TV Or Not TV
Statisticians tell us that 98 percent of all homes in America have at least one TV set, while 85 percent have only one bathtub. On the basis of these figures, one wit has drawn the conclusion that more brains are washed than bodies. To which might be added that it is a pity viewers’ brains are not washed nearly as profitably and helpfully as water washes the body.
We are told that by the time a child is 18, he or she has spent 11,000 hours in school and 15,000 hours watching television, which includes 350,000 commercials and 18,000 murders. In the average United States home a TV set is on six hours and 18 minutes each day. Adult women watch the tube an average of 30 hours and 14 minutes per week; young people 22 hours and 36 minutes per week; and children 25 hours and 38 minutes per week.
Perhaps in some localities there are other factors to consider, but if this editor were to pick the greatest single factor contributing to the decline of Sunday evening attendance in our local assemblies over the last 20 or 25 years, I would unhesitantly indict TV. As a case in point, I have had occasion to observe the impact for ill that Sunday afternoon football and the climatic “Super Bowl” (or is it better called the “Super Bore?) have had on Sunday evening attendance in a local assembly.
Not only is there decline in attendance at Sunday evening services these days, but an increasing number assemblies over the land are abandoning the Sunday evening service altogether. In some instances everything is being packed into Sunday morning with the Breaking of Bread, Sunday School, and the Family Bible Hour (or its equivalent) following one upon another. By all means, such changes can be profitable, provided they meet the local need and the elders have genuinely sought the Lord’s guidance.
Some say that the energy crisis is forcing them to cancel the Sunday evening service, and this may well be so in a few areas, but perhaps more often the energy crisis is of another kind — namely, LAZINESS! If this is a legitimate problem, why not form a few car pools? This would in turn provide an added dimension of fellowship for some on Sunday evenings.
As for controlling our TV viewing, it might be well to apply the following guidelines to every program we watch, particularly in the area of deciding the doubtful:
1. Will it glorify the Lord?
2. Does it tend to enslave?
3. Will it strengthen me against temptation
4. Is it edifying?
5. Would I want to be watching it when Christ comes?
6. Is what I am watching a form of wholesome and legitimate relaxation, or is it a diabolical waste of time?
7. Will it be a stumbling block to someone else?
8. Is it keeping me from some spiritual responsibility?
If the elders of a local assembly have agreed that there should be a Sunday evening meeting, then it is the privileged responsibility of every member of that local fellowship to be there unless there is a legitimate reason for being absent. Down through the centuries assembly absenteeism has evidently been a problem, as it is to the present time. This is why, way back in the first century, the Spirit of God gave believers the exhortation of Hebrews 10:25: “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.” To disobey this exhortation is a violation of the clear will of God and, therefore, sin. Selah.