Game of Dethroning Sexual Sin

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Nick Batzig of Reformation 21 addresses the hullabaloo that ensued following a blog post Kevin DeYoung wrote on “Game of Thrones.”  In his post DeYoung challenged Christians to stop filling their minds with garbage.  How dare he say that watching actors simulate sex is sinful, some said.  So, my question is, when it comes to a professing Christian’s viewing habits, what should his/her main concern be?  How about this: I am here to glorify God…how am I doing right now?

With this in mind, here are a couple of quotes from Batzig’s piece that jumped out at me:

I have never had a friend tell me, “I just saw this intense sex scene on such and such a show and I’ve never been so close to the Lord.” That has never happened in all of human history, and, honestly, it never will. When we lay sophistry aside, we all know that we should be guarding our hearts and minds a whole lot more, not a whole lot less, in a day when wickedness pours through the television like floodwaters.

And

We must not forget that Hollywood is also targeting every sort of person with demographically driven sexual sin. Housewives are the main intended audience of movies like Magic Mike and 50 Shades of Grey. In all of this, there is a systemic unravelling of the foundations of morality that should leave Christians deeply disturbed. It can and will only get worse; and, we better wake up to the dangers of it for our own souls and the souls of our children!

Nick Batzig makes many excellent points in his piece. But for him the bottom line is this. Why do so many professing believers, who claim to love the Savior, choose to watch movies, television shows, and read books that in no way glorify God?

Yesterday, Kevin DeYoung kicked the proverbial hornet’s nest when he wrote a post titled, “I Don’t Understand Christians Watching Game of Thrones.” That post was swiftly met with a tirade of social media attacks, such as, “The Bible has many, many more violent and lewd scenes than Game of Thrones…know your Bible, Kevin,” “[you] shouldn’t expect consciences to be the same” and “Bad idea denouncing what you have no experience with…” Honestly, it was painful to read through the emotionally charged, biblically weak and grammatically poor responses to DeYoung’s encouragement for professing believers to pursue holiness in regard to what we set before our eyes on television.

Before saying anything else, I want to confess that, over the years, I have watched television shows and movies that I ought not to have watched–entertainment that I did not watch to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). While I have not watched Game of Thrones, I have watched a litany of other shows that are subject to similar criticisms as those raised by Piper and DeYoung. Those which I have watched have had enough sexual content and innuendos in them to fall into a category similar to that of Game of Thrones. While I have fast forwarded through as many of those scenes as I could whenever they appeared, I now confess that I should not have watched the show in the first place. I am no more like Christ and no more fruitful in the work of His Kingdom for having watched them. I have asked the Lord to forgive me for having watched things that I shouldn’t have watched and that I did not watch to His glory. I say this to confess my own sinfulness at the outset.

What are we to do, then, when it comes to fix a limit on what a Christian should and should not watch? Is drawing such a line tantamount to fundamentalism? Are we to simply chalk everything up to a case of personal liberty of conscience? Is it legitimate to compare the sex in the Bible to the sex in a show like Game of Thrones? We must ask and answer these and related questions, if we are to get to the bottom of a Christian ethic regarding what we watch and what we are to abstain from watching.

To be absolutely clear, I would defend liberty of conscience–as set out in our Protestant confessions–to the grave. As the Westminster Confession of Faith (ch. 20.2) states:

“God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.”

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17 Responses to Game of Dethroning Sexual Sin

  1. lyn August 14, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    Many have no idea that the battle is FOR THE MIND! What you put into your mind helps to shape your thinking, which in turn manifests itself in your actions.
    Rom 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Why would anyone who claims Christ want to sit and watch illicit behavior? If you think it does not affect you, then why is porn a huge money making business? Any professing Christian who watches filth and makes excuses prove they have no love for God, no desire to serve Him, die to self, no reverence for God or His truth.

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

    Having one foot in the world and one in religion will never do, Christ will spit out the lukewarm professor.

  2. Dano August 14, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

    ” Any professing Christian who watches filth and makes excuses prove they have no love for God, no desire to serve Him, die to self, no reverence for God or His truth.”

    It’s very easy to judge from the comfort of one’s desk chair. If i was a stranger and you spoke to me like that, that would be the end of our conversation, and i would likely hold you in the same contempt as you just dished out.

    Sin is sneaky and no one is immune to its draw. No doubt we are each shielded from some forms of temptation, either by habit, lack of exposure/occurrence, or sheer grace. I suspect embracing the latter reason is the most prudent course. It keeps me from thinking I’m better than someone else, and helps to remind me to be gentle and compassionate. I needn’t make excuses for someone else’s sin, but I understand the temptation…. as i am not immune. Try treating those who are caught in such sin with the same grace and compassion as you would want to receive if the tables were turned. For we know the GOODNESS of God leads us to repentance, not the condemnation of strangers. Peace to you.

    • lyn August 14, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

      I could care less about your ‘opinion’, the bible makes it clear, the elect of God are to flee sexual immorality, NOT make excuses. Sin is anything but ‘sneaky’, Jas 1:14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. When you ‘feed’ your sin, it comes to a head. Sin does not overtake you without you causing it to.

      You accuse me based on your ‘opinion’, then reprimand me for being harsh? What a double standard you go by, then you try and paint yourself as so humble.

      What does the bible say about sin and the believer? Col 3:5  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

      The life of the true born again believer is one of continual repentance, seeking to run the race, strive for holiness, and mortify sin….all the while relying on Christ and His finished work, His power, His truth to lead us into the way everlasting.

      From Webster’s 1828 edition – CONDEMNED, participle passive Censures; pronounced to be wrong, guilty, worthless or forfeited; adjudged or sentenced to punishment.

      Now, you tell me, is it wrong to view illicit sexual behavior? IF you say ‘yes’, then you are ‘guilty’ of ‘condemning’ as you say. If you say no, then you go against God and His truth.
      How rude of John the Baptist to tell Herod it was not lawful to have his brother’s wife! How ‘condemning’. How rude of our Lord to tell the woman at the well of her ‘five husbands’ !!!

      It’s Christians like you who have no desire to speak out against sin that are the problem. Repent of your lukewarm type of ‘religion’….

  3. berlorac August 14, 2017 at 5:13 pm #

    The author makes a critical mistake when he uses Colossians 2:20-23 to argue that we must not tell Christians to steer clear of sinful desires. These verses have nothing to do with sinful actions but foods and sabbath days! Come on, Mr. Batzig, study your Bible and understand it before you take it out of context, twist it, and build an article around it!

    It is perfectly legitimate to exhort Christians to avoid sin and do all things to the glory of Christ. Read the epistles and see how many times the Apostles made such statements.

  4. Darrel August 14, 2017 at 6:00 pm #

    The Westminster C/F was NOT inspired by the Holy Spirit and should not be placed along side the Word of God as if it were. The “Reformed” folks of our day are famous for this and would rather defend the WC/F than the Word of God (what else is new?). Is everyone so interested in their “liberty” to do what they please (translation: I’ll keep on doing my favorite sin and God has to forgive me) to the point that dying to self, taking up one’s own cross has become old hat? Seems as though that is exactly the attitude of the fake “Christians” of our day. Everybody makes excuses for their sins, except those that walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). Pleasure in practicing sin has become more important that holiness. Toning down the Gospel because someone might get their feelings hurt is the pulpit jackal’s mantra. Has it gotten to the point that the “Christian” tests God to see how much he can get away with and have zero regard for holiness, laying down one’s own life on a daily basis? Yes, it has. Your “freedom in Christ” is bound up in one thing: you are free NOT to sin for the first time in your life from the day you are born again. All this other talk about ‘freedom’ (to sin) is a by-product of the Arminian/free-will heresy and is not taught anywhere in Scripture.

    • lyn August 14, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

      excellent points Darrel. Yes, the reformed like to trot out their WCF and exalt it as ‘holy writ’.

      Everyone does in fact make excuses for sin, and if you DARE point out that fact they launch their attacks. I do recall the warnings our Lord gave to the ‘lukewarm’ crowd. May those warnings be heeded…

    • Q August 14, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

      You two hold to reformed Soteriology and their distorted view of God’s sovereignty making God into a monster.

      • Sola Scriptura August 14, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

        Jesus Christ is who he is. He is a God of love, mercy and grace…but he will show unmitigated vengeance his day. We all better be ready for that day. As Paul says:
        “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”
        ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:10-11‬ ‭KJV‬‬

        Ignore the whole counsel of God at your own peril. His wrath…is coming:
        http://followingjesuschrist3.com/2014/12/28/hell-and-the-wrath-of-god-almighty-what-do-the-scriptures-say/

        • berlorac August 14, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

          Sola, the bema seat judgment of 2 Corinthians 5:10 is NOT a time of wrath and vengeance. You are confusing this judgment for Christians only (at which time we will be rewarded or receive no reward) with the wrath poured out during the Tribulation and/or other judgments, such as the sheep and goat (Matthew 25:31-46, which does not have the Church in view) and the great white throne (Revelation 20:11-15, which only has the wicked dead in view, not believers).

          • Sola Scriptura August 14, 2017 at 7:31 pm #

            I understand B. I’m just quoting the whole passage as Paul wrote it. My point is, we as believers saved by the blood will be judged for our works. Unbelievers will experience the “terror of the Lord.” My warning is to both. If you are a believer, pursue holiness, if you are a fake Christian or unbeliever, pursue repentance lest you experience His terror.

      • lyn August 14, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

        you are entitled to your ‘opinion’, too bad you cannot support it with scripture…..

        • joy August 14, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

          amen and amen!!! Attacking one without supporting your attack with scripture is not a good idea.

  5. Sola Scriptura August 14, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    Paul’s opinion on all this:

    “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…
    ….These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”
    ‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:12, 15‬ ‭KJV‬‬

  6. Phil Qualls August 14, 2017 at 8:45 pm #

    In Matthew Chapter 5 Jesus says “27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:

    28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”

    The whole purpose of the shows mentioned is to excite lust in those that seek them out. In watching TV or reading magazines it is almost impossible to avoid the soft core pornography of the advertisements and such. But one should not seek out sin. I know from personal experience that Christ can and will lead someone who seeks him away from such activities if they seek his word.

    One other concern that bothered me is I enjoyed watching people sin, committing acts which would send them to hell. In retrospect, that really bothered me and was the main reason that I started seriously praying to be freed from that. I became convinced that if a person really wants to watch people committing, even playacting sin, that person should really get into God’s word and get on his or her knees as something may really be wrong with their walk.

    • lyn August 14, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

      excellent comment Phil, all that you stated is ‘spot on’.

    • Friend August 15, 2017 at 2:07 pm #

      Very well said. Maybe the viewers of this show should ask themselves if the same activity in the show were going on next door in a neighbors house and they could view it through the neighbors open window…would they stay and watch?

      I truly hope the Chrisitans who watch / read this show will repent, love God with all their cleansed hearts, and evangelize.

  7. jaeson August 17, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    I think the problem is that something like in Game of Thrones, the sexual parts are there as exploitation vs to move a plot forward. While it has a lot of taboo subjects, like incest, that isn’t as big of an issues as the fact that they SHOW everything, ALL the time. HBO is a station that does this more than any other. Each person has his or her own weaknesses or things that stick with them. If I see a bunch of naked people basically humping I’ll remember it, but I’ll probably forget when three people get stabbed. The show itself and books are very adult in nature and not for anyone under 18. Since the show is borderline porn due to nudity it is difficult to watch if at all, and that is a real shame. I know some have watched it with Angel Vid (maybe that is an option? since it will filter the whole thing).

    The point is though- I can’t see anyone defending the show’s use of nudity in an exploitative fashion. It is there for show, gratuitous etc. Old shows implied sex, now they have to show it every 2 minutes to get a thrill from the audience. Pathetic!

    I think some people are tempted by these programs or music, etc when all it shows or talks about is sex sex sex sex sex… That is all they are selling people these days. So sad.

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