Movies and TV

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty;
only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,
but by love serve one another.
Galatians 5:13

I believe most Christians would not disagree that movies and TV programs do not promote Christian values at all. But why should the world promote Christ and his church in the first place? For it is written; “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not”. (John 1:10 & 11) Even his own chosen people, the children of Israel, did not own the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah; it would be very naïve to expect the world to champion the cause for Christ and his church. If it does, it is done either out of political expediency or for commercial reasons.

So what does the world promote through movies and TV programs? Mainly ungodliness such as violence, covetousness, immorality and wasting of time where their programs, even their reality shows, are mostly fictitious and they do not really reflect the day-to-day real life situation any normal person has to face. But is it realistic to exclude everything from the movies and TV programs out of a Christian’s life when their influence has permeated so thoroughly in the modern society we live in, thanks to the rapid technological advancement in this day and age? Like it or not, they are everywhere from the nursery to “educate” little children to the aged home to keep old folks entertained and “meaningfully” occupied as well as on public transport systems and shopping malls..

It would only be possible not to watch movie and TV programs, if you do not have to interact with people in the world and live in a secluded place beyond the reach of modern conveniences. Even then, it is no guarantee of spirituality. Living away from the world, you can still sin in thoughts, in words and even in deeds. It does not mean you love God and bear the testimony of Jesus Christ. Sin of omission, in particular, sin of failing to be a witness for Jesus Christ, stares blazingly in your face. It might become blatantly obvious that you have no desire to serve the Lord as an ambassador for Christ to be a light in the world. Paul pointed out to the Corinthians about interaction with the world. “I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.” (1 Corinthians 5:9 & 10) Escapism is no weapon against depravity and pride. It might very well turn out to be spiritual pride or cowardism.

I am not suggesting a Christian should be thoroughly soaked up with whatever the world projects through the media in order to be an “informed” and effective servant of the Lord. That cannot be true! It would be more likely for such a Christian to become infected so much by worldliness that he lost his salt and rendered himself a castaway instead of being a shinning light for Christ. An honest Christian should know what is acceptable and what is not without having anyone telling him about it. He has the preserved inspired and infallible word of God to read as well as the Holy Spirit indwelling in him to guide and convict him.

I once knew of a preacher who would bring his church members to movies in cinemas as part of his organized church activities to strengthen the bonds and facilitate fellowship among the church members. I am sure many Christians would not approve of such practice. If a Christian feels that there is no harm watching movies or TV programs, that is an individual decision. But to involve the church in such activities, it would scandalize the church in the sight of the world. Sometimes, it is not so much as what is being shown in a cinema but what is going on in the cinema. If you claim that hanky panky does not happen in cinemas, you are either being ignorant or simply dishonest.

In the past, a person can be corrupted by his interaction with ungodly men or via unwholesome books and filthy magazines he read but as we “progress”, a person can now be corrupted very quickly by movies broadcast on TV programs in the homes without having the need to visit the cinemas anymore. In fact, with DVDs and CDs so affordable and easily available for home entertainment system that even cinemas are finding it hard to remain in business.

Spending time on movies and TV programs is certainly a waste of much precious time that we can all ill afford. Not knowing what is happening around us can be equally dangerous. With the advent of the Internet, movies and TV programs are no longer the main sources of corrupting influence in society. Information of all kinds is readily available at the click of a mouse. The apostle Paul had already warned that in the last days “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2 Timothy 3:13)

Christian homes and churches are now faced with insurmountable odds in keeping their people on the narrow gospel road unheard of in times past. It is now the usage of technology the key to one’s physical and spiritual health. You can use technology to be informed of what is happening around you or you can use it to corrupt your mind and indulge in the flesh so much so that you are no longer “looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

Before you think I am giving you an alibi to watch all sorts of movies and TV programs, consider the following warnings from the Scriptures.

“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” (1 Corinthians 15:33)

“I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.” (Psalm 101:3)

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 John 2:15-17)

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)

Years ago, I heard of a pastor waiting outside the cinema to catch his deacon who had gone in to watch a movie. You may find it funny but there are Christians who get very emotional on this issue. Some Christians might be tempted to set up some regulations on what movies and TV programs a Christian should or should not watch.

When the Lord gave some simple commandments and men failed to keep them over and over again, what makes you think that they will obey some more rules and regulations you wish to implement? As a child of God grows in the Lord, he is slowly weaned from the world. A child of God who is sincere and honest before God should know what is acceptable to the Lord. There is no point in setting standards, additional rules and regulations to govern the boundary by which a Christian should observe on this matter.