This post was edited on 4/6/11 in order to remove a word deemed offense. A year on from writing this I feel I should add that whilst I still agree with most of what I wrote I do not like the tone I took. It is much too harsh and if I were to write this again I would seek to keep my writing gentlier and with more room given to the opinion of others. In other words I apologise if this rubs you up the wrong way; it rubs me up too. I leave it up as a reminder to myself of what I can write like.
On Friday the speaker at CU happened to mention in passing that he thought it would be a good idea if Christians didn’t go clubbing/only went clubbing with at least one Christian friend. What was interesting was that after the meeting a lot of people I spoke to were suddenly very defensive of their clubbing habits. And that can only mean one thing: a guilty conscience. So then, let’s apply some Biblical truth here and answer the question: should Christians go clubbing?
To start off with let me share with you a true story. My friend, call him Peter, was telling me about a Christian girl he knew, call her Joe. Now Joe had told Peter that she couldn’t go a day without reading the Bible, she always had to read it before she went to bed. But then Peter asked me: “How can Joe say that when I see her at the weekends in a club grinding against some strange man.” In other words how can a Christian go clubbing?
I pointed out to my friend that being a Christian didn’t mean not being a sinner. But what really got to me about the whole thing was that my friend now had another excuse for dismissing Christianity, his views on Christianity were now biased against it. Cause it can’t be that good if a girl can read the Bible and still grind against other guys. What also hit me was the number of times I’ve sinned in front of my friends and the bad example I’ve set for Christ. We must thank God that he can overcome our failure!
The point of the story is to illustrate the simple fact that our unconverted friends are continually judging us on our behaviour, sins on our part become excuses on theirs. It also shows that even a non Christian found it strange that a Christian was clubbing.
But is clubbing all about grinding against strange men? What is the purpose of a club? Well, let’s go through its mean features.
1) Low level lighting – Have you ever stood in front of a brightly lit mirror and been surprised at the number of blemishes you could suddenly see in your appearance (no, just me?) Low level lighting has the opposite effect, covers up blemishes and generally makes everyone appear more attractive than they really are. In addition low level lighting contributes to an atmosphere of sensuality and seduction.
2) Very loud music – this has a twofold influence. First is the fact that you can no longer hear people speak very well. This leads to a greater reliance on the superficial – you look at people rather than chat. Also you have to lean in close to people you want to talk to – basic human body behaviour for closeness and intimacy. The second effect is to provide everyone with a common emotional experience – that is providing the most shallow form of emotional intimacy ever devised.
3) Alcohol – lots of alcohol, mainly spirit based, high alcohol content – get people drunk, get them drunk quickly.
4) The dance floor – likely designed to be smaller than required to force people close together. In addition dance music is all about lust, love and emotion giving everyone unconscious stimulus towards getting real close with each other.
The above ingredients all combine together to produce a recipe for a) drunkenness and b) getting laid. Because if you do achieve those two aims then you’re more likely to have a good time and so return for future business. In short clubbing is designed from top to bottom to get people drunk, laid and in the worst possible sense of the term: happy.
Now let’s look at Galatians 5 v 19 – 21 and check off the sins clubbing involves, encourages or merely fuels.
“The acts of a sinful nature are obvious: sexual immortality (check), impurity (check) and debauchery (check); idolatry (putting anything before God, check) and witchcraft; hatred (check), discord (She said what about me? check), jealousy (He/she is a much better dancer than me! check), fits of rage (check), selfish ambition (I will sleep with her! Check), dissensions (check), factions (check) and envy (check); drunkenness (check!), orgies (check) and the like. I warn you as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”
All but one of the sins are encouraged, fuelled and stirred up by the act of clubbing and the influences on us in clubs. All but one!
So then, a Christian entering into such an environment is unwise, possibly even stupid; it’s like going up to Satan and screamed “TEMPT ME!” But because you don’t like admitting sin you have an excuse, probably more than one. So let’s go through all the major excuses Christians use to justify what is obviously a sin.
I’m not tempted by the sinful side of clubbing.
Yeah right, get off your high and holy horse. Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t make you immune to temptation. Are you really saying you’ve never had one lustful thought? Stared at a low cut dress jus that bit too long? Danced just that bit too intimately? Drunk that little bit too much? Become envious of other people?
The fact of the matter is this: we don’t like to admit how sinful we still are. But, to not admit so is placing confidence in ourselves rather than God. We are sinners! Sin still drags us down! It still deceives us as it deceives you now if you think clubbing is by any means ok.
Matthew 18 v 8
“If your hand and foot causes you to sin cut if off and throw it away.”
If clubbing is causing you to think wrong thoughts then cut if off! Stop going!
But I really haven’t been tempted.
Fine, just how long will this last? Going into a club means placing yourself directly in the path of temptation. It’s stupid. You’re putting too much trust in your ability to resist the Devil. Be wise, remember how pitiful you are, how prone to sin, how often you break God’s law. Don’t club.
I’ll be a good witness to my friend.
You’re standing on a table. Is it easier for your friends to pull you down or for you to pull them up?
I hope you can see how the image works. The sad fact of the matter is that our friends are more likely to drag us into sin than we are to witness to them. Going into a sinful environment makes this a thousand times worse!
Also, just what sort of witness are you setting? Ok, maybe you don’t get drunk or don’t dance that intimately. But so what? A lot of people might not drink or like dancing. And by appearing in a club you’re sending out the message that Christians are no different to everybody else. We can go to clubs as well! Dance, drink, sin.
We are called to live in the world but not part of it. To be distinctive in our lives. Now imagine that when you’re friends invited you to a club you said no. And you explained it was because you rejected all the sexual and lustful sins that go on there. What an amazing witness! What a spectacular example of Christ like behaviour.
But these people are lost – we need to go into the dark places
This is a classic example of the Devil tempting us to sin through good intentions. Yes, we need to witness to people who go out on a Saturday night to clubs. But the way in which we witness needs to confirm to God’s commands for holiness. So, we could go as a team of Christians and talk to people queuing to get into clubs. They’re not that drunk, they can hear what we’re saying and we’re not going in! A perfect, temptation free, witness session. Or we could go into the club and dive into a sea of temptation where we are more likely to be dragged under than lift people out.
Hang on; I’ve had a really good conversion with my friend when they were drunk.
You’re not serious. They were drunk! Inebriated! Sure, they opened up to you on an emotional level but not on a spiritual level. And do we really have so little faith in God so as to rely on the drug of alcohol to help us speak to our friends? Are we really so lacking? After all, if drunkenness really did help let’s hand out beer in church and watch our conversions skyrocket.
But I like clubbing!
Now at last we come to the truth, we rip past all the excuses and see why Christians really do go clubbing. Because it’s fun. Because it’s really quite enjoyable. Because we’re living on the edge!
Sin does that. It confuses us with its pleasures. We think that fun = good when it doesn’t.
We have every incentive to give up clubbing and none to keep going. Is living a holy Christian life compatible with going into a den of sin, temptation, lust and drunkenness? Imagine that Jesus followed you on a night out, would you feel guilty? I know I would.
Above all: recognise how easily you are led astray. Be aware of how swiftly you fall into sin. Pray to God – ask him for the truth, ask God to tell you if clubbing is a sin! And if you agree that clubbing is a sin then repent! Turn away from it, stop going, yes, it could be hard, yes, you may be tempted to go again but by God’s grace you can overcome such desires.
I hate dancing and loud music and can take or leave drinking so clubbing is just not in my character as it were. This makes it easy for me not to go. But please don’t think that makes me a better Christian. I struggle with different temptations just as much and that’s just as obvious sin in my life that I’m ignoring as well.
If you have found this post useful it would be great if you sent the link to your friends. If you have any questions email me as always. Email address in Contact section.