say there is not a call to live apart from the world?

We often run away with one main idea or theme without considering the rest:
Christian Liberty - I may do absolutely anything that is not expressly forbidden in Scripture.
True Religion - as long as I look after widows and orphans, I am good to go.
The greatest is this, love your neighbour as yourselves - I love my neighbour, I am following the greatest commandment of all.

Granted, these are largely expressions of liberal theology, and I am not pointing that finger at you. But now: "Why do you live as though I never gave you a law?" - bring that up and there is a firestorm of legalism thrust your way. Why? Does it offend? If it does, then why? Is it that we see it as an intrusion? Remember, we are not just told what to do, we are even told what to think in the Gospel.

Better yet, address Spurgeon's quote from a previous post:

If you were God's children, you would loathe the very thought of the world's evil joys, and your question would not be, 'How far may we be like the world?' but your one cry would be, 'How far can we get away from the world? How much can we come out from it?' Your temptation would be rather to become sternly severe, and ultra-Puritanical in your separation from sin, in such a time as this, than to ask, 'How can I make myself like other men, and act as they do?"'

Destroy it, take it apart, fine. But here before you I hold up a godly man and his exhortations - reply to this admonition, please. What did he mean if not to tell us to come away from the world in a material and visible way?

Again, I must point to the OP and ask why we kick against scriptural admonitions so forcefully? Why, if we hold godly men as examples (Poole, Henry, Calvin, Farel, Owen, etc.) and seek to live as they did, why do we then frolic with the world with such abandon? Where is the attraction?
 
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satz

Puritan Board Senior
Kevin,

I think this has been a good thread, and there is admonishment here that is worth considering. It has certainly caused me to consider more how I am redeeming the time in my own life. That said, it still seems to me there is a little bit of talking past one another going on in this thread. I am not sure Bill or anyone was advocating watching ‘300’. On the other hand, I think some of the answers given did seem to be answering a different question to the one you posed. Maybe it is just me. :(

I think it is worth noting that sometimes the reason these sort of entertainment threads are so poorly participated in is not necessarily completely because those to partake in entertainment are scared to defend their choices ( it maybe, to a certain or even to a large extent, I don’t know) but also because even if you happen to believe there is liberty to partake of some (not all) entertainment, there is generally little value in defending it publicly. Romans 14:22 tells us that if we have faith (to do something) we ought to keep that between God and ourselves and not broad cast it publicly. There are some areas of Christian liberty I believe are worth defending and debating over but if a brother or sister comes to the conclusion that he or she ought not to partake of any of the world’s entertainment, I generally would not see any value in challenging them on that even if you were to assume they were being overly ‘extreme’. Some may also not want to risk being painted with the board brush that sometimes is used against those who speak in favor of entertainment. It often seems those who say it is OK to partake of some, or a little entertainment are accused to saying it is OK to partake of all and any entertainment. I am not sure what in the course this thread took caused you to use the two extreme examples of a strip club and that particular song, but I guess this would be an example (I am not accusing you of the broad brush method, just taking the example). I am not sure anyone here would argue for Christian liberty to do those particular things.

Please take the following just as my thoughts regarding your OP and why I think it is not necessarily a sin per se, to partake in some entertainment. I will confess to being a stickler for privacy, so I don’t particularly care to share on a public forum what my exact personal position on these things is, though if it means anything at all, I did not think your OP or any of your subsequent posts were legalistic in any way.

At this stage, I believe (and I guess some would disagree) there is a degree to which we can use the world in a manner that does not necessarily amount to sin (1 Cor 7:31).

I believe that it is possible for Christians to partake and appreciate the art of unbelievers. Though they are not regenerate, unbelievers are still able to appreciate things like color, tune, tone etc and hence are capable of producing worthy pictures, music, stories etc. I do not disagree that everything the unbelieving produce is wicked to varying degrees, as Proverbs 21:4 says, even their plowing is sin. However, I do believe that it is possible for Christians to appreciate certain aspects of what the unbelieving do without having to approve of all aspects. Hence in 1 Corinthians 9 Paul could present the devotion to their sport of the pagan athletes of his day as something positive in a limited fashion and use it has an example of what the Corinthian Christians should imitate in their own spiritual lives by way of diligence and self sacrifice to reach a goal. This despite the fact that I am sure he would have condemned their overall character severely. Likewise Paul had no problems with quoting from pagan literature and did not feel that his use of those things meant he was approving of everything they contained. I am aware of course that the examples I presented are not of entertainment per se, but I believe they do show that it is permissible to take certain aspects of the worlds things while ignoring the rest. As another example, in 1 Corinthians 10:27, Paul told the Corinthians that if an unbeliever was to invite them to a feast, they were free to go if they wanted to. A feast hosted by an unbeliever will without doubt in many aspects be a ‘thing of the world’ and there will be much that goes on there (even if there are no obvious and severe sins) that will grate against the conscience of a sincere believer. Yet there was an extent to which a believer could simply appreciate the social hospitality (and food!) and ignore the rest. Obviously this is only to an extent, as Paul did not envisage believers attending any and everything that believers might invite them to, as he warns in his Epistles against revels and banqueting.

Now lets assume, even if you disagree, that we accept the proposition that a Christian is allowed to partake of some entertainment without sinning. That still leaves the very pertinent question of why would they want to? As a very theoretical kind of answer, I would say there is a degree of freedom. When Paul was addressing the idea of Christians being invited to feasts by unbelievers he simply said ‘and ye be disposed to go’ – if you feel like going, then go. Obviously there is the implied fact that a Christian should not go if to do so would involve him in sin and temptation, but there was that degree of freedom given even in attending such a ‘worldly’ event. In this case I believe the character of said event would need to be examined and that it is definitely possible to press the liberty given beyond the expedient into the sinful. However, if you can go and not sin, there is a certain amount of liberty.

It is not my desire to see how close we can get to the world and not sin, though I confess that is a temptation I struggle with, and that my words could be construed as such. As I said before I am grateful for your post and find much to consider and be admonished by in it. Yet at the moment if a believer (or myself, I’ll be honest) were to find a particular song, or show, or sport created by an unbeliever that they feel they can enjoy in good conscience before the Lord, I would not see it as sin.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
My intend here is not to lay down laws and regulation.

We may not impose laws, which God never commanded.

My personal experience has been, that we learn, spiritually, as we grow. There was a time in my life that I did not see anything wrong at all in partaking of the things of this world. Used to love to go to hockey games, for example. Now I cannot stand even the atmosphere there...

Not all people experience growth of personal faith in the same way. Am not imposing on anyone my personal growth. However, I do wish for all of us, including myself, a large amount of spiritual growth.

And God is the judge, not me. So ask Him for approval, not me. Let your conscience, in the Spirit, guide you, not your carnal desires.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
...in good conscience before the Lord

There it is. Can we do what we do in good conscience before the Lord? I guess that's for each of us to address privately.

Mark, I do think that we have been shooting past each other on many of the issues. I don't know that any of the core questions were actually addressed, but that is not for lack of trying by all sides; it is simply a difficult topic to fully flesh out because we tend to get caught up in the smoke and thunder that surround such issues. I would also rather that the issues had been addressed objectively, but subjectivity creeps in quickly and quietly in such matters.

I don't think it is healthy or scriptural to get to the point where we find ourselves watching paint dry in our down time because we think anything else is sin. I don't think it is scriptural to push 'the world' from intruding on our manner of conveyance until we are left riding a horse without a saddle because that's as much as the Lord gave us during Creation. And perhaps the hyperbole of the examples was not edifying, but where do we draw a line?

I guess part of the issue is that I do feel comfortable sharing private feelings on the PB because we tend to be 99.99% in agreement (though that .01% can be a doozy), and we're not going to find that level of consensus even in most congregations.

Anyway, it is perhaps better to desist from pressing for an answer and make it an issue of personal contemplation. Better that than fostering discord among brethren.

Blessings.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
So you have explained that you used to go to hockey games, but now you have "grown".... How do you know that you have grown?

Because you have marked off another activity that the world engages in off your list? Is this your proof of your spiritual growth? How do you know that you are growing and not merely becoming a pharisee.


I ask this seriously. I here so many Christians speak of "worldly things" and then this category changes based on personal preferences.

I am sure some of you on this thread have contributed to those Puritan pub threads about fine wines or cigars...you worldlings! Some of you will smoke cigars and then call someone an immature Christian because he likes a TV show.


Gotta go....wanna watch some Dora the Explorer with my boy...

Brother, to address your concern stated above, and to clarify my position:

Going to hockey games is not perse wrong. As such I do not forbid anyone from attending hockey games, including my children. I came to the personal conclusion though, that I would sooner spend the time on spiritually edifying things, than attending hockey games. Although it may have to do with me getting married about the same time...

And this is not about crossing things of a list, or being legalistic. This is, for the most part, clearly in the area of Christian liberty. It is Scripture, not I, that says not to use this liberty for an occasion for the flesh. As it is your liberty, I do not dictate. I merely state what I do, and that does not judge your behavior. I do own a television set, for the record. I do not watch a whole lot of TV, because I decided it was not for my spiritual growth.

The reason I get my back up, is because as soon as we get on this topic, we start to get the slinging of names as 'legalistic' and 'pharisee'. It ought not to be such among us. My actions do not condemn yours. Your action should not condemn mine. In that, leave the judging to God. Let me serve God the way my conscience dictates. You serve God the way your conscience dictates.

Let us not impose laws on each other, which God has not commanded. But also, let us not use the liberty, God setting us free, for an occasion for the flesh.

If you have problems with this conclusion, in my opinion your problem is not with me, but with Scripture.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
There it is. Can we do what we do in good conscience before the Lord? I guess that's for each of us to address privately.

That is my point. Why is this so difficult to understand?

If your posts are simply to encourage believers to live godly in this present age, then you will have no argument with me. If you want to publicly announce that you don't go the movies, buy CD's, or go to sporting events (just examples) then I hear you and applaud your abstinence for the purpose of godliness. But what does that have to do with anyone else? Each individual must act in accordance with the word of God. When the bible is not clear on a matter their conscience should bind them.
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
That is my point. Why is this so difficult to understand?

If your posts are simply to encourage believers to live godly in this present age, then you will have no argument with me. If you want to publicly announce that you don't go the movies, buy CD's, or go to sporting events (just examples) then I hear you and applaud your abstinence for the purpose of godliness. But what does that have to do with anyone else? Each individual must act in accordance with the word of God. When the bible is not clear on a matter their conscience should bind them.

Brother, you are forcing me to a conclusion after a conclusion. If I did what you state above, I would be a self righteous idiot. Hope the Lord spares me from behavior such as that!

We do our good works not to earn by them, or to show any righteousness in ourselves. We do them out of thankfulness.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Brother, you are forcing me to a conclusion after a conclusion. If I did what you state above, I would be a self righteous idiot. Hope the Lord spares me from behavior such as that!

We do our good works not to earn by them, or to show any righteousness in ourselves. We do them out of thankfulness.

Bert, I wasn't responding to you in my last post. I quoted Kevin and was responding to his post.

I am going to bow out of this thread. It's reached its life expectancy.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Bill, while I was trying to close this discussion gracefully above, I simply can't appreciate the "if you want to publicly announce that you..." etc. etc. I did not start this thread as a publican on a street corner that others may see my (self) righteousness.

My earlier posts, I thought, were clear - I struggle with this. I am not the head of the Sanhedrin, I am asking for clarification on incongruencies that I see. My questions, I thought, were clear. To paraphrase, I asked, among other things, "How is it that we speak so highly of Puritans and live in a way that is so very different from them?" The quote from Spurgeon followed that up with the usual Spurgeon balance of fire and eloquence. But your response did not, I feel, address the questions and instead brought out the cries of 'legalism' and the ever-popular "don't tell me how to live my life." Fine. As Bert said, and I feel the same, I am not trying to lay down the law. But after several corpulent posts back and forth, the questions still stand unanswered.

Bow out, that is your choice. But the comment that the thread has reached its "life expectancy" is premature, as none of the issues have actually been addressed.

I was hoping to hear, in addition to scriptural references, some historical references, perhaps arguments on changing culture, and maybe a comment or three on what Spurgeon was really getting at when he said what he did.

But no. Pharisee. Pope. Legalism. That's what it boils down to, I guess.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Kevin - I probably am not the one to answer your questions. I wish I could. I'll be happy to reword my assertion that this thread has reached it's life expectancy. For me the thread has reached it end.

I read into your statements more than just questions. I saw conclusion. If I am wrong, I apologize. It is not my intent to hinder your Christian growth. I struggle with my own inadequacies, and often wonder how a such a despicable person such as I can be a recipient of God's grace. But I know that abstinence or indulgence are not the keys to godliness.

May God bless you in your service to Him.
 

turmeric

Megerator
I read a book a few years ago, can't remember the title, which described the Puritans as people who enjoyed the good gifts of God. For instance, they made beer and drank a lot of it by our standards.

They did not approve of playing sports on Sunday, it's true. I think monergism.com has an article by Thomas Chalmers called The Expulsive Power of a New Affection which explains for me how the Puritans maintained their standards. I don't think it's done by listing worldly things and deciding if you can do them or not. I think the Puritans were permanently in the "cage-stage" about the Gospel. For that reason, it was easy to give things up, they wanted to because those things just weren't as cool as seeking God. In my humble opinion, I need to pray that the Holy Spirit will increase my love for Christ, my desire to meditate on Him and read His Word and seek Him out in prayer. Everything in me militates against this, I need to constantly pray to God for help against temptations, that's what's really going to fix this problem
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Meg, thanks for that. I've read the same thing about the beer. They drank a lot of it because it was safe to drink and the water was not (the very land of Virginia had a tendency to kill people back then, apparently). Kids drank a fair bit too!

Agreed on the prayer and devotion as well - the bigger He becomes in our lives, the less tempting/prominent the things of the world are to us.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
I am glad to see that this thread is still going even with the cries of legalism etc. I can totally identify with Kevin's struggle and I know I am not the only one because as I said this type of question has been asked before by a couple of different people on the board. I really wish as Kevin said that someone would engage on the merits.

I know I am willing to be proven wrong in my thoughts on this if there are good comments and convincing scripture etc. I want to be at peace and have balance in my leisure activities.

It is in gratitude to Christ that I seek to be pleasing in his sight. Guilt, grace, and gratitude just as Kevin mentioned. It's not for brownie points or to please men but to please God.

1 John 2:15-17 is really convicting for me.

15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

It is verses like those that give me pause.
 

ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
I often feel this way Traci, and would speak to it more but fear the legalist label or even being called a....baptist! (gasp!) :)
 

turmeric

Megerator
I think the question I'm asking isn't about whether people are trying for brownie points. It's more about how we go about living holy lives. I don't think it's by beating ourselves up, or making lists of things to give up, I think it's by going back to the Gospel until we are delighted with God, and then, who knows? We might want to skip that episode of As the Stomach Churns and read the Bible and a commentary instead, and it might at last be what we really want. At least some of the time.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Adam, would love to comment on your post but am far too distracted by your new avatar. That is about the most whacked-out one I've seen yet. How did you get an M&M to look like you?

BTW, don't worry about being labeled a legalist. You get to be Pope. It's fun! People come and kiss your ring, millions of people treat you like a rock star, but the love life is pretty minimal... ;)
 
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ReformedWretch

Puritan Board Doctor
Adam, would love to comment on your post but am far too distracted by your new avatar. That is about the most whacked-out one I've seen yet. How did you get an M&M to look like you?

BTW, don't worry about being labeled a legalist. You get to be Pope. It's fun! People come and kiss your ring, millions of people treat you like a rock star, but the love life is pretty minimal...

http://www.becomeanmm.com/
 

BertMulder

Puritan Board Junior
In this connection, let us examine what the Lord requires of our walk, in regards to the world around us. I find the first letter of Peter helpful in this regard:

8Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

9Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

10For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

11Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

12For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

13And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

14But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

16Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

17For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

18For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
 

Dagmire

Puritan Board Freshman
I sort of skimmed through this thread, so I'm sorry if I'm repeating someone.

I just think it's a matter of the condition of your heart. I don't think the things you take part in or enjoy is the issue, but your motivation for doing them. Ask God to search your heart and reveal to you why you take part in certain things. If you become convicted over it, ask for grace to abandon it. Do not stand there and reason within yourself about whether or not it is truly wrong. If the Spirit leads you to stop something, stop it.

I started playing World of Warcraft a few weeks ago. I've now become quite convicted about it. I'm paying a monthly fee to waste my time and fellowship with unbelievers. In fact, I'm going to take my own advice and cancel it today instead of sitting there and waiting for my conviction to fade.

Thanks for making this thread.


In Christ,
Davis
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
I think the question I'm asking isn't about whether people are trying for brownie points. It's more about how we go about living holy lives. I don't think it's by beating ourselves up, or making lists of things to give up, I think it's by going back to the Gospel until we are delighted with God, and then, who knows? We might want to skip that episode of As the Stomach Churns and read the Bible and a commentary instead, and it might at last be what we really want. At least some of the time.

You have hit the nail on the head I think Meg. God changes our desires by the work of the Holy Spirit in renewing our minds. We suddenly either have a conviction about a certain thing or quit desiring it. I think we can and do fight this because the pleasures of this world are so pleasurable. I know I have and still do. Romans 12 deals with this. We still suppress the truth in unrighteousness on smaller levels, probably until we die.

Romans 12
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
 
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