By Johnie Edwards
The Gospel Advocate, a religious publication out of Nashville, Tennessee at one time taught the truth on “The Mission of the Church.” B.C. Goodpasture, the editor in 1948, said concerning the church providing recreation and entertainment for its members:
1. Not The Mission: “It is not the mission of the church to furnish amusement for the world or even for its own members. Innocent amusement in proper proportion has its place in the life of all moral persons, but it is not the business of the church to furnish it. The church would come off a poor second if it undertook to compete with institutions established for the express purpose of entertaining people. It would make itself ridiculous if it entered into such competition. Again, it is not the responsibility of the church, as such, to furnish recreation for its members. A certain amount of recreation is necessary to the health and happiness of the individual. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, it is said, and rightly said; but it is not the function of the church to furnish the play. The church was not established to feature athletics. Rather, it emphasizes the principle that, “bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things; having the promise of the life which now is and of that which is to come” (1 Tim. 4:8). Sometimes one would conclude, from the emphasis given to recreation, that godliness is for a little and that bodily exercise is profitable for all things.
2. Not To Turn Aside: For the church to turn aside from its divine work to furnish amusement and recreation is to pervert its mission. It is to degrade its mission. Amusement and recreation should stem from the home rather than the church. The church, like Nehemiah, has a very great work to do, and it should not come down on the plains of Ono to amuse and entertain. As the church turns its attention to amusement and recreation, it will be shorn of its power as Samson was when his hair was cut. Only as the church becomes worldly, as it pillows its head on the lap of Delilah, will it want to turn from its wonted course to relatively unimportant matters.”
How sad it is to hear some of the men, who planted the seed to put the church into the business of providing amusement for its people, cry and try to reform those who have taken the church into areas none would have ever dreamed. We had better get to teaching that “. . . the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17), and to help folks understand the Lord’s church is not to leave its God-given mission to that of providing fun and frolic. We would ask, “What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in . . . And if any man hunger, let him eat at home” (1 Cor. 11:22, 34).