Archive for the ‘Amusements’ Category

An Update on AHL Work at Covenant Forum

April 6, 2009

Recent Additions:

E. A. Beavon

The Bicycle Craze

Charles Fitch

We have been impressed with the amount of early documentation of Fitch’s life and work.

1894, Kneeland’s Christmas on Trinidad

March 18, 2009

Review and Herald, February 13, 1894, p. 4


As our boat was detained in the harbor of Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, over Christmas, we improved the opportunity by going on shore and making the acquaintance of some of the persons with whom the International Tract and Missionary Society had been in correspondence.

When it was known that we were there in the interests of the tract society, we had no lack for friends, and we were gladly welcomed by all. Some had been receiving the Signs and other publications, which they had eagerly read and circulated ; in some instances carrying them on foot twenty miles to their friends. In this way very many had heard something of our work, and as a result, one family had begun the observance of the Sabbath, and others are convinced. This brother belonged to the Church of England, and as they were unable to convince him that he was in error, they expelled him from their midst. This incident only increased the discussion of the Sabbath question, and many questions were asked us on this subject. We tried to show them that Christians should honor Christ by keeping his law.

Services were desired before we left, and the Baptist mission building was kindly offered us. Christmas day with this people is wholly given up to amusements; but the invitation sent out soon gathered in quite a company, who gave good attention as we tried to present a few thoughts from Rom. 1 : 16.


Georgetown, British Guiana.

Storrs on Laodicea, 1844

December 25, 2008

Review and Herald, May 16, 1854


… Look at the so called church of the present day. Who is she most pleased with, the humble, self- denying, cross-bearing members, who are crucified to this world, or the rich, the “respectable” in the sight of the world, and those that can make show? Which do they most regard? Is it not a fact, that the latter are more pleasing to an exalted church than the former? And are not the churches “multiplying a spurious brood of strange children?” Where is their deadness to the world, its praise and its frowns? They dare not speak out against a popular sin, nor defend an unpopular truth. Reputation is at stake, and every other principle must give place to that. Said an old pilgrim, not long since, “When our church was small and poor, we were spiritual, lively in religion, and a happy band; but now we are numerous, fashionable, and like the world, and I do not feel at home.”

The church had multiplied a spurious brood of strange children; and such is the case almost universally. Yet she is saying, like the Laodicean church, “I am rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing,”Yes, she boasts of her schools, her colleges, her theological seminaries, her talented ministry, her richly endowed institutions. In her own eyes she sits “as a queen,” and is “no widow and shall see no sorrow.” So has the world fallen in love with the church that even the soldiers, with their guns, cannons, drums and fifes, will all join with it in celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace; and Ministers are to be educated at the Military Academy to be Chaplains in the army and navy! Truly, how much that looks like “learning war no more!”

Not only that, but our churches at Christmas and other holidays, can have exhibitions in their meetinghouses that please the children of strangers about as well as the theatre! No wonder the church of this age is talking of conquering the the world, when she herself has fairly gone over to the world, and has become like the intoxicated man who thinks the ground rises up to him when he has fallen down to that. No wonder such a church is in convulsions on hearing the dreadful sound, “Behold the Bridegroom cometh.” She wish to see him! No, she is pleasing herself with the children of strangers.

But let us inquire, what else does the prophet say of this “peace and safety” crying church? He says, [verse 7,] “Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures.” See the thousands and millions that these churches have laid up in one form or another; either in the hands of individual members, or corporate bodies; if possible to show their contempt of him” who though he was rich, for our sakes became poor;” acting as if their greatest desire was to be independent of God himself, and showing that they have no confidence in him…

— Geo. Storrs, in Mid. Cry 1844

The Church and the World, 1889

November 26, 2008

Review and Herald, November 12, 1889, page 7


THE professed church of today is greatly troubled over the question how the people can be drawn and attracted to its communion. Failing in the ordinary methods, there seems to be a general letting down of the standards in favor of fun and amusements. The following article from the Detroit Free Press of Oct. 12, 1889, speaks for itself:—

“At the recent convention of the Universalists, held at the Church of Our Father, several papers of great liberality of scope and reason were discussed. None attracted more attention than that read by Mrs. E. C. Skinner, in which she advocated the union, under the Church patronage, of all sorts of innocent social contrivances, such as the bowling-alley, the billiard table, and all the rest. These, she argued, would in nowise interfere with devotional exercises, but, on the other hand, would bring many to church who otherwise would remain away. Following are a series of interesting opinions given by ministers of the city on the topic:—

“Rev. Lee S. McCollester: ‘I certainly indorse Mrs. Skinner’s paper as read at the convention. I think she is on the right track.’

“Rev. Howard D.uffleld: ‘I cannot but indorse the general idea. I think, however, that there may be some question as to the propriety of uniting all these various means of pleasure Under one roof. We indorse anything that has a tendency to ennoble sport or recreation. Mrs. Skinner’s idea is very much the same as is now practiced by the T. M. C. A. gymnasium supporters.’

“Rabbi Grossmann: ‘I am opposed to anything that will destroy the integrity of the home. I am opposed to anything that increases church attendance at the expense of theology. I am opposed to any artifices, clap-trap, or side issues in connection with religion. Just as soon as you begin bolstering up a creed or sect with this or that allurement or enticement, it is at once manifest that all is not well with the heart of the religion itself. I would have devotion as broad and far-reaching as the light of day, but I would not stoop to the inauguration of such petty social frivolities as are referred to in the paper read by Mrs. Skinner. . . .’

“Rev. J. T. Plunket: ‘Our fathers were too severe in the matter of amusements. All harmless and innocent sports or pastimes have their place. But if some people think that by introducing the bowling-alley and billiard table under the church roof, anything can be accomplished for the unregenerate or unconverted, I fail to grasp the situation.’

“Rev. Reed Stuart: ‘It appears to me that the view of Mrs. Skinner is the one now advocated by all liberal people. Personally, I think it is a move in the right direction.’

“Dr. C. R. Henderson: ‘I favor some such evolution as is referred to. Innocent pleasure for the young should be provided for by the Church.’

“Rev. Wm. H. Davis: ‘It is a movement that is bound to come. I heartily favor it. While I hesitate over the propriety of uniting all these things under one roof, there is no question in my mind as to their great importance. What we cannot have about a church we ought not to have anywhere.’

“Dr. Wallace Radcliffe; ‘While the introduction of innocent amusements is part of the Church duty, that function devolves more upon a church in a country district than in a city. Introduced in the city, the results are too often harmful or wrong.’

“Rev. Dr. Z. Grenell: ‘A church may surround itself with any innocent amusements in the line of true church work. What is the object of a church or of religion? But the line of amusements referred to—billiards, pool tables, card-playing, theatricals, dancing, and all the rest—seems very much to me like something decidedly out of the realm of church duty. If, I say, you get a man to go to a temperance lecture by offering him a free glass of beer, you defeat your purpose.’

“Rev. R. O. Cooper: ‘Under certain restrictions, I heartily favor the idea embodied in Mrs. Skinner’s paper. She is up to the times. A church-house, uniting innocent amusements, is all right. Let any church rich enough to support one, by all means maintain the same.’

“Bishop Foley: ‘We regard our church as the house of God. I have not read the paper you refer to. There is a time for praying and a time for playing. People should be drawn toward the church to hear the word of God. No, it is all monstrously wrong.’

The World Converting the Church, 1870

November 25, 2008

Review and Herald, October 4, 1870, page 3.

The World Converting the Church.

WE clip the following from the Boston Journal of March 4th.

“The Young Men’s Christian Association of Meriden, Conn., purposes to erect a new building this spring. In addition to two stores, the building will contain a bowling-alley, coffee and refreshment-room, library, conversation and amusement-room, and gymnasium. There will also be a hall arranged for private theatricals, etc. The estimated cost of the structure is $20,000, and it is thought that the rents and revenues of the establishment will nearly pay for it in ten years.”

The Young Men’s Christian Associations have doubtless accomplished much good, but if the above is indicative of the course to be generally pursued by them (which we hope it is not), then we predict their efficient labor for the advancement of the cause of Christ to be near an end. “Private theatricals” will be found but a stepping-stone to the public theatre, and though members in some respects may have “a form of godliness,” it will be manifest that they are “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.”

The festivals of various names connected of late years with churches of different denominations are working to the same end. Who can draw the line between the church and the world on such occasions? No thorough, enlightened Christian can be satisfied that festivals are Christ-like in which “grab-bags,” “guess-cakes,” “post-offices,” and similar means are resorted to for the purpose of raising money for church building, etc. Only imagine such a festival held in the apostolic age: Paul, for example, putting his hand into a bag and pulling out a rag-baby amid a roar of laughter; Peter paying out a few cents (for he would not be likely to have much silver and gold unless he got it by miracle, as he did the money to pay his tax) for a piece of cake—hoping to be lucky enough to find a ring in it: ” the beloved disciple” charged an exorbitant price for a letter in the church postoffice which he pays rather than to appear mean by refusing to do it; or a large number of the primitive disciples appealing to the flesh by announcing a turkey-supper, or an oyster-supper at a hotel, for the purpose of getting money out of the men of the world, and having a good time themselves! All these things have been done in our day. What has changed, Christianity or its professors? Is the church converting the world to Christ, or the world converting the church to the devil?

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” —Advent Herald.

Should a church run a bowling-alley?, 1898

November 15, 2008

Review and Herald, June 14, 1898, p. 16

A CHURCH paper asks, ”Should a church run a bowling-alley?” Why should any church want to run a bowling-alley? or, indeed, any other species of so-called amusement? A church is supposed to be Christian; and to the Christian, time is too precious an element to allow the spending of it in any such way. The Christian who does not see it so, may know that he has not yet found the true principle and life of Christianity. He who possesses Christian joy has something so far superior to “amusements” that they never come into consideration.