And so I ranted a bit to a friend via e-mail. And we got into a really good e-discussion about just what is the standard. I mean, sure...I thought these people should not have seen that movie, but maybe I've seen movies that other people think I should not have seen. How are so many different Christians coming up with so many different ideas about what is OK? Is it really all up to us to decide? Can we really all walk around saying, "Well, that may be OK for you, but I have felt convicted to ______________" ?
Will the Lord convict us all of different things? Isn't He the same yesterday, today, and forever?
I'll tell you, that was a lot to think about! But think I did, because that very night in church (two different churches by the way) my friend and I both heard messages that pertained to our very conversation.
So, you want to know what I decided, right? Well, first I had more questions than anything. Questions I think we should ask ourselves.
- How close can we be to sin without sinning? Just observing it? Accepting it? Watching it? Talking about it? Spending time with those who participate in it?
- How can we know if we are doing things right? One person has one idea and another person has a different idea. Can we all be right?
- What does the Bible say about convictions? Can we be led to do one thing while someone else is led to do another?
- What is the standard?
In all these cases, it is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin. And how does He convict? God's Word. The Gospel. Look at 1 Corinthians 14:23-25....
23 Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. 25 And thus[c] the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.
How is the unbeliever convicted? By hearing the Word of God. How does the bishop (in Titus) exhort and convict those who contradict? By sound doctrine. God's Word.
Therefore, I do not want to hear about how someone "felt led" or what "the Spirit told them" to do or not do. I care what God's Word says. Because His Word, my friends, is our standard.
(I'm not saying the Spirit of God cannot prompt people. I just think the "Holy Spirit excuse" might be over-used.) It matters what God's Word says. God will not prompt you to do anything differently than His Word says. And yes, the Holy Spirit reminds us of all we have been taught (God's Word).
Therefore, I went to God's Word.
That night in church we studied Ephesians 5 which starts out, "Therefore be imitators of God..." Then it goes on to list some bad, worldly things and says, "let it not even be named among you." Later on it says, "...have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." Another version says, "But among you there must not be even a hint of....(sinful things)" and "Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness..."
So. Let it not even be named among us. Have no fellowship with. There must not be even a hint. Have nothing to do with it.
Friends, our name and sin should not even be mentioned in the same sentence! We are to be imitators of God. That is a pretty high standard!
The Bible also tells us what we are to be about. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things."
(Remember, we're thinking about movies here.)
So if these are the things God's Word says, then is that the barometer we've been using to help us decide what to watch? What our children watch? What we read? What plays we go to? (In historical times the theater was considered raunchy and horrible!)
What barometer have we been using?
Next up: We will discuss this a bit more (you didn't think I could do it all in one post, did you?) and hash out some practicals of this whole movie/TV business.