Biblical Culture v. Christian Culture–Final Chapter

Posted: September 29, 2008 in Uncategorized

Why don’t we care if fellow Christians watch R-rated movies?

It is important to note from the beginning that this is a matter of conscience.  If you cannot watch violent movies like an old school Stallone/Schwartznegger/Bronson movie because it evokes violent impulses or if you can’t watch a comedy like “The Wedding Crashers” because it causes you to lust then you shouldn’t watch them.  However, if you can watch these films without struggling with these temptations then we don’t care.

Now you may object that a lot of popular culture contains profane language but, frankly, so does the Bible despite the attempts by translators to smooth out the rough edges.  Jesus, John the Baptist and Paul all call curses down on their opponents that are the 1st century equivalents of “fighting words.”  Paul uses a word in Philippians 3:8 that is properly translated as a four letter “S” word for feces.

This was not scandalous for Christians until the 19th century movement to create a perfect society devoid of anything offensive (see William D. Romanowski’s book “Pop Culture Wars”).  Martin Luther cursed from the pulpit…frequently!  I’m not arguing that Christians should be fould mouthed punks but neither should we freak out when we hear a four letter word because normally it is simply not a sin.

“What about the violence in many films and television shows?” What about the violence in the Bible? I’ve heard non-Christians tell me that they won’t let their children read the Bible because of the violence in books like Joshua and Judges.  When was the last time you read the story of David and Goliath? Do you read it to your kids? Even the part where David cuts off Goliath’s head?  See 1 Sam. 17:51-57.  Should we object to depictions of violence on a screen when gory things are found in God’s very word?

What about the sensuality that pervades pop culture? I agree that many films, shows and songs cross the line.  I quit listening to a lot of music that I used to love because it evoked sinful thoughts.  Yet, we shouldn’t go too far with this because, again, the Bible (which I maintain are the very words of God) contain a lot of sensual content as well.  I mean have you read the “Song of Solomon” lately? A myth arose in the later church that the book is spiritual poetry about Jesus and the church…that’s a load of bull.  It is about sex. 

So, in the end it is a matter of conscience.  We as Christians cannot shelter ourselves from the world and complete the Great Commission.  If we are to be on mission for our King then we must know the lay of the land and the common language shared by everyone from L.A. to Lucasville is popular culture.  For example, Pastor Mark Driscoll recommends using Tivo as a missionary tool in order to understand the culture in order to redeem it–the Revolution leadership team agrees. 

Grace and peace to you all.

  1. farsider says:

    So you do not see the need for Christians to avoid forms of entertainment based simply on their immorality? What about Ps. 101:3? “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.” And whatever plain language Paul may have used, I don’t think he would say…”Finally brethren, whatever movies are false…vulgar…unjust…impure… foul-mouthed and profane…attend these movies.” I think he said just the oppposite in Phillipians 4:8.

    You seem to be saying that whatever Hollywood puts out before us is just fine. After all, movies are our common language.

    Anyway I’m looking forward to Sat. morning. John is a good choice.

  2. rivercityrevolution says:


    Actually what I said was that it is a matter of conscience. Also, a historical study demonstrates that what is considered “wicked” now has not always been considered so by the church. Once again, going by the standards most Christians use, their own children could not watch a film of the Book of Judges or 1st or 2nd Samuel. Thus, I think we need to recognize that many of the things we label as “wicked” today are more a product of a man made 18th to early 20th century Victorian construct than a truly Biblical one.

    I highly recommend the book “Pop Culture Wars” and, in fact, anything by guys like William Romanowski who have blessed us with fine research.

    God bless!

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