What Inspiration Says About – Drama

What is the Main Element of Satan’s Kingdom that has Given Him Marvelous Success?

“Not until the death of Christ was the character of Satan clearly revealed to the angels or to the unfallen worlds. The arch apostate had so clothed himself with deception that even holy beings had not understood his principles. They had not clearly seen the nature of his rebellion. The Desire of Ages, 758.

“It was a being of wonderful power and glory who had set himself against God. Of Lucifer the Lord says, “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty.” Ezekiel 28:12. Lucifer had been the covering cherub. He had stood in the light of God’s presence. He had been the highest of all created beings, and had been foremost in revealing God’s purposes to the universe. After he had sinned, his power to deceive was the more deceptive, and the unveiling of his character was the more difficult, because of the exalted position he had held with the Father. Ibid., 758, 579.

What Act Tore Away Satan’s Deceptive Disguise?

“Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His administration was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted. Whatever attitude he might assume, he could no longer await the angels as they came from the heavenly courts, and before them accuse Christ’s brethren of being clothed with the garments of blackness and the defilement of sin. The last link of sympathy between Satan and the heavenly world was broken.” Ibid., 761.

Please note: Before his disguise was torn away, he assumed various attitudes to deceive the angels.

What is the Condition of the Heart of Man According to the Word of God?

Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. This choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan’s sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God’s love. By beholding His character he might be drawn back to God. Ibid., 761, 762. [All emphasis supplied.]

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9.

Instead of Our Deceptive Natures, Into What does God Want to Make Us?

“Jesus took upon Himself man’s nature, that He might leave a pattern for humanity, complete, perfect. He proposes to make us like Himself, true in every purpose, feeling, and thought—true in heart, soul, and life. This is Christianity. Our fallen nature must be purified, ennobled, consecrated by obedience to the truth. Christian faith will never harmonize with worldly principles; Christian integrity is opposed to all deception and pretense. The man who cherishes the most of Christ’s love in the soul, who reflects the Saviour’s image most perfectly, is in the sight of God the truest, most noble, most honorable man upon the earth.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 235.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if thee be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8.

Should We Have Anything to do with Drama in Our Work?

[Meaning of drama: “A composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or character or to tell a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue and typically designed for theatrical performances. Webster’s Dictionary, tenth edition.]

“I have a message for those in charge of our work. Do not encourage the men who are to engage in this work to think that they must proclaim the solemn, sacred message in a theatrical style. Not one jot or tittle of anything theatrical is to be brought into our work. God’s cause is to have a sacred, heavenly mold. Let everything connected with the giving of the message for this time bear the divine impress. Let nothing of a theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of the work.” Evangelism, 137.

“In my very first labors the message was given that all theatrical performances in connection with the preaching of present truth were to be discouraged and forbidden.” Ibid.

“Our success will depend on carrying forward the work in the simplicity in which Christ carried it forward, without any theatrical display.” Ibid., 139.

“There should be in the meetings nothing of a theatrical nature.” Counsels on Health, 481.

What Banishes Thoughts of God?

“The power of godliness has well-nigh departed from many of the churches. Picnics, church theatricals, church fairs, fine houses, personal display, have banished thoughts of God.” The Great Controversy, 463, 464.

What Did Innocent Church Skits Lead this Young Lady to Desire?

“Oh no! my father and mother are Methodists; they always disapproved of the theater. I’ve been in Sunday-school all my life. They used to make me sing and recite at the entertainments when I was four years old, and I acted the angel and fairy parts in the dialogues; and when I grew older, I always arranged the tableaux, charades, etc. Then I joined a set of sociables got up by our church young people. At first we did “Mrs. Jarley’s Wax-works,” and sang “Pinafore” for the benefit of the church; and then we got more ambitious, studied, and had private theatricals, and last winter we hired Mason’s Hall and gave a series of Shakespearean performances, which cleared off a large part of the church debt. But that’s only second-class work, after all. I want to do the real thing, to go upon the stage as a profession. My father won’t hear of it; but I hope some time the way will be opened that I may realize my heart’s desire.” Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.

Should You Watch Your Children Participate in Theatrics (skits and plays)?

“Had you, my sister, followed on to know the Lord, you would during this period of time have had enlightenment from the Sun of Righteousness. Your only safety lay in following in His footsteps. But in not decidedly taking your stand to give no sanction by your presence to the theatrical performance of your children, you have encouraged them in their choice of the use they have made of their talents. Their capabilities and power belong to God, but they are not now being used to gather with Christ. All their talents were lent them to use to the honor and the glory of God, that they might win souls away from everything that pertains to this class of fascinating amusement that absorbs the mind and draws it away from God and from heavenly things. But they have not had an experimental knowledge of what is truth. The principles of truth have never been stamped upon their souls.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 335, 336.

Why is Satan Well Pleased With Drama?

“Satan’s work is to lead men to ignore God, to so engross and absorb the mind that God will not be in their thoughts. The education they have received has been of a character to confuse the mind and eclipse the true light. Satan does not wish the people to have a knowledge of God; and if he can set in operation games and theatrical performances that will so confuse the senses of the young that human beings will perish in darkness while light shines all about them, he is well pleased.” The Adventist Home, 401, 402.

What is the Most Powerful Way to Destroy Religious Impressions?

“There is no influence n our land more powerful to poison the imagination, to destroy religious impressions, and to blunt the relish for the tranquil pleasures and sober realities of life than theatrical amusements.” Ibid., 516.

Should Ministers Use Theatrics?

“The minister of Christ should be a man of prayer, a man of piety; cheerful, but never coarse and rough, jesting or frivolous. A spirit of frivolity may be in keeping with the profession of clowns and theatrical performers, but it is altogether beneath the dignity of a man who is chosen to stand between the living and the dead, and to be a mouthpiece for God.” Gospel Workers, 132.

“Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling. The Lord is not glorified by this manner of working. Not by startling notices and expensive display is His work to be carried to completion, but by following Christlike methods. ‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Zechariah 4:6. It is the naked truth which, like a sharp, two-edged sword, cuts both ways, arousing to spiritual life those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Men will recognize the gospel when it is brought to them in a way that is in harmony with God’s purposes.” Ibid., 383.

“Let there be no oddities or eccentricities of movement on the part of those who speak the Word of truth, for such things will weaken the impression that should be made by the Word. We must be guarded, for Satan is determined, if possible, to intermingle with religious services his evil influence. Let there be no theatrical display, for this will not help to strengthen belief in the Word of God. Rather, it will divert attention to the human instrument.” Selected Messages, book 2, 23, 24.

“I see that great reformation must take place in the ministry before it shall be what God would have it. Ministers in the desk have no license to behave like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and expressions calculated for effect. They do not occupy the sacred desk as actors, but as teachers of solemn truths.” Review and Herald, August 8, 1878.

What is the Result of Bringing Theatrical Performances into the Church?

“Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will be destroyed; yet people will not be aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences exerted. Many young men and women have lost their souls through these corrupting influences.” Counsels on Stewardship, 202.

Did Christ Teach His Disciples to use Drama to Teach the Truth?

“I cannot find an instance in the life of Christ where He devoted time to play and amusement. He was the great Educator for the present and the future life. I have not been able to find one instance where He educated His disciples to engage in amusement of football or pugilistic games, to obtain physical exercise, or in theatrical performances; and yet Christ was our pattern in all things. Christ, the world’s Redeemer, gave to every man his work, and bids them ‘occupy till I come.’” Special Testimonies on Education, 191. 192.
“The work that Christ did in our world is to be our example, as far as display is concerned. We are to keep as far from the theatrical and the extraordinary as Christ kept in His work.” Notebook Leaflets, 105.

What About Drama in Church?

Dead, clad in the livery of Heaven, lurks in the pathway of the young. Sin is gilded over by church sanctity. These various forms of amusement in the churches of our day have ruined thousands who, but for them, might have remained upright and become the followers of Christ. Wrecks of character have been made by these fashionable church festivals and theatrical performances, and thousands more will be destroyed; yet people will not be aware of the danger, nor of the fearful influences exerted. Many young men and women have lost their souls through these corrupting influences.” Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.

What is Satan’s Ruling Passion?

“Satan’s ruling passion is to pervert the intellect and cause men to long for shows and theatrical performances.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 246.

How is Using Theatrics Following the Steps of Nadab and Abihu?

“To bring anything of a theatrical nature into the preaching of the Word of God is to use common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling. . . . Take up your work with greater humility, and carry it forward by Christlike methods. Let the truth have the field. For Christ’s sake do not hinder its progress by our own inventions.” Ibid., vol. 3, 277.

“Those who make use of devices that are theatrical in nature, to hold the attention of the people, lose the realization of the presence of Christ. Those who use so much time in preparing for their meetings, depending to a large extent on outward appearance to impress the people, give Jesus no opportunity to work on hearts. They mingle the common with the sacred.” Ibid., vol. 9, 387.

What About the Highest Order of Theatrical Performances? (i.e., passion plays, religious skits of the Reformers or of the Apostles)

“There is an abundance of theatrical performances in our world, but in its highest order it is without God. We need now to point souls to the uplifted Saviour. Deceptions, impositions, and every evil work are in our world. Satan, the wily foe in angel’s garments, is working to deceive and destroy. The object of the death of Christ was to declare His righteousness, and no man, woman or child can do this in his own strength, or by his own words.” Ibid., vol. 11, 338.

Does One who Enacts Drama Continue to be an Actor in Real Life and Disqualify Oneself for God’s Work?

“I told Fannie Bolton that it had nearly cost me my life to connect with her, and if I had another one united with her and the two to handle, I should soon be buried. No, I am entirely separated from Fannie. Never, while time lasts will another article of mine pass into her hands. She has sought to betray me, to turn traitor, to say things that lave untrue impressions upon minds. She has educated herself in theatrical methods, and can act out to life in apparent sincerity a thing that is false.

“Fannie herself, notwithstanding the deception she was practicing, though she had, as she thought, deceived me for nearly one year, had the presumption to tell me that in her work of giving Bible readings, her words were inspired. She would tell how the ones she was talking with were wonderfully affected, and would turn pale. The strange part of the matter is that our own people are so ready to accept theatrical demonstrations as the inspiration of the Spirit of God. And I am more surprised, under the circumstances that they should encourage her to connect with sacred things.

“Something is being sent to you in regard to Fannie Bolton. You need to say to all our people that she is not the Lord’s messenger, and she should in no way be encouraged. She would mingle the theatrical with her spiritual actions, that would not elevate, but degrade the cause of God. She is a farce.” Manuscript Release, 926, 60, 61.

Who Is the Master Actor?

“Like the Jews, who offered their useless sacrifices, they offer up their useless prayers to the apartment which Jesus has left; and Satan, pleased with the deception, assumes a religious character, and leads the minds of these professed Christians to himself, working with his power, his signs and lying wonders, to fasten them in his snare. Some he deceives in one way, and some in another. He has different delusions prepared to affect different minds. Some look with horror upon one deception, while they readily receive another. Satan deceives some with Spiritualism. He also comes as an angel of light and spreads his influence over the land by means of false reformations. The churches are elated, and consider that God is working marvelously for them, when it is the work of another spirit. The excitement will die away and leave the world and the church in a worse condition than before.” Early Writings, 261.

“I greatly fear and tremble to touch a matter which has been working deeper and deeper under the specious training of Satan, until the meshes of his net have entangled these souls in a self-conscious righteousness and a Satanic deceiving that makes falsehood appear as truth and truth appear as falsehood. It is no easy matter to break this deception of the artful deceiver.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 142, 143.

If You have Been a Lover of Drama, What is the Best Antidote?

“The Third Angel’s Message is to be sounded in clear, distinct language. The trumpet is to give a certain sound. But a Paul may plant and Apollos water, but God alone giveth the increase. We must watch, we must pray, and we must work, that the message of heaven, sent as a warning to the people by the mouth of His servants, may not be refused but accepted. The people have long been under deception through false theories, but error, although it may be hoary with age, cannot be converted into truth. The idols of error must be expelled from mind and heart that the healing waters of life may flow into the soul. The fetters of education must be broken. Prejudice and superstition must be given up. Habits, maxims, and customs have been woven into education and experience, but they must be yielded up. Humbly and earnestly souls must inquire of the Lord. He will speak the truth without a vestige of error.” Ibid., vol. 21, 283, 284.