So, here is the question: is it wrong for Christians to partake of worldly entertainment and recreation such as movies, music, games, concerts, amusement parks, sports, and so on?
Historically, many Pentecostal Holiness people have taken the hard-line stance that it is wrong for Christians to partake of any form of worldly entertainment and recreation.
But, after watching several generations Pentecostal Holiness youth fall away from the faith because the hard-line stance was more than they wanted to live, some have begun questioning whether it would be better to take a more moderate stance on worldly entertainment and recreation.
To illustrate with some examples that prompt this questioning:
- Children who are not allowed to watch any television whatsoever tend to become adults who have an intense desire to watch television.
- Children who are not allowed anything to do with sports tend to become adults who have a strong obsession with sports.
- Children who are blocked as much as possible from having contact with people outside of their church tend to become adults who have an intense curiosity towards sinful people and their lifestyles and activities.
So, the question is whether a controlled, channeled, tempered, chaperoned, appropriate, balanced amount of worldly entertainment and recreation might minimize or even eliminate the strong pull that worldly entertainment and recreation tends to have on young people who have been forbidden from partaking of it.
Well, in answering the question, let’s start by recalling these scriptures:
The soul of the wicked desireth evil: — Proverbs 21:10
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: — Psalms 101:3
Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. — Romans 1:32
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; — Romans 1:18
When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. — Psalms 50:18
The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. — Proverbs 15:9
God is angry with the wicked every day. — Psalms 7:11
Abstain from all appearance of evil. — 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life. — 1 Timothy 6:10-11
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
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. … When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. — Colossians 3:2,4-6
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. — Matthew 7:13-14
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. — Galatians 5:24
And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? — 1 Peter 4:18
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. — 1 Peter 1:15-16
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. — Philippians 2:12
Well, as we can see from the preceding verses, God DOES hold us to a high standard.
At the same time, most of us understand that we need entertainment and recreation…because that is a part of what we need to rest, recuperate, and recharge…and to deny ourselves of entertainment is unhealthy.
Moreover, a “no entertainment and recreation” policy is unhealthy because an unmet need makes us an easy target for satan…an unmet need makes it too easy for satan to tempt and lead us into sin.
Now, let’s consider our topic here in the context of movies that are offered by worldly entertainment and recreation companies.
I personally cannot assert that a person will absolutely miss Heaven and go to hell if they sometimes watch movies that contain scenes wherein one or more of the 10 Commandments are broken…a murder scene for example.
A movie is nothing more than an acted out story. Moreover, stories are one of the fundamental components of entertainment and recreation. And, the Bible itself has quite a number of stories that contain murder…along with stories that contain cussing, theft, drunkenness, deceiving, nudity, fornication, adultery, abuse, rape, homosexuality, idolatry, witchcraft, incest, and a number of other sinful things that exist in real life.
With that said…
If a person takes pleasure in watching scenes that break the 10 Commandments…if a person gets excited about watching scenes that break one or more of the 10 Commandments…then at that point, they are obviously guilty of taking pleasure in things that are worthy of God’s Judgment and death (see Romans 1:32 above).
Similarly, if a person spends lots of time watching movies (stories)…but they spend little to no time in Bible-reading and prayer…then that is obviously a sin…because now, they have denied God and movies have become their god.
And of course, if a person is enticed and drawn away from God and the things of God by what they see in movies, then obviously that is not going to work out very well for their soul’s eternal home.
Now, going a bit deeper…
Regardless of the type of entertainment and recreation, if a person is truly saved…if a person truly loves the Lord…then they sincerely and genuinely WANT to PLEASE the Lord…which means:
- They are NOT interested in watching, listening to, or participating in anything where our Heavenly Father’s name…or our Blessed Savior’s name…is taken in vain.
- They have NO desire to watch, listen to, or participate in anything that leaves them feeling unclean, dirty, tainted, or distanced from the Lord…that is, anything that leaves them feeling like they need to repent.
- They have NO interest in watching, listening to, or being involved with people who do immoral, unclean, vile, corrupt, filthy, sinful things that in real life come with awful consequences…and that destroy lives and families.
- They are not willing to subject themselves or their children to the messaging, programming, and conditioning of an anti-Christ, God-hating, sin-promoting Hollywood…or the lusts of the flesh idealized and promoted by advertisers and marketers.
- They are not even interested in watching, listening to, or participating in anything that “technically” may not be a sin…but it quenches the Spirit of the Lord in their life.
Ultimately, sin is any way of thinking, acting, operating, or living that hurts, harms, destroys, or violates. God does not want His children doing anything that hurts, harms, destroys, or violates themselves or others…which is why He forbids sinning.
So obviously, we Christians should avoid any type, style, or form of entertainment and recreation that in any way has the potential to hurt, harm, destroy, or violate our own self or others.
Bottom line, we Christians are human…and we DO need entertainment and recreation…and the best course of action for all of us is to limit ourselves to clean, positive, wholesome entertainment and recreation that does not in any way separate or distance us from God.
We Pentecostal Holiness people can do better as individuals, as parents, and as congregations that are the body of Christ in the area of entertainment and recreation.
God has more for us to enjoy in life than just work, church, and eating. All three of these are obviously important…but if working, going to church, and eating are pretty much the ONLY things we ever do, then we are not balanced…and we are probably giving satan a hand-hold in our lives and/or in the lives of our children.
And yes, it can sometimes be difficult to find appropriate entertainment and recreation that is clean, positive, and wholesome…but we can find it…or create it…if we are committed to doing so.
We can host or attend more gospel music events.
We can get out into nature more…and see the awesome handiwork of God.
We can take more church trips.
We can consider new services that are becoming available such as PureFlix.com
Now, if you are inclined to argue that if a person gets holy enough before God, then they won’t need entertainment and recreation, then feel free to hold yourself to that standard…and when you are relating to everyone else, remember this verse:
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. — Matthew 23:4
It may be that you are able to live at such a level that you do not need any entertainment and recreation…but that does not mean your spouse or children are able to live at that level.
In fact, if you try to insist that your spouse and children live at that level, then you are probably going to lose them in one way or another.
To go a step farther with that, you will probably lose your spouse and children in one way or another unless you take the time to join them in the clean, positive, wholesome entertainment and recreation that they need.
The Bible teaches us that balance, temperance, and moderation are always appropriate…and that applies to entertainment and recreation within our families and our churches too.
To back that up…
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. — Colossians 3:21
It is no good for us to be drill-sergeants who are so hard-lined with our children that we cause them to hate us.
Likewise, it is no good for us to be so rigid and dogmatic over religion and man-made doctrines that we drive our children to hate God and the things of God.
Now, it is obviously a good thing for all Christians of all ages to be fully involved and engaged in God’s work. Being involved and engaged in God’s work is in itself a key part of our well-being.
But, we Christian people also need entertainment and recreation…so let’s choose to partake only of clean, positive, wholesome entertainment and recreation at an appropriate level that does not in any way separate or distance us from God.