by: Dr. Allen Domelle
Several years ago when I was a young boy, the newest candy craze was candy cigarettes. I remember watching all of my friends carry a pack of candy cigarettes around and acting like they were smoking cigarettes. All the boys my age thought it was cool to pretend that they were smoking cigarettes.
One day, I remember going to my mother and asking her if she could buy me candy cigarettes like all my friends. My mother abruptly and sternly answered, “NO!” I looked at my mother as any young boy would do in wonder and asked, “But mom, why can’t I have them. They’re not real; they’re just candy.” My mother didn’t hesitate at all with her answer as she replied, “Son, we don’t play sin in our house.”
I didn’t quite understand her mentality at the moment, but I now understand my mother’s response for a couple of reasons. The first reason was because she didn’t ever want someone to mistake her son as one of those boys who actually smoked cigarettes. The second reason was because she didn’t want me to get used to having something that looked like a cigarette hanging from my mouth. She wanted me to not only live like a Christian, but she wanted me to look like one too.
Just like the candy cigarettes fad, it seems that the latest fad going through our independent Baptist churches is the colored lights on the platform. Many churches are darkening the auditorium lights and replacing the platform lights with colored lights. My fear is that we are desensitizing our youth from sinful atmospheres and grooming them for the world. I know, the leftist independent Baptists are rolling their eyes right now and complaining that I am just nitpicking, but I’m not. There are scriptural reasons as to why we should keep bright lighting in our church auditoriums.
1. The Scriptures command to abstain from all appearances of evil.
Several months ago, a young man visited our college to see if it were the place he would attend. He previously attended another college, but in his words, they were changing. As we sat and talked to each other, my pastor and I asked him if he had any hesitations about attending our college. He said he had one, and that was he didn’t know if he liked how strict we were with our music. We replied by asking him to tell us some of his favorite singers and songs to which he enjoyed listening. He told us a title of a song, to which my pastor began searching on the internet for the singer who made that song popular. When we brought up a picture of that singer singing one of his favorite songs, we showed it to him without knowing who it was and asked him if he knew who was singing and the place where he was performing. He thought it was either a rock concert or a bar setting. We then told him that this was his favorite singer singing in a so-called Baptist church. He was totally astonished, not because of the music, but because of the appearance.
1 Thessalonians 5:22 says, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” Our churches have no business looking like rock concerts or bar scenes. It is sad that most people who came out of the world see the liberal preacher trying to attract people by looking more like the concerts and bar scenes than they are with looking like an independent Baptist church. God didn’t say abstain from some appearances of evil, but “all appearance of evil.” Nobody should ever mistake the lighting of our church service for a bar scene or rock concert; instead, people should be able to look at pictures of our services and know it is a church auditorium.
2. It desensitizes the youth to the wrong atmosphere.
Just like my mother didn’t want me to get used to sin by playing it, our churches shouldn’t desensitize our youth to the atmosphere of sin. Your atmosphere does make a difference. Our youth should never be exposed to sin’s atmosphere.
I think of Lot who was desensitized to sin when Abram took him to Egypt. Genesis 13:1 says, “And Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all that he had, and Lot with him, into the south.” Lot saw the atmosphere of sin, but he never experienced its heartache. The reason Lot chose the plains of Sodom is because he got desensitized to sin when they were in Egypt.
My friend, if you don’t want your youth getting used to the world’s atmosphere, don’t let that atmosphere into your home or church. The dark lighting is Satan’s atmosphere. Jesus said in John 3:19 says, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Only those who love sin love the dark lighting atmosphere where sin is committed.
3. God’s children are to be children of light.
Ephesians 5:8 says, “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:” Notice, before we got saved we were in darkness, but when a Christian gets saved they are to “walk as children of light.” Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.”
My friend, church auditorium lighting should represent who we are, “children of light.” There should be no mistake when people walk into our auditoriums about who we represent because our lighting tells them we are not of the world but are “children of light.” If for any reason the dark colored lighting in our auditoriums is wrong, it is because it misrepresents Who we represent.
4. We are to come out of the world, not bring the world into the church.
2 Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” Why are churches looking to the world for their ideas when they are supposed to come out of the world? We are not to bring the world’s atmosphere, actions, philosophies or form of religion into our churches; instead, we are to be sure that we worship the LORD in the manner by which He designed in His Word. Even if the Scriptures had not called us “children of light,” it would be wrong to copy the world because the church was to come out of the world. My friend, God’s church is to be different from the world by God’s design. Stop looking to the world for ideas, and start looking to the Scriptures for God’s design and pattern.
5. While many may think this is petty, our youth are being groomed to the world’s atmosphere.
While many may criticize this article, what they don’t realize is that their children are being groomed for the world by their religious leaders who have adopted the atmosphere of the world. We should say as Moses said in Exodus 10:9, “…We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and with our herds will we go; for we must hold a feast unto the LORD.” Our children need to see the right way to serve the LORD. Certainly, the preachers of Pharaoh will scoff at this article and say that lighting doesn’t matter, but it is hard to argue that we are “children of light.” Let’s stop creating an atmosphere that grooms children to go to the world, and let’s create an atmosphere that keeps our children serving the LORD and represents who God saved us to be.