The Bible standard concerning watching movies and television is encompassed in one word: holiness. To be holy is to be clean, pure, sanctified, set apart, homogeneous. The scripture teaches to “glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God‘s” (I Corinthians 6:20). “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness” (I Thessalonians 4:7). Without holiness, “no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). One must consider the power and influence of movies and television and weigh it against the above scriptures. As children of God, we are to “do all to the glory of God” (I Corinthians 10:31).
There is nothing sinful in the technology itself nor in the wires and the screen. The issue has to do with the content of the program or movie itself and the long-term effects it can have. Television and movies today are full of uncleanness and unrighteousness. Galatians 5:19-21 lists the works of the flesh as: “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings…They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Movies are full of portrayals of these listed works of the flesh. Why would a child of God who desires to live a holy life fill his heart and mind with things that are clearly ungodly?
The home of a saint should be a refuge and haven from the filth of this world. There are enough influences and powers of the flesh at work in the world without bringing them into the home and willfully feeding on them. Movies and content found in television programming can be appealing to the flesh, but we are called to crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts and to walk in the Spirit. The scripture instructs the body of Christ upon what to think: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
These issues become self-evident to honest hearts when measured to the Word of God. Does someone sin just because they watch a movie? No; but when one considers the power of unholy influences behind most movies and programming, it would be safer to abstain from that influence. The enemy has used the great influence of movies and television to be a great spiritual and moral detriment to generations. The sinful media has an agenda and it does not take very much discernment to see sinful philosophies and lifestyles being heavily promoted.
Statistics and research prove and confirm over and over the negative effects watching television has on children. The largest percentage of movies and television programs contain very ungodly behaviors. This causes great damage to children and can cause violence, aggression, substance abuse, sexual activity, obesity, poor self-image, and decreased school performance. The more a child is exposed to ‘normal’ television shows, the higher the probability of that child trying to emulate what was seen. Most movies portray a false sense of reality and a lack of consequence of sinful behavior. They instill wrong values and promote sin as fun and acceptable.
Everyone, but especially children and young people, are greatly swayed by what they see and watch. I remember talking to a young boy at a church meeting who was in awe that I had traveled there on a plane. “I would never do that,” he told me. He was scared of planes because of a horror movie he had watched about snakes on a plane. He further told me how he would not ride on a train because of something else he had seen. Let us beware and recognize the great power of movies.
“I only watch good movies and programs,” some people say. This might be true, but when it is honestly assessed, are they really holy movies? Do you have to overlook a few words or scenes? Do they dull the spiritual senses and waste a lot of time? When one begins to feed on movies, it often increases the appetite and desire for more and more. What might begin innocently can quickly lead to ‘addiction’ and greater allowances in what is watched.
Many good people have started watching movies they deem fine; and over time, if they do not heed the gentle voice of the Spirit, they excuse more ungodliness. It is difficult for them to draw a line and stop watching. It has been the mercy of God when they wake up to what they have been allowing. Television is used primarily as a source of entertainment, and it contains the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life. These things are not of God and should be rejected from our lives. Many of the commercials which play on television between acclaimed ‘good programs’ should be enough to bring embarrassment to a holy child of God. As influence goes, after a while the person watching it so often will become numbed and desensitized to the ungodliness. This begins to undermine the principles of truth and holiness of the heart. These unholy influences have been a snare and a trap to many Christians. Beware!
Movies have stolen much time that God would liked to have had in His service and worship. Watching movies and television affects concentration and increases fatigue. It has a dulling effect on the senses. It is more difficult to read and pray. It becomes more difficult to be attentive in the classroom or church services.
Television and movies have been used to spread evil around the world. I have personally watched this take place in primitive areas. I have seen the spread of ‘sinful westernization’ which is promoted by the entertainment industry. Christians in some of these countries recognize the evil and powerful influences television is exerting on the people around them. Immodesty is introduced and idolized and people then try to follow this example of purported glamour and fun. God has called us to live holy and we must place barriers between ourselves and the wickedness of our time.
So again, what is the Bible standard on watching movies and television? Judge in yourself before God and His Word. Holiness is the watchword. It isn’t the medium (reel to reel, video, DVD, television, internet) but the power of the influence of what you watch. Be careful and wise.
God’s children are called to be examples and to be the light of the world. This alone should bring a caution and carefulness in those things which are allowed in the life. Leaders and ministers should be living a clear standard of holiness and godliness.
King David said it right and true in Psalms 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.”