Church Drama

So part of this is that I am only 24 years old, and that I have always had issues sitting still, and so the idea of going to church is just not on the top of my list of things I would love to do. But here is something else, I am a bit of a writer – a dramatist on my better days – and church is a place where drama is denied instead of dealt with. What does any of that mean?

Drama is conflict. People who want something and can’t get it because something stands in its way. That is drama. Good drama, as some Greek poet probably articulated long before I was ever thought of, ends in a surprising and inevitable way. That means, at the end of good movies, we say “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe that happened!” and simultaneously “Of course that had to be the end!” Bad stories are often neither, decent stories are sometimes one or the other, and the truest stories have an ending that is both surprising and inevitable.

We come to church to hear stories. We expect the pastor to tell us a story that rings true in our life. Some of us expect moral instruction, which might be great, but we will never follow moral instruction without a story that inspires the moral instruction (it’s why we have to endure so many Mother Theresa anecdotes). The idea most pastors have who tell inspiring stories of good deeds and morality is that by bringing you into a story, making you empathize with an exceedingly moral character, you might become like them. It’s possible that it can work, but those inspiring stories should stand up to the scrutiny of our dramatic requirements (inevitability and surprise), otherwise they are Lifetime-movie melodrama, with a splash of well-meaning religiosity tossed in.

The problem with melodrama is that it ultimately perpetuates lies. Just because you act like Mother Theresa doesn’t make you anything like Mother Theresa. You can’t really know her motivation for doing good deeds, and when it comes to good deeds motivation seems to matter – which is why we laugh at presidential candidates who supposedly volunteer at soup kitchens. You can’t really be like Mother Theresa. No matter how simple the pastor breaks it down in steps. It will never be true.

Let’s be honest, since we are talking about lies and all, the most pressing drama at church is usually nothing that comes out of the pastor’s mouth at all. It probably has something to do with the perception of the people around you. In a perfect world, we could give a shit less about people’s opinion, but we long to be loved and accepted, so we do. But there is a more captivating drama going on anytime the gospel is preached.

The gospel is a story that is wildly surprising but also – we must admit – inevitable. Of course a God who created an earth and called it good would be willing to become part of it in order to save it. At the same time, can you comprehend that the God of the universve became a child?! Of course a God who loves his people would be willing to die for them. At the same time, how in the hell can it be true that the King of Kings was beaten and crucified by mere men?!

And here is the conflict in your life. You want freedom, but there is a lifetime of failures and an understanding that this world is not a friendly place standing in your way. And here is the inevitable but surprising reply from the story of Scripture: believe that Christ’s righteousness covers your transgressions and God loves you because Christ says so. Of course a God that loving would make it so easy (inevitable!), but how surprising that a God so just would ask for your faith over your works (surprising!).

There’s some Church drama to think about next time you get bored in the back pew.

2 Comments

Add yours →

  1. “But this is what you must do: Tell the truth to each other. Render verdicts in your courts that are just and lead to peace” (Zechariah 8.16)
    “What I tell you in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ears shout from the housetops for all to hear” (Matthew 10.27)
    Peace to you, dear brothers and sisters, dear youth, dear teachers!
    Although we are not acquainted with each other, yet we all are parts of His Body. And we know that “if one part suffers, every part suffers with it” (1Cor.12.26). If somebody sins, all are defiled. Therefore in Christ Jesus we all are connected, we all build our common house we all will live in. And the things which the Holy Spirit has commanded me to speak, I will pass on – to you, so that we might walk in the truth and remain in the fear of the Lord, having the oneness of faith and love.
    Please don’t be offended with this message. Forgive, if something appears to be too harsh, unfair or unlikely, but this is the Word of God, which is “sharper than double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit”(Hebrews 4.12). Perhaps, for some people this article will represent the new wine, which must be stored in “new wineskins” (i.e. new outlook, new thinking), and it implies that old wine-skins are to be ruined, which may be painful. But I pray for you that your heart and your mind might be opened to this truth. Know that He corrects and disciplines everyone He loves. God wants to clear the road for Himself so as to visit us in the way He never visited us before, to touch us in the way He never touched us before. Let us be obedient to His will.

    Twelve years ago somebody noticed that theatrical boom started in the Christian world. It touched many churches throughout all the earth. Then started different parties of believers engulfed with different creative impulses. Puppet theatres and evangelization performances were created, theatrical festivals arranged. For many theatre became a foundation of their life, a dream fulfilled. And few asked the question, “Is it from the Lord?” Few understood that the hell was standing behind that, and that theatre in church is a disguised door of satan, which could be used by the enemy so as to freely enter the Body of Christ, and cool down, weaken and destroy God’s children. Church theatre, at first sight so sophisticated and inoffensive thing is indeed in a position of a great contradiction with the word of God and the very nature of Christianity.
    In November 2012 I heard in a dream that there was a certain category of Christians who had to put on white garments. In that vision I got up and found a bag which contained pants, T-shirts and shirts of white color. In front of me I saw many young people, girls and boys consumed with futile troubles and cares all of which were a kind of a fruitless activity. Then I asked, “What is the price?” The answer was, “Thirty”… In course of a certain period of time I sought an interpretation of that dream, and God gave me the understanding that the revelation pointed at those brothers and sisters who were involved in theatrical ministry, acting in performances. Being ignorant of the fact that they actually follow Judas’s example, they have received these 30 pieces of silver in order to imitate the spirit of this world, putting on masks and pretending instead of following Christ and striving to act as He acted. We read that “friendship with the world is hatred toward God” (James 4.4). And 30 coins here symbolize the price of such apostasy and betrayal. These 30 coins include everything that crucifies Christ again and again. These are disobedience, fuss, pride, idolatry. And the Lord rebukes His dear children because He is a merciful God. He advices them to return to Him, to buy His white clothing. The money to pay for this clothing is this sum of 30 coins which is to be thrown away in order to pay for the garments of God’s true sons and daughters. At present I understand the meaning of Jesus’s appeal in the book of Revelation 3.18 “I advise you to buy …white garments so you will not be shamed by your nakedness”.
    To buy the white garments means to accept the truth, to repent and deny the idolatry of the world.
    Several years ago the Holy Spirit revealed to me the truth about theatrical performances in church. He confirmed these revelations with the Bible, and showed me the huge danger which stands behind such kinds of arts as theatre, circus and cinema.

    1. Spiritual origin of theatre.

    “A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit” (Matthew 7.18).
    Every tree has roots. The quality of roots predestines the quality of branches. We are not going to investigate the history of the development of theatre in different nations of the world; such information may be found in the internet, if there is an interest on this subject. But let us look now into the beginning of all beginnings – the time when the Lord created people according to His image and placed them in the garden of Eden. He commanded Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Everything would be fine if the enemy of human souls did not steal up to Eve. It is said about him, “The serpent was the shrewdest of all the creations of the Lord” (Genesis 3.1). This fallen angel who was rejected by God because of his rebellion, is also described as “the prince of the world”, who walks around like a lion looking for a prey. Yet his outward appearance is attractive: “Even Satan can disguise himself as an angel of light” (2Corinthians 11.14). There are different masks satan uses to trap people into his net: 1.Dragon 2.Serpent 3.Prince 4.Agnel of light 5.Lion.
    But the Bible uses different characteristics to describe his essence: thief, murderer, Beelzebub, fallen angel. And he began his mortal performance with the help or the mask of a serpent. And we know how devil seduced the first people. Having heard his scenic speech Eve believed him. Suddenly she began to see how attractive the fruit of the prohibited tree was. And having tasted that fruit, the first people plunged the humanity into the atmosphere of sin. The earth was cursed because of their deed. As for the “main stage manager”, although he was cursed also, he was greatly satisfied, because since that time on he was enabled to enroll millions of “actors”, who would fulfill his will, into his theatrical troupe. This father of a lie used Adam and Eve to plant the seed of deceit, pretense and hypocrisy. God created people to His own image, to be like Himself, as the Bible says, but satan wants to distort the human nature. That’s why he propagates his false way of thinking, because he hates God and His creation. At present to produce a theatrical performance and spread it across all the earth is just a matter of technics. The authority over the earth has been given to satan by man, and if the enemy managed to deceive the first people, how much easier for him to do it the same with the modern people!? God said to Adam: “Cursed is the ground for your sake. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you (Genesis 3.17). What is the spiritual meaning of this passage? It is written in the Bible that thorns “choke the word” of the Kingdom of God which was sown by the sower(Matthew 13:7,22). Therefore thorns and thistles are various vain and empty entertainments and games, which distract us from the knowledge of the Truth. Aren’t theatres and cinemas also numbered among them?

    2. The cemetery of the spirit

    When people hadn’t sinned yet, they had the spiritual intercourse with God. But after the fall this intercourse with God the Spirit was destroyed, and people became fleshly instead of being spiritual. They began to give birth to men in their own likeness, not in God’s likeness(Genesis5.1-3). The Bible says, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3.23). All people were born in sin because of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve. People became soulful. A human soul consists of mind and emotions. And in order to revive our spirit the Lamb of God had to come to our earth so as to atone us through His cross, so that, having received His grace, we might repent and be born again for the eternal life. But in those ancient times when the Savior hadn’t come yet, people didn’t realize their spiritual nature and perceived the world from a soulful and physical perspective, just as the many who are not born from “the Spirit and the water”(1 John 5. 6-8). It is normal when people are sad, when they weep or lough. But there is something that we should discern not by soul, but by spirit so as not to be led into an assumption and die. The enemy of our souls knows this secret and this is his aim – not to allow people to perceive the spiritual depths of the Kingdom of God. As it is written in the Bible, “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1Corinthians 2.14).
    Soulful people who were not born from above resolutely say that theatre is a great art, and the power of this art is impossible to overestimate because of its great efficiency in the matter of bringing up and forming of the society (but what kind of society?) Among such people is also numbered the atheist leader V.I. Lenin. I was also numbered among such people before I was born from above. It’s a pity that even Christian believers today are inclined to think that theatre and cinema draw us nearer to the Lord. Perhaps it occurs for the reason of spiritual blindness, because the power of deceit is so great. We all were born in such period of time when the art of different spectacles was highly praised, enjoyed, and it penetrated our beings.
    The great Russian poet A.S. Pushkin wrote, “I shall weep over a fancy”. And here is the clue, why theatre and cinema are loved so much, that spectators can sit and watch for hours. The power of scenic art is the power of deceit, fascination and hypnotism which lead people astray from the reality to a fairy-tale, dream, fantasy. One actor was asked a question, “What have you learned in course of the three years of your practice?” He answered, “I learned the art of a lie”.
    God will never offer the Good News to people with the help of the tribunes of hypocrisy and the boards of a lie, for He is the Light and there is neither lie, nor darkness in Him. He demands the same kind of truthfulness and holiness from His children. If yet Christians take part in such things, they sin against the Righteous God. And no excuses are received, such as “we preach the Word through this so as to reach men’s souls and bring them to God”. In the history of church there are many well-known stories where the theatre originally created as the means of evangelization, was dissolved along with actors in the depths of a worldly sea, saturated with the spirit of antichrist.
    “Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen?” asks the Lord through Amos the prophet (Amos 6.12). In other words, can you destroy the strongholds of the devil with your own flesh? Is it possible for a theatre to replace the Holy Spirit? Yet we read in a Christian magazine that “a great honor fell to the theatre, that is to pave the way to the hearts of people”. But God through Amos the prophet puts everything in order: “You boast, “didn’t we take Karnaim (which means “might”) by our own strength and power?” (Amos 6.13). Thus many Christians strive to demonstrate God’s might while using the facilities of their own power, and they make boast of their own success instead of glorifying the Lord.

    3.Broken cisterns (Jeremiah 2.13)

    Therefore, theatre and cinema are oriented to touch the strings of a human soul, but not spirit. But human spirit can be revived only by the Holy Spirit.
    But the devil takes roots in the church, having put another mask – the mask of the angel of light, and, being totally unrecognizable, sets up his hostile activities. It wasn’t spoken in vain that “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”(Hosea 4.6). And more: “How long, you simple ones, will love simplicity?” (Proverbs 1.22).
    One morning I saw a dream: there was a high bank of a river, and a large crowd of people in dark clothes stood nearby. Their attention was engrossed with two clowns who grimaced, while hanging powerlessly on a cross-beam, like dolls, like hanged men. Behind them flew the river symbolizing the Holy Spirit. But theatre didn’t allow the spectators to go to the river, because they were too busy watching that spectacle.
    People don’t come near to God because they are engulfed with different spectacles.
    And it is going on right in church: different spectacles are arranged for the newly converted at special meetings; large halls of organizations and churches are rented by Christians for the sake of demonstrating their fleshly performances according to the traditions of this world. Notice that in my dream those actors-“dolls” hanged on a cross-beam not just by chance, for their position symbolized the lot of Judas Iscariot who hanged himself. It appeared like the dolls were doomed because of their theatrical hypocrisy. I can’t help recollecting one accident which happened in Brazil. There was a Christian who played the role of Judas Iscariot, and he really hanged himself during the performance, so that it was impossible to return him to life. He died. You may ask, “Where was God at that moment? Why didn’t He save that man?” I will answer, “God was on the cross!..” When people sin, they crucify Christ. And this tragedy in Brazil serves as a warning for all the Christians who do not imitate Christ.
    The Word of God says also, “How skilled you are at pursuing love” (Jeremiah 2.33). “My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken Me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (Jer. 2.13).
    One morning I saw a vision of broken cisterns. From a distance it appeared like there was a body of water which was very compelling, for I heard splashes and voices of people involved in an entertainment. But as soon as I neared them, I saw no water. But in the ground nearby I saw a big hole. I felt that the water had run into that hole. As I looked into the hole, I saw a deep cave. At the bottom of the cave I saw that same cistern of “water”, surrounded by excited people, but in reality there was no water in that cistern, for it was presumed to be somewhere at a distance, and so on…I felt that it was easy to descend to that cistern, because the way down was very smooth; but an ascent appeared to be a great difficulty, because the way up was very problematic. So it becomes evident that all these spectacles are like “broken cisterns”, like mirages of life, but not the life itself. And they lead not upward but downward, in the very hell. And the people who think they bathe in that water, are indeed deceived, unhappy, miserable, spiritually poor, blind and naked. But the Word says, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through… empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Colossians 2.8).
    And more, the Word of God says, “They will turn their ears away from the Truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2Timothy 4.4)

    4.He who pretends to be insane

    The Bible is a very wise book, and such words as “theatre” or “actor” are absent there, because such notions are alien to God, and bear no relation to His Kingdom.
    In the Russian Bible we find a definition of the word “actor”: “Like he who pretends to be insane and who throws firebrands, arrows and death, so is the man who deceives his neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” (Proverbs 26.18).
    So the Bible says very specifically that he who pretends to be insane is even more dangerous than he who is really insane. In the explanatory dictionary we find that the word “insane” means “mad, extremely foolish”. A mad man is the one who has a disordered mind. The reasons for that are different: a misfortune, a disease, etc. Usually the insane are isolated from human society and lodged in special rooms. And there they feel free to call themselves Napoleons or other celebrities. And they don’t pretend, for they are mentally diseased. In the New Testament we see such man. He lived in graves and was very dangerous for others, but Jesus healed him. But he who pretends to be insane is the one who “has gone mad” voluntarily and put himself in a grave of his own free will. He is likely to be buried alive and to become spiritually dead for the Kingdom of God – all by his own initiative. To such people Pharisees were referred also, for the Lord called them “whitewashed tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity” (Math. 23.27). To the same sort of people are also referred actors of theatre and cinema, whose profession is to go out of their own mind and “reincarnate” into other images of people. They have lost themselves deliberately. And the Bible says that they are dangerous both for themselves and for other people, because they throw “firebrands, arrows and death”. The Bible equates them with men who make harm to their friends by deceiving them. Yet in their under-conscience they say, “we are just playing, we are merely joking”. The logical question arises, “Has the Church any right to evangelize the world in such way? Has the Church got a right to pretend? Hasn’t death already settled in our churches?”
    When Jesus Christ addressed to Pharisees, He also called them hypocrites. And with the help of the vocabulary we find out that the words “hypocrite” and “actor” are synonyms. Therefore the same spirit of hypocrisy which ruled over Pharisees, also remains with theatrical Christians. And the words of Jesus addressed to scribes are also addressed to “evangelical” theatre: “Woe to you, for you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn him into twice the son of hell as you yourselves are”(Math.23.15)

    5.The attack against spectators

    The Russian Bible says that people “will be edified by dreams” (Joel 2.28). It means that Christians will not just see something senseless in their dreams. The Lord says that He will edify, i.e. convince, bring them to their senses and make them listen to reason with the help of His dreams and visions. And behold, I see a dream again: I saw that our church was situated in the beginning of a field, and it was lulled into complacency. Suddenly a truck came near, and a demon began to shoot at church from a cannon. I fled from that place, and a bit later I saw that in the place where the church had been situated, a tower was erected instead, and clouds of black smoke were belching from that tower, which resembled me the Babylon tower, and I heard somebody’s jeering remark, “there are “Christians” in that tower”.
    Let’s turn to the Word again: “The Kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemies came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away…” (Math. 13.24-30)
    During a movie or a performance a concealed attack against spectators is taking place. “Firebrands, arrows and death” are thrown at spectators through actors. What does it mean? The soul of a man reacts to a spectacle: there emerge the whole range of emotions, such as love, hatred, passion, joy, sorrow, tears, etc. Then different shafts start to fly, such as envy, jealousy, lust, nostalgia, when people take part in this illusion experiencing imagined things as if they were real. Then they say, “It touches us! It is so magnificent! So splendid! Everybody ought to see that!” Lusts are kindled, idols are born, quarrels are started, betrayal and gossip are matured, etc. At last, what does “death” mean here? It is spiritual degradation, for if a spectacle is viewed by Christians whose spirit is born from above, yet they are not on the alert, then they may die spiritually, while being influenced by the play of dissemblers. In addition to that there is a danger, that believers may become possessed by demons who easily enter the spectators, because theatre is the territory of Satan. Jesus Christ said about this matter the wonderful words, which are not understandable at the first look, but there is the meaning of great importance there. I quote the passage from the Russian translation of the Gospel of John 12.25: “He that loves his soul shall lose it, and he that hates his soul in this world shall keep it unto life eternal”. In other words, a man who loves his soul is the one who likes to perceive things with the help of his soul, and his soul pursues everything that provides intellectual and emotional pleasures which are equal to fleshly desires, leading to spiritual death. As for a spiritual man, he doesn’t seek the entertainments, but he humbles himself, so his spirit is always ready to abstain from the seductions of this world. Thus we see two kinds of people: those who build on the sand of different desires, and those who build on the Rock of the true Word.
    Theatre and cinema strive to imitate real life, and spectators’ eyes are fastened to a spectacle. But it gets more and more difficult for them to return to their simple reality from the height of different “fascinating” movies. And behold, there are many, who cannot imagine their life without TV-set and cinema, because they desire to flee from the problems of loneliness, stress and everyday routine. They just desire to live the lives of their heroes; they create their own theatrical idols and adore them, and through adoration of their idols they worship satan. As for their real life, it is absent. What will be the result of their life? What will they say to God when they stand before His judgment seat?
    It is so terrible, that Christians imitate this world and turn the house of prayer into a haven for demons. Instead of calling on the name of the Lord and inviting the Holy Spirit to our churches, we invite people, and God’s temple turns into a “den of robbers” because of our hypocrisy.
    Through this we become like those who sold doves in the Temple (Matth.21.12), where doves symbolize the Holy Spirit. We love fleshly and soulful things instead of the Spirit. We “throw death” at spectators, whom we have invited, although we say that this is the Word of God. There is a good illustration for that in the book of Ezekiel 23.40-42(KJV): “And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, painted thy eyes, and decked thyself with ornaments (it took place in church, when beautiful Christmas presents-boxes were collected, invitations for unbelievers were printed, theatrical programs were prepared, rehearsals were spent). And sat upon a stately bed, and a table prepared before it(at an appointed time the stage was shining, decorations were placed for a play of actors and puppets) whereupon thou hast set Mine incense and Mine oil (there were moments when the oil of God’s Word was offered in a short sermon, or a song; different scenes with Christian plot flashed from time to time). And a voice of a multitude being at ease was with her (lots of spectators were intrigued with the performance and they didn’t keep the silence, but applauded and approved it with their voices) and with the men of the common sort were brought Sabeans from the wilderness (at that moment demons entered, having felt the smell of their favorite wine, which is called the wine of adultery with this world) which put bracelets upon their hands, and beautiful crowns upon their heads”. Even not being aware of that, people worshipped demons sent by a goddess of the theatre and stage. And behold, I see in a dream: on the stage of our church a harlot is stripping herself in front of many spectators. And all the process is being shown on a large screen.

    There was two years intermission, when all the performances were forbidden in our church. Yet some leaders insisted on “theatrical ministry”, and performances returned to the stage of our church. And behold I see a dream: out of a ravine the young people took a white idol, which had been temporarily forgotten by them. It is just as it written in the book Jeremiah 2.20(NLT): “Long ago I broke your yoke and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you would not obey Me. On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols”. Green tree in the Scripture is a symbol of the true faith. Therefore words “under every green tree” mean “under every church roof ”. And “high hill” is the stage, scenic activity in church. As my dream continued, I saw lions of different sizes on the top of the ravine. The lions were drawing near to those young Christians. And behold, I read in the book of Jeremiah 2.14: “Is Israel a servant? Is he a home-born slave? Why is he spoiled? The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant”. This is an alarming signal for the church.
    One day, having viewed a performance in our house of prayer I saw a dream: a foggy and scary shroud covered our church and all those who were viewing a performance in the main sanctuary. Yet the spectators didn’t see the shroud. At the same moment black silhouettes entered the church. While walking along the aisles and rows, these strangers battered the blinded Christians… Thus the house of prayer became a “den of robbers”.

    The Word of God is urging us “to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God”(Romans 12.1). This verse implies that there is also a defiled, displeasing, imperfect sacrifice; and there is an unreasonable service. Let’s remember Cain, Saul, Ananias and Sapphire…
    But our brothers and sisters who defend this ministry, point to the fact that Jesus spoke to people with parables. But there is a big difference between parables and theatrical performances. The parable of Jesus is a deep spiritual reality concealed in simple symbols. And at the first look the proverbs were very simple for many, who were unable to understand the depth of His truth because they didn’t want to come near to God; and Jesus called them “those who are outside… so that seeing they may see and not perceive (Mark 4.11-12) . Yet even their inability to understand His proverbs was a kind of God’s mercy, because “He who knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to His will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes” (Luke 12.47-48). Yet, while hearing the parables of Jesus, some lovers of God felt that there was a sacred treasure hidden in His words, just as written in Mathew 13.44: “The Kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field”. So Jesus’s parables urged them to seek the interpretation, the grace His understanding. They sought it in humble prayers and were not ashamed in their trust, for “He gives grace to the humble” (James 4.6). Yes, only God can reveal and explain His truth to a man, and He does it by the supernatural power of His Spirit. In Jeremiah 30.21-22(NLT) it is written that a person can come near to God and His revelations only by His mercy: “The Lord says this: I will invite him to approach Me, says the Lord, for who would dare to come unless invited?”. So the parables spoken by Jesus stirred spiritual thirst in those who were predestined for the eternal life.
    As for the theatre, it doesn’t conceal the Truth, but openly strips and demonstrates “good concepts” with the help of technical inventions, human logics, sensuality, emotions, etc. That’s why theatre can fill a person with sensual impressions, nourishing soulfulness, but it cannot stir up any spiritual thirst. Theatre has no need in the power of the Holy Spirit, being self-sufficient: “To pray? To depend on God? What for? We have talented actors, logical methods, intriguing invitations… Why to seek instructions and visions from God? We will explain everything even better, because we have clever plots, more understandable words and images making the process of teaching more accessible…” Theatre as the work of the flesh cannot produce any spiritual results, because only the Spirit of Jesus can do it, for He said, “It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life” (John 6.63). As for the intellectual efforts of stage managers and actors, Jeremiah 10.14 says, “Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his image is falsehood, and there is no breath (no breath of the Holy Spirit!) in them. They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish”. And more than that, theatre is the work of earthly “wisdom” which is always inclined to be demonic: “Such “wisdom” doesn’t come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil”(James 3.15). Earthly, unspiritual, soulful wisdom cannot be godly, and it is not able to demonstrate God. That’s why the consequences of its “ministry” will be very sad.
    The parables of Jesus, just as any other Christian testimony or sermon pronounced in the power of the Holy Spirit can change lives, working deep within, not just giving knowledge about God, but providing a personal experience of God’s Truth – all in spiritual sphere, which is vastly deep and wide, for “the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1Cor.2.10). But a performance as a subjective interpretation of God’s word can give only an intellectual knowledge(but devil also knows much about God!), altering some opinions or attitudes – all in intellectual realm, which is superficial and temporary, subjected to doubts and criticism.
    Yet the Bible and a solitary prayer appear to be too difficult way to many Christians. They say, “Theatre, movies and cartoons are more interesting and easy way for us!” But let’s remember Proverbs 14.12: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death”, “…but small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7.14).
    If we wish to save people by the means of such idolatry as theatre, we will find ourselves in danger to lose the salvation. But how does satan manage to deceive us? I prayed to God and asked Him to show me an example of the same kind of apostasy in the Bible and He has pointed to a certain period of life of young David. It is a very educative lesson for young Christians who have just begun their way in the Lord.
    THE SWORD OF GOLIATH
    “And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent(1Samuel 17.49-51,54).
    So young David gained the victory over the enemy of Israel. But can the defeated satan leave the anointed one in peace? No. So the enemy plots to ruin David.
    David discovered the scheme of the enemy: “They plot crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human mind and heart are cunning. But God Himself will shoot them down” (Psalm 64.6-7(NLT)
    In order to snatch David, satan searched for a hook in David’s character so as drag the young man into his trap. Think about these words: “but he put his armour in his tent(1Samuel 17.54). David showed, what was very precious for his heart, when he put the armour of the enemy into his tent.
    Here is the parallel: we are born from above, and our victory over the goliath of sin is gained by our faith in Jesus Christ, as we believed that He has gained victory on the cross. We have joined the church of Christ. We want to serve Him. But we are still fleshly. In the tents of our thinking, deep within our hearts we still hide something which is dear to our hearts. These are secular books, hobbies, movies and other “basic, miserable and weak principles of the world” (Gal. 4.3,9), which do not draw us near to God, but give the enemy the right to tempt us.
    Now let’s return to the story of David. Not long after his victory over Goliath David comes to Ahimelech the priest for the reason of a “business commanded by the king” and he needs a weapon so as to fulfill the “assignment”. In this passage it is not so important that David deceived Ahimelech, but that he reached out for Goliath’s weapon: “And David said unto Ahimelech, “Is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? For I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste”. And the priest said, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here”. And David said, “There is none like that; give it me” (1 Samuel 21.8-9).
    We saw the sword of Goliath in David’s tent. But afterwards, unexpectedly we see it in the House of God. The question is, how could it happen that David was not even informed that the sword of Goliath wandered from his tent to the Temple of God? Why is it happening that a spirit of this corrupted world enters the church of God today and offers its “weapons”? The answer is evident: if we haven’t denied and thrown out our favorite old trunk with filthy contents, then these contents will put on different masks and follow us for the rest of our lives.
    Let’s pay attention to a striking detail: “Now a certain man of the servants of Saul was there that day, detained before the LORD; and his name was Doeg, an Edomite, the chiefest of the herdmen that belonged to Saul”(1Sam.21.7). Doeg heard the conversation of David and the priest, and he watched secretly, just as satan, who also spies on everything which is going on among Christians in church . That is the same satan who betrayed and killed both Ahimelech and all other priests(1Sam.22.9,18). But was Ahimelech the priest righteous in the sight of God? Didn’t his actions with the sword of Goliath open a door for the enemy? I am sure that when this servant of God handed Goliath’s sword to David, he endangered the young man, instead of securing him by prayer and revelation of God. For we read that there was the ephod(1Sam.21.9), so they could have inquired God’s will. But they ignored God as the Counselor. The same way it occurs in our churches, when God’s minister yields to “good desires” of his pasture. He doesn’t not ask the Lord about the matter, but says, “If you wish, take it, go and do it”. And they approve false choices, pronounce encouraging words and bless that which is not from God.
    Wishing to fulfill the great assignment of the King of Kings(Matthew 28.19-20), we usually don’t wait for the power of the Holy Spirit as He commanded to do(Luke 24.49), but we are in a hurry to find out how we can serve in the church. But let’s ask ourselves once again, whether we truly want to fulfill the desires of His heart, or we just want to show ourselves before other people and be famous? Satan knows about our weaknesses and inclinations, and he offers his idea of evangelization of the world through theatrical performances and puppet theatre. These are the things which attract attention and love of this world, its fame and applauses. “This will attract many to the Lord!”, young Christians think and grasp this idea, just as David grabbed the sword of Goliath. And they say in their hearts, “There is none like theatre!”
    Unfortunately the plan of satan was brilliantly fulfilled. David worshiped the sword as his idol, as he said, “There is none like that” (1 Samuel 21.9). Satan wanted David to trust not in God, but in a fleshly weapon, which is always directed against God’s people, because he comes only in order “to steal, to murder and to ruin”. So satan had deprived David of God’s power and was going to ruin him, as we read: “And David arose, and fled that day for fear of Saul, and went to Achish the king of Gath. And the servants of Achish said unto him, Is not this David the king of the land? did they not sing one to another of him in dances, saying, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands? And David laid up these words in his heart, and was sore afraid of Achish the king of Gath. And he changed his behavior before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, an let his spittle fall down upon his beard. Then said Achish unto his servants, Lo, ye see the man is mad: wherefore then have ye brought him to me? Have I need of mad men, that ye have brought this fellow to play the mad man in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?” (1 Samuel 21.10-15)
    The church of God was born on the day of Pentecost due to the great victory gained by Christ the Savior. The Church is like the victorious David, like the mighty army which causes the hordes of the enemy to tremble, because we strive to be like Him in our holy walk before Him, as we study, work or serve for His glory. When we accurately fulfill the Scripture, then we are able to be a real light for this world. Then the world can be saved so as to glorify God together with us.
    But behold, Achish as a representative of this sinful world says to the church, observing her theatrical hypocrisy: “Do you have any right to enter my house? Can you really touch my heart by your pretending? I have seen many times such things which you are showing me and I know about it. But we need real light. We want to know why you Christians are so different from us. How have you come to God? Who is your God, that you have forsaken everything in this world for the sake of Him? Who gave you such love, such joy? Why don’t you smoke and drink with us? Why don’t you sin along with us? We heard such wonderful words and even songs about you and your God. But you hide your light under these rugged clothes masking your true identity. Aren’t you afraid to openly proclaim God’s truth and all the changes He has accomplished in your life?”
    King Achish didn’t recognize David. On the contrary, he felt disgust because of David’ behavior as the young man played a mad man in his presence. Yes, it is so good when “we are fools for Christ”(1Cor. 4.10). But are we sane, when we intentionally come out of our minds and “play the mad” for the sake of pleasing our spectators, instead of pleasing God and obeying Him; when instead of reflecting Christ with our life and ministry we play whatever a plot of a performance requires?
    The Bible says about such friendship with the world, “You bathed yourself for them, painted your eyes and put on your jewelry” (Ezekiel 23.40). “Does a maiden forget her jewelry? Yet My people have forgotten Me”(Jeremiah 2.32).
    Suddenly because of the sin of idolatry with this world this fearless young man David began to tremble before the heathen king, and belittled himself with his mad grimace, which dishonored the victorious warrior. Imagine what a shame that was for David to hear the king’s sentence filled with contempt and repulsion! And David fled to a desert. In one of his psalms he will write, “You know my folly, o God; my guilt is not hidden from You”(Psalm 69.5). His life turned into permanent hiding. Out of the depth of his soul he desperately pleads with the king of Moab, “Would you let my father and mother come and stay with you until I learn what God will do for me?” (1 Samuel 22.3). David understood that something wrong had happened in his life. Although he believed that God would fulfill all His good intentions about him, yet at that moment he couldn’t help running to a heathen land in order to serve Philistines. David became totally dependent on king Achish, continuing to deceive him with false reports about his raids so as to make the king believe that David was the enemy of Israel: “And David and his men went up, and invaded the Geshurites, and the Gezrites, and the Amalekites… And David smote the land, and left neither man nor woman alive… and came to Achish. And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road today? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites. And David saved neither man nor woman alive, to bring tidings to Gath, saying, Lest they should tell on us, saying, So did David, and so will be his manner all the while he dwelleth in the country of the Philistines. And Achish believed David, saying, He hath made his people Israel utterly to abhor him; therefore he shall be my servant forever”(1Samuel 27.6-12). So we see how David became a friend of the heathens, just as the Church becomes a friend of this world through the theatre.
    But the Word of God says: “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty(1 Cor.6.15-18)
    When a Christian plays a role in a performance and dissembles, he devotes his mouth to different characters, but the Bible says, “He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him”(Proverbs 26.24). Let us think, to whom we devote our mouth when we speak with changed voices? Theatrical stage and cinema (within a church or outside of it) is a tribune of a beautiful, seducing, lulling lie. This is an open door to hell.
    Satan wanted to defeat David residing among the heathens, but the mercy of God was great! God didn’t allow satan to harm David, and king Achish let him go freely. And David decided to go to town Ziklag, which was presented to him by Achish. Alas, Ziklag was not God’s present to David. That’s why God allowed this town to be burnt and its inhabitants to be captivated: “So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives” (1Samuel 30.3)
    Let’s ask ourselves, dear brothers and sisters: where are our unsaved children, wives, husbands, friends? Where are those with whom we studied in Sunday school, in Bible school, with whom we prayed and glorified God? Isn’t it true that theatrical activity of church may plunge a city into a special atmosphere which is, however, not the atmosphere of God? Then in vain will we expect that our church will grow in number and quality. On the contrary, our city may turn into a kind of “Ziklag” which will have no God’s protection, being opened to the upcoming anger of God and satanic captivity. It is fearful that wheat and weeds have to grow together until the harvest(Matthew 13.24-29), and it is wise – to test everything and hold on to the good, and to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
    So God allowed the enemy to revenge David by destroying Ziklag, and there happened a great loss. Wasn’t it the price David had to pay for his backsliding when he took the sword of Goliath from hands of Ahimelech? Isn’t it the harvest after death-bearing sowing?
    When we do not remain in God’s truth, we become vulnerable. Christ says, “I am the Vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned”(John 15.5-6).
    Recently I saw a vision about the theatrical activity of the church. I saw children clothed in costumes of animals, then after children I saw teenagers’ masquerade followed by many young people who were adorned with fur-tree branches. Theatre develops gradually: all starts with Sunday school puppets and costumes, and ends with strange branches, which are not the branches of the Vine. The Lord says, “I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?”(Jer.2.21)
    There are many factors which separate actors from Christ. The sword of Goliath(satan), wrapped in the clothes of masquerade(theatre) is directed against actors and spectators, causing a great loss:
    1. Disobedience. Christians-actors abide in a constant conflict with God’s word, which says, “Follow God’s example in everything you do, because you are His dear children”(Ephesians 5.1, NLT). “All of us have had that veil removed so that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of God”(2Cor. 3.18, NLT). “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world”(Rom.12.2, NLT). “Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you”(1John 2.12, NLT)
    2. Openness to demonic influences. Christians open the doors of their souls by their own hands and may easily become a prey of the tyrant, i.e. to become possessed by demons.
    3. Idolatry. As Christians playing roles trust in themselves instead of depending on the Holy Spirit, they are under the curse of the Word which says, “Thus says the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the LORD”(Jeremiah 17.5)
    It’s also written, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments”(Exodus 20.2-6).
    The key aspect in this passage is that depending on images and portrayals causes Gods’ curse. In the explanatory dictionary we read the explanation of these words:
    Portray 1.To make a picture of 2.to describe in words or represent in a play.
    Image 1. A representation of the outward form of a person or thing. 3.something very like another in appearance.
    To these the puppet theatre is referred also, where Christians spend lots of time and funds in order to sew the puppets, to care for them, to practice before performing it in public, urging others to worship their dolls through their performances. They worship speechless idols, which are artificially “revived” and animated. That’s why the Christians who are involved in these activities are in danger to become just as artificial and spiritually lifeless. As a puppet performance starts, we usually hear a strange phrase, “Puppets will explain us everything”. But Jesus commanded that people (not puppets!) must preach His word. He didn’t entrust this work even to angels. But adults with their theatrical art have taken the place of Christ, overshadowed Him. Jesus embraced a child, He brought it near to Him, but the adults throw their children into the dead arms of religious inventions of fabrication and falsehood, instead of making them worshipers in Spirit and in Truth. The Lord gave us the warning, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew18.6). However we see that for many years this puppet-theatrical folly is going on as a great temptation, a great deception.
    By the way, two visions were revealed to a prophet when the question about puppet theatre was asked: 1.On a black foundation there is a hand with fingers moving, and under the fingers there were Orthodox beads. 2. In a twilight a man as a master of his house with a staff in his left hand, goes downstairs (staff means authority; left hand and twilight point to the authority of darkness); 3. Belittling of the Church (by their masquerade Christians lead others into assumption, representing the church in a false light).
    But thanks be to God that this is not yet the end. We read, that the fervent prayer of faith and real revelation from God saved the situation of David(1Samuel 30.7-8). God helped him to release all captives. And consequently David became a great king, a man after God’s heart.
    Singing praises to His name, he says in Psalm 62.1-2: “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock… I will never be shaken”, “The Lord chastened me severely, but He has not given me over to death” (Psalm 118.18). And at last, he teaches, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your word” (Psalm 119.9).
    In the book of Songs the Lord addresses to us, “Arise, come, My darling… Show Me your face, let Me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely” (Song of Songs 2.13-14)
    Dear brothers and sisters, I have passed you the message which I received from the Holy Spirit. I could add to it much more, for there are many other very serious revelations on this theme. It means that the danger is great and great is the transgression. How could I keep the silence? Now it is your choice to verify it and come back to the Lord. He waits for you, He loves you. When I worked at this message I saw the backslidden church in the image of a sportsman, who has got up and begun to train his muscles in order to overcome. I saw a big, wonderfully equipped gymnasium, where the children of Abraham were training. No doubt, that at soon a generation of Glory shall arise, which will fight in His power and overcome for the glory of His Son. So be the champions!
    Be blessed!
    In Christ’s love,
    Brother Andrew Osipov, Minsk, Belarus.

    • Andrew,
      Did you write this only to comment on the blog, or is this like a paper you republished on here? Did the post really evoke this strong of a response? If so, my ability to provoke is significantly stronger than I had thought. Honestly, I appreciate your concern, but I simply think you are wildly misguided if you think it is quite so easy to demonize all theatre and drama with such a broad stroke of the legalistic brush. But, to respond simply, drama is conflict. All ‘stories’ are driven by conflict. Imaginary ones, real ones, every story has some conflict at its core. Theatre is simply that conflict, that story, unfolding on a stage. Jesus told parables, parables are essentially tiny screenplays that feasibly could have been played out by two ‘actors’ (I know that is a dirty word in your book, though). Anyway, it seems like your heart is pure, you seem really kind, but I need more than your dream to reverse my feeling about the 2,000 year old tradition of dramatizing scriptural principles.
      -J.G.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: