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 Vol. 8, No. 1 

January 2006


~ Page 2 ~

The Threat of Unfettered Entertainment

By Louis Rushmore

Image Christians need to encourage each other to restrain their entertainment choices to prevent softening their conviction against sin, or that may even result or lead to committing sin. We live in an ungodly world, which through the god of this world actively seeks our spiritual harm (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8). The ungodly world in which we live provides all the popular entertainment choices, many of which entertainment choices reflect the ungodly world and its god; these entertainment choices can become a part of the devil's snares for us (1 Timothy 3:7; 2 Timothy 2:26).

Responsible Christians, though, must make wise entertainment choices that harmonize with the Gospel; we must not only submit to God, but we must consciously resist Satan (James 4:7). We cannot allow Satan to "get an advantage" over us, and we "are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinthians 2:11). Christians must discard whatever is "against the knowledge of God" and bring "every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Several mediums present entertainment choices through which a person may seek some amusement. Yet, seldom if ever is the medium through which entertainment presents itself intrinsically evil. For instance, televisions are neither good nor evil of themselves. The Internet is a device that is neither good nor evil of itself. Cardboard with diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs or some other design has no morality of themselves (i.e., cards are neither good nor evil of themselves, but what we do with them may be evil). Dogs, horses and cars have no intrinsic goodness or evil, but betting on dogs, horses and car races, etc. is another story.

However, nearly any medium through which one may be entertained can be used in a sinful way. The printed page with its text and pictures is neither intrinsically good nor evil, though the content of the text or pictures may be good or evil. Radios, CD's and other electronic equipment and electronic media possess no inherent goodness or badness, but the content may, in fact, be good or evil. Even something like fishing, neither right nor wrong of itself, can become a sinful activity if one goes fishing instead of assembling with the saints on the Lord's Day (Hebrews 10:25-31). We get the idea.

Christians have a responsibility to themselves and to God to evaluate every potential entertainment choice with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Is this something that I can do without committing sin? Is this something that I can do without facing temptation to commit sin? Is this something that I can do without impairing my influence as a child of God? Is this something that I can do without minding if others, including Jesus Christ, see me doing it? Is this something that I can do without neglecting my Christian responsibilities (e.g., worship, Bible class)?

Several kinds of unfettered entertainment threaten Christians' souls. "Unfettered" means "unrestrained." God has placed limits on humanity respecting Christian living (i.e., the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15). It is up to mankind to realize that he is not at liberty to completely choose his own conduct or "direct his steps" (Jer. 10:23); it makes as much sense to consult man's operator's manual (the Bible) as it does to consult the operator's manual for any manufactured produce (Proverbs 20:24).

Some video games promote immorality or otherwise threaten souls. One or more video games promote shooting police, rape, pornography, illicit drug use, stealing cars and murder, prompting several states to draft legislation to limit sales of these to minors and many church groups to oppose them. The medium of a video game is neither right nor wrong, but the content will determine whether a particular video game is a threat to one's soul. Does the game condone sinful activity, which condoning sinful activity is a type of sin (Romans 1:32; 2 Thessalonians 2:12)?

Some movies and television shows promote immorality or otherwise threaten souls. What passes for acceptable primetime, family viewing on television today brings some of the most immoral samples of our society into our homes (e.g., sex, violence, drunkenness, drug abuse, homosexuality, etc.). How difficult is it to think on good things when the scripts for what we watch lead us to root for depraved specimens of society (Philippians 4:8)? Don't we begin to view as less serious the sins that are so commonly illustrated often in vivid detail upon television and movie screens? Isn't it an impossible task to convince family, friends and neighbors of our sincerity as Christians when we revel in some of the same debauchery that they do when they view their videos or television and movie screens (Romans 2:1)?

Some Internet content promotes immorality or otherwise threatens souls. Especially parents need to exercise vigilance to protect their children from explicit and harmful Internet content (i.e., set strict filters with password protection for search engines). The Internet is a tremendous tool for good, but it can be likewise a channel through which every "filthy conduct" flows into one's home (2 Peter 2:7 NKJV). "Filthy conduct," such as pornography, is as dangerous for adults as it is for minors, and it is a part of the "every form of evil" from which Christians need to "abstain" (1 Thessalonians 5:8 ASV, NKJV).

Some music promotes immorality or otherwise threatens souls. Some people erroneously suppose that, for instance, all rock music is sinful, but country music is all right. Rather than ascribing sin to the notes and beat (e.g., rock versus country, etc.), the lyrics of any music primarily determine if it promotes immorality or otherwise threatens souls. The words, themes and messages of songs in most if not all types of music are riddled with immorality, especially including country music today. It is no more appropriate to sing or listen to words and sinful activity praised than it would be for us to emulate those sins in our lives. "But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness" (1 Timothy 6:11). "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart" (2 Timothy 2:22); there are some things that the child of God cannot feed upon and still "call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Remember, Jesus Christ is our supreme example (WWJD seems appropriate here) (1 Peter 2:21).

Some printed matter promotes immorality or otherwise threatens souls. Sometimes it's the text that portrays in a favorable light this ungodly world and the pleasures of sin (Hebrews 11:25; James 5:5). Sometimes pictures portray favorably especially sexual perversions (e.g., pornography) (1 Corinthians 6:9). The child of God does not "abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul" when he or she reads the devil's literature (1 Peter 2:11).

Some recreation promotes immorality or otherwise threatens souls. Gambling, for instance, is not merely a form of harmless recreation because it harms most of those who engage in it as well as diminishes the biblical work ethic (Ephesians 4:28). Fun in the sun where people in the presence of other people dress scantily goes against biblical instruction both about modesty and lust (1 Timothy 2:9; Matthew 5:28, e.g., sunbathing, public swimming where contemporary swimsuits prevail). How can the child of God convince his family, friends and neighbors of his sincerity as a Christian when he chooses recreation that promotes immorality or otherwise threatens souls?

Some social activities promote immorality or otherwise threaten souls. Modern dances have long contributed to improper handling of unmarried males and females, often leading to fornication (1 Peter 4:3 NKJV; Titus 2:12). The pleasurable consumption of alcohol dilutes one's inhibitions and is often the threshold to additional sin (Galatians 5:21). How can the child of God convince his family, friends and neighbors of his sincerity as a Christian when he or she also pursues the vices of the world?

We must never "give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). It doesn't make any sense to not "give place to the devil" in our Christian worship and Christian service if we "give place to the devil" in our Christian living when it comes to our entertainment choices (James 4:7). Can the world tell the difference between the speech, conduct and entertainment choices of Christians versus worldly speech, conduct and entertainment choices? If not, there may not be enough evidence to convict us as Christians! Christians must bring "every thought to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Christians follow the lead and instruction of Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:38; 1 Peter 2:21). Begin the Christian journey by becoming a child of God (Acts 2:38). If an erring child of God, get back on the heavenly path (1 John 1:9).Image

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