The following are excerpts from a conversation I had six years ago with some allegedly Westminster Presbyterians trying to equate meat sacrificed to idols with sinful content in movies and television.
RC says: “I learned today I can’t watch HBO’s The Wire. Can I watch USA Network reruns of Law and Order SVU? Also, can I watch The Crown? I’ve watched it twice and wanted to watch a third time but I need to wait and see what yall think.”
You can do whatever you want friend. I ain’t your mama. This is not about making or keeping oneself just in the sight of the Lord. It’s about what a justified heart and conscience look like. If you think it looks like HBO, you’re a pagan and you need Jesus.
It’s a simple principle. Well, except for those who really go outta their way for it not to be. Worshipers of “art” and “culture” recreate the God of the Bible in their own image in order to rationalize and justify their unfaithfulness,.
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If it would be sin for you or your family members to “perform”, then it is sin for you to pay others the Lord’s money to do it for you. It’s simple, biblical, thoroughly in line with the larger catechism, and universally binding on all consciences for all time. The God of the reformation does not baptize blasphemous, brain-splattering nudity and sexual contact into art because it’s delivered in a skillfully crafted big-budget story.
Darryl is never EVER going to give us the names of anybody he actually believes would have shared his views in these areas were they alive today. I know, I’ve been trying for 3 years. I could run back and copy and paste where he just said they weren’t helpful today. While that’s a really bad answer, its’ not nearly as laughable as trying to say that any of the officers at Dort, or members of the Westminster assembly or the scholastics or Puritans (except MAYBE John Milton) would have said that his views on today’s entertainment are godly.
If they could be brought back to today’s America, they would fall to their knees and weep bitterly over the reprehensible backsliding that is being inflicted upon the honor of Christ in their name with what they left us. Dr. Hart absolutely knows that. I say again. Watch. He is never going to challenge what I just said.
No sin is EVER required to produce and provide meat for food. EVER. The sin is entirely external and incidental to the product at every stage and level, which is the apostle’s point to the saints at Corinth.
The electronic recording of true-to-life REAL PEOPLE ACTUALLY ENGAGING IN SIN, IS BOTH THE PRODUCTION PROCESS AND THE PRODUCT in the case of sinfully produced media. In order for those scenes to exist, real people really did blaspheme God and commit sexual immorality. The scenes could not exist without and are in fact defined by that reality.
There are no societal content ratings for meat because meat can only EVER just be meat. There are however content ratings for cinema because by its very nature, a wide range of morally charged content is possible. We now live in an age where biblical morality must be wisely and faithfully applied to technologies that were not available in times past. That is fairly easy to do for somebody whose driving motivation is faithfulness to and the glory of the blindingly holy God of the universe. It’s especially easy for those who have the magnificent Westminster Standards as their biblical guide. It only really gets complicated when people really want it to be.
Please reread my allegedly contradictory statements:
“My simple point was that unlike meat which can NEVER be sinful in itself, “electronically recorded moving pictures of actual people.” CAN be.”
” it’s not even that TV and movies are necessarily themselves sinful either, it depends on whether anyone’s sin was required in it’s production.”
The word “never” is a universal negative, indicating the nonexistence of the thing it is referring to.
The word “can” is a subjunctive term of potential or possibility, the actuality of which depends on what it is presently referring to.
Meat, is by definition, necessarily indifferent. It CANNOT carry moral content.
Cinema CAN, that is, it has the potential to but does not in itself necessarily carry moral content. So (I hope you’re with me) cinema can either be a beautiful documentary of the natural wonders of Alaska, OR, kiddie porn. They ARE BOTH cinematic productions. The former required and is distributing no sin. The latter both required sin AND distributing it.
NONE of the immediately above does or even CAN apply to meat. The conversation can’t even legitimately take place. No sin is or can be ever required to produce and distribute meat, because meat is in a different category altogether from cinema for all the reasons I have given.
Modern electronic recording technologies are in themselves empty containers that can be filled with literally any kind of content and are therefore on a specimen-by-specimen basis, as good or evil as the content they contain. Further, because this content is, in the case of these technologies (unlike books for instance) uniquely recorded directly from real life, the content IS the production process and vice versa.
None of the preceding does or can apply to food of any kind.
1st Corinthians 8:
4-Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world and that there is no God but one. 5-For even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, 6-yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
7-However not all men have this knowledge; but some, being accustomed to the idol until now, eat food as if it were sacrificed to an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. (that’s a “meaty” chapter. Pun intended)
The problem with the meat has nothing whatever to do with the meat. Not so with cinema.
When someone buys meat, they are paying them for meat. You could tell them it was from anywhere and they wouldn’t be able to tell you the difference for a million dollars.
Not so with cinema. The actions required to produce it, ARE the product. You can’t convince somebody that Clockwork Orange is really The Sound of Music.