by Lena Arnold
Entertainment vs Ministry
But is this real worship, the way the Bible declares worship ought to be? Moffet says, “No.” He argues that it is a cheap bag of emotional tricks rooted in the pagan worship of Dionysius. Many opponents argue that if you remove the music (often triggering the emotional response) you are left with nothing but evil, white, clown faces? “Listen people,” he states, “Pantomime is not worship or ministry it is entertainment.” He frowns against the emotional scenes often played out against a backdrop of scripturally unsound music and believes that it’s dangerous when ministry follows popular culture.( Moffet 2013)
Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity (perversion) therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, said the Lord God, and they shall bear their iniquity And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed.) —Ezekiel 44:12-13
“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.”(Revelation 2:19-21)
Proponents of mime offer no valid proof that this type of ministry it is Godly and its roots are clearly embedded in pagan worship and as such embodies the spirit of the false prophet Jezebel.
Michael Patton, PhD., in his article The Entertainment Driven Church, criticizes today’s church for often being way over the top and having ministries that more mirror Disney World than Christianity. Patton is not against entertainment. He just feels Christians should not confuse entertainment with genuine ministry. He feels the focus on entertainment causes visitors of churches to lose focus on truth, takes resources away from training, smacks of irreverence, and creates a lack of fear of the Lord.
In Colossians Chapter 4, verses 1-2 God gives His people the formula for appropriate praise and worship. “Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!” Nowhere does it mention anything about praising Him with masks, painted faces and erotic and/or exotic movements.
I spoke with Umm Muhammad Yasin, regarding this subject. Yasin holds a BA in Islamic Studies, from Barul Uloom of Trinidad, Tabago. Yasin, a Teacher-Alimah stated that Islam teaches that entertainment speaks to our base self and that is why it is not to be used in worship. Said Yasin, “With regard to mime, music, or any form of entertainment it’s a problem because you should come to a worship service to make corrections in your life; not to be entertained.” She further states as a premise of their Islamic beliefs that “entertainments” do not help believers gain any life changing knowledge or understanding that will help them on a spiritual level. “We understand that the anti-Christ will use these trivial pursuits in order to lull people into a false reality before giving his own sermons: therefore we don’t use them.”
“For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,” Psalm 101:2-3
Truth is designed to bring freedom. The truth of mime is that it is rooted in pagan worship and is designed to honor false Gods. The practice of “hiding” the face to reduce inhibitions, and remove fear is akin to the pagan practices of using drugs to lower inhibitions and reduce the fear so that revelers can engage in idolatrous acts. God does not require that His people “hide” in order to worship.
The writer and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar understood the purpose of the mask when he penned his famous poem “We Wear the Mask.” WE wear the mask that grins and lies, It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—This debt we pay to human guile; With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,” And mouth with myriad subtleties…” (Dunbar 1896.) In writing this piece, the poet shows an understanding for one of the primary uses of the mask-to hide something. In this case the author was hiding his pain in the face of heart wrenching racism.
Mask and painted faces are also used by robbers and murderers to hide their faces during the commission of a crime. Performers of Christian pantomime acknowledge that the masks and painted faces often give introverted practitioners the courage to perform despite their fears. The “mask” allows them freedom of expression because no one knows who they are. However, God calls His followers to walk in spirit and in truth. He calls His people to walk in light and not darkness, to be cities set on a hill. His word states in 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” God is a God who promises to help his people overcome fear. His people do not need to hide behind a mask to perform his will. Further, Christian pantomime undermines the churches ability to promote the Gospel. It erodes credibility before non-believers and leaves behind an impression of foolishness and ungodliness.
Robin Schumacher, in an online article entitled, “The Best Argument Against Christianity,” reports dismal news with regard to how the world often views today’s Christian church; arguing that the best case against Christianity “is the life lived out by a professing Christian.” David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group (a research organization focusing on religious trends and information), also believes that Christianity no longer resembles its Founder. (Page 1, Paragraph 6)
Witcher also believes the same way. “It is indeed a ministry; a ministry of demons that perpetuates itself in the House of the Lord under the guise of Christianity.” I am inclined to agree. Comments like these, found on secular sites suggest that non-Christians also are not buying it. On a website called Museum Hoaxes a subscriber placed a post confirming that Christian mime was indeed real, further stating that “When I think of mimes I usually imagine tortured French existentialist types, not Christian theater.”(Sep 27, 2005) Other post mirrored his comments in one form or another with one of the strongest being posted by Barghest. “I’m sure this is the kind of (expletive deleted) Jesus had in mind when he was dying in agony, his screams of torment muffled by a throat full of his own congealing blood. He was surely thinking, ‘It will all be worth it when they use clowns and puppets to spread my message someday!’ GAAAH!” (Wed Sep 28, 2005)