Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Pause Before 'Play'”

My wife and I are struggling to make a difficult decision about our church.  Our pastor preached a series of messages about how the Lord speaks to us.  Each week, he talked about God's message to us through nature, literature, trials, situations, etc.  The particular week that has us concerned is the week he talked about how God speaks to us through movies and media.  At the end of the sermon, he showed a couple of clips from movies that had moved him in his life.  Schindler's List was one, and there were a few others.  My wife and I had never seen Schindler's List, so we rented it and were very disturbed by the fact that there was nudity in it.  (We braced ourselves for the horrific acts against the Jewish nation).  So, is there a place for a movie clip from a rated ‘R’ movie from the pulpit?  The movie clip was fitting for what the sermon dealt with, but if he'd seen the entire movie in order to see the final few minutes, he had to have known about the nudity.  I just don't think it's appropriate, no matter how moving the final scene is.  Please shed some light on this matter.  How do we approach our pastor?  We love our church and our family, but we feel so conflicted about this.  We don't want to leave, but we don't want to be attending a church that thinks being "culturally relevant" means showing rated ‘R’ movie clips.


Rated ‘P’ for Pure

Dear Rated ‘P’ for Pure,

There is some debate to be had over seeing a ‘R’ rated movie that is rated that way for violence… but nudity is an entirely different matter.  At the very least, christians should be very, very cautious about viewing anything rated ‘R’.  According to the MPAA, a ‘R’ rating on a movie is received for one (or a combination) of five things:

  1. Adult themes and activities.  This is a generic listing, but it is fair to say that this content almost always involves subject matter that is inappropriate for anyone with morals.  ‘Adult themes’ is almost always synonymous with ‘sinful behavior’.
  2. Hard language
  3. Intense or persistent violence
  4. Sexually-oriented nudity
  5. Drug Abuse

When a christian looks at that list (and at least one of those things MUST be present to receive an ‘R’ rating), it should explain why ‘R’ rated movies can be such a bad thing.  Christians are to dwell upon things that are pure, wholesome, good, and holy – not worldly filth (Php 4:8).  When we dwell upon evil things, like what is found in ‘R’ rated movies, we set ourselves up for spiritual failure and death.  Jesus Christ wasn’t “culturally relevant” in the sense of being like others.  Jesus abhorred worldliness.  The Bible tells us to flee immorality and instead to live soberly and righteously in this present world (Tit 2:12).

The Lord’s church is supposed to uphold the truth (1 Tim 3:15).  It does sound like the congregation you are a part of no longer takes that seriously.  The Lord speaks to us through His Word, not Hollywood.  The Bible is how He reminds us how to live faithfully (2 Pet 3:1).  The Bible is how He teaches us how to avoid sin (1 Jn 2:1).  The Bible is how He shows us how to make our joy full (1 Jn 1:4).  Anything that the world around us shows can only point to God, so that we are without excuse (Rom 1:20).  Salvation and life can only be found in His Word (Rom 1:16).  If a congregation fails to put God’s Word on a platform far above the teachings of the world… then a faithful person must go elsewhere.  See our posts “Finding The Church” and “Preacher Interrogation” for more details on the subject.  We would also be happy to assist you in finding a faithful congregation in your area; simply e-mail us at