The other day a Facebook friend of mine posted a status asking if it was alright to be a Christian who goes clubbing. She then went on to answer her own question in saying that if it doesn’t glorify God then no. She also said that clubs are just rooms full of temptation, where the devil is waiting to pounce on unsuspecting people.
If a Christian goes to a club, drinks alcohol and gets drunk, are they living up to the standard that God gives us? What about Christian women who go to clubs in shocking outfits and behave disgustingly? Are we selling God short with some of the behaviours that we get involved in and promote?
I am not sure if my question makes sense but I would like to get your thoughts on this topic.
What a great question! A topic that has come up a lot in late night chats with my friends, thank you for bringing it up. I am going to zone in on the question about clubbing and will hopefully canvass all the issues by doing that. Also, because you ask specifically about Christians and clubbing, I am going to go to the Bible for your answer – this is important!
The first issue is: what kind of attitude should Christians have to clubbing in general? There is a quote that I really enjoy, it goes something like, “Standing in a church does not make you a Christian, any more than standing in a stable makes you a horse.” A club is a building and so is a church and one’s presence in either of those is not necessarily a reflection of the state of a person’s heart. We all have preconceived ideas about things like clubbing, alcohol and smoking but we need to resist the temptation to let those become prejudices through which we make judgments about people. Take a note:
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16: 7 (NIV)
To answer your question, I do not believe that clubbing, dancing or drinking is wrong. But I believe that the crux of the issue is not whether clubbing is right or wrong, but what the state of people’s hearts is. That is what is important to God. Every one of the choices we make flow from our hearts. It makes sense that if your heart is right with God and is anchored in the Father’s love your actions will reflect that in the way that you live your life to love and to obey God. There are two hearts we need to look at here: the heart of the Christian who looks at the clubbers with disgust and the heart of the clubber.
Take note of these passages:
“When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Mark 2: 16 (NIV)
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” ” Luke 5: 30 (NIV)
“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”” Matthew 9:10-11 (NIV)
Three characters appear in each of these passages: the Pharisee, the sinner and Jesus.
The Pharisees were the religious gurus in Jesus’s day. They had the Jewish scripture and law on lockdown and knew everything there was to know about their religion. These guys obviously took notice of Jesus because He was making waves in towns and villages, they were keeping an eye on Him. Christians tend to take either a legalistic or licentious view to clubbing. Both of these views are simplistic.
What was the Pharisee in Jesus’s day, is the legalistic Christian today. In each of these cases Jesus responds:
“Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Matthew 9: 12- 13 (MSG)
I can see Jesus snapping his fingers in a z-formation as He said that.
Neither Matthew, Mark or Luke say what the Pharisees said in answer to that but I am pretty sure someone in the room must have said, “Oooh SNAP!”. We need to understand Jesus’s statement in light of His whole message. Someone asked Jesus what they need to do to get eternal life and Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good—only God.” In other words what Jesus was saying is that we are all sick: the Pharisee and the sinner are in the same sinking boat! The Christian who looks at the clubber with disgust is also sick because they are blind to what ails them: self righteousness. Self exaltation.
“It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us.” Ephesians 2: 1-6 (MSG)
Each of us at one time was the sinner. People who lived for their own desires and not God’s. Having said that I do not believe that going to club is wrong, is there stuff that goes on there that is wrong? Yes! I think it is wrong that women and men drink themselves into a stupor and forget who they are. I think it is wrong that women (and some men) go to clubs barely dressed and get down and dirty. Over and above all of that though, I think that it is wrong that people do not see themselves the way that God does. I think that it breaks God’s heart that people feel so desperate, depressed or stressed that they have to dull their minds and hearts with alcohol and wild partying. I think that it is sad that women use their sexuality for attention – something that is beautiful and precious that they think is okay to cheapen, for whatever reason.
Do I believe that every person who goes to a club is getting involved in dodgy activity? No.
What I do believe is that Jesus came and died so that we could all have access to God’s grace. Grace for the self righteous churchgoer who thinks that their squeaky clean reputation and ankle length skirt will get them to heaven. Grace for the clubber vomiting on the side of the road as his friend zig-zags down the road.
Grace for this broken road we walk on called life.
I hope this helps you along your journey of discovering and walking out what it means to be a disciple of Christ.
Peace and grace to you (boy do we need it!)