|Posted by Pastor Jono on February 26, 2013 at 3:35 PM|
I firmly believe we glorify God when we, with our free will and full understanding of our Christian liberty, deliberately make decisions that will honour God over and above satisfying our own desires. I think that is the heart of the first commandment. I don't believe a pastor's job is to be the censor for his church people and control what they do (1 Peter 5:1 & 3). But I do know a pastor is to exercise leadership (Hebrews 13:7 & 17) and, as a shepherd, warn his people (Acts 20:28-31).
I recently preached a message on Hollywood for our church people. I don't enjoy preaching these kinds of messages - I'd much rather talk about the positive things our Lord has done than the negative things the devil is doing! But, as we read in Acts 20, a pastor is a shepherd who needs to watch out for the wolves and warn his flock. Increasingly Christians, and even pastors, are showing a great lack of discernment at identifying the wolves in this world. I hope this web post may help some to use their Bibles as a filter to discern the difference between a wolf and a sheep and make some decisions about their viewing that would honour God first. Even if it means denying yourself - which is, by the way, the call of the disciple of Christ; "If any man come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross".
Over the next few posts I would like to give you three Bible questions to ask about that movie you are thinking of watching...
1. "Does this movie have sinful sights?" Psalm 101:3, Job 31:1
This a fairly obvious test with which to screen our viewing. There is a direct parallel between the increasing violence and evil on our screens and the increasing violence and evil in our society. A person's conscience is seared by what that person is exposed to and it becomes easier to not just watch something immoral but to then act it out yourself.
If you know what you want to watch will have immoral and evil acts in it but you watch it anyway, you are doing the exact opposite of David in Psalm 101:3 and saying to yourself "I WILL put a wicked thing in front of my eyes". Remember, Jesus said that what you put into your heart will come out in some way - you and your family will pay a price somewhere down the line.
I read a Pastor's blog recently about Les Miserables. In it is a scene about one of the main characters who becomes a prostitute in order to try and feed herself and her child. When I was researching whether the movie would be any good I read that a whole singing scene is performed in a low class prostitute house of Paris with lot of immorality taking place in the background. In his blog the pastor was basically proposing that it was acceptable to watch this scene because the movie isn't glorifying it. He advocated watching this movie to realise how bad life can be for some people. I heard this same argument years ago for the movie Once Were Warriors. Now, it is true that the movie Les Miserables doesn't glorify the situation. In fact, the author of the book, Victor Hugo, was the Charles Dickens of France and tried to address the social injustices of western life in that age - an effort which I applaude! Nevertheless, while my heart has much in sympathy with this line of reasoning, my Bible tells me in Romans 16:9 that I should be "wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil".
It seems to me that God has revealed to us all we need to know about sin and the potential for human depravity in the Bible. Then also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself gave us a commission to take the ONLY cure - the gospel - for our sin problem (be it the greed of the rich minority, or the carnality of prostitution) out into the world, preach it and live it. Do we really need to go on a Hollywood-guided tour of immorality to be motivated to share the gospel, love people, and let our lights shine? Will Hollywood bring us Holy Spirit conviction to help the weak when the word of God and the command of our Master won't? I truly think it is worrying if we feel we need Hollywoods motivation for us to carry out what God has already told us to do.
Let's quit being so addicted to entertainment and go do the job we are supposed to do! More later... until then, Lord bless.
- Pastor Jono