For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.

Position

God gave humanity the cultural mandate to develop the potentials of creation and dedicate them to the glory of God. Christians must learn to discern God’s will in every area of human life in regard to what is good and evil, avoid the worldliness of loving temporal or sinful things instead of God, and call society to the obedience of Christ. Christians must be spiritually separate from the world even while enjoying things that the Bible neither commands nor forbids. In such matters, believers must exercise Christian liberty guided by a Spirit-enlightened conscience, submit prayerfully to God’s Word and Spirit, and appreciate the pastoral guidance of the officebearers of the church.

See also Dance, Film Arts.

History

The CRC made its first official declaration on the topic of "worldly amusements" in 1928. Synod said that these doctrinal and ethical principles should guide believers in their relation to the world and its amusements: the honor of God, the welfare of humanity, spiritual separation from the world, and the exercise of Christian liberty. It also urgently warned members against the amusements of theater attendance, dancing, and card playing. In 1949 synod decided to study the issue again, and in 1951 it clarified previous declarations.

Synod 1966 adopted a report titled "The Church and the Film Arts," which states the official position of the CRC: The art of film is considered a legitimate cultural medium to be used with discernment by Christians. In the late 1970s Calvin College decided to allow social dancing by students on its campus. Its request for synod's support and/or response led to the study "Dance and the Christian Life," which was commissioned in 1978, recommended to the churches for study in 1980, and brought to Synod 1982. That year synod reaffirmed the position of 1966 on the relationship of the Christian to the world and on the exercise of Christian liberty. It also adopted recommendations regarding dance as a cultural expression, Christian evaluation of dance forms, and guidelines for Christian institutions. The Liturgical Committee of CRC Publications was asked to study the use of liturgical dance in worship, and it reported on that matter in 1985. Synod received the report as information and referred it to the churches but withheld action regarding the implementation of liturgical dance.

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Acts of Synod 1926, pp. 56-58, 181-82
Acts of Synod 1928, pp. 86-89
Acts of Synod 1932, pp. 36-37
Acts of Synod 1940, pp. 95-98, 186-97
Acts of Synod 1944, pp. 30-32, 368-69
Acts of Synod 1949, pp. 47, 51-55
Acts of Synod 1950, pp. 19, 148
Acts of Synod 1951, pp. 62, 65-66, 126-69
Acts of Synod 1966, pp. 32-36, 316-61
Acts of Synod 1967, pp. 223, 651
Acts of Synod 1971, pp. 139, 609-23
Acts of Synod 1977, pp. 97, 210-11, 214-24
Acts of Synod 1978, pp. 106-7, 129, 167-71, 650, 652, 655
Acts of Synod 1980, pp. 64-66, 79-81, 103, 216-17, 448-66, 584, 594
Acts of Synod 1982, pp. 86-91, 556-75
Acts of Synod 1983, pp. 39, 499-500, 673
Acts of Synod 1984, pp. 198-99, 437-38, 594, 631, 656
Acts of Synod 1985, pp. 242-57, 638-39, 785-87