Ask Your Preacher
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:
- 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’.
- Hard language
- Intense or persistent violence
- Sexually-oriented nudity
- 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 email@example.com.
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
When I was about eleven, I was baptized. When I was in my teens, I did something stupid (won’t tell what it is because it disgusts me to even think of it). But in the Old Testament, it says to kill the woman who does this because it’s disgusting in the Lord’s sight. I have read several different versions since then and many years have passed. I cannot find anything to make myself think that God will forgive me. To think that God is disgusted with you....
Can I be forgiven? Can I be clean again?
Nothing can be more disgusting and horrible than killing christians – and God forgave Paul of that sin (Acts 26:10). Paul said that he was set up as an example to all mankind that any sin, no matter how horrid, can be forgiven (1 Tim 1:16). As much as Paul grieved his sins (he considered himself the least of the apostles, 1 Cor 15:9), he also gave thanks that God forgave him (Col 1:12-14). Paul’s future life was fueled by the fact that it was by God’s grace he had been given a second chance. Only in Christianity can we fully accept the weight and gravity of our sins and just as fully accept the gift of forgiveness. “By the grace of God” Paul had hope, and because of that grace, he “labored more abundantly than all” (1 Cor 15:10). Like the woman that was brought to Jesus to be stoned, you can be set free with a second chance (read the account of that woman in John chapter 8). His only command to her was, “Go and sin no more” (Jhn 8:11).
5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year
Is smoking a pipe or cigar bad, at least in christian living?
Huff And Puff
Dear Huff And Puff,
Anything that purposefully poisons our bodies is wrong to use. There was a time where the facts were not clearly known about the effects of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars on human health. Those days are long since gone. The data is exceptionally clear that smoking is always harmful to the human body and that smoking has no positive health benefits. God tells us to treat our bodies as a temple (1 Cor 6:19). Our bodies are a gift from God, and life is something to be cherished. When we purposefully abuse our bodies with unhealthy lifestyles, we rebel against God and show ungratefulness for the life He has given us. Present your body as a living and holy sacrifice to God (Rom 12:1). Who knows what work He has prepared for you in the days and years that would be lost if you died from the effects of smoking?