This blog gains its name from the book Steele's Answers published in 1912. It began as an effort to blog through that book, posting each of the Questions and Answers in the book in the order in which they appeared. I started this on Dec. 10, 2011. I completed blogging from that book on July 11, 2015. Along the way, I began to also post snippets from Dr. Steele's other writings — and from some other holiness writers of his times. Since then, I have begun adding material from his Bible commentaries. I also re-blog many of the old posts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Theatre

QUESTION: Cannot the theater be made helpful to Christianity?

ANSWER: We are confronted not by a theory but by a condition. That condition always has been bad, and I fear always will be, despite the opinion of Dr. Sheldon, the author of "In His Steps." I have never found any of "His Steps" leading to the play house. Pollock thus sings in his "Course of Time":

"The theater was from the very first
The favorite haunt of sin; tho' honest men,
Some very honest, wise, and worthy men,
Maintained it might be turned to good account;
And so perhaps it might; but never was.
From first to last it was an evil place;
And now such things were acted there, as made
The devils blush; and from the neighborhood,
Angels and holy men trembling retired."

Nearly a century after these lines were penned Dr. C. H. Parkhurst, in denouncing "Parsifal," confirmed their truth: "A play is an acting lie and a speaking lie. There is no compatibility between a lie and Christianity." Make the theater decent and moral and "the Play will not pay for the candle." This was once tried in Boston in the Tremont Theater, and failed, and the Baptists bought the building, now Tremont Temple, in which the Gospel of Christ is now preached every
Lord's day. When the Christian is tempted to go to the theater let him ask himself this question, Will I be sowing to the flesh to reap corruption (eternal perdition) or to the Spirit to reap life eternal life? (Gal. 6:7.)

— from Steele's Answers pp. 38, 39.

1 comment:

  1. I know similar sentiments can be found in the Church Fathers (I'm thinking especially of Terullian, but this is probably true of many others as well). And, of course, the idea that a play is "a lie" is also what Plato thought.

    What would the Christians of the nineteenth century think of people in our day — with several televisions in their home? I imagine they would be horrified.

    But, this argument does not honor the imagination and it's importance. It does not honor the value of stories. And, the argument that it is "sowing to the flesh" could be made against anything a person found enjoyable. That fact that something is enjoyable does not make it sinful.