Adventism and the Arts

Speaker: Categories: Sep 08, 1990


[58min, 10sec / 47min, 31sec]


Dr. Zackrison observes, "The subject of culture has been one of questionable discussion in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Culture is viewed with suspicion by some Christians, by others it is the creative expressions of God's greatest creation of all -- mankind. Among Adventists, however, culture has been viewed as humanistic and somehow against God."

"Theater, drama, movies, and plays have been particularly 'frowned' upon by Adventists. To what extent a person can be in his culture and participate in it has been what Adventists would call a grey area, though, for many, that matter is clear. Interestingly, television and video tape machines have not received the same condemnation that the theater, and particularly the cinema, has received.

"There are traditional reasons for this stemming back to Puritan America and the Fundamentalist Movement at the turn of the Century. Without difficulty we can trace the history of the Adventist aversion to the theatrical arts to certain fundamentalist hermeneutics or biblical interpretations certain ways we look at texts.

"Since the bulk of our young people attend movies on a regular basis, Adventism faces a cultural crisis in the eyes of many. For young people there seems to be no crisis. For older members, on the other hand, there is concern that the young mind is not prepared for what is being presented there. In my experience leading a discussion with a typical Southern California academy Bible class on the subject of movies is virtually fruitless. On the college level such a discussion does not hold much more promise.

"Now is the time for adults to discuss this issue and answer some serious questions about where the church stands on the subject of entertainment, including theater, movies, television, and video tape. Theater attendance, movie theaters, and home viewing of videos is a related topic.

"My presentation will largely deal with the question of value and theater."


Edwin Zackrison received his Ph. D. degree from Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan. He has studied at Loma Linda University, the University of Southern California, and the University of Utah. Currently, Associate Professor of Theology and Ministry at LLU, he was formerly Professor of Systematic Theology at Southern College and Chair of the Religion Department at La Sierra Academy. In addition to his work at the university, he chairs the Dramatic Arts Department at La Sierra Academy, is President of LLU Alumni Association, is President of the La Sierra Community Performing Arts Society, Inc., and is Director of the La Sierra Academy Performing Arts Society. He also directs La Sierra Academy's "Expressions" and LLU's "Destination Players."

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