Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at several important biblical principles that help guide our decisions, activities, and behavior in areas of life about which Scripture does not specifically speak. The principles we’ve examined can apply to every gray area in life, including those related to entertainment, amusement, and leisure.
At the same time, however, there are some additional principles that are specifically helpful in considering how we choose to be entertained.
Having pastored for more than four decades a church ten miles from Hollywood, I am well aware of how entertainment media saturates our culture. During my lifetime, I have noticed the cultural shift away from active and intellectual pastimes (including recreations such as sports and reading) to passive and less stimulating amusements (such as television, movies, video games, and surfing the web). Technological advancements have improved our society in many ways, yet they have also introduced a host of powerful new temptations. Though sin is still sin at its root (cf. 1 John 2:16), some of its forms have never before been so accessible.
The world of entertainment, electronically speaking, is big business. Today’s top films gross hundreds of millions of dollars, as do some of the most popular video games. Television shows broadcast to millions of viewers; radio programs reach millions of listeners; and music retailers sell millions (or if you’re iTunes, billions) of popular songs. Access to this media is also more convenient than ever before, thanks to the Internet. Since it opened to commercial interests two decades ago, the Internet has grown to roughly two-and-a-half billion users worldwide.
Those technologies themselves are not inherently evil. In fact, they are powerful tools to help dispense God’s truth and promote righteousness. At Grace to You, our ability to reach out to people with our Bible teaching has significantly expanded through the use of new technology—the blog post you’re currently reading is just one example.
Yet the reality is that we live in a fallen world deeply corrupted by sin and under the influence of supernaturally hostile forces. Therefore we must not be so naïve as to assume that all entertainment is spiritually neutral and safe, as though we could immerse our minds in everything the world offers and remain spiritually unscathed.
So how can we live a consistent Christian life in our entertainment-saturated culture? Those who claim Jesus Christ as the Lord of their lives are called to submit to His authority in all areas of life. Every choice we make, including how we are entertained, must be submitted to His lordship.
Starting next week, we’re going to look at four key principles to consider when making choices about entertainment. Each of these principles directly relates to Christ’s lordship over our lives, so they presuppose a genuine Christian faith on the part of the reader—a faith that loves Christ and wants to glorify Him in every area of life, including entertainment choices.