Christian Prudence and Watching Movies

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A.J.

Puritan Board Junior
In recent years, I've come to better understand the gospel as it is taught in the Bible and understood in the Reformed community. The result of this is that I learned to be more careful and discerning in my decisions and actions. One area in which I've been able to apply the things I learned is deciding which Hollywood movies (or any movie for that matter) to watch. In case you are not aware of it, Hollywood has a big market in Asia.

Two years ago, I also had the chance to watch the movie reviewed in this thread. As with other countries, it became a blockbuster hit here. I share much of the comments by the posters in that thread. The effects were awesome. The overall story was great. But there were blatantly arrogant and sexually suggestive scenes that every true believer would deem unnecessary and anti-Christian. The 3rd and 7th commandments specifically were violated repeatedly.

The sequel to the sci-fi movie reviewed in that thread will be shown in the US, and in my country next week (June 24). I am concerned as to whether there will be anything wrong if I happen to watch the sequel considering that repeated violations of the 3rd and 7th commandments have virtually become the norm in many if not most movies (including the reviewed movie). I am reminded of Iron Man and Max Payne. I watched both of them last year. And I was utterly disappointed to see God's holy law (3rd and/or 7th commandments) violated in them. As far as I can remember, the "safest" movie that I was able to watch last year was probably Wall-E.

I am having second thoughts on watching Revenge of the Fallen next week. I desire to glorify God and will happily forget about watching it if Christian prudence and liberty of conscience will require it. I keep as my guidelines the teaching of the WLC with regard to the the 3rd and 7th commandments (Q&A 111, 112, 113, 114, 137, 138 and 139). What would you do if you were in my situation? Any brotherly advice or suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
 

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
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I mean, since you opened the worms why let them go to waste.
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
It's never a bad thing to have a tender conscience with regard to these things. But there is not one absolute standard that we can impose across the board. What is problematic in the sense of tempting one person to sin may not tempt another person to sin. All you can do is exegete your own heart with the Word, and come up with things that tempt you, and stay away from those. I know in my own case, for instance, that violations of the seventh commandment are much more problematic for me in terms of temptation than violations of the third commandment. I used to work in a place where four letter words were used all the time. Eventually, it just sort of rolled off. Taking the Lord's name in vain, however, made me say something to whomoever was doing it. But my case is not the same as someone else's. It also makes a huge difference in the manner in which the sin is portrayed. The Bible portrays sin, oftentimes in quite shocking ways (Ezekiel 16 and 23, for example). But what is the effect intended? These questions have to factor in to one's decision-making. I have only scratched the surface, but these kinds of questions all determine one's level of discernment. One last point: we must avoid both legalism and antinomianism in this area. The weak brother/strong brother theology also comes deeply into play with regard to what we say to one another about it.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Can we ever 'enjoy' a performance which takes the Lord's name in vain???

I don't see that as an area of liberty. It simply is not.
 

Jon Peters

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can we ever 'enjoy' a performance which takes the Lord's name in vain???

I don't see that as an area of liberty. It simply is not.

I am sympathetic to the sentiment, but, by your logic, can we ever enjoy anything that is tainted by even the smallest sin? What about a movie that has a scene where a child is mildly disobedient to a parent? Will that taint the movie? Can we enjoy an episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy is hiding something from Ricky (i.e., not telling the truth)?
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I stopped watching movies at my house for this very reason and because once I start watching movies/tv I do it too much. Probably 95% of the tv/movies that Hollywood puts out has Hollywood's agenda in it to shape your thinking without you even knowing about it. When I stopped watching their stuff for awhile I was able to discern their agenda when others didn't see it. One example is when my sister wanted me to see a movie with her. Because I had not watched movies for awhile I was shocked at what I saw and began pointing out scenes within scenes that she did not see. For example the larger scene was about two people talking about something, but if you looked around the scene they had two guys sitting in their own chairs facing away from you and holding hands. She did not see this because she was concentrating on the two other people having a conversation. But the subconscious picks this up and absorbs it. The more you see it the more it becomes normal. When they finally bring it to the forefront non-believers readily accept it as being ok. Christians accept it being there because even though they realize homosexuality is a sin, they state they are watching the movie for the point of the movie and not because they agree with homosexuality. Watching a movie which takes the name of the Lord in vain might not tempt me to do the same thing but like Romans says, "Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.. Willingly watching someone break the 3rd commandment is giving approval to breaking the 3rd commandment even if you don't like that they are doing it. You've given them money for the content they've put into their movies. This is just my own opinion which is often not correct so take it with a grain of salt.
 

rbcbob

Puritan Board Graduate
I stopped watching movies at my house for this very reason and because once I start watching movies/tv I do it too much. Probably 95% of the tv/movies that Hollywood puts out has Hollywood's agenda in it to shape your thinking without you even knowing about it. When I stopped watching their stuff for awhile I was able to discern their agenda when others didn't see it. One example is when my sister wanted me to see a movie with her. Because I had not watched movies for awhile I was shocked at what I saw and began pointing out scenes within scenes that she did not see. For example the larger scene was about two people talking about something, but if you looked around the scene they had two guys sitting in their own chairs facing away from you and holding hands. She did not see this because she was concentrating on the two other people having a conversation. But the subconscious picks this up and absorbs it. The more you see it the more it becomes normal. When they finally bring it to the forefront non-believers readily accept it as being ok. Christians accept it being there because even though they realize homosexuality is a sin, they state they are watching the movie for the point of the movie and not because they agree with homosexuality. Watching a movie which takes the name of the Lord in vain might not tempt me to do the same thing but like Romans says, "Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.. Willingly watching someone break the 3rd commandment is giving approval to breaking the 3rd commandment even if you don't like that they are doing it. You've given them money for the content they've put into their movies. This is just my own opinion which is often not correct so take it with a grain of salt.

:2cents:View attachment 609
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
A year or so ago I watched a movie that I saw years ago. At that time, it seemed a profound, very good movie all around, with deep message, good cinematography.

I was shocked at the constant cursing, and particularly taking the Lord's Name in vain, over and over. After a few minutes, I couldn't get past that third commandment violation and wondered how I had not noticed that back then. The plot seemed empty now and very negative- a depressing downward theme with cursing God mixed in. After about 40 minutes, I lost interest and left, discouraged and feeling somewhat dirty.

It's a strange thing to pay money for something, not enjoy it and feel awful afterward. One could stay home and do better than that.

Funny thing, even back then, I thought I was pretty sensitive to blatant evil, at least in movies and didn't watch them much.

Hopefully, that is a sign of sanctification.

Recently, we were given free movie passes. After about 30 minutes of descending into the Hollywood pop-culture offerings, I became disgusted, even angry- there was not one single movie that even seemed interesting in the offerings- either asinine, mocking without humor, gratuitously violent, promoting immorality, foul language- a huge bowl of filth.

I may never use those passes, really... and surprisingly, it doesn't even bother me.

But having said that, there are a few very good movies out there (go watch the 1953 version of Martin Luther).
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
I am sympathetic to the sentiment, but, by your logic, can we ever enjoy anything that is tainted by even the smallest sin? What about a movie that has a scene where a child is mildly disobedient to a parent? Will that taint the movie? Can we enjoy an episode of I Love Lucy where Lucy is hiding something from Ricky (i.e., not telling the truth)?

I'm actually not straining at gnats here and don't mean to follow that rabbit trail to the end you suggest. Otherwise, jokes are out, as is any sort of play-acting. In the first, you are not telling a true story, and in the second, you are not portraying your true self as God made you. I'm not going for that.

What I am saying is that the direct blasphemy of the name of our Lord and Saviour should not be entertainment for anyone, and I don't see how that sort of statement can be argued against.

To affirm that taking the Lord's name in vain is acceptable entertainment is NOT an issue of liberty, it is sin.
 
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