It is quite common in online discussions to shut down a conversation very quickly if someone disagrees with biblical teachings.
Some common discussion-enders:
“You didn’t read the book. How do you know it’s wrong?”
Comments like these often have one of two effects: 1. The conversation ends because the Christian thinks, “Well, they’ve got me there. I didn’t see the movie.” 2. The Christian reads the book, sees the movie, etc. Both of these responses leave Satan laughing in delight. He either shamed you into being silent about your faith or led you into active sinful behavior.
Do you need to see a movie to know it is bad for you and others? Of course not. There are multiple options for anyone to read plot summaries online or in print. Those summaries will often be enough for a Christian to discern whether or not a particular movie should be seen. Some simple questions you might ask yourself: “Does the movie promote or show a particular sin in a positive light?” “Is this a movie I would be comfortable watching with my pastor or someone from my church?” If a movie promotes sin, it is wrong for a Christian to view it. If you can’t watch the movie comfortably with another church member, or your pastor, it’s probably best not to see it at all.
Do you need to read a popular book to know it’s bad for you and others? Of course not. Plot summaries for books are also readily available. Reviews of books are readily available. There is no shortage of information in this age.
Why does God want us to stay away from these things? Because your eternal salvation may depend on it. “Desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15) Satan packages sin to look very desirable. He knows our weaknesses and tempts us accordingly. And so God cautions us, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Satan’s goal is your eternal destruction.
So, if we shouldn’t watch a particular movie or read a particular book, can we ever comment about it? Of course! God makes it clear that we are to stay away from anything that may tempt us to sin. And we are to warn others to stay away also.
Now, someone is probably thinking, “how closed-minded,” “how holier-than-thou,” “how judgmental.” And, we have to admit to ourselves that they are often correct. All of us are sinners in need of a Savior. And all of us need to daily repent of our sins and ask for forgiveness. It is this recognition of our own sinfulness and the joy of knowing that Jesus forgives our sins that lead us, in faith, to reject sinful material and actions and to warn others away.
The warped worldly view that we must experience something personally to judge whether it is right or wrong is ludicrous. God has determined what is right and what is wrong; what is sinful and what is not. God gave everyone on earth a conscience—the ability to know right from wrong. Unfortunately, sin corrupts our consciences and leads us far from God. But, God has also given us His Word to clearly define right from wrong. That Word cannot change. Jesus specifically said so: “Your Word is Truth.” (John 17:17) And, the greatest truth? The truth everyone needs to know? “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15)
-Rev. Paul Fries