Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 4, 1962
NUMBER 34, PAGE 7,10b

Not The Ramblings Of A Crank

C. D. Plum, Paden City, West Virginia

From Texas comes the request that I write something concerning the movies. While I have definite convictions against this great evil, as I see it, yet I am not a crank or a hobbyist on this or any other single evil. While I try to get my brethren to cease their patronage of the modern pictures, for evils that I shall presently state, yet I do not abuse them if they do not. I do not hate them, or disfellowship them. To do so perhaps would be carrying the matter beyond reason. So far, at least, I have been able to preach against this evil and retain the respect and co-operation of those who attend.

But why do I oppose attendance at the movies? I shall now present some reasons why I do.

I. A picture is not necessarily wrong because it moves. Some pictures that do not move are as much wrong, and maybe worse than the ones that move. Most all, if not all, of the pictures displayed in the movie houses are rank suggestions of evil, at least some portions of the pictures are. Christians are told to: "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (I Thess. 5:22) Most pictures display almost nude portraits of both men and women. If this isn't evil for Christians to look upon, then I grossly misunderstand God's word. If the many suggestions, evil in nature, that are displayed in such pictures, are not condemned when Paul says: "Abstain from all appearance of evil," then what does such language mean?

Through The Eye

So far as I know, about one third of all sins people are committing come about as a result of temptations presented through the eye. Satan has three ways to approach us. He may come through the "lust of the flesh," "lust of the eye," or "pride of life." (1 Jno. 2:15-17) What is seen at the movies has been and still is the cause of the downfall of many Christians. It isn't enough to try to meet this argument by saying we see many things not in the movies that are suggestive of evil, as much so or worse than the movies. Very true, very true. But these other evil sights do not make the evil sights we see at the movies all right.

I have known personally, and heard of many others among our young people, who tried to hold up people, stores, banks, in robbery attempts. They said they got the idea from the movie. They said it looked so easy on the screen. In Columbus, Ohio, when I was in a meeting there at one time, a small boy saw a man in the movie tie a rope around his neck, and it looked like a sure hanging, but of course the man got loose. The little fellow went home and tried it. It looked so easy for the man in the picture to get loose. But the little boy did not get loose. He died by strangulation before he was discovered. And the movie was to blame.

2. Not only are movies sinful because they are full of evil suggestions that come to us through the eye, but they are wrong to patronize because the makers or producers of these pictures are mostly rebels against the God of heaven because of their many marriages. Without any regard for God or his word, these people marry today and divorce tomorrow. Then they remarry. They repeat this performance again and again. And Christians patronize their productions, and encourage these people in their rebellion against God. When we patronize and thus "bid God-speed" to these evil pictures and their producers, does this not make us "partakers of their evil deeds?" It certainly does.

3. Moreover, our patronage of these evil productions goes to help pay these rebels against God an enormous salary every year. And many of these that make these pictures, according to newspaper reports, are contributing large sums to spread the godless communism of foreigners in our own dear country. If this be true as reported, and they dare not report it if it were not true, when we pay money to see the productions of these rebels against God, we put our money in their hands so they can fight our God with it. In view of this, why do not Christians think seriously before they give away to their desire to attend such things?

4. Not only does attendance at the picture shows give Satan free course through our eyes, and thence to our spiritual eye, the mind, not only does it encourage godless marriages, and gives these people more money with which to fight God, but attendance at these shows does not help us either spiritually or physically. We have already tried to show how harmful these evil pictures can be to children. While the same pictures may not prompt adults to attempt robberies and other evil practices as it does children, yet adults cannot see these profane practice's without receiving a stimulus for evil thinking. Attendance at these shows does not help one think or act as spiritually as he should. It has just the opposite effect. One is not made a better Christian by such attendance. Rather, the sleeping passions of lust are often set on fire by what is seen at these evil shows.

And one is not helped physically any more than he is spiritually. Such pictures do not relax the mind or body. There is no exercise of the body in watching a picture show. The scenes create a tension rather than a relaxation. But suppose it does relax you to attend such shows, you are not licensed to sin against God and against your own better interest just for the sake of relaxation.

5. Our influence should be considered when we attend such shows. Our show attendance does not build up our church attendance. Neither does our show attendance increase our contributions to the Lord's work. It rather has the opposite effect. Going to shows does not increase our daily prayers. Time and time again I have heard sinners say they are as good as so-called Christians, because, say they, the Christians attend the same evil shows I do. A brother in Parkersburg, W. Va. once told me he was attending a show at the Hippodrome one night, and looking around him he saw a man he had been trying to win to Christ. The man had not as yet seen him, so, knowing his influence would be killed with that man if he saw him there, he slipped out of his seat and virtually crawled out quietly and went home. And this brother said he promised God that was his last. I trust that brother kept that promise to God.

6. Brethren sometimes try to justify their show going on the ground that they get a good moral out of the show. If they could get such a moral, I don't know whether I would respect a moral that didn't think any more or itself than to associate with such filth. I'm greatly afraid that any moral we get when we have to wallow in the mire up to our necks to get it, like we do at shows, will not do us any good. It's too sullied with sin to be healthful. Christians are told to "touch not the unclean thing." (2 Cor. 6:17)

Preachers should be careful of their example, the same as all other Christians. Too often we find preachers who are very weak in this respect and who go to shows and tell the congregation it is all right for them to go if they take them with them. To my feeble mind this is letting down the bars disgracefully. While I love those preachers, and we are friends. I believe they are both harming themselves and the church. I am not writing this to be cranky or incite argument. What I have written may cause strong churches to say "we don't want that man for a meeting." But I'd rather eat bread and drink water than fail to denounce a known evil!